Presented By: SHAM Events, LLC
Ouachita Gravel Grind Race Information
Event Date: January 7, 2023
Thank you for joining us for the 2023 Ouachita Gravel Grind! We are pumped and ready to bring you a top tier experience.
The 2023 OGG will include a 100K race and 50K tour. Both the race and tour will have mass starts.
Preparty and Packet Pickup
Packet pickup, meet and greet, and prerace dinner will be held Friday at Superior Bathhouse Brewery in downtown Hot Springs on Bathhouse Row. Superior’s address is: 329 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901. Packets will be available there between 6 and 8 pm. SHAM will have a keg available. Otherwise, their full menu and bar will be available, and you will be responsible for your tab. Look forward to seeing you guys there!!
Location for Race HQ and Start/Finish
The start/finish will be on W Main Haul Rd, approximately 1 mile north of Hwy 298, at the intersection of W Main Haul Rd and Ritter Trail. The GPS coordinates are 34°41'51.3"N 93°06'10.3"W. If you put that in your GPS, it should take you directly to the race start. You will see our tents set up at the start/finish.
From the intersection of Hwy 298 and Hwy 7 at the Blue Springs Grill, go west on Hwy 298 ~2.9 miles to the intersection of W Main Haul Rd. Turn right (north) on W Main Haul Rd. The start finish is less than a mile ahead. Park on the right (east) side of the road only.
As you approach the start/finish, park along the gravel road on the east side. This is the right side as you drive toward the start/finish. There should be plenty of room to park along the road.
We will have porta-potties at the race start, but they will be limited. There are several convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants, and even a Walmart in the area. And, we’re in the middle of woods providing ample space for the more adventurous riders to relieve their bladders. Please plan accordingly.
You can download a GPS file to download into your bike computer or phone at:
It’s an out-and-back course of 100% gravel through the gorgeous Ouachita Forest north of Hot Springs, AR.
Unlike most routes in Arkansas, the gravel on this course isn’t particularly rocky, but you’ll still need to prepare for some rough areas. A gravel or cyclocross bike with 33-40+ mm tires will be the best choice for most people. It could be ridden on a tough set of 28 mm road tires, but would be less comfortable, and probably not as fast. It could also be ridden on a mountain bike, but the suspension and wider tires would not be considered necessary. Having said that, bike choice is very personal. Ride what is comfortable for you. Many will prefer the handling and gearing of a mountain bike. Others may prefer the familiarity and position of a road setup. For the majority, the fastest and most comfortable choice will be a drop bar, relaxed, gravel/cyclocross bike with 33-40+ mm tires.
Shift Modern Cyclery of Little Rock will be manning our “hubcap” aid station this year!! You’ll see them at ~15 miles after the start, and ~15 miles from the finish on this out-and-back course. SHAM will be running our “dead crow” turnaround aid station at the midpoint of the race, and the timing at the start/finish.
The aid stations will have water coolers to fill your bike bottle, and basic nutrition available (bananas, granola bars, etc.) There will be very basic tools to get your bike in order, if needed. This may include a tire pump, boot, tubes, hex wrenches, etc. With that in mind, please plan to support yourself. A flat kit with two tubes, master link, and multitool are all highly encouraged.
The 100K racers will be given an option to have a drop bag at the turnaround. The bag will be
provided by you. It will need to be sealed and well marked so you will be able to recognize it
easily. They will be gathered at the start on the morning of the race and will be laid out on a
tarp at the turnaround for you to pick up, remove or leave what you like, and re-seal. We will
then return them to the finish line for you to retrieve. Any bags or belongings left will be thrown
away or donated.
The 62 mile race/tour will have time cutoffs at each aid station. Total time allowed to complete the 62 mile course will be 6 hours. That’s a 9 mph average. If you do not believe you can keep a 9 mph avg for 62 miles, please move your registration to the 40 mile course. Time cutoffs for the aid stations will be:
30 mile turnaround: 1:00 pm
45 mile station: 2:30 pm
At 1 pm, the 30 mile aid station at “dead crow turnaround” will pack up and start heading up the course toward the finish. If they encounter a rider that hasn’t turned around yet, that rider will be required to turn around and head back to the finish at that time. This van will also act as a sweep vehicle for the course. If they encounter riders heading back to the finish after they had already made the turnaround aid station, they will not sweep them up unless they miss the cutoff at mile 46. The van will be able to accommodate riders and their bikes and carry them back to race HQ. Once in the van, you may not get out of the van to continue riding. You will arrive back to race HQ by 4 pm.
We have a safety plan in place in the event a rider has a medical or mechanical issue. We request that all riders carry a cell phone. If you need non-emergency help, dial one of the race directors. Stephen Harrison: 501-655-2182, Adam Moore: 501-318-8870, or Paul Alexander: 501-681-6030. If you need emergency help, dial 911, then the race directors. If you do not have cell service, but can safely move yourself, head to the nearest aid station. The aid stations will have long range walkie talkies to get in touch with race headquarters and HAM operators, along with cell phones. The roads will remain open throughout the race, and ambulances can get anywhere along the course, if necessary. We are planning for an event without such needs, but we have notified all local authorities if one should arise.
During this event, deer hunting will be in season for archery only. No gun hunting of any kind is permitted in the counties we’re riding through on race day. Hunting is never allowed on roads, either. Bow hunters are much closer to their target than gun hunters, and less likely to mistake their target. We expect a safe event. However, we highly encourage everyone to wear bright neon colors, preferably orange or pink. Be seen! You want to stand out. This will keep everyone safer.
Also, if you have symptoms of any illness, stay TF home. FFS, I can’t believe I have to write that at all.
Raceday schedule: January 7, 2023
9:00 am Packet pickup available
9:50 am Packet pickup closes
10:00 am Start for all riders
4:00 pm Riders are finished
Following the race, we will have podium shots and hand out the awards. For anyone excited about sharing the post-race stoke, we’ll be back at Superior Bathhouse Brewery Saturday evening!
We have no affiliation with any lodging facilities. This information may be of help for you. If you have questions, please ask!
Camping: USFS campgrounds are closed for the winter, including Iron Springs, S Fourche, and Lake Sylvia. Gulpha Gorge in Hot Springs 20 min away and has facilities for RVs, fifth wheels, etc. Primitive camping may or may not be available along FR 11 (aka Gladstone Forest Road).
Hotel/motel/B&B: Village Inn 5 min away at the Main Gate for Hot Springs Village; Mountain Thyme B&B 10 min away; Hotel Hot Springs, The Waters, Embassy Suites, and other hotels in downtown Hot Springs 20 min away.
Airbnb, vrbo, homeaway: multiple private rentals within 15-30 minutes of the race site
Please contact us with any questions or concerns regarding this event. Message us through our Facebook page at facebook.com/shameventsllc, email us at [email protected]. You can also post a question in the Facebook event, and we can answer it there. I’m sure other participants will have the same question! If you need to call us, you can contact Paul Alexander at 501-681-6030, Adam Moore 501-318-8870, or Stephen Harrison at 501-655-2182 via voice call or text message.