Bikes, Blues and Barbecue is still a few months away. Regardless, people in Northwest Arkansas can expect to see hundreds of two-wheelers this weekend.
Eager cyclists are ready for the 40th Joe Martin Stage Race right here in Fayetteville.
“If you are a U.S. based rider, it’s your Super Bowl. Joe Martin starts it,” said Bruce Dunn, race director for the Joe Martin Stage Race.
That’s right! The “Super Bowl” of U.S. Cycling kicks off this weekend right here in Northwest Arkansas.
“You are going to see some of the best athletes of the world. They train anywhere from 15 to 18,000 miles per year. I mean, they ride on their bicycles more than most of us put on their car,” Dunn said.
Over the weekend, hundreds of cyclist from across the globe will make their way to Northwest Arkansas for the Joe Martin Stage Race. Now this year, it’s special. This is the first time in recent memory that the Fayetteville competition has kicked off the U.S. Cycling calendar, providing cyclists a benchmark for the rest of the year.
“It sets the tone for the rest of the season both for your team and amongst other teams throughout the season.” said Andrew Dahlheim, a racer for Team Arapahoe Resources in Oklahoma City.
“Joe Martin stage race starts it off. We are going to have riders from 25 countries and we are expecting a great four days of racing action,” Dunn said.
A final twist — inclement weather. Cyclists from as far away as Australia may have to battle the elements with a four-day forecast that’s questionable.
“I don’t want to say expect some crashes, but 150 people in this field on that course, it’s going to be technical, it’s going to be hard,” Connor Dilger, a racer for Team Above and Beyond Cancer in Des Moines, Iowa.
“Pro Cyclists, they are tough. They are going to go no matter what. Rain, snow, sleet or shine,” Dunn said.
Let’s just say spectators are in for a show.
“The people are so interesting. That’s what I love about seeing these athletes. They’ve done a lot of things and they are here in Fayetteville, Arkansas, sharing what they know about the world right in our own backyard,” Dunn said.
Security will be tight and police are anticipating big crowds for the race. The Fayetteville Police Department says to expect delays and road closures on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
If you want to see detailed individual maps for the different races, click <a data-cke-saved-href=”http://www.joemartinstagerace.com/stagerace/prorace/procourse” href=”http://www.joemartinstagerace.com/stagerace/prorace/procourse” style=”font-size: 16px; font-family: Calibri, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif, ” apple=”” color=”” emoji”,=”” “segoe=”” ui=”” notocoloremoji,=”” symbol”,=”” “android=”” emojisymbols;”=”” target=”_blank”>here.