Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sea Otter Pre-Ride….

In their infinite wisdom, the organizers of the Sea Otter Classic bike race decided to eliminate the Cat 3 Single Speed division and only have it in Cat2 and Cat 1. So I, being dumb enough to think single speeding is fun, was also dumb enough to go ahead and step up to Cat 2 so I could race against other single speeders and not just get lumped in with everyone else in Cat 3.

Today, Tracy, Nick, John and I headed down to Laguna Seca to pre-ride the course, see how different the Cat 2 route would be and try to get a feel for the route. Now, you need to understand that it has been a long, cold, wet winter and I, being not only somewhat not so smart, am also pretty much a wuss when it comes to riding in cold wet weather.  Add to that the fact that I was sick most of Feb and March and you end up with today’s pre-ride being my longest mt. bike ride so far this year and by far the toughest ride I’ve done since last year.

And boy was it a doozy. The new route seems to be quite a bit tougher than last year and although the length is only slightly longer than last year, there’s an additional 1,000ft of climbing. There also seems to be more singletrack which is very cool. Although for anyone behind me next week, it could just be frustrating as they’ll surely want to pass me and the singletrack sections don’t offer a lot of opportunities.

The BLM has also been out there doing trail maintenance which I guess is good. The rutted up fireroads are now nice smooth gravel which is great for the downhill and flatter areas, but makes climbing the steep stuff on an SS pretty difficult. In order to get up the climb, I’m forced to stand and really hammer which causes the back tire to break loose. I ended up walking some sections not due to tired legs, but to lack of traction in the loose gravel.

In addition, the organizers have re-routed some of the sections. The infamous trail 60 with the long downhill sand pit has been eliminated. Instead there’s a shorter, steep, and just as sandy section at the end of the main trail.

Today the weather was good. Not too hot, not too cold. Although towards the end, there’s a nice 3 mile fire road climb which is tough enough, but today the wind was blowing directly into our faces which only added to the challenge.

They did add a nice single track section at the end which was a fun little swoopy section back down to the track….it’s a good thing it was downhill too, I was pretty well shattered by the time we got back.

All in all we ended up with 20.3 miles and 3150ft of climbing……next week is really going to hurt…

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