Sea Otter Classic is always a favorite for out team because we have the opportunity to race our bicycles and see so many of our fantastic sponsors and partners. This years event did not disappoint with podium finishes in all three of the racing events along with many great meet ups and conversations with our partners.
The event started bright and early Thursday morning with a 60 minute criterium at 9am. We had five racers in the field navigating the two tight 180-degree turns along the Laguna Seca Raceway. As the clock wound down, it was apparent that the race would finish with a field sprint. Brian McCulloch, Ulises Castillo and Chris Barton lined up the lead out for Fabrizio Von Nacher who finished 2nd on the stage with Chris Barton close on his heals in 5th. The podiums at Sea Otter are a great experience with the big stage, backdrop champaign and fanfare.
As quickly as the riders raced, they quickly changed into their street clothes so we could begin making the rounds to see our sponsors. Kali Protectives are on board with our program for the first year, so meeting Saris and Brian and the rest of the Saris team was a great chance to learn more about the Phenom helmets we race with as well as their broad line of MTB, Downhill, Moto and BMX helmets.
This year our sponsor WD-40 Bike was providing a bike wash which was a huge hit especially with all the gravity racers and enthusiasts. We took some time to check out the clean and lube products on hand and even give a short tutorial for some up and coming racers.
On Friday, the team took on the challenging 67 mile road race through the Fort Ord wilderness. The length is deceiving as the course contains punchy climbs winding through the tight roads. After completing 8 laps of the course, the group finished the race up a 2K climb that gained in gradient as the finish line approached. Efren Flores had spent much of the race in the early breakaway, setting teammate Ulises Castillo up perfectly to follow the late-race attacks which placed him in the winning move. The numbers shook out to not be in his favor, however, as he was joined by two riders from AirGas in the finishing kilometers of the race. In the end, he worked hard for well-earned 2nd place finish on the day and the teams 3rd podium of the event.
We were excited to see Dean from KHS with Ron and the Kramp Krusher team. They have created a great product for on the bike nutrition and electrolytes that we are happy to be fueled by in our racing and training.
Praxis Works provides our slick BB30 conversation bottom brackets which have kept us running smooth all season. Thank you Adam for all the support!
With no road racing events on Saturday, we decided to head home Friday afternoon so the riders could have some extra R&R at home after a big block of racing and travel. Chris Barton, however, had the chance to stay in Monterey for a few more days and he tackled the Circuit Race on Sunday, placing 5th and adding one more stop on at the podium for the team. The Circuit Race is bucket-list race for many as the racers get to race the full Laguna Seca Raceway including the super steep corkscrew. The race was super dynamic with lots of moves up the road, and Chris was active through out the event, eventually sprinting it out in the finale to place 5th.
Our favorite part of Sea Otter is being able to see our fellow KHS Athletes Logan and Kevin of the KHS Factory Mountain Bike Team. These two stellar athletes raced both Downhill and Dual Slalom where Logan finished 2nd!
We were lucky enough to be hosted by Brian, Karyn and Soren Mehus in Soquel, CA for the event. As soon as Brian saw our team wrapped vehicles he said “wait a minute, I need to get something from the garage!” Out he came with this retro KHS Bicycle! It just needed some air in the tires and it would be good to go. Thank you to the Mehus Family for a great stay and the awesome hospitality.
Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.
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