The Sea Otter Classic is so much more than the race itself. It's about the community: the companies that create our sport, support our journeys, and the people that make biking something I am honored to take part in. There is non-stop action. Events for every discipline going on all day every day, music, food, dancing, and well.... we raced our bikes fast too.
Friday morning came along and the racing began. On the start, a world class women's field stood ready to give it their all in the short track. This race would be 20minutes plus 3 laps. Not short, but not too long either. It was time to put the legs to the test once again. The whistle blew and it was full speed ahead. After making it around a lap with almost the entire field, a crash in the sand caused the group to split apart. I found myself once again in the third chase group with three other riders. Kate and Jenny were fighting for the win and a large group was not far behind, chasing to catch up. Lea and I spent lap after lap working to catch up with the pack right ahead of us. Boy did we get close, but as soon as they were in sight the two other riders in our group attacked, causing the four of us to separate. For a couple laps I became a lone wolf, chasing to catch back up to Lea. With half of a lap until the finish, another rider caught up to me. I was able to get on her wheel and follow her until the final climb, where I could see Lea not far ahead. I sprinted the other rider and caught up with Lea. We entered the finishing straight and I stood to sprint, looked over my right shoulder "where'd she go?" Shoot! Lea sprints past me on my left side. I laugh to myself and sprint to the finish, stoked on having such a fun battle with my teammate.
After checking out the venue, rapping at the Little Bellas lemonade social, and sharing some laughs with everyone at the Clif Pro Team Party that evening, we got back to the hotel for some final race day preparations.
Saturday morning rolled around and everyone had their game face on for the cross country. I took my spot on the third row of the start line, with a strong group of women surrounding me. When the whistle blew, we were off and directly into the first climb. After lap one, the field began to split apart into multiple groups. I found myself riding with five other riders for a couple laps with Lea chasing from behind. When she caught us she lifted the pace and my tired legs couldn't hang on. I settled into my own pace for the next lap, chasing to catch up with the group, but the long road sections were not in my favor. On the last lap I gave it my all, crossing the line in 14th. It was another fun day racing bikes and continuing to learn more about myself.
The day is completed once again with good times, Maghalie and Katka crush it in the cyclocross race and Clif Bar tops it off with great music, food, and people. Love it!
Next up I will be heading to Europe to race in my first U23 World Cups. I can't wait for this adventure and to see what I am capable of. Go time!