by Dana Williams The Sea Otter Classic Pro Criterium is on the Laguna Seca Race Track. It was a 60 minute race. The course is basically an elongated 'C' with two short power climbs and a 180 turn on each end. The first and shortest (75 meters) power climb is just after the start/finish line while the second (200 meters) is at the bottom of the 'C', just as you exit the 180 turn. The nature of the course definitely creates a challenging crit, favoring a powerful rider.
The teams with the strongest representation were Jelly Belly, Cash Call, CalGiant and Get Crackin'. Team Mike's Bikes p/b Incase weren't too far behind with six riders; Roman Kilun, Eric Riggs, Shawn Rosenthal, Marcus Smith, Daniel Holloway and myself (Dana Williams). It wasn't long after we started that attacks began. For the most part it was CashCall and CalGiant initiating most of them. We did our best to make sure we were in most moves, and for the most part we accomplished this.
At about half way through the race, four of us (Roman, Eric, Shawn and Daniel) found ourselves in a large leading group of around 30 riders. At one point, CashCall and CalGiant had two riders up the road and Shawn did an amazing job at the front for about 3/4 of a lap to literally bring them back. From this point on, and from what I recall, no other strong moves separated themselves. As we rolled over the finish line with one lap to go, it was evident that the race would come down to a bunch sprint. Unfortunately we weren't able to get a solid lead out going for our sprinter, Daniel, but ended up placing four in the top 15 (Daniel 5th, Shawn 8th, Dana 9th and Roman 15th).
Onto stage 2 tomorrow, the road race.