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Electric mountain bike racing to make US debut at Sea Otter

Published April 13, 2016

MONTEREY, Calif. (BRAIN) — Among its many firsts over the years, Sea Otter is hosting the first official electric mountain bike race in the U.S. on Friday. The one-hour race kicks off at 4 p.m.

Sea Otter has built a 1.5-mile loop on the "swale" with singletrack trail and other terrain, and including challenging climbs and descents. The start/finish line is near the Dual Slalom.

"I think we're going to get a lot of interest, and I think we're going to have a good field," Sea Otter co-founder Frank Yohannan said. "This is the first time in the U.S. for this."

Men and women can compete in several age categories. Race sponsors Bosch and Haibike are also hosting a $5,000 "Industry Challenge" category for bike industry members. Whoever completes the most laps in 60 minutes will get to donate the $5,000 to a local trail-building charity of their choice.

Despite their unwelcome status on many U.S. public lands, e-mountain bikes are booming in Europe.

"E-MTB racing already exists in many forms in Europe, from short races, relays and 24-hour races to enduro," said Claus Fleischer, CEO of Bosch eBike Systems. "Why? Because it is exhilarating, physically demanding, and mountain bikers love it."

"Hopefully, including the e-MTB race at a large event such as Sea Otter will help start the conversation with riders and highlight the benefits of e-MTBs for both new and discerning riders," said Katie Sue Gruener of Specialized, which is debuting its Turbo Levo line of e-mountain bikes at Sea Otter.

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike, Racing & Sponsorship, Sea Otter Classic

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