The Sea Otter Classic began today in the Monterey Penninsula south of San Francisco. About 9000 individual athletes are expected to compete over fours days in both road and mountain bike events. The Sea Otter Classic(SOC) is the unofficial kick-off for the biking season with most of the major (and a whole host of minor) industry players being present at the event's exposition and also at a number of hospitality events around the Monterey Penninsula area.
The SOC is a lot of fun to race, spectate or in my case announce. Throughout the four days I will be calling both road and MTB events from criteriums and circuit races to dual slalom and cross country. We have an expert, veteran crew who are as passionate about the sport as the racers. It is a big task keeping crowds as informed as possible. Our announcing calls are also broadcast on KSOC 90.1 FM Sea Otter Classic radio.
The big news at the SOC on the road racing front is that Team Astana's Levi Leipheimer will be riding the road race and circuit race on Friday and Saturday. With Lance Armstrong's broken collarbone, Levi has been bumped to team leader for Astana at the Giro and his stop at the SOC is an important tune-up before he returns to Europe to make final preparations for the Tour of Italy.
Also present on the road side is the Bissell Professional Cycling team. These guys have some major firepower and proved that in Thursday's criterium where they took the top four places on the podium. The Bissell boys look unbeatable, but that's never the case at Sea Otter.
In the MTB events, top American female racer Georgia Gould, and Canadian ace Geoff Kabush headline star-studded fields. Short track and cross country events are on tap for the endurance athletes while downhill, super-downhill and dual slalom make for a lot of excitement in the gravity events.
The weather forecast is for warm, dry conditions making it an ideal conditions for racing, spectating and announcing.