My buddy Scott and I hit the Sea Otter again and this year we had another comrade by the name of Lester join in on the fun. Lester and I drove over from the Capital City on Thursday and Scott headed out from San Jose and was already there with our camp spot lined out. The three of us took a short ride to give Lester a preview of some of the XC course. He raced on Friday mid-afternoon.
The weather was the best I’ve seen in three years of the Classic and while a bit windy, it was otherwise perfect. Scott and I rode to the top of the last climb and shortly after we arrived, Lester came chugging along and we yelled at him a bit and cheered him on. He looked to be in good spirits despite the headwind and mentioned something about beer.
We jumped back on the bikes hoping to catch him at the finish and get a shot of him crossing the line but we missed him. When we got back to camp, we found this:
Lester even made it on to cycling news!
Scott and I raced Saturday and woke that morning to Laguna Seca completely socked in with fog but relatively warm, especially when compared to last year. Shorts and short sleeves. It was a bit brisk riding through the mist but the forecast was for the high 60s. Once at the staging area we learned that the start times were delayed 30 minutes. I even heard one dude whining about how his nutrition and hydration schedule was now going to be off. I hadn’t considered that but then it really started to eat at me.
It was still real soupy when we finally started and I wasn’t off racetrack portion before I couldn’t see through my glasses for all the condensation. I had to peer over the top of them on the fireroad descent to the singletrack. Otherwise, riding through the fog was nice, in a limited sphere of visibility. The day only got better as it burned off and the sun came out. Absolutely cosmic weather-wise.
Scott and I rolled through the finish line just a few minutes apart, both of us having shaved off decent chunks of time from last year.
We met Lester back in camp, had some celebratory beers and headed down to the expo area for burritos. Among the many sights and events going on was the well-publicized “Golden Bike” that GT was sponsoring. Basically, the best placed amateur from one race gets to race the Golden Bike at the next race and either keep it or lose it to the next guy. At the end of the series, the top dog gets a brand new ride. Among the race perks are your own set of cheerleaders to spur you on. Perhaps to avoid upstaging the bike, they were low key and went somewhat unnoticed.
However, a 19-mile XC race and a few jumbo bottles of Lagunitas later and Scott was paying a bit more attention.
Then there was this guy standing in front of the Specialized tent…
Leading up to the Sea Otter and all weekend long we tried to convince Lester of how bad the weather typically is with overcast, wind, rain, and cold. He wasn’t buying any of it and just kept applying the sunscreen. So, we’ve already punched his ticket for a return next year when the weather most likely will be back to normal.