Sea Otter stories
I'll make long story short: I had a humbling experience yesterday doing my first Sea Otter cat 2 race. I went way too slow on the corkscrew climb before leaving the race track, got stuck behind slower riders on the single track, crashed on "the beach" and didn't have the motivation to push really hard at the end, so I finished in 1:52 and 24th out of 59 riders. Oh well, it still was a fun course to ride. I liked the challenging last extra mile they added before the finish line. Good to hang out at the fair with Marco, Steve, Tom and Tick. I appreciated a nice cold beer at the mtbr booth. Francis had an excellent race: 1:39 or something like that. Wow!
Anyone else have a good story or want to hear how Menso did?
Last edited by JL de Jong; 04-20-2010 at 11:25 AM.
Also known as Menso's dad.
I raced against Menso in the Pro/Cat 1 SS race, so I know he did REALLY well . 2nd place right? with a smokin time somewhere in the mid-2:30 range I think?
Originally Posted by JL de Jong
I got absolutely crushed in it. Was feeling OK for the first lap and was riding with Fuzzy John from Niner as we passed each other back and forth a bunch, but then going through the fun twisty singletrack section on the 2nd lap, he started pulling away, and then we crossed the road and hit the next climb I tried to power down to start catching back up and that's when the first of many many MANY leg cramps cripped me. At this point, my race stopped, and it became just a matter of finishing and not getting DFL. Many SS'ers passed me as I stood next to my bike trying to strech out quad cramps. Argggh.
Glad I did it though. Learned a lot. Congrats to everyone who raced and a big thanks to everyone who yelled "do you need anything?" as you passed me on by..haha.
Oh and the new section at the end was brutal after 2 laps. ouch.
I was able to enjoy my cat 2 clydesdales race. I was about 8-10 mins faster than last year and then my nightmare came true. I additional 1 mile of singletrack after the bridge. I thought the guy that was pointing up the hill was messing around with me but he wasn't. I ended up finishing at 2:02 and 18th/ 28th.
The weather was great, and hanging out with a few of you and drinking beer was even better. Hopefully next year I can break the 2:00 barrier with or without the additional climbs after the bridge.
See you next year.
Weather was great after last weekends NVDC mud fest. Was racing with Francis in cat 2, got off to a great start leading the pack into the first twisty singletrack and got a bit of a gap. Right before the 3 *****es a group of 4 (I think) caught back up to me, I was feelin' great and able to race my race being in the front when the unthinkable happened....snapped a chain...ARRGGG! DNF!!
The Sea Otter volunteers were awesome, I came limping up to a couple of them and they were kind enough to call a SAG vehicle who gave me a ride back...THANKS Denny!
Good times for all.. this is what makes Sea Otter so much fun.
I raced Cat 2, 35-39. Came in 1:38:47 and 13th place out of 74. 9th through 13th place were all within 47 seconds of each other! If I had known that I would have pushed just a little harder.
Originally Posted by JL de Jong
I made a point to stay in the lead group through the paved section, just to make sure I didn't get stuck in the congo line. I figured I'd make people pass me, even if that meant blowing up once we hit the dirt.
The road section in the beginning is always scary. I heard a pile up somewhere behind us as we pacelined towards the dirt.
My Garmin read 215 BPM in this section - which isn't accurate - but it felt about right ;-)
As it was, I was suffering from pretty bad asthma (have had a cold the past couple weeks) - and never got into a good, comfortable rythm.
The HRM is a great tool to have. One hour in my heart rate started waining, so I forced myself to nibble a bit on Gu and Sports Beans, drink Gatorade and simply PUSH. I know I can sustain 170-174 BPM's, but after an hour it's just plain hard to motivate.
The HRM shows you exactly how hard you're going, regardless perception and pain.
I crashed once in the sandy stuff, got jostled pretty good in a deep mud puddle and slid out in a fast corner, but otherwise had a great race in near perfect conditions.
The bike did great, and I did a pretty good job of preparation, nutrition etc.
I think I might look into a few lighter weight parts and will have to force more electrolytes down my gizzard, next time 'round, as I cramped badly the last 15 minutes.
One day, I hope to get on the podium at SOC!
Stupid, but sometimes witty. Occasionally brilliant. Slow and fat though.
Mike Vandeman Sucks Dong
I'm too lazy to retype mine, but here is my writeup of my experience as a media photog working at Sea Otter (with a bunch of pics of course!)
Great weekend down at SOC...weather-wise. Camped in Circle C right above the entrance, and loved the easy access to the venue. Raced 40-49 Super Lame...errr D on Friday. My group sat on our asses with our hands on our helmets sitting opposite direction of our bikes when race radio called for a "hold the start." We heard that a rider in the group 30-39 hit a cattle gate? and that delayed our start 20 minutes. We could hear a helicopter, but I'm not sure what happened? Back to hands on the helmet, and we were off. I couldn't clip into my right pedal for a good 10 seconds, and I spent the hill climb trying to catch the pack. I red-lined to the top of the final climb and hammered the downhill to the finish in 7:55, almost :30 slower than '08 when I grabbed the wrong Blur LT at the start. At the finish, I felt like hurling a lung. I hacked for a good couple hours afterwards.
The next morning, it was Cat 2 Clydesdale and I felt ready to go. The group of about 25 started slow, nobody wanted to lead out on the racetrack. I was 7th by the time we hit the singletrack feeling really good. Then as we climbed to the top of the next singletrack section up to the jeep track fireroad, I let 3 guys pass me. I followed right behind these guys all the way to "the beach" until my front tire washed out and I flew over the bars. My bike hit my left quad and it hurt! As I crossed the road and up the steep singletrack, I started to feel "twitches". I was shooting for a 1:40 finish (not knowing about the final extra addition near the finish), but at 1:04 I started cramping in my left thigh. I thought it would help to get out of the saddle to "stretch." Now I was cramping on both thighs. I made it to the aid station out at the start of the final fireroad climb where I downed 10 mini cups of Cytomax. I then proceeded to watch most of the other Clydesdales and a good 10+ gals pass me before reaching the false top. It's at that point, I realized we were doing the extra finish zone. My left thigh was cramping big time, so I decided to walk the bike up the hills and pedal just with my right foot to the finish. I came across in 2:15ish. I trained hard, I felt I was prepared, but for the first time in 17 years of racing, I had to shut it down. After a couple beers, and sharing stories with other race buddies, I was able to put it all in perspective. I'm still not sure what caused the cramping? In 20 years, the only cramp I ever had was 4 years ago during Xterra Nevada triathlon during transition after the swim. I drank plenty of water the night before Saturday's race. I ate 1 & 1/2 bananas for breakfast 2 hours before the race. I drank Cytomax, ate Cliff shot cubs, and 2 Vanilla Gels during the race (a variation of what I usually eat/drink before and during a race).
Worthy 4242, I was looking for you at the start to introduce myself, but I couldn't find you?
I was wearing the yellow Fox jersey...
Can't wait for next year! If I loose any more weight, I'll be out of Clydesdale after a decade, and racing age group 50-55!
Congrats Menso for a strong SS race!
Every day above ground is a great day!
Originally Posted by iheartbicycles
Good on ya mate, way da HTFU!
Must of been that new rear shock.
I had a pretty good race. Finished 33/65 in Singlespeed XC Cat. 2. 1:49. Not bad considering I literally have only ridden my mountain bike once since last year's race. My technical skills were non-existent as I've been riding mostly road these days. But man it SUCKS to hop on a singlespeed and race it without any training. My back and upper body are so sore.
I think this was my 10th year. I've had good years, but this year was all about tradition and I had no intention of trying to stay with the front group. I started mid-pack and was in no rush to get a good position as we hit the dirt. About 2 miles in I decided I had to pull over and take a pee. Nice. It was a long pee, too. I'm such a rookie. I got back into the groove and then crashed on the beach, but no blood so I kept on motoring.
The crowds weren't too bad with slow tandems ahead and young geary age groupers coming up behind us. Some awkward passing and lots of hiking through steep climbs.
I had changed my gear from last year. Last year I ran a 36:21t on a steel 29er with a rigid fork. It was way too spinny for me. This year I ran a 36:20t and it was much better, but that rigid fork was a lot of work in the chatter bumps. Next year I'll add a suspension fork for sure.
At around 15 miles I was really hurting. More gearies started coming up on me, but I was passing some blown singlespeeders. I hit that last climb where they handed out beer and spilled it all over my glove so I stank like beer. Nice.
That last grassy section SUCKED. Who designed that crap? Overall I thought the course was worse than most years. There were so many washed out gravel sections and off-camber turns, plus heavy ruts from all the rain (erosion). Again, I was hating my rigid fork and of course I have no technical skills so it was 2 hours of anxiety for me.
But overall I had a good day. Not too much pain and a massive workout. Had enough power to finish strong and really enjoyed the warm weather this year. It's a great tradition but its probably not that smart to ride a singlespeed twice a year.
See you next year. Maybe I'll ride my mountain bike more this year.
Had a great time this year. Highlights:
Bumped into Hans Rey. Been waiting a long time to meet him since he pretty much influenced me and a lot of people to get into trials.
Got 5th in Tandem. Shout out to anyone in the single speed class who got stuck behind us, letting you by was fun IF YOU'RE GONNA GO DO IT NOW..sometimes heard a crunch or two if people couldn't shoot the gap before the trail got narrow again.
Aussie Bob holding down the mtbr fort all weekend.
Did some yoga with Ryan Leech this am, great way to start off the day.
Picked up a bunch of good swag, hung out with old friends, met some new ones, and good on everyone who got something out of being there, racing or not. What a great sport.
Saw Randy Spangler ride some speed trials today, or whatever they call the pump track plywood flow box thinger
I'll agree on that last section. My legs were cramping pretty bad at the end, and pretty much everyone I spoke to made a thizz face when I mentioned that last grassy hill section going up the old DS course.
So I dont have any awesome race stories - I am not ready for that. I was there today and it was the first Sea Otter I have ever been too, it was AWESOME!!! I drank WAAAAY too many energy drink "samples" and felt like a 10 year old with endless energy and no way to get rid of it so I ran up the hill where they were doing the DH races in time to watch the Cat1 guys come through......then I got a bad energy drink headache and felt like crap! hahaha.
The racing was awesome to watch - you guys are simply amazing! The speed you move up those hills is inspirational and at the same time just plain defeating, I have no idea how you do all do it! But I have the world of respect for all of you. Last and not least I have never see so many hot women in one place, WOW!!! MTB women are easily the hottest women I have seen in any sport!
"Originally Posted by iheartbicycles
We should all kick each others asses to protect the environment.."
Opposite end of IHB in Cat 2 XC
The early start time threw me for a loop from a logistic stand point: I had to get up at 6am, but was camping in the "economy" sites at Campground H -- just across the street from the DH course, so I slept from about 3am (when our neighbor DH kids finally STFU) until 6am Saturday morning. I opted to race Saturday instead of Sunday because there were a few strong drinks in store for Saturday night.
I made it to the track in time to climb the hill a couple of times before the start. I saw you, IHB, at the front of the line. You looked ready, and while your time doesn't surprise me (fast), the 13th place does a bit. Man, what a fast field of racers.
This being my first Sport race, I lined up in the very back. ~100' from the start, a racer went down, and the rest of us parted around him like a school of tropical fish. He had a front flat and was on his feet by the time I passed him. Aside from him, there was just one other racer behind me. The front of the pack was heading in the opposite direction far above me after they'd rounded the hairpin. For me, there's a calm that comes from being at the back of the pack. I think it comes from knowing that the only guys that will pass me are the faster, "more experienced" guys like FC .
I ate it in the 4' wide strip of deep mud that crossed the ST about 1/2 through the course. Several riders were courteous enough to point this out as I tried to leverage my front wheel from the mud.
After anticipating a short, choppy singletrack finish (a la '09), the extra mile surprise was not really fun, but I was glad it was there -- it felt right to have an unexpected challenge at the end of my first sport race. I finished in 1:58, putting me about 25 places ahead of where I started for 51st. I counted only 71 finishers, but I saw at least three guys carrying their chains in hand. One guy was cursing something furious about his 10spd set up as he walked along.
I could probably start a separate thread on the Campground H mayhem, but I don't feel like typing all night, but I will say this: Fire, bikes, lawn chairs, can-cans, scraps, blood and tears were all mixed up with booze in various entertaining configurations; It will be shame if no pics or videos make it up on MTBR from Saturday night.
Apollonaut 105mmop signing off.
Long story short - Cat 2 XC SS. I took a spill in one of the ruts while trying to let someone pass. Loaned someone a tire iron while I straightened my handlebars. And I swore up a storm during the last mile. Didn't finish last, despite my best attempts.
Thoughts on the course -
- The sand was much better packed this year than last, I felt a lot more stable. (Maybe I was just more capable...)
- The fire roads with all that gravel on them? Not so fun on the faster downhill sections. Oh, and my f***'n nevegals throwing rocks up at me.
- Lots and lots of ruts.
- The last mile of the course - sadistic.
Time to put more time in on the SS and do some hill repeats.
My Sea Otter while on the disabled list:
Friday: Show up, get wristband, t-shirt, lunch, etc. Marshal the DS races. Beer break/browse the booths, DS course, several more beers. Fancy dinner with good wine in Monterey then back to LS for campfire with cool peeps and more beer.
Saturday: On the DS course again for the pros, beer break, sell some raffle tickets, lots more beer. Watch the pro DS finals (with more beer).
I'd like to thank my unofficial beer sponsors, Linden St and Seabright breweries.
Next year I'm hoping for less beer and more riding.
Originally Posted by MTBShane
Congrats to all on your terrific finishes and terrific "experiences". For me, it was my first Otter race experience (so the grass hill bit didn't surprise me a bit) but everyone I talked to gave the impression it was a real "soul sucker". Personally, I had an awesome awesome time. Loved the beach and the pump track-y section. Could totally do without the stupid fire road climbing stuff, and all the gravel. And fell in love with my 5 spot all over again. Finished in a really really surprising 4th place (sometimes it's really great to be a Cat 3 woman )
Otherwise, had a blast checking out all the new gear, picking up schwag and spending time with friends. Many thanks to the crew at MBOSC for all of their tireless efforts on our behalf. Definitely looking forward to a great summer of riding.
This is my second Sea Otter and raced the Cat3 35-39 and finished 5th with a 1:39:40, so I was pretty stoked on that.
I though the course was great although I did wash out on the first singletrack descent. Was going to fast and caught my handlebar on a branch, over corrected and washed out the front wheel. Other than that, the course rode well.
Best part of the event, my six year old won a bike in the egg hunt!
It's amazing what a few pounds will do.
Just after Sea Otter last year I finally determined that I am allergic to wheat. Not gluten, just wheat. So I can still drink beer, just not wheat beer. Well, cutting wheat out of your diet will really help with losing a few pounds. I think I lost about 15 pounds compared to my race weight last year.
Besides losing a bit of weight, I actually stuck with improving my nutrition during meals and rides. I religiously used Hammer Nutrition Heed or Perpetuem and Recoverite whenever I rode during the last four months.
That all translated into improving on last year's time by over 20 minutes, although the Cat 1 course was a bit different. The lap transition was shorter/easier, but the end was harder. I was very pleased to finish barely under my target time of 2:45 witha 2:44:29. And very suprised and stoked that my time earned me 2nd in my age group and 10th overall out of 191 starters.
Wonder what my time would have been if my front tire hadn't developed a slow leak. Finished with 15 psi since my front tire was low on sealant, the one thing before the race I forgot to check. At least it didn't go completely flat, 3rd place was right behind me at the end.
Well I've been publicly shamed by my friends and wife, so I might as well share with everyone else my first experience at this great race.
I was fortunate enough to stand on the podium for the race I entered. After recieving my medal, from the podium girl, I stood back up. She looked up at me and said, "Want to lean down so I can kiss you?" I was a little taken back. Had she just done it while I was leaning down I wouldn't have thought anything of it. I kindly declined. My friend who was also on the podium, immediately heckled me. My wife also managed to direct some jokes in my direction immediately following the "incident!"
Beyond that, I had a great weekend!
Older & Faster...downhill
As always, great work.
Originally Posted by jorgemonkey
It was the best and worst of times for me. I git 5th in the XC cat 1 race, finally on the podium after 8 attempts
Did the circuit race on Saturday 45, cat 4 and got taken by another rider going down the cork screw Covered in road rash. There was a Photographer there who came up to me show me the photos of the crash....If anyone knows how to contact him please email me
Ride to eat, Eat to ride.
Tough break on the circuit race. But congrats on the XC race! At least you got that in before the road rash.
Originally Posted by merlin
Dude we were on the podium together and I did even know it! Great job finally making it up there! That sucks about the crash; hope your ok.
Originally Posted by merlin
In addition to my 3rd in the Cat 1 50-54 XC I took a 2nd in the Cat 4, 45+ circuit race, my 1st road race ever.
For a full report go here: http://platinumcycling.com/?p=909
Congratulations! Awesome job
Ride to eat, Eat to ride.
First race in 17 years (since 93-94 era Sea Otter). Race Cat 3 Single Speed with the objective to finish and not be DFL (bonus is to be under 2:10 and super bonus is under 2:00. Finished in 2:03 (hit 2:00 at about 19.1 miles so I will give myself the moral victory of hitting my super bonus). 21st of 29 in Cat 3 single speed. Overall, felt good about the effort and a really solid ride on the single speed.
Started out well hanging out in the pack (2/3's back going on to the dirt). I had not idea on the course so did not know when the single track was. Did well in the single track letting 3 geared guys pass without losing too much momentum and catching and later passing a couple single speeders.
Did not crash, no flats, no mechanicals (26" polished santa cruz chameleon with 34-18 gearing if you saw me).
Legs were cramping a bit on the short up hill road section and then later on the climb out where I wished I could go harder. Did okay in the bonus section.
Overall worked hard, had a good time and my kids got to see me finished my first bike race in 15+ years. Bike was fantastic and I am super happy with the results.
BLTc, Chameleon Single Speed, Speedvagen Road