Thursday, July 30, 2009


Last Friday my wife and I traveled to Old Fort near Asheville, NC for ORAMM. We stayed at a neat Inn about 25 miles away from the race venue, very quiet and the back yard was a golf course. On Saturday we went to Asheville and to our surprise a Blue Grass festival was going on during the weekend. Spent a few hours there then went to pick up the race packet and scout part of the course, specially the 9 mile climb to the Blue Ridge pkwy.

The race started promptly at 8am with a 1 mile controlled start and a paved 3-4 mile climb to the first single track which we would hit again on our way back to town. Very rough in some sections but a lot of fun. We hit a few more gravel road sections some pavement and some double track and soon we were hitting the 9 mile climb. The first climb of the day after the controlled start was a big ring climb, at least that's what I felt. I started having second thoughts when I passed other riders already on their granny gear spinning at 150 rpm's.
The nine mile climb started after going dowhill for what seem like an eternity, you know it was along downhill when your forearms, wrists and fingers are hurting from so much braking. One thing I'll like to say is most mountain bikers don't know how to corner on gravel roads and that's were being a roadie for so many years comes in handy. On the long gravel road downhills I was blowing by full suspension bikes and 29ers like they were standing still. Anyhow, I did the nine mile climb all on my middle ring although there was times I wanted to shift to the granny gear, but I'm to stubborn and I had decided at the start of the climb that it was going to be a middle ring climb. The climb does give you a little bit of rest once in a while but not for long. At the top, aid station 3 waited patiently for you to get there. Fill up the bottles and took off on a 3 mile downhill that lead to another 3-4 mile climb on double track and gravel roads. Back on the B. R .pkwy for about another mile and the you hit the hike a bike from hell, if you think the hike a bike portions at Mohican are bad, try doing this race. I pushed, carried, dragged the bike up that hiking trail, believe me if I would have had a rope I would have walked all the way up and then pull the bike up. It was that steep or was it that it came after 45 miles and it hurt a lot, take your pick. After that it was more fun single track mostly downhill with a few ups to brake it up. Did I mentioned I hate switchbacks, there had to be at least 30 or more switchbacks, some rideable some not. After I fell a few times or almost went over the edge I decided it was easier to dismount and get a running cyclocross style start. After the hike a bike from hell we hit the same single track section we hit on our way out of town and this is were I would say made my only bad mistake. When you are tired you don't react fast enough, on a section I had cleared in the morning that was really rough and difficult for some reason I'm still trying to figure out, I hit the brakes instead of floating through it like I had done in the morning, the front wheel twisted and I flew over the handlebars like a missile. Luckily I hit a deep patch of dust, got up dusted myself, took inventory of my bones and everything seemed ok until the rider behind me said "dude, check your elbow". Blood was gushing out, no first aid kit, 4 miles from the next aid station, I closed the cut the best I could, remounted and rode to the rest stop and go figure, I get there grabbed my last two bottles that I had in my drop bag and didn't even bother to check my elbow
or clean it up. After that it was all I could do to stay on the bike because of the cramps I had. I thought I drank enough and had taken enough electrolytes but apparently I didn't. It came to a point where I was walking the bike up very small rises because I would cramp just trying to put power on the pedals. The last 5 miles I was able to get into some rithym and was able to finish strong. At the finish I went to visit the EMT's and they strongly adviced that I should go to the hospital and get stitches. I didn't think wirth all the cramping I had I was going to place but I finished second in the 50 + and 147th out of more that 300 that lined up. By far the most demanding hardest race I've done. And the elbow was put in a half cast after spending 4 hrs at the county hospital. Overall a great race and I'll do it again.

Ther's really some weird people living in Asheville.

On the way back we stopped at Mammoth Cave National Park.

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