The main purpose of my recent trip to the 2011 Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, CA was a homecoming of sorts for the 2011 Airborne Flight Crew members. It is the one time a year that we are brought together from across the country. Some of us race, some of us banter and we all work the Airborne Bicycles booth for a couple hours a day during the festival.
The team has already been introduced over on the Airborne Bikes Blog, they do it better than I so click on over there to read!
Round Up of Events
Day 1 (Wednesday) :
Some members were flown in a couple days early to get become Airborne models for the website and print use. From my understanding the photos were taken by Ian Hyland of PinkBike fame. There was a ton of hiking, re-doing shots and back and forth shuttling. (This is also the day I was flying all over the country getting to Monterey.)
Day 2 (Thursday) :
Every day started off with unpacking the trailer we had packed with bikes the night before. This is the official first day of the Sea Otter Classic. We were all given our Airborne Flight Crew gear. Dickies work shirts, hoodie, beanie, long sleeve jersey, a couple XC jerseys, shorts, and a downhill jersey.
It is “industry day” so it is the day most vendors are getting their booth’s properly setup, running through demo bikes again and it is also a good time to split up booth duties to walk the festival. Airborne Flight Crew members test rode all the models, for most of us it was the first time to test ride the new Goblin 29er, Wingman DJ and Delta CX. From 2-4pm I was found over at the Ladies Lounge. Then it was time to start shutting down and putting all the bikes and goodies back in the trailer.
Thursday night we went out as a group for authentic mexican food and really started to get to know each other. Several folks stayed out in the hotel room, I went back to my room to recover from the past 48 hours of travel and going.
Day 3 (Friday) :
Woke early to go over the Delta CX I had brought back from the festival to ride in. Grabbed breakfast with a few Flight Crew members and started riding. 9 miles = 1.5 hours = a crap load of climbing! It was a beautiful ride, but very humbling thanks to the long sustained climbs on the cyclocross knobby tires. I look forward to having a geared cyclocross or 29er bike to take it to Pisgah for the fire road climbs that I miss being able to ride. My legs were miserable the rest of the day, but it was a good feeling even though I regretted it during the long walk back to the car at 6pm.
The day consumers really start mingling. It was a really good fit with most Flight Crew Members. It is a very even split between the gravity style riders and XC. I think I’m one of the most “dedicated” cyclocross racers, so I tried to pinch hit as much as possible on that one. It was also very helpful to have so many knowledge folks of the Taka and Wingman bikes. A good amount of bikes were test rode and talked about. Several magazines and websites came to take photos or chat about the bikes. This included someone from 650b.com to check out Tony’s custom Zeppelin that he converted to 650b.
I can’t forget the Ladies Lounge with Rebecca Rosch and other pro-super star ladies. There were tons of tech questions, I ended up greasy after it (always a great sign.) One of the readers of our site (link/name?) who’s a pilot for a heli-ambulance landed her helicopter to come to the show and join Ladies Lounge! That was such a great treat to meet someone with an amazing story and a friend of Bike Shop Girl.
Tuesday through Thursday was the BLC (link) which many vendors and “who’s who” in the industy were at. Friday those folks finally made it to the Sea Otter Festival, including my dear Pam Sayler from Kurt Kinetic (link.) After the festival ended for the day I spent a couple hours catching up with her and then we all went to sushi down at the Wharf. If I have a chance to make it back to Sea Otter next year, I will go a day early to fully experience Monterey. The wharf alone was amazing with the seals on the coast, the boats in the harbor and the mountains in the background!
Day 4 (Saturday) :
The busiest day of the festival, my last day of the festival and the day I became inspired to get to more races to photograph. All our downhillers were racing and running around frantic in the morning, parking was crazy and included another long walk up hills but it was a great day. I walked every inch of the show it seemed!
Our downhillers had great success in their racing.
Tony learned that 650b.com was the brainchild of the one and only, Bike Shop Girl. There wasn’t any “scoping” of his bike and Airborne Bicycles wasn’t going to change their mind this season on NOT having a 650b Zeppelin.
Unfortunately I wimped out and didn’t go out after we closed down shop. With a long day of traveling the next day, I stayed behind at the hotel to eat in and pack. From what I hear our team husband, Jim Davis, stayed behind at the festival and has some wild stories to tell. (Including hitch hiking home!) Wendy and I talked racing a bit before bed, and I had to say my final goodbye to many of my teammates until the next time I see them (probably 360 days!)
Other Notes :
While I wasn’t present for the last day of the festival, there was still tons going on. Wendy placed 10th in her race! First race on the Goblin and gears (from my understanding), she rocked it! Other Flight Crew members also had snafu’s with their flights and spent way too much time with airlines..
Hopefully all my teammates can understand this when I say it… When I learned the roster for the 2011 Airborne Flight Crew the one thing that I was jumping up and down inside about was the name Jerry Hazard. Jerry is an amazing photographer that I followed almost 10 years ago on Deviantart.com. His photo’s have been featured in many magazines and his personality around photography and riding is a treat to be around. To be able to pull from that type of fountain was alone something to fly to California for! During my trip he allowed me to borrow his fish eye lense, evidence is above and on many photo’s through out the Sea Otter post you’ll see. Walking me patiently through the settings and recommendations. It was humbling and inspirational to see his photography coming from the event!
One of the things I am very excited about for the 2011 Sea Otter Classic is all the “ladies” focused events! On Sunday there is a full day of events scheduled to get women more active in the cycling lifestyle.
Sea Otter Ladies Lounge Sponsored by SRAM
Rebecca Rusch, pro athlete, endurance racer, and all around great person, has put together the SRAM Gold Rusch Tour for 2011. The first stop is the Sea Otter Classic where she is hosting the Sea Otter Ladies Lounge.
April 14-16th, 2011 (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) from 2-4pm Meet and mingle with pro-women cyclist like Rebecca Rusch, Team TIBCO, and the list goes on. Mini-tech clinics, that’s where Bike Shop Girl comes in! I’ll be there everyday to help with maintenance, 2×10 MTB technology, trail side repair and so on.
Have questions or ideas of what we should talk about? Comment away!
Often I come back from industry events like the 2011 Sea Otter Classic and people ask me what the coolest thing I saw was. I try to highlight all of those things on Bike Shop Girl and keep the fluff to the rest of the internet. One of these things were hardwood bicycles from Renovo Hardwood Bicycles.
Why Wood? We chose wood not because it’s different, not because it’s sustainable, but simply because we believe its engineering properties suit the requirements of most bicycle applications better than any other material. The performance of wood in applications more structurally demanding than bicycles has been well proven over many years. The most successful fighter bomber of WWII was the all-wood 400 mph British Mosquito, of which some 7500 were built.
Details in Photos
The frames were beautiful and it would be very cool to have one as a cafe cruiser. Clean, sleek and thought out. The drop outs worry me, as they are simply bolted into the wood.
Warm, inviting, and cozy are not words you associate with booths at the Sea Otter Classic. To be able to make people feel welcome, even kids and women, it is a great compliment! A quick peek in photos of the Cyclelogical Gear booth.
Hangers made out of rims, spokes and shrader valves.
As I started my Thursday off dragging through the Sea Otter venue trying to find a bathroom and coffee, yes in that order, I was stopped by Tall Tyler of Nuun. A little hand slap and a what’s up “bro”. Tyler then whispered in my ear that he had some new goods to show me at their booth when I had time. Soon the California sun was beating down on me and the coffee was wearing off. I needed hydrated and I knew where to find it.
Tall Tyler whipped out some fresh colored nuun canisters. Gone was the all white with only a small colored trim to differentiate and now there was a new, cleaner logo, with fun colored labels! With that, thank god, there were new flavors.
nuun Strawberry Lemonade
Let me introduce you to one of my new loves in life. Strawberry lemonade flavored nuun. In a 16oz glass of water or bottle it is the perfect hint of tart and sweet, amazing for the long ride or when you are quenching your thirst
The rest of the Sea Otter Classic I literally LIVED on nuun Strawberry Vanilla. They kept a few water coolers full of their new flavors for people to test, I kept testing over and over anytime my water bottle was low.
There are other new flavors as well : Lemon Tea, Fruit Punch, Grape, and Tropical I haven’t gotten to those as I am in love with the above.
A full review will be posted of all the new flavors, including how my kids and non-cycling friends like the flavors/concept.
This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing. I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.
A quick status and “what the hell are you doing?” update!
It’s 7am in Monterey and I’m slowing getting my crap together to go grab some food and head out to the venue. Today’s my last day at Sea Otter as I fly out tomorrow morning. I plan on getting a ride in (if possible) and take a crap load of photos and pictures. I figure I have 12 hours of travel tomorrow to actual put together all the post.
Today is also the last day of the SRAM Ladies Lounge. Yesterday the tent was packed and we had a ton of great questions and feedback from women and athletes. If you are at Sea Otter, this is a must. And you don’t even have to be a guy!
Trying to stay on East coast time but have been failing. Instead we go out to dinner at 8pm most nights and I get back to the hotel exhausted to pass out in bed!
Thank you to everyone that has introduced themselves in person, visited the Airborne or Ladies Lounge and reached out about Bike Shop Girl!
During my stay at Sea Otter something happened to my mentally and emotionally that I can’t explain. It’s a bit more deep than I want to get into on this post but one of the after affects was wanting, no yearning, to take more bike racing photos. Saturday afternoon before we packed up for the day, Neal and I hiked up the dual slalom hill to watch the final heats of the races. While I had no experience of this type of racing, besides what I have seen in the magazines, it was thrilling. It took a BMX track and pulled it downhill. In fact it looked SUPER fun. Everything I love, downhill, speed, berms and a short sprint!
Here are some of my favorite photos I took during the 20 minutes on the course. Feedback and criticism are encouraged!
I won’t lie, the Airborne Delta CX was the most exciting part of becoming a member of the Airborne Flight Crew this past spring. I was going to have the inside scoop, test ride and ride for a season a wonderful cyclocross bike that hopefully would crack open a huge “hidden nut” in the bicycle industry. A budget priced, disc brake, cyclocross bike. As a lover of cyclocross bikes for the utility and functionality, this bike fit right into my arsenal to refer friends and followers to.
As a resident of the Charlotte North Carolina region I can tell you that cyclocross has been slow to pick up in the area. It seems this season is going to change all of this. More practices, more area races and more folks wanting to ride their cyclocross bikes more during a year.