Team aims for the win at Sea Otter

Women’s team gears up for criterium and road race events in Monterey

2 weeks ago by Oskar Scarsbrook

Rally Cycling is heading back to the Sea Otter Classic for the festival of cycling that’s bigger than ever before. The women will take on both the criterium and road race on October 7 and 8. 

With a thirty-year history, the Sea Otter Classic is the most prestigious festival of its kind in the United States. Held annually at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California, the four-day event can be considered as the world’s largest celebration of cycling. 

Team director Andrew Bajadali returns to the event having had a successful relationship with the classic. Bajadali won the men’s open race in the 2007 edition and has always been a great admirer of what he calls a “mainstay in American bike racing.” 

“The race is unique in that it’s also a festival for bike enthusiasts and industry representatives for product releases and testing,” Bajadali said.  

The event has always showcased the very best American bike racers. From road pros to gravel enthusiasts, MTB adrenaline junkies to enduro athletes, everyone is welcome.  

The mission of the race – to make people’s lives better through participation in sport and celebrating an active lifestyle – is very much in-tune with Rally Cycling’s own health and wellness message. 

Sea Otter Classic criterium  

The PRO/Open Women’s criterium will be a 50-minute race around the 2.4-mile long Laguna Seca racetrack on October 7. The course starts and finishes at the Tire Bridge and takes in the track’s iconic corkscrew bend. New Zealand national crit champ Olivia Ray will be lining up in the fern jersey, and gunning for her sixth criterium win of the season. 

Sea Otter Classic road race

The PRO/Open Women’s Road Race starts on October 8 and tackles a 54-mile route starting at the Tire Bridge and finishing on a climb up Barloy Canyon Road. The riders will head out to the stunning Fort Old National Monument and do multiple laps of a rolling circuit before heading back uphill.

Bajadali has strong hopes for the two races. “Our objectives are simple: go out on a high note by winning one or both races. We’ll have a full team, so my expectations are big.”

A memorable 2021 

The Sea Otter Classic will be one of the team’s last races of the season, so what better time to reflect on what has been a unique year for the team. Bajadali will come away with his own memories from his first year directing for the women’s program. 

“For me, what comes to mind are those moments when your team is all on the same page, motivated, fearless and hungry. These are the moments when results come easily. We had this at points during the year, but the goal is to strive for this always.”

With the team striving for Women’s WorldTour status, 2022 looks like it will be an even bigger year for the riders. 

Sea Otter facts

Another one of the Classic’s missions is to promote environmental protection. The festival takes its name from the indigenous mammals that call the Pacific coast home. What better way to celebrate the sea otter than by teaching Rally Cycling fans a little more about the local wildlife. 

  • They have the densest fur in the animal kingdom with up to one million hairs per square inch, toasty ♨️
  • Just like a pro cyclist, they eat a quarter of their own weight in food every day 🍽
  • You may notice that they sleep on their backs and look super cute whilst doing it 😴
  • When they rest as a group, it’s called a raft and they hold hands to stay together 🛶
  • They are one of only a few species of animals that use tools. Could our mechanics be out of a job? 🔧
  • Sea otters are a keystone species and help to keep carbon dioxide levels low by eating sea urchins. Thanks, guys 👍

Sea Otter Classic 2021 roster
Madeline Bemis
Holly Breck
Krista Doebel-Hickok
Heidi Franz
Sara Poidevin 
Olivia Ray
Emma White