Racers boarded the shuttles this morning knowing that they would be hitting elevations of around 5200 feet on today’s stages and that the freezing line was sitting only 400 feet above that – you had to have a strong layering game to survive!
“They saved the best until last, it was amazing! It was the best day I think.” Chris Johnston, who has worn the leader jersey all week, was still washing the loam off his bike. “The climb was so worth it. I think the weather made it kind of tough, but just going through those old growth forests it was super rad! Scar Mountain was surreal!” Racers experienced nearly every type of weather at they rode along the most exposed ridge of the race on Scar Mountain. The transfer took them to the start of Stage 13; a short, roughly 2 minutes long stage that was described as ‘just a bit of a warm-up’ before the gem of the day on Stage 14. “Stage 1 was pretty tough. Even though it was only a few minutes long – I thought we were in for a smooth warm up – but it was anything but. It was a really tough two minutes.” On his tight race over the last few days with Kabush, Chris said, “I was stoked to have a good day. I rode well and gave it everything I had, so however it goes now I’m stoked either way.”
Gordon Peak trail was a serious project to uncover. It wasn’t even legal to access last year. The team dug way back in the archives for some maps of the area from the 1980’s so that they could identify access points and then worked with the Ranger last August for a walk through. After being granted permission for use, the team cut out over 400 trees. The trail is scrappy and primitive, but pure delight as the mossy singletrack drops you down towards Pyramid Creek.
“Today started out with hula hooping on the most beautiful river and then climbing up a misty mountain; there were mossy trees, snow, rain, sleet, descending the slipperiest, loamiest corners, and then open meadows, changing weather, wind, more rain, more hail, everything.” Skye Schillhammer is a videographer for Transition Bikes and also contributed footage to our daily race videos. “And then angel boners of light through the forest and then loam until you hit the bottom.”
Stage 15 continues your descent to the creek where racers forded the freezing cold waters and climb back up one of the trails they rode down yesterday, to meet the shuttles.
Magnificent is just one of the words that has been used to describe the final stage of the 2017 Trans-Cascadia race. Stage 16 has it all – fall line off the top, meadows, high speed bench-cut, and sightlines that go one forever! The stage is 2.6 miles of one solid shot down and 1,984 feet of descending.
“The last day was so good!” Kathy Pruitt, winner of the Pro Women’s category, said while holding a bottle of whiskey. “The trail that we ended on what exactly where I wanted to be because it was that old-growth-tree-mossy stuff, that epic-adventure-I’m-living-life-out-here-in-the-woods kind of thing. And it was wet and didn’t snow, so that was cool. I definitely liked that last stage. I was stoked that we made it all the way up that last climb because when I got up there I was pretty out of it, like lightheaded tired, I was like ‘wow, I’m more tired that I thought I was.’ And then that descent through all that beautiful terrain was so cool! It was best to fly through all those trees and rocks and stuff doing turns!”
The total numbers for today’s stage were 12.6 miles of riding, 5,371 feet of descending, and 969 feet of climbing.
After dinner the overall podiums were called – no one, not even Geoff or Chris, knew who would take the Pro Men’s win, but with a 28 second lead pulled in on the final day, Geoff Kabush walked away with the top step for one more year!
For the Trans-Cascadia team, Day 4 is always a little bittersweet; it’s the end of a long year of work – or three years for some of the trails – but there are always a lot of smiling faces and stoked people and that’s what it’s all about!
Rachel Walker attend the first Trans-Cascadia two years ago and she summed up this year – “when we arrived I was like ‘wow, it’s grown, like properly grown.’ The first year we rocked up to this secret little camping spot and it was like ‘wow, we’re really here?’ and it was just you in the middle of nowhere, no phone signal or anything, it was like a real close-knit community. Somehow they’ve managed to retain that vibe, just on a little bit of bigger scale now. It’s cool, really good!”