Sea Otter is over.... Flew out on Thursday morning and got picked up by my buddy Matt. We high tailed it straight to Laguna Seca Speedway for some preriding fun. In retrospect I think we had too much fun, riding for over 2.5 hours at a pretty decent pace, but I was feeling great and we were enjoying the perfect weather. Friday morning I got up and we headed back out to Sea Otter. I headed out for another 1.5 hours of preriding and found out that what I thought was an additional loop to the 18 mile Sea otter course, was actually the entire Pro Loop. I was feeling really good again and then settled under a tree to man the feed zone for the day. Matt used Katie's tried and true advice of "start slow, then back it off" to make it through the 36 miles or so of the Cat 1 race.
Saturday morning came and we decided to finally take in all the sights of Sea otter. We checked out all the vendors and the fancy new bikes. This is what really makes Sea Otter a cool event. After some lunch and a nap it was time for the Short Track.
I knew I had the wrong bike for Sea Otter's short track when I left home with the hardtail but I could only take one bike and I thought it was the bike of choice for the XC. (with the new course, this was not the case). There were around 80 starters in the Short Track. Warming up i felt really good. I had a pretty good starting position on the 3-4th row, right behind Sam Schultz. I pretty much followed him through the start and came out of the first turn/ mud bog in good position in the top 20. Though the leaders were already at the top of the big climb so i figure they already had 20 seconds on us. This is where I sort of forgot what I was doing. Being my first short track of the year, I remembered i had to get a good start, but I forgot that the race is short and there is no reason holding back. I kept finding myself sitting on someones wheel, and when you do that, 3 other guys go past you. Between that mistake and the fact that i had to run the mud bog about every lap because there was only about one line through it Im not sure how I finished. I do know Todd Wells caught me with 5 laps to go. He made up 2 minutes on me in about 20 minutes. Amazing. I was a little disappointed with my finish as I didnt feel like I put out as much effort as i should have.
With 125 or so Pro men on the line for the XC I knew it was going to be a tough day. Warming up i wasnt feeling nearly as good as I had all weekend, which was not going to help. The new loop is about 40% on the road course which made for some tactical racing, somthing Im not good at. After the first loop of the road course we entered the trail and I was way too far back. I dont know what i was thinking. We stood still for what seemed like a long time before gettting to riding. When we got going, I could tell I wasnt feeling really good and i started taking it too easy. In the middle of the first lap I started feeling better/ was catching guys who went out too hard when I slid out on a sandy corner and jumped back on the bike, tweaking the saddle upright. I decided to live with it and tried to catch up. On the third lap I started really feeling good. Must have passed 15-20 guys throughout the lap with help from a Trek Canada rider and I popped out of the trail, onto the road course all by myself with nobody in sight. This was bad news. I decided to just push on and did the 4k's all by myself in my best TT position. By the end of that effort there was a group of 10 or so guys bearing down on me and I was spent when we headed back into the trail. They started going by one at a time and all my effort from the previous lap was going down the drain. I caught on the wheel of Braden Kappius of Clif Bar and another guy and decided to recover the rest of the lap, hoping for a good last lap and that my slight stomach ache would go away. It never occured to me they were pulling riders. When we pulled onto the road course we were all suprised they were waving us off the course. We were about 100 yds from the last lap and would not have been lapped. It turned out, we had about 10 minutes to finish those 100yds as the leaders were not even close to catching us. Very disappointing result of 80th. Maybe more disappointed in not being able to finish the race.
So we packed up and headed back for the airport. The results were not what we were hoping for, but we still had a good weekend. Monterey is a really nice place and Sea Otter is quite an event. It was the first real race of the year and a good reminder of how fast those races are. Hopefully things will go better next time. Pictures and video to come.