Big Sugar - Oct 2023

Big Sugar 2022 Discussion

Just signed up for Big Sugar 2023. Really excited for my first Gravel race. Didn’t see a thread, so I figured I could start one.


Great event, great race….slap some 45’s on your wheels!!

Pace yourself….lots of just up & down, up & down.

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I did it last year and it is an awesome race. I ran 38c tires and couldn’t feel my hands for a few days. Hang out at the expo the day before. It is fun seeing and talking to all the pros. I signed up for the Little Sugar 100k mountain bike race this year.


I was debating between 40s & 45s. I was thinking of going conservative and doing the 45s. Was also planning on the expo and shake out ride. If anything just to pick up some tips.

100% use 45’s….I rode Maxxis Ramblers in 45 w/ inserts and that was a great setup.

It was super-windy (but warm) last year……the last ~45 miles was pretty much straight into a block 20+ mph headwind. I believe there was some rain the year before, so be prepared for anything I guess.

I’ve been going to Bentonville for 20+ years on business and the transformation of the town has been amazing. From a pretty stereotypical small southern town into a opening biking destination….lots of great restaurants and breweries.

I’m in for the year and road in both 2021 and 2022.

Ran Rene Herse Hurrincane Ridge 42s on G23s in 2021. Flatted once but otherwise were fine.

Ran Pathfinder Pro 42s on G23s in 2022 with inserts. No flats last year.

In 2021 it rained a bit during the middle portion of the race and there were more people with flats. In 2022 it was extremely dry and dusty, and then a wicked headwind in the last 25% of the race. There seemed to be less flats last year and locals suggested it was due to the dry conditions.

If wavering between tire sizes I’d go bigger volume. The first half of the race has more tight turns where people tend to crash more. The course straightens out in the second half. No mega-long sustained climbs, but lots of hills on repeat.

It’s a great event and looking forward to it again this year.

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My wife wants to go visit her family who live about an hour from the race sometime this fall. I’m thinking about timing our trip so I can do this. I’ve never had to travel via plane with my bike so would just have to figure that part out

I flew down with my bike in a travel case…super easy since XNA airport is so small.

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Well shoot, just looked at registartion and it appears the 50 and 100 are both already full


Yeah, they sellout within 30 min of opening registration…but they will shortly be opening up a waitlist. Jump on that ASAP.

wow. gravel is the “new ironman” in terms of selling out within hours

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Honestly, it is surprising that Big Sugar is still “First come, first served”. Almost every other major race in the country (Unbound SBT, etc) seems to be on a lottery system now.

Signed for the Little Sugar 100k MTB (dumb name, BTW. Little Sugar sounds like it should be the shorter version of the Big Sugar gravel race). Almost did the double-header, but $350 was a bit too much to drop yesterday.

So far I’m committed to:

Moab Rocks $500
GJ Rides & Vibes $90
GoPro Games Road TT $40 (what a deal, and the swag bags are always lit)
Downieville $350
Little Sugar $160

I might need to refinance my house…


Where does everyone stay for Big Sugar?

I grabbed a hotel for now, but it’s pricey for the event weekend.

Really? I paid about ~$110 / night last year at the Element Hotel, about 2 miles form downtown.

There are a ton of hotel rooms in Bentonville, as well as Rogers (next town over) because of all the WM visitors. A couple thousand bike racers should be easily accommodated on a weekend.

ETA - just checked the Marriott site and the Element is showing up at $119 / night right now for race weekend.

@Power13 Thanks. That’s about a hundred less than the Hilton. I’ll need to check it out.

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Added bonus - full kitchen at the Element, so you can have all your favorites for race morning.

I just used hotel points from my work travel to get the cheapest hotel in town. I think I booked the hampton.

What inserts did you guys run? Last year a couple of the pros ran CushCore XC. But they are a bit pricey.

My plan was to start at the very back and go out slow to avoid a lot of the chaos. Figured I’d start easy to prevent being taken out.

Agree 100%

I used the Vittoria inserts….worked great.

There are a number of miles on the road before you hit the gravel where the field will get strung out. It is supposed to be “neutral” but the front of the pack was flying. Really no need to start in the back…it gets sorted pretty quickly on the road.

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Good to know! I was watching some video recaps, and the neutral definitely didn’t seem neutral.