Sea Otter is a unique race, as it's a huge expo/ media extravaganza with the whole bike industry on display for the first time for 2013. It's action packed as well with almost every type of event going on; Slalom, DH, xc, speed and style, cyclecross, road races, grand fondos, etc. Plenty of top class competitors in both the men's and women's fields as well, so it was fun to see everyone again after a long cold winter and get back into racing.
Slalom is the best event in my opinion. I look forward to it so much every year. Love the intensity, and getting to ride a slalom bike. The course is really fun, and gets slippery and windy as races progress. Boggles my mind how they build the course so similar every year after tearing it down, wish the jumps were a little bigger or more tech, but the speed is awesome. It moves through elimination rounds quick, and spectators love seeing the best riders in the world battle it out to the finish.
DH is fairly basic with most everyone choosing a trail bike of some kind for the fast rolling hard packed ground with loose sand on top. Baked in ruts in a couple places, but overally pretty flat with one off cambered tricky dh section, etc. This year was notable with so many different types of bikes and wheel sizes, 26" , 27.5", 29" ,,, slalom bikes, trail bikes, dh bikes, etc. The massive pedaling efforts dictated bike choice. This race is a really good fitness check to be on the podium. 2+ minute sprint, few uphill sections, jumps, 7 turns, etc. Pin it to win it:). I felt awesome this year, didn't even get the usual jerkey lungs, Big Thx to our trainers at Potentrx in Seattle:)
Here is the first look at my Norco carbon prototype 650b sight I raced. It's my trail bike 90% of the time and a dh bike just for here:)
Bryn was riding strong all weekend as well.. He is unbelievably talented in slalom and DH, just bike riding in general. I am a big fan!! nice style, powerful. It was so impressive to watch him rip those berms apart. He took down Prokop in the first round, then 7th seed Cous Couse from france, just moving through the rounds, till the round of 8, which is the quarterfinals. He matched up against Jared Graves (eventual winner)and gave him a super tight battle, but got knocked out. Finishing 8th, so good job to him!!!.
In DH the next day, Bryn was only a couple seconds back, finishing up in 13th. Times were sooo close year, top 20 was within 4 seconds. Gwin was the winner on a 29er by a hundreth. Kinda sucks he won on a 29er, but he played it tactical with the rolling speed. We rode Norco's new 650B trail bikes- sights, and I think comfort wise, they made the couse feel smoother than in years past while still being maneuverable.
Small overview: there was a lot of sun, sunburn, and wind, most of the top contenders were here, tons of sprinting, some rowdy american fans waving their flags (KT):) , new products on display, fresh bikes and kits, all kinds of wheel sizes, lot of "enduro" talk getting thrown around, expo madness, thousands of spectators, and bike riding. That kinda sums it up. Slalom was the best part.
Happy to get some solid coverage for our sponsors on our new norco 650b bikes, with all black Crankbros wheels, etc.
Marketing, and finding ways to stand out are part of the beauty of sea otter. Bell had a mechanical bull to test out helmets:) Renthal had autographed bar give aways and a super stealthy new prototype dh stem for us, Shimano was on tech service and doing a lot of media stuff with the new XTR gear, wheels, etc.. Fox Shox were gold and black float 34 is rad- the best squish in the bidness, 5.10 had the whole pro team working with the designers giving feedback and wearing the new freeriders, e.13 has some new carbon guides, seemed like everyone had something going on, which was cool.
Guess one of the only other things that made the highlight reel was Lars and his mustache looking exactly like the Sea Otter mascot. Uncanny resemblance:)
Big thanks to all of our sponsors:
Norco Bicycles, Red Bull, Crankbrothers, Fox Shox, Shimano, Renthal, Bell Helmets, Sombrio, Maxxis, Stevens Pass Bike Park, 5.10, e.13, Oakley, Jet Black trainers, PotentrX health and performance, Motorex, Cane Creek, Fi'zi:k, camelbak, alpinestars protection, and Park Tools.