Remembering My First Race – Sea Otter 2009

First of all, I love Sea Otter!!  It is where I first tasted this drug they call Mountain Bike Racing.  It was exactly two years ago.  I still remember my first race like it was yesterday.  A warm, April day in 2009.  I pulled up to the person holding the “Mens Cat. 3 Singlespeed” sign.  I was on my Specialized P.2 Dirt Jump Bike that I bought from Taylor.  It had the Surly SS tensioner with the bottle opener on it and weighed 27lbs with platform pedals.  I was geared 32:16, as it was the only cog I owned.  I was wearing my 5:10 DH shoes, baggy shorts (I still have never worn “mandex” shorts), and an orange Disabled Sports jersey that belonged to the great Terry Smutney who had recently passed away.  Kathy gave me the jersey and said “Terry would want it to keep getting use.  Race with his spirit.”  It was touching.  I pre-rode the course yesterday in that jersey 🙂 – Anyhoo,  all my friends from Mammoth were doing the DH and Slalom events, and I felt left out.  I needed to ride something.  So XC it was.  I figured, I’m in decent shape, and I live at altitude – let’s give it a shot.

2 hours and 15 minutes of brutal agony later, I crossed the finish line and fell to the ground as quick as I could.  Pure torture.  1/2 hour later, after my exploding heart dropped into range that I wasn’t gasping for life – I remember already running the race back in my head thinking about everything I could improve on.  That was the only race I did in 2009.  But I caught the bug, and thought ahead to next year.  Sure enough, I got in better shape before the 2010 Sea Otter.  I bought a XC bike, some clipless pedals, and trained a little bit.  I even pre-rode the course.  Cut 30 minutes off my time.  I rode one more race in 2010, and I’m now in my 5th race of 2011- so here I am… 100% addicted, and loving every minute of it–

2011 Sea Otter Classic, Pre-Ride Report

So yeah, I decided to skip the whole Cat 3 to Cat 2 to Cat 1 route, and have just been racing Cat 1 since I started taking this seriously back in January.  So I’ve been getting my ass handed to me for 3 months now.  Somehow USA Cycling let me upgrade my license to Cat 1 since I told them I got 4th at 12hrs of Temecula.  But my license still says Cat 2 on it, and at registration yesterday, there was some drama- but they finally looked me up and gave me the ok to torture myself for 2 laps with the big guys (4o miles, 6k climbing).  I heard they revamped the course a bit, and added more climbing, so I went on a scout ride to check it out.

I rode with a 32:17t, knowing that it would be hard, but I was curious to see if I could clean the whole course.  No, I couldn’t.  Although most of the climbing is manageable, there are definitely 2 hike-a-bike sections.  Some steep graded fire road climbs were horrible for out of saddle climbing, and I’ll definitely be switching to a 19 or 20t – still undecided.   There is still some fun, flowy singletrack, but conditions are very sandy in sections, and man, the recently graded fire road climbs just suck.  Hard to get traction.  Boring.  Oh well.  Luckily the climbing and descending are paced out well, and allow some time for recovery.  One lap is manageable.  But two?  Really?  Ok.  My goal is to finish under 4 hours…

Went to the grocery store and got supplies.  Grapes- check.  Bananas- check.  Apples, gatorade, perrier, yogurt, beer- check.

Our motel is awesome.  It’s close to the venue, and caters to divers that come to Monterey.  It’s got a nice jacuzzi which I used after the ride, and it’s got an area for divers to clean their salty gear- a perfect spot for a bike wash!!  Ok, out the door to go check out the venue.  Next report will be after the race. HOOT!!

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2 Responses to Remembering My First Race – Sea Otter 2009

  1. Silvia says:

    Alan! I am so glad I found your blog. Someday in the next few years I’d love to race more. I hope to do a few this summer. We will see. Have been pretty busy and haven’t helped with DSES lately, but I will again.


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