Yesterday Zeke, Jason, his Dad, and I rode one of the most technical sections of the OC, Blowout Mountain. I do believe this part of the Ouachita Trail is what is shown in the Shimano ad where the rock is reaching out with its fist to rip your derailleur off. You definitely have to be focused as this singletrack is tight with large rocks looming everywhere and multiple rockslides to negotiate. There are 3 climbs, with the first being steep and twisty. I am pretty sure that I will be off the bike on this one, especially since I will have already had 55-60 miles in my legs.
The trail claimed one victim, Jason's Dad. He had his derailleur hanger ripped off on the second climb. So I got a refresher course in singlespeed conversion. I was very glad that Jason was with us, as I was having front derailleur issues due to cable stretch. I got a trailside course in front derailleur adjustments. I know, after 8 years of racing, I should already know how to do this, but this was the first time I had this mechanical issue. Kudos to Bruce and The Outdoor Store for keeping my bikes in tip-top shape.
The trail is in great shape. There are some wet sections, but no where near the mud that was experienced last year. The course is going to be fast! Times will be slower than last year, however, as their is more singletrack and less fireroads this year. Last year, the 80 miler did not include Blowout. And we get to ride the singletrack that was under 3 feet of water last year. It will be a long, but fabulous day! Indy and my legs are chomping at the bit!