The Sea Otter Classic starts off with what is probably the most physically and technically challenging criterium courses that we encounter. The plan for Marc Pro – Strava:
1. Survive in the pack (don’t get dropped)
2. Protect our GC guys (Justin Rossi, Jon Teeter, Kris Lunning)
3. Try to sneak away in the inevitable breakaway.
Having done this race the previous three seasons, I knew that those two goals were much easier said than done.
The course is 1.1 miles long, with no shelter from the wind. There are two long straightaways, connected by two very technical winding 180s. It started fast, and only continued to get faster. The fact that there are two turnarounds means that the guys in the middle and rear of the pack are sometimes forced to slow to near-stop to avoid hitting the guys in front of them. Then on the straights the entire field stretches out and the guys on the back get gapped off. Repeat this about 30 or 40 times, and the peleton gets reduced significantly by the finish.
Kenda and Exergy were the two Pro teams in the race. Mike’s Bikes, Cal Giant, Simple Green, and us made up the rest. From the gun, the attacks started furiously. While the attacks and counter-attacks were occurring on the front, the field was also being shredded at the back. Eventually, a group of three snuck away that contained Andy Jacques-Maynes from Kenda, Connor McCutcheon of Simple Green, and Morgan Schmidt of Exergy. They steadily increased their time gap throughout the race, and Andy held on for the win. During the mayhem, we lost a few guys off the back due to the field splits, and Justin and Lunner went down in a crash. Justin was able to join back into the pack after “a few” free laps and a replaced cleat. Lunner joined back up, but was hampered by a decent amount of road rash to his hip and leg.
That’s a tough Crit.