Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sea Otter Classic, Bike Festival

Sea otter is a huge bike festival/ races that I have wanted to go to for a long time. My good friend josh recently moved to CA and proposed the idea of going. I immediately jumped on board and also managed to convince another good friend of mine Anna kelso to join the party.

The trip out was long but josh and his roommates warmly welcomed me. It was still another 3 hours from his place to the race so we saw a lot of cool scenery along the way to Monterey CA (city where sea otter happens). The first day there josh and I got registered for are races and checked out all the company tents and some of the trick shows. Ryan Leach was there doing his trails along with some bmx riders. Between stunt shows, watching bike racing and demoing bikes there was no shortage of things to do. It took over 2 hours just to walk though and look @ all the company tents collecting free junk and stickers. We finished the day off with a trying out a lap of the xc course. I didn’t realize that a one lap was 19 miles!! It took a lot out of us, we didn’t bring enough food or pace are selves very well. However, I thought the course was pretty good for the most part it had some fast and twisty sections, sandy loose descents, fire roads with stong headwinds and quite a bit of ups and downs (not many flats). We met up with Anna and had dinner together that night.

Somewhere along the line both josh and I managed to get colds (probably during the pre-ride maybe before). Even though we felt crappy that didn’t stop us. The Second day Josh raced in the early morning. It was supper windy all day and cold but josh battled through it. He puke several times and get a flat tire during the race but managed to finish. It didn’t sound like it was a very fun race from his description. After Josh's race we watched a dual stunt bike race (like and obstacle course head to head race.) Then we tried out a new belt drive system that worked rely well and demoed a few 08 mountain bikes.

Day 3 was the day Anna and I raced. She raced early in the morning I guess she was having a hard time staying motivated because she felt she could have done better and was disappointed with her performance. My race was later in the afternoon. A lot of big names showed up. I had some small problems. I Fell off my bike, had to stop to tighten my handle bar, and I went off course for a short bit before getting redirected by spectators. All together couldn’t have accounted for much more than 2 minutes. Instead of finishing 6th from last I would have been 7th from last. My cold wasn’t bothering me as bad as I thought it might be. And for the most part I felt pretty good I was just out classed this week end, but I enjoyed my race.  I think mountain bike racing is so much more fun than road because you can get your ass handed to you and still have a good time.

Anna left before the race was over to visit her cousin. Josh and I had a night on the town to forget about are horrible performances during the races. We managed to find the sketchiest neighborhood in town  We played pool at a pool hall on a street where all I could see were shut down buildings , strip clubs, liquor stores. No one we met in this area spoke English. We played pool for an hour or so before getting a little too uncomfortable. I felt like others in the pool hall were taking about us, Mexican mariachi music was blasting and I heard a scream from the back room. We decide to call it an early night.

The next day On the way back to josh’s place in Ventura we took a longer more scenic route along the coast. Some of the coolest scenery I have ever seen. The road winded along steep cliffs with turquoise water @ the bottom. It was beautiful, didn’t get any pictures though. My camera ran out of battery on the first day.

Back in Ventura josh took me on one of his favorite rides in town. We basically climbed up fast rolling semi-gradual incline for an hour and a half then bombed back down another trail in about 20 min. We got going supper fast and there was a death drop on one side of the trail in many parts.One in particular snuck up on me and I came very close to sliding down off a cliff.

All and all a good vacation, very memorable.  Special thanks to josh who was kind enough to give me feeds during my 39 mile race and snagging me a recovery drink after the race, driving me around, and letting me stay @ his place. Another special thanks to Anna for cheering me on and providing company.

Josh's house
Josh packing
Me with Sea Otter
Ryan Leech
Josh taking pics of Ryan Leech

Cool Belt -Drive

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