2014 “A” Race

It’s official. I am signed up for The Off Road Assault on Mt. Mitchel (ORAMM). My “A” race for 2014.

The folks at Blue Ridge Adventures have been “kind” enough to put out a course map and profile. See? Course map….

oramm map

And profile:


Let’s see what we got here……. 60 miles. That’s 44 miles less than Leadville. And since I got to mile 87 or so at Leadville before I started to feel bad, and since I didn’t actually, literally, collapse until mile 104, no problems!

Elevation wise…. Well ORAMM is about 10,500′ of elevation gain. Leadville is something more like 12,000′. Two hour long climb on a bike? Considering I “enjoyed” climbing up Columbine, above the treeline, to 12,700 ft, easy as pie. (Let’s just ignore the fact that ORAMM is essentially the same vertical gain in 40 less miles than Leadville. Meaning there are no real “flat” sections to speak of. OK?)

Heck ORAMM is at sea level. There is this little thing called “oxygen” at sea level that was surprisingly missing at Leadville.


So what makes this race special? Well according to the organizers “Do not underestimate the extreme difficulty and danger of this event.”


They go on to say “The forest remains in its natural habitat. It is not uncommon to see wildlife such as a wild cat or a black bear. Be ready to cope with any circumstances!! Please note that firearms are not permitted in certain areas.” Well that sounds like fun. But I can get that at my house.

Really here is the kicker…….”The course is extremely demanding and travels over rugged terrain with extreme elevation changes.” My understanding is that that’s a little understated. According to Coach Drew the “good” part of this race are the down hill sections. He told me that they were: check you fear at the top, steep, narrow and technical. Yeah, that’s why ORAMM is one of the toughest mtb races in the US.

So this year’s training will be much more focused on technical riding and training. I am going to push myself on the downhill sections of the Willmington Whiteface 100k. That’s a good place to push. I am familiar with the course and I know what to expect. I am going to vanquish the Donnerville trails (or at least not break my bike!). I found some excellent steep technical trails near Whiteface to ride.

This year, well, it’s time to really become a mountain biker. (Well starting sometime in  April when the snow and ice melt anyway……..)


7 thoughts on “2014 “A” Race

    • Jeff, Leadville is definitely a road race on MTB’s. It makes a great transition for roadies who are going mountain. The technical stuff there is limited. You can finish well without really being a great technical rider. Leadville is all about being able to put it out for a long time. ORAMM is long, but a completely different challenge.

  1. Good Luck! I can’t wait to read the race report and how you conquered this course! Of course since what goes up must come down, you are essentially doing 10,500′ of elevation in only 30 miles… I’m just saying.

    • When I ride I usually go by climb/10 miles as my gage. 1,000 ft/10 miles (which includes the downhill miles) is a good ride. This is closer to 2,000 ft/10 miles. It’s a pretty climby course anyway you figure it.

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