1st Sea Otter Classic - Josh Tajiri

Without a doubt after going to my first Sea Otter I can tell you for sure now one of my favorite races. The atmosphere is amazing, it's like a giant bike city. I got a ride down to the race on Thursday with one of my teammates Tyler Sargent. The next day, Friday, I got to watch my teammates Cody Schwartz, David Duncan, and Lauren Desrosiers race the Pro short track against some of the best racers in the world. After the short track races, the Scott Development team headed over to the Scott Sports tents and hung out with Nino Schurter and Jenny Rissveds. After that we headed back to camp and soon Saturday was upon us. Saturday was a day of watching the Pro cross country race and my coaches changing the gearing and getting the bikes one hundred percent perfect ready for the next day's race. 

Race days are always exciting, but the Sea Otter Classic is a supercharged version.  My Grandparents flew out to see me race for the first time so that added to my excitement.  Early in the morning I realized I didn't have my race breakfast pre-planned so I had to scramble to find one (that won't happen again). This caused me to be a few minutes late to my warmup, and I got to the line only a few minutes before my race went off. I got a decent spot on the line, but the race went out way faster than I was expecting. I found myself in the back quarter of the pack. Weaving my way through, I finally got into the front group. When we hit the single track, we were gone from the rest of the pack. A group of six racers stuck together until a part of the course featuring a steep sandy downhill. There, we lost two more of the racers, leaving a group of four. This group consisted of myself, one of my teammates Alexander, and two other riders. We rode together for quite a few miles until we hit a long gravel fire road climb. Alex and I went to the front and pushed the pace. Everybody was hurting, but the group stayed intact. We descended into couch canyon and at the bottom I decided to make my move to the front and see what I had left in the tank.  I started to drop the group opening up a decent gap. On the final hill I pushed myself as hard as I could. Coming onto the racetrack I had about a 20 second lead on the next racer. Even so I sprinted to the line to avoid being caught. Winning Sea Otter was a huge thrill, my teammate Alexander came in fourth. It was such an awesome experience, being able to race with some very fast kids and come out on top. Like I said, Sea Otter is now one of my favorite races and I am totally looking forward to next year! A big thanks to my sponsors, coaches and parents for helping my dreams come true.