It’s been a number of years since I’ve done the Sea Otter Classic, and this was one of the most enjoyable. It was a great weekend with the Stan’s NoTubes crew and the Women’s Elite Team….and getting to finally ride my new Scalpel 29er!!! A lot of tweaking the new XTR, setting up positions and testing out the Kenda Tires, then it was time to race. It was a busy hot weekend, with Shannon, Kenny, Kaila, Amanda, Nina, mechanic Chris, junior Taylor and myself…….almost a full team, missing Vicki, Sarah, Sue and almost new mom Jenny (okay, maybe half the team).
Friday morning was Short Track time!! It’s been a couple years since I’ve done one of these, but its like a shorter cyclocross race on the mountain bike. 20 mins plus 3 laps of pure hammer. It was really neat getting to line up at the start line with 4 team mates and being able to try to ride team tactics with Amanda during the race….tactics are definitely not my strong suit. Amanda and I managed to find ourselves in the chase group of 6 girls with 2 laps to go and I could see the pink kit of Nina just out of reach behind. There was an attack into the last gravel pit and getting stuck behind a bobble I got spit out the back of the group and tried to chase back for last half lap, finishing 12th, just out of reach of the sprint pack with Amanda finishing just ahead of me and Nina close on our heals. Taylor and Kenny raced the XC later that day, with Kenny stomping out an impressive win in the Masters Men!!!
Saturday, during the heat of the day, we headed out for the pro women’s one lap of the 20 mile course. With a road start of one lap around the Laguna Seca raceway, we had the typically sketchy mountain bikers in a road pelaton feeling. I don’t know how it happens but I managed to find myself in a really good position coming off the pavement and on to the dirt. My Kenda Kozmik Lites were great in the fast loose powder that is the Sea Otter cross country. My engine wasn’t completely up to snuff yet and could maintain contact on some of the longer climbs but I managed to pick off a few racers on the long last climb back into the raceway.
Not even 3 hours later we were back in our spandex getting ready for the cyclocross race. Following most of the short track course with a few added features and some high speed barriers, but oh how I do love cyclocross. Nicole Duke, Caroline Mani and myself broke off from the field early in the first lap and worked well together to put some distance between us. There were a couple small attacks but with the relative flat wide open course and lots of head wind, we stayed tight together the entire race. Coming into the last lap I giggled, saying it looks like it’ll be a 3 way sprint. Last lap Nicole put in an attack, then I countered. We had managed to put a small gap on Mani. Nicole went down really hard into the high speed barriers, I had a moment when I though should we stop. Mani quickly caught me in the gravel pit and we kept motoring. Through the last technical boulder section I bobbled and Mani was able to put just enough distance into me that I couldn’t close. Grabbed a second with Nicole closing fast behind us.
Super fun but really long weekend at Sea Otter. Huge thank you to all of our amazing sponsors! Love my Cannondale Scalpel 29er with the Kenda Kozmik Lite and my Candy pedals…..and of course the Stan’s NoTubes Race Golds!!! Thank you Uvex Helmets, 3T components, Fizik Saddles, Northwave shoes and Esi Grips. Couple days in Durango getting my altitude on, then we are heading down to Prescott, Arizona for the Whiskey 50!