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Ozark Trail Showcased at the OT100MTB and OT50MTB

By: Kathy Atnip
10/12/15 07:30:57 AM

Ninety-nine riders competed in the second annual point-to-point cross-country endurance bicycle trail race sponsored by the Ozark Trail Association (OTA). Taking place on the Ozark Trail in south-central Missouri, the strenuous course spanned 29 hours and netted top finishers in three categories.

Men’s OT100 Open winner Micah Gordon from Kansas City MO defeated the field of 59 riders in a scorching 9 hours, 48 minutes, 22 seconds, shattering the previous course record by nearly 38 minutes. The 100 Single Speed Open winner was Hunter Henry, St. Louis, who rode at 11 hours, 14 minutes, 4 seconds. Women’s Open winner, Maria Esswein of St. Louis, finished the OT100 in 23 hours, 18 minutes, 51 seconds.

New this year, race organizers offered a 50-mile OT MTB option and 40 riders rode this course with winners in three categories. Christian Hon of Wildwood MO, Men’s 50 Open winner finished in 5 hours, 36 minutes, 10 seconds. Dan Furhmann, Rolla, was the 50-mile Single Speed Open winner and completed in 5 hours, 34 minutes, 3 seconds. Women’s 100 Open winner, Laura Scherff of St. Charles MO completed her race in 5 hours, 57 minutes, 5 seconds.

Both OT MTB races covered a rigorous single track backcountry route on the trail with the 100-mile course starting line in Reynolds County, near Bunker. Four checkpoints with refreshments were placed on course at roughly 25-mile intervals with additional water stations. The OT50 route kicked off at U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Council Bluff Recreation Area in Crawford County. 50-mile riders had a checkpoint at the USFS Berryman Campground at mile 31 and additional water stops. Both races finished at Bass’ River Resort, near Steelville and both routes included uphill climbs, multiple switchbacks, rocky terrain with several creek crossings and in the case of the OT100 MTB, a substantial distance to race in darkness.

First place OT100 winner Micah Gordon is an accomplished cyclocross rider who competes in 40-50 road and mountain bike races and cyclocrosses each year. He described the mental aspect of racing: “I just see myself winning. It’s physical, but mentally pushing yourself the whole time is the hardest part…mentally, just tell your body what to do.” As for overcoming pain and exhaustion: “You can keep that down by pacing…I just go back to the basics.”

100-mile finisher Peter Rajcani has ridden in over 30 off-road races. He said, “The OT100 definitely has more singletrack than any other 100-mile race that I’ve participated in. The other unique aspect of this race is that it is point to point. The Ozark Trail 100 stands out as a unique race.”