There’s one word to accurately describe the closing day of the 23rd Annual Volkswagen Sea Otter Classic Powered by SRAM: speed. Today’s competitive events lent themselves to the type of rider that leads with their chin – those hyperfit daredevils tucked in tight, mashing an enormous gear, and relying upon their inner pinner to get them across the finish line first.
Case in point, spectators were treated to the blurred spectacle of the men’s and women’s pro road fields as they descended the corkscrew section of today’s circuit races at speeds estimated to exceed 60mph. The riders seemed to be flying, the chase car in hot pursuit, all four of its tires squealing as it marked the rear of the field. Daniel Holloway (Mike’s Bikes) edged out a massive sprint field of 42 riders for the men’s pro circuit race win, while Jacqueline Crowell (Exergy Twenty 16) edged out Flavia Oliviera (DNA Cycling) to earn the top step on the women’s podium.
The pro downhill field left an impression of a different sort, each rider’s fitness paired with lightning-fast reflexes and power. Today’s field exhibited its desire to get the season underway by displaying not so much an appetite for destruction as a complete denial of its existence. The top five riders in the 150+ rider pro men’s race were separated by less than four-tenths of a second, the win going to world cupper Aaron Gwin (Specialized Racing). Jill Kintner (Norco International) laid down a dominating run, besting second-place Tracy Moseley (TREK Bicycles) by more than two seconds.
Athletes, brands, teams, sponsors and spectators from around the world come together for the Sea Otter Classic each year, and every year seems to be better than the last.
Photo by Alex Strickland