who doesn’t like a SEA OTTER!

Who doesn’t like a sea otter?  My favorite part about the Sea Otter Classic, is the fact that it revolves around a cuddle craving mammal known for its playful nature.  Sure, I have heard the race referred to as the Sea Slaughter, but of course that interpretation depends on how you are feeling when racing.  Me?  I prefer playful and cuddly.

Be Bold. Photo by Wil Matthews.

The Sea Otter Classic continues to be one of my favorite races on the calendar because it gives me the opportunity to feel mildly uncool when compared to the mountain bikers and other dirt trick riders.  I love immersing myself within the different disciplines and appreciating what a wide range of talent and skill our sport contains.  Anything that you dare to dream of within the cycling industry is there.  If you like bikes, you will feel like you are a kid in a candy shop.  And then the best part is, you can then go race your bike!

As a road racer on the panel of Rebecca Rusch’s Gold Rusch Tour presented by SRAM, I realized how the diversity of the sport is inspiring and the options are endless.  I may not be able to do a backflip on my bike like one of the other women on the panel, but we all can inspire to get more women out on bikes and enjoying the sense of freedom and empowerment that only a bike can give.

Photo by Jim Ortiz

Team TWENTY16 was happy to attend another year of the Sea Otter Classic with a contingency of our elite team as well as our junior roster.  Our juniors were on the podium every day, which left a tall order for our professional team!  Fortunately, we also were able to secure a great team race and hold up our side of the podium pendulum.  Cycling is a team sport, and although this is often stated, it is always more gratifying when a good team plan sorts itself according to expectations.  After a quick and dirty crit, where our token Canadian rider, Lex, got 3rd place out of break, we entered the road race that always proves to be challenging.  There is something about Fort Ord that leaves you feeling a bit more reflective, perhaps morose, yet somehow stronger, which I can only attribute to the Steinbeck terrain.  The team raced cohesively and hard, which allowed me to take a late solo flyer on the final lap in order to secure the win.  Lex finished with a brilliant win of the bunch sprint for 2nd place. 

Podiums are always fun, but they are more fun after your pain brings champagne, and of course a fluffy little sea otter.  Like I said, who doesn’t love a sea otter?  And who doesn’t like winning?  In life if you don’t risk something, you risk everything.  And that holds true in bike racing.  Bike racing is always hard, and late moves don’t always work, but that is what a team is for.  And when those late attacks work, they prove to turn that pain into champagne.  We finished the circuit with more podiums and more fun to celebrate a great team race with not only the women on my team, but also our sponsors and team of supporters at the Sea Otter Classic.

Photo by Wil Matthews

Although the viewpoint is specifically male, it is shown as a universal gaze.  A masculine gaze in science is harmful because it defines which issues are important and studied. 

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