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Rev your bikes: Sea Otter Classic hosts second annual electric mountain bike race

The 2017 Haibike eMTB Race epowered by Bosch @ Sea Otter Classic
At this year’s Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, the yearly start to North America’s mountain bike racing circuit held its second annual electric mountain bike race event. Over 70 racers participated in the sophomore competition, which was sponsored and hosted by Bosch‘s e-bike division. Officially dubbed the Haibike eMTB Race, event organizers hope that continued support and popularity surrounding ebikes allow the race to become a solid fixture of the Classic moving forward.

“This new racing category will keep growing as consumers continue to discover the exhilaration and pure joy that eMTBs bring to mountain bike racing,” said Bosch eBike Systems Americas’ general manager, Claudia Wasko. “We expect to see a lot of these same Sea Otter races come back for more at the upcoming Boogaloo Class 1 eMTB Race Series this summer at Big Bear Snow Summit and Mammoth Mountain.”

Over the course of 2.9 miles, racers endured more than 370 feet of climbing, a rigorous “tire-thrashing” rock garden, and a strenuous sand pit. Aside from the environmental obstacles, the racers also had to consistently keep track of the bike’s battery life, making sure to avoid completely gassing the battery before the race concluded. With obstructions like the sand pit and constant elevation change, the bike’s battery worked overtime over what could be considered a small course.

Sea Otter Classic
Sea Otter Classic

“With more than 70 racers racing, the competition was strong,” added Sea Otter Classic president and CEO, Frank Yohannan. “Our new course design favored riders who could manage their battery life while pushing themselves and their bikes to the max.”

In addition to the race, Bosch also hosted an Industry Challenge, which benefited the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). Claiming this year’s top spot was KTM racer Trevor DeRuise who rode KTM’s Macina Lycan CX4 bike to victory. After nabbing the $2,500 top price, DeRuise donated his winnings to NICA’s Nevada chapter, of which Bosch matched the donation to help increase awareness of the program’s interscholastic cycling.

“A huge thanks to Bosch and the Sea Otter Classic for showcasing eMTBs and sponsoring the exciting Industry Challenge,” said NICA president, Austin McInerny. “The experience proved to me that eMTBs are super fun and can be ridden similarly to non-powered bicycles. I look forward to exploring how NICA might utilize eMTBs to enable older adult coaches to keep up safely with much younger and extremely fit high school student-athletes, as well as by our roaming course marshals and medics who haul heavy gear around race courses.”

Next year’s Sea Otter Classic is already in the planning phase, with the event scheduled to take place from April 19-22 in Monterey, California. With the continued rise in popularity for ebikes, the event figures to feature its third annual electric mountain bike race in 2018.

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Rick Stella
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Rick became enamored with technology the moment his parents got him an original NES for Christmas in 1991. And as they say…
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