The inaugural Little Rock Gran Fondo kicked off Saturday with Lance Armstrong leading the pack.
The gran fondo, which is Italian for "big ride," is a chance for bicycle enthusiasts to ride alongside competitive racers, event organizer Tony Karklins of Orbea said.
"It's such a cool event because you have bike racers and you have enthusiasts riding together," Karklins said. "That never really happens. You never get to suit up next to the fast guys."
Lance Armstrong, one of the biggest names at the event, said that he was excited to be in Little Rock. Armstrong had gotten to know Karklins in the past few months, and when Karklins mentioned Little Rock was doing this ride, Armstrong decided to join.
"They tell us it's not a race," Armstrong said.
Over a hundred people showed up to participate in the ride, and prior to the start, the group of racers downed a glass of champagne to celebrate.
The course covers 70 miles through the south of the capital city and ends downtown with a festival to celebrate the ride. The festival is being catered by local chefs.
Riders are expected to start returning a little after 11 a.m.