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story.lead_photo.caption A cyclist splashes into Lee Creek during the 2017 Ozark Mountain Bike Festival. (Democrat-Gazette file photo/FLIP PUTTHOFF)

Runners and cyclists can experience two of the state's most storied sporty events this weekend: the Capital City Classic 10K, which began life in 1980 as the Diet Pepsi 10000 meter run; and the Ozark Mountain Bike Festival, which began life 31 years ago as the state's first camp out devoted to bicycling around trees.

Both events inaugurated boom times for sporting goods stores. And they are just 178 miles apart — a determined person could be part of both by playing on bikes at Devil's Den State Park on Friday and some of Saturday and then driving to far west Little Rock's Two Rivers Park for the Saturday evening footrace.

It would be difficult, but some people find difficulty inspiring. They might even want to get up early Sunday and drive back to the festival's final trail ride, at Lake Fort Smith State Park.

Capital City Classic 10K

Race director Bill Torrey explains that another event beat the Little Rock Roadrunners Club's 40-year-old 10K to the permit office to request use of Two Rivers Park on Saturday morning — the Crump Conquering Cancer 5K, a fundraiser inspired by a firefighter's colon cancer, see

But that means runners who want to test themselves in the Capital City Classic 10K can sleep late. The starting time is 5 p.m.

Other aspects of the 6.2-mile footrace are unchanged, including its level course on quiet two-lanes in and around the park and the one-miler for ages 14 and younger.

Also, the 10K is once again part of the Arkansas Grand Prix, which means very fast racers will attend and there will be an abundance of race awards. See for more about the abundance.

Registration is $25 (plus $2.50) using a link at through midnight Thursday. People can save that $2.50 by registering in person from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at Rock City Running in Colony West, 10300 N. Rodney Parham Road. Racers age 8 and younger can do the 10K for $12; but the one-mile kids run is free.

Race-day registration ($30) will open about 3:15 p.m. in the park.

More information is available by calling (501) 231-3730 or reading the websites I just gave you.

Ozark Mountain Bike Festival

Mountain bikers come together every April to celebrate their sport in Devil's Den State Park — the cradle of Arkansas mountain biking. The 31st annual Ozark Mountain Bike Festival is Friday through Sunday at the park, 11333 Arkansas 74 in West Fork.

Assistant Park Superintendent Tim Scott is the force behind this laid-back gathering that wants to bring people into the sport more than it wants to prove who does the sport fastest.

"Last year," he reports, "the weather was frigid, in fact, that morning, with wind chill, the temperature was in the teens. So, we didn't have the 'Big Splash' contest. Instead, we had a bike toss competition, but we are bringing the 'splash' back this year."

The Splash consists of riding your bike off a ramp and into Lee Creek. It's only one of the traditional games Scott calls shenanigans.

New, the Bentonville advocacy organization Bike NWA will provide Strider bikes for ambitious tykes to play on.

The fest agenda has trail rides geared for families and other rides for women, as well as all-comers trail rides for intermediate riders who can do those bunny hops already.

The spooky-cool night ride will be Friday.

Saturday includes separate educational workshops for beginners, intermediates and children; the classic novice ride in which there's a reward for photographing one of the park's weird white squirrels; a poker run; paddle boat races; and the big cookout with pedal-cranked ice cream.

In the afternoon from 4 to 6:30 p.m., the Joe Martin Stage Race time trials start near the day-use pavilion. Those are professional/amateur road racing events, and mighty seriously interested in who does a distance fastest. They also mean Arkansas 74 will be blocked from the pavilion to the park entrance Saturday afternoon. Drivers coming from the south should take Arkansas 220 or use the West Fork exit coming from the north on Interstate 49.


The 31st annual "Anniversary" Ride hosted by Devil's Den State Park

2:30 p.m.: traditional 6-mile beginner ride on the Fossil Flats Trail

7:30 p.m.: 14th annual Devil's Den State Park night ride for intermediate cyclists with headlamps, on the Fossil Flats Trail


9 a.m.: "The white squirrel" 3-mile family ride 0n Fossil Flats Trail

10 a.m.: 6-mile intermediate riders workshop on Fossil Flats

10:30 a.m.: ladies ride on Fossil Flats

11 a.m. -1 p.m.: BikeNWA will have a Strider bike course set up for kids up to 6 years old near Campsite 14. Helmets provided.

11 a.m.: 4-mile or longer beginner riders workshop 0n Fossil Flats

Noon: Lee Creek shenanigans at the creek crossing

1 p.m.: "The White Squirrel" 6-mile expedition on Fossil Flats for intermediates.

2 p.m.: Kids Skills Clinic at Campsite A, near site 14.

2:30 p.m.: intermediate and advanced 9-mile ride on Fossil Flats and the Butterfield Hiking trails

4-6:30 p.m.: Joe Martin Stage Race time trials; watch 'em near the day-use pavilion.

4 p.m.: "The White Squirrel" poker run on Fossil Flats

6 p.m.: paddle boat races at the Lake Devil pool

7 p.m.: cookout at the Lake Devil pool pavilion


10 a.m.: Lake Fort Smith State Park, 12-mile trail ride for beginners and others.

Please send tips on active recreation opportunities to

Style on 04/01/2019

CORRECTION: Runners can register for the Capital City Classic 10K at Rock City Running in Colony West. An earlier version of this story named the wrong shopping center.

Print Headline: Two seminal sporty events a mere 178 miles apart

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