The first Sea Otter Classic of the 10′s was welcomed with beautiful California weather. Gone were the high winds, flash flooding rains and bone-chilling sub-60 degree temperatures. I arrived in Monterey via a small prop plane from San Francisco, which I realized is the rigid singlespeed version of air-travel: You feel every bump, sweat a lot and you’re pretty stoked you made it when its over with.

I arrived in Monterey without a lift to the venue, so I asked the only guy I saw carrying a bike helmet if he wanted to share a cab to Sea Otter.  He replied that he already had a ride lined up, but I was welcome to join. Nice!  We waited outside for a minute until a Team GT dually pulled up.  Turns out he rides for GT. Turns out Pro Downhill. Turns out my ride is with Eric Carter.

After racing the MTB Tandem class two years in a row, I decided to spend the weekend off the bike, and take in the Expo. I quickly adapted to Bike Show Sustenance by hydrating with the help of free beer coupons and staying fed with various free energy bar samples.

A couple cool items were on display that caught my eye.  First up was Crank Brothers.  They’ve come a long way since selling Eggbeaters, now offering a full lineup of components.  New are the stem selections, handlebars, grips and 29er version of the sexy Cobalt wheelset. Also spotted was the hot new Candy pedal, getting an alloy cage to replace the plastic model.

Pardon me one second – beer break.

After finishing the latest round of brews & chews, I couldn’t help but notice the sweet aroma of fine leather in the air.  My nose led me to the Dromarti booth, makers of the richest looking handmade cycling shoes you’ve never put on your feet.  They are available in three models; the ‘Race’ model for road pedals, the ‘Sportivo’ for SPD and the smooth-bottomed ‘Storica’ for flat pedals.  If you have any sense of style, these should be on your “Top 5 Must-Have Bike Stuff” list. Prices starting from $225 per pair in classic brown.  Also available soon in black.

In closing…

And a little gallery: All photos by Jeff Thrasher.

Jeff Thrasher runs the Hollywood on Bicycle blog, and can be found at all sorts of bike events in the western part of the country.

We’ll have a full report on all the product news…and there was a lot…from Sea Otter on Friday. So be sure to check back. In the meantime…were you there? See anything interesting, or have a story to tell? Leave a reply below to let us hear about it!