Last year at the 2022 Sea Otter Classic, as I was walking through a parking lot near the Expo I came across a pair of athletes with the most incredible bicycles I’d ever seen. They were rugged, heavily-built trikes with two mountain bike wheels in the front and a massive single fat mountain bike tire in the back, and an electric drivetrain was apparent on each. Both athletes were in wheelchairs. Later that weekend I’d see them, and other para-cyclists, compete in both the Downhill and Dual-Slalom events. It was the first time para-cyclists had been given their own separate classes in any Sea Otter event. I was flabbergasted and, honestly, in awe of not just the bikes but by the para-cyclists and how hard they were sending it on every single run. I came back to Sea Otter this year to talk with and document a few of these athletes.
Travis and Josh are back today with their third and final report from the 2023 Sea Otter Classic. Continue reading below for another installment of interesting bikes, products, and people from the show, in addition to a mega gallery of images from the three days of sun, fog, rides, and wild times at Laguna Seca Raceway. Did they save the best for last? Read on to find out!
We’re back with our second eclectic mix of findings from the 2023 Sea Otter Classic. Yesterday’s post just wasn’t enough to tell you about all the new bikes, old bikes, products, and people Josh and Travis encountered this year. In fact, we reckon even two posts won’t be enough. There’s a lot to cover, so settle in with your morning coffee and enjoy.
Sea Otter Classic is one of the largest annual cycling festivals in the world. Each April since 1991, cyclists of all persuasions have descended on Laguna Seca Raceway outside of Monterey, CA to cheer on professional and amateur racers, as well as check out the latest and greatest in cycling technology at the massive vendor expo.
And this year, that tech happened to be especially late and great, and there was more to talk about than usual. Maybe it’s because there were more exhibitors in attendance than normal. Maybe it’s the easing of strains on the supply chain. Whatever it was, Josh Weinberg and Travis Engel were on the ground all weekend and, over the next few days, will be sharing their findings and observations from the massive event. So, let’s get into it below!
Rach McBride, Non-binary Professional Triathlete & Life Time Grand Prix Participant: Rach McBride is, in the words of Kimo Seymour, “a fucking badass”. A three-time Ironman 70.3 champion, Rach has committed to racing the entirety of the inaugural Life Time Fitness Grand Prix. They are also the only non-binary athlete participating in the series. This is the second in a series of interviews about the change that’s happening in cycling as seen from the vantage points of people involved in one of the biggest drivers of that change: the gravel cycling world. For each of them, Erik Mathy sits down with the interviewee for a conversation, recording it so it can be transcribed down to their words.
This is the first in a series of interviews about the change that’s happening in cycling as seen from the vantage points of people involved in one of the biggest drivers of that change: The gravel cycling world. For each of them Erik Mathy sits down with the interviewee for a conversation, recording it so it can be transcribed down to their words. The interviews are then edited for clarity and brevity. This means removing the inevitable “Uh” and “Um”’s that we all use as well as conversational tangents. Erik also removes himself because, as the interviewer, he deems his voice isn’t important. It’s the words of people like Kimo Seymour, Yatika Fields, Kristi Mohn and others that matter more. This will be an ongoing conversation, so please come back often as further interviews are published.
The good ol’ Sea Otter Classic can be an overwhelming experience with its plethora of products and bikes. Here at The Radavist, we try to sift through the dirt to find the chunks of gold, which is what we did this year, profiling a selection of bikes from vintage, to new, including some randoms we found meandering the wind-blown aisles of this lovely event. Check out some beauts below!
When it comes to the trade shows of the cycling industry, it’s hard to beat the Sea Otter Classic. Set in the hills above Monterrey, California, at the Laguna Seca Raceway, this event has tons of charm, bike races, and enough products to wet your whistle. Josh and John spent a few days combing the isles, documenting the people, products, and bikes at the event. Today, we’re diving into the people and products, so read on in the Reportage gallery captions to see what they found…
This is the 5th time in a row that Sierra Nevada Brewery have asked us (PAUL Component Engineering) to build a bike for them to show off at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, which kicks off this week. So, we must be doing something right!
There’s dust, cold, chaos, and bikes. Bikes everywhere. Almost more bike tracks than footprints in the thick dirt of the Laguna Seca Raceway paddock, where rows of tents and more flags than the eye can count have taken over for the weekend – this is The Sea Otter Classic. It’s my first time not only to Sea Otter but to a bike expo- having gotten seriously into cycling during the quarantine this first wave of events post- pandemic is also my first wave of cycling events- period. I did my first bike race two months prior, and while there was an expo there it nowhere near compares to this ocean of logos. Being a photographer in the cycling world this weekend is a chance to connect with clients I haven’t seen in a while, touch base with connections I have prior only talked to through emails and DM’s, and hug the bejeezus out of the rad gravel ladies I photographed for ‘The Leaders of Gravel’, a series here on The Radavist.
As with year’s past, we love featuring this Chico collaboration between Sierra Nevada, Paul Component, and a California-based frame builder. This year’s bike is stunning and with it comes a huge photo gallery documenting this beautiful build. Check the official press release below with all the juicy photos and read on to find out how you can win this bike!
This just in from Sea Otter. It seems the event has been rescheduled due to the Coronavirus scare, yet the organization has not listed new dates…
Sea Otter Classic Supporters,
After a thorough review of the coronavirus threat, we’ve decided to reschedule April’s Sea Otter Classic. Additionally, People for Bikes and Sea Otter Classic will reschedule the Bicycle Leadership Conference.
We are coordinating with local authorities to determine the best dates to host the 2020 Sea Otter Classic and Bicycle Leadership Conference. We anticipate announcing those dates by the middle of next week.
Information regarding registration refunds and rollovers will be posted on our website once the new dates have been finalized.
Thank you again for your understanding and support during these challenging times.
President & CEO
Sea Otter Classic, Inc.
Wow. Just wow. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this great – emotionally, not physically – after coming back from a tradeshow. It’s been three years since the last time I went to the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. In years past, it felt like a flat-brimmed, Monster Energy, bro fest and honestly, it was kind of overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, that is a broad stereotype and isn’t fair, but I’m not the only one who had that perception. This year, however, the ‘Otter felt more diverse, more inclusive, albeit with a few hiccups – like the racing announcer, and that Canadian company with the ‘booth babes’ wearing bikinis to sell their cheap sunglasses, but overall, I was impressed at how much Sea Otter has improved.
We’ll go into this more in-depth later, with an article by contributor Erin Lamb coming shortly, so right now let’s dive into the tradeshow itself!
Whoa whoa whoa. What? Last year we saw a plastic shelled prototype of Niner’s full suspension all road, the MCR 9 RDO, and this year at Sea Otter, the brand teased an updated prototype, to the shock and awe of trail shredders and roadies alike.
Niner calls the MCR 9 RDO their Magic Carpet Ride, alluding to the cushy feel that full suspension offers all-day gravel racers. Their theory is the suspension allows riders to run their tires at higher pressures, avoiding snakebite tire tears, rim damage, and less rolling resistance, all with 50mm x 27.5 clearance. Their CVA design – constant varying arc – boasts modified leverage ratios for less travel and total lockout maximizes energy on pavement climbs. The frame is made from Niner’s RDO carbon layup, with one piece forged linkages, has a removable front derailleur mounts and has full sleeve internal routing.
While this bike might not be for everyone, it is cool to see. If you’re feeling this design, let Niner know in the comments and be on the lookout for the MCR 9 RDO late 2019.
We’re here in Monterey, California for the Sea Otter Classic, camping and breathing in some of that fresh coastal California air. If you’re here, make sure you say hey and we’ll see you out at the Laguna Seca Raceway!
If you’re heading to Sea Otter this year, be sure to swing by the Brooks booth (135) at 11AM on Friday for a casual, two-hour, mixed surface ride. A road or a ‘cross bike will be fine and Brooks will have a select number of C13 saddles for you to test out.
October will be here before you know it and with it, comes Grinduro, a different kind of bike race. After my pre-ride photoshoot, one thing became evident: the best rig for this race is a cross bike. Don’t even try to ride a road bike, because you’ll be walking and if you ride a MTB, you might clock in a better time on the descents, but there’s a 25 mile climb.
When Giro announced the Grinduro, Santa Cruz framebuilder John Caletti of Caletti Cycles began working on a cyclocross bike for the event. With bent seat stays, clearances for a 40mm tire, disc brakes and no-rattle housing, this bike is the ideal weapon for a day filled with Sierra Nevada gravel and crag.
My favorite detail on this frame in particular however is the Geoff McFetridge artwork. The evil mountain awaits and Grinduro is coming… Best get your rig ready.
Literally seconds after walking into the 2015 Sea Otter Classic, I ran into Nick and Matt from SF. They had driven in that day and rode their lock-up MTB commuters down to the show. In SF, with bike theft at an all-time high, having a beater that is both cheap and functional is key.
Matt’s Trek 890 features porteur bars, a rear rack, a porteur rack and a Strawfoot bag for cargo. Meanwhile Nick’s Mongoose utilizes dirt drops and barcons. Both bikes have a fair amount of beausage and can both be maintained with a local bike shop’s parts bin.
Thanks to Matt and Nick for embracing my request for a wheelie photo!