Sea Otter Classic ...is BIG!
If you never heard about the MTB Circus - well this is it, one (or the?) biggest cycling festival in the world, with almost 10.000 athletes and 65.000 spectators. Over 450 vendors are presenting 800 brands at the infield of the famous Laguna Seca raceway.
And it's a special year - the 25th anniversary, with races in many disciplines and categories like MTB Cross-Country, Short Track, Enduro, Dual Slalom, Downhill, different Road races, Cyclocross and Grand Fondos.
I signed up for 3 races in two days - which was not the smartest idea - but anyway, it was all about experiencing this event! At a foggy and cold saturday morning after getting up at 4am, I started at the Road Circuit Race, my first Road Race ever. We rode around the Laguna Seca raceway. The corkscrew down was a thrill, just like a rollercoaster and my hands were freezing - maybe I should have worn gloves. So on the first lap I was sitting behind the leaders on the climb and lost contact on the downhill as I was riding a Cyclocross bike with 46 dents or something similar in the front. So my race was already kind of done at that point when 2 laps to go the officials pulled our group of 3 riders out... but let everybody else in front and behind going for 2 more laps... Result 13th out of 15. Done.
Finally the sun came out and we chilled around the tents of the expo area, after I changed the road against the cyclocross tires for the afternoon race.
At 3pm the Cyclocross race started and as the day before was my first ride on a CX bike, obviously this was my first CX race. My contenders looked like pros and I was tired from being all day on my feet, still willing to get a decent result and have some fun. After the start I was somewhere between 10-15th in a 47 men strong field. I felt a little unsure around the corners, as I was not used to the bike which was also a little bid to small for me. (I had to move my cleats to the front as my shoes were crossing the front wheel).
On the 3rd lap I dropped my chain and lost a couple spots, but was able to catch some riders again. For the last laps I had to slow down, the pace was really fast from start on, it took a lot of energy for the short steep hills and narrow turns, super intense race but also fun with a huge crowd cheering and screaming - and throwing beer at us! :-)
Results? Official 33th of 47 ... this seems not right to me as I checked riders around me on the photos who were placed way better - anyway it was fun and I will do it again!
This event was filled with pros and all well known names from the bike industry, such as Gary Fisher, one of the legends and "founders" of mountainbiking!
Sunday was the Cross Country race. I felt way more relaxed before the start as this was my terrain and I was on my bike! Having said that, I started strong right behind the leader, as we hit the first climb on gravel ... I was done, my legs felt like rocks ... and people just kept passing me and then on the first (crazy fast and rough) descent I lost my drink bottle - totally done!
I decided to just cruise the rest and enjoyed the scenic views and trails. Placed 12th.
Casandra had a good race and was able to stay motivated despite crazy fast girls all around her. She really enjoyed the climbs and the descents. She was riding for 2h30 but instead finished at 2h34, 4 minutes off her goal. However, Casandra has only been riding this year when we go to races. She is really using her races to have fun and motivate her to get serious about mountain biking. She is having a blast and looking forward to getting in mean shape for next year, while picking up skills and technique this year. Watch out Ladies!
The "marketplace" with the Dual Slalom course on the back.
cya next year Sea Otter - we will come back stronger and with way more experience!