Sea Otter Classic cancels rescheduled event, goes virtual

The Monterey Sea Otter Classic has been cancelled having earlier rescheduled to October in the face of the Coronavirus crisis.

A new virtual concept, dubbed Sea Otter Play, will now take place online, where product launches that had been due for the show will now be streamed online, alongside a number of cycling challenges and a fundraising effort for relief against the virus. Beneficiaries will include the Monterey County Covid-19 Relief Fund, Boys & Girls Club of Monterey and the Monterey Off-Road Cycling Association. Fundraising opens August 14th, 2020.

The Sea Otter Play event will now host ride challenges on September 1st and a ‘festival’ later in the month spanning the 17th to 20th. A new website has been launched with detail on how to participate here.

In reference to this virtual event, Sea Otter Classic CEO and president of the Classic Frank Yohannan said the industry had responded to the set of challenges with understanding and enthusiasm.

“The industry response to this event has been terrific. For many sponsors and exhibitors, this will be their first opportunity to showcase their latest innovations to a global audience. We’re excited about what our September event will bring to the cycling industry and are making every effort to ensure your faith in us is rewarded with fun for you and your family,” said Yohannan.

Over 350 brands are said to be participating in what is described as an “immersive experience” that will be free to attend. Interaction will be offered with live chats and streams. Those logging in will also be able to access exclusive product offers, according to the site.

On the physical event, he confirmed that the physical event would not have been possible, as per the recommendation of local officials.

“After frequent discussions with Monterey County health officials, it has become clear that we cannot host an event that will meet our health and safety standards,” wrote Yohannan in a letter to those expected to participate.

In tandem with the cancellation, the Bicycle Leadership Conference often held just prior to the event’s start has been called off.

Meanwhile, the European counterpart looks likely to go ahead in September with Covid-19 cases steadying. Organiser Albert Balcells is expecting to put on an event that adapts to the current climate, with extra attention paid to crowd control, sanitation on site and PPE use.