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Sea Otter Classic
Monterey, California: March 18-21, 1999
[Race Map] [Detail Map]

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The Sea Otter Classic, the ultimate preseason race event, is a veritable rite of passage in the mountain bike racing community and a rite of spring no matter how damn cold it is here in Monterey, California. But with rain, mud and other obstacles already upon us this week, it seems we’re gonna have to fight for our rites...

Sea Otter Classic
The course
Everyone in the industry seems to be here again this spring, with newly painted race trucks and recently sewn uniforms all clean and shiny in the green hills of Laguna Seca Raceway. With the World Cup kicking off next week in Napa, California, and so many So Cal downhill derelicts itching to do some descending, the Sea Otter is the perfect place for everyone to test their legs, schmooze with old friends and eat great seafood on Cannery Row.

Now if someone would just tell mother nature that spring starts this weekend, we’d be set!

sea otter mountain biking mountain biking mountain biking sea otter classic "There’s two-wheeled action for all types; the road geeks, BMX punks, trials freaks and, of course, mountain bike dorks like us..."
Racing begins in fits at the end of this week, with the big races going off Saturday and Sunday. There’s two-wheeled action for all types; the road geeks, BMX punks, trials freaks and, of course, mountain bike dorks like us. There’s a road stage race going on along with the other sideshow events, but the big-daddy party is definitely the mountain bike stage race for cross- country riders, and a brand new downhill event to take care of the full suspension crowd.

This addition of an actual downhill course has brought out more downhill pros than normal, with riders like Cedric Gracia in town just for this race before he heads back to France. Of course all the XC pros are here as usual, from Cadel Evans to Laurence Leboucher. It’s basically the biggest gathering of mountain bikers of the whole season (except of course at Worlds).

Monterey is a great place for a mountain bike race, and the whole town seems to be in the spirit. The only problem so far is the weather — it’s rainy and cold. But once we put shrink wrap on our digital cameras and rubber boots on our cold feet, we’ll be ready to begin the season in style. There’s a bunny hop contest in town, live bands at parties and generally plenty to do besides bike racing.

Lots of racers have moved to new teams this season, so keep you eyes on the results to see where your favorite rider may have landed in the sponsorship game. There seem to be more tech trucks than ever — proving that racing is alive and well with the likes of Cadillac, Volvo, Saab and Yahoo! starting or continuing their world-class racing programs for ’99.

Rich Neare, looking for a notepad for The Mountain Zone

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