The Wilds: OMBC Race Preview with Photos, Charts & Stats

Pre-riding the course at The Wilds

From left, Heath Boedeker, Austin Powel, Nahum Burt, Jon Clous, Jeremy Russell and Cory Knight pre-ride the course for the 2014 OMBC race at The Wilds

On Saturday, April 5, 2014 at noon there will be an OMBC mountain bike race at The Wilds.  I pre-rode the course to check out the conditions and learn a little bit more about what the racers would be getting themselves into.

Racers Cory Knight of Combo Race Team, Nahum Burt and I drove together to this private land that is located across the street from The Wilds safari park.  We met up with Jon Clous and Jeremy Russell, also of Combo Race Team, in the parking lot for our adventure.  Most importantly, Heath Boedeker, Appalachian Outdoor Adventures (AOA) trail steward, and AOA treasurer Austin Powel showed up to give us a tour of the trails.  It’s a good thing that they did because even though there are signs marking the trails, they can be a little intimidating to navigate at first.

Course Map for the 2014 OMBC race at The Wilds

Course Map for the 2014 OMBC race at The Wilds

GPS map of the course from James Knott's Garmin

GPS map of the course from James Knott’s Garmin

The race will consist of one lap for novice, two laps for sport and three laps for expert racers.  Each lap is 5.4 miles long.  I measured 5.3 miles with my Garmin.  At 5.4, 10.8 and 16.2 miles, this will probably be the shortest race in the 2014 OMBC season.

This will be disappointing for some racers who like longer races to justify the drive.  For others who haven’t had a chance to build up their endurance this early in the season, this will be an easy way to step into racing early in the year.  I personally enjoy having races of different lengths throughout the season because I think it plays to different people’s strengths.  Some people like long and slow, while others like short and fast and this gives something for everyone.  I tend to tend to prefer shorter races, so I think this will be a fun event.

Here is a summary of all the 2014 OMBC races that I put together.

James Knott pre-rides the course at The Wilds.

I had a blast on the pre-ride. Considering how early it is in the year, the course conditions are pretty nice. I was worried about a mudfest, but my bike stayed relatively clean on the ride.

This early in the season a lot of people are worried about course conditions.  My local trails at Alum Creek State Park are too muddy to ride right now, so I was concerned about what we would find when we got there.  Heath assured me ahead of time on Facebook that The Wilds can handle a little weather and that I didn’t need to worry about trashing the trail.

The ground on the singletrack was moist, but usually firm and tacky.  There were a few soft spots and mud pits, but nothing unusual for early spring in Ohio.  It was nice to finally get away from the spin bike and ride on mountain bike trails again.

Beaver City sign at The Wilds

I love Beaver City

Elevation Chart for one lap of the 2014 OMBC race course at The Wilds.

Elevation Chart for one lap of the 2014 OMBC race course at The Wilds.

My Garmin logged 398 feet of elevation gain per lap.  There aren’t really any long sustained climbs that define the course.  Most of the climbing is short and steep with a section of climbing at mile 4.5 of the loop of 150 feet.  There are three spots in the course where my rear wheel spun out at the top of a short, steep climb.  A combination of moist conditions and gravel made it difficult to get traction in these areas.  I had some very knobby Kenda Nevegal tires on and I plan to keep them on for the race for additional grip.

Check out reviews of the Kenda Nevegals on Amazon.com.

Jon Clous stands atop of a construction vehicle at The Wilds

Jon Clous stands on top of a vehicle at The Wilds. AOA doesn’t mess around. They have used construction equipment to build some really cool man-made features – many aren’t included in the XC course because they involve getting some air. People who are looking for an adventurous place to go mountain biking will love exploring the rest of the trails at The Wilds. This is also the site of the Mayhem Enduro and there are some great jumps and downhill sections. http://bikeaoa.wordpress.com/mayhem-enduro/

The Field Loop sign at The Wilds

The race starts and ends at The Field Loop.

The start of the race is located in The Field Loop in a parking area that isn’t usually open to the public.  This part of the course is mowed and that trail is less technical and more open.  It will allow the pack to separate itself at the start before they hit the singletrack.  This would be a great spot to hydrate or grab nutrition when completing a lap.  Expect this section to be fast, with some climbing and lots of passing.

Speaking of passing, one thing I really like about this course is even though there is a lot of singletrack, the trail opens up at several points throughout the lap and will allow racers to easily get by their competitors.  You don’t need to fret about being stuck the entire race behind the person you entered the woods with (that is if you are afraid to ask for a pass).

Heath Boedeker rides the trails at The Wilds

AOA trail steward, Heath Boedeker, gracefully careens the trails at The Wilds. This guy doesn’t just build trails, he also rides like a badass. You can tell that The Wilds is built and maintained by a group of riders who are passionate about fun trails.

We were joined on our excursion by Heath's dog, Timber.

We were joined on our excursion by Heath’s dog, Timber.

There are several small rock gardens throughout the loop.  The rocks and roots are all rideable, but provide a nice technical aspect to the course.  They could definitely trip you up if you aren’t careful.  Sometimes the moist conditions can make these a little slick, but for the most part that isn’t a problem.

The forest is a mix of deciduous and pine trees and the texture of the trail is usually dirt with gravel mixed in.

AOA has taken the time to clear the trails for the race and they are in great shape.  If we get a few warm days before the race, they should get even better.  I suspect even if we get a little rain during the week that it shouldn’t be a big problem.

Do you need a hydration pack for race season?  Check out the reviews for the Camelbak Hydrobak that I use in XC races on Amazon.

Nahum Burt and Cory Knight at The Wilds

Nahum Burt and Cory Knight carpooled with me to The Wilds. We put in several hours of riding. Not just the XC course, we also explored some of the 17 miles of trails that have been built at this venue. I highly recommend that you check them out.  This is a cool place to ride.

James Knott after our big ride at The Wilds.

I’m looking forward to racing at the Wilds on April 5th. This photo was taken after our pre-ride and you can see that my tires are dirty but I’m not really muddy at all.

OMBC hasn’t had a race at The Wilds in several years.  I’m excited that they’ve included it in the schedule for 2014.  It’s been a few years since I’ve ridden here and it felt good to return.  AOA has done a ton of great work on the trail since my last visit and it’s even better than I remember.  I will definitely not wait another couple of years to come back.

James Knott rides at The Wilds.

Lets get ready to rumble!

This is going to be a short fast race that is technical enough to make it interesting, but not so much so that it makes it frustrating.  I think it will be a good race for first timers to sign up for and see how they do.  I’m speaking from experience because 6 years ago this was the first mountain bike race I competed in.  It was a challenging day that day but hugely rewarding.  I’ve been stoked about racing ever since.

I hope to see you out on race day.  If you run into me at the race, then make sure and say “hi”.  I’ll be taking photos for Quickdirt and hanging out after the race.  Don’t forget to “buy” me a post-race beer from Great Lakes.  Ryan will be tapping the keg afterwards to reward the racers.

It was fun to meet up with some of the Quickdirt readers at the Mohican Cabins race and get feedback about the site.  Thanks!

Look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday!

You can find more details about the 2014 OMBC race at The Wilds here:

http://ombc.net/the-racing-series/the-wilds-race-2-of-the-kenda-ombc-series

Make sure you follow Quickdirt on Facebook to stay in the loop.  Also, I post all of my workouts on Twitter so you can see my exercise regimen and compare it to my race results to see if my training is effective.

Let me know f you have any questions about the course in the comment section and I will do my best to answer them.

If you have something you need to buy on Amazon, then click here to buy it and help support this blog.

Another group is pre-riding the course at The Wilds

Kenny Kocarek, Corianne Kocarek, Andy Crowe and Dicky Dee were also out pre-riding the course.

Hoppin' Frog Beer tastes great after a mountain bike ride.

Kenny Kocarek stashed some Hoppin’ Frog beer for me under his SUV in the parking lot. Thanks for the beer Kenny! It tasted great after a long day in the saddle.

James Knott enjoys a beer after riding at the Wilds.

This beer tasted amazing after riding the trails all morning.  Cheers!  I’m looking forward to having another one after the upcoming race!  (Nice helmet hair)

More Photos From Our Ride at The Wilds:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These white numbered posts are used to help you navigate with the map.

Cory Knight and James Knott at The Wilds

Cory Knight and James Knott at The Wilds

Heath Boedeker was our tour guide

Heath Boedeker was our tour guide. He helped us to not get lost and showed us a lot of fun trails.

Jeremy Russell tackles the singletrack at the Wilds

Jeremy Russell tackles the singletrack at the Wilds

Who is in the mood for dirt jumping?  I usually try to keep my wheels on the ground, but some of these features had me feeling a little frisky.

Who is in the mood for dirt jumping? I usually try to keep my wheels on the ground, but some of these features had me feeling a little frisky.

I had a hard time capturing some of the cool moves that Heath displayed on the jumps.  They looked pretty sweet in person.

I had a hard time capturing some of the cool moves that Heath displayed on the jumps. They looked pretty sweet in person though.

I broke my chain.  Luckily, everyone was very helpful.  Thanks for the assistance guys.  I owe you big.

I broke my chain – twice! Luckily, everyone was very helpful. Thanks for the assistance guys. I owe you big.

Then Jeremy had trouble with his chain.  Can't this group get a break?

Then Jeremy had trouble with his chain. Can’t this group get a break?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Timber follows Heath down the trail.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cory Knight is shreddin’ hard. Radical dude!

Nahum Burt celebrates a successful ride.

Nahum Burt celebrates a successful ride on his new carbon Trek Superfly.

One thought on “The Wilds: OMBC Race Preview with Photos, Charts & Stats

  1. Pingback: 2014 OMBC Races: Top 5 Lists & Race Summaries | Quickdirt

Leave a Reply