“We love the community that is created through cycling. Sea Otter Canada is really about giving all those thousands of cycling communities that we pass out on the roads a great festival to bring us all together and celebrate our mutual passion for everything cycling,” explains event partner Jesper Wahlberg about launching the new bike festival in July of 2019.
The Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California has grown to become one of North America’s most prominent bike festivals with a huge and lively expo area, exciting racing and a big gathering of the cycling community. With the expansion into Canada on July 4 to 7 at Blue Mountain, Ont. the Sea Otter Canada intends to offer an impressive array of activities for cyclists to take part in an enjoy.
“The idea of creating a successful festival that will return year after year for the passionate cycling community in South Western Ontario,” is what Wahlberg is excited about bringing Sea Otter to Canada.
The cycling festival will offer a lot of racing across disciplines. Many of the events will be based out of Blue Mountain. “We really wanted to try and create an experience as close to the Classic as possible and Blue Mountain really seems like the natural fit right from the start,” said Wahlberg. “The area around Blue really has emerged as the true hotbed for both XC, dirt and road cycling in Ontario over the past decade, so we really just felt is was a natural home for the festival.”
For mountain bikers there is dual slalom, downhill, enduro and pump track races. There will also be an eight-hour XC relay. Road racers can look forward to a three-stage race that takes place in one day that can be completed individually or as a team. There will also be a night time crit, a Gran Fondo, gravel racing and recreational rides. The crowning event will be the Canadian Hill Climbing Championship inspired by Phil Gaimon’s event in the U.S.
“We really want to make it an inclusive cycling experience. Our enduro event will be part of the Canadian National Enduro Series and is sure to draw some real talent,” Walhberg said about the calibre of rider the organizers expect to compete. “It’s our hope to be able to compete for national championship hosting honours in the future. We want to host each year at least one national championship category whether road, XC or downhill.”
In addition to racing, there will be plenty more for riders and their families to do over the weekend. The Sea Otter Classic has become a huge success partially because it draws thousands of bike racers but also tens of thousands of people who just want to take in the festival atmosphere. At Sea Otter Canada there will be activities for children, local food trucks, craft brewers, entertainment including concerts and an expo area with over 200 cycling brands so attendees can check out all the latest and greatest tech in cycling from brands like Shimano, Cannondale, Cervelo, Maxxis and many more.
“We are really trying to create narrative that’s not all about racing, but also riding. While the passionate cyclist will participate in a couple of events, they will also take great advantage of the opportunity to just soak up the atmosphere, demo bikes, have a few beers and check out a concert or two,” explained Walhberg about what he hopes people take away from the festival.
The exposure to new products doesn’t just end at being able to see what’s new. People will be able to ride new mountain, road and e-bikes models that will be at Sea Otter Canada as part of a fleet of over 200 demo bikes. So cyclists won’t be able to ride trails and roads around Blue Mountain on your own bike but on your dream whip.