Sea Otter 2009
This years Sea Otter was a big deal for me because I missed 07 and 08. I based my training this last winter specifically to do well at Sea Otter. My wife Anna, and my good friend (a strong NORBA pro) joined me for four days of fun in the sun in Monterey. We arrived in Monterey late Thursday night and got a good night sleep to prepare for the weekend. Steve and I pre-rode the course on Friday and we were both very happy that we would be racing in dry conditions this year. The dry course this year was in stark contrast to the “Sea Slaughter” that I participated in, in 2006. Anyone who participated in that race knows that it was one of the wettest and muddiest races ever. Saturday was short track day. Anna and I excitedly watched our friends and teammates go against some of the best riders in the biz. Anyone who competes in short track racing knows that the Sea Otter short track is on of the most competitive of the year. The race was fun to watch but also frustrating to watch because my friend Steve and fellow Lost Coast teammate Brian Astell were both pulled within the first 15 minutes. Neither rider was pulled for lack of effort (I watch both riders move up every lap) but it’s hard to pass 75 plus riders in a time span of about 10 minutes. Next year look for the team Lost Coast riders to be at the front of the pack after call-ups!
Sunday, race day…
I awoke early on Sunday in preparation for my 8 a.m. start time. I had been very relaxed all weekend but got a small case of butterflies as I ate my oatmeal. Our hotel was fairly close to the raceway and I got a perfect 40-minute warm-up ride to the start/finish line. I believe the field size was about 30 riders. The race started fast with team Cycle Path putting all five riders at the front. As we spun wildly down the smooth pavement of the raceway I moved into sixth place. I worked my way into third place by the end of the first lap and and kept a close watch on 2nd place. Conrad Snover of team Cycle path led the entire race and eventually finished six minutes ahead of 2nd and 3rd places. A very impressive ride indeed. I felt strong the entire race but the heat started taking its toll halfway thru the second lap. Even though I consumed 5 bottles during the race I started to have leg cramps at mile 25. At this point I had a firm grasp on second place, but couldn’t put anymore then 70% effort in the pedals as anything more would cause my legs to cramp. I eased up a bit and pushed on in hopes of securing one of the top spots on the podium. As I climbed the last two miles back to the finish I was caught and passed by another rider. I tried hard to keep his wheel but the legs were having nothing of it! I finished the race in 3rd, 10 seconds behind 2nd place. I was very happy with my result and the feeling of standing on the podium after the race was fantastic. I accomplished both the goals that I had set for Sea Otter, which were 1. Podium finish and 2. Break three hours for the 38-mile course (2:51).
I really want to thank Mark and Pete at Marin for all of their support. Congratulations to Maureen for her 5th place in the pro women’s Super D and a solid finish in the long course, congratulations to Emma and Matt for battling through their first Sea Otter XC pro races and finishing strong. I want to give special recognition to Brian as he raced his heart out in the long course. Look for this guy to be in the top 20 next year without a doubt! And last but definitely not least I want to give props to Amon for battling with the big boys and smiling the whole time in the sweltering heat. Anyone who has ridden with Amon knows that he is one of the most talented riders around. Thanks again to Marin and WTB for their support of the team. Look for Team Lost Coast riders this summer at a podium near you!
Cheers…long live, long rides…
P.S. We all missed Tsering at Sea Otter as he was taking care on the home front. Sometimes work takes precedence over play…Oh the life of the working professional.