After shooting the Counting Coup race earlier this year, I made it a personal goal to cover more mountain bike races this year.  Due to my schedule covering other events, and more recently my wife and I having our first child, I haven’t been able to shoot any races.  Fortunately a new up and coming race series based out of Irvine Lake has their events during the week, so I was able to make it out and cover their second race.

Over The Hump Series put on their second race on September 15th, and over 350 racers came out to participate at this event.  The course is a 3.75 mile loop around Irvine Lake, and thanks to Matt @ OTH I was able to do a quick lap before the start of the race to scope out potential photo spots.  If you know me you know that I hate going to a race without knowing where I’m going to shoot, which means I often get there way too early.  Better to be early and prepared, then late and scrounging for places to shoot.

For the first lap I found an area on the course that had a lot of greenery around it.  A lot of the course has dead brush around it so I wanted to find something with a little more color and depth.

Richard Khachadoorian rides his grandmothers bike during the race.

Richard Khachadoorian rides his grandmothers bike during the race.

Chris Hanson - Finished 12th in Sport 1 with a 55:39.4 (3 laps)

Chris Hanson - Finished 12th in Sport 1 with a 55:39.4

CeeDubb killing it in Sport 2, finished 6th with a 51:35.1(3 laps)

CeeDubb killing it in Sport 2, finished 6th with a 51:35.1

This was on of my favorite shots from that part of the course. I like how the rider is framed in the shot, and how it looks like he’s surrounded by all the greenery.

After everyone went by I walked a little up course to try a different angle. With the course only being 3.75 miles long, it wasn’t too long that the leaders were already coming through. For this area I threw on my Canon 550ex flash and hand held it to try and light up the riders. The sun was getting low in the sky, and the area I was shooting I’d be shooting right into the sun.

I really like this shot because of the contrast the flash gave it, and also the riders expression tells the moment. Just ignore the fact that I cut off some of his body.

Chris Hanson

Chris Hanson

Wanting to keep pace with the leaders and catch them on their 3rd lap, I packed up and rode towards the end of the course. On the way there I was able to snap a cool photograph of a section across the lake where the course loops around itself.

The next area I went to also had some nice backgrounds behind it, so I set up to shoot the racers from the side to give a different angle from the head on shot I got before. Here you can see Manny Prado and Sid Taberlay setting the pace on their 3rd lap.

Lead pack battles through their 3rd lap

Lead pack battles through their 3rd lap

For my last spot I walked a little down course where there was a quick downhill left hand turn. I again shot with my flash hand held. Now that the sun was starting to go behind the mountains I wanted to hit the riders with the flash while keeping the background dark and get a little motion blur.

Here is the race winner Sid Taberlay. He would finish with a time of 56:23.4 (4 laps) and finished first overall in the series.

Sid Taberlay

Sid Taberlay

This is called, “My flash didn’t go off, but it looks cool with the silhouette so luckily I can still use the shot. I mean I did it on purpose.”

After the racers made the left hand turn, they rode away from me along the green brush I previously shot at.

It started getting dark and the race was coming to an end so I packed up and headed towards the finish line. On my way there I saw a straggler riding along the lake so took a quick shot to have in silhouetted (on purpose this time) in front of the lake.

So that ended my date covering the Over The Hump race out in Irvine Lake. I had a lot of fun covering it and plan on covering the full schedule next year. May even attempt a race or two (in beginner class of course :) ) Thanks to Matt Wenger for letting me come out early and see the course, and congrats to all those who participated!