In the photo: Danny Yadron
Written by Danny.
Even for a bike race, the starting line at Sea Otter RR was full of very slight men.
Promoters fill the early NorCal race season with relatively flat races with relatively flat finishes. This means the slight men often lose out to the less slight sprinters. Not so at Sea Otter, where each lap contains a 3-minute and several shorter power climbs. The whole thing then finishes with a 2-mile climb up Barloy Canyon road. Hence all the skinny dudes ducking out on a Friday to play bikes in Monterey. "It ends with a climb!" one declared unprompted at the starting line. "I know!" I replied.
I woke up that morning with a mouth full of post nasal drip and feeling generally like crap. But I wanted this race bad, and I promised Travis, who also had a cold, a ride to the P12 race. So we crammed two bikes into the back of my compact and headed south chugging water to thin mucus.
Travis told me to forget about the cold and just focus on not doing anything stupid on the course, often my downfall. Keep the pace up on the shorter climbs to wear people out, but with 19 mph winds off the ocean, attacking was kind of pointless unless you had more than a couple of guys who could work well together.
We didn't have more than a couple of guys who could work well together. (Though everyone was super nice and sportsman like.)
People would go off, some would bridge, try to echelon the wind, then get caught. But Travis, being the nice guy that he is, was standing there on the main 3-minute climb each lap hollering when to let up and when to make people hurt to wear people down for the finish.
For future racers on a slightly less windy day, you probably could make something stick if you punch it on the climb that starts each lap and have a few people with you to keep it going on the flat up above.
After this failed again on the last lap, the bunch seemed resigned that this was just going to be a race up the last climb. Me and three others broke off early when things tilted up and played a game of chicken to not be on the front. As we approached the 200m sign I could hear Travis yelling at the finish and went for it. Dropped two of the guys and started to think I had it when a strong guy from Cycle Sport come around me with about 50 to go. As Travis yelled "EVERYTHING YOU'VE GOT! NOW!" I tried to catch him but came up 5m short at the end.
Still, not a bad day for slight men.