One of the best parts about racing the downhill at the Sea Otter is the practice sessions. My favorite memories of racing have always been the times we’ve walked the course, then worked to dial in lines with friends. The race is certainly the most exciting part of the weekend, but the hours of waiting to reach the start line often put a damper on the brief run in which you get to put it all together (or not) and just pin it.
Practice is the time to dial in suspension, debate air pressure settings and make the decision to go with flats (more fun) or clipped in. (faster)
One of my favorite spots to sit with the camera is the step up line at the end of the popular first straight. Arguably the most photographed section of the course, the jump line is one of the biggest crowd pleasers on the course. However, what separates the riders is how they handle the section after the “main” jumps.
Some choose to play it safe, and stay as low as possible over the small step up. Riders looking to win on a short course where every second counts, manual the first lip and air the second part of the step up, gap it to the next roller, and turn it into a landing.
Not everyone that tried this line rode away cleanly, although we didn’t see that many riders go down, thanks to plenty of suspension travel.
The fastest guys know how to milk every bit of the course for speed.
Our other spot to hang out was at this berm. Again, the fastest dudes can sling it.