2016 Off Road Assualt on Mt. Mitchell Race Report

Race Report: Blue Ridge Adventures – Off-Road Assault on Mt Mitchell

The 2016 Off-Road Assault on Mt Mitchell (ORAMM) started off in downtown Old Fort, NC, for its 17th consecutive year, on Sunday, July 31, 2016. ORAMM was one of the earliest endurance mountain bike events in western North Carolina and has gained a reputation across the country for its challenging course, beautiful scenery and great support. For 2016, ORAMM saw riders from 26 different states, and as far away as Phoenix, AZ.


Due to construction on Old Hwy 70, there was a slight re-route this year that added an additional 2 miles onto an already long course. That still didn’t stop the top riders from setting a blistering pace of over 13 mph across 62 miles and over 10,000 feet of climbing.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, Kitsuma, Heartbreak Ridge and Curtis Creek are all names that come up over and over again when talking to ORAMM racers. With beautiful views, rooty and rocky descents and climbs, long singletrack downhills and gravel road climbs that will make even the toughest of riders quiver, ORAMM has it all, leaving lots of smiles and grimaces on the faces of riders new and old.

A nice size lead group of about 12-15 riders stuck together for over half of the race. As they made the long climb up Curtis Creek to the Blue Ridge Parkway, things started to break apart. This is where racers have to decide to stay with the leaders or save some for the last third portion of the course. When all was said and done the top 3 finishers came in less than 10 minutes of each other and the top 6 broke the 5 hour mark.

For the Open Men category, current course record holder, Thomas Turner, took the win with a time of 4hrs 34min. Tristan Cowie followed for 2nd place in 4hrs 37min and Matt Champion rounded out the top 3 in 4hrs 43min. The Open Women category saw impressive performances as well, with Jen Nielson coming in first at 6hrs 21min. Jordan Salman and Erin Setzer took 2nd and 3rd place, with times of 6hrs 39min and 6hrs 45min, respectively.


There are number of racers that choose to do a double-header, with the 26 mile Jerdon Mountain Challenge on Saturday and ORAMM on Sunday. Among these was Junior racer, Chad Hale, from Tallahassee, FL. This 17 year old racer took 5th overall in the Jerdon Mountain Challenge and almost broke the 6hr mark, with an impressive time of 6hrs 5min. With weekends like this, we’re sure we’ll be seeing his name pop up more and more. In addition to Hale, Andrew Blackstock and Noah Pawlik were 2 other Juniors racing ORAMM. Both at 15 years old, they endured with solid times and more importantly, finished the race.

 For complete results, visit: http://www.blueridgeadventures.net/2016-oramm-results/

It was another great day in Old Fort and smiles could be found all around the finish line area. Lots of stories shared and a feeling of accomplishment for everyone who trained, traveled and experienced one of the best mountain bike events in the country. While the podium often gets much of the attention, for hundreds of other riders, ORAMM is about setting a goal and pushing yourself, not necessarily to win, but to just have a good ride. For some, ORAMM is a race. For most, it’s a mountain bike adventure and one that brings riders back year after year.

-Written by Seyl Park

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/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