Bentonville, Arkansas played host this weekend to the Oz Trails Off-Road—the final round of the new Epic Rides race series. With a $60,000 prize purse and equal payouts for men and women, it was the richest single day MTB race in the world and featured the best riders in North America vying for a piece of the action.
With warm rain on the horizon at the starting line for Sunday’s 50-mile backcountry event, Liv XC team riders Casey Anthony and Kaysee Armstrong set off on the new course. Contrary to the backcountry feel of other Epic Rides events, this track coursed behind homes and through greenspaces, along golf courses and down riverside urban bike paths. Mostly, however, it was single track with slippery limestone ledges and miles and miles of small sharp rocks.
It wasn’t long after the start that those little daggers began to wreak havoc on tires and racers. Kaysee would join the ranks of riders—around 75%—that fell victim to punctures, though Crystal Anthony managed to finish without flatting, working her way up to 5th place on her Pique Advanced, with Kaysee fighting her way back to a solid 19th place finish.
“I left everything I had out there to land 5th on the day and secure 2nd in the Epic Rides series,” Crystal Anthony said at the finish.