The Volkswagen Sea Otter Classic will celebrate its 22nd edition when it opens tomorrow outside of Monterey, California. What began in 1991 with a few hundred cyclists is now a landmark on the North American cycling calendar. Boasting an attendance of 50,000 over the course of the four-day weekend, this year's event has more than 330 exhibitors. BikeRadar’s James Huang, Matt Pacocha and Ben Delaney will be on the ground, bringing you the inside scoop on the latest and greatest bikes and gear shown there.
New product introductions are commonplace at Sea Otter. So common, in fact, that three companies jumped the gun this year with launches in the days before the event. On Monday, Giant unveiled their Anthem X Advanced 29er in Westlake Village, near their US headquarters in Newbury Park, California. Yesterday, X-Fusion rolled out their 2013 line in Santa Cruz, just north of Monterey. And today Fox are holding a launch in nearby Scotts Valley. BMC, Mavic, SRAM and Felt will all host launches at the event itself, and scores of other companies will be lined up to show off their finest wares to riders and the media.
As the Lollapalooza of cycling, Sea Otter hosts perhaps the most diverse collection of riders of any cycling event in North America. Downhillers in full-face helmets and body armor rub elbows with Masters road racers on carbon fiber clinchers, and cross-country riders make way for young kids on dirt jump bikes. Two notable events new this year are a cyclo-cross race (in April?!) and a skateboard race. These add to the sizable list of more traditional road and mountain bike races and fun rides.
“The Sea Otter Classic is everything cycling,” said spokeswoman Donna Brown. “It’s the largest North American bike expo. It’s the season opener. And this year we have a big focus on women’s activities, with women-only lunches, rides and wine-and-chocolate receptions. There’s something for everybody, from the races for the serious athletes down to egg hunts for the little kids.”
Felt are promising to unveil "at least one all-new 2013 model" at Otter and have released this teaser image