My annual Spring pilgrimage to the Sea Otter Classic, taking place this year April 14-17, begins with a drive up the California coast towards Montana de Oro (Mountain of Gold) State Park in Los Osos. The terrain provides marvelous MTB explorations with a challenging technical single track that rewards riders with views of a full spectrum of vividly distinctive wildflowers. Spectacular scenery surrounds ocean vistas as waves crash below. After a stop to ride Montana de Oro, I detour to the charming sights and delightful comestibles at the Farmer’s Market near San Luis Obispo, where the downtown area is closed every Thursday evening for the market.

My anticipation of the Sea Otter Classic had been building ever since I heard the announcement that an electric mountain bike race would be added to the list of events. I was looking forward to being immersed in new e-products and learning about the rapidly evolving technology. My time will be filled with taking test rides and speaking with representatives to ascertain the differences between their new products. The questions and topics I’m looking to explore are:

  • Which e-bikes are the major manufacturers planning to introduce?
  • When will Bosch release the next version of their excellent mid-drive system?
  • Are component manufacturers designing more robust parts so they will withstand the extra power generated by e-bikes?
  • How are Abus and Kryptonite modifying their locks to make them more immune to hand-held angle grinders that can defeat any lock currently available?
  • A review of the e-MTB tours that Eco Bike Adventures, the first e-bike tour company, has available.

On Friday afternoon, the first-ever electric mountain bike race will take place at Sea Otter.

This e-MTB race will serve as a supreme test of stamina and strategy as the competitors attempt to gingerly nurse their batteries in order to provide maximum assistance during the hour-long event. As usual, other bikes and equipment will be available for examination, and I will take the opportunity to augment my logo-adorned tee-shirt and sock collection in order to remain well-dressed throughout the rest of the year.

Finally, I’ll take a couple of days to ride the excellent trails in Santa Cruz and traipse along West Cliff Drive to watch the surfers below before it’s time to drive home. The return trip will include a ride in the hills above Santa Barbara, the punctuating point on a week that will be well spent.