One of these years I’m going to play golf at Sea Otter, not 2017 though. I had a near perfect lead up to the biggest international XC race the US will host this year, great training, no illness and perfect weather. The only thing I could have been better about was my diet(not eating so much). It’s tough to get it all synced up though so I was pretty happy how it came together.
Sea Otter is much more then a race, it’s a huge festival. Just about every sponsor I have was there and it’s great to get to connect with people I only see once a year. It does add to the challenge of arguably the deepest field we see all year, spending hours on the feet chatting it up with friends I don’t see very often. That is all part of it though so you gotta know when you come to the Otter, the competition is gonna be top notch and you’re not gonna be sitting around all day with your feet up. Especially when they are doing construction from 8am-6pm at the hotel, below and above the room:)
Friday was the STXC and the course was quite different then years past. The lap was nearly 4 minutes long instead of the normal 2-3, there was no winding through the venue, no dual slalom hill, no where to recover. We just rode along side the track, the most selective section was a 10 yard downhill sand pit. A mediocre course was more then made up for by a stellar field and with no sharp corners or technical sections to break it up the race was blistering fast, we averaged over 21 mph. Sam Gaze and Nino got off on the first lap, with a poor call up and poorly executed start I didn’t see the front until lap 2 and they were gone. At finish I sprinted with Kabash and Howie for 3rd, I ended up 5th and snuck on the oversized podium. As an aside, not sure if this is true but I heard Sam hit 1,800 watts in route to beating Nino in the sprint.
Setup: Scott Scale, 38 tooth eagle ring, SID 130 psi, Maxxis Pace 30 front, Pace 33 rear, ice friction treated chain. Would have used the Maxlite if we had thought to bring them but assuming the course would be the same as last year I banked on the Pace.
I don’t have any photos from the race so I figured I would throw in some random ones, the saguaros are starting to bloom in Tucson.
Saturday was the XC, nearly the same course as last year but we spent more time alongside the track and none weaving through the venue. We also rode backwards up the sandpit we rode down in the STXC before popping out in the feedzone. I think the course was harder because riding through the sand was much harder then just cruising up the road and less drafting. Also, the top of the climb didn’t get windy until the very end and it was cross, not head like last year. That’s great for the strong guys to split the race but hard on a guy like me seeking shelter on the wheel.
I had a great start and found the lead group right from the start, we swelled a bit in the beginning, but for most of the 6 of 8 laps we were a group of Nino, Sam, Howie, Anton, Peter and me. Nino and Sam would hit it super hard after the feedzone and we would roll back up to them on the descent until lap 6 when Nino hit it, Sam flatted and Anton surged across. I rode with Howie for the next 2 laps before popping off him at the top of the pavement climb on the last lap. I rolled in for 4th which I was pretty happy with considering the field. I hate it when I’m not part of the race and even though I didn’t really contribute in that lead group I was part of it for 3/4 of the race so that was great. As an aside, if you want to see the speed and power which Nino and Sam would hit it at the top of the climb each lap, check out Christoph Sausers Instagram, he has a great video of it. I have tried to explain how crazy it was but his video captures it perfectly.
Setup: Scott Scale 150 psi rear, Sid 95 front, 36 eagle ring, Maxxis Pace 27 front, Pace 29 rear, ice friction treated chain.
So after having what I considered a good race I was bummed to hear they weren’t doing 5 on the podium, only 3. I figured it was some UCI HC rule or something because we asked 3 officials and they all said I wouldn’t be on the podium. Then I’m hanging out at the venue and look at my phone and see I have a text that they were doing 5 on the podium so I rushed over but had missed it by 10 minutes, that sucked! I was so disappointed to miss my first podium ever and to miss it with the current World Champ was such a bummer. O well, what can you do.
It was awesome to get back home to this guy last night. He saw the pictures of the kids race there and he’s planning on going next year. Maybe 2018 will be the year I get to play golf there and maybe it will be with Coop.
I wonder what Finsty is doing up in Prescott right now……