I have been eating antibiotics and coughing my lungs up for the last two weeks, so I decided to get on the plane and fly out to Sea Otter. I had planned on doing both the MTB UCI race on Sunday and Road NRC race on Saturday, but decided to leave my MTB bike home. I was pretty apprehensive, waking up at 5 am Friday, about the decision of even going.
The California Giant Strawberry guru, Anthony, set Brian Jensen, Catherine Walberg and myself up with the most awesome host housing possible. Tom and Wendy Duffy from Carmel Valley. A “ranchette” according to Tom. What qualified it as a ranchette was a corral with a donkey as I saw it. It did have a small outbuilding. But, in the outbuilding was a full on bike shop. Like, a couple repair stands and metal cabinets with replacement cables, spokes, etc. A super setup. Thanks Anthony. Thanks Duffy’s. They had a friend from Incline Village, Rob Holman, staying in their guest house. He was doing the MTB events. In between he was flying his jet up and down the west coast doing business.
Anyway, waking up Saturday morning, it was forecast for cold and rain. Rob was flying down to San Diego for the day. It took every bike racing gene in my body to convince me not to get on that jet and have a life experience. But, I have way too many of those genes and it’s hard to pass up a possible epic race.
We got over to the Laguna Seca about 12 for a 1pm start. Got dressed and oiled up. It was 48 degrees and raining hard. They had called the women’s event midrace, but were still swearing we were starting on time. Even though it was raining super hard with a bunch of gravel washing all over the course. Mainly on the climb and corkscrew descent.
Anyway, they did a good job cleaning the course and getting everything back in order. The race started an hour and a half late. Everyone was pretty cold and unmotivated by 2:30.
The race went about as I expected. Sucessfull Living had their full squad there, which seemed like about 20 guys (probably realistically 10). Healthnet had 5 or 6, same with Jelly Belly and Sierra Nevada. Brian and I stayed near the front most of the first half of the race. The descent was wet and fast. The field got way strung out every lap with a bunch of riders getting spit out the back. Two riders, Dan Ramsey (Sucessful Living) and Andy Jacques-Maynes (California Giant Strawberries-Specialized) got away early and the field kept getting smaller and smaller. 31 laps up a fairly good climb with a hard 100 meters of 25 mph cross wind at the top. With about 12 laps to go, people started racing for real. It split a couple times and, finally, Brian got into the “winning” move.
Dan Ramsey rode the whole day off the front and soloed away for the win. Sucessful Living did a good job of frustrating the remainder of the field with 4 guys in the top 10. Brian outsprinted Frank Pipp and 5 others for 2nd. He was the strongest guy in the race from my observation. But, that doesn’t always do it in bike racing.
I ended up in a group trying to catch a group going for 8th, but we finished 30 seconds back. I was 23th I think. Only about 30 guys finished out of 150 starters. Pretty hard race. Pretty good weekend for us.
Bill Stolte called and said he’d won both races in Oklahoma over the weekend. Pretty good riders there with the Mercy guys and Brice Jones from Jelly Belly. He’d been riding good in training, but winning both days there was super. Adam was 3rd and 6th too. Good spreading out abit I guess.
Still coughing stuff out of my lungs. Good to get back to Kansas and the allergies and smoke. Should do wonders.
Below are a couple photos from the weekend. Donkey pictures coming.