In the middle of the cornucopia of (hopefully) mud, mountain bikers, single speeders, and overall party atmosphere of Sea Otter, an NRC-rated circuit race is being held this coming Saturday.
The circuit course is raced on the Laguna-Seca International raceway where each 2.25-mile loop includes a 300ft climb with a corkscrew S descent. The women do 22 laps for a total of 81km, and the men, 31 laps giving 114km.
Last year’s race was done under stormy, windy and rainy conditions. So bad even, that the women’s race was canceled after 12 laps and no winner was declared.
While the big boys are readying for the Tour de Georgia, it is the occasion for smaller teams, or the young squads of more established teams to get their hands on an NRC win. While there are issues with the NRC calendar and point systems (more on that in a future post), getting NRC points is still very important to showcase a team and get invitations to the bigger races like California or Missouri.
“We didn’t get California, or Georgia, so Missouri is our big one. So we’re aiming to win a bunch of NRC at the beginning of the year so we can be included in those races at the end of the year.” said Ryan Yee, rider manager of Successful Living.
Successful Living’s Curtis Gunn loves the power course of Sea Otter and is hoping for a win.
However winning races or placing well is not a sure fire bet of getting invitations. Colavita/Sutter Home, has placed a man on the podium of almost all (all but one) oso far this year. But they didn’t get invited to Georgia, as I think they should have, so the team is bringing a full squad to Sea Otter.
Last year’s winner Dan Ramsey should be returning with a new team, Time Pro Cycling run by Eric Saunders. Other teams present will be Rubicon and Bay Area’s stalwarts Cal Giant, both hoping to gain an NRC win.
On the women’s side, a lot of teams are still looking for that elusive first win of the season, so we should see a great battle on the road. However, quite a few of the strong riders are in Europe hunting for UCI points to qualify for the Olympics.