It was really great to be back in the Monterey area for this years Sea Otter after a 2 year break because of school. I did my first weekend here 5 years ago and that was actually the first time I met Haley Smith. That was pretty special, obviously, and it was extra nice to be back for that reason.
Sea Otter is about the people and the companies that support you. It is a great opportunity to meet with the Norco Factory Team sponsors, check out new product and simply connect face to face. I think that one thing that young athletes or aspiring professional athletes need to keep in mind is that you are always dealing with people. Effective communication is key. When you are looking to get sponsored, you are not trying to impress the company, you are trying to impress the people that make the decisions for that company. It is the same outside the bike industry, and in life, keep that in mind.
For Norco Bicycles, 2016 Sea Otter was the launch pad for a new XCish trail bike from them called the Optic (Petey D and Hales crushed the filming work for this bike!). There was a lot of hype around this bike and the booth was always busy! I haven’t ridden one yet but it looks great and the initial reviews are solid! Check out an article on this sexy new bike, Pinkbike: Norco Optic.
Sea Otter was also the first big race that brought the whole team together. That meant setting up some new bikes, catching up with teammates and staff and doing some more planning for the rest of the season. Additionally, these were the last 2 races before my first World Cup of the year in Cairns, Australia. There was a lot going on; it was a busy few days and it ended up being a great weekend of racing for me.
On Friday the short track race went on around noon and it was a quick one! I finished up 16th, which was my best ST result ever so that was very encouraging leading into the main event the next day. Guthrie and Haley lit it up to roll top 10 for the team.
Sea Otter got upgraded to a UCI HC race this year and that meant that they needed a UCI approved race course, not an 18 mile loop. They did a really good job with what they had to make a good race course. This wasn’t one of those courses that was a blast to ride but it did make for some really good racing and it was compact so spectators could enjoy the action.
In the XC race I was very happy with how I raced. I rode smart in the groups and strong where it counted. I finished up a little more than 2 min off the pace and across the line in 13th place. I am starting to get the hang of the racing and my fitness and strength is solid. Check out a video recap here, Sea Otter 2016 XCO Recap.
Onward to Cairns, Australia to check out the World Cup racing. It is a dream to compete in these world class events and I can’t wait to check out the track.
Thanks for reading