Beneath towering bluffs and blue skies near the Blanchard Springs Caverns of Mountain View, Arkansas, Syllamo took his revenge on several riders found sporting shiny new red tattoos, not so delicately inscribed by the native limestone.
Unplanned and misguided rock encounters would change race day fortunes for several riders, including NUE men’s open champion, Christian Tanguy, Team CF, Saturday as the Kenda National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series, swerved into its second sold out stop this season.
Syllamo’s Revenge, presented by Hammer Nutrition, with 50 mile and 125k distances, takes place on the Syllamo (pronounced sil-lah-moe) mountain bike trail, a series of interconnecting loops offering mountain bike enthusiast’s fifty miles of trail, most of it singletrack.
Comfortable morning temperatures gradually became unusually hot temperatures by midday, forcing many racers to refocus their attention on hydration or suffer defeat by attrition in the hands of the elements.
Additionally, hot and dry conditions made portions of the trail very different than last year, when overnight rains caused Don Lovelance Jr., from Tulsa, OK, to describe the mud on the native slickrock, as “like riding on Teflon.”
Riders were up against loose gravel, razor rocks, and even some exceptional overgrowth that could tear at the soft flesh of unsuspecting riders, causing some finishers, including winner Amanda Carey, Kenda/Felt, to arrive looking as if they had just escaped from a scrape with Freddy Krueger.
The Ozark Mountains of Syllamo’s set the stage for a race that is truly as much as man versus nature, as it is man versus man.