August 14 Family Night was another amazing show of fun at the end of a Tuesday at Irvine Lake. Not only was it family night, but it was also race number 10, meaning that racers were able to dump their worst race, as they get to keep 9 races towards the series final places.
There was a great show of kids who rocked all kinds of bikes out at the Lil’ Tikes Bikes N Trikes race. With 40-50 kids lined up to chase that elusive 75 yard away finish line, it was guaranteed to be a parental paparazzi fest. There was plenty of flashbulbs, laughs, and even my 5 year old frozen at the start line in tears (who says we don’t take our sports seriously).
Tuesday was again, a great show in our kid’s race. Linked Cycling has been leading the charge week after week, making sure the kid’s race is not only fun, but also creating some changes in the 1-2 mile course from week to week to keep it interesting. While Jackson Dooley has been winning race after race, he’s also not the oldest one in his group, and he even is looking to compete in the Junior Class in the coming weeks, as he’s grown as a racer over the series.
While the kids were lined up at Pipeline Hawaiian Shaved Ice, the face painters and 2 bounce houses, there was a little race going on in the background that proved to be one of the most exciting races in Over the Hump history.
Men’s Pro Brandon Gritters edged into the series lead with his first place finish over previous leader, Anton Petrov, shaking things up beyond our last 6 week’s status quo.
The beach lit up with excitement. As the race entered it’s 2nd lap one rider lost control on the ramp down to the beach, slowing traffic though the entrance to the beach, and fortunately he later walked away. Surf City Cyclery, this week’s featured shop, introduced their own “Soak Zone” with sponges, water sprayers, and cups of water all ready to cool off any willing participants through their cooling lane. Of course some riders were intent on keeping their place and pedal stoke, without adding the water element. But check out the pace line in the video below that drifted down for a little spritzer.
Caroline Mani lit up the course as well. The two time French National Champion, and top 10 at the World Championships three times, entered the women’s pro field finishing 6 minutes ahead of current pro leader Leslie Williams. But with Race number 10 in the books, and plenty behind her, Williams has sealed the deal on the Women’s Pro/Expert class top podium position.
And speaking of a new story, if you have been watching the fastest “kids” out on the course the last 9 races, then you missed the two leaders Sean Bell, and Daniel Johnson this week at the Junior line up. They moved up 7 wave starts to the Sport 1 class, and wow, did they show they could not only go fast, but add a lap and still go 1-2 in the Sport 1 class. The Sport 1 class is for 29 and under racers that do approx 13.5 miles (4.75 miles longer than the junior class). It’s a fast group.
After a season long battle for the Junior Boys title Sean Bell and Daniel Johnson decided to move up to Sport 1 to see how they’d do against the big boys. What Sean and Daniel didn’t expect was to also be joined by two National Champions, Sean McElroy and Imeh Nsek. By the end of the first lap the four boys were separated by only 5-10 seconds and well clear of the Sport field. At the finish it was Sean Bell, Daniel Johnson, Sean McElroy and Imeh Nsek all turning in times at 14 years old, that would put them in the top 8 in the Super Sport class. So I guess we know which group has to look out this week.
With only two weeks left, and summer heat wave waning, and our Leadville Trail 100 finishers back in town, including current Expert Leader Steve Boniface with Blackstar Race Team, one can only imagine how the final two races are going to blow up. With $30k of prizes on the line for series winners, and lots of bragging rights ready to be stacked up for the 8 month break before the next 2013 Over the Hump race, there’s plenty of momentum building towards the Tuesday August 28 finale.
And regardless of the outcome, a huge contingent of the 2000 racers who put their tires to the dirt at Irvine Lake this summer, will recall the best part of their summer was hanging out with friends at Irvine Lake racing Over the Hump. We love our summer!
Going into Race 11, here’s who’s wearing the Spy Leader’s Jersey as the points shake up.
Copy of Leaders- Aug 21 – Sheet1