We have made it back to the coast of California for another fine edition of the Sea Otter Classic. To get things kicked off this year the professional women’s field tackled the steep slopes of the cross country course surrounding Laguna Seca Raceway. With UCI points on the line, some of the worlds best showed up for the early start time, which included current World Champion Kate Courtney and former teammate Annika Langvad. With such a dramatic end to last season, there was certainly potential for some fireworks on the course between the Courtney and Langvad.
Kate Courtney wasted no time getting straight to the front of the race and splitting things up on the opening climb. A small group began to form after the first lap containing both Courtney and Langvad, as well as Erin Huck, Sofia Gomez Villafane, Catherine Pendrel, and Chloe Woodroof. The pace stayed high as Courtney tried to shed as many competitors as possible from the group while Langvad just hung in at second wheel waiting for her opportunity to pounce. A mechanical would open the door for Langvad as Courtney dropped her chain on one of the steep climbs with about 3 laps to go. Erin Huck did what she could to keep Langvad in her sights but the Swiss Champion proved to be too strong on this day.
Langvad went on to take the win, followed by Huck, and Courtney was able to recover from her dropped chain to hold on to the last podium spot. Clearly disappointed about letting one go to Langvad on home turf, this seasons rivalry between the two ex-teammates is just getting started. Keep an eye out this Sunday as the XC fields head back out on course, and be sure to catch Langvad and Courtney getting after it as the World Cup campaign starts in Slovenia on April 27th.
If you are attending Sea Otter this weekend be sure to swing by the Dirt Rag booth, we got lots of sweet gear and free magazines. See you out there!