Off Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell 2015

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.

Men's Podium

Men’s Podium

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.

Women's Podium

Women’s Podium

Women’s Open:

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

Men’s Open:

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/
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