Monterey Ca. – Sea Otter Classic 2017
Another Sea Otter Classic has come and gone. Over 20 years we’ve all been making the trek up to Laguna Seca raceway to enjoy the sun, ocean air and the best cycling festival in the USA. Yeah, sure there are lots of new bikes and gizmos to drool over, the new TLD line to stare at, food trucks to grub on, some road racing, some mountain bike racing, stunt shows and more. But we all know everyone comes for the main show-the classic-the icon; Sea Otter Slalom.
Same iconic track for YEARS, so the riders know whats in store. A good start, some flow, off camber early corners, deep gravity fed berms and then pedal your ass off into the finish line in front of a hillside of fans that have coolers full of America’s finest brews, flags, horns, bazookas, even the random flashing will go down at the Otter slalom.
We have had a lot of TLD riders win the slalom over the years but, simply put, Mitch Ropelato dominated this one like no one has ever seen-even after a practice crash where he slammed hard, but he must be made of rubber-got up and still looked like he was on rails. He was the fastest qualifier by a mile and he won all of his heats through the evening where he ended up against past winner Martin Maes and beat him both runs. Only a natural disaster like the san andreas fault opening up during the race would have stopped him from winning-you should have seen it, Al Michaels would have believed in miracles after seeing it…sorry kids, old people reference.
Troy Lee was on hand for most of the event, but had to leave Saturday morning. When we texted Troy that Mitch won, he was super stoked, but asked “Why is he wearing that motocross jersey haha?” and our brand manager for bike, Stikman responded “Troy, you have to let Mitch do what Mitch wants to do, he’s a dumpster fire” and that was that.
So that is the lesson learned this weekend: Just let Mitch do what Mitch wants to do, mix it up, have fun, unlock your combination…shouldn’t you?
Want some of Mitch’s kit? Here is the rundown, get it while it’s hot: