Mohican State Park – Top 5 Reasons to Race Here…

Covered bridge on the mountain bike trail at Mohican State Park

The covered bridge, a major Mohican landmark, is close to the half way point of the race. After the bridge you have to climb 300 ft over .6 miles so don’t burn yourself out on the road.

Mountain bike race season in Ohio is ramping up.  The OMBC series has its first two races in back-to-back weekends and they are both great venues for racing.  If you want to do the whole series, then this is a great chance to get some early season points.

The first race is at Mountwood, which is actually in West Virginia and run by RVMBA – part of the WVMBA points series, and the second is at Mohican State Park – which is classic Ohio singletrack.

I’ve already written extensively about the course at Mohican State Park, so please click through to the links below to see all the photos, stats, maps and links that you need to prepare for this great race.  I don’t know of any major changes in the format, (why mess with a good thing right?), so let me know if you’ve heard of anything different or you have any questions.  Leave thoughts in the comment section.

More Articles (Shouldn’t this be at the end?)

Here are all of my articles on Mohican from 2014 including an extensive race preview:

Mohican tends to have one of the larger turnouts in the OMBC series.  Even though a lot of folks are still getting into shape at this point in the year, the competition tends to be high.  The course handles the damp weather fairly well, so it’s a great place for an early spring race.

James Knott rides on the mountain bike trail at Mohican State Park

The thought of doing the whole loop at Mohican used to feel rather daunting to me, but now it’s one of my favorite places to ride. I hope to get there several times before the Mohican 100 on May 30th.

Top 5 Reasons to Race

Scott Young Rides at Mohican State Park

Scott Young rides at Mohican State Park. This short, steep, rocky downhill has been rebuilt and in my opinion is much more user friendly now. It’s like a fun little roller coaster ride.

  1. As I write this, Mohican is the 7th highest rated trail in the entire country on  It’s not an IMBA Epic trail, but it’s epic for Ohio.  Novice riders get an 8-mile taste of this fun course and sport & expert riders will tackle every single inch of the 24 mile loop.  This might be the most challenging sport course for the year.  Experts will appreciate the fact that there aren’t multiple loops.  The scenery stays fresh the whole time.
  2. Mohican is on the OMBC calendar twice this year.  It is also the home of the championship race on October 3rd.  Racing it in the spring will give you a great opportunity to find your strengths and weaknesses.  You can also compare your two times and see how much you improve over the course of the season.
  3. Beer.  Great Lakes Brewing is a sponsor of the OMBC series.  Race director Ryan O’Dell usually procures a couple of kegs of delicious frothy brew to help you recover from your efforts.  The start and finish are held at the Mohican Adventures campground, which is private property.  That means it’s one of the few venues in the OMBC series where you can legally drink alcohol.  (…if you are in to that sort of thing.  Which I am.)
  4. It’s also the home of the Mohican 100, which is the largest mountain bike race in Ohio.  Regardless of whether you are signing up for a 100k or 100 miles, you will have to tackle the loop at the state forest.  Why not get a preview of it in a race environment?  Click here to learn more about the Mohican 100.
  5. It has a bit of everything, but not too much of anything.  Does that make sense?  It’s technically challenging, but not so much that it’s frustrating for newcomers.  There are hills, but most of them are climbable (unless you’re really tired).  Roots, rocks, bridges, stream crossings are all part of the terrain, but don’t overwhelm the riding experience.
Mountain bike trail at Mohican State Park

Up, Up, Up… Why must we always be going up? Expect to see this fun climb around mile 24 or 25 of the race.

My Strategy for the Day

Chris Knapp races at Mohican State Park.

Chris Knapp, my nemesis, told me he is moving up to expert. I’m hoping to get in front of him and drop tacks on the trail.  …or maybe a banana peel.

Mohican will be my second mountain bike race for the season.  And, it will only be my third time riding singletrack in 2015.  Let’s just say that I expect to still be working out the kinks in my riding at this point in the season.  I should get a good idea about pacing from my efforts at Mountwood the weekend before, but I’m not planning on going out hard.  This will only be my second race as an expert (40+).  I know I’m not going to win and my biggest goal is not to get last.  That means I want to race intelligently and efficiently.

The race starts with a quarter mile sprint along a gravel road to the woods.  There is a steep uphill climb into the woods.  I want to hit that hill in the bottom third of the pack and try and keep my heart rate down at this point.  I’d like to save that initial sprint energy and use it for some of the climbs at the end of the race when my quads start barking at me.

I’m hoping to find a buddy.  I’d like to find someone in the pack that is close to my speed and skill level and use them as a pacer – at least for the opening miles.  (If only Jon Clous was going to be racing.  He’s great at helping me take my mind off of things while I ride – and he’s pretty fast).  Depending on who shows up, this rabbit I’m chasing might be Scott Young, Jeremy Larson or Gary Hocke based on last year’s times.  My big goal is just to try and get into a rhythm early and not blow my legs out.  If I try to go out with the leaders I will surely die an early death.

My fastest time at Mohican is 2:20:04.  I don’t expect conditions will be ideal based on the weather lately, so I think my time will be slower that that – maybe 2:25 to 2:30.  Hopefully, I can maintain an even pace throughout the race.  I think that’s my best route to a good time.  If that’s the case, then I hope to catch one or two guys throughout the loop that maybe went out too hard.

Dan Fausey mountain bikes at Mohican State Park

The woods are still a little bare. Hopefully, there will be a little more green in the forest when Dan Fausey shows up to dominate his class.

There is a lot of climbing throughout and I’m not sure my legs are ready for these high-intensity moments (based on my performance in the pre-ride at Mountwood).  I’m planning on being semi-aggressive on hills.  I’m going to push up them, but not too much.  And, I’ll probably end up walking at least three of the hills throughout the race.  There is one slope around mile 22-ish that I walk almost every time.

I don’t know though.  With all the adrenaline that’s built up, I may just throw it all out the window, crush all the hills, and burn out early like Kurt Cobain.

Michael Mikes crosses the finish line at Mohican State Park in 2014

After 26 miles of torturous fun, you too can cross the finish line! Sport Masters rider Michael Mikes crosses the finish line in 2014.

What’s your strategy?  Lead the pack?  Sit back and wait?  Let me know in the comment section.  Don’t forget to follow Quickdirt on Facebook for more articles throughout the season.  If you see me make sure you stop and say “hi”.

Oh… and don’t forget to read my other articles on Mohican!

See you at the race!


P.S. Click here to see the new Giro Phase Helmet I bought for racing this year.  It’s super comfy.  It adjusts easily.  And, the titanium finish looks great with almost any jersey.  How old is your helmet?  Is it time for a new one?

6 thoughts on “Mohican State Park – Top 5 Reasons to Race Here…

  1. Great review James, BTW, i’m happy to see you move to the expert class this season! I should be there and your goal of not being last will most likely be accomplished since my fitness this spring is pretty low! Haha!

  2. Pacing seems to work for me so I don’t blow up. Mohican is so unique with the climbs that never end! I am looking forward to it and hope I can stay in my zone and not get in over my head. The climb at mile 22 that you say you walk most of the time is a challenge for me as well. I think I’ve made it up like maybe 40 percent of the times when I have ridden there. When I make it I feel like a small victory! I wish you well James at Mohican. Keep up the great writing.

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