The Sea Otter Classic is one of – if not the last – bastion of dual slalom mountain bike racing. So every spring the faithful (and the rowdy) gather on the slopes above Laguna Seca Raceway to watch some of the best gravity racers in the world do some head-to-head gate racing. The weather was perfect this year – not too hot and not too cold with perfect blue skies. It was pretty dusty, but otherwise, you couldn’t have asked for a better venue to watch a bunch of pros bang some gates. A lot of big names were lined up to race in the finals, too – multiple Sea Otter dual slalom champ Mick Hannah, last year’s winner Kyle Strait, Santa Cruz Syndicate riders Josh Bryceland and Steve Peat, Gee Atherton, Cedric Gracia – back from a huge crash on last year’s World Cup DH circuit, Danny Hart, Sam Hill, Jared Graves, and 2012 World Cup downhill champion Aaron Gwin, to name a few. It was a veritable who’s who of contemporary gravity racing. The women’s field wasn’t as deep but also included some heavy hitters, including last year’s winner and gate racing specialist Jill Kintner, Anneke Beerten and Rachel Atherton.
In the end, it came down to a battle between crowd favorite Steve Peat, racing on the new Santa Cruz Bronson 650b carbon bike; and regular dual slalom contender Jared Graves, racing on his Yeti SB66. It was a serious battle but Graves, who has won multiple 4X gate racing world championships, ended up taking the win. That left Peaty in second place and Cam Cole took the uncontested third spot when Mitch Ropelato dropped out because of severe dehydration. In the pro women’s dual slalom, Jill Kintner beat Rachel Atherton in the final round and Anneke Beerten beat Luana Oliviera in the concession race to take third.