David Duncan - Sea Otter Classic

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The Sea Otter Classic is an event I always look forward to; This year was no exception. 

After I arrived at the Sea Otter Expo I was ready to get outside and loosen up my legs from the long car drive. My brother, Curtis, and I picked up our registration packets and were ready to go scout out the Pro course for the next day. after scouting out a few lines we completed the lap and I decided that I was confident and didn't need to ride a second lap. That being said I still needed to get some more riding time in. So we went over to the downhill race course and had a blast sending the jumps. Upon completing my ride it was time to head back to our condo in Aptos and get everything race ready for the following day! 

Waking up I felt a bit groggy, nothing a good cup of STARBUCKS coffee wouldn't fix. I consumed my breakfast consisting of eggs and toast then it was time to head over to the race. Arriving at the  venue is when the nerves began to settle in, however I went through my pre race routine and was ready to go! Getting a starting position towards the back didn't set me up well but gave me room to move up. The race started of with a blistering pace and I was able to crawl my way up through the field during the fist couple of laps. However on the third lap I began to tire out fast and found myself slowly falling back. Pushing through I was able to finish 7 laps and ended up 56th in a field of 74 racers. Although it wasn't quite the result that I was looking for I enjoyed the race and set my mind towards preparing for the C3 race on Sunday. 

The next day I was able to relax a bit and not worry about any races. Staying near Santa Cruz Curtis and I decided to take advantage and decided to ride some of the trails in the UC system with his friend TJ. I can without a doubt say that those are some of the most enjoyable trails that I have ever ridden! 

Heading back to the Condo for a quick shower we went out to Phils Fish Market for some absolutely amazing fish and chips and clam chowder. Saturday was going to be my day to get out and check out the expo.

Getting to the expo on Saturday took a bit longer than normal. immediately after turning into the the park the road was literally backed up for miles with bumper to bumper traffic. I guess it goes to show that they weren't joking when they say 10,000+ spectators and thousands of racers. After parking I was able to go explore the expo for awhile. However after a couple hours it was time to head back to the condo and get a good nights sleep before Sundays early XC race. 

Waking up before 5 in the morning I was a bit groggy but began packing the car up nonetheless. Arriving at the expo I changed into my race kit and went down towards the starting line to begin my warm up. My legs were feeling good during the warm up and I was ready to head out onto the long XC course for the race. The race started out significantly slower than Thursdays HC race, this gave me the opportunity to get into a good position before we entered the single track where it would be significantly more difficult to get around people.

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I was feeling pretty strong ad found a group and would ultimately stay with this group for the majority of the race. After a little over an hour of fire road climbs and fast and windy single track descents we reached the final climb that would take us back to the racetrack and ultimately the finish line. Climbing this final hill myself and another couple of riders began to push the pace. Approaching the end of the climb I was in a group of four riders and decided to make my move during the final steep pitch of the climb. I was able to establish a small gap and entered the racetrack ready to ride it out through the finish line, however I soon realized that the race track section was a little longer than I had anticipated and decided to let the group catch back up so I would have a chance in the sprint finish. with about 100 meters left to go we turned left out of a sand pit onto the race track for the final sprint. Giving it everything I had I was able to cross the line first in my group and got 29th overall out of a field of 70 Pro riders! Now that my  race was over I was able to go cheer on the rest of my family racing. My older brother Curtis had a great race finishing 14th in Cat 1 19-29, my younger brother Mark had a tough race with a couple of crashes and was able to finish 38th in Cat 1 17-18, My oldest brother Sean finished Cat 3 30-34, and lastly both of my parents finished their races. 

The Sea Otter Classic is always an event that I look forward to and enjoy, this year did not disappoint from the festival with hundreds of exhibits to check out to some great racing. It is now time to get back to the training grind and prepare for the next race.