Top Five Things To Do – A Guide to the Subaru Sea Otter Classic

America's biggest cycling festival returns to Monterey, CA - April 14-17

Sea Otter Classic
An overhead shot of the Sea Otter Classic expo area. Photo courtesy of Sea Otter Classic.

An overhead shot of the Sea Otter Classic expo area. Photo courtesy of Sea Otter Classic.

Highlights, Updates and Must-Do’s for the Subaru Sea Otter Classic 2016

This year marks the 26nd year of the Subaru Sea Otter Classic powered by SRAM. I have had the pleasure of personally attending this amazing event for the last 21 years and I have seen it change and grow by leaps and bounds during that time. It’s a cliché but it’s one that happens to be true: the Sea Otter Classic really does offer something for everyone. Whether you are a racer or a spectator, mountain biker or roadie, XC or DH, young or old, guy or girl there is something here for you. In fact, all of the events, displays, races, demo rides, casual rides and tours, food and fun can be a bit overwhelming. So, we offer up this Guide to the Sea Otter Classic – 2016 edition.

#1. If You Only Do One Race a Year, the Sea Otter Classic is it.

I was originally turned on to the Sea Otter back in 1995 by a friend who convinced me to race in the beginner cross country class… and I’m glad I did. While a podium was no where in sight for me, I still had a blast. The fields at Sea Otter are very large, but instead of being intimidated, I realized that “hey, there are a lot of other enthusiastic beginners out here going for it and having fun!” I had so much fun in the XC race that I eventually tried other races including the dual slalom and the road race. The Sea Otter is a very beginner-friendly place to try racing. It’s now been many years since I’ve done an actual race here, but those early racing experiences will always remain a bright memory.

This year brings an exciting new event with the addition of eMTB racing! Of course, there are still the XC, DH, Dual Slalom, Enduro and Short Track events as well as a variety of road races. Other events include a the Pump Park Invitational and the cyclocross race and more.

The Cross Country race course has also been updated this year and will provide challenges for all age and skill levels. For more information about the Cross Country race including a course map and turn-by-turn directions, check out: the Cross Country information page.

#2 You Don’t Have to Race to Ride! Demo Rides and Casual Gran Fondo Rides Provide Non-Competitive Riding Opportunities!

One of the biggest developments over the years has been the continual expansion of the Expo area of the Sea Otter Classic. If you are in the market for a new bike anytime soon or you are just interested in a hands-on test of the hottest new bikes, the Sea Otter Classic is a great place to demo these bikes.

The term “Gran Fondo” is Sea Otter-speak for “having a great time riding with my buddies on a fully supported ride without having to race!” This year, there are 3 routes offered, two for road cyclists (92 miles or 51 miles) and one for mountain bikers (20 miles). I have also participated in the road Gran Fondos and the mountain bike tour and they are quite fun. The lush scenery in the Monterey and Carmel areas are simply beautiful and the lunch at the end is a great way to finish a great ride. And you just might make a friend or two along the way! This year, there is also the Raleigh Open Road tour that is a 30 mile route all within the Fort Ord lands and includes gravel roads as well as paved. Find out more about the Gran Fondos and Tours here »

#3 Can’t Break Away for the Weekend? Bring the Family!

The Sea Otter Classic is a GREAT time to bring the entire family including your young ones. There is a variety of activities JUST FOR KIDS including an Egg Hunt (hosted by Skipper, the official mascot of the Sea Otter Classic, age 8 and under), Kids Races (bring their helmets), Specialized Kid Zone (help them build their bike skills), and the Carnival (bounce houses, bungee fun, slides and more)! And the best part? All of these activities are FREE and kids 12 and under get into the venue for FREE! Find out more details on the kid’s activities here »

NOTE: Extra Special Little Bellas Day Camp for girls age 8-14!

Continue to page 2 for more things to do at the Subaru Sea Otter Classic »

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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