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The first Sea Otter Classic, originally called the Laguna Seca Challenge, in 1991 drew 350 athletes and 150 spectators.
Twenty-two years later the four-day “Celebration of Cycling” welcomes over 8,000 athletes and 50,000 spectators and bike enthusiasts to Monterey County, transforming the Laguna Seca Raceway into the largest consumer bike expo in North America.
In addition to the professional and amateur riders who make the annual pilgrimage to participate in various mountain and road races, the cycling extravaganza has expanded its offerings for avid recreational riders with events such as the Gran Fondo (“great endurance”) rides, scheduled for Saturday, April 21.
There will be three Gran Fondo rides this year: two road rides and a 20-mile mountain bike route. The road rides include a 96-mile route through Carmel Valley and a 49-mile out-and-back coastal route.
Although timed, Gran Fondo rides are not races. Riders are encouraged to take the time to enjoy refreshments and enjoy the fun of riding in company, but a little competition is likely to seep in as well.
Festival passes are $10 a day ($12 on site), or $30 for a four-day pass ($35 on site). Children 12 and under are free.
For more info: seaotterclassic.com.