Sometimes being nonstop involves some compromises. Like not having a place to sleep. My friend Aish and I were headed up the California Coast once more to race the Mission Crit in SF- and right on the way was Sea Otter in Monterey. We'd never been. We knew a guy who knew a guy who had a pass. We decided to give it a shot. After a tour of Stinner frameworks in Santa Barbara, we headed to Monterey late in the day. Everything was booked up- but we had the Prius and decided last resort- we'd sleep in that.
Midnight rolls around and we'd reached our last resort. A lovely resort it was: rolling green mountains and a winding road we could barely navigate in the dark (Robinson Canyon-- great place to ride if you're ever in Monterey!). We laid the seats flat, rolled out the sleeping bags and looked up at the stars. It was pretty great. Until the next morning. Kinda painful. The Prius-Camper still needs improvements.
Traffic in and out of Sea Otter wasn't nearly as bad as people had made it out to be. (But then, these are cyclists who probably don't deal with traffic ever.) I did see a lot of people riding into the event which would be a v. nice ride on a road or cx bike (hilly, decently long). I love the heat and the sun but if you don't- make sure you bring sunscreen and a light cover up! Aish says it's like Coachella for cyclists. It was so awesome I forgot to vlog it. I stole some footage for my vlog from the youtube channel of French pro-mtb'er Cedric Gracia and PinkBIKE- (both really awesome youtube channels you should watch if you're into cycling.) One take away: Sea Otter is NOT do-able in a day. It took me a day to navigate the whole thing! If I go again it will be 3 days: A day to explore, a day to race and a day to demo and party.
We left around 7pm to head to SF. I got to the Fixie Mansion around 10pm and went straight to bed, exhausted, only to wake up a few hours later with fever. NOT ideal for racing the next day. I managed to get Advil/Tylenol in my system eventually and lots of emergen-C to feel race-ready by my 6pm Qualifiers. The format was like Red Hook years past- 20 minutes to post your fastest lap time. I kinda suck at this format. It's especially hard if you're working without a team. But the field wasn't too big so I figured my qual time didn't matter too much.
I was wrong. First lap, the hairpin was pretty congested and badass Jo Celso was pretty far out by the time I even made up 7 positions. Of course she gunned it from "go" due to a $200 first lap prime. I would! The race got SO strung out in fact that by the last lap she lapped everyone but the top 4. I managed 7th place, finishing 12 of the 22 laps. In the end, Jo had 30 seconds on Christina Peck, who had 40+ seconds on Sydney (3rd) and Veronika (4th).
My Aventon Factory teammate, David Santos, faired a bit better managing 4th place in a VERY fast men's race. But the biggest upset of the night came from Cesar Valenzuela who took the win out from under favorites like Colin Strickland (2nd) and Addison Zawada (3rd). Cesar is just 18 years old, racing for local LA team Engine 11. I imagine there will be a lot of eyes on him next week at Red Hook Crit Brooklyn.
Phenomenal night of racing! Big thanks to James Grady, the volunteers and organizers, and everyone that brought racing to the Mission.