Sea Otter Classic Circuit Race 22 out of 66 in E4. Avg speed 23mph.
The Sea Otter Circuit Race is on the Laguna Seca race track in Monterey. I had done this race two years ago in my first year of racing as a cat 5 and got destroyed. I got dropped after 3 laps and was pulled from the race. Going in this time being about 20lbs lighter and being able to threshold 50 more watts then last time, I had hopes for a decent result. The race is 8 laps around the 2.2 mile road coarse, about 5-6 minutes each for a total of about 45minutes. There is a 2 minute climb that pitches up to 12% on the back side of the track leading up to the famous corkscrew descent where speeds reach up to 45mph at the bottom. This track is absolutely a blast to race on! A super smooth, wide roadway with sharp and sweeping turns with flat, climbing and descending sections.
My plan for the race was to keep up with the lead pack and let the 12% climb up the back side thin out the field and try and sprint for the finish. I had an idea of how the race would pan out. The 1st and 2nd laps would be fast as the pack will try to separate the men from the boys, then mellow out until 2 laps to go where the pace would pick up and then go absolutely ballistic on the final lap and I was right. The race started off fast and the pack charged the hill hard but still within my limits. I made sure to be mid pack at the top of the climb each lap so I would be in a good position for the decent. After the decent each lap I was able to sit in the pack and recover/conserve energy for the next charge up the hill. I stayed smooth and relaxed on the climb when it appeared others where struggling. On the 2nd to last lap a group of 4 made it off the front of the pack with a small gap maybe 6-8 seconds. They were brought back by the start of the final lap as I prepared for the fireworks to begin. The final charge up the hill was pretty much at my max and I hit the top of the climb in the top 10. One guy attacked and this turned out to be the winning move. It’s amazing he opened up a 10 second advantage by the top of the climb and held it to the finish. After the descent on the front straight the pack started to come back together. Unfortunately the pack was still very large ~35-40 left and this would come down to a sprint. The pace was very high going into the final few turns not dropping below 30mph. This is too fast of a finish for me so I just fought to hang on. 200 meters to go I got ready to sprint but looking up the road the barricades narrowed the finish down quite a bit and there was not enough room. I ended up following the wheels in front of me across the line without a sprint for 22nd place. My brother raced with me as well and finished 45th. Overall i’m satisfied with my performance having redeemed myself from my last attempt two years ago. Racing on this beautiful track by itself makes it all worth it.
Yours truly charging the hill on the second to last lap.