The annual Sea Otter Classic is thought to be the world’s largest cycling festival, and is undoubtedly the biggest, baddest, raddest multi-discipline cycling event in North America. Held at the Laguna Seca Recreation Area in Monterey, California, it has come to signal the end of winter and the beginning of the season for all cyclists, whether recreational or competitive.
Most of cycling’s racing disciplines are represented including mountain bike cross country, downhill, dual slalom, enduro and short track racing – champions in 2013 were Aaron Gwin, Jared Graves, Jill Kintner, Marianne Vos, Geoff Kabush and Miguel Martinez. Also offered are circuit, criterium and road racing for road cyclists, cyclocross and a number of non-competitive recreational events for riders of all ages.
The Sea Otter Classic also hosts the largest consumer bike show in North America, hosting hundreds of vendors who display new products, distribute free samples and offer great bargains. The four-day, action-packed festival also includes an international food court, entertainment, bike demos, stunt shows and carnival activities for children.
350 athletes took part in the first edition of 1991, when the event was known as the Laguna Seca Challenge, and over the years the festival has grown to such an extent that over 10,000 athletes, including national, world and Olympic champions, plus 65,000 fans are expected at the 24th edition in April 2014. For the first time, there will also be the Sea Otter Sender, a best trick contest with separate classes for amateurs and pros in both BMX and mountain bike categories.