Charlie Goes Back to Back at Sea Otter
Race Report by: Travis Retzer
E3 Sea Otter Classic Circuit Race
Every opportunity you get to race your bike on a race track is a good one! Charlie and I lined up at the starting line with a simple plan: find a way to win. After a win in the criterium the previous day, Charlie says he’s going to try and attack at the halfway point if it’s together.
The race starts, and we begin the first of many ascents up to the infamous corkscrew of Laguna Seca. We get to the top and begin the descent, and I’m feeling good. We hit the third lap, and we start the climb… I feel the legs seizing up, and the pain is a little bit more than it should be for this early in the race. I start talking to myself: “c’mon man, sack up and get it together!” Next thing I know, Charlie attacks. Now I’ve gotta get to the front and do my job.
Charlie sets a sizable gap right off the bat. Unfortunately for that course, there’s good visibility of the track, making it tough for breaks to stick. A guy jumps and instantly returns to the group. A few seconds later, a familiar face sprints by and attempts to join Charlie up the road. It’s a rider wearing a specialized kit. His name is Eric, but Nate affectionately nicknamed him ‘Big Beef’ while racing at Santa Cruz.
It’s dejavu: Charlie and Big Beef, together again. I watch him connect to Charlie, and I know the next lap is critical for the break to be established. We cross the start-finish line, and their gap is growing. They’re still in sight, but barely.
Another lap goes by, and now they’ve built a 1 minute lead. I’m doing my best to control the front of the pack. Attacks/bridge attempts are made, but the pack isn’t letting anything else get away.
We make it to the bell lap, and the gap is holding at a minute. I know these 2 have it in the bag, now it’s a matter of Charlie finding another way to beat Big Beef.
I position myself at the front of the pack for the final climb/descent. We approach the final 2 turns, and the field sprint starts. I manage to get a finish somewhere up there towards the front of the pack I cross the line, and now all I’m caring about is where Charlie finished.
I turn around, catch my breath, and see Alex (Charlie’s father) with his hand up in the air- I know Charlie got it. Charlie finishes 1st, I finish 8th. Stoked to be a part of another win for Data Driven Athlete Racing!