For those who may have wondered whether anyone would show up to participate in an eMTB race, the adage “if you build it, they will come” held true. This new type of racing has been welcomed in Europe, and the Sea Otter Classic included it in their race schedule for the 26th anniversary of the festival. The race wrapped around the grasslands surrounding the Laguna Seca racetrack in Monterey and was an open category with all ages and genders competing in one event.
At the end of it, the race looked like any other MTB race. The bikes used an electronic pedal assist that augments the rider’s pedal stroke, although the benefit is only appreciable on inclines. This resulted in a race with a slightly higher average speed, but you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference beyond the steep climbing segments.
At places where racers would usually be grinding up the trail at 8-10 mph, these riders were able to move at 16mph. This allowed for a little more action as they maneuvered around each other, rather than tucking in and slogging to the top but this subtle action wasn’t apparent to the casual observer.
Stay tuned for future e-bike events as these bikes become more popular and riders look for ways to share their newfound enthusiasm for something very familiar to bicyclists – competition!