It’s bitter sweet! Sweet as we had a seriously epic season… and bitter to say goodbye to the season as it is now behind us. We’ve made new friends, enjoyed racing, and are passionate about the sport of mountain biking. The entire summer is a total highlight in our short Over the Hump history.
A year ago, we sat down and dreamed up our mission: Over the Hump- a race for everyone, beginners to experienced racers. A fun-family-friendly, fun, but competitive event that would allow people to experience mountain bike racing in Orange County. Midweek-after work, and close to home. Over the Hump was born, and this week’s race was a huge testimony to the fact that all of us, racers, volunteers and staff, have bought the vision.
Working backwards, the race was the season finale, a great show of 30+ exhibitors and sponsors, followed by our awards ceremony, recognizing our top 3 racers in each category (16 total categories). The cherry on top was the smiles on all the faces, and the numerous comments of … “what are we going to do until next summer’s series”. Of course that pasted a smile to our faces. Smiles that made it all worth it…it was a ball! Recognizing all the racers, who worked so hard, was the most fun for us.
Every week for the second half of the season OTH has a kids race, right before the “Main Event”. Volunteers have literally owned the kids race, from lead riders, to scorers to prize giveaways. The Linked Team, got behind the race in a big way, along with many other individual volunteers all season long. This week’s winner was: Ryan Goodwin (6 years old), in a field of 5 to 10 year olds.
Tuesday night brought a cool breeze to the lake, and a consistently dropping water level introduced some extra beach to our course and a new front row spectator area, right on the edge of the water. In attendance were our nearly 400 racers, hundreds of fans, family and friends, lining the course, and loads of private and professional photographers immortalizing the moment.
Tinker Juarez and Sid Taberlay led out the pack as the pros took off! In the mix were Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized and H2o Overdrive), “Tinker” Juarez (Cannondale), Dana Weber (Trek), and David Santos (KS), leading the rest of the field out. Teams and individuals from all over Southern California joined the party too. Unlike most mountain bike races we were happy to see hundreds of racers in t-shirts, Camelbacks riding entry level bikes, meaning the most important dream of our little “race around the lake” had come true…” a race for everyone, beginner to experienced racer.”
As the masses rolled through, some even came out with serious personality, wearing rubber duckies, wigs, and vintage t-shirts, vintage bikes with chrome and coaster brakes…after playing all season long at “serious racing” some of our regulars decided it was time to get a photo opportunity.
Every week a bulk of our race support each week has come from shops…this week, all of our supporting bike shops were out in full force, along with family, friends rallying for one last go around on the course. And it was a busy night for them, as we had 170 onsite registrations, some serious t-shirt closeout sales, and a truckload of thousands of dollars of product to distribute to our series winners, with their trophies, and leaders jerseys.
I’ve done some perusing of STR this week, and reading the race reviews, it’s like getting a first hand view from a helmet cam on a racers bike…along with a snowball of other perspectives. Literally the recurrent theme is….”loved it! I’ll be back. Can’t wait till next year. I never knew racing could be so fun”.
The race course was full with nearly 400 racers on the course, our little 4.5 mile course took on a life of its own. The kind of traffic that makes for fast competition on the flats and downhills, and challenging singletrack negotiation. Most of the riders were able to make moves in the flats. Sid Taberlay told me his secret on the closed course with varying levels. “I would sprint when the course opened up, and get out front when I could. Then when the traffic slows you down, everyone else gets stuck in the same traffic I do.” Worked for Sid, when the race was over, even with the elite bike racers in the group, Sid finished 38 seconds in front of our series winner David Santos, and 3+ minutes ahead of 4th place.
You can check out all of the evening results from Tuesday night’s race at http://raceoc.com/race-info/results .
Along with the race series finishes (top 3 from each category posted below) we recognized one racer in particular, that embodies the spirit of over the Hump. Sam Tamura was our most inspiration racer for the season (though there were tons of inspirational riders). Sam started riding in October 2009. Entered the beginner category this summer, with 8 months riding experience. We moved him to the Sport after three races, because he was gapping the Beginners in his class by over two minutes every race. After Sam moved to sport he only had 9 races left to capture series points, in the Sport category, for the season. He was able to race 8 of the 9 races (had to miss one due to travel). Of those he finished in the top 10 four times (including Tuesday). Same was rewarded with a very nice Blast wheelset from Novatech, who supported OTH as an exhibitor this season. Sam said after the race, “Over the Hump became the highlight of my week, even to the point where I rearranged my work travel schedule so I could be here. Some weeks it was the only ride I got it in. I had a great time and met so many new friends.” Sam may need to sign an endorsement agent for next year, because he’s the perfect OTH poster racer! Lots of heart and a big smile. Congratulations on being our Most Inspirational Racer Sam.
In looking back on the series, we couldn’t have had as wild a race, with the huge level of support, and prizes as we did without our sponsors. We’d like to take a moment to recognize those sponsors and encourage you, the racers to support these sponsors. Not only do they have great products and services, but they also got involved in a way that through their efforts and financial contributions made a 12 race series possible.
Other sponsors include: Crank Brothers, Oakley, SDG Components, Silver Sage Advisors, Two Brothers Racing, Kawasaki, and each of our featured bicycle shops Rock N’ Road Cyclery, Jax Bicycle Center, The Path Bike Shop, Bike Religion, Surf City Cyclery, and Incycle. Please click their links below or on the sponsor page to support them.
It’s been a great season. Fantastic! Amazing actually! We are so proud to be a part of this Orange County racing culture. It is only fitting to end the season acknowledging those who have raced so hard! Congratulations to the 2010 Over the Hump Mtb race Series Winners:
We had a great time, and can’t wait for more to come. Stay posted we’ll have other races between now and next summer, but mark your calendar, Over the Hump 2011 kicks off on Tuesday nights in May, for twelve more races and a whole round of new stories.
THANK YOU! from us…John Russell, Matt Wenger, and the OTH Team! See you on the trail.