This Saturday, June 22, 2019, was the 8th Annual True Grit Bike Ride across Sebastian County. Bikers will find out if they possess the grit to ride the True Grit Trial in distances of a 10, 30, 45, 62 or 105-mile ride. A course is provided for riders of any skill. Bike enthusiasts from all across the country come to see if they can persevere through a grueling day of high humidity and full sun. The longest route began in Chaffee Crossing and goes to Caulksville, then 288 West to Highway 60, following the Military Road and Highway 22 back to Chaffee Crossing.
A pit stop is located every 10 miles along the route where bicyclists can pause for a moment for a restroom break, some cold water or Gatorade, a quick snack, wet towel, or even some pickle juice! “I have never heard of pickle juice being used to help with leg cramps,” a man here from Michigan said, “but I will sure try it!” He traveled to the event to ride with his friends who live in the area.
The story goes that a group of ladies, all over 65 years of age, raised charity funds by selling hot dogs and hamburgers. After about ten years they decided that this wasn’t fun any longer. Some had seen bike rides in other places so they decided to start one here. Now, the True Grit Bike Ride is the most successful fundraiser of the Clearinghouse. The “Meals for Kids” program provides food on Fridays to children who do not have access to regular meals on weekends when they are not in school. The program serves 142 schools in Sebastian, Franklin, Crawford, Logan and Scott counties in Arkansas and Leflore and Sequoyah in Oklahoma. That is food for more than 2400 kids!
Zac Smith of Fort Smith has been a participant in both the True Grit Run and Ride in the past and was riding this weekend. Zac was one of the many bicyclists who are making the longest ride, the 105 mile course. “I made a 101-mile ride before with a friend in five hours and fifty minutes. I averaged seventeen miles an hour but expect to get somewhere around twenty-four miles an hour riding with a group. You get the momentum and less drag with a crowd,” Zac stated. “I should make it in just over four hours this time.”
The True Grit Bike Ride and Run appeared to be a great success this year as the bicyclists passed here all morning. There were mostly regular looking 10-speed bikes but some favored horizontal exercise bikes from a health club. There was a bicycle built for two and one that looked like a gym elliptical machine. Motorists were respectful to the bikers and no incidents were reported at this time. All the bikers and the pit stop workers were dripping wet with sweat but had full smiles and glad hearts to be a part of the very worthwhile event.