Sea Otter Classic - California, USA, April 6-9, 2006
The recent rains in California, specifically the ones that have not stopped since the first of the year, save the week of the Tour of California, are here in Monterey. Sea Otter is a big cycling event and an even bigger media event. Besides all the racing, there is also a huge rush to find out what parts people are riding, and what new stuff is coming out, etc. Which means that everything must be spotless all the time. I wish the weather could understand this and give us a hand.
This has been the worst conditions for bike racing since Tapatio last spring. The riders are riding through 6-8inches of mud. The first day on the course, a 60 minute race, evaporated all our brake pads and left me with the longest day of bike wash I have ever done. I was at our trailer from 5:50am to 8:30pm! The riders race clothing will never be truly clean again.
On another note, it was good to see a lot of old faces for the first time again this year. Redlands was a great chance to see the road racing crew again, but Sea Otter has been the first true MTB event of the year. So there are plenty of people to catch up with. Of note, I talked to Butch Balzano of the SRAM road race support yesterday. They are here in full force with five new Volvos emblazoned in the SRAM colours; not hard to find at all. Butch is the guy behind the road programmes sponsored by Pedros and Campy in the past - if you live on the east coast or do Superweek you know how great these programmes were. I first worked for Butch over six years ago under the Pedros banner, doing support for some of the bigger road races that year. This guy is the greatest; Butch truly loves what he does and he does it better than anyone I know, so if you are out at the races this year and you see the big red SRAM cars, go by and check out the new SRAM road group, and say hi to these guys. Maybe you'll even get a change to meet Butch himself - if you do, you'll feel the love he has for what he does. Every time I see this guy I leave with a smile...it's the same for riders that need tech help.
Well, more rain on the way for tomorrow. I'll roll out even earlier tomorrow. On our team I have to note the determination of one of our riders; Sara Bresnick-Zocchi did a local road race at home last weekend for training, entering the mens Pro 1-2 race to get a harder workout. With 1km to go she got taken down in a big crash and Monday of this week she called me from the hospital where they were X-raying her ribs. She is here and gave it full gas today despite the recent mangling of her body. I have to give her full props; I know when she's racing it's not pleasant, but you'd never know if you hang around her. She's always glowing. Today she mentioned that she was craving dark chocolate so I need to find some to have on hand before I get to the venue tomorrow.
More mud, time to go...