After some powder skiing in Park City, we began the drive to Monterey with two great rides in Auburn and Aptos. It felt so good to get back on the bike and start feeling the flow. I could not wait to race at this fun event with amazing people and sponsors.
After traveling around the venue to see some fun companies and watching some great races, I was ready to get out on the course. There were thirteen girls standing by my side at the line and I was filling with excitement. We took off and I placed myself in third as we headed out on the road. Once we reached the beginning of the dirt road, I went for it. The group stayed together and we headed into the single track. I was behind a few riders and together we traveled onward. The seven of us worked together as we passed hundreds of men, who had started in front of us. By shouting out and passing smoothly we were able to move forward, but it was almost never ending. This really was one of the coolest races I have had, with a group of fast girls having a close race.
Soon we reached the feed zone and I realized that because of all the downhill I had not finished my bottle. So I grabbed the bottle from Matt and went to place it in my left jersey pocket, but I was holding it in my right hand. I was having a hard time getting it into the pocket and I was getting it into my left had when the bottle slipped and fell into the grass. I knew that I would need the bottle for this long race so I stopped and moved back to grab it. Then, the racer on my wheel grabbed it for me. I told her to race on and not to worry, but she went out of her way to do so anyway. I could not believe it and can't thank her enough. I hopped on my bike right behind her and we raced off together, to catch the other riders. We did so at a fast pace and held with them once again. We were still together as we headed into the extra section in the cat 1 loop and I took second on the single track behind a very strong girl. As we reached the fire road I looked back to see the seven of us still holding together. I took a few large sips of hydrating and refreshing Osmo and a few ProBar Bolts to fuel my body. Then the pace began to speed up.... hmmm.... I wasn't quite sure what to do. We still had a ways to go so should I save my energy or keep up with the girls picking up their speed. Well, I wasn't about to lose them so, I let them choose the pace and I kept up. Soon I looked behind me and found that there was only three of us left. I took charge and went into the single track in first. I raised the pace a little more and it was race on for me and one other rider. We entered back onto a dirt road and my competition took the lead, but into the single track she was back on my tail and I kept up a fast, but steady, pace. As the final climbs came into my sight I stood and pushed my tired legs to try to get ahead. With every hill my heart pounded as I went as fast as I could. Soon I could not see my competition behind me, but I pushed my legs onward, as I headed into the finishing stretch. Soon the finish was above me and I raised my arms into the air.
With a large group of girls this long race had been hard and amazing. I hugged these incredible racers as they crossed the finish and was so glad to see such a great podium.
A huge thanks to Whole Athlete, Dario Fredrick, Josh Snead, all of our great sponsors, and these fast girls for making Sea Otter so much fun!