Bicycles to Overrun Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

By Barry Toepke
The race through the Corkscrew. Photo by Louie TraubA little counter-course riding. Photo by Alex StricklandAll types of racing occurs at Sea Otter Classic. Photo by Sean Cope.

Two-wheel action is about to bump the four wheels off Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for four exhilarating days of action April 16-19. But it’s not the motorized bikes we’re talking about…this is the grueling Sea Otter Classic that annually descends on Laguna Seca Recreation Area.

For 25 years, bicyclists have been zipping around the various courses among the hillsides and our own 2.238-mile ribbon of racing asphalt. From its humble beginnings in 1991 that hosted 350 participants and 150 spectators, the Sea Otter Classic has become the event on the international cycling calendar. Its popularity explosion can be seen in its last year’s numbers of 9,600 participants and 65,000 spectators.

Racing has always been central to the Sea Otter Classic. In order to stay competitive, organizers created new events to sustain veterans, attract newcomers and inspire curiosity. A pro mountain biker competing at Sea Otter can typically race both the shortest (>4 min.) and longest (2.5+ hours) races of his/her entire season, while a self-defined road racer could try out downhill in the morning and still make it to the start of the road race in the afternoon.

The evolution of bicycle equipment and technology has also found a home in cycling-friendly Monterey.  Companies like SRAM have used the event to debut new products by taking advantage of Sea Otter’s timing, setting and international crowds in order to reach a large audience in one place.

The variety of racing is unlike any other cycling event. For instance, recreational bikers have two road options as well as a mountain bike event. For amateur racers, there are nearly 200 classes of road and mountain bike racing for all ages and skill levels. And for pro and elite cyclists, there are demanding mountain bike races (cross-country, enduro, downhill and dual slalom) and road races (road, circuit and criterium).

If you’re at all into biking, or just want to bring the entire family out for stunt shows and boundless hours of entertainment, the Sea Otter Classic is a pretty cool destination. For schedules and pricing, check out Sea Otter Classic’s website HERE.