What a weekend at the annual gathering of everything bicycle related out at Laguna Seca in Monterey California. The Sea Otter Classic kicked off the week with one major surprise over years past, NO RAIN! The normal mud fest/ guess the weather game was replaced with a stunningly beautiful weekend of riding and racing.
Team TandemBicycling.com kicked off the weekend on Friday afternoon by registering for the event. Unlike other XC events the organizers charged double the entry fee for tandems plus tacked on a late registration fee of $20 for a grand total of $124 for race entry; ouch. At least they were kind enough to provide us with two tubes 🙂 as part of the registration package.
The tandem XC race was scheduled to start first thing Saturday morning at 7:30am. Racers brushed off the morning blues and arrived early only to learn that start times had been delayed by 30 minutes; there were a number of not too happy contestants after this news. An extra half hour of sleep would have been nice.
8:00am finally rolled around to greet the start of racing. 10 tandem teams lined up with smiles and excitement in the heavy mist morning. With the shout of GO the racers were off to a fierce start around the Laguna Seca race course and up the infamous cork screw turns. Early favorites jumped out to a quick lead while the remainder of the field hustled for position.
The course dipped downhill within the first 1.5 miles and sent the tandems screaming along the fire roads at close to 50 mph. This was a scary feat in itself given the poor visibility brought on by thick fog.
At mile 5 the course entered the first real singletrack through heavy brush. The TandemBicycling.com team quickly made ground on the early favorites picking up 3 positions to pull into 4th. Upon exiting the singletrack the riders faced rolling fire road with interspersed sand patches.
It was the sand that would be the undoing for our heroes; entering one of the fast turns the TandemCycling.com team took a corner too quick, leaned the bike too far, and let the sand do the rest. To the ground they went and quickly by went 5th and 6th place.
Upon regaining their bearings the team pedaled on over the rollers and across a few more rolling singletrack sections to the next hallmark of the Sea Otter course; a sandy (think beach sand) .25 mile singletrack decent. One of those trails where you pick a line and hope it comes out at the bottom.
This ended up being the undoing for our team. Their line of choice was not good, ending with a bruising crash over the bars. The captain was hurt badly and took 10 minutes of whimpering to finally regain composure and stand up. The team limped to the finish in 9th to grab a few more points for the Kenda Cup overall but were left heartbroken with the poor performance.
The winners of the event smoked the course with a finishing time of 1 hour 31 minutes. Times for the remainder of the field were:
Position – Number – Time – Time back
1 – 689 – 01:31:50 – 00:00:00
2 – 1680 – 01:41:52 – 00:10:01.5
3 – 2043 – 01:46:22 – 00:14:31.6
4 – 303 – 01:49:35 – 00:17:44.5
5 – 1071 – 01:51:42 – 00:19:51.4
6 – 820 – 01:53:07 – 00:21:16.5
7 – 2220 – 01:53:10 – 00:21:20.1
8 – 1887 – 02:04:49 – 00:32:58.8
9 – 2359 – 02:12:56 – 00:41:05.8
10 – 2385 – 02:23:03 – 00:51:12.6