Well, Sea Otter has come and gone. It was a very busy 4 days down in Monterey. We visited many of the vendors that we carry and created videos to show you the products and that you could hear more info on them. Check out our YouTube channel to see the playlist of videos from Sea Otter. It is listed as Slopestyle Sports, We need 100 subscribers to get a custom domain on YouTube, Please subscribe and tell your friends to subscribe as well.
Now for the race update… Well, I finished the race. There were over 600 people that were registered for the race. In my category alone there were over 90 people. In the morning I got a practice lap on Stage 1, which was good. As I have seen videos and the track live many times and I had a good idea of what to expect. But there is nothing like actually riding the track. My start time was 11:20 so I had time to go and do a practice lap on Stage 4. This was fun and short dual slalom course, I enjoyed my trip down the track.
I was feeling good at the start of the race, I had passed someone on the practice lap of Stage 1 so I felt like I could go even faster. When it came to race time I entered the start house and proceed to go 20 seconds after the person in front of me. About half way down the track I had caught up to him and was looking for a way to pass. Then we both got passed by the rider behind me. So I passed right after that.
The transfer to Stage 2 was the longest transfer and had some big hills to climb. There was a little wait to start at Stage 2 but it felt good to take my time. At the end of Stage 2 my legs started to cramp up. I finished the Stage and took a few minutes to rest before heading to Stage 3. On the climb up to Stage 3, my legs cramped again forcing me to walk it off. There was a bigger line at Stage 3 for the start. “Good” was all I could think of as I sat and waited to start, extra rest time.
Stage 3 started with a slight climb, where I was passed pretty quickly by the stronger riders. At this point, all I wanted to do was survive the ride. These two trails Stage 2 and 3 were the longest trails and very fun flowy single track. The ride out of the canyon to Stage 4 was a long gradual climb. Of course, my legs cramped again I walked and pushed my way to the top.
Stage 4 was over before I even knew that it had happened. My son and Garen Peckenham were there to cheer me on and it was oddly weird that I could hear them as I rode down the Stage. It was over so quickly that I wanted to do it again. I finished in 85th place not bad for someone that had only 1 day on the bike before the race. So as I like to say a top 100 finish.
I am definitely signing up for more races as it gives me a reason to get on the bike and ride. It forces me to train for the event. Speaking of next event I have signed up to ride sweep for the Carson City Epic 35 mile race. This is the second year for the event, they have many different rides and events during the course of the weekend. Even if you are not going to race you should go and check out the festivities.
Rest of the Team
How did the rest of Team Slopestyle do at Sea Otter?? Joel had some great practice laps on the downhill course and was feeling great. During the race, he broke his chain before the little climb and the rest of the pedaling sections. He still finished the race in 21st position out of 48. Not a bad result with a broken chain. For Garen, this was his first time stepping up in categories. He ended up racing on a bike that he had never ridden before and only had a few laps to practice with the bike. He placed 36th out of 48 in the downhill.
For the dual slalom, they got in several laps of practice. While the course is similar each year they rebuild and modify it every time. In dual slalom, they have to qualify to race in the main event on Sunday. Joel put in two good qualifying laps and qualified in 9th position and would race on Sunday. Garen had a good first run, his second run he had a slight bobble near the end of the run which cost him time. He did not qualify for Sunday but he is even more determined to race again next year at Sea Otter.
Sunday is a dual elimination format where riders are bracketed and the winners move on to the next round. Joel’s first round opponent was the person that qualified in 8th place. This was going to be a very even match. They were neck and neck the whole way down the track and Joel was slightly behind 1.01 sec. For the next lap and for Joel to move on he would need to win by 1.01 sec. Once again they were side by side and Joel was pulling into the lead. At the end, Joel crossed the finish line ahead of the other rider by .91 of a sec. It was a very close race and a bummer that Joel did not get to move on to the next round.
Dual Slalom is an event that we need to see more of around here. There is a dual slalom series at Truckee Bike park and everyone should go and race it is fun and something different. Go give it a shot.