Hey guys! Liam and Anders here, we got the opportunity to head to The Sea Otter Classic with the Clif Pro guys Ben Sonntag, Troy Wells, and Menso de Jong. The whole trip was a fantastic learning experience and we both learned a ton about what constitutes the "pro lifestyle" and what goes into being a professional athlete at a large scale event such as Sea Otter Classic.
The Sea Otter Classic
Each day we would prep in the morning and gather our race gear along with a change of clothes before heading to the venue. On Friday, we posted up with our gear at the Stan's Notubes tent before taking to the start line for the STXC event. The race was redline from the gun and was as much of a pavement crit as a STXC event could be, with wind, pack riding, and tactics all playing more of a role than individual power output and technical skill. By the end we finished 37th and 38th out of a field of 110 professionals, 14 of those riders being Olympic athletes! After the race we cooled down rolling around the roads just outside the venue with Troy, Ben, and Menso, talking about the race before cleaning up a bit and going to meet some of the sponsors. At Oakley's booth we met with the rep for our team and talked about the PRIZM tech and picked up some new product to represent from them. We then rolled over to the K-Edge booth to meet with Kyle and get to see some of the new mounts they have developed for the 2017 season. This also gave us some time to talk kit designs with Dylan Seguin and learn about the process of developing the signature Clif Bar Kit look. Later in the evening was a party thrown by the Clif Pro Team! We got to see a lot of friends and also converse with some of the guys from Maxxis. That pretty much wrapped up our Friday, it was time to head back to the house and get ourselves reset for Saturday going into the XC race.
The morning of the XC started similar to the short track. We headed down to the Stan’s Notubes tent to get our gear organized and ready to race. After a good warmup we lined up with a world class field, including World and Olympic champions. The race started by going up the racetrack and just before the Corckscrew the race turned right onto the dirt. After a few rock gardens the track descended again, and then switchback climbed up again. after another descent the course flattened out and came into the short track course on the racetrack. Throughout the race we did this eight times totaling an hour and a half of all out effort on a very hilly course. In the end Ben Sonntag ended up 16th, Liam Earl 25th, Troy Wells 53rd and Anders Nystrom 68th. After the race a good cool down was in order and another round of meeting the supporters and sponsors of the team. We rounded out Saturday evening with a Clif Bar Company hosted party in the venue, featuring DJ NutButter and Jeremy Powers spinning music, a rap verse dropped by each of the Clif Pro ladies, and lots of food and good fun! That rounded out the overall experience, and it was fantastic to be a part of.
Whats Next For The Team?
Getting to travel and interact with Troy and Ben is a great way to learn the ropes of all the different aspects of big league racing and public relations between us and our sponsors and supporters. We’re extremely grateful that they allow us to tag along for these events and we enjoy learning how to balance everything during a weekend like this while still being able to perform at our peak when we’re on the start line. We’re looking forward to the next MTB round in Soldier Hollow, Utah! We’ll see you guys there!