Team Specialized newest European import’s – Switzerland’s Barbara Blatter and Great Britain’s Caroline Alexander dominated the 3 stage Sea Otter Classic this past weekend . The event took place at the Laguna Seca Racing Circiut a few miles inland from the pretty coastal town of Monterey and only an hour’s drive from Specialized H.Q. in Morgan Hill.
In the opening T.T. the girl’s posted a one , two finish , Barbara just getting the better of Caroline by a handful of seconds , but the cushion over G.T.’s Alison Dunlap , a rider who is renowned for her performances against the clock was over 40 seconds .
In Saturday’s dirt criterium the powerful duo dispensed with the entire field on the opening couple of laps , save for Alison and then they proceeded to attack their opponent relentlessly . By the finish the Specialized tandem had gained another 30 seconds on their closest rival , plus Barbara earned a 30 second time bonus for her second victory in as many days and Caroline who rolled over the line on her team mates wheel bagged a further 20 seconds .
After such strong performances in the opening two stages , Barbara and Caroline were confident that between them they could run out the victor’s after the marathon cross country stage . Caroline continued in her role as ” super domestique ” and set a ferocious tempo from the gun . Once again it was only Alison Dunlap that could follow , but when the road went up , Caroline turned the screw and Alison dropped off .
Now the pair were alone , however things were not all going entirely to plan . Barbara’s fork had lost it’s air , a huge disadvantage on a course whose smooth climbs were punctuated by long . bumpy downhills . Aware of her handicap , Caroline hung back for her team leader , however this move allowed Dunlap to claw her way back to the front .
In true ” roadie ” style , she attacked the leader’s immediately , but Caroline had no trouble in responding . On the previuos lap she had set the pace , but the now the roles were reversed . Alison took the lead , hoping to put as much time into Barbara and therefore leapfrog her in the overall classification , while Caroline refused to contribute to the pace setting .
On the long climb to the finish , Barbara caught site of her quarry and with a titanic effort reduced the 50 second deficit to less than 20 by the finish . Caroline was narrowly beaten in the sprint by Alison , but was rewarded with the leader’s jersey on the final podium .
It really was a dream start for the riders and their sponsors and who could have asked for more in Specialized’s own back yard !
After a couple of day’s of easy riding , the girl’s will be dialing in their FSRxc’s in time for the World Cup opener in Napa Valley . The active , but independent design should be perfectly suited to the rocky nature of the Napa course and the ” Ladies in Red ” will be ready to take on all the rest of the World !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!