TRIP in California: Sea Otter Classic and Dirty Sanchez race!

An interesting week!

After my week end at Sea Otter, we moved north of San Fransisco to visit my team mate of the Cannondale Overmountain Team.
Invited by WTB for a Throwdown party, an immersion in Mark Weir’s World.
We spent 3 days riding our bike in Marin county, shooting pictures, riding motorbike at the Ranch and playing in his backyard with pumptrack and RC car.
This was a really fresh time, leaving the american dream and sharing good moment with my team mate and some friends in Novato.
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But the week was not done, on Thursday afternoon we moved 2h north to Grass Valley for a special event: The Dirty Sanchez Enduro.
It’s an invitational race in a private Ranch where the owner Ron Sanchez and his family built tons of trail and organize a race every year.
60 riders were invited from all across USA and camped at the venue. Friday was for practice, Ron rent some side by side and we were able to shuttle all day long. The uphill were as fun as the downhill and we sessioned the 9 different trails. Even if we were tired , the trails were so well build, flowy and pleasant to ride that we couldn’t stop until we had to go for dinner!!
Sierra Nevada city famous Brewery was a partner of the race and every evening we had dinner and beer at the Ol’ BRewery, to refuel our body and chat with all the riders.
I was lucky, as Ron gave me is Motorhome for the week end, and it was like camping in a Palace, a proper once in a lifetime experience.
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It rain all night Friday and when we woke up on saturday, the pit area was a mudfest, we will have to face slippery conditions all day, but MTB is also great like this. All the riders where smiling and ready to charge sideway. We had 5 stages around 3′ each to do, with 2 that we hadn’t practice and I had no choice than to push hard on every of them if I wanted to stay in touch with the locals.
At the end of the day, race was tight, I was happily surprised to lead the race, 6″ in Front of my team mate Marco Osborne, winning 3 stages. I did no mistake all day long, playing it safely in the mud sometime but riding consistent.
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Tired, I didn’t struggle to sleep an woke up fresh and ready to ride in the sun this time. I was feeling really good, with good legs and confident on my bike. I just tried to ride smooth, carrying speed and riding flowly. Everything worked perfectly for me and I won the first 4 stages of the day, enough to get 17 sec lead before the last 2 stages. I played it safe on the last 2 run to take the win.
 Matteo did a great job and my bike was working perfectly in the now dry conditions. Marco Osborne and Ben Cruz, my team mate were 2nd and 3rd just on my toe, a perfect results for the Cannondale overmountain team and a big mess on the podium with some champagne shower.
It was definitely not a race like we are used to live, it was a special one on differents points and I have to admit that was a great experience. The Sanchez family, their friends and the partners did an amazing job, building the trail and this event. The spirit was grassroot, and they were worried about us having fun all week end. There were no pression on results, no animosity beetween riders, just a bunch of friends sharing there love for speed and mate racing. On top of that a lot of people came to cheer on the side of the different track, this time using the side by side, while we sere pedaling up.
We ended doing a 7th run, just for the crowd, throwing whips with a big train before the podium.
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Now it’s time to go home. Marco pushed me on my limit and I had to fight for every second. it was a really good race, to gain some confidence and make sure I’m still in the right pace before the EWS in may. I can keep working and having fun, knowing I’m in the right direction.
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I would like to make some special thanks to the people that invited me during this trip and helped me out here.
Sram for Sea Otter accomodation, food and good time, Alpinestars for the Supercross VIP pass and experience, Mark and Suzie Weir for having me at home and for the toyota Tacoma, Lisa and Jason Moeschler for the logistic and taking care of u at any time, Marco Osborne and Ben Cruz for being so awesome to hang out with, The Cruz Family for the Dinner,The Novato Crew for the pumptrack session, RC car race and support at the race, Matteo for the Mechanic and for dealing with me and my French sense of Humour, Chris Ravina for the Private shuttle to the marin Airporter, The Sanchez Family for this event and the sick Motorhome, to all the people that cheer for me and Cannondale and WTB for supporting me and this kind of event.
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