The racing at Sea Otter 2007 was brutal for both Tsering and I. Extremely fast people always manage to seep out of the woodwork to come kill it at the Otter. The whole weekend was a great experience though and Tsering and I were thrilled to have our sponsors supporting us at the event. Vanderkitten and Ahrens had several tents set up and even brought out the shiny new buggy to display. In between races we busied ourselves with set up and take down for the booth, chatting to people about our beautiful hand made bikes and hot VK tshirts and by handing out free beer. Indeed, the Lost Coast Brewery hooked us up with some cases of free beer to hand out at the event so (of age) people could sample their delicous brews. The beer was flowing so fast we turned it into a packaged deal (with the purchase of a Ahrens Wisecracker bottle opener) and still gave away all the beer by the end of the weekend! Everyone, of course, loved the beer and it was a great opportunity to spread the word about our team, even if our kits hadn’t arrived yet. We even had an author from a French (?) MTB magazine come by and snap photos of a Wisecracker popping open a Great White for an article he planned to write.
As for the racing, we both did the STXC and the XC. I was soo overjoyed to hear that there was a short track at Sea Otter. For the 2007 NMBS season, they eliminated the Open Women short track, one of my favorite events. I love the brutality of short track- constant attacks, short, brutal climbs, power flat sections, and lots of action. I love a long, hilly, strung-out XC too, but I was bummed there would be no short track at the NORBA races. So the Sea Otter STXC would be the only short track until collegiate. I gave it my best and I think I could have podiumed, but I was having some serious shifting problems and would find myself slipping into harder gears on the climbs. It was great to have the sponsors and family out cheering for me though and I finished a solid 8th. And it turns out my rear shifter cable was loose the whole race- I’m glad my stuff didn’t stop working entirely.

The XC was madness. Tsering’s race had more the 70 entrants and they all flew through the feed zone looking alot more like professionals than semis. His race was an epic one- almost 40 miles and more than 3 hours for most. Tsering had a great start but wasn’t able to battle at the front the whole time. We had a great time hanging out in the feed zone and cheering at the top of our lungs, even if we were the only ones that amped up. Thanks to Jacob SB for this sweet photo of me giving Tsering a feed and an ass slap for motivation- that’s how we roll!

The next day the rain came. It didn’t look too bad, and then it was dumping sheets of rain across the vanue. Tsering rushed to get his braked fixed by Avid for the race and get in a good warmup for the start. However, the race directors had other plans and pushed back the start of his race again and again, until the semi pros were scheduled after the pro men and women. Tsering was super grateful to have the Vanderkitten tent to try to stay warm in as he waited and waited. Finally the race came and it was fun and sloppy. Tsering looked awesome in the new Vanderkitten kit and was smiling despite the mud. He ended up 14th.

That night we stayed at a sweet house near the venue and admired the wall hangings. Since they combined a ton of categories to make it 19-39 expert women, my cross country race had a HUGE field (30 riders) of scary fast women in it. The race was pretty strung out before we even hit the singletrack and the pace was brutal. I was near the top-ten for most of the first quater of the race but towards the middle I was getting owned by riders with more technical prowess on the sand chutes. And once they passed me, these girls were gone! My goal was to stay with Vanessa who races with Backbone, but she gapped me on the final climb and I ended up 17th, just out of the top 1/2. At the front of the race however, my pro roadie friend Stacy killed it for a strong 2nd place (almost 10 mins ahead of me!) and looked like she had a great time. Maureen came in 10th and rushed away to get ready for the DH race.

And as a lovely Sunday afternoon rolled around, the epic Sea Otter 2007 was over. We helped pack up the Vanderkitten booth and rolled home to Berkeley to cram in some homework and much needed rest.