Racing Skinny Tires at SeaOtter
The cycling industry is more than just racing your bike. It has a lot to do with the relationships that you develop and maintain throughout your career. In the last couple of seasons my focus has made more of a shift from mtn bike racing to racing cross. I have also become more selective about what races I do throughout the summer season, as to what races are going to benefit me the most and get me ready for the fall.
After racing the 2011/12 cross season with the NoTubes team, it has opened some doors for me to do some racing this summer with some of the other NoTubes sponsored teams. I had the opportunity to guest ride with the Stan’sNoTubes/AXA Equitable road team at the ever popular Sea Otter. Due to the cross season going into January I have decided to come into this season a little later so this was my first race of the year.
For me, living and training in the Colorado High Country, racing at Sea Otter in mid April has always been a little too early. Being fit enough to justify making the trip to Monterey and expect a result has just not made much sense. The fact that the Pro 1/2 road race is now 4 day stage race, the guest riding opportunity allowed me to go to Cali and gain some good fitness without the real pressure of a result.
From the looks of it the Monterey area had received some recent rainfall. Everything was a beautiful green with signs of spring everywhere. I think we lucked out as the weather was a perfect 65 degrees the entire time we were there. On Sunday the fog rolled in and the morning was overcast and cool, but whenever race time had rolled around the fog had burned off and it was sunny again.
The Stan’sNoTubes/AXA Equitable team had sent three riders to the event. Ryan Mele, and Joe Whitman both from PA and John Loehner from New York. We all stayed together at a hotel that was a short walk form the warf and downtown restaurants. The hotel was also about eight miles from the Laguna Seca Speed Way that served as the race venue for the weekend. The gentle rolling terrain and nice weather made the ride to and from the race a perfect warmup and cool down each day.
The race started on Thursday morning with a 60 min crit on a portion on the Speed Way. John Loehner and I both finished safely in the main group inside the top 30. Friday was the Road Race. A 70 mile effort that was comprised of multiple laps on an eight mile course consisting of rolling terrain with one major climb. I was able to stay in contact with the group for five of the eight laps before I came unhitched. I guess the match book just isn’t big enough quite yet, but the WickWerks Chain Rings and Enduro Bearings helped me stay inside the top 40. Saturday’s Time Trial course consisted of one eight mile lap of the Road Race Course. Due to the some what technical course and the undulating terrain, I opted to ride the Ridley Noah RS instead of the TT bike. The aero effects of the Noah RS frame proved to be beneficial as I pulled out a 31st finish. The final day of the stage race was a circuit on the Laguna Seca Speed Way. It proved to be more of a long crit than a short road race. I was happy to stay in contact with the group and finish in 21st. All in all the weekend as a whole was a success for me. This was my first race of the year, and I was able to get in some great riding and racing with some good guys. I finished 35th on the GC. Not a breakout performance but a good start to a long season.