By Roman Kilun The Sea Otter Road race starts on the Laguna Seca Race Way before dropping into Ford Ord for 8 laps of the brutal circuit. On the last lap the course takes a different turn and climbs 4km to the finish back at the entrance to Laguna Seca. There are too main climbs on the course, one through the feed-zone and another which features the KOM.
The day started with very aggressive attacking by Cash Call and Jelly Belly who after two laps found them-selves in an anaerobic stalemate. While the two teams watched each other a move of two very strong riders went up the road only to be seen again in the closing kilometers. Shortly thereafter, Shawn and Eric joined a chase group that would spend the better half of the race in pursuit of the two leaders. Meanwhile in the field, Daniel and Marcus kept me protected and kept me in perfect position going into the climbs.
Throughout the race the other teams took turns chasing and sucker punching each other with attacks. With about 3 laps to go I suffered a puncture and Marcus generously offered his wheel which allowed me to rejoin the bunch with little effort. As we approached the final climb, the early breakaway was in sight and all the climbers jockeyed for position at the front of the race. At this point Daniel took me straight to the front and rode a hard tempo for several minutes. The race started to blow up as the climb wore on and Kirk Carlsen made a strong attack on one of the steeper pitches. Only Alex Hagman could respond and the duo dangled in front of us by a few seconds. This forced the remaining CashCall riders to chase further shelling riders from the group.
As we hit the final 200 meters, the steepest of the climb, I was in the world of hurt and rode my own pace as the rest of my fellows sprinted for the minor placings. Ahead Alex prevailed over Kirk who would later go on to win the GC. I finished the stage in tenth at about 20 seconds back.