Reflections on an inspiring weekend of all things cycling
Words by Luke Yates • Photos by Joe Spota
With professional and amateur racing, and a huge expo, the Sea Otter Classic was a celebration of everything to do with cycling. The Adventure Sports Journal (ASJ) family headed to Laguna Seca to kick of its 2016 Roadshow and share what the magazine is all about.
The main focus of the show for us was the ASJ booth. Consumers were constantly stopping by the tent, grabbing a copy of the magazine and entering the raffle. We had some unbelievable prizes, kindly donated by our advertising partners.
- Set of carbon road bike wheels from Atom Composites
- Hammock from Eagles Nest Outfitters
- Mountain bike guided tour from The Ride Guides
- Mountain bike skills clinic from a Single Track Mind
It was great to connect with regular readers, but equally important, it was fantastic to introduce the brand to a lot of new people. REI and Sports Basement emerged as popular places to pick up the magazine, but we were also able to establish some new potential distribution sites.
We sampled freeze dried backpacking meals from our partners at Mountain House. Both the biscuits and gravy and the breakfast skillet went down really well, and we gave away a lot of free packets. The beef mac and cheese and the pasta primavera were also a hit!
Growing the brand
The Sea Otter Classic was a great opportunity to grow the ASJ brand, with hundreds of potential partners in one place. Matt, Cathy and Michele barely had a second to spare as they talked to some pretty amazing companies. I personally chatted to an adventure medical supplies company and a live sports streaming service, both of which seemed pretty keen to offer products for testing and review, and become advertising partners.
The enthusiasm we all showed and the range of sports and local issues covered by the magazine clearly appealed to many brands. Hopefully plenty of the contacts made over the weekend turn into full partners.
Enjoying the show
Away from the ASJ booth, it was awesome to just enjoy the show, watch some top quality racing and see some incredible products.
The dual slalom mountain bike races proved a hit all weekend, with the head-to-head racing and challenging course adding to the drama. The circuit races also proved intriguing as they were running regularly on the Laguna Seca racetrack, around the expo.
The expo itself showcased the latest innovations from most of the major bike brands. One growing area of the market is clearly the introduction of e-mountain bikes. There already seems to be a controversial debate surrounding these machines, with strong opinions on both sides.
Two products that I found interesting were a pair of sunglasses that have built in GPS and tracking functions, displayed almost on the lens, and a new type of crank that measures power directly from the torque generated by the user. This second product is proving so accurate in testing, that the British Cycling Association, renowned for their pursuit of a performance advantage, have already signed up to use the crank through to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Aside from this, it was great to get some free samples of new products, look at ways to improve my own cycling – including getting a body composition analysis – and check out the trials show by Canadian superstar Ryan Leech (check out Ryan’s website featuring his newly re-launched online learning platform here.).
In all, Sea Otter will go down as a great weekend!
Check out the following photos by Joe Spota of the expo plus downhill and dual slalom mountain bike races. Click here for a full gallery of images from the event on our Facebook page!
Luke Yates is a journalist, focusing on endurance and adventure sports. When not writing, he can often be found training for triathlons or planning his next expedition. His last big adventure was to cycle tour halfway around the world, taking in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada.