By Andrew Mitchell
Every spring the cycling season gets its official launch in North America with the annual Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, with thousands of riders turning out for a full slate of road, cross-country, downhill, freeride and BMX events. The field also ranges from recreational to professional, and there are invite-only events like the dirt jump competitions.
In last weekend’s cross-country Pro Male race, Victoria’s Geoff Kabush finished first in a field that included some of the top World Cup mountain bike riders, including Swiss rider Christoph Sauser, and French athlete Jean Christopher Peraud.
Also from B.C., Max Plaxton and Kris Sneddon were 10 th and 11 th out of 80 riders.
In Semi-Pro, Pemberton’s Dustin Gordon was 35 th out of 56 starters.
Whistler’s Tyler Allison was fourth in the Junior Expert Men 16 and Under race, less than a minute out of third place after over three hours of riding. His father, Bob, competing in Expert Men 45 to 49, was 17 th .
On the female side, Courtenay’s Kiara Bisaro placed second, Whistler’s Willow Koerber was sixth, Alison Sydor was eighth and Wendy Simms ninth.
In downhill, West Vancouver’s Micayla Gatto was the top female, placing eighth in a strong international field. Whistler’s Claire Buchar and Katrina Strand were 14 th and 16 th respectively. In the Downhill Junior Expert Women 18 and Under, Whistler’s Kerry Anne Hamilton was sixth, racing against riders up to six years older than her.
For the Pro Men, Victoria’s Andrew Mitchell was the top Canadian in 33 rd . Tyler Morland was 51 st out of 115 starters.
In the short course mountain bike race, Kiara Bisaro ranked third, followed by Willow Koerber.
In the men’s Pro short course, Whistler’s Mike Charuk placed seventh, while Craig Hamilton was 18 th in their age category. Kerry-Anne Hamilton was 20 th in the Women’s Open race.
In the Super D uphill-downhill race, Whistler’s Tyler Allison put his cross-country and downhill skills to the test to finish second out of 45 riders in the Junior Male 18 and Under category.
In the mountain bike time trial, Geoff Kabush, Max Plaxton and Seamus McGrath were first through third for Canada. In the 40 to 49 age category, Craig Hamilton was 16 th , while Trevor Hopkins missed the podium by just one second in the 30 to 39 race.
Willow Koerber made the podium, finishing third in Pro Elite women.
Unofficial results are posted online at www.seaotter.com . Official results will be online by Friday.