The alarm pierced the silence of the room. I cracked my eye to see a blurry 6:00 AM on the alarm. Apparently it really was time to get up for Sea Otter already… The sun cut through the crack between the blinds of our Motel 6 room. We staggered out of bed and walked across the parking lot to Denny’s for a rushed $5 breakfast special, plus the 10% discount hotel guests receive. Ballin on a budget. After loading up on cheap food we gathered our gear and loaded into the van to drive from Salinas to Monterey.
Sure, some people in the bike industry get to stay in posh, cozy Monterey in a fancy hotel or Air Bnb mansion, but where’s the fun in that? (Cue eye roll). As a small independent outlet we don’t get those luxuries. Instead four of us share a two-bed room in a Motel 6 where thugs and field workers come to mingle and bring Tinder dates. But that’s another story.
Rather than just show you fancy new products that you’ve already seen, we’re going to share our story of going through the pits as regular dudes, just like you. Here’s a small sample of what goes on behind the scenes with some of the other media outlets and brands that make up the industry.
Bikes and people cover Slalom Hill every year as racers weave down the infamously dry and dusty track.
After battling our way through the traffic at Laguna Secca raceway, wondering why they don’t just open both entrances so we could get through in half the time, we made it to the media building to claim our passes and free donuts. Apparently the double-digit growth of the event was reason enough to downsize media offerings and now that we no longer got free lunches or breakfasts, we had to stock up on some consolation donuts. No complaints from us.
After getting badged up and official, we headed into the event. When we got there at 8 AM, most brands were still putting the final touches on their booths, rolling out bikes and setting up displays. It was the last chance for them to prep for a long weekend of wind, dust and sore feet. Our first stop was Marin bikes where we were thrilled to be unveiling our Witch Hunter giveaway bike: A custom-built Marin Wolf Ridge. The bike got dusted off and mounted up front and center!