"The Unabashed Celebration of the Bicycle." That's how the organisers of California's Sea Otter Classic (March 21-24, 2002) describe their cornucopia of cycling. Covering multiple disciplines, televised nightly and with 50 000 spectators, the Sea Otter Classic kick starts the American cycle race season. Why don't we have such an event here? Is it just the lousy weather?

Could the UK ever have a Sea Otter Classic?

Last year nearly 9000 cyclists of all ages and all disciplines rode their socks off in Monterey, California. The Sea Otter Classic is THE place to be in the Spring.

Now in its twelth year, the Sea Otter Classic ("Powered by SRAM" – one of the three ‘gold’ sponsors) is a truly massive event, watched by 50 000 spectators and televised by OLN-TV, the cable channel that last year brought Americans live Tour de France coverage – and Phil Liggett.

This year’s events will include new cross-country categories, amateur mountain cross, and a mountain bike slick-tyre criterium on downtown Monterey’s Cannery Row.

"We’ve never rested on our laurels," said Rick Sutton, co-founder of the Sea Otter Classic.

"From the days when we dared to integrate road events into a mountain bike festival to the creation of the Big Jump contest, we have always tugged on the tent in any direction that will cover more riders."

The Sea Otter Classic is also one of the first chances of the year to spot pro-riders on still-under-development equipment.

There’s also an attached consumer expo village, which this year will be the first place for consumers to see SRAM’s latest X.O shifting technology.

Check out http://www.seaotterclassic.com and imagine what it would be like to have a UK version of this event…

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