On the night of November 6, racers gathered at the San Diego Velodrome for an event like no other. The stirring rendition of the national anthem by Senior Chief, Brian Morris and the two neutral laps around the famous oval were just enough to raise the hair on your neck in anticipation, as all that built up potential energy was then unleashed on the super fast and flowy course. While racers navigated their multiple laps on the four-mile looped course, our friend at Pink Shorts Photography beautifully captured the spectacular sight of their headlamps cutting through the darkness of Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon trails. Check out her elegant black-and-white photos and her vivid color shots here.
There were some seriously heavy hitters among the ranks, bringing a night of great racing. Racers of all levels—from national champions, to local rippers, RAAM champions, to world-record holders, a past Olympian, and people racing for the very first time—helped raise the excitement in the mass start led out by Crank Cycling Coach, Sean Burke, on his Ducati Monster.
Congratulations are in order for Pro rider, Stephane Roch (SWAMI’s / SKILZ), who had the fastest time of the night, finishing all seven laps in 1:32:21. Close behind Stephane was fellow Pro, David Santos (KHS-Maxxis-JAKROO), finishing with a time of 1:32:29, and rounding out the top three fastest men was Cat 1rider, Aaron Hauck (TEAM NINJA), who crushed the course on his singlespeed in 1:34:58. Pro rider, Kristin Gross (TEAM NINJA) was the fastest female of the night, finishing her seven laps in 1:59:17. These super speedy Pro / Cat 1 riders didn’t just walk away with bragging rights, they were awarded our Ninja Night Race medals and cash prizes. Well done guys (and gal)! Enjoy your winnings and don’t spend it all in one place…unless that one place sells bike stuff.
Racing was only half the story at the Ninja Night Race. The action on the infield was also part of the draw. The vibe was festive, with food vendors offering up tamales and kettle corn, live music by Deathkiss featuring Jesse and Isaiah Eisner, and an expo featuring OSO MTB gear, Nite Rider Technical Lighting Systems, Sock Guy Socks, samples from APX and neutral support from Zumwalt’s and North of the Border.
After the race, all eyes were focused on Race Director, Richard La China, as he announced the winners of the raffle (proceeds of which went to the Monarch School). Over $2,000 worth of goodies, including Nite Rider MiNewt Pro and Lumina lights, Canari Cyclewear gift cards, OSO MTB Lifestyle shirts, and Loaded Precision handlebars and grips, Rudy Project and SPY shades, and ESI grips were handed out to the ecstatic winners. Don’t worry if your number wasn’t called last Thursday; the raffle for NNR 4 will be just as amazing!
Special thanks to our volunteers, nearly all of whom are part of Team Ninja, because this race wouldn’t have been possible without their hard work. And we owe another enormous thank you to our title sponsor Loaded Precision and supporting sponsors: NiteRider, Spy Optics, Canari Cyclewear, Zumwalt’s Bicycle Center, Basiclink, Sock Guy, Suja Juice, Richard Duquette, Rudy Project, OSO MTB Lifestyle, Ninja Mountain Bike Skills, ISF Training Systems, and PowerBar.