I am so glad that I opted out of the Sea Otter Classic this year. I have been going to the Otter for several years and always loved that event. It used to blow me away how big the venue was and the old school course, 2 long loops, was epic. I always bonked! After last year when they (the promoters) decided that in order to be more UCI-friendly, they would have the pros race a dizzying amount of laps on a paved car race track, I decided not to go back. I prefer dirt, single track to be exact!
Everything fell into place last Thursday night when I caught wind of a local mtb race/ fundraiser down in Pueblo, Colorado. Ken Benesh and I headed down with our Air 9 Carbons and a cooler full of Epic Brews! The weather was shaping up to make for a perfect day on the bike. We registered when we showed up and it was only 25 bucks! That’s with a late fee… better yet, the course was a 28 mile loop that zig-zagged around the reservoir with lots of great views.
The race started out with 2 miles of road before it funneled us into the tight twisty single track. The way it was set up was radical… 3 different loops; beginner, sport, and expert. It was a mass start which included all categories, and what made it so cool was that the beginners and sports were already finished when the pros/experts finished, so there were actual spectators at the finish line cheering and ringing cowbells!
The selection was made early on. Kelly Magelky, myself, Brian Alders and two other dudes were off the front. Pinning it thru the unfamiliar twisty trails, I found myself wasting lots of energy. One corner, Magelky and I both just about lost it and were joking about our skills. It’s fun when you are at the front of a race, chatting with the competition. Turns out it was the first time either of us had ridden the trails in Pueblo. I guess Magelky and I started to get too comfortable and out of nowhere, Alders laid down the most aggressive attack I’ve seen since the Wednesday night short track series in Boulder. I’m talking WFO. I stayed on his wheel for close to a minute before he proceeded to ride away into a strong head wind. I couldn’t even sit in his draft. It was insane.
After a 28 mile loop, I finished 3rd and my time was 1 hour and 44 minutes. Alders won.
I wonder if I’ll ever get those new Crank Brothers Candy 11’s…