It wasn’t without a certain amount of trepidation that I agreed to make the trip down to the Sea Otter Classic this year; given its reputation for inclement weather and the round soaking/freezing I got last time around, you could forgive me for considering my excuses. As it turns out I couldn’t think of one in time to prevent a plane ticket being booked, and a few weeks later I found myself in Monterey, California once again, this time in glorious sunshine.
And I was late, as usual. Impressively tinny Kia Rio hire car pushed to the limits of Korean engineering I arrived, tires screeching, at the Laguna Seca raceway, home of the event and my base of operations for the next four days. Pulling into the parking lot, I slowed the car to a trundle and rolled out (disclaimer: artistic licence in effect) next to the Pedro’s stand, who’d summoned the world’s media to document an important announcement – that they’d done some financial buying-out process and now owned their own company. And here was me getting excited a new scent of bike wash. They made up for the anticlimactic news by giving everyone a free beer with bottle opener – I was doing well, barely ten minutes in and I’d already scored free beer and schwag.
The rest of the day was occupied with mooching around, getting my bearings and the lay of the land, working out a schedule of race coverage and trying to weasel new product information out of various bike companies. One brand that needed no ‘weaseling’ at all was Trek – they chose the day to unveil their new 8in Session 88, in both Freeride and DH flavours, with pro testers Andrew Shandro and Nico Vink on hand to nod in the right places and make appropriate cooing noises at the right time.
Bikes fondled and spy shots taken, we sidled out of Trek’s pre-fabbed garage stand, ate their free sandwiches and scored my second free beer of the day. It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it…
Pedros gathered the world’s bike media together to announce the anticlimactic news that they’d bought themselves out with some financial something-or-other. Luckily they brought free beer.
The slalom course is looking prime in all its hardpacked loveliness – more shots from closer up on later on in the week.
Trek Session 88 DH – 8″ of travel, uses the same 1-piece ‘EVO link’ as the ’08 Fuel and Remedy lines, along with the now Trek-standard ABP axle pivot. Expect to pay around $5999 to get a bike that builds to a lovely 37lb.
Session 88 FR – indentical geometry to the DH version, but with a more freeride component build.
Nico and Shandro broke in the Session 88 DH and FR bikes on the World Cup circuit and the Shore, so you can be sure they’ve been tested thoroughly.