Bills Mt. and into Marion
After turning off Hwys 64/74, Bills Mt. punishes riders from about mile 45 through 47. Bills Mt. is a sustained climb but only about a mile of challenging effort--again, like Pea Ridge, this breaks apart the group and can over-extend many riders trying to stay with a pack. After the climb, riders are also tempted to chase, another key moment for safety. From Bills Mt. to Marion is a series of challenging rollers and even grunts (steep but short hills, maybe as steep as 10-15% but usually only hundreds of yards long); in my opinion, this ignored section is one of the most physically and mentally challenging stretches. Many riders would do well to do the course from Bills Mt. to Marion, at least by car, to know what is ahead.
Paul Thomas, EdD, Associate Professor