What Made Over the Hump Special is and was the “Who”, not the “What” starting back in 2009.
When I get asked, “What made Over the Hump Special?” There are 100 different answers. And I often ask it back to the core people who share Over the Hump as our home. Words we’ve heard that were (and still are) synonymous with OTH : “grass roots, competitive-fun, laid back, community, all my friends are there, midweek-got my weekend back, right here in our back yard”.
The conversation that brought OTH to life was a simple phone call, that changed my life, from working to working with passion. John Russell called me end of June in 2009 and said “400 racers are racing in Prairie City (Sacramento) every Wednesday night, I bet that would work here. Want to try it?”. So we did. We printed flyers with no sponsors, announced the date, came up with some cool trophy ideas, and launched with no idea what to expect. Our timing was on Excel Spreadsheets, our EMT’s were friends with credentials, our volunteers were our parents, in-laws, and any non-riding friends we could rope into coming out to help make the vision happen.
I told Scott Hannah back in 2014 the “What Made Over the Hump Special” story in 2014.
Mattias Jerzek and John Dang brought out the first group of volunteers. Searching my inbox I found this note: “some of our group are signed up for the race as well ( it will be their first race ! )
325 riders showed up August 26, 2009. After our first race we got some “tingly-stuff” feedback:
“My wife and I raced both races and they were our first. We enjoyed immensely and learned so much. Please run the series next year or sooner and we will be there for them all. Thanks again.”
Here is a quote from a local message board. “My wife and kids also came out. My 5-year-old girl had a total blast, even just spectating… she was so wound up by the energy of the race she took forever going to sleep (not so much for the two-year-old and one-year-old who were ready to crash at the race…). Although I was one of the slower riders in my class (S2), it was awesome to hear my 5-year-old yelling for me each time I passed.”
What Made Over the Hump Special, still does, because of who has stayed involved.
Theres a full legacy of racers, that have come up through the ranks. People have gone outbound from OTH to race and work in the industry. Brian Gordon is on the development team at Specialized, Adam Ogden racer and one-time OTH race manager is a leading sales rep with Giant Bicycles, Skylar Wallace dad and marketing/design ninja has worked across the industry, Felt, The Enthusiast Network, and now calling Garage Team Mazda his new work home…while his kids are racing Over the Hump. We’ve even had celebrity racers like Peter Sagan come grab a celebrated pint glass (and yes, he stood in line too, because he wanted the “Cool Trophy”.
Team Sparkle worked their way into our hearts, with kids cheering on the sidelines, and then later kids racing, and taking the podium.
We lost our friend Scott Burrows to cancer, to go home and be with his Father in Heaven, but not before he touched our lives with his all-encompassing passion for life, and people, that found its most natural home on the bike.
Since we’ve started Over the Hump, John and I have added 6 racing aged kids, who won’t miss Over the Hump…imagine that. Dads go to work. Then each of our wives Lyz and Charity drive more than 30 minutes EVERY TUESDAY, because the girls say that Over the Hump is their favorite thing to do in the summer. Having our kids want to come to the “office” is one of the biggest paybacks.
Yes, Over the Hump has grown up, but we’ll never “Grow Old”. In 2017, 1700 racers turned pedals around the dirt and Irvine Lake, and the infield of the Fanzone Family Expo is literally the “Who’s Who” of the cycling world. But that’s what What Made Over the Hump Special, and continues to make it special.
What Made Over the Hump Special still Makes Over the Hump Special. From day one advocates and friends like Craig Erion, David Browning, AJ Sura, and Suzanne Martin adopted OTH into their already lively Over the Hump Families. These are the people who are Over the Hump, this is the experience that I want people who haven’t been to Over the Hump to experience.
So, if you’re on the fence; or just forgot how Sacred the Over the Hump Ground is, let’s do this. Come out. Bring your friends, or join in the fun by coming to watch the action.
John and I have raced several, even when operating Over the Hump, and had the euphoria that comes with going 100% anarobic, wondering “Why?????”, then crossing the finish line to tell stories and regroup for the next week. We love being a part, racing or not.
When interviewed here’s what some of our “friends and family” of racers said about Over the Hump.
What Made Over the Hump Special is you! You still make Over the Hump Special. There’s no place we’d rather be on Tuesdays this summer, and we know you’ll catch the Over the Hump bug when you come out.