Drew Purcell: 2016 OMBC Champion Q&A

Drew Purcell wins at Mohican State Park

Drew Purcell is on top of the Men’s Open podium for the championship race at Mohican State Park.

Last weekend, Drew Purcell won the 2016 OMBC Men’s Expert Open Division by winning the final race of the year at Mohican State Park.  Overall, he did 6 of the 10 OMBC events and won 5 of them to achieve a perfect score of 5 in the final standings.

Earlier this year, he won the Mohican 100k, which is the largest and most elite event in Ohio.  He then went on to finish second overall in the National Ultra Endurance Marathon series.  I thought the Quickdirt Nation would like to learn more about this mountain bike racer who has quickly moved up the ranks in the local scene.  How did he get here and where is headed next?  Read on…

Give us a little background about your mountain biking.  How did you get into it?  How long have you been riding and racing?  What are some of your favorite trails?

I got into MTBing four years ago. My uncle rode bikes a lot and I was looking for a way to stay fit.  A few of my friends started to bike with me.  A small group of us decided to do the MTB 100k just to see if we could do.  Naturally I beat all of them and it took me around 7 hours to complete the course in 2013.  I was hooked on racing after that.
   I feel like I find new favorite trails all the time.  In Ohio I really like Chestnut Ridge. It’s a fast and fun course. I think I had the most fun this year in Georgia at Fools Gold. The trails are super fast, smooth with lots of banked turned and super sweet down hills.

What motivates you to ride your bike?

Growing up I always enjoyed the outdoors.  I feel like now when I go riding, there is nothing else I worry about.  I don’t worry about work or what I “should be doing.”  Its just the me and the bike exploring the back country.

Drew Purcell competes at Mohican State Park

Drew Purcell competes in the 2016 championship race at Mohican State Park.
Photo by Butch Phillips. butchphillips.com https://www.facebook.com/Photoglyphix-678380032234188/

You won the Mohican 100k in 2016.  Was that the pinnacle of your mountain bike journey so far, or are there other aspects of biking that are more important to you?

I would say that Mohican 100k is always at the top of my list to do well just because its right out my back door.  Winning the OMBC this year is something I have wanted to accomplish for sure.  I was really trying to win the NUE Marathon series also this year but second place was very good. I am very competitive but more importantly I feel as long as I know I gave it my all it is very satisfying no matter where I end up.

A Facebook post from Drew's coach, Joseph Holmes.

A Facebook post from Drew’s coach, Joseph Holmes.

When you analyze your own success, what percentage of it is due to natural talent, training & “the bike”?  How focused are you?

I currently have plenty of time to train. I don’t have any kids and I’m not married so I have a lot of freedom to put in lots of hours on the bike.  I am also blessed with natural talent. Im hoping I still have more watts to gain before hitting the ceiling. I think anyone who competes at the top level has to have a proper race bike for a fighting chance at winning.

What bike do you ride and why did you choose it?

I am currently riding Trek Top Fuel 9.9 and I love it!  I ride Trek because they have been very good to me with bike service. I get all my cycling gear from Y-NOT Cycling in Lexington.

Trek Top Fuel 9.9

Drew’s Trek Top Fuel 9.9 – not too shabby.

What advice would you give to people who are new to mountain biking?

For anyone who is just getting into the sport, you have to keep it fun.  Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t pick things up as fast as others.  I feel like the more fun you can have on the bike, you will just naturally get faster. Always set small obtainable goals to keep yourself motivated.

What is your favorite piece of cycling gear?

Garmin Edge 520  The garmin gives me data from all my rides. It allows me to create routes from the computer and link them right up to the device and out the door I go with out any worries of getting lost. It also loads all my rides up to strava so when Im riding alone I can try and steal KOMs from my cycling buddies.

Click here to check out prices and reviews for the Garmin Edge 520.  Don’t forget to buy an extra one for me!

What are your goals for 2017?

For 2017 the XC  Nationals are in Snowshoe so that will be a big focus for the year. I would also like to compete in 1 or 2 Pro XCT races.
2016 has been a fantastic year. I couldn’t have done it without all the help from my sponsors.  Wooster Bikewerks, Wootown Bagels, JAFB Brewery, Y-NOT Cycling, and my coach Joseph Holmes.
Thanks Drew!