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The 16-year mecca for cyclists continues to draw enthusiasts new and old
Monterey, CA – Each year the Sea Otter Classic garners worldwide media attention and draws the top Olympic, pro, and amateur athletes from over 30 countries for intense competition in front of audiences of 50,000+. “Despite being one of the first events of the year, Sea Otter is the climax of the season in its size and complexity,” said Sea Otter spokesperson, Marla Streb (Luna Women’s Mt. Bike Team/Red Bull). This year the multi-sport, four-day ‘Celebration of Cycling’ begins on April 6 at Laguna Seca Recreation Area in Monterey, CA.
“From beginners to pro athletes we’ve always done our best keep Sea Otter fresh by providing cyclists with new and innovative events. This year is no different,” said Frank Yohannan, president of the Sea Otter Classic. “We continue to draw the best pro athletes by providing challenging venues designed by world-class course designers. Our focus is on supporting younger athletes so they can live their dreams while engaging in an active lifestyle.”
“Sea Otter represents so much more to me than just another bike race. It represents my passion for life.” says 20 year old Cross Country Semi Pro, Nick Agate, (Maxxis), from Berkeley, CA. Nick began racing Sea Otter in 2001 and was the 2004 Norcal MTB League Jr. Expert State Champion. “Athletes from around the world travel to Monterey for one weekend every year to compete in what is arguably the largest cycling event in the world second only to the Tour de France.”
“I always look forward to this huge festival, if not to see all my friends in the industry, but to see the many new faces being turned on to our sport,” said Streb. “This year the Sea Otter Circus will be jam packed with exciting new action that is sure to thrill all those who come out! Once new riders attend the Sea Otter, they’re hooked,” said Streb.
Below is a sampling of what’s new at Sea Otter this year:
BMX Demo’s, Ryan Leech shows his stuff. Ryan Leech from Norco Performance Bicycles, undoubtedly one of the world’s best Mountain Bike Trials Show performers, will be on hand along with several other talented BMXers from GT-Mongoose to show their tricks for audiences at Sea Otter’s BMX Demo’s.
Mountain Bike Cross Country Course, a change in course and direction. Sea Otter’s STAGE RACE is the only North American event to be awarded a *S1 ranking by UCI this year. Sea Otter’s Director of Athlete Services, Jeff Frost talks about the new course, “we’re excited to work with the Bureau of Land Management to develop this exciting new cross country race loop. This loop offers so much that Sea Otter traditionalists have come to love and offers many new exciting challenges – uphill technical singletrack, more passing from the start of the race, and a downhill to the finish!”
Pro Circuit Race gets longer, and tougher. The Pro Circuit race continues to attract top pro road racers to the famed Laguna Seca Raceway. “This year’s Pro Road race is a classic circuit race and is already known as one of the tougher circuits in the US,” explains Kendra Wenzel, Sea Otter’s Pro Circuit Race Coordinator. “Now, with its added length, the race will become known definitively as one of the toughest. The men will race 70 miles on the Laguna Seca Raceway, 31 trips of the steep 300 foot backside climb and the women will prove their toughness by racing 50 miles with 22 trips up the famed climb and corkscrew, nearly doubling the length of editions of the race only several years ago.”
Recreational Bike Tours provides more distance options and new routes. Roadies can now choose between 20/40/100 mile rides and Mountain Bikers can enjoy new trails with 10/20 and Epic mile options.
Newly designed Mountain Cross Course. Glen Jacobs, internationally acclaimed Australian designer will showcase the best mountain bike athletes in the world on his newly designed Mountain Cross course.
SRAM Invitational Dirt Jump Contest, extended from two to four days. A spectator favorite, Sea Otter now offers four full days of Dirt Jumping excitement. The world’s best Dirt Jumpers will be on hand to take on the Sea Otter’s Dirt Jump built by Rob Giustina from On-Course Events.
‘The Schoolyard,’ hosted by Team NSO/DEVO. The Napa Sheriff’s Activities League has developed some of the best junior riders in the United States today. “The Schoolyard” offers young riders a tool-loan kiosk, repair stations, and repair and maintenance clinics taught by professional mechanics.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the chosen charity of Sea Otter Classic. Through a partnership with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, cyclists and spectators can raise money through ‘Make Cures Happen’ which funds cancer research that helps the hundreds of thousands of people battling leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Money will be raised this year in honor of Joshua Alfaro, an 8-year-old boy with leukemia, who lives in Salinas. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society will also raise money for their Pennies for Patients program through Sea Otter’s School Outreach Program.
Sea Otter’s ‘Path to Sustainability’. The Sea Otter Classic is committed to reducing its ecological footprint on the Laguna Seca Recreation Area and the adjacent Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property. In conjunction with CLIF Bar, Sea Otter will begin building an environmental sustainability program and give incentives to competitors, spectators, sponsors and vendors to do their part to reduce their impact at the event.
Event-goers can expect to find all the traditional activities they’ve come to know and love at Sea Otter including competition for cyclists of all age groups and skill levels in a wide range of professional and amateur categories; the largest outdoor consumer tradeshow located in the Sea Otter Village where 250+ vendors will showcase the latest trends and technologies in road cycling, mountain biking and recreational products; a plethora of family-fun activities including a kids carnival with all things bouncy, a bike rodeo and the Sea Otter Egg Hunt (now on Saturday and Sunday); the highly competitive Pro Gravity Omnium; and, of course, informal post-race tailgating celebrations in Sea Otter’s massive tent city of 5,000+ campers.
Event entry fees range from $25 – $85 (includes a free festival pass for a friend), spectator fees are $10 per day or $30 for a four-day pass, and kids 12 and under gain free entry to all Sea Otter Classic recreational events including family-friendly road and mountain bike tours.
The preferred method of transportation at Sea Otter is on a bike. Spectators are encouraged to bring bikes along so they don’t miss any of the action going on in other parts the Laguna Seca Recreational Area.
Maps of the race courses are provided by MotionBased Technologies and Google World and are located at www.seaotterclassic.com.
*The only events to receive more points than a S1 event is World Championship and World Cup events. UCI points are critical in determining start spots at the UCI World Championships and the Olympics. Visit www.uci.ch for more details.
About Sea Otter Classic LLC The 16th Annual Sea Otter Classic will be held April 6 – 9, 2006 at the Laguna Seca Recreation Area, Monterey, California, USA. The four-day ‘Celebration of Cycling’ is considered the world’s largest cycling festival, hosting nearly 10,000 professional and amateur athletes and 50,000 fans. The Cypress Youth Fund is the Sea Otter Classic’s philanthropic arm. The Fund provides funding to organizations that benefit their communities in the areas of youth, sport, education, and environment. More information can be found at www.seaotterclassic.com or by calling 800-218-8411.