|Ned Overend, Durango, Colo. (World’s first MTB champion) - The world’s first mountain bike champion to be crowned back in 1990, Ned Overend, 52, never let up and he sustains his winning streak even now. As a professional mountain biker, Overend earned the nicknames “Deadly Nedly” and “The Lung,” for he seemed difficult to beat and his aerobic endurance at altitude was phenomenal. Even though he retired from pro mountain biking in 1996, he has continued competing and winning championships in endurance competitions as well as shorter race disciplines like cyclo-cross. Overend, who has traveled the world as a world-class athlete, cites the Fort Ord trails where Sea Otter holds its mountain bike races as some of the best riding around. “The most fun is rolling terrain where you keep a high average speed, like the Sea Otter course,” Overend said.Look for the legendary Overend in the signature colors of Specialized at the Sea Otter Classic.
Kathy Pruitt, Aptos, Calif. (National Champion) – Like so many racers who have converted their passion into profession, Kathy Pruitt, 25, has suffered her share of speed bumps along the road to becoming a pro. Contract negotiations, sponsorship agreements, and countless hours in front of the computer planning out race logistics leave little time to train, which is unfair if you think about it. Pruitt’s chief asset is her results and without time to train, how can she be expected to post good results?Luckily for Pruitt, that doesn’t seem to be a problem.Pruitt scored her first world title in downhill as a junior in 2000 and has been collecting national titles ever since. She is a two-time national mountain bike series winner and she currently holds the national pro/elite downhill title.While some of the other bumps along the way have cost her – Pruitt’s injury list is short but thorough, not to mention well-balanced (she’s broken both her right and left collarbone) – Pruitt dismisses those brief interruptions to her career by reminding us that despite some high stakes, she wouldn’t have it any other way.“It’s not always the easiest gig but it’s been worth every minute making it all happen,” Pruitt said.She’s been racing at Sea Otter ever since she started riding mountain bikes in 1997. If you don’t find Pruitt at the finish of the gravity events, then look for her wherever Jamis bikes has its tent.
Joey Bradford, Monterey, Calif. (Continental conqueror) - The first thing that raises eyebrows about Joey Bradford is the quantity of titles Bradford has to his name. 14x world champion, 13x national champion, 10x California state champion, and the only BMX racer to ever win a UCI Championship on every continent except Antarctica: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa. He’s won it all, it seems, but the real kicker is this: he’s only 18.The nephew of iconic NASCAR racer, Ernie Irvan, Bradford learned how to be a pro off the bike as well. He raced his first BMX race at age seven and has since built a career marked by determination and an unparalleled work ethic drilled into him by dad, Jerry.He made his mark on the Sea Otter Classic in 2003 when he picked up the win in 4-cross and took second in Dual Slalom. He collected three more 4-cross victories at Sea Otter before turning to BMX racing full time. A crash at a race in Florida just prior to last year’s Sea Otter Classic took him out of contention for the BMX races but Bradford couldn’t stay away and he made his way up to Laguna Seca to check things out.
“You don’t need much to race BMX at the Sea Otter, just a bike, protective gear, and an NBL membership, which will take you five minutes to fill out at the race,” Bradford said. “BMX is a great sport because you can choose to do it as a hobby and still have fun with it, or you can put in the work and possibly be an Olympian.”
While this year’s Beijing Olympics may be a little to soon for Bradford, he is in prime position for the 2012 Games. The greatest obstacle for many young racers like Bradford is the far-flung locations of most of the World Cup BMX races, which award coveted Olympic qualifying points. With Sea Otter virtually in his backyard, the BMX races have come to him rather than the other way around.
Dotsie Bausch, Orange Couny, Calif. (Model pro) - Dotsie Bausch, 35, knows how to suffer. Before turning to bike racing, Bausch, a former model, developed anorexia first and then bulimia and used drugs recreationally to fuel her eating disorders. She finally realized that she was killing herself on an installment plan and made a choice to live instead.
“I was slowly but surely spiraling toward rock bottom when it hit me: if I continue living like this, I’m going to die,” Bausch recalled. “Or I can choose to live. It was a sobering and very real moment that I guess I had to get to before realizing that I had a serious problem.”
With her health recovering, Bausch trained for and completed the 600-mile California AIDS Ride in 1998. She enjoyed biking so much that she thought she’d try out racing. She raced her first race at the Sea Otter Classic, where she competed in the rain on a challenging and technical road course. Bausch tasted racing and, like so many others, initially vowed never to do it again. She hung on though, and was rewarded for her efforts with a pro team contract in 2002 with the formidable T-Mobile team.
Has she replaced one addiction with another?
“I’ve learned that I have an addictive personality and I accept myself as I am. In many ways, I have picked a healthy addiction because had I not found my passion in cycling, I might have become an addict of hard drugs or worse by now,” admitted Bausch. “But I’ve never been as ultimately challenged by my work as I am every day in cycling. I’m super passionate about cycling and I don’t ever see getting bored with it, but if I did, I’d have to quit right away because I want to always be progressing as a human being.”
Now in her fourth year as a team leader for the Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light professional cycling team, Bausch also holds the national title for the three-kilometer individual pursuit in track. Look for Bausch at Sea Otter resplendent in the green, red, and white colors of her team.
Coryn Rivera, Tustin, Calif. (Cycling’s future) - Only 15 years old, Coryn Rivera already holds 16 national titles in road, track, and cyclocross and shows no signs of giving up her pursuit of global dominance. When she’s not on her bike, Rivera is a freshman at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif.
Her parents taught her how to ride a bike when she was only four years old and she won her first race as an 11-year-old at the Redlands Classic Kids’ Race. She was hooked after winning the same race the following year and started competing regularly in races around Southern California. Despite her impressive results and presumably brimming trophy case, Rivera remains modest about her accomplishments.
“With my so-called talent, I was recommended to participate in the California State Championships, where I pedaled to some good results,” Rivera said. “Then I was urged to move on to the 2004 national championships in Utah where I won my first two national titles. Since then I’ve been chasing down every state and national championship that came my way and now, a few years later, I have won 16 national titles. Cycling has taken me so far already and I can’t wait to find out what more it has to offer me. Cycling definitely isn’t a sport to me, cycling is a passion.”
Daniel Ramsey, Ventura, Calif. (Sea Otter victor) – Ramsey scored the biggest and most memorable win of his career in last year’s circuit race at Sea Otter. He successfully outpedaled local favorite, Andy Jacques-Maynes, who Ramsey regards as a “phenomenal athlete” with the “drive and determination to become a champion.”
Ramsey, 29, started racing when he was 14. He first raced at Sea Otter in a mountain bike race when he was 16 and then slowly picked up road racing after that. He turned pro six years ago and spent five years racing in Italy, where he met his wife and together they have a daughter, Lara.
Ramsey will race with a brand new domestic team this year, Time Pro Cycling. In addition to Sea Otter, the team counts 35 races on its schedule but it’s the Sea Otter Classic that has Ramsey charged up to defend last year’s victory.
“I would have to say that another shot at taking the circuit race always gets me fired up,” Ramsey said. “Going to Sea Otter is always a good chance to see my product sponsors and thank them for their help and support throughout the years.”
For more info or to set up an interview with any of the Sea Otter Classic spokespeople, contact Wendy at 617-308-2500 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About Sea Otter Classic, Inc.
The 18th Annual Sea Otter Classic will be held April 17-20, 2008 at the Laguna Seca Recreation Area, Monterey, California, USA. The four-day “Celebration of Sport” is considered the world’s largest cycling festival, hosting nearly 10,000 professional and amateur athletes and 50,000 fans. The Sea Otter Classic benefits the Davis Phinney Foundation, which supports Parkinson’s disease research and wellness, and IMBA California, which organizes advocacy and trailbuilding efforts statewide and strengthens California mountain bike clubs. More information can be found at www.seaotterclassic.com or by calling 800-218-8411.
source: Sea Otter Classic News Service