Oak Mountain hosts successful Bump N’ Grind mountain bike races

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

PELHAM – Oak Mountain State Park was visited by more than 300 racers competing in the 26th annual Bump N’ Grind mountain bike racing event over the Labor Day weekend.

The event was put on by the Birmingham Urban Mountain Peddlers, who build and maintain more than 50 miles of trails at the park for recreation and competition use.

With races for children and adults of all skill levels, the two-day event provided healthy and safely distanced recreation for those tired of being quarantined in their houses.

Despite concerns from the pandemic the race was still able to move forward successfully and nearly achieved their attendance from years prior, according to BUMP President Jeff Rozycki.

“The races went successfully this weekend. The weather was beautiful all weekend,” Rozycki said. “We were pleasantly surprised with how everyone one handled social distancing and other guidelines. With that and the beautiful weather, it was a great weekend overall.”

The races kicked off on Saturday with children’s and unicycle races, as well as other mostly downhill races. On Sunday, the more advanced cross country style races took place.

This was not only a great opportunity for mountain bikers to continue in their craft, but for those looking to get out and have safe family friendly fun.

“The attendance shows that people are wanting to get out and be healthy,” Rozycki said. “They go a little stir-crazy being locked up at home for so long, and competitive bikers are excited to actually be able to get out and compete as part of a points paying series.”

The race is typically held earlier in the year but due to COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, the race had to be postponed, while many other organizations canceled their races outright.

Actually being able to manifest the event despite these odds provides not only funding for BUMP, but invaluable opportunity for outdoor recreation.

“We considered cancelling the race altogether,” Rozycki said. “However, we received so much response from people who wanted an option to get out and race. Once we reached a certain number of people where we could hold a successful event we decided to move ahead.”

As a nonprofit, BUMP relies on donations and proceeds from events like this to help further its mission of building and maintaining trails at Oak Mountain State Park, so a successful event like this allows them to continue this work.

“We appreciate all the racers who came out, all of our sponsors and our volunteers,” Rozycki said. “Without everyone involved, we wouldn’t be able to hold the event. We all really had a great time.”

Depending on how the pandemic goes, BUMP plans to hold races earlier in the year for its 27th annual race.

Photos available at Shelbycountyphotos.com.