The Off-Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell (or ORAMM for short) in Old Fort, NC has been my A race all season, the one I had circled on my calender since February, the one I spent all those cold winter days training for. Mile for mile one of the toughest races I’ve ever done, it is 60 miles and 10,500 feet of climbing in Pisgah Forest just North of Asheville, NC. I felt really strong going in, and was confident I would improve a lot over the last time I did the race in 2012. It came down to the wire on getting the bike ready to go, but with Jason Harris at Trifecta Tuning’s help, I had a brand new Scalpel frame from Cannondale, a completely re-built lefty fork, and some sweet new XTR brakes – essentially a new bike – assembled the day before leaving for NC.
ORAMM is one of those special races that start in town before heading into the mountains, which I always think is a really cool feature. We had 500 mountain bikers lined up at the town square. As soon as we hit single track, I started picking people off (roadies…pfff). And then we hit the first real downhill and the fun began. I was following the wheel of a fellow former motocross racer, and we absolutely tore it up. Trail was just wide enough and fast enough to allow passing, and we probably put away 50 people on a 3 mile downhill. very fun. And that’s pretty much how the rest of the race went – although as the race wore on I held my own a little better on the climbs as everyone tired out, and then I could make my moves on the downhills. The main downhill of Heartbreak Ridge (about a 6-8 mile straight down hill singletrack) was timed as an Enduro segment, and I made it my personal mission to tear it up. After the 10 mile climb to get to the top I actually felt pretty strong, so I politely asked a group waiting to start the technical downhill to kindly let me pass. Thankfully they did.
I ended up making up a ton of ground again, passing people left and right, and ended up with a 30th place overall on the Enduro in Open Men including Pro’s. Extremely pleased with my result, finishing in 6:49, over an hour faster than my time from 2 years ago and well under my goal time of 7 hours. It was also awesome to see my cousin Dave come in 4th Overall with a smoking time of under 5 hours! Overall a great experience – Bike was perfect, nutrition was perfect, felt strong and in control all day. After a beer, a pasta dinner, and a little relaxing, it was time was hop back in the VW wagon and cruise on back home.