Sea Otter Classic, April 14-17
The annual big show called the Sea Otter at Laguna Seca came again this year and it was kind of scary thinking it was my tenth time around; it is also scary coming up on my 10 year high school reunion which I will unfortunately have to miss this summer. After a whirlwind SoCal media road trip with the Lazer boys, Toulouse, Craig, and Decker we showed up in beautiful Monterey on Tuesday with a lot of driving and little riding in the legs. I finally got my first meal at In-n-Out and got to see Joshua Tree, though.
Stage 1 was the Super XC, which is better than a fat boy crit with a bunch of MTBers but still not quite right. The oddball bike set-up had me running the MTB road slicks which worked good enough to make the selection and finish the sprint at the end in 8th. Unfortunately Bartman went solo and grabbed a bunch of seconds; 58 seconds on me at the end. It was my birthday so I was hoping they would let me win, but I guess no favors.
Stage 2 was the TT and there wasn't much time to make up as it was only 5-6 minutes long. I kept my TT win streak alive by just two seconds and grabbed the stage win just ahead of Liam and 4 seconds up on Bart.
Stage 3 was the STXC and I was out to try to rip things apart and get some time back from the Bartman. I figured he was going to be pretty hard to drop on Sunday's XC. I waited a couple of laps and then hit the go button with a little over three to go. I stretched it out pretty good solo to about 10secs but the boys working in a group brought things back on the last lap with T-Lowe firing past me for his first big win and the cagey veteran Bart sneaking by me on the line for the time bonus and stretching his lead to 1:04.
Stage 4 was the 36-mile XC and I figured I had to take a couple of risks to make up some time sitting in 3rd overall. I had finished second to Filepo the year before and third two years ago so I wanted to win the whole thing or go down trying. I mounted up some new freak show light 310gram MaxxLite tires and crossed my fingers. They not only worked, they worked quite splendid and I attacked in tandem with Liam after 20 minutes. We both had the horsepower and after the elastic broke we quickly got it up to over a two minute gap at halfway. Going into the final climb I wasn't sure how the finish was going to shake out but I knew I was ahead on GC by a few seconds so I just had to hold on. On to the track it we were still together and I waited until I could see the line and just wound it out with everything I had to take an extremely gratifying win. In remembrance of last year I represented with my "Dopers Suck" shirt on top of the final GC podium.
The racing at Sea Otter for me was great but the most important action for me happened off the track. Some people may have noticed my "Think Pink" armband or the extremely hot pink Smith glasses I wore for the weekend. Besides being a pretty color it is a special reminder for me of my pretty girlfriend Keri Pink who turned into my fiancée Thursday evening down on one of the beautiful beaches in Monterey. Pretty special week all around.
It has taken me a little to get my race report out from Sea Otter because right after I took the red eye out to jump in the deep end of road racing at the Tour of Georgia. I am in the freaking hurt box but I am surviving and will let you know how it all sorted out soon.