Trying the Sea Otter Super D

Hello Lee,

I am planning to participate in my first Super D race this spring. Actually, that would be my first bike race ever – although I do “compete” in club road rides, and have done mass-start rides, I’ve never been to a real race. I am 31 y.o. and I have a trail bike, for what it worth.

So here is my question: what would be the best event for a complete and utter (but motivated) beginner to attend?

I’ve considered the Beginner class on Sea Otter this April, based on the following thoughts: I am not a great downhiller (working on it this winter), and there are many people who are much faster than I am. Therefore, I would not prefer starting with something rather mellow, from the technical point of view. Another consideration is the travel. I am located in the Silicon Valley and I am not willing to travel very long. Monterey is good for me.

So, where does one start with the Super D?

P.S. How is The Wife doing with the knees? How’s your gums?

Sincerely Yours,

Hi Omer,

Super D is a great first race. You ride your everyday trail bike, and the terrain is “normal” — ordinary dirt roads and trails, rather than crazy DH or 4X features.

Last year’s Sea Otter Super D course was technically very mellow, but the racing action was intense.

To get ready:

– Ride your bike as much as you can on a variety of terrain. Dice with your buddies and try to pass them whenever you can.

– Learn to sprint on foot then jump onto your bike and hammer as hard as you can. The start is super important. It’s so much easier to begin near the front — but it’s fun to fight through the pack!

Read this: Super D training 101

I’d also consider the Sea Otter DH. It’s very mellow and pedally, and all of the jumps can be rolled or ridden around. As long as you’re down in Monterey …

Have fun,

— Lee

PS: The knees and the gums are still sore, but they’re better. This morning I ate cereal for the first time, and The Wife spun on the trainer for an hour. Dude: She’s already cranking out 200 watts — I can’t wait to see her at full strength!

6 replies
  1. Keith says:


    Super D is cool, but all the events at Sea Otter are killer! Nothing wrong with racing in the beginner class in any event. Since you have never raced, try a couple of differnt events, XC, DH, Super D, Slalom, you may end up enjoying one more than the other. Good luck.

  2. Fritz says:

    Since you are a Bay Area rider, you can also tune both your XC and DH skills at CCCX downhill and XC races. Of course, you can also do cyclocross if you are really rad. The CCCX guys run really great, low key races.


  3. Brian says:

    If you haven’t been to Sea Otter I recommend taking a trip down to Laguna Seca and take a look at the dh course. You can walk a lot of it and see what it is like. There is a pretty steep bumpy section right by the gun range. I think that is the hardest part on the course. And then you can go ride some of the trails where the Super D is afterwards.

    If you haven’t ridden there yet you can go to Carlmont and Pacific(Boyscout Trail)to do some downhilling type stuff. MSDHW.COM will have plenty of info in the forums.

  4. Jafar says:

    Hey Lee – Hope you and the wife continue to heal well! 200 Watts! Awesome!

    I’ve thought about trying the Super D as well, any recommendations on a good beginners race in Colorado?

    Thanks man!

  5. leelikesbikes says:

    Hey Jafar,

    I got the stitches out of my mouth today. I was ready to bite into some food, but they said I have to wait three weeks. … And that long until I can floss. I’m going crazy! 🙂

    MSC Super D … They’re all fun, and they’re all different.

    Crested Butte – lots of pedaling, very XC. You would kill this.

    Angel Fire – very DH

    Telluride – a good mix, with significant climbing last year

    Snowmass – high speed mix. Not much climbing in 2007, but tons in 2006

    Keystone – long and flowy, best all-around track

    Just get out there and mix it up.

  6. Jafar says:

    Well, if I must go to Crested Butte, then I guess I’ll go…but I’ll have to drag Lauren kicking and screaming!

    Thanks for the advice Lee, and good luck with the gums.

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