Yeah, there is De Ronde and Roubaix, spring classics on the Euro side of the pond, but over here in 'merica we have our own classic and it's named after a furry little creature that swims and loves abalone. The Sea Otter Classic is in its 17th or 18th year and going strong. The event schedule, which includes road racing, mountain bike racing and BMX racing covers so many aspects of the two-wheeled community that it has become a destination for racers and industry types from across the country. In Thursday's junior women's road race, the riders from Alaska and Idaho outnumbered the Californians, the home of the Sea Otter Classics, by a ratio of six to one!
I love going to Sea Otter and have been at the event as spectator, journalist and race announcer. It really doesn't matter why you are there, you are going to have fun. OK. The weather can be a bit funky. My fellow announcer Larry Longo said it best. "During the four days of Sea Otter we usually have one sunny day, one windy day, one rainy day and one day when we have know idea on what is going to happen." That shouldn't stop anyone from attending. Weather or not, you are still going to have fun.
Today, Thursday, was a whetting of our Sea Otter appetites as only a few events were contested. Come Friday, the professional riders in both the mountain bike and road events take to the venue; the MTB boys on the short track course, the roadies tackle the grueling Fort Ord road race. Saturday continues the parade of stars as the professional men and women compete on the 2.2 mile Laguna Seca road race circuit, the exact same course used by the Indy cars and GP motorbikes. Expect to see some of the top male and female pros in the US on the starting line.
Sunday is all dirt as both the MTB downhill and cross country races will attract the top professional talent. Sunday is also the launch day for the amateur cross country races with literally thousands of weekend warriors, in numerous age and ability categories tackling one or two laps of the legendary 18-mile off-road circuit.
For those who have not been bitten by the racing bug, there is an off-road fun ride on Saturday and a road century loop on Sunday. In between all the pedaling there is the 350 vendor expo where one can find just about anything biking-related and a few things that aren't. All in all, if you can't find something fun to do at Sea Otter, you are either strapped down in a straight jacket or you just don't want to experience one of the great early season events in America.