What to know
With its steep ramps, multiple switchbacks, fast descents and glorious views, this difficult route is a proper introduction to the Ozarks. From the name alone, you can expect to do work. Beginning at Baum Stadium in FAYETTEVILLE, it takes you through HOGEYE, up the Strickler climb (a one-mile, 190-foot uptick), then on to Devil's Den State Park, a popular place to hike and camp. It's also a good spot to stop for a bathroom break and to refill bidons before the official start of the 'death march.' From here, roll out onto Hwy. 74 to encounter the brutal series of switchbacks. If it seems pro, that's because it is: this route actually contains portions of the 23-mile loop (with more than 1,500 feet of climbing per lap) used in the 115-mile men's pro-elite course during the Joe Martin Stage Race in April. Continue on Hwy. 74 for 11 miles to WINSLOW. This section is more rolling and rewards you with a beautiful view over I-49. From Winslow, take a left on Hwy. 71. There's a gas station here if you need to stop. Head north for 20 miles back to Fayetteville, a Bicycle Friendly Community with a great cycling scene. Bike shops can help with any questions and direct you to group rides and other routes around town. Hit the Fayetteville Ale Trail for a couple of cold, post-ride pints at local craft breweries.