Enduro Photo Epic and Video – Sea Otter Classic 2017

Apr 21, 2017
by Colin Meagher  



Sea Otter race tracks may seem lightweight as compared to, say, an EWS track. but the bottom line is that it's a level playing field. No, there isn't 8,000 feet of elevation gain, nor are there hour-long liaison stages that will crush your soul. But that's because this is the Sea Otter. It's serious racing, for sure, but at the same time, it's meant to be fun, and other than the poor bastard who blew a corner on the bottom of stage 3 right into a massive shrub of poison oak, I'd say that all the racers had a good time pinning it on tracks that give a nod to all aspects of MTB racing at Sea Otter: DH, XC, and Dual Slalom.

This year saw an exact repeat of last year's tracks, which was good, as racers had only 90 minutes of open training on stages 1 and 4 - the Sea Otter DH and Dual Slalom tracks - before it was go time. Stages 2 and 3, on the other hand, were non-technical, heavy pedal XC type tracks that demanded every last ounce of fitness to excel on; but racers could run as many laps as they felt were prudent the day prior to the Classic - ample time to dial in their lines.


It was obvious that Jared Graves came to win today. During practice on his first run of the day he seemed to be much faster than everyone else.
It was obvious that Jared Graves came to win today. During practice, on his first run of the day, he seemed to be much faster than everyone else.
.

Marcelo Guitierez was hoping to get on the box here at Sea Otter but even though he went full gas he just wasn t able to eclipse Mark Scott of Santa Cruz for the last step on the box.
Marcelo Gutierrez was hoping to get on the box here at Sea Otter, but even though he went full gas, it wasn't good enough to get on the box.

Former Road Bike Action editor Spencer Rathkamp is no stranger to dirt and his top 20 time shows that he can put it down.
Former Road Bike Action editor, Spencer Rathkamp is no stranger to dirt and his top 20 time today shows that he can put 100% effort down on both road and dirt.

Dan Chiang getting a bit loose on stage one of the Enduro.
Mr "Everything MTB" from Taiwan, Danny Chiang, getting loose on stage one. Chiang's the real deal, but finished 20th on the day.

Rachel Strait opts to send it over the double while team mate Anneke Beerten below keeps it low and fast in to first place.
Rachel Strait's been putting in some training time with Kyle Strait and it shows, with Strait airing it out whenever she could. No backflips or suicide no handers from Mrs Strait... yet. But the race season's young.

What could have been Joanna Peterson ended up 1 second back behind Rae Morrison. That s a handful of extra pedal strokes on a pedal heavy course. My guess is Peterson will have a rough time sleeping tonight.
What could have been: Joanna Peterson ended up one second back behind Rae Morrison. That's a handful of strokes on a pedal heavy course. My guess is Peterson will have a rough time sleeping tonight.

Lining up to drop in the view of the top of stage 2 from the mid point of the slog out to stage 4.
Lining up to drop in: the view of the top of stage 2 from the midpoint of the slog out to stage 4.

Sea Otter enduro 2017
Stage two was only a ten minute or so pedal from the bottom of the DH track, and racers were in position in short order. Giant's Marcelo Gutierrez may be known only as a DH racer but he's definitely not afraid to pedal. He was one of the first pro racers to drop in on the second stage of the Enduro.

Martin Maes putting the power down at the end of stage two coming around Mark Scott on the sprint for the line at the end of the stage.
Martin Maes putting the power down at the end of stage two, coming around Mark Scott on a sprint for the line at the end of the stage.

Sea Otter Enduro 2017
The kind of thing that makes Enduro racing so much fun: those quiet moments between stages when riders talk shit, kick it, and trade war stories. Martin Maes, Mark Scott, Sean Bell and Ryan Geiger taking it all in at the end of stage 2.

James Eves pulling the local kid done good card with a third place finish against some of the bigger guns out there racing enduro.
James Eves pulling the "local kid done good" card with a third place finish against some of the bigger guns out there racing enduro. Eves was only a second off Keene's time. As in one second off pace from tying Keene for second place.

With rain 3 out of 4 days leading up to the opening Sea Otter event left the trails wet and muddy in many places including the ridgeline of stage 2.
With rain three out of four days leading up to the opening Sea Otter event, left the trails wet and muddy in many places, including the ridgeline of stage 2.

A touch of early morning rain made the track a wee bit slick in a few places but overall it delivered the goods brown pow.
But lower down on the course, that water made for nothing short of brown pow.

The American Dream locking up second place overall on stage three. Keene would edge out James Eves by a margin of one second on this stage--exactly the time difference between he and Eves for the entire race.
This ain't the first rodeo here for the American Dream, and his mix of aggression and play during the various stages kept the fun factor high for him on the way to Keene's second place on the podium.

Despite rough outings in the first two EWS races of 2017 Anneke Beerten came alive at Sea Otter and left no doubts in anyone s minds as to her level of fitness and health this year finishing 31 seconds up on Rae Morrison.
Despite rough outings in the first two EWS races of 2017, Anneke Beerten came alive at Sea Otter, and left no doubts in anyone's minds as to her level of fitness and health this year, finishing 31 seconds up on Rae Morrison.

Nathan Riddle cruised down from Ashland OR to sweat it up a bit and came home 22nd on the day for his efforts.
Nathan Riddle cruised down from Ashland, OR to sweat it up a bit.

Josh Carlson EWS Factory Giant Racer drops in to a top 10 finish on the day.
Josh Carlson had drivetrain issues almost from the start of stage one, and had to battle all day to get into a top ten position - no easy task on such a short race.

Jared Graves Finished 1st in the Pro Men Category with team mate Curtis Keene right behind him just 26 seconds off his pace over the entire day.
Jared Graves might not be racing gates all the time these days, but he's not lost a step there. The Specialized rider crushed the competition, finishing 26 seconds up on teammate and second place finisher, Curtis Keene. That's an eternity on such a short track - in DH terms, that's like Gwin finishing 6-7 seconds up on a 2:30 track. Unreal.

Rae Morrison going hard during stage 4 to claim that second step on the box.
Rae Morrison going hard during stage 4 to claim that second step on the box.

Sea Otter 2017 Enduro
Porsha Murdock may have been snowed in all winter long up in Bend, OR but today she showed that she kept a focus on training by claiming a podium finish.

Pro Men s Podium L-R MacKay Veniza 4 Curtis Keene 2 Jared Graves 1 James Eves 3 Mark Scott 5 .
Pro Men's Podium (L-R) MacKay Veniza (4), Curtis Keene (2), Jared Graves (1), James Eves (3), Mark Scott (5)

Pro Women s Enduro podium L-R Teal Stetson-Lee 4 Rae Morrison 2 Anneke Beerten 1 Joanna Peterson 3 and Porsha Murdock 5 .
Pro Women's Enduro podium (L-R) Teal Stetson-Lee (4), Rae Morrison (2), Anneke Beerten (1), Joanna Peterson (3), and Porsha Murdock (5).


MENTIONS: @meagerdude




40 Comments

  • + 63
 Marcelo Gutierrez is consistently fast whenever he races. WC DH, fast. Urban DH in Latin America, fast. Random very pedally enduro race, fast. He doesn't get enough credit for being one of the guys who can do it all. And not just someone who switched and was fast, but is fast in a few disciplines at the same time. Shout out to Marcelo for killing it!
  • + 21
 I think the same could be said for Graves in most of the disciplines where he participates.
  • + 10
 @PHeller: Yes, and Graves also wins in most of the disciplines where he participates.
  • + 24
 Considering the result, that Mark Scott/ Mae's photo isn't quite what it first suggests
  • + 25
 Greatest XC race ever
  • + 9
 They sure seem to be having fun regardless of what discipline people think it should be...
  • + 16
 Pale Ale over Champagne every day.
  • + 2
 I want that giant Pale Ale!
  • + 1
 mmm...Sierra Nevada goodness.
  • + 2
 Choice. Notice how no one wastes the Pale Ale by spraying it about.

edit:spelling
  • + 12
 Go Danny Chiang from Taiwan! Good result considering his training ground sees him outnumbered 200-1 by hikers.
  • + 15
 Having ridden in Taiwan myself its interesting how a population so foreign to mountain biking can be so welcome to it. On the trails, regardless of having ever seen a mountain bike before all the hikers know to step to the side and make way, the oohs and aahs as you pass by are a nice bonus. This perfectly friendly hiker community can be contrasted with NorCal's which, I know from experience, can be downright hostile at times. It's strange to me that the cradle of mountain biking' childhood is where it is the least tolerated but where it's a nearly unheard of is where I've encountered people being the most open to it.
  • + 3
 I ran shuttles with him and his dad a couple of weeks ago (thanks again!) and yes, we were literally outnumbered 200-1 by hikers. And like you say, none of them seemed pissed off at our presence. It is very alien.

Having said that, we have kind of been pushed out of another riding spot by hikers... although I think motorbikes have been a major factor.
  • + 2
 @ryanandrewrogers: Marin county is also a hotbed for anti-vaxxers so it's not that surprising.
  • + 1
 @sfrucian: fake news.
  • + 2
 Monterey California is an incredible spot. Lots of great riding. Beautiful landscapes. Interesting architecture. And beautiful beach bodies on beaches with black and gold sand. Manufacturers are usually always giving out tons of advertising trinkets at sea otter also. Always nice to leave an event with a giant stack of stickers.
  • + 3
 Great shots and story. Love using the Spanish Moss to frame the rider in the Nathan Riddle shot. Reminds me I need to step back and take more shots of the rider and environment sometimes.
  • + 5
 Hell yeah James!!
  • + 2
 Thanks man!!! So stoked to play with the big boys
  • + 4
 Grubby is the freakin' man. Glad to see him on the podium!
  • + 2
 He's not a man. He's a beast. 26 seconds over Keene in the #2 spot is unhuman.
  • + 3
 Marcello Gutierrez riding semislick front tire? Wow
  • + 1
 If only they would do this event off site. So much good riding within 45 minutes, but the Laguna Seca location really limits the courses.
  • - 1
 Perfect podium steezeez by the PRO WOMEN!!!
Men, take note...no silly 2 handed supermans.
1 hand up(respecting crowd/or holding prize), other on your competitor(repsecting competition).
  • + 0
 @jrocksdh: Man, I figured you would have taught Curtis better.
  • + 2
 Rae Morrison is mighty fine and can ride, my polar opposite.
  • + 2
 S-Works Camber with a 160mm fork. Will it void the warranty? Smile
  • + 1
 Probably, but it Handles a lot better. And paired with a 650b rear is the dope. Thats my setup and it rocks!!!
  • + 3
 Ahhh Tippy.
  • - 1
 Interesting... One orange Fox in the mix and it's on some guy from roadie land. Rockshox get an honorable mention for winning the photo epic.
  • + 2
 haha! I'm hardly from roadie land, though the caption suggests otherwise. I didn't exactly have the result I was looking for, but there were also other orange forks in the mix Wink
  • + 1
 Rae Morrison, how is your hair perfect after a race? Just how??
  • + 1
 Steaks for calves.
  • + 1
 Yeah Graves!
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