Sea Otter Classic Enduro
We started the long trek out to Sea Otter late on Monday afternoon and arrived in Monterey on a beautiful sunny day! Amber, my teammate, and I were eager to get out and pre-ride the enduro course. I had raced it the year before, and I had loved the fast and smooth track! However, this year, I was racing in the pro category, not cat 1. I was anxious to see where my training would put me for the beginning of the racing season and to see how I would stack up with the other pro women. When we rode the enduro course, it was the same as I had remembered: the first stage was the downhill course, the second and third stages were the same smooth tight turns through the dirt and shrubs, and the fourth and final stage was the dual slalom course. When we were out pre-riding we made sure to check out any tricky parts of the course and to pay attention to where we should pedal hard and how we should ride the corners, tables, and jumps.
The next day was race day!! Woohoo! I woke up, got out of my tent around 6:30 to go pre-ride the DH course at 7:30, and noticed that it was foggy and wet. Pre-riding the course was a little sketchy because the DH track was muddy and slick. However, the race course ended up being perfectly tacky for our race later in the day.
The race went off to an amazing start. My first stage (the DH stage) was fast, smooth, and I pedaled as hard as I could at the end. The next three stages also went amazingly well. No crashes, and my times were putting me in a great place. The second stage had tight turns and was mostly downhill with some pedally sections; I kept it smooth and made sure to hammer on the pedals to sprint in at the end. The third stage of the course had a gradual hill at the beginning that took about a minute, and during that hill I kept telling myself to keep pushing and not give up. The last stage was the dual slalom course which is tricky because there are tight turns at the top around gates, rollers, jumps, and tight turns at the bottom around gates as well. During my race run, I almost missed a turn around a gate at the top, but I caught myself and made sure to pay attention and look ahead until the finish. Since I raced dual slalom at Nationals last year and enduro at Sea Otter last year I had some experience with racing on a course like this.
After the race was over, I was stoked that I had kept everything smooth and I had tried my best. Now it was time to wait for results to come out!
I waited a couple hours later, and I found out that I had gotten ninth in pro women! My goal was top ten, so I was extremely happy with my result. This was my first race of the year with some of the best female enduro/gravity riders and I knew that my winter training had paid off!
The next couple of days out at Sea Otter included hanging out with the team at camp and at our site, and walking around to visit sponsors at their booths. We stopped by Pivot Cycles, Industry 9, G-Form, POC, and Louis Garneau. It was great to finally meet who we would be working with this upcoming season!
In between races I got to practice the DH course with Amber, Bernard Kerr, and Emilie Siegenthaler. It was so rad to ride with professional Pivot Factory riders and I am grateful that they let us!
My next race was dual slalom. I raced pro, and I’m not going to lie… It was pretty intimidating, but I was excited to get to practice and race with other pro dual slalom women. I did not really have any expectations for this race; I wanted to try my best and simply see where I would end up. Unfortunately I did not qualify for finals, but it was a great learning experience and this only gave me motivation to try harder for next year and the upcoming races!
My final race that I participated in was Cat 1 19-29 Downhill on Sunday. I practiced this course numerous times until I got comfortable with the jumps, tables, and rollers. On race day I was nervous but mostly excited. My goal was top 8, and I ended up placing 6th, so I was happy with my result. My race run was super smooth and fun! It was awesome having a bunch of spectators watching us race. I definitely felt my legs hurting a little bit on the short uphill sprint halfway through, but I gave it my all and pushed through it!
All in all, Sea Otter this year was an amazing experience and I am so glad that I got to go to it, witness racing at the professional level there, and meet with sponsors and pro racers. This was a great start to this racing season and I am stoked to know that I gave it my all and that I am capable of racing against female pro racers in enduro!
by: Lia Westermann
The trip down to Moab was a great time for the Competitive Cyclist Enduro Team. Coach Garson Fields drove everyone down in Timmus (team van) and we stayed in a local apartment just outside of Moab. The day before the race, we managed to pre-ride two of the four stages, but decided not to pre ride the last half of the race due to the heat building up in the afternoon sun. That evening, everyone attended the rider meeting and found out that the race was pushed 30 minutes earlier than originally planned, making the men’s race start at 6:30am.
Saturday was race day and alarms were set for 5:15. We rushed to pack the van, and head out to the venue, excited for the race to begin. We made it to the venue with only a few minutes to spare in time for the pro race. I spun to the start, a with much nervous excitement being my first Enduro race. Soon after, Lia Westerman and Amber Raby started their racing in the pro women’s field. For the pro men’s field it wasn’t a terribly long wait, but it turned into a bottleneck for every other field at the top of the first stage.
The first stage was very punchy and pedaly with many short climbs on the rough rocky descent. There was even a fireroad sprint on that stage. By the time I got to the bottom, I was gassed and out of breath from the sprint of the decent. For most of the climbs, I rode with Bryn Bingham who ended up having a very solid finish in the pro field. The next stage was long and fast. The last two we came into blind, but still managed to hold it together and race well, considering most of us had never ridden those descents before.
All in all, the Moab Scott Enduro Cup was a great race, and there were no serious issues during the race for any athletes on our team. Everyone seemed to have a blast on the fun terrain even though the results weren’t the fastest that we have had. Moab just got everyone more fired up for the Big Mountain Enduro in Santa Fe in a few weeks and a great way to kick-off the enduro season
by: Danny Fendler