Sea Otter Classic

Sea Otter. I love Sea Otter. It is pretty much a family reunion...gotta cruise around and get my chat on and see everyone. Sea Otter was a blast this year, much different (for me) than years past but that's how I like it, change is good.

Not exactly the best downhill track but thanks to Truvativ and Momentum Trail Concepts it got a bit of a facelift this year. Looking at the track it looked almost the same but it rode a lot better. The jumps were well built and there were rollers scattered about which helped you pump and pick up speed. I had a blast riding the track. Let's just hope I get this crashing crap outta the system now, nice and early in the season cause it's not cool. I crashed in slalom qualifying and downhill finals. I still qualified for Slalom but in the 7th seed position. In Slalom, they took 8 girls...so 1 races 8, 2 races 7, 3 races 6...etc. Usually this would be pretty bad but there is a World Cup in South Africa this week so most of the WC girls skipped Sea Otter to avoid having a travel hangover for the first World Cup. Regardless, I raced Jo, who qualified 2nd...our first run was super close, I think that I had her up top but she outsprinted me at the bottom and beat me out by .07. The second round was super close again, unfortuntnly I made a bit of a mistake and lost all of my speed in a corner which put me out of contention. Anyway, Jo went on to get 2nd so that's sweet for her...best Slalom result ever for her. Yaaa Jo. I was freaking beat for downhill finals, but I think Sea Otter does that to everyone. Anyway, I ended up crashing on this loose off camber bit and that was that. Scraped my thigh up a bit but I don't even think I got a bruise so we are good in my book. :)

The SRAM Ladies Lounge was one of my highlights of Sea Otter this year. SRAM and Rebecca Rusch teamed up to make it happen and it was rad to say the least. It was open for 2-4 Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Bascially lots of ladies rolled through, we answered lots of questions. There were pro ladies from all disciplines which was cool for me too because I made some new friends, I have always been on the gravity side so there are very few chances to get to know the cross-country and endurance girls. I think all of the girls at Sea Otter were totally pumped on the Lounge!! SRAM got catering so there was lots of food and beverages to be had. SRAM also donated lots of schwag so some ladies walked away with some pretty good prizing. I think that the panel discussions were pretty cool in my opinion...I use the term 'panel' loosly. Basically, a bunch of us stood up front and we answered loads of questions regarding riding, racing, bike set up, training, nutrition, confidence, goal setting...etc. I defiently learned a lot from the other girls too. Pretty cool format if you ask me!

I spent pretty much all of my free time over at the Camp of Champions airbag. SO FUN. Coaching Camp of Champions is one of my favorite things...It is seriously like the most fun ever, and I am a coach, not a camper. :) Well anyway, COC brought the air bag out to Sea Otter so that lots of kids could rip it up, and they did. It was great to have the COC crew back together- I learned so much from the other coaches last year as they are all 'freeride' boys not racers.  I was so busy the first 2 days I couldnt get over there to jump, it was killing me. I learned to flip on the airbag last summer but I haven't flipped since last July, right before I broke my arm (in a corner not on the bag or jumping...) so I was actually pretty nervous to do it again. I mean you are only jumping into an airbag, but still. I guess you dont forget though as I nailed it the first time and every other time pretty much perfect. Hucking makes me happy. Can't wait for some more airbag time here in the near future.

Specialized. This was my first year in the Specialized pits and it was pretty cool. It is such an honor to partner with a company like Specialized and know they have my back. I had a lot of fun with the Specialized crew...the company is big so I am always meeting new people. Morgan Hill (the Specialized HQ) is only about 40 minutes from Sea Otter so the whole gang was around. Thanks guys!!!!

Lea Davison, a XC racer for Specialized does this program called Little Bellas that I got to be a part of. Basically she takes girls ages 8-12 and does mentoring through mountain biking via girls camps. SO COOL. On Friday I did lunch with the girls and played some games and on Saturday they came over to the Ladies Lounge for some Q&A. By the way, these were the most outgoing group of little girls I have ever met...they did not hold back, at all. Love it.

Lastly, I wanted to give a shout out to whoever came up with the Speed and Style. This event is soooo cool. I am so doing it next year. Check out the vid...

TravelingKatie Holden