Charity Poker Ride/Event + Big Bear 1-Day-Getaway

Life on the bike never ceases to be fulfilling and the OC bike community is a tremendous scene to be a part of.  In the span of 4 days I was able to:

  • Get a road ride in to go cheer on a teammate at a local race on Saturday.
  • Hang out after the race and catch up with a lot of local riders.
  • Attend a charity poker ride & fundraising/raffle event for a local mountain biker at Cismontane Brewing (more on that…).
  • Ride Big Bear trails with my wife on Sunday.
  • Finish the Over the Hump race series (race #12) last night and take in beer and cheer post race during the awards ceremony (spoiler alert….. Samantha pulled a 2nd place overall in the women sport class!).

SATURDAY:  Rather than wake up early for another lung-busting, heart-melting XC race, I decided I would take the opportunity to watch my favorite soccer team (Arsenal) play and then ride my road bike out to O’neil Park to go cheer on the racers.  On my way up to the race, I was able to hook on with a big group of roadies so I sucked their wheel and got a “free ride” up Antonio Pkwy and made it to the race in time to say hi to my teammate, Dan Eitman, and watch the wave of riders head off.  One cool aspect of being on my road bike was that I was able to re-position throughout the race to cheer on Dan and other riders.

Dan making his way through the oaks on his way to a 3rd place finish.

I rode home, freshened up, had lunch with Samantha and then we both headed back up to O’neil Park to attend a Charity Poker ride and raffle event with some friends (and Troupers) for a local mountain biker whose family is going through a challenging time.  Long story short, their toddler is battling brain cancer/tumors so a lot of people came together to support this family.  Thanks to all those who organized this event and for the companies who donated raffle prizes and to Cismontane Brewing for hosting the event.

I kid you not – the back of the brewery looked like the bike wing in Santa’s workshop with the amount of product and bike bling being raffled off!  Oh – and lots of great beer was consumed in the name of charity too.  I recommend their Porter – it’s like you’re drinking a mocha but with the benefit of 8+% alcohol!

First time at Cismontane Brewing in Rancho Santa Margarita and I will be coming back!

The Porter.  Oh the Porter.  Pick the Porter.  More Porter.  Please.

Kegs come in standard size and uber-size.  Either works.

A mop had to be brought in to wipe up all the drool being left behind by anxious raffle participants!

Pick a card, any card. Sam’s final “hand” wasn’t great but that wasn’t the point! I ended up 1 card short of a straight.

My Gary Fisher steel singlespeed…. below Santiago Peak on our Poker ride.

Photo magic on the ol’ Fish!

SUNDAY:  Samantha and I jetted off to Big Bear for a nice relaxing day of fresh air, cooler temps, pine trees, and of course Pine Knot trail!  He headed up Pine Knot and continued to the top of Grand View before heading west along 2n10 and exploring some singletrack areas before heading down Plantation singletrack and ultimately Cabin 89 to the car.  One word of caution for those planning on going down Plantation – there is now a tree laying across the trail that wasn’t there a month ago.  I had to lock up hard to avoid being decapitated.  That might have ruined the experience.  No new Strava PR’s will be set while this tree blocks the trail (I’m 3rd overall for the Plantation downhill Strava segment!).

Wearing my new US Cup Champion jersey in Big Bear.  Apropos, no?

Samantha and I with the self-portrait. Standard issue.

Exploring the backside of 2n10 and the new US Cup 50 mile course coming in October.

TUESDAY:  Over the Hump is now done and DUSTED!  Emphasis on dust will be obvious for those who have either attended or raced this series.  For those not familiar, consider 500 riders averaging 3 laps over 12 weeks on trails baked in 90+ degree heat and the result is a fine black-lung inducing dust.  Cumulatively, shaken from bikes and bodies, the dust could fill the Grand Canyon.  Or nearly so.  Despite the dust, OTH is a great series and the final race concluded with award ceremonies.  I picked up 2 growlers from Big Bear Brewing and gladly filled teammates and friends glasses as we reflected on the racing.  Only bummer was that the food vendor ran out of food so many of us were left with energy bars and beer for dinner.  At least there was beer!

In the end, Samantha finished 2nd overall in the women’s sport division!  Quite the accomplishment and it was fun to see the joy radiating out of her as she stood atop the hay bale and took her trophy.  Her joy turned to downright giddiness when she took possession of her goodie bag – there was probably over $300 worth of merch in there!  Thanks Over the Hump and sponsors once again for another successful series.

2nd Place overall! Remember….behind every great woman racer there’s a man working on her bike! Ha! At least there is in this case….

Awesome winner’s goodie bag full of stuff from Giant, Cannondale, CrankBrothers, Specialized, Fox, PowerBar, Sram, H2O Overdrive, & Jax!

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