Texas to Monterey: Terese's Odyssey at Sea Otter

Sea Otter Classic is a four-day bike industry festival held every April at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. It is the biggest bike industry festival in North America, with hundreds of races, tens of thousands of spectators and athletes, and over 900 exhibitors. Sea Otter’s headline event is the Fuego XL, a 67-mile MTB race, that also happens to be the first race in the LifeTime Grand Prix series. This year, Sea Otter also offered a new world class gravel course. As an ambitious young gravel cyclist, I wanted to use this as an opportunity to test myself against the best West Coast gravel racers and experience everything the Sea Otter festival is. 

My dad and I made a grad trip out of this, driving up from Texas and arriving Wednesday night. The next day, we rode half of the two-lap course, a 50-mile course with a spicy 5,500 feet of climbing. That same day, we wandered around the expo, making new friends and checking out all the new bikes, equipment, and everything else related to bikes. 

By Saturday morning, I was super nervous and somewhat intimidated by all the professional athletes I’d seen over the weekend. The start was cold and wet, but the mist burned off as we raced the first lap. By the second lap, it was sunny and warm, but not yet Texas warm. I planned to drink two bottles of Tailwind Endurance Fuel for each 25-mile loop, and that proved to be the right choice. For each lap, I had one bottle of Lemon and one bottle of Raspberry with caffeine. There was more elevation in the race course than my Texas legs were used to, but the Endurance Fuel helped me to keep a steady pace all the way to the finish, placing first in the F17-18 age group and 21st woman overall. 

Looking back at the weekend, I learned a lot. I hoped to race the Fuego XC, a 20-mile MTB race the morning after the gravel race. However, by Saturday night, I could tell that the hours spent on my feet and the energy expended at the expo were more than I bargained for, so I skipped the XC race and slept in. Thinking forward to next year, I will rearrange pre-race activities and only register for the gravel race. Also, I’ll be sure to pack stronger climbing legs and maybe not eat at Chipotle every day. Maybe. On the other hand, there were three things that worked very well during the weekend: 1) the bike and equipment worked flawlessly once I got everything sorted; 2) I used Tailwind’s Rapid Hydration while traveling and in the days before the race – I would absolutely do the same thing next year; 3) fueling strategy during the race worked perfectly. I’m grateful for Tailwind’s support this weekend, and I am already thinking about a fueling strategy for the 110-mile Gravel Locos race next month in Hico, Texas.


Written By Tailwind Ambassador Terese Martens 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.