The Sea Otter Classic is the season opener for cycling in North America. This April event attracts some of the best athletes from around the world through the disciplines of Road, Cyclocross, XC, DH, Slalom, and more. As a kick-off for the year’s racing Sea Otter is a track to show the field what you have brought to the table and forecast how the summer’s race season could stack up.
Beyond the racing Sea Otter is also a massive draw for cycling enthusiasts for the expo, demo program and of course viewing the world class racing action. Beyond the racing Sea Otter is also a massive draw for cycling enthusiasts for the expo, demo program and of course viewing the world class racing action. This year Norco showed a sneek peek at a Carbon Sight that will be released next year. This is still a prototype model but shows an idea as to where things are going in the years to come.
With 13 athletes covering 6 disciplines of racing it was a busy week but also a fantastic time to be spending time in California. Representing the downhill side of things was Jill Kintner, Bryn Atkinson, Lee Jackson, Zander Geddes and Casey Brown. Jill, Bryn, Casey and Lee all took their shot at the Dual Slalom in addition to the DH. For XC and short track racing Andrew L’Esperance, Evan McNeeley, and Haley Smith all took to their bikes. Sam Dueck competed in the Speed and Style, Mislav Mironovic tried the dirt jumps and Ryan Leech was busy with his world famous trials demonstration.
Sweeping the weekend was Jill Kintner who took the event by storm. Starting off with the Dual Slalom she seemingly coasted through the field of racers taking the victory for yet another year. Following the Slalom Jill’s gears switched to DH where the stacked field showed a fight for the top. After a few training runs Jill was feeling confident on her Norco Sight and ready to race. With a clean run top to bottom Jill again climbed to the top of the podium to be awarded a second gold medal in as many days.
Photo by Jonathan Duncan
Jill was not the only racer making moves in California. Racing partner Bryn Atkinson took 8th place in the slalom and 13th spot in the DH. Junior ripper Lee Jackson finished in 6th spot while teammate Zander Geddes took 10th place. For the women Casey Brown crossed the line in 6th for both the Slalom and DH while Sarah Leishman was a shade behind on the downhill course in 7th spot.
The XC racers had their work cut out for them on a physically demanding course in both the Short Track and Cross Country. The team fought through the heat and finished mid pack among the world’s best racers. Haley Smith, Evan McNeeley and Andrew L’Esperance all had great races leading up to the 2013 season.
Beyond traditional racing and to the fans’ excitement Ryan Leech was back for another year of Trials Demos. Following a brief hiatus at this event, Leech returned with daily demos and free morning Yoga for the thousands of spectators and athletes in attendance. Through four days Ryan completed 10 trials demonstrations and 3 yoga sessions. As always watching Ryan is an inspirational and aspirational experience!
The Sea Otter Classic is an iconic event that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. If you have every considered making the trip to Laguna Seca perhaps 2014 could be your year to see it all happen?