ORAMM! East Bound and Down!

UPDATE: If you ended up here looking for my 2013 ORAMM Race Report, I’m sad to say that I had to miss the race. No report here =( Click here for some of the reports I’ve found around the web.

So due to certain circumstances, I find myself heading out to the mountains of North Carolina next month. I’ll be there for roughly two weeks.

I decided to drive out this year so that I can make a return trip with things from my mother’s house and also giving me the luxury of being able to take my bike.

Given that, I started researching trails and happened upon an event that will be taking place while I am there.

ORAMM, the Off Road Assault on Mount Mitchell, an epic 63 mile mountain bike race. The kicker is that the route boasts 11,000 ft of climbing in one day. That right there is going to be the challenge.

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 unbelievable North Carolina single track. There are fully stocked rest stops approximately every 10 miles and you can send anything you want to the rest areas with our staff. Mt. Mitchell peaks at 6684 ft and is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi river. The start/finish in the town of Old Fort sits at around 1400 feet. Most of the climbing is on Forest Service roads while most of the single track points downhill!

Do not underestimate the extreme difficulty and danger of this event. The course is extremely demanding and travels over rugged terrain with extreme elevation changes. 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. Aid stations will help with safety matters, but it is the competitor’s ultimate responsibility to insure his or her own safety. A few course-related facts: the 63 mile course record was set in 2012 by Pro rider Jeremiah Bishop who finished in 4:33 hours. One rider completed the course with only one month of riding under his belt, however this rider quit riding altogether after the race! Others too have retired their biking efforts after competing in this race. This is not your typical race. Regardless of how you finish, you will have competed in the most exciting mountain bike race in the entire Southeast!!!

I kick around the idea of entering and discover the race is already sold out, but (luckily?) I happen to find an individual who is selling his entry and I quickly jump on the opportunity.

ORAMM Elevation Profile

ORAMM Elevation Profile

I know I’m going to be in for a world of hurt. The biggest ride I’ve done to date was on day 2 of my Durango To Moab trip at 50 miles and 4300 ft of climbing. I’ll be riding more miles, and more than double the amount of climbing.

Add to it that I haven’t been getting in much riding lately and I hope I’m not setting myself up for a serious beat down.

I do plan on really ramping up my saddle time over the next 4 weeks, but I’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there.

I have decided upon a goal of a 7 hour finish, although that may be crazy talk on my part. That would be a 9mph average over the 63 mile course. My plan is to play it pretty conservative through the first 35 miles and the first 6k ft of climbing. After that, I’ll allow myself to open it up a little more. If I can make it to that point within about 4 hours, I think I should be able to finish in under 7 hours. If I can hit my time goal, that should put me in the top 1/3 to top 1/2 of the 40-50 category.

Wish me luck!

About TC

Long time mountain biker, recent mountain bike racer. Borderline unhealthy obsession with mountain biking, constantly drawn to hit the dirt and share my experiences.


  1. Joe Tucker says:

    Good Luck with that 7-hour goal… ORAMM’s a bitch… See you in Old Fort. jt

    • Yeah, I kinda just plucked that 7 hour goal out of the air. I have a buddy I ride with here in Austin who completed in 8 hours 2 years ago so I’m kinda basing my time on that. We’ll see if I’m smoking crack!

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