Sustainability at the Sea Otter Classic


So hot it’s cool: Solar power comes to the Sea Otter Classic

MONTEREY, Calif. Each of the past several years, the Sea Otter Classic has substantially subtracted from its carbon footprint by ratcheting up efforts to make the event more sustainable. Incentives to reduce waste, preferred parking for carpoolers and hybrid or other alternative fuel vehicles, and a recycling program in a league of its own are the bedrock of Sea Otter’s sustainable initiatives. Partnerships with companies that live by their sustainable words, like Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Clif Bar & Co., Pedro’s, and Toyota, have strengthened and expanded Sea Otter’s “green” mission and new this year, if you like beer, then you’ll want to sample some brew at Sierra Nevada’s Solar Draft Trailer.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has developed a refrigerated beer trailer unlike any other 17′ trailer – this one is actually powered by solar energy. When it arrives at Sea Otter, it will have 15 photovoltaic panels that transfer solar energy to 14 batteries. Energy is converted from direct current (DC) into the more easy-to-use alternate current (AC) electricity, and then powers a compressor, which keeps the trailer at 36 degrees Fahrenheit and your beers cold.


“The idea is that, when we do an event that is three or four days long, like the Sea Otter Classic, we can pretty much set up in an open field and operate completely on solar power for the duration of the event,” said Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Eric Silverman.

2010 also marks Sierra Nevada’s third year as Sea Otter’s “Official Recycling Sponsor.” While recycling may be a small step, it is an important one. Since Day 1, Sierra Nevada’s expressed goal for the Sea Otter Classic has been to make recycling easy. The success of the program has earned Sea Otter “best in its class” praise for event recycling from Monterey County.

Sierra Nevada has pioneered many innovations to conserve resources and focus on sustainable business practices. The solar-powered beer trailer and recycling program are distinct ways of extending the company’s environmental commitment to the events that they sponsor.

Clif Bar Strengthens Measures to Inspire Healthy Living

Clif Bar & Co. set new trends in sport nutrition years ago by ambitiously replacing commercial ingredients with organic ingredients in every available instance of their expansive product range. Unwilling to rest on the satisfaction of improving a person’s nutritional wellbeing, Clif Bar took aggressive measures to improve the planet’s wellbeing too by launching programs like the Wrapper Brigade and the 2 Mile Challenge to inspire people to engage in a healthier, more conscientious lifestyle.

Clif Bar will still take all brands of energy bar wrappers (that’s right, ALL of them) at their booth, number 227, to later be converted into useful objects like tote bags and purses. In partnership with Terracycle, Clif Bar’s Wrapper Brigade wrapper-recycling program is now in its third year.


Since 2007, the Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge has been challenging people to fight global warming by walking or riding bikes for trips that are two miles or less. Take the challenge where you can start from scratch by designing the perfect bike or join a team and connect with a nationwide network of peers who are doing their part to fight global warming.

In addition to options for the public to reduce their carbon footprint, each year every Clif employee “walks the talk” by riding bikes to and from the venue each day.
“Eight miles traveled by car puts roughly 8 lbs of CO2 in the atmosphere,” said Clif Bar’s Peter Berridge. “Between Luna (they ride too) and Clif Bar staff, we’re 10 13 people on any day at Sea Otter so you might say, we’re sparing 160 208 lbs (round trip) of carbon emissions each day. That adds up to 640 832 for the full event.”

16 lbs of carbon spared daily by each Clif/Luna crew member may not sound like much but every little measure taken in a given day and week adds up.

“Simply choosing to ride your bike instead of drive your car once or twice a week can make a big difference in your carbon footprint on the planet,” continued Berridge. “This sort of thinking is at the heart of Clif Bar’s 2 Mile Challenge and that’s partly why Clif Bar has always believed it is important to walk the talk’ here at the Sea Otter. As outdoor enthusiasts, we’ve all got a duty to help protect the places where we play; the planet’s overall health is part of that equation. As bicyclists, every one of us is well-equipped to do the right thing.”

Clean Bikes With a Clear Conscience at the Pedro’s Bike Wash

Pedro’s, the bicycle care brand from Massachusetts with a strong environmental ethos, is back for a fifth year as a partner to the Sea Otter Classic’s sustainability initiatives. Pedro’s will offer all participants free bike care during the event at a special clean-and-lube station. The station will feature the company’s high performance and biodegradable care products including Green Fizz bike wash, Pro J degreaser and GO! chain lube.

“We’re committed to keeping all the bikes at Sea Otter rolling. We just don’t think you need to poison the planet to do it. That’s why our focus is on effective bike care done responsibly” commented Pedro’s CEO Christopher Zigmont.

Preferential treatment for hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles

2010 marks the fourth year in which anyone arriving at Sea Otter in a hybrid vehicle or other alternative fuel vehicle will be directed to premier reserved parking. Carpools of four or more people per vehicle will also gain access. The reserved parking area is hosted by Toyota.


Sea Otter’s evolution as a sustainable event has emerged as a model against which other events in the Monterey Bay area get measured. By partnering with companies that share Sea Otter’s compassion for the environment and healthy living, Sea Otter shows by example that sustainability is a process made greater by the sum of its parts.

About the Sea Otter Classic

The 20th Annual Sea Otter Classic will be held April 15-18, 2010, at the Laguna Seca Recreation Area, Monterey, Calif. The four-day cycling festival hosts nearly 10,000 professional and amateur athletes and 50,000 fans. More information can be found at or by calling 800.218.8411.


source: Chris Worden
Sea Otter Classic – Media/PR

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.

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