“If the price gets up to $3,000, I’ll buy everybody here a beer!” My attempted conversation is drowned out by the sound of 500 people cheering. New Belgium Brewery is auctioning off a signature “Fat Tire” beach cruiser bike. Proceeds from the sale benefit the Des Moines Bike Collective, a Des Moines based nonprofit. The man holding the current bid immediately raises his hand to increase his own bid to $3,000. And the cheers get even louder.
Being fortunate enough to live in the Four Corners region of Colorado, where the towering San Juan Mountains merge with the wide open high deserts and canyon lands of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, I am often tempted to believe that we are the center of the mountain biking universe.
With so many world famous trail destinations available in our backyard, it seems there is no need to pack up the gear and head for distant singletracks. After all, our summers are filled with day long epics along the alpine trails in Durango and Telluride; winter days are passed riding the roller coaster slick rock around Moab or searching for vortexes in Sedona; spring finds us celebrating the cycling lifestyle in Fruita or Grand Junction and riding Crested Butte in the fall is to die for. Sometimes a catalyst must arise forcing us to escape our “bubble” and seek out new riding areas. Dirt Rag’s DirtFest event in central Pennsylvania was just that catalyst for me.
If you love bikes, then the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California was the place to be April 14th -17th. Sea Otter, as it is most commonly called, is a celebration of all things bike and acts as a kick start for the spring cycling season. Besides the jam packed competitive schedule that includes road, short track, cross country, downhill, and dual slalom racing, Sea Otter is an amazing bicycle festival with something fantastic for bicycle lovers of all disciplines.
Companies from around the globe exhibit at the Sea Otter Expo, often introducing new or upcoming products and mingling with the 50,000+ attendees. Non-profits and bicycle advocacy groups are in attendance to promote their cause and raise awareness for cycling related issues. Top name professional athletes use the Sea Otter as an early season test of fitness and shakedown of the new seasons equipment. The entire vibe surrounding the Sea Otter Classic leaves you wanting to hop on a bike and ride, whether it be for a joy ride down the coastal bike route or a top speed flight around the grueling race course.
Here is a pictorial journey showing a few of my favorite Sea Otter memories.