OMBC Great Seal State Park – Race Report w/ Photos, Stats, Graphs

OMBC Men's Expert Open Podium

Men’s Expert Open Podium: Ben Ortt 1st, Drew Purcell 2nd and Jeff Rupnow 3rd.

So far, we are 3 for 3 this year when it comes to perfect weather on OMBC race days.  I was the first one to arrive and the day was already gorgeous.  As I set up the Breakaway Quickdirt team tent, the dew moistened my shoes, but the early morning air was not nippy at all.  It was downright pleasant.  A text from my lovely wife reminded me to apply sunscreen.  I was happy to work on my bike under the tent and avoid a few UV rays because I knew I was going to be outside baking for the majority of this sunny day.

It was the perfect atmosphere to test my limits on a challenging new race course.

I was excited to compete, but I was a little nervous as well.  I’ve lost count of the number of OMBC races that I’ve done, probably over 60, but my third expert event was going to be the hardest I had ever tackled.  With 30 miles and 4000 feet of climbing, it was 20 percent harder than Mohican and would require way more effort than any of my past sport races.  I hadn’t ridden my bike since Tuesday because I wanted to rest up and peak at this race since there weren’t any more OMBC races on the schedule until the end of June.

I was rested and ready, but would I be able to endure 3 hours of racing?

****Special Thanks to Doug Armstrong for taking a log of the great photos that are in this article.

Expert racers sprint from the start in the OMBC race at Great Seal State Park

The race started in a field on the Sharp’s multi-acre property. Racers took a right u-turn and raced down Lick Run Road for half a mile to the woods.

GPS Map from my Garmin at Great Seal.

GPS Map from my Garmin at Great Seal.

Heidi Shilling races at Great Seal State Park

Expert racer Heidi Coulter tackles the climb on Barbed Wire. You can actually see the barbed wire in this picture.  Notice the sticker on her bike that says “Annie 2100”. This pays tribute to local rider Annie Rooney who passed away in 2012 in a car accident. There is also a trail named after her, “Annie’s Trail.” which starts right after the rock garden.

Race parking for Great Seal State Park

The parking lot, which was the field behind the garage, was packed.

There Is a First Time for Everything

Christopher Seeley and Jamie Sharp sit on porch

Christopher Seeley, 3rd Expert 40+ who is brushing his teeth, and Jamie Sharp, 8th Sport Masters, sit on the porch the morning of the race. They were instrumental in setting up this event. They were both a little run down from all the trail work they had done in the past week. Thanks guys! The trail was awesome. Hopefully, we can convince them to do it again next year.

On Saturday, May 2, 2015, the OMBC held its first race ever at Great Seal State Park.  Jamie and Chris Sharp opened up their property, which is located about a half mile away from the opening piece of singletrack.  It was a great place to have the start and finish for the race.  Racers parked behind their barn/garage (barnrage?) and moseyed over for registration and socialization.

Jamie is the owner of the River’s Bend Bike Shop in Chillicothe, Ohio, which hosted the event.  I know for a fact that he and several local volunteers from the Chillicothe area worked their tails off to get the trails primed for the race.  Let me tell you, their work paid off.  Despite the fact that we were hit with a deluge of rain on Thursday, the trails were in great shape.  I noticed several new bridges that had been added just in the past week to get ready for the race.  When I saw him that morning, Jamie looked exhausted from all the work, but excited to get a chance to show off his local trail.

The race course was made up of a loop that was a hair under 10 miles with almost 1300 feet of climbing.  Novices did one loop, sport did two and experts did three.  Racers started on the Sharp’s property, sprinted a half mile down Lick Run Road, and took a sharp left onto the singletrack.  They immediately went through a creek crossing and then a grassy, muddy field.    This was the wettest part of the race.  I’m sure riders were wondering what the rest of the course was going to be like as their tires sunk into the earth.

Water standing in a field at Great Seal.

The race traveled through a grassy, muddy section before the big climb up Barbed Wire. Racers were swerving wide left and right to avoid it, but hitting it was almost inevitable. Luckily, this was the exception. The course had recovered very nicely from the rain and most of it was dry and tacky.

Elevation Chart for the race course at Great Seal State Park

Elevation Chart at Great Seal State Park for experts. You can clearly see the three loops. Each lap had two big climbs, Barbed Wire was the first and Grouse Run was the second. Even though Grouse Run is longer, Barbed Wire is definitely more memorable.

After that, riders immediately started climbing what might soon be the most famous hill in the OMBC series – Barbed Wire.  This ascent is a half mile of constant churning that can make or break your race.  You want to fight for position, but you can easily blow yourself out.  And, just when you think you are almost done, the climb gets steeper.  The toughest racers make it to the top while the rest of the weary masses scream mercy and slowly drag their bikes to the peak.

Riders struggle up the barbed wire climb

Barbed Wire was a tough way for some of the racers to start the race. The half-mile climb only gets harder the further along you travel. It forced me to briefly hop off my bike on both my second and third laps.

Doug Armstrong grills hotdogs at Great Seal

Weenie Roast! This was my real motivation to finish. Doug Armstrong was injured, but volunteered to grill hot dogs for the Breakaway Quickdirt racers at they finished.  Thanks Doug!

Expert 40+ division starts at Great Seal

And they’re off! The Expert 40+ racers started quickly and I just tried to find a rear wheel to hide behind for drafting.

The Low Down

OMBC Expert Women's Podium at Great Seal State Park

Expert Women’s Podium: Vicki Munnings 1st, Wendy Zamzow-Blumerick 2nd, & Heidi Coulter 3rd.

It was unclear how many would show up given that this was the first time an OMBC race had ever been held at Great Seal.  130 racers competed with 50 novice, 54 sport and 26 experts.  17 of those riders were women and 10 were singlespeeders.

Ben Ortt won his third straight race in the expert division with a time of 2:20:56.  The fastest sport times were recorded by two high schoolers, Clayton Travis, 1:43:50 and Nicholas Vorwerk, 1:46:56.  The quickest novice racer is also in high school.  Payne Wissler finished one lap in 56:04.

On the women’s side, Vicki Munnings (3:04:24) won expert, Sydney Wenger (2:07:40) won sport and Chris Sharp (1:11:32), the hometown favorite took top novice honors.

Congratulations to everyone who finished this fun, but challenging course.  My condolences to the 4 guys who DNF’d. Better luck next year.

Official OMBC Results

My Race – the Art of Survival

Opening sprint to the woods.

Most of the Expert 40+ division did not start out too quickly. They fell into a pace line and rode calmly to the woods. I drafted Scott Young for most of this section.

I had publicly stated that my goal was to finish in 2:51:00, a bold move considering that no one had ever raced here and there was no precedent about what a good finish time would be.  In my mind, I knew that endurance was one of my weaknesses and that going over 3 hours was a very realistic possibility.  I was just hoping that I wouldn’t be way over 3 hours.  I was mildly worried that race director Ryan O’Dell would be packing up the podium and driving off before I made it back to the finish.

My strategy was to focus on pacing.  When the race started, I didn’t panic at all when the leaders sprinted away from me.  I knew that I wasn’t going to win any awards for being the first one to the woods.  My plan was to go as easy as possible up Barbed Wire and save myself for the next 29 miles of racing.  At least that was the plan…

I hit Barbed Wire close to the back of the pack, but as I started the climb I couldn’t shake the feeling that I could be going a little faster.  I chugged patiently for a minute or so, but then my competitive juices got the best of me.  I passed Randy Slaubaugh and tried to convince myself that it was enough.  But next thing you know, I was churning behind Matt Becher, who was behind Chris Knapp.  My legs were feeling good and I made a quick forceful move around them on the left.

Climbing Barbed Wire at Great Seal State Park

I don’t know if it was a smart move or not, but I decided to scrap my plan to go slowly up Barbed Wire and made a bold pass around Matt Becher and Chris Knapp, my nemesis.

“Okay, now I’ll settle down,” I said to myself.  I could see Scott Young ahead.  He had been a good person to pace myself with, so I thought I could trail him for a while.  But no…  I couldn’t just be happy with that.  In front of Scott was open space and I figured I could ride more efficiently if I had unobstructed access to the trail.  So, I passed him too.

Scott Young climbs Barbed Wire

Scott Young was the next victim in my Barbed Wire sniper game. But, would he have the last laugh?

Now I was in fourth place and had completely thrown my slow start strategy out the window.  I reached Barbed Wire with my heart thumping out of my chest, but I’ll admit I was pretty excited to have free reign on the singletrack in front of me.  That first section after Barbed Wire is great for recovering and I was having a blast weaving through the trees.  The trail is well-constructed for this type of racing.  It’s fast, but has enough of a technical element to it, that it keeps you on your toes.

Fairly soon, I realized that Vince Urichich was right behind me.  He is a chatty rider, which makes riding with him a lot of fun.  It takes your mind off the race when the going gets tough.  We rode together for most of the first lap.  Several miles in, we could see Brad Smith up ahead in 3rd place and Vince was challenging me to reel him in.

“He must be a little off today.  We can catch him.  Go get him Jimmy!” Vince said.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.” I replied.  I knew my legs had enough juice to catch Brad and maybe stay with him for a lap, but I was fairly certain that I couldn’t hang with him for three laps.

Barbed Wire Tattoo

I got a tattoo of Barbed Wire from the guys at River’s Bend. It made me feel like a badass.

I was back in my pacing mindset and trying to be responsible, but I looked down at my Garmin and realized that I was putting out a much bigger effort than I had at Mohican two weeks prior.  Was I just asking to bonk hard later?

Having Vince on my tail was definitely pushing me.  The testosterone wouldn’t let me slow down and show weakness, even though I knew that I was probably going too fast.

At one point, close to the end of the first lap, two sport riders caught up to us.  They rode behind us for a little bit, but I didn’t want to hold up their race, so pulled into the weeds to let them by.  Vince zoomed on by too and I started to wonder about the wisdom of my move.  I was now in fifth.

The whole lap I felt technically clumsy.  There were no crashes, but I kept making small mistakes and having to put my foot down on obstacles that I could normally ride over.  After Vince and the boys passed me, I made several of those stupid errors right in a row.  The final blow was when I looked down for a second to grab some food, accidentally missed a turn and rode straight into the weeds.  The three of them got away from me and I got to spend some quality time alone in the woods.

I soon caught up with Todd Blumerick, a singlespeeder from Michigan who is competing in the OMBC series with his wife Wendy.

We started our second ascent of Barbed Wire together and he had to walk when he couldn’t muster the strength to pedal his singlespeed up the steep slope.

“I’ll see you at the finish line.” he said. “I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up with you without any gears”

I kept pedaling and managed to squeak some words out between gasps for air, “I don’t believe our story is over yet”

And it wasn’t.  We spent most of the second lap close together with me in the lead.  My legs were starting to feel the effort and I was starting to wonder if I could survive a third lap.

James Knott hikes up Barbed Wire at Great Seal

On my second trip up Barbed Wire I chose to push my bike up the final slope to save some energy in my legs. By the 3rd lap, the choice was no longer mine. My legs threatened to stop working if I pushed them any harder.  …just a relaxing stroll in the woods. 🙂

On my final climb up Barbed Wire, I once again caught sight of Vince Urichich finishing up the climb.  I was shocked in a good way.  I thought he was long gone.  Maybe there was still hope of getting fourth place.  But, two miles into the lap, my quads started to fall apart.  I felt like I was on the verge of cramping and I could see my power level dropping on my Garmin – so much for even pacing.  Every time I tried to power up a slope, my legs threatened to lock up.  Even though mentally I wanted to push harder, my legs were not giving me a choice.  When I did get off my bike to hike a hill, I had a hard time lifting my legs back over the saddle.

My brief dream of catching Vince quickly faded away and now Blumerick was slipping away from me too.  Panic set in.  How long could I ward off this decline in performance.  Could I make it to the finish line without losing more spots?

With less than 4 miles to go, Scott Young caught me and zipped by me like I was sitting still.  He went by so quickly that it almost felt like he was playing a mental game with me.  Or, maybe I was already doing that to myself.  I was now just hoping that if I could make it to the top of the Grouse Run climb and through the rock garden then I could make it to the finish unscathed.  Once I saw the sign for Annie’s Trail, I knew it was three miles of mostly downhill riding.

My declining power would be less important when I could glide down a few slopes.  I looked at my computer and realized that I was going to miss my arbitrary goal of 2:51:00, but that I was really borderline on finishing in under 3 hours – now I had a new arbitrary milestone to conquer.  I pushed as hard as my legs would let me, but every time I exerted power, my legs threatened to revolt.  There was no one near me.  This new 3-hour goal was my only motivation.  My arms and back were aching and I didn’t know how much longer I could hold out.  I was dreaming about drinking a Great Lakes beer and eating a grilled hot dog at the Breakaway Quickdirt tent.  It may have only been two miles away, but it felt like two million.

Final stretch of race at Great Seal.

I actually felt pretty fast on the final stretch of pavement. I guess it’s all relative.

Finally, I exited the woods and hit pavement.  I tucked into an aero position and summoned a final quarter-mile sprint.  I looked over my shoulder and 6th place was guaranteed, middle of the pack.  I crossed the finish line and Ryan announced my time 3:02:30.  The time was adjusted to 3:00:30 to account for the staggered start.  Arggh!  I missed the 3-hour barrier by 30 seconds.  Surely I could have squeezed that out somewhere.

I guess I have a new goal for the second-annual “Battle of Barbed Wire” when they host it next year.

See you there.

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James Knott after the finish at Great Seal State Park.

I was walking a little funny after 3 hours of hard riding. I’m glad I survived and I’m happy with my effort. I hope after I can get some more long rides, I will be in good shape for East Fork in June.

Dan Fausey and James Knott have a beer after the race.

I felt much better after my friends handed me a tasty, cold Great Lakes beer. Cheers Dan Fausey! Good job on your 2nd place finish!

Sport Master Podium at Great Seal

Sport Masters Podium: Congrats to Max Tanuma on the big win!

Cory and Conner Knight

Conner Knight finished 4th in the infant division. Better luck next time. (He seems to be taking it well)

Taylor Kruse picks up his prize money

Taylor Cruisy picks up his prize money from race director Ryan O’Dell. 🙂

Jimmy’s Stats (According to Garmin GPS)

bikes in grass after race at Great Seal

Bikes, bikes, dirty bikes.

I forgot to wear my heart rate monitor so I don’t have any of that information.

  • 6th of 11 in Expert 40+ (45th percentile)
  • 16th of 26 for all expert distance racers (38th percentile)
  • Distance: 29.51
  • Time: 2:59:21 (Garmin wanted me to finish in under 3 hours)
  • Avg Speed 9.9 mph
  • Max Speed: 23.8 mph
  • Elevation Gain: 3,878 ft
  • Calories Burnt: 2083
  • Avg Temp: 71.4 F
  • Avg Power: 194 Watts
  • Max Power 805 Watts
  • Normalized Power: 231 Watts
  • TSS: 177.5
  • Work 2084 kilojoules
Speed/Distance graph for the OMBC race at Great Seal State Park.

Speed/Distance graph for the OMBC race at Great Seal State Park.

Team Breakaway Quickdirt

Nahum Burt of Breakaway Quickdirt

Nahum Burt, co-captain of the Breakaway Quickdirt mountain bike race team, relaxes under the team tent after the race.

Congratulations to everyone on Team Breakaway Quickdirt – a collaboration between Breakaway Cycling in Delaware, Ohio and and  I’m proud of the way we’ve come together as a team.  Everyone raced their butts off and had a great day.  The post-race weenie roast was one of the highlights of my day.  If you live in Delaware County, Ohio and would like to learn more about the team, please contact me through Facebook.

  • Joe Worboy 1:00:22 – 1st Novice Masters
  • Dan Fausey 1:06:06 – 2nd Novice Clydesdale
  • Mikey Worboy 1:12:49 – 1st Novice Junior High
  • Shannon Williams 1:16:50 – 4th Novice Grand Masters
  • Calvin Fausey 1:36:23 – 3rd Novice Junior High
  • Nahum Burt 1:54:20 – 3rd Sport Veteran
  • Kunihiko Max Tanuma 1:55:01 – 1st Sport Masters
  • Michael Whaley 2:07:33 – 3rd Sport Singlespeed
  • Christopher Boyle 2:25:34 – 4th Sport Senior
  • James Knott 3:00:30 – 6th Expert 40+
  • Doug Armstrong – 1st Weenie Roaster

More Photos

Feel free to download and share any photos that you find that you like on Facebook.  I just ask that you like Quickdirt on Facebook or tag the photos with Quickdirt if you do.

8 thoughts on “OMBC Great Seal State Park – Race Report w/ Photos, Stats, Graphs

  1. Was my first OMBC race. I have rode great seal many times but never at a race pace. I thought my calves were going to explode and that my lungs would give out. I had a blast and can’t wait to race barbed wire again. Thanks James for getting so many of the photos for your report.

  2. “Chatty”. Your funny. No doubt a tough race for sure. I’m stil a little achey in places. Rode a bit with my son on the bike path yesterday and wasn’t liking it much. Definitely left it all out there and so did you Jimmy. See ya soon, but not for too long. I hope. Aaahhh!

    • Some people don’t talk at all when they race. I think it’s cool. I usually chat if I can muster the strength. Can’t wait until East Fork.

  3. James and Vince… I wish I could’ve raced this but I was out of town. It looks like I missed a great time and some good climbs. See you guys at the 100!

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