Sea Otter Classic ’04

It was all very exciting: at the start of my race, even though just an amateur race, I was feeling this great rush of adrenaline and that’s one reason why many probably do these races. Sprinting up the steep ‘corkscrew’ of Laguna Seca right after the start I was actually in a pretty good position, within the first ten or so. A guy next to me got entangled with the rider in front of him and smacked into the asphalt – too bad, going down before even hitting the first dirt.
I was getting a little carried away due to my early succes – I sprinted up the first singletrack climb to improve my position even more – however, what goes up must go down… on one of the early technical downhill sections I lost it: carried too much speed and braked too late on an inappropriate spot and there I went, flying over the handlebars. Got myself together and after a quick inspection confirming that all bones were intact I kept going. But half of the field had passed by then and so I had to struggle back. My downhill confidence wasn’t very inspired by the early crash so I was passed by many during the descents (amazing how fast some do go down) – but I smoked a lot of them on the climbs. A lot of congestion on the singletrack and sandy sections so I was losing lots of time. I could make some up during the second half of the race, with lots of climbing. Powering up the steeps and smoking four-five guys at a time has some gratifying feeling to it! At the end of the race my road rash plagued left arm and side started playing up so I was happy to see myself cross the finish line (see pic). The screams and yells of the audience were great and quite motivating. Then it was time for some hurt and suffering in the ER tent – they did a pretty decent job though in fixing me up, so I could enjoy later on a picnic with my friends (wine, cheese and champagne!). Even had a brief chat with Filip Meirhaeghe who showed up at the Specialized booth; here are more pics and stories about our Sea Otter adventures.

So what do I conclude out of this whole racing thing?
I signed up because of the ‘something you have to try at least once’ aspect of it; it’s not for everyone, I didn’t particularly like the congestion on the singletrack, the risks you’re pressurized in taking on the downhills (no body armour) – saw lots of crashes or guys lying in ditches off the trail, the dreaded road rash I have to sit through now (as a side note: after seeing these Northshore freeride guys I have to agree we’re all wussies!). But the competition aspect of it has also its attractive sides. And for some unexplainable reason I think I quite like racing up gruesome technical steeps. I ended 25th out of about 150 – not too bad, but still room for improvement. Do it again? Maybe.
At least if my car decides to start working again so I can drive to the venue – it died on me in the late afternoon yesterday, near the parking lot of the pharmacy in Monterey I visited. So I had to call AAA to drive me home (and tow the car) – ‘AAA plus’ is your friend.

4 Responses to “Sea Otter Classic ’04“

  1. The New Yorker Says:

    25ste in zo’n belangrijke mountain bike race is zeer indrukwekkend. Misschien wordt het stilaan tijd om prof ambities te koesteren?

  2. El Hombre Says:

    Inderdaad, dat is wat ik ook al dacht. Misschien kan een bedrijf als GlobeSpanVirataConexant mij een paar honderdduizend dollar sponsorgeld geven om mij voor te bereiden op het volgende event?

  3. Hombre Says:

    Welwel, 25e ondanks het smoelschrapen,
    niet slecht :-)
    Hoe heeft Filip Meirhaeghe het ervanaf

  4. El Hombre Says:

    Meirhaeghe heeft de short track gewonnen alsook de cross country en het overall klassement; zowat alles dus – hij zegt zich voor te bereiden op Athene om aldaar Au te ambieren. Btw, het betrof geen smoelschrapen, eerder elleboog- en heup-schrapen.

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