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

Sea Otter Classic

Highlights, Updates and Must-Do’s for the Subaru Sea Otter Classic 2014

This year marks the 24nd year of the Sea Otter Classic sponsored by Volkswagen. I have had the pleasure of personally attending this amazing event for the last 19 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 – 2014 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 cyclocross racing! Of course, there is still the XC, DH, Dual Slalom and Short Track events as well as a variety of road races. Other events include a downhill skateboard race, the Speed and Style competition, giant Air Bag jump and more.

Once again, the Sea Otter Classic people have completely rebuilt the DH course this year. Always an exciting event to watch or participate in, be sure to check it out!

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 SRAM Cross Country race including a course map and turn-by-turn directions, check out: the SRAM 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 (96 miles or 49 miles) and one for mountain bikers (20 miles). I have also participated in the short road ride and the mountain bike tour (it was called the mtn bike tour before the name Gran Fondo became popular) 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! Find out more about the Gran Fondos 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), Kids Races (bring their helmets), Bike Play 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!

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 has been the Site Manager of for over 14 years and 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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