The OMBC will host a race at Dillon State Park on Sunday, August 30, 2014 at noon. There will be a kids race at 11am.
BREAKING NEWS! I wrote a race preview for Dillon last year. However, there are some changes being made to the course according to AOA (Appalachia Outdoor Adventures). There will be a new shorter loop that all three classes will use. Unlike past events, where novices were routed around the rock gardens, everyone will go through rock gardens this year. Novice racers will still bypass one of the rock gardens. (See below) Novice racers will do one lap, sport two and experts three.
It also looks like the new 7-mile course will be run counter-clockwise, which is the opposite of recent years. I’ve never ridden the course in this direction, so it’s difficult for me to describe what it’s like. There will be about 600 feet of climbing per lap. But I’m not sure what the hills are like going in this direction. These changes are really going to mix things up for this year’s event.
UPDATE TUESDAY 8/18/2015 at 5pm: Here is the updated course description from AOA: “The revised course runs counterclockwise from the beach hitting the single track off of the road to the horseperson’s camp. All racers will do the “Hard Tail for Sale” rock section while the novices will bypass “Scar Tissue”. Racers finish each lap on the field loop. Each lap is 7 miles with the experts doing 3 laps for 21 miles, Sport and Expert Women do two laps for 14 miles and novices do 1 lap for 6.8 miles.”
Here are links to past articles and other resources that will give you some additional information about the event:
- 2014 Race Preview
- 2014 Race Report
- OMBC Race Page for Dillon Rocks
- Dillon Mountain Bike Trail Map
- Trail Conditions
- MTB Project – Dillon State Park
- Appalachia Outdoor Adventures – They take care of the trail. Special thanks to them. The trail is in great shape.
Last Saturday I met up with several of my teammates from Breakaway Quickdirt and we did a pre-ride of the trail. Nahum Burt, Joe Worboy, Max Tanuma, Dan Fausey and I explored the gnarly singletrack at Dillon. And, for the first time ever, I actually figured out how to navigate the whole race loop without getting lost. If you’ve ever tried to figure this out, you might be able appreciate how satisfying this feels. It was amazing!
However, this was before I learned that AOA has changed the race course for this year. I guess I’ll try again next year. 🙂
I had so much fun riding at Dillon. Every time I go there I find new challenges that I want to tackle. It’s the kind of trail that I like to stop, walk my bike back a little, and reride some of the sections because I want to practice a different line or see if I can ride something more smoothly.
Now that Mohican Cabins/Wilderness race has been dropped from the OMBC schedule, Dillon stands as the most technical race in the Ohio series. It is full of roots and rocks that will challenge even the best riders. Only a handful of racers will make it through the course without coming off of their bikes at least once – whether that is by choice or forced upon them by the trail.
There are two rock gardens that every sport and expert racer will now tackle this year. Novice will only ride through one of them. It doesn’t just matter if you can ride them, it’s also important that the rider in front of you can ride them. If you enter the rock gardens with lots of riders, then you will almost certainly have someone fall in front of you. Please resist the urge to get upset with them. They are trying their best, so don’t be a jerk. If you fall off your bike in the rock gardens, clear your bike quickly and let the other racers attempt to find a good line.
I find that it’s usually best to just hop off my bike and run through the rocks past all the suckers who feel like they have to pedal through them. When I was a sport rider I passed a lot of racers with this strategy. We’ll see how it goes this year with the experts and doing the rocks in a new direction.
Outside the rock gardens there are still plenty of large rocks and off-camber roots to challenge you. Some of my favorite parts of this trail involve riding straight over the big rocks even when there is a clear path around them.
But – here is why you should ride at Dillon… It will make you a better rider. After riding at Dillon other trails will seem a lot easier. All that gnarl is good technical practice. I can ride the entire loop at Mohican or Lake Hope without coming off my bike, but I’ve never ridden at Dillon without several obstacles bringing me to a halt. Each time I ride it I get better at it. But, 8 years into racing my mountain bike, I still find new lines and features that challenge my skill set.
There are boardwalks, jumps, sharp turns onto bridges, drops – lots of variety to keep it interesting. At 14 miles per lap (for the long loop), you can start logging a lot of distance without a lot of repetition. Once you figure out the lay of the land, you can also put together shorter loops if you don’t want to commit to doing the whole trail.
I will be there on August 30th doing three loops for the expert race. Bring the whole family. Let the children do the kid’s race and then they can swim in the lake or play on the playground while they wait for you to finish. I hope to see you there.
If you’ve ridden at Dillon, what advice would you give to your fellow mountain bikers? What do you think is the most fun part of the trail? Can you ride all the way through both rock gardens? Let us know about your experience in the comment section.
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In Other News…
The Breakaway Quickdirt Mountain Bike Team sponsored a trail work day at the Alum Creek P2 mountain bike trail. It was fun getting an opportunity to give back to the trail. We fixed mud holes, cut back brush, and worked on a temporary fix for a broken bridge. We worked with members of Combo, the Central Ohio Mountain Bike Organization, to get the job done. Thanks to Brian Pack and Brian Kennedy for planning the event, showing us the ropes, and keeping us on task.
I’d like to encourage everyone to become a member of Combo, I.M.B.A. or your local mountain bike club. These are the guys that make it possible for us to ride. They maintain trails, build new trails, work on access to new land, build a community and so much more.
Click here to check out the book “Trail Solutions : IMBA’s Guide to Building Sweet Singletrack.”
Here are some pictures from the day: