Every year, as a race director I’m excited about family night. Every year, as dads, John and I have our kids pumped to come get their face painted, bounce, climb the rock wall, and cheer on the Tikes race. Every year, as a community member, I see friends from my San Clemente home town show up because they heard about the buzz. And Buzz it Wuz this week at OTH. Our biggest race this year (and we’ve never had race 5 be bigger than race 1 season opener). 730 people registered to race from kids 6 years old to young at heart kids 72 years.
Nothing like a pace car for 3 year olds, right?
Ring toss, softball toss, and more to powered up the night with State Fair Energy. Racers and spectators took a turn at challenging games, and packed up full-size Simple Green clean product. The energized and smiling lines seemingly endless. So much goodness.
When they were done on the course, COO Jeff Hyder, of Simple Green was there to consult on how to get the mid-race mud off that pretty green jersey and white teeth.
Leading out the over 100 2-5 years old was local celebrity and incredible Mazda athlete Zack Schoep and his sister Lilly. They joined in the family night fun. Zach is an inspiration and I was so honored to meet him.
Zack showed us how it is done with his hand bike charging along with the kids jumping in his first bike race ever.
Brody Vogler charged home on a brand new Giant XTC JR +.
Bigger was the vibe, the energy, the mojo, the juice. Big is what we’re seeing happen with the tikes, juniors and kids. Big is what’s happened to the youth cycling movement since our shared launch year in 2009 with our now friends NICA SoCal League. Things have changed. Bikes have gotten faster, electrified, lighter, more specialized. The kids are bringing the adults, and some of the “kids” like near-pro Turner Conway are racing Elite and winning…when we started he was 8 now 18 and graduating High School as a very accomplished racer with Baghouse Industrial Team riding for Specialized.
This Week’s Family Night this week leads us into Race 6 June 11th. June 11 is the last race before our summer hiatus, which also includes the Beginner and Intermediate Awards ceremony and another round of heart pumping cyclocitement at Irvine Lake.