Cover: Sea Otter Classic 2015
Photo: Greg K Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull
25 years ago a bike shop owner in Monterey, California told Frank Yohannan and Lou Rudolph, “You guys should put on a mountain bike race.”
And so they did.
350 athletes and 150 spectators participated in the first Laguna Seca Challenge on April 6 & 7, 1991. The event, which was renamed in 1993 to the Sea Otter Classic, has since grown to one of the world’s largest cycling festivals with over 10,000 athletes and 65,000 fans in attendance.
The 2015 Sea Otter Classic
The 2015 Sea Otter Classic, “A Celebration of Cycling,” is underway April 16-19, 2015 at Laguna Seca Recreation Area, Monterey, California, USA. In addition to nearly 200 classes of road and mountain bike racing for all ages and skill levels, the four-day cycling festival is also host to the largest consumer bike exposition in North America and activities at the Sea Otter Village ranging from bike demos to a beer garden.
How to keep up with all? There’s an app for that (iPhone and Android) and the full schedule of events is available on the Sea Otter Classic website.
Day 1 highlights
26-year-old Sara Bergen from Vancouver, British Columbia, soloed to victory by a 17-second margin in the women’s pro rider criterium and Australian pro Jason Lowndes, 20, best the bunch at the line honors in the Pro-1-2 men’s field.
The four-stage Enduro gravity mountain bike contest saw Josh Carlson, 29, of Vancouver, British Columbia, outclassed a quality field to win with a combined time of 11 minutes, 21 seconds. Dutch star Anneke Beerten, 33, took a comfortable victory over the women’s field with 12:48.
2015 Sea Otter Classic Festival & Expo
The Sea Otter Village is the center of the festival’s action with children’s activities, free bike demos, stunt shows, live entertainment, an international food court, a beer & BBQ garden, and the Sea Otter exposition area featuring hundreds of vendors providing the chance to pick up, try on, and test new products.
Namaste. Pro rider and yoga instructor Ryan Leech, along with competitive cyclist and yoga teacher Rita Leon, will be offering yoga classes appropriate for beginners to intermediate yogis at specific times each day of Sea Otter.
Event mascot, Skipper the Sea Otter, will host the Sea Otter Egg Hunt on the lawn of the first grass pod on the expo map. Prizes are hidden in the eggs, with a few big prizes from the event sponsors including a new bike.
Sea Otter is offering free shuttle service from the main parking area on Wolf Hill to the Turn 5 event entrance and back. Shuttle hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Thursday, April 16 through Sunday, April 19, 2015 (Expo closes at 4 p.m. on Sunday).
2015 Sea Otter Classic Gran Fondos
There are three Gran Fondo options – the Coastal route, the Carmel Valley and a mountain bike option.
The Coastal route Gran Fondo is 51 miles in length and has 2500 feet of climbing.
The Carmel Valley route Gran Fondo is 94 miles long with 5500 feet of climbing.
The Mountain Bike Gran Fondo is a 24-mile route along the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) trail system on Fort Ord National Monument and other Fort Ord Public Lands. Maps and directions are available in the Mountain Bike Gran Fondo Guide.
More information and registration for any of the Gran Fondos is available on the Sea Otter Classic website.
2015 Sea Otter Classic Racing
Road racing events include road, circuit, and criterium and events.
- Circuit – takes place on the racetrack at Laguna Seca.
- Criterium – takes place on the racetrack at Laguna Seca.
- Road – takes place mostly outside Laguna Seca (i.e., on Bureau of Land Management/BLM property). Starts on the racetrack at Laguna Seca and finishes on Barloy Canyon Road.
Mountain bike races
Mountain bike events include cross country, short track, downhill, dual slalom, and enduro.
- Cross Country (XC) – is on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property, Fort Ord National Monument. XC starts on the racetrack at Laguna Seca and finishes on the racetrack or on the Swale at Laguna Seca.
- Downhill (DH) – is on Laguna Seca property and runs parallel to B Road. Finishes at the bottom of B Road below the Gun Range.
- Dual Slalom (DS) – is on the Swale at Laguna Seca.
- Short Track (STXC) – is on the Swale at Laguna Seca.
- Enduro-is on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property, Fort Ord National Monument.
Cyclocross Races: takes place at Laguna Seca.
Maps courtesy of Subaru Sea Otter Classic.
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