Starting April 14, mountain biking returns home to California, USA, for the 15th Annual Sea Otter Classic, a four-day stage race featuring the Super XC, Time Trial, Short Track and Cross Country. Mountain biker Sue Haywood cites Sea Otter's high level of competition, its international attraction and its value to racers as reasons why both racers and spectators flock to Sea Otter each year.
"I think Sea Otter represents the best of racing in the U.S.," explained Haywood. "The competition level hits a high mark; there are often some Europeans who make the trip over and usually the full contingent of Canadians are there. The top U.S. riders bring their A game, plus you have a couple of road racers who excel on the non-technical course."
Haywood returns this year for her fifth Sea Otter Classic. In addition to racing, Haywood will visit local schools Henry F. Kammann Elementary, Ord Terrace Elementary and others to explain her job as a professional bike racer and to inspire kids to get out and ride. "The Sea Otter Classic forges a strong sense of community between the event and its hosting region because many of the racers visit schools to encourage kids to get outside and get active. We want to both show off our sport while helping to end childhood obesity," Haywood said.
Prior to last year's Olympics, Haywood found herself caught up in a "crazy points race" which would determine who would fill the U.S.'s only spot for a female mountain biker. Four women, all vying for the solitary Olympic berth, chased UCI points on three continents. Their hard-won victories, agonizing defeats and desperate attempts to gain coveted points were captured on film in "Off Road to Athens," a documentary about eight athletes - four women and four men - and their aspirations to become Olympians.
The premier of "Off Road to Athens" will be shown at the Golden State Theater in Monterey, Calif. on April 15 and 16. Haywood will attend and be available to answer questions before and perhaps after the features.
For more information and to buy tickets, visit www.offroadtoathens.com
For more information about this year's Sea Otter Classic, visit www.seaotterclassic.com