It was much warmer on race morning, making at least that portion of the race more enjoyable than last year right away. We lined up next to Dicky, Garth, and just behind Thomas and Jeremiah (no big deal just bumping elbows with celebs). The gun went off and we were underway for my second ORAMM. So rather than provide you with a boring race recap, I have decided to spell out why this race is awesome (the reasons this race is awesome are also, I believe, the reasons why I was going to have an enjoyable experience in CO). I have also included a video here that documents many awesome parts of the ORAMM (I am RIGHT there in the start of the video):
1. Black Mountain, the town. We rented an awesome bear-proof cabin just outside of town. This town is AMAZING. It has great views, awesome restaurants, and is a stones throw from AWESOME riding. I can’t say enough.
1. Kitsuma–twice. So, some might think that this sucks (I was one of these ‘some’ a year ago). I, however, have sorta come to love this steep beast. I impressed myself this year on Kitsuma (I should note, impressing myself is not an easy feat). I rode the steep switchbacks even with a lot of walkers (of course, the photographer was not there to catch this) and somehow over the course of a year I learned how to go down hill fast (note: I still do not go up hill fast–damn it Miami!)!
2. Star Gap– hike a bike given new meaning. I mean, literally, I would have a hard time WITHOUT my bike. This thing is a SERIOUS hike. Zone 5.5 really. But, this hike a bike is part of what makes this race so rugged and awesome(which this year was hiking both up and down ’cause of serious rains they have had that have cause major run off ruts).
3. Heartbreak Ridge. I remember wondering why it was called Heartbreak Ridge prior to racing the ORAMM last year–and, after racing, you know why. Heartbreak=enough said. This is not single track, this is half track. On this trail, even pros are humbled into respecting the trail since not only is it narrow (making it technical), it is off camber with a straight drop off the side, and not exactly a smooth trail. This translates into a slow Duffy, only descending at an average speed of 11mph, but that is the price one pays to get better technically.
4. The post race atmosphere. So, you roll up to the finish line and are greeted by a pretty anti climactic scene (like most all MTB races). You finish and are immediately reminded to go get your post race beer and food. This doesn’t sound especially exciting, but when you bump into Jeremiah Bishop while in the beer line, you realize that this awesome event is made awesomer by how low key it is. Even the pros can relax in the ice bath (aka mountain stream) after a long (well, not as long as my day) day on the bike.
5. This year, for me, the ORAMM was also an AMAZING base training event for my upcoming LT100….I mean, 8 hours on tight technical trails (vs my 8h 45min from last year!)–how could you ask for anything more? (you could definitely ask for less time on these trails, and maybe next year I can do 7:45?)….
We returned home from ORAMM and two days later packed up the dogs, the bikes, and all our gear and headed out for Colorado.