April 5/06 7:12 am - Sea Otter Preview
Posted by Editoress on 04/5/06
Tomorrow is the start of Sea Otter, the annual festival of all things bicycle-related at the Laguna Seca Speedway on the outskirts of Monterey, California. While the main focus is on racing, Sea Otter also offers a huge Tech Expo, fun rides, Dirt Jumping, Freeride and Trials exhibitions. This spring, the Bay area has been suffering through one of the wettest (and coldest) springs in recent memory, but today the sun has come out, and everyone is crossing their fingers, in hopes that it is here to stay (even though the weather forecasts say otherwise). We will be providing our usual live coverage of the event, and here are some tidbits of news on what to expect for the weekend:
- SRAM introduces new road group. You have seen the prototypes from our Interbike coverage last fall (and on Ben Jacques Maynes bike from the Tour of California). Well, SRAM is unveiling the final version of the group at Sea Otter.
- Specialized will be offering a retrospective of their last 30-plus years in mountain biking, including a museum. The pro team will race on pink bikes, as a tribute to the original Team Stumpjumpers of the '80s.
- Shimano will unveil it's '07 version of the flagship XTR offroad group at Sea Otter. Some pro riders are scheduled to be on the group for the four stage mountain bike event, including last weekend's Curacao World Cup winner Bart Brentjens (Giant), Adam Craig (Giant) and Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects). The group is said to shed over 300 grams off the previous edition, most of that from the new wheelset. The new wheelset, by the way, can be viewed on our photos of Bart Brentjens' bike at the Curacao World Cup. The group will be available to the public after Interbike in the fall.
- Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) will be making quiet appearance in the Saturday road race, on his own without his team. The road race, by the way, is reduced to one day (Saturday) on the difficult Laguna Seca racetrack circuit. The men are expected to do 18 laps.
- The mountain bike stage race continues to be four stages, beginning tomorrow with the Super XC (sort of halfway between a cross-country and a short track) at 1:00 pm EDT, and concluding on Sunday with the cross-country. The latter apparently is using a different course than that of the past four or five years (rumour is that it is the old course reversed). A strong field is expected to be in attendance, including Brentjens, Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida), Gunn-Rita Dahle (Multivan Merida), Sabine Spitz, Christoph Sauser and Liam Killeen (all Specialized). Canadians in attendance include Sydor, Kiara Bisaro (GearsRacing.com), Mat Toulouse and Geoff Kabush (Maxxis). Seamus McGrath (Canadian National) will not be at Sea Otter.