Sea Otter Speed and Style 2012

This year we ran the second-ever Sea Otter Classic Speed and Style event. It was speedy and stylish.


History

In the past, Sea Otter had Speed Trials, which was a semi-trialsy, semi-freestyley, head to head race. They still run Speed Trials at various mountain events.

Then came pump tracks.

In 2010 I built a sweet pump track next to the speed trials course. The pump track was a major hit — many riders and spectators said they liked it more than Speed Trials.

Check out the 2010 pro pump track:

In 2011 there was no more speed trials, but the sponsor money — from SRAM and Native — was for “freeride,” which means jumps. So trials legend Jeff Lenosky devised and I helped him design Speed and Style. The basic notion: parallel pump tracks with a trick jump in the middle; head-to-head race with time bonus for rad style. Well, I call it rad; I think the current term has something to do with “steeze.”

Check out the 2011 Speed and Style event:

Last year’s Speed and Style was a big hit. Riders were stoked. Sponsors were stoked. Exhibitors wanted to be close by. So we did it again.

Requirements

Every square foot of the Sea Otter venue is spoken for. If it’s not terrain or walkway or porta potty, it’s being paid for. Good news is there was lots of competition for space. Bad news is we lost space. Anyone who builds things for a living (buildings, software, bike terrain) knows it’s all about finding the right compromise to meet all the project requirements. So this year’s requirements:

• Fit into a 50×90 space. Last year we had 70×110.

• Parallel tracks like last year, but faster. I opened up the spacing on the rollers.

• Encourage jumping and reward higher skills on the straights. We made the rollers pointier than normal. Less like a pump track, more like a BMX track.

• Less pedaling. Last year we had two cranks’ worth of flat ground before the trick jumps. This year we built a sweet little step-up that felt amazing to ride and left space for one desperate pre-jump crank.

• Big jumps! We used the same jumps as last year, but we added decks in case people case. In case people case. Ha!

• OK for kids too. At the end of the build we found out there would be no public pump track for the kids, so we shaped go-arounds to let people rip the track without hitting the kicker jumps. Hey folks: We’re saving the world one pump track at a time.

• Deal with the conditions. Heavy rains made the dirt very hard to work with. First we were mucking around in slop, then we were chopping up clods, then the sun same out and we couldn’t keep the track tacky enough. Sea Otter weather is always an adventure.

Total dirt used: 520 cubic yards! As far as I know, that’s a pump track world record.

Format

We planned two full laps and three jumps, but most riders couldn’t do it. So we shortened the race to:

• Start down the ramp and hit the jump (time starts, style advantage awarded)
• Rip a full lap
• Hit the jump again (time stops and style advantage either kept or switched)
• Whoever has the best style gets a one-second time bonus. That pretty much makes this a style contest with an element of panic.

Outcome

Last year I did such a terrible job announcing that I will never be asked again. Sweet! I got to sit my tired carcass against the fence and watch the action.

The best dirt jumpers had the best style for sure, and it was interesting to watch everyone attack the corners and rollers fully pinned. A lot of basic cornering and pump errors knocked great riders out of the event. Martin Soderstrom crushed it.

Check out the 2012 Speed and Style:

Next year: We’re talking about multiple pump tracks and racing for all classes. I really want to make that happen.

Braaap!

Lee


Know more. Have more fun!

Join the leelikesbikes mailing list:






11 replies
  1. chance says:

    So epic! I have to get out there sometime!
    Lee I didn’t see any footage of your shreddin’ the speed and style course! what gives?

  2. leelikesbikes says:

    Chance!

    The build was exhausting, and I really wanted to save some juice for racing DS and DH. Once the track was burned in, I didn’t ride it (trying to be an adult here). But man it was fun! Especially the step-up to trick jump.

    My endurance pump track training came in handy: While we were burning in the track, I was banging out sets of 10 laps. Not as fast as the BMX pros who helped build, but I got way more laps!

    I suppose I’m becoming a masters endurance pump track burn-in specialist. 🙂

  3. Bill says:

    Hi Lee, my daughter and I had a great time at the SOC. Thanks for your advice.
    DH race was awesome, she finished a respectable 3rd. @ 3:10 got 3 practice run
    due to numerous accidents and delay, 3:05 > is very possible maybe next year. Sorry we didn’t stop by to say hello. Congratulation on your DH and DS finish, the speed and style course looked great. DS course was amazing. Welcome back to Colorado, will you be stopping by the Valmont DS series on Tuesday?
    Thanks again.

  4. leelikesbikes says:

    Bill, right on!

    Thanks re: my Otter rides. YES I will be racing DS at Valmont this Tuesday. Oh man I rode the track Wednesday morning, and it was in incredible shape.

    See you out there.

  5. Davis says:

    We need this in the Boulder area. What a perfect event to mix up racers and “freeriders.” Valmont should consider reworking the upper pump track to incorporate this event. Seriously best new event idea I have heard of (yes better than speed trials).

  6. Brian says:

    I liked the 2010 track the best because it didn’t have the trick jump. There already is a jump contest where they are throwing better tricks. I would rather just see a super fast pro pumptrack.

  7. Vladimir says:

    Nice article! And the speed and style course is rad too, but I would agree that the 2010 pump track was the greatest thing ever! I still hold my breath while watching those videos (even though I’ve watched them a hundred times at least! 🙂

    Greetings from Bulgaria, Lee – I miss Boulder already! Hope you are doing great!

Comments are closed.