We can’t deny that we have it pretty good here in California. From our climate to our cuisine, we love to partake in and promote the myriad wonders that make the Golden State a destination for cyclists from all over the globe. Every spring we get a chance to show the rest of the cycling industry why we love California.
Sea Otter, the largest consumer cycling expo in the US, takes place just 150 miles south of Kitsbow HQ in the picturesque coastal city of Monterey. The annual Sea Otter Classic started in 1991 as a cross country race. Since then it’s grown to become a massive industry showcase, featuring pro-level races in every cycling discipline (from road crits to dual slalom), and semi-official launch of the pro mountain biking season in North America. Racers, riders, and industry friends from all over the world stopped in and said hello at the Kitsbow tent.
The racing and showcasing is nice, but the highlight of our weekend came on Thursday evening. After a long yet blustery day in the sun, we gathered a group of Obsessives and headed for the ocean on our bikes. Led by Scot Nicol of Ibis, we rode 24 lupine-lined miles of dilapidated service roads in the hills outside of Laguna Seca all the way to idyllic Carmel-by-the-Sea.
The instant camaraderie of a bike ride is a remarkable thing. Bonds are formed almost instantaneously between people who have just met. We laughed and enjoyed the company of our fellow Obsessives as we shared in the beauty of the layers of tree-specked golden hills during our climb up an alternate route of the Laureles Grade.
We had originally planned to host a beach barbecue, but with a huge winter El Nino the sand hadn’t returned, so we chose to move our feast up the hill. A private home in Carmel provided the perfect setting for a laid-back meeting of minds, livers, and bellies. Chef Zander Ault of the Cyclist’s Menu prepared a meal to remember: roasted artichokes with herb aioli, root vegetables with fresh herb pistou, succulent bacon-wrapped scallops, and perfectly mid-rare grass-fed hanger steak. All the farm-to-table food was paired with a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from Hanzell as well as some Kitsbreu, an East Coast-style IPA brewed by our very own Adam Yeagley.
We moved indoors to warmth and whiskey as the sky became dark. The mellow post-ride and post-meal vibe became festive and buoyant as we nipped into a few bottles of Eagle Rare bourbon and Garrison Brothers whiskey. Just like Kitsbow itself, we like to party, but we keep it classy.
The fine victuals and libations, the excellent company, and the gorgeous coastal setting kept us in that state of total gratitude for living the good life in the Golden State. Thanks to all of our guests from that evening, as well as to everyone we met at Sea Otter. We’ll see you out on the trails!