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Mountain bikers have yet another reason to travel to Bentonville, Arkansas.
On Thursday, Life Time — parent company of the Leadville Race Series, as well as Unbound Gravel and Crusher in the Tushar — announced that it’s adding a new event to its off-road portfolio.
The Life Time Little Sugar MTB presented by Mazda will debut in northwest Arkansas on October 15, 2023. The cross-country mountain bike race will kick off a week of dirt-centric activities in Bentonville that Life Time is calling the Big Sugar Classic Cycling Festival.
The festival will open with the Little Sugar MTB and conclude after Big Sugar Gravel the weekend of October 21-22.
“Our community has worked for years together to build our region as a mountain biking destination and partnering with Life Time to host the Little Sugar MTB event represents the pinnacle of achievements,” stated Kalene Griffith, CEO/President, Visit Bentonville.
The Little Sugar MTB event weekend will open with a one-day expo on Saturday, October 14. Riders will take to the singletrack around Bentonville and Bella Vista on Sunday.
Three course distances will be offered for the Little Sugar MTB: 100k with 6,610’ of elevation gain, 50k with 3,461’ of elevation gain, and 20k with 1,125’ of elevation gain. All courses will start in Bentonville at the Coler MTB Preserve, traverse through the hand-cut trails in Bella Vista, and finish in downtown Bentonville. The flagship 100k distance will pass through the Little Sugar and Back 40 trails in Bella Vista and the Slaughter Pen trails in Bentonville before heading back to town.
A $25,000 prize purse will be up for grabs for the top finishers of the 100k distance, which is also a qualifier for the 2024 Leadville Trail 100 MTB race.
“The singletrack mountain bike terrain and development that has taken place in Northwest Arkansas is undeniably world class and we are very excited to bring a new Life Time MTB event to the region,” said Kimo Seymour, president of Life Time Events. “The Sea Otter Classic kicks off the cycling season for many and we love the opportunity to bring the cycling community back together at the end of the season for a week-long celebration of all things cycling.”
Industry gatherings, group rides, and clinics will fill the week between the Little Sugar MTB and Big Sugar Gravel. Notably, the People for Bikes Shift conference will happen that week, and Outerbike will return to Bentonville the weekend of October 20-22. The Big Sugar Gravel expo will run for two days before the race on Saturday, October 21.