FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM)- The Joe Martin Stage Race started on Thursday (April 23) with one of the hardest events of the series: the time trials.
Cyclists from all over the world will be racing in Northwest Arkansas through Sunday, but before the races, there are months of preparation. Racer Adrien Hegyvary is from North Carolina and has been a professional cyclist for 10 years.
"I always rode bikes but its a bit of step to actually start racing," he said. "I enjoyed the riding part but I didn't enjoy pushing myself physically, so I kind of had to learn that later in life and now that's maybe the most enjoyable part for me."
On Thursday, nearly 400 cyclists took on what race organizers called "The Race of Truth." The course is only three miles long, but most of the route is at a 10% grade through Devil's Den State Park.
Australian cyclist Carl Menzies said the time trial will be the most difficult for him during the four-day competition.
"I'm the heaviest guy on the team, probably the heaviest guy in the race," he said. "So for me it's not an ideal day, but we have some lighter guys behind us so we should have a great day."
According to organizers, the Joe Martin Stage Race grows each year.
"We know how big of a deal it is and I think the cycling community does too," said Director Bruce Dunn. "I think Northwest Arkansas really embraces this event as something that's more than just a bike race."
This year, the race is considered part of the international circuit with 20 countries and all 50 states representing.