By Sue George
After two days of beautiful, sunny weather, the skies opened up on Saturday afternoon in Monterey, California. The severe downpours brought the Sea Otter Classic's road, short track, BMX, and dual slalom racing to halt as racers and spectators simultaneously scrambled to find shelter.
Perhaps the most unfortunate victims of circumstance were the pro women, who were in the middle of their National Racing Calendar (NRC) series event when the deluge began. After several laps of racing in the rain, officials decided to suspend racing action due to dangerous volumes of running water and some mud on the Laguna-Seca International raceway course. The women's race was cancelled.
The pro male road racers were more fortunate - their race was delayed for a few hours, but run under partly cloudy skies and on a partially dried track.
Meanwhile, the semi-pro men's short track mountain bike race was postponed several hours, so the pro men and women could still race at their scheduled times when the deluge had mostly subsided. Both races were held on a muddy course reminiscent of, but not nearly as bad as conditions last year, when racers regularly encountered hub-deep mud holes. The afternoon's race conditions were slick and muddy, but still quite fast in light of what has been relatively dry weather locally leading up to the four days of on and off-road racing and riding that constitute the Sea Otter Classic.
Finals in the dual slalom were pushed back by several hours, and the BMX race scheduled for the day was postponed by a day, meaning both BMX events are now scheduled for Sunday.
Racing action wraps up Sunday with the elite downhill and cross country mountain bike races and BMX.