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CONYERS, Georgia--Atlanta residents Eddie O'Dea and his wife, Namrita, are aiming for the top spots when the Suzuki 24 Hour National Points Series--a nationwide series of 24-hour endurance mountain bike races contested by teams and individuals--heads for round two on May 17 and 18 at Georgia International Horse Park at Conyers: the venue used for the 1996 Olympic Games mountain bike events; the debut of mountain biking as an Olympic sport.
The six-race series, sponsored by Suzuki Automotive, includes a full complement of destination venues for serious mountain bikers who want to be able to say "I've experienced the best courses out there," when they finally hang up their racing shoes. The O'Deas are on the fast track, competing in four of the six races this year, and the Conyers race is right on their doorstep.
For Eddie, the finish line is still a long way away. "You always feel a little extra pressure racing on your home course. I set this out as the race I wanted to win at the start of my 24 career, and I haven't done that yet. This is actually my fifth time racing at Conyers." Eddie O'Dea finished third in the Solo Mens's category at Round One of the series, at Vail Lake Mountain Resort, California, April 26-27.
Namrita O'Dea tells us about the family aspect: "I really like racing with Eddie. I'd much rather both of us be racing than only one of us," explains Namrita. "We're on the course at the same time, and he's faster than me so we see each other out there. It's great seeing him out there- I know we're both going through the same thing. We talk briefly when he passes me, but we're both focused on our own race, and we talk ALL the time off the bike!" Last year at nationals I had a flat and he stopped to help me, that was very sweet," she adds.
As for her aspirations of victory, "That's my goal, that's what I'm going there for. But there are always a few strong women that show up for the Conyers race, so we'll just have to see," says Namrita, who won the Solo Women's category at Vail Lake.