Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Sea Otter Classic

After finishing second year university, I was lucky enough to kick off the summer in style at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. I flew down on Wednesday and met up with the rest of the Norco Factory Team crew (minus a few XC guys and gal). After a long winter apart, it was great to see these guys again! I definitely missed my second family over the long winter months.

We headed to the venue on Thursday for a solid day of preriding and dialling the new bikes in. Man, did it ever feel good to get on my Team 9! The Sea Otter course seems to be built for a 29er... wicked-fast open descents and tons of fire roads give the big wheels a huge advantage.

Friday marked the first test of the year with the STXC. Lets just say it was not ideal... I felt pretty good, but I don't have the speed there yet. Happily, it's still April, and I feel like my fitness is right where it should be for this time of year. We spent the rest of the day on Friday relaxing and getting ready for the main event on Saturday; for me, this meant trying to convince myself that I love the heat... not sure that this was effective, but I was at least prepared for how hot it was going to be on Saturday!

Funnily enough, I wasn't really nervous for the XC. I rolled up to the start line with a decent call up and just felt like I was loving life! I had an okay start, but failed to remember how much the speed picks up right before we exit the Laguna Seca race track and hit the dirt. This meant that I had a pretty crappy position heading into the first dirt climbs in the race, but I managed to hold my own. I didn't feel all that great on the climbs, but I couldn't have felt more comfortable on the descents! Man, do I ever love my bike. I wasn't super happy with my result, but I felt like I rode reasonably well and I know exactly what I need to work on. 2013 is looking good!

After the race, we spent a couple of days in sunny California riding as a team, taking some pictures and video, and (of course) mini golfing. Lespy should probably stick to mountain biking... his short game could REALLY use some work. The highlight of my post race adventures was getting to ride the new 650B Norco Revolver!! What a wicked bike. It literally felt like the bike was made for me; easy to handle on the descents and super responsive on the climbs. Definitely the best of both worlds. Can't wait to race that bad boy this year! Big thanks to Norco Bicycles and everyone else who supported me this week! It's back to Ontario now for a couple weeks of local racing and training before heading off to Europe for some World Cup action. Giddy-up 2013!

Enjoying the early morning sunrise with my Norco bros.

All smiles for 650B!
I'm a sucker for a good sunrise
Mini-put yo. 
Sharks AND the dark... who knew mini-put could cross off two things on my fears checklist?
Monterey knows where it's at. 

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