Life Time Continues Gravel Race Expansion as Cyclists Increasingly Turn from Pavement to Dirt
On the heels of its inaugural year of ownership of the internationally renowned Garmin Dirty Kanza, Life Time is quickly solidifying itself as a lead player in gravel events with the launch of the Big Sugar—NWA Gravel. The all-new, ground-up gravel event is set to take place in Bentonville, Ark., on Saturday, October 24, 2020.
Coinciding with Outerbike Bentonville, the Big Sugar was conceptualized and developed by the Life Time Events team, including the original Dirty Kanza team. Destined to be yet another iconic gravel event, the Big Sugar weekend will host two signature distances: the marquee Big Sugar, a 107-mile course of challenging roads through the Ozarks with approximately 9,000 feet of elevation gain; and the Little Sugar, which complements the larger distance with a 49.3 mile course serving up a similarly challenging, but shorter distance.
Remarking on the events, Kimo Seymour, president of Life Time Events and Media, says, “Our team including myself, is passionate about cycling and these gritty, on-dirt races that allow riders to participate in an event that is bigger than themselves—that enriches their lives as well as the communities they take place in. As we see more riders move from pavement to dirt, we are honored to be at the forefront of this change and be in a position to create truly unforgettable experiences that help grow and impact the cycling community in a positive way.”
Commenting on the host site, Seymour elaborates, “Bentonville has become a hub for cycling, but it doesn’t yet have an iconic gravel race. We’re really excited to bring the same Leadville and Dirty Kanza feel here to Bentonville and produce a life-enriching event that welcomes every rider, from beginner to experienced. We have a team that has a genuine passion for cycling — particularly on dirt and gravel — and, through Life Time, the resources to make it happen.”
In concepting and bringing the new event to life, Life Time’s Dirty Kanza and Leadville Race Series teams are working alongside Bentonville’s Nat Ross and Gabbi Adams – both of whom live and breathe cycling and know how to deliver a truly iconic event that will stand the test of time.
With its portfolio of premier athletic events featuring marathons and half-marathons, triathlons and mountain bike and gravel cycle races, Life Time provides its members and athletes from around the world the best event experiences available anywhere. The Company is committed to honoring and reflecting the soul of the communities which host its events as well as making a positive economic impact in those communities. In 2019, Dirty Kanza had a $5.5 Million economic impact on Emporia, Kan., equivalent to 101 full time jobs, and the Leadville Race Series contributed $18 Million to the Leadville, Colo. economy, equivalent to 320 full time jobs, according to studies conducted by Dr. Shawn M. Rohlin, Department of Economics, Kent State University.
Registration for The Big Sugar will open on Nov. 15, 2019 at www.BigSugarGravel.com. We will allow entry to the first 800 participants who register. Follow us on social media at @bigsugargravel and use hashtags #RideBigSugar #RideLittleSugar #GravelSweetTooth.