So, I have always been a go big or go home sort of person…I was not a lifelong runner, yet decided to up and run a marathon as my first running race (yeah, i didnt even do a 5k prior)….I was not a triathlete by any stretch, but I got my bike, aka Pinky, signed up for a half ironman (I did actually do some racing of triathlon prior to this, specifically, I raced 3 sprint triathlons in the summer prior to the half distance race)…Shortly after finishing the half ironman, I bought a Project 1 6.9 Trek Madone Road bike, aka Rizzo, joined a cycling team and started racing crits, circuits, and road races within two months of starting….and most recently, competing in my first mtb race prior to racing the ORAMM (Off Road Assault on Mt Mitchell)….Go big or go home I always felt, and I also have always believed you dont know what you are capable of unless you try it…
Anyway, the most recent crazy undertaking, the ORAMM, is what I can’t seem to get off my mind lately. For those who have not heard, the ORAMM (pronounced O-RAMM with a distinctly southern accent on the O and then the RAMM) is a 63 mile mtb race in the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. The Off Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell is a 63 mile mostly off road Bicycle route with 11,000 feet of climbing. From Old Fort you climb over the Blue Ridge Parkway two times and just below Mt. Mitchell on beautiful Forest Service roads and some gnarley single track. Mt. Mitchell peaks at 6684 ft and is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi river. The town of Old Fort where you start and finish sits at around 1400 feet. Most of the climbing is on Forest Service roads while most of the single track points downhill!
Did I mention I was training for this race in Miami, Florida? It was going to be interesting if nothing else. As it turned out, not only was it interesting, it was totally AWESOME–so awesome that all i can seem to think about is what my next “endurance” mtb race is going to be (I am pretty much putting all my eggs in the Leadville basket for 2012)….The ORAMM was like NOTHING I had ever seen before here in MIA. Basically, the ORAMM for me was a combination of all the gnarley technical steep descents a Miamian might see at Markham Park, the single track bone rattling rattling like one gets at Oleta Park, and the speed one gets to practice at Amelia Earhart Park BUT with MUCH LONGER and STEEPER climbs (see insert of course elevation above). Note elevation on the sign on our accidental practice day climbing to the top of Mt Mitchell–not quite sea level Miami.
As it turns out, I am much better at climbing than I would have anticipated. Even the 9 mile climb that took place around mile 26-35. The climb was a full on granny gear climb for me, but shockingly I kept passing people and, in fact, got pased by none. By the top of the climb, I was (again SHOCKINGLY) near the top girls in the Female Overall. I figured, sweet!, it’s all downhill from here…..WRONG!….The race took a turn uphill yet again after a very short descent there was another 5 mile climb, followed by 1 mile of climbing before a hike a bike….phew. Now, I figured it definitely had to be downhill and strong girls make gains on the down–so i was only going to improve…….right?