Families that race together, stay together. Or something like that. The first time I did the Sea Otter Classic, I raced with and against my mom. Talk about tough and inspiring. How does that even work? Does she apologize after she executes a vicious attack? Does she make sure I am eating and drinking during the race? If I have snot on my face, does she ride by and wipe my nose for me? Does she frown if I have a brief “potty mouth”? Yes to all.
Although my mom is a phenomenal athlete, she is first and foremost my mom, and I don’t think she could shake that even if she tried. My mom is known for her realistic approach to life that is peppered with just the right amount of pure, infectious dynamism. I was not necessarily brought up in an environment fueled by competition, but I was taught to take pride in doing my best, staying active, and striving to achieve great things. That being said, try lining up to a start line with your mom. She oozed competitive spirit. She wanted to race her bike and race her bike she did. Mom always knows best. Racing against your mom puts you in a slight conflict of interest. Who wins? I think the answer is always the both of us. It is a family affair, after all.
The Sea Otter Classic is one, big family reunion. Not only do I get to explore the festivities of bike love with my team and parents, I also get to visit all the sponsors and supporters that have become my family over the years I have been racing bikes. We are like a large, extended family, and have the commonality of bikes, activity, and dedication. I love my family and my bike family, and at the Sea Otter Classic, these worlds collide. Welcome, family!
Sea Otter Classic has road racing and does not just revolve around all things dirt. Who would have thought? It is actually a 4-day stage race for those of us who ride skinny tires professionally and want to avoid the dirt and poison oak on the trails. My team was able to secure the overall win, including the final stage win by Jackie Crowell, and I added to this result by winning the time trial on Stage 3, which was 7.8 miles on the technical road race circuit. After winning the time trial, and getting a big congratulatory hug from my mom, it took me back to my first Sea Otter Classic experience, racing her. She might not have been racing against me this time, but she was racing with me in spirit and presence. She knows what it’s like to get out there and challenge yourself and the feeling of a job well done.
This time around, I am glad I didn’t have to race against her because she might have won. The good thing about your parents is you know that they will love you know matter what. Win or lose. Or at least that’s what they tell you. Since I won this one, I won’t have to question that. It was a satisfying day to win an event that I love the most, with the people that I love the most. My family and my bike family. When is our next reunion?
The final question is who won between me and my mom in my first Sea Otter experience? I did, of course. Competitive? Absolutely. But she might have let me win.
I recently wrote this post for Cycling Illustrated. You can see the “orginal” HERE.