Hydrapak: When you first attended Sea Otter what was your impression?
Rebecca Rusch: Mass chaos, it’s the only event/place I’ve ever been where you have ALL types of cyclists present. Roadies, DH, XC, recreational and pro, kids, adults– pretty much the whole US cycling community coming together for one crazy, exciting weekend. Also being the beginning of the season, everyone’s showing off the newest, coolest gear. I felt like a kid in a candy store, not knowing where to go first!
HP: What is your favorite thing about the event?
RR: Having all the relevant bike sponsors, friends, and athletes in one place at one time for a super festive race and party weekend is pretty amazing. I guess Interbike has the same sort of gathering, but this is different because everyone’s outside, they all have Spring fever and want to RIDE BAD! No one is burnt out on the travel or racing yet– it’s really the launch of a new cycling season, even for those of us who’ve been riding all season.
HP: What will you be participating in this time around?
RR: I’m racing XC and maybe ST, and hosting a women’s mtb pre-ride of the XC course. I’m on a women’s speaker panel for Sunday. I have an IMBA VIP dinner, and of course, the SRAM Ladies Lounge. In between all that craziness, I’ll squeeze in training rides, meeting sponsors / friends and a bit of socializing.
HP: Any tips for early season success, or pacing yourself as the season kicks off?
RR: Well, if you live in California, it’s likely you’ve been riding all winter and racing for months and will be peaking for Sea Otter. However, if you’re like me– from the mountains where the snow has still not melted and this will be your first race and only 5th ride outside for 2012– be prepared to get your ass handed to you by the warm weather riders. My tip for the mountain folk, don’t stress it. You’ll be lapping the winners of Sea Otter when August rolls around.
Early season tips for people just getting on their bikes: check the ego at the start line and race for fun. Do not go out to fast because you don’t have the speedwork in your legs to support this effort yet. Ride like a diesel. Start a bit conservative and finish strong. You just might surprise yourself with a great result. If you blow in the first minutes, it’ll be a long race.
Early season tips for warm weather people who have no early season: Throw down at Sea Otter since you have more fitness and top end than the mountain folk right now. Go out fast and enjoy ripping the legs of racers you normally can’t touch. Enjoy that feeling, savor it. Then plan a nice recovery break after Sea Otter so you can ramp it up again for a 2nd peak mid summer. Too type A to actually rest and ride for fun? Well, then prepare to be really overtrained and burned out come July!
Early season tips for EVERYONE! Carpe Diem! It’s a new year and you’re riding your bike! Hopefully even with some new, swanky gear on board.