This past Tuesday was the kickoff for the 2011 season of Over The Hump. If you are not familiar, this is an XC event held at Irvine lake on Tuesday nights. I participated in a few last season, and enjoyed the laid back, friendly vibe. So I am back again for some more fun. One thing I noticed right away, it was packed! There were 450+ racers! And tons of sponsors on hand to help out. I got there early, check in was a breeze. Met up with teammate Dan B, and hit the course for a pre-ride.
The course was close to last seasons. The lake is full right now, so some of the single track on the first half is under water. This lead us to run a lot of fire road this time out. One lap was just at 4 miles. Also one thing to note, the last section, ( which never had any mud last season ) was little muddy on the pre ride.
After the kids race, the masses lined up. It was kinda hectic at the start, I couldn’t tell how big may class was. I got a spot on the front row, planning for a good start. When the horn went off, I sprinted to get out front. That didn’t last too long. Guys were going all out to get a good position on the first climb. I settled in the middle of the pack, and fought some traffic up the hill. Once we hit the return road I was able to pass a few, and jump on a group charging the flat road to the other side of the lake. This side has a short and a longer climb that leads into twisty stuff, the entire course is pretty smooth and super tame, this meant guys were hammering the whole time. At the end of lap 1 we hit the muddy section I mentioned. By now it was worse, I was able to pedal through it, but it was tough. Part way into lap 2 I wasn’t feeling so good. I think it was the bad result of eating a banana, Honey Stingers, and a GU before the start. I backed off a bit, but kept a good pace. once I hit the mud again, there was no riding through it. I dismounted and ran past a few guys trying to ride it out. How muddy was it? Heres an idea.
The third lap my legs felt good, but my poor choice of food was messing with me. I didn’t see any others from my class. There was another bottleneck in the mud, so I jumped off again and this time it was ankle deep. I know most of the racers hated this section. But honestly it was a great place to pass the faster guys that didn’t want to get their shoes dirty. After a quick spin to the finish line, it was all over. At just under an hour and 12 miles, this race was a real fast paced. I placed 17th the a class of 43, I got some work to do to hit the Top Ten. The word on the street is, no muddy section next race. Stay tuned for more reports from the OTH series.