Sea Otter Classic XC by Roy Palad
Sea Otter Classic XC (Cat 3 48-49 Men)
Always exciting to come to Monterey for this big bicycle venue. I would like to thank Ana and Allen for their support towards my preparation before the race. Also thanks to PAA members James Sabelis and David Turner for providing insight on the course. It’s probably been about 8 years since I last raced here, so I was excited. The cross country course consisted of a 17.4 mile clockwise loop with 2700′ elevation gain.
My race started near turn 5 of the racetrack on asphalt. The played AC/DC, which was really cool, to get us amped up before the start and off we went. I stayed with the front group until the first climb on fire road. Good tempo but not too hard. After the first climb, racers were already pulling off with flats and mechanicals from previous age groups. Then came the first downhill topping a little over 40 mph! Up ahead on bottom of decent I saw a truck blocking the fire road. My eyes opened up. Thinking to myself “What the hell!” A racer passed to my left and lawn mowed on the left grass of the fire road. I followed hoping I wouldn’t flat from some hidden object. As I passed the truck, there was a crash consisting of 4 racers on the floor, which didn’t look good. I stayed focused on my race.
As the race continued, we were going through some sweet singletrack and fire roads. I could hear the ambulance siren coming for the fallen racers. It was also hard to pass slow riders when riding down singletrack especially when there’s a long group of racers that are slow, so I just sat back and conserved my legs. However, I learned that you have to be aggressive and stronger in these sections, as I saw other racers pass me. Lol! After awhile I found myself always next to this guy with a yellow jersey, which had a similar pace that I had. Sometimes he would pass and others I would pass him. We also helped each other attack slower riders and he was aware of my whereabouts.
3/4th of the race on the fire road climbs I was starting to fade. So I popped open a big Power Bar gel as I climbed anxious for the downhill. Then I got to the top and climbed some more! Oh oh! Gulped down some more liquids as I was being passed by a handful of racers. I consumed 2 gels (note to self: next time I need to bring at least 4). After some more climbing I noticed some we’re fading as well, so I didn’t feel too bad. I started picking up my second wind. By then I could see the racetrack so I started picking up my pace. I was also anticipating the sandy section PAA members warned me about, but I think they took it out this year. Fans we’re going crazy at the last singletrack to the finish motivating us to go for it all! Exciting! So in the last stretch, I gave it all! Best feeling ever! I managed to finish without getting a flat or mechanical. I came in 21 out of 37 in my age group of 48-49. Can’t wait for next year!
Thank you to our PAA/Remax Team Sponsors: Pasadena Athletic Association, Remax Properties: The Loeffler Team, Louis Garneau, and PowerBar.