The Sea Otter Classic is returning to Monterey, California this weekend for its 21st year in a row and it looks to be bigger and badder than ever! I was able to attend last year courtesy of Airborne Bicycles, and this year I’m excited to return.
On the outside possibility that you haven’t heard of it, Sea Otter is simply one of the biggest (if not the biggest) bike fair/expo/race/events of the year covering all disciplines of riding. Last year there were almost 60,000 people present over the course of the weekend. While this event is technically cross-discipline, Sea Otter has a very distinct mountain bike bent to it.
The scope of this event is so huge that there is no way you could ever hope to experience it all in one day. In fact, even if you are there for all 4 days of the event, it is still physically impossible to take everything in!
Mayhem at Sea Otter: There are people and bikes everywhere!
Here’s a hypothetical dilemma: let’s say you show up and buy a one day pass to Sea Otter. Which should you choose to do: watch or participate in one of the many races, tour the 400 booths at the fair and ogle the newest gear and pick up free samples and stickers, test ride brand-new mountain bikes that might not even be on the market yet, watch one of those crazy trials riders do a show, eat delicious food, play on one of the pump tracks, or go for a ride and explore the incredible singletrack of Fort Ord?
Personally, I recommend a large dose of all of the above. The problem is, there is no way you can do all that in one single day… and it would be tough to do even over the course of the entire event!
New for This Year
On Sunday the 17th Sea Otter will feature a day set aside for events and rides geared specifically toward female riders. On tap for Sunday are “women-specific clinics, [a] demo ride, panel discussion, and product displays, plus a wine and chocolate reception.”
Side note: Now, I’d think most dedicated mountain biking ladies would appreciate this nod in their direction from a male-dominated sport, and I don’t think any guys would be opposed to it, either. Think about the possible benefits for the male gender as a whole: more female-specific events will probably lead to more female mountain bikers, which for all the singles out there is definitely a good thing! Well, the National Coalition of Men disagree, and have threatened the Classic with a lawsuit claiming that these events geared toward women were in fact discriminating against men. C’mon, really? Someone didn’t have enough coffee this morning…
Sea Otter Celebrates Bike Shops
Sea Otter is making an effort to promote local bike shops and dealers by allowing them free access to all 4 days of the event, as well as “dealers-only demo rides, along with dealer clinics, seminars, and daily receptions.”
Several new events have been added to the roster this year:
Handcycling has been added to Sea Otter’s athlete competitions, in the RoadCircuit races. Also up for 2011:Speed and Style, which legendary freeriding course designer Jeff Lenosky calls “a combination of a head-to-head race and a freestyle jump contest.” And Camp of Champions is bringing itsBig Air Bag to Sea Otter! With top pros as coaches, mountain bikers can learn on the Big Air Bag how to make those jumps like a pro.
Construction is currently underway on a brand new course for the DH race. This update will hopefully silence many of the naysayers who have spoken out against the ease of the course in past years.
Photo taken from the Sea Otter Classic Facebook page.
Many of the standard media outlets and some other large mountain bike websites will undoubtedly cover all of the happenings at Sea Otter this year in much greater detail than I ever could. Regardless, even though I may only be portraying a small slice of the entire event, I’m going to take a crack at it! Last year, I published a number of posts during my time at Sea Otter. I had just started blogging seriously a few months before, so this year I come to the game with much more experience, and a little bit more of a plan.
Obviously there is a small chance that this might not happen, but I am currently envisioning literally dozens of short blog posts this year. I plan on covering everything I possibly can including sweet gear, bike reviews, interesting vendors, unique activities, the trails, my experiences, everything Airborne, and possibly some racing action! I just hope I don’t getfood poisoning again…
If you choose to follow my blog posts, you can be sure that you’ll get a unique perspective of all the goings on at Sea Otter! I’ll be publishing a recap post here on Singletracks in the aftermath of the event, but if you want a live stream of posts and tweets during the next week, be sure to stay tuned to my personal MTB blog: GregRidesTrails.com!
Are you attending Sea Otter 2011? Drop me a comment… we should meet up for a ride.
Can’t make it out this year? What sort of blog posts from the event are you most interested in seeing?