Ben Ortt won the 2013 OMBC Men’s Expert Championship over Steve Twining by a razor thin margin. This was his third title in the Ohio Mountain Bike Championship (OMBC) series. He is an unassuming guy, but his cool facade hides a fierce competitor. When he lines up he is always in contention with the best riders and I wanted to find out a little bit more about what pushes him to cross the finish.
James: Have you always liked bikes? How did you get into mountain bike racing?
Ben: I guess that I have been riding mountain bikes long enough now that I can say yes. But even before I started mountain biking I can remember always having some form of bike to play on.
James: What keeps you motivated to train for races? What do you like about racing?
Ben: I think that getting to ride is motivation enough. I just like to get out to one of my local trail systems and ride. I do get burnt out on riding. Typically August is my normal burn out time. Then I just buckle down and train as much as I can mentally tolerate.
James: How much of you talent is natural and how much of it do you owe to hard work? Were you always a good racer? How many miles or hours do you log during a typical week?
Ben: Most of my success has been the result of hard work. There are a lot of people that have way more talent on a bike than I do. It has taken lots of miles of practice and training just to be on par with them. I still work on my basic riding skills – turning, braking, riding obstacles. It seems like there is always something I can work on to be faster on the bike.
James: You mentioned that you used to be very secretive about your training, can you give us any insight into your philosophy for preparing for a race?
Ben: One of the things that I do is lift. I like to be in the Gym at least once a week. My focus is mainly legs and core strength. Then my normal riding / training on the bike.
James: What is one thing that a lot of riders could do to improve their speed on the trail?
James: What’s the most fun race that you’ve ever been in? Do you have any races on your wish list?
Ben: My favorite place to race is mount snow in Vermont. Huge climbs some 5k and longer. Then fantastically rocky and rooty down hills.
The one event I want to do but never have isn’t even a race. My local mountain bike club (AOA) puts on a Halloween ride every year. I have been wanting to go for years now. And things have never worked out. I’m still hopeful that I will be able make it one of these times.
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