MONTEREY, CA (BRAIN)—The adage “if you build it, they will come” has never been truer for the Sea Otter Classic mountain bike events.
Soil composition, topography and weather are key to building the mountain bike courses, which continue to attract swarms of racers from all points around the globe.
For 90 percent of the 1,500 downhill racers that show up at the Sea Otter Classic, it might be the only time during their season that they race downhill.
For some, like Joey Okamura of Carmel, California, it will be where they get hooked on downhill racing.
"I was just starting to look to the competing side of mountain biking and I found the Sea Otter Classic races," said 17-year-old Okamura. "When I first came to the practice day it was great. There were a lot of mountain bikers from all over the world there to do two things: race and celebrate the sport of mountain bike racing. The Sea Otter Classic is by far one of my favorite events out of the whole season."
The Sea Otter Classic takes place April 17-20, 2008 at Laguna Seca Recreation Area in Monterey, California.
World champions arrive from powerhouse gravity nations like Australia, France and now the UK to defend their previous year's Sea Otter victories against increasingly competitive fields. The dual slalom course draws the greatest flattery from competitors.
"All those berms and flat turns, you have to be energetic from top to bottom to keep up the speed and keep going faster, I love it!" said France's Sabrina Jonnier, who will return to Sea Otter this year to try for a fourth, consecutive victory in dual slalom.
The Sea Otter Classic is a four-day "Celebration of Sport" and is considered the world's largest cycling festival, hosting nearly 10,000 professional and amateur athletes and 50,000 fans. The event benefits the Davis Phinney Foundation, which supports Parkinson's disease research and wellness, and IMBA California, which organizes advocacy and trailbuilding efforts statewide and strengthens California mountain bike clubs. More information can be found at www.seaotterclassic.com or by calling 800-218-8411.
— Nicole Formosa