This weekend saw the 16th edition of the Off Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell, one of the premier endurance races in the southeast. The course remained unchanged from last year, and again sent riders out for close 60 miles—a loop that includes classic trails like Heartbreak Ridge and Kitsuma. Of course, there was a cold creek and plenty of beer from Oscar Blues waiting for racers at the finish, something which no doubt motivated more than a few racers as the day wore on.
Without multi-time defending champion, and 2015 Pisgah Stage Race winner, Thomas Turner, the race promised to be an open affair, but there was no shortage of fast men from around the southeast ready to lay down some watts in a bid to take home the coveted ORAMM crown. With trail conditions looking good, and reasonably low temperatures predicted throughout the day, it was clear fast times were going to be in order.
After a fast first lap on the Kitsuma Ridge Trail, a large group of around 10 riders rolled through the first aid station together. With no clear favorite in the race, riders were marking every move, and the large group stayed together, for the most part, to aid station 2. It was there, on the notoriously brutal climb up Curtis Creek that the race finally broke apart. Brian Schworm (Think Green/Pedal the Planet) and Brad Perley (Brevard College) bridged up to Adam Engell (Specialized/Kitsuma Works) and the three riders established a gap on the chasers. The three riders entered the days biggest descent down Heartbreak Ridge more or less together, but disaster quickly struck for Schworm and Perley, both of whom flatted in the trail’s upper rock gardens. That allowed Engell to ride free, and he cruised to the win in a brisk 4:31:34. Schworm would drop back as far as 9th while fixing his flat, but he was able to surge back to 2nd by the finish. Perley wasn’t so lucky. A huge tear in his tire meant he had to run the entirety of Heartbreak to the final aid station, where he was finally able to fix his bike and finish. With Perley running, Chris Tries (Piney Flats Cycles) was able to work his way into third on the line to take the final spot on the podium.
Also of note were the rides by masters riders Bob McCarty (Stradalli Bikes) and Tommy Rodgers (J.A. King Cycles) who both rode very strong races to finish 3rd and 6th respectively overall.
The women’s race looked for a much of the race like a replay of the Jerdon Mountain Challenge the day before, with Nina Otter (Liberty Bikes) out front by just over two minutes, with Jennifer Moos (Pink Siren Sports) chasing hard. However, Otter missed a critical turn of the Blue Ridge Parkway onto the Heartbreak Ridge Trail, a continued to climb for close to 5 minutes before deciding that she must have missed the trail, which allowed Moos to ride into the lead. By the time Otter realized she was in second at Aid 4, it was too late. Though she chased hard and closed the gap significantly in the final miles of the day, she ultimately came up a minute and a half short of the win – with Moos taking her second victory in as many years. Zdenka Worsham (Constellation Cycling) also rode a strong race and crossed the line in third to take the final spot on the podium.
|Position||Bib #||Name||Start||Finish||Total||Division||Gender||City||State||Team Name|
|1||304||JENNIFER MOOS||8:00:19||13:43:59.143||05:43:40.457||Open Women||F||FORT LAUDERDALE||FL||Pink Siren Sports|
|2||326||NINA OTTER||8:00:19||13:45:30.099||05:45:11.413||Open Women||F||ASHEVILLE||NC||Industry Nine/Liberty Bikes|
|3||516||ZDENKA WORSHAM||8:00:19||14:17:55.237||06:17:36.551||Open Women||F||RALEIGH||NC||Constellation Cycling|
|4||170||JOSSELYN GUTIERREZ||8:00:19||14:39:57.932||06:39:39.246||Open Women||F||COCONUT CREEK||FL||Alex’s Bicycle Pro Shop|
|5||65||ELLEN CARROLL||8:00:19||15:26:24.430||07:26:05.744||Open Women||F||ATLANTA||GA||Rescue Racing/Reality Bikes|
|6||105||HEATHER DAVIS||8:00:19||15:29:37.110||07:29:18.424||Open Women||F||ATDEN||NC||Ally’s Bar|
|7||69||MONICA CASTILLO||8:00:19||15:43:03.418||07:42:44.732||Open Women||F||DELRAY BEACH||FL|
|8||54||REBECCA BUBP||8:00:19||15:48:41.085||07:48:22.399||Open Women||F||CHARLOTTE||NC||Bikesource/JGRMX|
|9||99||STEPHANIE CRITCHFIELD||8:00:19||15:52:37.316||07:52:18.630||Open Women||F||STOCKBRIDGE||GA||Southern Crescent Cycling|
|10||474||KAILEE WAGNER||8:00:19||16:47:54.971||08:47:36.285||Open Women||F||JACKSONVILLE||FL|
|11||275||VALERIE MATENA||8:00:19||16:54:20.055||08:54:01.369||Open Women||F||CHARLOTTE||NC|
|12||202||MEGAN HUTTON||8:00:19||17:01:20.590||09:01:01.904||Open Women||F||BREVARD||NC||Sycamore Cycles|
|13||19||KATIE BARNES||8:00:19||18:54:46.656||10:54:27.970||Open Women||F||KNOXVILLE||TN|
|14||66||KRISTY CARTER||8:00:19||19:36:46.539||11:36:27.853||Open Women||F||ASHEVILLE||NC||Asheville Bicycle Racing Club|
|1||137||ADAM ENGELL||8:00:19||12:31:53.414||04:31:34.728||Open Men||M||RALEIGH||NC||Specialized – Kitsuma Works|
|2||393||BRIAN SCHWORM||8:00:19||12:38:48.222||04:38:29.536||Open Men||M||MOREHEAD||KY||Think Green-Pedal the Planet p/b SWORD Cycling Team|
|3||449||CHRIS TRIES||8:00:19||12:40:10.742||04:39:52.056||Open Men||M||JOHNSON CITY||TN||Piney Flats cycling|
|4||12||MATTHEW BAILEY||8:00:19||12:41:02.012||04:40:43.326||Open Men||M||NEWPORT NEWS||VA|
|5||491||MATT WILLIAMS||8:00:19||12:46:36.553||04:46:17.867||Open Men||M||ASHEVILLE||NC||Epic Brewing/MTBRacenews.com|
|6||183||WILLIAM HARRISON||8:00:19||12:50:20.635||04:50:01.949||Open Men||M||CHARLOTTE||NC||Clemmons Bicycle Racing|
|7||74||MATT CHAMPION||8:00:19||12:52:50.716||04:52:32.030||Open Men||M||BREVARD||NC||Sycamore Cycles|
|8||365||BEN RICHARDSON||8:00:19||12:57:36.685||04:57:17.999||Open Men||M||DANVILLE||KY||Think Green-Pedal the Planet p/b SWORD|
|9||411||SHAWN SMITH||8:00:19||12:59:16.088||04:58:57.402||Open Men||M||GAINESVILLE||FL||SCBS/WTC/CCS|
|10||45||NICK BRAGG||8:00:19||13:00:06.471||04:59:47.785||Open Men||M||ARDEN||NC||Piney Flats Cyclery and Fitness|
|11||58||WALLACE CAMPBELL||8:00:19||13:11:40.312||05:11:21.626||Open Men||M||SPARTANBURG||SC|
|12||40||ROSS BOWDEN||8:00:19||13:13:39.973||05:13:21.287||Open Men||M||DURHAM||NC||Champion System / DCX|
|13||97||SEAN CRICHTON||8:00:19||13:23:45.789||05:23:27.103||Open Men||M||JACKSONVILLE BEACH||FL|
|14||337||BRADFORD PERLEY||8:00:19||13:28:43.643||05:28:24.957||Open Men||M||BREVARD||NC||Brevard College|
|15||310||BRIAN MOUNTJOY||8:00:19||13:37:10.816||05:36:52.130||Open Men||M||DANVILLE||KY||Think green toyota presented by sword and pedal the planet|