In order to prep for Sea Otter, I’ve been racing the CCCX DH series, which is about 10 minutes from Sea Otter / Laguna Seca. I always have a fun time at this series because it’s a mellow atmosphere, and pretty nice people to socialize with… Tallying results is quick, and very organized, no waiting around to figure out what the standings are! This past weekend was a Sunday race (each race flip flops between Saturday and Sundays) so I showed up on Saturday afternoon to get some practice in. Each race, the course is slightly different, so it makes it fun to show up and wonder what the course is going to be like. I like taking road trips anyway.
I always get excited when I get in the car and look in my mirror and see bikes! Race #3 in this 8 race series, was extremely fast with many open sections that allow riders to hit very high speeds. The trail then turned into many switch-back and off-camber sections where tire choice and air pressure determined hook up ability on the loose and dry dirt in the turns. Following the switch-back sections was some railing fast single-track that led toward the finish area. With out any significant rainfall the trails were dry and slick, which made for some great flat track style turns where drifting and sliding the bike came into play.
If you’re familiar with the terrain around Sea Otter, you know that that most of the terrain doesn’t require a full dh bike, so I decided to bring a slalom bike along and try that out on the course and see if it made me faster in the corners. I was faster in the corners, but on the high speed sections, the bike was really unstable because of the short wheelbase, so I decided to leave my Intense Tazer back at the truck, and run my Intense 6.6. Practice went well, according to my stopwatch, I was faster on my 6.6 so that’s the bike I decided to race on. After getting some good practice, I was so hungry, that I spotted this turkey on the course… too bad those guns on the back of the jersey weren’t real! At that point, I knew it was time to go and get some food!
I plugged in mexican food on my gps, and found a taqeria about 5 miles away… Yum… I raced over there as fast as I could, and ordered chicken and beef enchiladas… unfortunately, I was so hungry, that I forgot to take the pic of the plate… by the time I thought about it, i was already 3/4 of the way done eating!
While eating my dinner at a table outside, I saw a mural painted on the wall of the ice cream place next door… hey, the reflection of bikes in the sky was a photo op I couldn’t pass up…
After dinner, I went back and setup camp, hooked up my laptop and watched Family Man with Nicolas Cage, fell asleep and woke up the next morning ready to race!
The weather was hot, so I decided to sport the new EVOMO XC Jersey – which unzipped in the front for ventilation while walking up to the top of the mountain! Got lots of compliments on the new Jerseys. I also got to test out a bunch of my new Birdz Eyewear – Buzzard and Ice Bird Goggles, and snipe, quail, raven and crow glasses – All were superb!
By the time I got to the start at the top of the hill, I had already planned out my strategy on where I was going to go hard, and where i was going to recover a bit. Once on course, I focused and started putting my plan into action… the dirt was so loose, and some of the corners are so slick and loose, it’s easy to get into trouble by coming in to hot. I kept telling myself to be fast in these sections, you almost have to go a little slower! I ended up have a couple minor screw ups and had both wheels drifting too much and came wide a little bit on some of the corners… at the bottom of the course, it’s rolling singletrack that’s pretty fast, but when I reached this section, my legs felt like they were going to fall off! I kept going – trying to stand up and hammer! End result was 2nd place, which wasn’t too bad -considering a couple screw ups…
All in all, another good weekend! I just noticed that in the podium pics, they have the 2nd place box smaller than the 3rd place box… guess they accidentally switched em’ – oh well. Next stop is the Sea Otter Classic !!! Hope to see everyone there! I’m sure there will be some fun times hangin’ at the EVOMO booth!
Michael “The Ninja” Takahashi