Laura O’Meara is awesome. Hailing from a triathlon background – yes, I said awesome and triathlon within two sentences, she started mountain biking maybe three years ago and has absolutely killed it ever since. This year Laura finished 7th overall for women at Leadville, being the first non-pro across the line in a blindingly fast 8 hours and 36 minutes. Think about when you started mountain biking and then consider if you believe you’d be able to do one of the most highly touted, unbelievably competitive and impacted races in the US going full boar for 100 miles at above 10,000 feet and somehow do it in fewer than 9 hours. Pretty amazing feat to say the least.
But it’s not only about racing for Laura. She really thrives in the trail lifestyle that mountain biking purports and finds it to be a breath of fresh air from the stark rigidity of triathalon training. And she’s got technical prowess, a real nose for trails to put it lightly – when the going gets rough, she rides through the rough, simple enough, right? It’s easy to look at one’s list of results and achievements and assume that cross country fire road is the name of the game but Laura’s heart and soul resides in singletrack. It’s hard to find her not adorned with a smile or trail smirk and clamoring for more trail, truly inspiring.
So, without further ado, WTB is very proud and honored to feature and host Laura O’Meara for Rad People Who Ride. Enjoy her fun responses and stellar photos below.
Name: Laura O’Meara
Home Shop and City:
Tam Bikes is my home shop in Mill Valley, CA. I live in San Anselmo (Marin County).
Favorite WTB or Freedom product:
My most utilized tire would be the Nano 29 TCS for XC races like Leadville 100 Mtb and Xterras (off road triathlon). However, my heart lies with the Moto 2.3 since that tire was my first introduction to mountain biking!
That’s a loaded question and I don’t want to discriminate! Basically, if it is some loamy, flowy, singletrack I’m happy. I do love the Coastal trail singletrack in Marin though. Nothing like mtb’ing with ocean views!
Pretty hard to go wrong with singletrack snaking through Redwoods. Though she'll pin it on courses like Leadville, loamy singletrack is what makes Laura happiest.
Background, how’d you get into riding, what kept you going with it?
My background is in long distance triathlon (Half and full distance Ironman). After moving to Marin County a few years ago and getting a little burned out on the rigidity of triathlon training, I started hanging out with the Tam Bikes crew (my local shop). The guys there convinced me I needed to buy a mountain bike and promised to show me the ropes. One of my first rides was at night on Mt Tam. It was actually a great way to begin mountain biking because you can only see where your light is shining and you don’t get distracted looking off the trail.
I found the most refreshing part of the mountain bike scene to be the laid back vibe. At times during my regimented training for triathlon, I forgot the importance of having fun as I was so focused on hitting my goal heart rate or wattages. Mountain biking brought with it an element similar to skiing. You’re not always out there for a workout. Sometimes you’re just out there to schralp the gnar (did I mention I learned some new vocabulary as well?) and take in the views.
I still thrive on pushing my body to the limit—so it’s been fun looking for new avenues within the mtn bike scene to do this….most recently at the Leadville 100 and in one month at the Xterra Triathlon World Championships in Maui.
Front of the pack - moving fast, Laura threw down a searing time of 8hrs and 36 minutes, the 7th woman to cross the finish line and the first amateur, awesome job Laura! Laura ran Nano 2.1 29" TCS tires and Frequency Team i19 29" TCS rims.
Tube or Tubeless, why?
Tubeless for sure—for the quality of ride and peace of mind of no pinch flats.
3 most important things to bring with you on a ride?
Salted caramel GU (best tasting GU I’ve ever eaten), my Castelli body paint bibs or Gabba vest, and my iphone for taking photos (I’m an Instagram addict: @lauraomeara) on every single ride.
Even the famed power lines section didn't slow down Laura - that's a look of sheer determination and concentration, don't get in her way!
Craziest thing you’ve seen or witnessed on a ride?
My favorite is catching an epic sunrise or sunset on Mt Tam. The fog is pretty epic as well as it rolls in from the coast and you watch it literally falling down the mountain side. It’s beautiful!
Most important lesson to teach the groms?
Dedication and hard work will always lead to growth and success—but you can’t forget to enjoy the process and still have fun!
Left my wallet in… (fill it in): Gestalt Haus. The watering hole in Fairfax, CA. Finish up a Tamarancho mtb loop, roll in and hang your bike on the wall. Enjoy a cold beer with a bunch of people who just rolled in off the mtn as well.
Anything you’d like to plug, courtesy of WTB’s blog?
Check out the Boggs 8hr Mtb race…one of the most fun race experiences ever—Bike Monkey puts on a great event. You can race it individually or as a team. I prefer the team!
I’d also like to plug Marin County….but I should probably keep this amazing place a secret. :) If you follow me on Instagram though, you’ll see I’m an official volunteer for their tourism board. Those photos are only a glimpse of the beauty here in NorCal!
Catch her if you can't - Laura O'Meara is one fast woman who loves trails. Keep shreddin' Laura!