The Sea Otter Classic is a unique event. It's traditionally been the season opener, but it's also the biggest media event where riders race, companies debut product, worldwide media covers everything, the fans enjoy lots of scoping in the pits and races, kids do their thing on jumpy castles and little bike loops, food courts, Dirt jump shows, demo bikes, etc. It's really the only event where road racing, xc, freestyle, and Downhill are in the same proximity. That doesn't matter though, as a racer doing 2 events we are so streamlined into our schedules that paths rarely cross.
The real Sea Otter experience is a 6:30 am wake up call, walk over to the breakfast spot, then right into working on bike set up and practice. We didn't bring our mechanic for this event, so there was a lot of work to do. Bryn and I ended up riding our trail bikse for the downhill, with modified gearing and a different fork, and a smaller Rc4 fox dh shock in the rear. Also added a bigger rotor to the front for more power. Did a few runs on my actual DH bike, but it wasn't the right rig, such an effort to pedal on flat and uphill sections. Spent all of the first day of practice just working on my bikes, very frustrating, but ultimately got it right for race days.
The slalom bike also takes a bit of testing. Norco made us some custom frames combining tubing from two different bikes and Welded them up in Canada. Big thanks to them for doing this, very special as a rider to have the right bikes. I spent my only rest day last week building it from scratch. Built it, rode it a few times, then actually ended up swapping it over and racing Bryn's frame cause it was a little bigger and more stable at high speeds. Bryn used his trail bike in slalom with modified suspension, and set the fastest time on one course- 3rd overall in qualifying. I set the fastest times in women. It was not an easy decision, though, cause the only practice on the course other is the morning of the race. We traditionally on the drive down hit the Bend, Or slalom track to work out the kinks.
Anyway, I had a super weekend, taking double victories. Nice to do well for all our sponsors, Norco especially. They put big effort into the design of their 2012 line up, and those bikes are meant for glory. Cool to share the victories with them. I try to spend as much face time as I can with the people who support our program. We got to hand select our team, and really enjoy getting to hang with our people. Shimano has made a big effort as well with having athlete involvement, and I got the first win on the new Saint drivetrain in Slalom. All the engineers from Japan were there, learning and seeing what we thought of it. Love that. Fox too had the new 34 fork on my bike, which was awesome, makes my job easy. So as you can see there is a lot that goes into being ready for sea otter. Racers don't always have the luxury of just showing up an riding. That is the best part of the day, but media and sponsors are just as important sometimes.
After it is all said and done, we pack our bikes, put the tents away, go back to the hotel, shower up, and my victory treat is always a delicious coffee:) Ohh, really living right? haha, you would appreciate that too if you lived in seattle and spent as much time in the rain as we do. In training, when I have a good day, that is my victory:) I don't like beer or drinks like that, so it keeps it real and ready for the next race. My celebration is really in the satisfaction of proving to myself that I can do it. I want to win a Downhill World Cup, and that's what I put my intentions towards. Every race is an experience to get closer to that goal, good or bad. Luckily this time it was really good:). C ya. Jill