The Bike & Hike for ALS Arkansas begins at 7 a.m. Sunday at Rockwater Village, 1600 Rockwater Blvd. in North Little Rock.
The event is, technically, a duathlon, following the two-activity, three-leg format of bike-run-bike. The bike portion will be an out-and-back on the River Trail, from Rockwater Village to Pinnacle Mountain, covering about 18 miles each way.
The "hike" moniker is well deserved: The middle leg involves going up and over the peak and then around the base, a combined distance of about 3 1/2 miles.
Participants will have three aid stations: at Two Rivers Park, in the transition area at Pinnacle Mountain and near the peak of Pinnacle Mountain. A sag (support and gear) wagon will patrol parts of the course where vehicles are allowed.
Online registration is available until noon Saturday, costing $90 for ages 18 and up and $35 for under 18. There's also a team option that allows as many as 10 people to sign up together for $750.
Packet pickup and late registration will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Rockwater Marina, directly across the street from Rockwater Village.
Participants are asked to take their hiking gear (shoes and any other supplies) with them to packet pickup. Each registrant will be provided a Bike & Hike nylon bag corresponding to his or her bib number that will be held at the Pinnacle Mountain transition area. Bags can also be dropped off at the starting line between 6 and 6:50 a.m. Sunday. The bags will be transported back to the starting line as they are dropped off in the transition area after the hike portion.
The transition area will be strictly controlled to protect bikes and gear. Participants will have to sign into and out of the area so that organizers can track who has arrived and departed safely.
All participants will have to sign a waiver before competing, and helmets must be worn while cycling. There will be volunteers and signs to help with directions and safety, but this will not be a closed course. Organizers say that participants are expected to be courteous of pedestrian traffic on the River Trail and obey all traffic laws.
Proceeds from the 2016 Bike & Hike for ALS will benefit Operation Speak Easier, which is an initiative by the ALS Association of Arkansas to help provide speech devices for people who have lost the ability to speak as the degenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis progresses. To learn more about Operation Speak Easier, visit alsa.org. To learn more about devices and software for this purpose, visit tobiidynavox.com.
There will be a celebration at the finish line (back at Rockwater Village) beginning about 10 a.m. with music, snacks and drinks. Registration fees include two adult beverage tickets redeemable at the Diamond Bear Brewery tent; those tickets will be in the swag bag.
Bike & Hike for ALS honors Les Vahsholtz, who died from ALS in December 2012 and was the father of event director Tim Vahsholtz.
Online registration and more information are available at bikehikeforals.com.