Sea Otter 2021: Recap

It’s hard to believe the first Sea Otter Classic was held back in 1991. Over the course of 30 years, Sea Otter has attracted everything from the biggest brands to garage based startups, not to mention the countless World Class Professional racers all the way down to Cat 5 Amateurs participating in their first races. To say Sea Otter has had a profound impact on the cycling community would be an understatement.

Thus, when Sea Otter went dark for 2020 (there was a virtual show in lieu of the physical show) due to Covid, it was a blow to many in the cycling community. At the very least, the annual event was a place for friends to reconnect and see each other in person as opposed to talking on the phone or over email. When the event came back for 2021, there was definitely an air of excitement about what the experience would be like.

Booth setup on Wednesday morning

In 2019, the attendance was approximately 70-75K spectators/ expo attendees, with 500 booth vendors in various shapes and sizes. Throw in over 600+ credentialed media, and you have the makings of an event that kept you on your toes every day from start to finish. If you weren’t exhausted at the end of the day then you were not doing it right.

As to be expected for 2021, the attendance was down across the board. What was also different was that the event was held in October rather than the usual April timeslot. It was noticeable immediately when you looked up into the hills of where the dual slalom course is located and instead of seeing green fields, everything had a brown tint to it like it was time for Halloween. Not a bad thing at all, just different. Booth setup happened on Tuesday and Wednesday and that is when friends started swinging by the booth to say Hi. It was great to see faces that had not been seen for 2.5 years (April 2019 to October 2021) and that trend would continue throughout the weekend. The urge to hug people was overwhelming and at least one instance almost brought me to tears. Almost…

Long overdue hug

The show seemed to go off without a hitch and the consensus was that those people who missed the show would hear the buzz about this event and want to be back for 2022. You could have considered this a “dress rehearsal” for the 2022 show. Covid protocols, social distancing, and general mindset were all tested this week. Only time will tell if these measures worked or not. Being outside in an open-air event with a lot of wind (it was gusty at times) ensured the air was moving around.

While it was great talking with customers and other vendors, for us, being able to share our stories with the media is one of the main reasons we attend the event. It helps us spread the word about new products or happenings within Sage and hopefully gets our fanbase excited about what is coming next. Check out below some of the media connections we made this year for the 2021 Sea Otter event. See you in April of 2022!

The SAGE crew striking the pose
Mountain Bike Action wanted to learn more about the DJ
Running through all of the gravel bike offerings with our good friend Zap Espinosa from Road Bike Action
When 3X MTB World Champion Anneke Beerten visits your booth and is totally floored by your special Dirt Jumper bike, you know you have something special. Ship ahead to the 5:37 mark for her quick take on the bike. She LOVED the bike and that made our hearts sing!
The Gravel Cyclist tracked down the hottest metal bikes at the show. Check out all of the bikes in the video as each one is special in its own right. The Sage lineup begins at the 5:19 mark.

While there was plenty of video work happening within the Sage booth, there was also plenty of non-video work happening with photographers and interviewers all coming to the Sage booth to check out the custom DJ, the new Storm King GP, and all of the custom artwork bikes on display in general.

  • Pinkbike: Sea Otter Day 2 Randoms. Mike loved our DJ and shared it with the amazing group over at Pinkbike. Clearly it struck a nerve as it made the cover thumbnail for the day and ALL of the comments were positive! We should have shut the booth down after that and walked away. Mic drop.
  • The Gravel Ride Podcast: Sea Otter Round Up Episode. We love talking with Craig Dalton of the Gravel Ride podcast. Not only is he easy to talk to, but he is a definite fan of the cycling culture in general. Craig wanted to talk about the new Storm King GP and how we designed the bike the way we did. Skip forward to 18:36 in the podcast to hear our interview.
  • Peloton Magazine: 13 Coolest things we saw at Sea Otter: Peloton Magazine is one of those rare magazines that blends culture and sport together. It’s not just about the bike or the bottle of wine (for example), but how those 2 things intersect to make cycling such a beautiful sport. Needless to say, Peloton Magazine has a very refined taste. Thus, when you can make a list like this, you know you are in good company.
  • The Gravel Cyclist: The Titanium Bikes of Sea Otter: I know, we already posted the video up above but the Gravel Cyclist is just so cool that we had to at least give you the link to check out everything that is getting produced over there.
  • Photo Credit: Group Shot: Chris Norvold
  • Photo Credit: The Hug: Robert DeBerry
  • Photo Credit: All other shots: Andrew Tablante