Monday, April 16, 2007

Sea Otter on a NINER ~ Yee-haw!!!

I wasn't planning on racing at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, CA because I'd just returned from my adventure race (a.k.a. my sangria & tapas tour) in Spain and I was in no shape to face the incredible cross country competition. But a couple of days before the event, I was riding with my friend Andy Lightle (Mr. MTBR/Sea Otter) and he was doing a good job of encouraging me to go. Andy was riding his Niner singlespeed and I mentioned to him that I'd love to try a singlespeed some day. So he hopped off his and let me ride it. Instantly I felt like I was riding on fluffy clouds. I was flying over everything! I thought it was the fork so I asked him how much travel his fork had..."Same as your's," he said. Huh?,,,why did it feel so different to me? Then I realized it was the WHEELS!...29 inch wheels! It was incredible! Not only did I not have to think about shifting this bike,,,but I was also flying over obstacles like I'd never done before! I felt like a 16 year old with a license and brand new Hummer! I couldn't stop giggling and smiling and whoop-di-dooing! It was love at first switchback! Within 10 minutes I was asking Andy how I could get a Niner singlespeed! Why didn't anyone ever tell me about this before??? Oh, yea....maybe that's what Fuzzy, Dejay, and Paul were telling me as I was in la la land on my 26 inch geared? I probably didn't hear 'em over my chain getting stuck in the derailleur when I was switching to granny/granny!

So I went and opened my big mouth again, "Andy, it would be so cool to go to Sea Otter and do the singlespeed XC race on a 29er!...except that I don't have a SS bike." And of course he replied, "What if I find you a bike to borrow?" There it was. The offer was on the table. And you couldn't wipe the smile off my face! Now I had two days to get Friday off work, change my carpooling plans, pack up my things, get there early to register, and find someone to loan me SS 29er! Well it must have been fate because it was total coincidence that I got Friday off work, I rounded up Josh to carpool with me, drove us to Sea Otter in time to register, and Andy got me a bike from the boys at Niner!

Bern with Chris of Niner Bikes

There he was. Like a dream. The hottest FULLY RIGID SINGLESPEED s.i.r.9! And he was all mine!...for the race anyway. Andy, Josh and Jonathan from the Path Bike Shop wrenched on him a bit, put on my Crankbrothers pedals and my Ergon grips, and s.i.r.9 was ready to ride!

Andy wrenching on s.i.r.9

It was the most fun I've ever had in a XC race! I've never felt in so much control of a bike. It was pure and simple. No gears, no suspension, big wheels. What more could a low maintenance gal ask for?...What?...Find a low maintenance gal and ask her? Okay, well, what more could a "Princesa" ask for? Hmmm, how 'bout a podium finish? Yup, not bad for a first time fully rigid, singlespeedin', 9er gal, eh?

Bern 4th place Sport Women

The torrential rains the rest of that Saturday didn't stop the fun at the expo. Mr. MTBR/Sea Otter himself was in full action raffling off prizes at the MTBR booth, providing everyone with beer from his "beer holster," and even making a little time to hang with me.

Andy raffling the goodies from the MTBR booth

Bern and Andy with C. Otter

Sunday morning the sun emerged and the rest of my Sho-Air/Rock N Road Cyclery teammates raced in various competitions. Congratulations on another terrific showing for the team!

Manuel Prado
Semi-Pro XC 1st Place
Manuel Prado 19-29 Time Trail 1st Place
Manuel Prado 19-29 Super-D 13th Place
Johnny O'Mara 44-49 Expert XC 1st Place
Ty Kady Semi-Pro XC 2nd Place
Louise Kobin Pro-Expert Single Speed Womens 2nd place
Mario Correa Masters 30+ road race 9th place
Cameron Brenneman Masters Cat 1/Cat 2/Cat 3 30+ Male 2nd Place
Cameron Brenneman Pro-Expert Single Speed 8th Place
Josh Smith 30-34 Expert 22nd Place
Fuzzy John Mylne Pro-Expert Single Speed 15th Place
Tim Zandbergen
Eric Parks

Josh, Heather Moothart, Tim

Cameron & Fuzzy

Dejay, Fuzzy & Andy


Jeff Kerkove said...

Congrats on a stellar weekend....and great to meet you in person!

Sarah K said...

Way to go at Sea Otter! Sorry I didn't get to hang out with you after the 24 hr. Thanks for coming over and saying hello.