After a 22 month hiatus, Over the Hump delivered a beacon of hope and togetherness in Southern California. Each week 650+ racers and their families and friends landed at Irvine Lake to ride bikes, specifically, but ultimately CELEBRATING LIFE IN 2021. The Over the Hump finale was a fountain of the same energy.
At 5:30PM 146 kids 6-11 did what they do every week…have FUN, in the best way only us two wheel junkies do….they pedaled. The growing field of kids racing each season has been a testimony to our friends, Linked Cycling’s, commitment to foster healthy community, provide a volunteer base, and help families discover mountain bike racing in a safe, non-threatening environment.
Larry Longo, our EMCEE, has become a fixture at Over the Hump this season. Larry and I looked up at 5:55pm, 5 minutes before the Monster Hydro Elite Race launch, and there was still a line of cars waiting to enter the venue. More cars and people joined us for the Finale than at the opener. Parked cars pushed towards the race course, and the race field was our biggest of the entire season at 629 for Junior through Adults.
The Path Bike shop was on hand to serve up the festivities as the featured shop. The Path always has a unique way of bringing community, and weaving argyle culture into a solid kinda world. Bikes and culture were live in the center of the venue. The Path displayed the Dream Bike Grand Prize for the upcoming Good Dirt Ride (formerly Rwanda Ride) a Giant Trance Advanced Pro. The Good Dirt Ride takes place October 23 in Rancho Santa Margarita. You can register for the Good Dirt Ride now at https://gooddirtride.com/
Sponsors and community integration have been huge all season long, from fundraisers and community activists like the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, with a mission to bring courage strength and grit to the fight against cancer, to Dreamruns bringing giveaways and promos every week. The expo action has been explosive every week.
I got a chance to catch up with a couple Mazda partners on Tuesday, who dropped in on the race with their Mazda CX-5’s, Brooke Crain and Spencer Rathkamp. Watching the jump line with Brooke Crain, 2 time BMX Olympian, she was blown away by the participation while taking in some high-flying action. Brooke had heard us tout our #1 rule at the start line, “Have Fun”, and broke the rules saying what society rarely hears said, “I like these rules”.
Spencer Rathkamp was in the house too, and he shared what he thinks makes Over the Hump Special.
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Rausch Physical Therapy’s founder Kevin Rausch, was on hand to award $50 in cash money to 33 classes of racers’ fastest first lap. Nothing like a little carrot to make the last race interesting. $50 may not be a $1,500 purse for one, but you would have thought the racers were racing for one. Thank you Rausch.
At the end of the night, as racers crossed the finish line, they were met with a portrait opportunity with Wild Glass Photography…dirt goggles, trail boogers and all. You can see all the race action, and goofy portraits here.
In the end the tribe raced hard, finished well, and celebrated into the night…waiting for results.
We acknowledged an amazing group of staff and volunteers who have made this summer rock! From the trail crew, who has worked tirelessly to make weekly circling rides exciting, to the volunteers who have staffed registration, awards table, leg marking, set up, tear down and course marshal stations.
Thank you to all the volunteers who have made Over the Hump have arms, legs and a warm heart this year.
At the end of the night Matt and John (co-founders) stood side by side with the most heart breaking news Race Directors would have to deliver. The race data was taking too long to import into the timing software, and despite Replay Timing’s wizardry, Matt summed it up in a statement “We are not able to deliver accurate results tonight”.
What followed was no surprise from this rule breaking, in-it-together family of bike riders. You, the riders and race family, cheered and clapped with an affirmation that reminded us that Over the Hump is a different, one of a kind, race community. Yes we race, yes we value performance and accurate race results…and yes, it’s not a COVID defined year. Hallelujah we celebrate.
BUT THAT’S NOT THE END. We can’t stop there. WE BELIEVE IN CELEBRATING THE TOP STEPS and rewarding the racers victories. You’ve fought hard, and made huge improvements in fitness and race performance from week to week…
We will hold the awards ceremony at Oak Canyon Park next to our race venue….same location as racing, but just a bit further down the road from the Over the Hump entrance. The awards ceremony will be complete with drinks, trophies, podium presentations, and photos….AND we know you can’t wait till then to brag at the water cooler and bust your buddy’s chops that you finished 2 points ahead of them and knocked them into 17th place, so we do have all the results live here now for Team Awards and Season results.
It is mind-blowing to think that 18 months ago we were entering into a 3 time post-poned race season due to a global health and economic crisis and holding ZOOM race rally meetings weekly.
Fast forward to today, and looking back on this 8 race season I can’t think of anything better to end the hiatus than a summer with you all, as we celebrated life, rode bikes, and joined each other in like-minded two wheel community.
We love you guys,
Matt, John and our entire OTH Team.
P.S. Thanks as always for making our little race, Over the Hump, a big part of your summer. It’s humbling to have been a part of your life this summer. See you Tuesday, September 28!