On Sunday, May 4th, 2014 at 12pm the OMBC will be hosting Tecumseh’s Revenge at Scioto Trails State Park near Chillicothe, Ohio. The race is also known as Annie’s Race, named after Annie Rooney, an OMBC racer and Combo Race Team member who was killed by a drunk driver in 2013.
You can find more details about the race at ombc.net.
GPS Coordinates for the Scioto Trails race start & parking are 39.214806, -82.917432.
I dragged a few friends down south from Columbus to check out the course. We met up with Christopher Seeley and several of his local cronies for a guided tour of the trails.
Seeley organized the race several years ago, before it became part of the OMBC series and he was a wonderful tour guide. Without his help, I’m not sure a pre-ride would have been possible. I found the trails to be a little disorienting and wasn’t really sure where I was most of the time that I was there.
Christopher has been in charge of most of the preparations for the race. Luckily though, he gets to shed his responsibilities at race time and line up with us. Seeley is a strong rider and I look forward to seeing how he performs. I’ll be cheering for him!
The Big Picture
This race stands out in the OMBC race season for several reasons.
First, Scioto Trails has more climbing than any other course on the calendar. There is just over 1500 feet of climbing per lap. My GPS read 1511 feet of climbing over 9.85 miles. Novice will loop once, sport twice and expert three times, which equals 1500 feet for novice, 3000 feet for sport and 4500 feet for expert.
Second, At almost 10 miles per lap it is one of the longest OMBC contests this summer. Mohican State Park, at 26 miles for sport and expert alike, is longer for sport, but shorter for expert. Riders can expect just under 10 miles for novice, 20 miles for sport and 30 miles for expert.
Third, this course includes more fire roads & multi-purpose trails, than any other OMBC course. The multi-purpose trails are also used by horses and can be bumpy, rutted and rocky. Racers who are good at floating should fly through with no problem. There is not as much technical singletrack as regular OMBC racers are accustomed to, but…
That doesn’t mean it’s not a helluva ride!
The staging area for the race is located at an old airport runway. It is currently used for logging and if you see hundreds of neatly stacked logs in a field you will know you are in the right place.
The race starts out on a long straight sprint down the airport strip, which is now a logging road. Riders from last year might remember how rocky and bumpy it was, but the truck traffic has smoothed it out considerably since then and it is much smoother. I estimate that the pack will have about a quarter mile to spread out on the sprint to the trail.
As soon as you hit the trail there is an immediate sharp uphill climb. If you hit this first you can climb it, but if you are slow to get there, a traffic jam will form when one or two people spin out on the slippery slope.
If you get a bad start, you don’t have to worry, this course has plenty of room to pass throughout. The fire roads and multipurpose trails are wide and you can sneak by without much cooperation from your competition. Beware though, I noticed plenty of thorn bushes throughout the course and if you repeatedly pass in the brambles you are at risk for a puncture flat – that is if you aren’t running tubeless.
Uphill is a Three-Tiered Bitch
The race has three major climbs per lap. The first is Fire Road 5, a long non-technical climb that is not overly steep. Depending on how you define the end of the climb, you will be ascending for 1.5 to 2.5 miles. The gradual nature of this climb makes it perfect for someone who is good at “tempo” pedaling. Since it is non-technical, the temptation will be to push it hard, but make sure you save a little for the other nasty surprises to come.
While everyone will be able to summit the first climb without walking, the next two will involve some hiking for a large percentage of the racers. They are similar in nature and both ridiculously steep and challenging. I know that they are rideable because I’ve seen it done with my own eyes. I was able to conquer the first one, known locally as “The Three-Tiered Bitch”, but the second slope, called “The Wall” made me cry for mercy on both of my attempts.
What makes these hills so challenging are large erosion prevention mounds that pop up every 40-50 feet as your climbing. You are already digging deep to climb and then you have to surge forward to make it over these bumps. The Three Tiered Bitch alone has to have at least 8 to 10 of these surge points.
Strategically, I may or may not try to climb The Three-Tiered Bitch during the race. Running my bike up it might be just as fast and allow me to save my legs to pedal harder on the flats. There is no way I will be riding all the way up The Wall. I challenge you to try and make it to the top and see if you are manlier than me. Afterwards, you can tell me whether you made it while we drink beer and tell war stories while waiting for awards.
Downhills: Not for the Faint of Heart
When I pre-rode the course last weekend, the downhills were amazingly fun. I can’t wait to hit these things during the race. They are twisty and fast with plenty of opportunities to jump (if that’s your thing). Those same surge points that make climbing hard form little ramps when you are descending. I prefer to keep my wheels on the ground and will just absorb them during the race, but I could see myself reaching for some air with a little more practice.
That being said, last year when I hit these same downhills I was scared to death. It was hard to predict what was going to be thrown at you around each steep bend. At least twice, the hills end in a quick 90 degree turn. There were plenty of skid marks last year from racers who missed the turns and slid off into the woods. While an incident like this probably won’t lead to certain death, it definitely won’t help your race time. 🙂
The trail will have a variety of terrain to tackle – gravel roads, doubletrack, singletrack, rocks, grassy fields & stream crossings. While most of the course will not be muddy, there will definitely be some muddy sections. Our 40 mile training ride covered our bikes in mud from wheel to wheel. Rains early in the week will prevent these mud pits from completely drying out. Expect several spots where the mud is slick enough to create a technical hazard. Not sure if it’s enough to put on mud tires for though, considering how much of the course is tacky and dry. It’s your call.
See You There!
I’m looking forward to this race. In some ways it is one of the most challenging races of the OMBC series, but it also has some of the most fun moments too. I hope I will see all of you out there.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section and I will try to answer them if I am qualified.
Don’t forget to say “Hi” after the race. If you get any good photos at the race, then send them my way. I’m always looking for visuals for my race reports. I’ll be hanging out after the race and eating some of the good home-cooked food that Aunt Jean brings, which is another unique feature of this race.