Sea Otter: Bikes, People and Suprises

The Sea Otter Classic was held April 15-18th in Monterey, California and once again is my favorite event of the year. XC racing, dual-slalom, dirt jumps, pump tracks, road racing on the Laguna Seca Race Track and an extensive variety of road, commuting, and mountain demo bikes keep the days interesting, while the people walking around make it entertaining.

The Bicycle Times and Dirt Rag staff camp for four nights overlooking the racetrack and demo area. And as long as the weather cooperates, it seems everyone’s spirits remain high. Rain can be rough on the trial magazines we hand out and also make four nights of camping miserable. But for the second year in a row though, the sky over Monterey was all sunshine with cool and windy nights. Perfect for sitting around a fire, enjoying a few beers and crawling deep into a sleeping bag after a great meal. A converted Weber grill into a wood burning stove complete with duct work also makes the atmosphere more comfortable.


With help from Robert Studdiford of TwoFish Unlimited and his sons, our booth remained busy, but not overwhelming. Kenda was gracious enough to give us tires and SKS donated pumps and fender sets to hand out to those that subscribed. Plenty of sunscreen, water, fried calamari, and burritos kept the energy level high and everyone got out to enjoy test rides.

Sea Otter also seems to be the event where people are the friendliest. Everyone has a good time walking around under the sunshine carrying a backpack full of merchandise, beer or energy drinks. Old school Schwinns, one-off bike frames, random new components or tools usually make there way to us for a photograph or conversation starter. Some even make it into print or on the website. I get to ride with friends I only see twice a year, make new friends and be continually grateful for the ones that I do have.

A few years back at Interbike, I met a dude named Ronnie Gallego and his wife Patti, and in a time of need I traded a pair of Dirt Rag branded socks for a bottle of beer that Ronnie offered. Whenever I make it out west to an event, it seems that I bump into them and we trade goods. Sometimes beer, sometimes music, but they always make my trip more fun in the 15-minutes we hangout and talk. This time around, and just when I was beginning to wonder if I’d see them, Ronnie and Patti strolled up with a smile. After a handshake and a few minutes of talking they blew me away and offered a nugget of CD to me. Spacemen 3 “The Singles”: 80-minutes of raw, psychedelic guitar from the mid-80’s. Perfect, and exactly my style. 


It’s also much more appreciated than the bogus speeding ticket the CHP wrote me. Thanks Patti and Ronnie for the CD and thanks to Robert and your boys for helping out at the booth and cooking incredible meals!  



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