Fresh from their downhill domination of BDS Round 1 at Combe Sydenham in UK the team are heading to Sea Otter this weekend to join the World’s leading Cycling Festival and to race the Dual Slalom and Downhill Events.
Gee, Marc and Rach have headed across the pond with mechanics Pete Michaliszyn and Mark Maurissen, their GT Downhill bikes and GT Distortions (a tough, short-travel fun bike for the Dual Slalom and Downhill events.)
After the first day of US practise Rach sent us this update on riding the Distortion… ”It’s rad… we built them up a week before Sea Otter and rode the yard at home, after a few tweaks its almost my favourite bike at the moment,… so much fun throwing a little bike around the jumps, we rode in Santa Cruz forest on some big jumps the first day and it was AWESOME! ”
This year Sea Otter is expecting to host 9000 athletes and 55,000 fans so as well as racing expect to see the team catching up with Sponsors, loads of friends from the circuit and fans (don’t miss One Industries autograph session on Saturday at 2pm)
Riders: Gee Atherton, Rachel Atherton, Marc Beaumont
Mechanics: Pete Michaliszyn, Mark Maurissen.
Saturday: Dual Slalom. Riders race in parallel pairs down a banked slalom track.
This will be a good chance to test the rider’s sprint capabilities over a short track. Rach sent this on Friday night “Slalom at Sea Otter is a discipline unto itself… the crowd are so wild… the course is tight, fast, intimate with the other racer, it’s sprint and technical all together and you have to race each rider twice, once on each course, so you need to be fit, strong and witty enough to keep the crowd entertained!!”
Sunday: Downhill. The course at Sea Otter is notoriously flat and very physical. Rachel won this event in 2007 but it would be fair to say that it hasn’t been the GT Factory Racing Team’s most successful DH event to date.
The team summarised the course as “Short, fast, pedally as hell with a lot of jumps… real fun to ride but horrible to race! There’s a big uphill where a full speed tuck is needed and then a pure bloody sprint.”
Weather forecast: Sunny! 17 degrees forecast for Saturday and 18 for Sunday – a welcome change from last weekend!
History: Rachel came 2nd in Dual Slalom in 2010 to Jill Kintner, And in 2007 she won the DH and came 4th in Dual Slalom. Gee came 4th in Dual Slalom in 2009 and took the Dual Slalom win at Crankworx in 2010.
This is the only Dual Slalom event the team will race this year. It’s a good chance to get over to the United States, support our sponsors GT and One who have their bases there and to race in front of our US supporters – especially as there isn’t going to be a US round of the World Cup this year.
Marc said “to be honest I have never had very much success at Sea Otter! I’m seeing it as a training race… The Downhill is very flat which will give us the opportunity to learn about our new bike on different terrain.
Rachel said “I’m really looking forward to a chilled out event, in the sun, hanging with the GT guys is always fun and Sea Otter is a mad place. There’s always so many fans everywhere,stoked on life, shouting your name, there’s banners, costumes, they love it and so it makes it really fun and mainly its about sponsors and the fans, the racing isn’t so important before a full season of world cups…but its a good test event.”