"Wouldn't I like to have his power for a day" remarked a competitor after Adam Craig defended his National Super D title on Day 1 at Sea Otter
photo: Chris Milliman
MONTEREY, Calif. Seventeen years in and the Sea Otter Classic, A Celebration of Sport, continues to evolve an ever-inventive, even grander event each year. 40,000 participants including 9,500 race entries have been counted so far, 750 of those for debut events Adventure Racing and BMX. Super D lured hundreds of competitive, curious racers to the slopes of Laguna Seca Recreational Area to lay the foundation for raising the bar at the world's largest cycling festival. That's not even counting the 1,200+ kids who took advantage of the Bike Skills Ride Zone free of charge during the event.
Though Mother Nature dispatched some rain during the weekend, a little wet weather proved to be an advantage to Dual Slalom, Downhill and Cross-country racers, who enjoyed the damping effects that moisture had on berms and sand. Unparalleled courses, a world-class location and prime destination attracted legions of cycling enthusiasts to ride, race and answer the primal call of what's to love about riding a bike.
"There are a couple things a bike racer can count on: death, taxes, and the Sea Otter Classic. Year in and year out, it's an event we'll always be at in some capacity or another, hopefully a fast one," said Adam Craig, who defended his National Super D Champion's jersey on Day One of Sea Otter. "It's the biggest event of the year in terms of spectator attendance and general level of enthusiasm. It's great to see shoulder-to-shoulder foot and bike traffic at a cycling event for four days in a row."
Race entries numbered 9,500 and participants rode, raced or generally showed their stuff at this year's unprecedented event that became the first to be limited by the number of daylight hours. Downhill entries had to be cut off at 1,500 in order to let all racers have their chance on the lovingly restored and maintained course while the sun still shone. First-time events Adventure Racing and BMX brought out 230 and 520 racers respectively, and Super D gave cross-country racers plus the gravity gang a chance to stretch their legs on the fast, disconcertingly technical course. For industry insiders, the Sea Otter Classic provides a rare chance to connect directly with consumers who arrive to find and shop for new products. For consumers, it's a chance to rub elbows with industry luminaries - if you know who they are.
"We approached the Specialized booth and asked one of the techs for some help," said Brian Strickland. "We were instructed that the trailer and tech repairs were for team riders only. At that time an older man came up and said, 'Let me take a look at your bike.' He spent about 5-10 minutes giving the bike a good look over and made some suggestions for repair. We both thanked the man for his assistance and then asked his name, come to find out it was Mike Sinyard (owner/founder of Specialized!)."
Big Steps Leave Tiny Footprints
Sea Otter's shrewd organizers figured out long ago that one of the crown jewels of the event is its location and, like anything precious, it needs extra special care. Landscaping and countless volunteer hours help put Laguna Seca Recreational Area back in order after each event and as a result, Sea Otter enjoys a reputation as a welcome guest to the Fort Ord Bureau of Land Management trail system. In 2006, organizers figured that they could raise the bar and set a standard in sustainability, so what they did in conjunction with Clif Bar & Co., was to offset the 749 tons of CO2 emissions from participant travel to and from the event. This year organizers improved upon an already successful sustainability project by once again offsetting CO2 emissions PLUS granting premier reserved parking to cyclists, carpoolers and anyone who arrived at the event in an alternative fuel or hybrid vehicle. That's IN ADDITION TO Sea Otter's vigorous recycling efforts.
"I just wanted to thank you for your hard work, dedication and support to helping make this year's Sea Otter Classic a sustainable event," said Brennen Jensen, Ecology Action of Santa Cruz Pollution Prevention/Zero Waste Group. "Your efforts to promote, encourage and facilitate improved recycling and waste reduction have had a tremendous impact.... I can say with confidence that the 2007 Sea Otter Classic has done the best job of recycling and reducing waste than any other event I have seen at Laguna Seca."
Sea Otter Classic Inspires a "Reversal of Fortune" for Mountain Biking
Chris Duncan of BikeSkills Takes a Chance with a Faculty Member at Washington Union Elementary School
For a closer look at students' expressions and their stunned teacher, click here
photo: Rob Badke
"Mountain biking is in a freefall, it's dying," declared a guest at a dinner in Burlingame, Calif. nearly a calendar year ago following the Sea Otter Classic. Check your facts, pal, since cycling festivals like the Sea Otter Classic succeed each year in attracting increasing numbers of riders who prefer dirt to pavement. It literally starts in the classroom with Sea Otter's School Outreach program, an energetic live show featuring freestyle pro, Chris Duncan. The program, done in conjunction with Newspapers in Education, engages students by educating them on bike skills and safety then sends them on their way with a research project. This year 9,100 kids in Salinas and Monterey got to be a part of the program and by the time this release gets distributed, three lucky kids will be the proud owners of new bikes from GT and Specialized.
"We owe the appeal of Sea Otter to thousands of athletes and supporters who return each year," said Frank Yohannan, president and CEO of the Sea Otter Classic. "Their dedication and loyalty has spilled over into our Expo, where nearly 300 vendors erected display tents and laid out their wares for a crowd hungry to celebrate their sport."
For more news about Sea Otter, you needn't look far since 380 media members showed up this year to document the event in outlets from around the world. Data for the total number of participants is still pouring in.
A Sample of Top Finishers for the 2007 Sea Otter Classic
Team Nike (3-person mixed)
|Super D||Adam Craig||Kelli Emmett|
|NRC Circuit Race||Daniel Ramsey||N/A|
|Dual Slalom||Mick Hannah||Sabrina Jonnier|
|Downhill||Nathan Rennie||Rachel Atherton|
|Cross Country||Geoff Kabush||Georgia Gould|
|Sea Otter BMXers Advance Toward Olympic Dreams
|THULE Adventure Race Proves to Be a True Adventure
|They Might Be Giants: Craig, Emmett Win First Ever Sea Otter Super D
|Daniel Ramsey Stuns Field in the SRAM Pro NRC Circuit Race
|Jonnier, Hannah Beat the Best in Dual Slalom
Rodin Himself Couldn't Have Sculpted a Better Course
|Atherton, Rennie Score Fastest Descents to Win Downhill Races
|Kabush and Gould Continue to Dominate
Recognized as the unofficial North American season opener, the Sea Otter Classic convenes cyclists from all around the globe each year for the largest cycling festival in the world. The end of the event sparks an enthusiasm for cycling that lays dormant in winter and, armed with excitement, vigor and likely a few new skills, products and maybe even bragging rights, Sea Otter participants go forth to indulge, inspire and invigorate their zeal for cycling. Sea Otter Classic dates for next year will be available at www.seaotterclassic.com by the end of May, so check in then!
Thanks and have a great summer!
About Sea Otter Classic, Inc.
The 17th Annual Sea Otter Classic will be held April 12 - 15, 2007 at the Laguna Seca Recreation Area, Monterey, California, USA. The four-day 'Celebration of Sport' is considered the world's largest cycling festival, hosting nearly 10,000 professional and amateur athletes and 50,000 fans. The Cypress Youth Fund is the Sea Otter Classic's philanthropic arm. The Fund provides funding to organizations that benefit their communities in the areas of youth, sport, education, and environment. More information can be found at www.seaotterclassic.com or by calling 800-218-8411.
Online version of this release can be viewed here: www.boohermedia.com/SOC/2007/07SOC_Final.htm