More Than a Race

“[Trans-Cascadia] is a celebration of our riding culture.”

- Matt Hunter

 

In the final installment of Freehub Magazine’s three-part series about the advocacy efforts of Trans-Cascadia, they delve into the race itself. Community, good times, incredible riding, and snow were all big themes at this year’s race and the Common Ground: Trans-Cascadia, More Than a Race episode captures the true spirit of the event with stunning visuals.  

 

The film team sat down with freeride legends Matt Hunter and Thomas Vanderham and racer and PNW local, Brooklyn Bell to understand more of what the race is about. But perhaps the most telling story is that of Chuck and Eugene Gregorski – a father and son team who are passionate about the event from two very different perspectives.

 

The next six minutes will make you want to ride your bike, hang with friends, and put on a warm jacket.  

 To further their advocacy efforts, Trans-Cascadia has created Ten for Trails.

Each $10 donation increases the chances of winning a Santa Cruz Megatower and all proceeds from the raffle will benefit the continued work of Trans-Cascadia.

2019 Day 4 Race Report

“We’ve been doing this for five years and I don’t think I’ve had a better day out there with better people.”

- Alex Gardner, Race Producer

When racers woke up on the morning of Day 4, snow could be seen on the ridgelines just barely above camp. Racer Director, Nick Gibson, and Lead Medic, Nick Hall, headed up the hill and quickly realized that there would be no racing. It was a beautiful snowy landscape, but they weren’t the conditions that would allow the organizers to send timers, start gates, and volunteers out on course all day long. And the overcast skies would prevent a helicopter from aiding with any emergency medical extractions.

 

“We’ve hired the best medical field we can find,” says Director of Logistic, Tommy Magrath. “We’ve got a diverse experienced crew of mountain rescue, flight nurses, docs, surgeons, everything and we lean to them – that’s why we hired them. So, when we’ve got a consensus that they don’t feel like it’s safe to race but they are comfortable with a casual group ride and taking the racing element out of it, then it’s a no brainer for us.”

 

After another amazing breakfast at basecamp the organizers rallied the troops and provided shuttles for anyone who wanted to go home. To their surprise, nearly 90% of the racers chose to stay.

 

“We took off for the ride as a group and everyone was asked to bring a piece of wood,” says Racer Director, Nick Gibson, “and when we got to the top there were over 100 pieces of wood for a bonfire. I think that was a pretty good example of the community. It was a good bonding moment.”

 

One hundred and four racers carried wood for the fire and beverages to the top of the snow-covered ridgeline to celebrate their new Trans-Cascadia community before dropping in to ride some sweet trail back to camp.

“I actually was not upset [about not racing today] at all,” says John Ramsden. “It was obviously going to be a pretty difficult day for everybody involved whether you were racing or trying to organize the race, but the fact that they then came together and said let’s go for this group ride – I thought it was an outstanding idea. It was very, very difficult getting up to the top of that mountain but when we finally got up there it was absolutely cool to be on the top of a ridgeline in a completely covered snowfield with a fire going and everyone carrying up two or three pieces of wood and we had an absolutely wicked party up there.”

 

While not racing felt bittersweet for Christina Chappetta, it didn’t stop her from embracing the adventure. “The fire was really awesome, it was crucial; it was really cold up there. You didn’t realize how cold it was until you stepped away from the fire and you were just checking out the area and then you were like ‘oh dang, it’s below freezing, better get back to that fire.’ But it was impressive having the fire and beverages at the top and then watching everyone drop in. It was a pretty special moment.”

 

If anyone was going to be upset about the lack of racing, it should have been Chris Johnston who ended Day 3 only 2 seconds back from Kabush and 2nd place. “Part of me was pretty disappointed that the race was cancelled and that I couldn’t put up a fight another day. But the bonus was that we went for one of the best trail rides that I’ve been on. It was just perfect conditions, fresh snow, just a real treat. We got spoiled.”

 

Chris joined a small group of racers and volunteers split from the main group and rode the designated racecourse to remove all the marking tape and signage. “We had a group of 18 and it was just a really, really good time to go shred, have fun, hang out, hoot and holler. I had only taken beer and wood to that point, so I was very underprepared for the rest of the ride. It was 20-something miles, and everyone contributed a little snack for me and away we went.”

“Today is the perfect example of Trans-Cascadia, and the people surrounding it,” says Lars Sternberg. “The vibe was awesome, nobody was bummed, and I think that’s one of the coolest things about this event. It really attracts the type of people who are able to adapt and deal with adversity.”

 

Back at camp racers were treated to a photo slideshow and videos from the race, champagne showers from the podiums, and truly heartfelt gratitude and recognition that spread from the organizers to the racers and volunteers and back in rounds of cheers and clapping.

The final standings for Pro Women were Alex Pavon (3rd), Christina Chapetta (2nd), and Ingrid Larouche (1st). And the Pro Men’s podium has Chris Johnston (3rd), Geoff Kabush (2nd), and Romain Paulhan (1st).

Morgan Gerhart and Lauren Jacobson won for the most time on course and were awarded sleeping bags and full riding kits from Patagonia.

 

New this year as the Spirit Award which went to Jameson Florence who not only has raced all five years and attended all three work parties this year but also was a constant source of positivity and smiles on course. “It’s unreal,” says Jameson about winning the award. “I couldn’t be more pumped to be part of this thing out in the woods with these guys, I just come out here and play and it’s super fun.”

 

Locals, Remy Aucoin and Sarah Schmidt were recognized for their massive contribution of time and knowledge to help make Trans-Cascadia in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest possible. “Alex and I got to this new area and we called up these locals and [Remy and Sarah] met us at the trailhead,” says Nick Gibson. “We spent our first day in the woods cutting out this crazy jammed up system full of logs and clearing out this sweet descent. They’ve provided us with guidance on what trails to use and even on the Wednesday when racers arrived, Remi was up on the ridgeline brushing our trails. They have been amazing, and we couldn’t have done this without them.” As a thank-you, Remy and Sarah were given workwear from Patagonia.

 

When the speeches and awards came to an end the stoke carried on around the fire. “Trans-Cascadia was 100 times better than what I was expecting,” says Christina Chapetta. “It was amazing – and it’s still going. Anything can happen!”

Dylan_VanWeelden_TC_2019_Day4-2.jpg

 To further their advocacy efforts, Trans-Cascadia has created Ten for Trails.

Each $10 donation increases the chances of winning a Santa Cruz Megatower and all proceeds from the raffle will benefit the continued work of Trans-Cascadia.


 This event is under special use permit of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

2019 Day 3 Race Report

“Some of the best riding I’ve done – I don’t even know really how to put it into words.”

- Thomas Vanderham

Saturday, Day 3, was move day. The plan was for racers to pedal out of camp from Takhlakh Lake and to pedal into camp at Green River Horse Camp at the end of the day – Mother Nature had other plans. The night before, as Race Director Nick Gibson delivered the details for the following day’s race, it had begun to snow.

The day started out as planned with a short pedal from camp to the singletrack and a 1000 foot climb featuring some incredible views of Mount Adam on the way to the start of the first stage. Stage 8 was an 1100-foot descent over 1.2 miles of super-fast gravity-fed flow.

“We woke up to snow in our campground and frozen bikes and frozen tents and then it was just clear and cold,” says Thomas Vanderham. “When we were riding there was no problem with temperature, we were nice and warm. The approach to the first trail was incredible. It was really misty with the sun coming through it was so beautiful up on this ridgeline.”

Less than a mile of traversing along a road took them to the top of Stage 9; 1200 feet of descending over 1.5 miles with a little rolling climb – and easy grind – in the middle. At the bottom of Stage 9, a big fire and a hot lunch were waiting for racers.

 

From there, racers got a big bump up in the shuttles to the ridgeline on the non-motorized side of the Gifford Pinchot. This is the area where Trans-Cascadia has spent the last two years cutting out over 500 logs and brushing over 100 miles of trail. From the drop-off point, racers had a 1-1.5-hour pedal with a couple of playful descents to the top of Stage 10.

 

Depicted on the map the racers were given, the Stage 10 descent had both a drooling and a mind exploding emoji. No other stage description has featured these. Nick had described it at the meeting the night before as “an insane descent with a neutral in the middle, deep loam, 12/10, best ever.” Expectations were high and it did not disappoint.

 

Blake Ramsden was even reminded at the top of the stage that it was going to be the best “and it was bonkers,” he says. “Literally loam was flying off my rear tire, I could feel it on my helmet, I was in a party train with three of my pals from North Vancouver and it was just incredible!”

 

“We started in the snow and it was this ribbon of dark dirt and then the snow melted, and it turned to moss with a ribbon of dark dirt,” Corinne Prevot describes Stage 10. “And then the ribbons just kept getting longer and longer with these really long side cuts that you could see the very bottom of into a hairpin. So, you haul ass and then you see the hairpin getting closer and you’re like ‘shut it down!’ And then you’re riding this really soft rut, and everything just holds, it’s just such hero dirt. It was just really screaming fast!”

“The snow made Strawberry Mountain extra exciting at the top,” says Geoff Kabush. “Riding through a track of snow, just holding on because you didn’t know what was going to be in the corners, and loose but it got better and better as we got down and out of the snow. Everyone was super psyched at the bottom of that one.”

 

The stage ended on a double track road that took racers back to shuttles. The plan had been to shuttle everyone back up to the same drop off spot and head north to the start of Stage 11 which would drop everyone back into camp. Only about a dozen racers made it through this stage before it had to be canceled due to steadily increasing snowfall.

“It’s as simple as the health of our racers and our volunteers,” explained Racer Producer, Alex Gardner about their decision to cut the last stage. “Our doctors made the decision and we support it.”

 

“The whole day was incredible right until the end, we got cut off the last stage because a big snowstorm rolled in,” says Thomas Vanderham. “[Before that was] some of the best riding I’ve done – I don’t even know really how to put it into words.”

After Day 3, the top Pro Women were Alex Pavon (3rd), Christina Chapetta (2nd), and Ingrid Larouche (1st). And the top Pro Men’s podium has Myles Trainer (3rd), Chris Johnston (2nd), and Romain Paulhan (1st). 

 

Despite cutting the day a little short, racers were still smiling around the campfire. “It’s much, much more than I expected, and I heard that it was great but it’s so much more,” says Karen Eller. “The riding is the best riding I’ve done in my whole mountain bike life. Today especially, the third stage was so amazing, I wanted to stop and have more time on the trail.  And what the team does to keep the riders feeling comfortable, it starts with the food, the lunch, the showers, the drinks, everything, they are working their asses off for us to have a good week and this is so much more than I expected!”

 

The weather held long enough at camp for people to dry out and warm up with hot showers, Hot Buttered Rum, and hot fires. And before bed, the crew reminded everyone not to get cold in the night, “we have extra sleeping bags, warm places to put you, and lots of options to make you more comfortable. Don’t suffer – you do enough of that on your bike!”


 To further their advocacy efforts, Trans-Cascadia has created Ten for Trails.

Each $10 donation increases the chances of winning a Santa Cruz Megatower and all proceeds from the raffle will benefit the continued work of Trans-Cascadia.


 This event is under special use permit of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

2019 Day 2 Race Report

“I think it was probably my best day ever on mountain bike trails. Stage 6 and 7 were unreal; perfect flow, sweeper corners, and hero dirt. It was amazing. I was smiling all the way down!”

- Romain Paulhan

 

“It’s not going to be warm and it’s going to be wet.” The weather report that Tommy Magrath delivered the night before was still ringing in the ears of the racers as they rolled out of basecamp on Day 2. Headed for stages 5, 6, and 7, they were promised cold temperatures, mixed precipitation, and more incredible trails.  

 

From basecamp to the start of Stage 5, racers had a 5.5-mile transfer to the top of Council Bluff that included 1300 feet of elevation – the majority of their climbing for the day – and a sweet little untimed descent into Council Lake. Stage 5 offered 1000 feet of descending with 45 feet of climbing on a gnarly track similar to Day 1, however not quite as steep.

 

“Stage 5 had a lot of floating roots, that one was super spicy because you would be coming to this little mini stepdown and then just land in a pile of roots,” says Christina Chapetta. “But still, super fun!”

Following Stage 5, racers traversed the ridgeline for 1.5-2 hours to the start of Stage 6. This stage was a solid moto trail with a huge descent, a few punchy climbs, and plenty of line interpretation to be had.

 

“It was the best party train of the day, there were 6-9 of us, and that one was super good,” says Christina. “Through all the switchbacks you could hear the hooting and hollering up the trail. It started to rain partway down that one and that just added to the fun. It was raining hard enough to clear the mud off my glasses.”

 

Race Director, Nick Gibson, addressed the subject of party trains the first night at camp. “If you want to ride behind somebody do it. It doesn’t matter if you are in first place or second place, just do whatever you want and have fun. Our rules are peer-reviewed, if your peers are going to tell you it’s not cool, then it’s not cool and you’ll be tarred and feathered. Otherwise, it’s a race but have fun.”

 

North Vancouver native, Thomas Vanderham, loved Stage 6. “It was everything you look for in a trail; highspeed and lots of line options. Where I live on the North Shore there’s not that much sustain speed. I think that was an 11-minute trail and it just felt like you were going mach speed the whole time. It’s something I don’t get to ride very often, and I was just loving it!”

 

Chris Johnston, who is in second place overall in the pro men’s category after two days of racing, also loved the stage. “Stage 6 today was phenomenal, perfect dirt, I don’t even think there were any rocks out there, just corner, after corner, after corner,” he says. “We were treated to some quality trails out there today and that was really run.”

 

Racers were greeted at the bottom of Stage 6 with a hot lunch and beverages. From there, they loaded into shuttles and got a lift part of the way to Stage 7. From the drop off point, they had a 20-minute hike-a-bike followed by roughly an hour of trail riding to the start of the next stage. Stage 7 was a massive descent that felt like a downhill track; wide, rooty, steep and fun.

 

While many of the racers favored Stage 6 today, Deb Motcsh from France was partial to Stage 7. “I like when it’s a bit technical,” she says. “I’m not used to riding flowy and fast tracks, so when it’s slow and technical, I like it. It was really long, and it had perfect dirt and it was really fun to play on this trail.”

 

A past winner of Trans-Cascadia and also the first person to ever earn the coveted Go Hard jersey, Aaron Bradford, woke up in the wee hours of the morning in a chair near the fire. “Well the fire was being put out at that point – so I knew it was my time to go to bed.” That didn’t stop him from having an incredible day on course and enjoying Stage 7 in particular. “It was a little cold out there, but we huddle around fires and had a good time. The dirt was incredible. Party trains – it’s just ridiculous how much fun that is – just hooting and hollering with your buddies, just ridiculous! I dropped in with Adam [Craig], Matthew [Slaven], [Matt] Hunter, and [Thomas] Vanderham – we had a good crew and that was a spectacular stage. Even the transfer after that was a highlight. It was nice not racing it, just being seeing the beautiful, awesome, massive trees everywhere. We are out in the thick of it, it’s so good!”

Back at camp, the weather cleared long enough for everyone to gather by a big fire and warm up. The music was playing, Hot Toddy’s were being served, and everyone was sharing stories from their day.

 

“Today’s stages are definitely the reason why people are coming out here,” says Trans-Cascadia veteran Joe Lawwill. “Yesterday was pretty challenging; it has its own charm and we like it but today was just incredible trails and the transfers were actually so amazing. I had to keep pinching myself. I was distracted by all the fall colours, the dirt, the trees, and the mushrooms. The stages all had awesome flow; they were great to ride with your buddies. You could end the event right now and people would go home happy.”

“We took a super mellow pace and just ripped it,” says Kelend Hawks. “We had a party train every lap and it was great, just having good times out there. The dirt was just unreal, it’s the only way to describe it, it was like riding on a sandy beach all day.”

 

After a gourmet dinner that included Fire Roast Beef Shoulder, Wok-Fried Green Beans, Aromatic Jasmine Rice, Herb Salad, and Tomatillo Sambal, racers cheered as the top three were announced in each category. “We got some really fun riding, even between the stages, the liaison after the last stage was probably the most fun section to ride with some friends; fun, fast, flowy sections,” says Geoff Kabush who is currently in third place. “I had a good day out there! I think I was a half-second ahead of Romain today, so 90 more days and I’ll catch up. Funny to see that me, Chris, and Romain were within seconds on each stage, I’m sure we are definitely interpreting the trails very differently, but the end result is some close racing, which is fun!”

Just as the Day 3 maps were handed out and details of the course were being shared it began to snow. . .  


 To further their advocacy efforts, Trans-Cascadia has created Ten for Trails.

Each $10 donation increases the chances of winning a Santa Cruz Megatower and all proceeds from the raffle will benefit the continued work of Trans-Cascadia.


 This event is under special use permit of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

2019 Day 1 Race Report

“We’ve been out here scaring ourselves since 2013, and I’ve never seen tracks this good. You guys are in for a treat!”

- Alex Gardner

 

Racers arrived at basecamp on Wednesday and for those who have never experienced a Trans-Cascadia event, they were in for a bit of a surprise. “In my riding scene, I’m a bit of a ride organizer so I’ll bring a barbeque or whatever and get people organized a little bit,” says freerider Matt Hunter, “and I showed up here and I was like, ‘woah, who did this?’ It was pretty amazing.” Racer tents were set up along the shore of Lake Takhlakh with Mount Adams in the distance, a fire was already lit, and two stocked bars were ready to serve as racers exited their shuttle vans.

 

During dinner – barbeque pork rib knuckle with chipotle honey butter cornbread and all the fixings – the Trans-Cascadia team welcomed the racers. “We’re here, we’re in it, it’s deep, this is terrain like I’ve never seen,” announced Race Producer Alex Gardner. “We’ve been out here scaring ourselves since 2013, and I’ve never seen tracks this good. You guys are in for a treat!”

 

Racers lined up at 8:30 the next morning to hop the shuttle to Stage 1 just as the heavy fog turned to proper rain. Ahead of them was a nearly 20-mile day with 4500 feet of climbing and 7700 feet of descending. Most of their day would be spent high up on a cold ridgeline but marshals and timers all had fires lit and to keep them warm as they moved through the four stages.

 EWS racer Christina Chapetta is no stranger to enduros but this is her first Trans-Cascadia and her first race back from injury, “I’m just really stoked to ride and to end the season on a good, fun note. For me it’s not all about the racing, it’s just good to be back on the bike – and with a good crew of people.” When asked about any advice she got coming into the race, she said “[I was told] to get the liver ready, get the lungs ready, there’s going to be some biking involved – and bring raingear.”

 

Chris Johnston, who has raced the last four Trans-Cascadias, welcomed the wet weather, “it brings some excitement and adventure to it. I mean, who rides in these conditions normally?” He’s also happy to be back in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. “I am super stoked that it’s back in the same area again, last year’s trails were unreal, and they say there’s about 75% new trails again. That’s pretty frickin’ awesome, I’m really excited to see what they’ve got.”

 

Chris wasn’t the only one who was thrilled to be back. “There’s so much to explore in these areas,” says Geoff Kabush who has competed at every Trans-Cascadia and won the race twice. “We’re back in the same location but I’m excited to hear that we are going to race a bunch of new stages because that’s the most fun part for me; racing blind and reading the trail. It’s my favourite format and that’s why I keep coming back here.”

 

Racers began today with a 30-minute pedal from their drop-off point that took them to start of stage one – a massive 2500-foot descent broken up by a neutral zone. Trans-Cascadia introduced neutral zones over the last couple of years to accommodate for those really painful climbs in the middle of a descent that no one wants to race. It is an untimed section in the stage but racers must continue moving forward through it – regardless of whether you are pedalling or walking. “What we’ve seen with this is tighter race times over the four days which makes for more exciting racing,” says Nick Gibson, Race Director.

 

At the bottom of the first stage racers found a welcome fire, hydration, and a hot lunch waiting. When they were ready, shuttles dropped them in the same spot as earlier but this time, they headed in a new direction towards Stage 2. The transfer was an elevation gain of roughly 1900 feet over 3 miles.

 

“The first stage was super wet and mucky, so after Stage 1 there was a lot of managing bike, clothing, and equipment so it made for a long day and a lot of clean up,” says Geoff “Luckily, as we crested the ridge heading towards stage 2, the sun broke out and it turned into a pretty nice day.”

 

Stage 2 was a short and quick ridgeline descent with a couple of punchy climbs. From the end they had a gnarly hike that was almost 1000 feet elevation gain in less a mile and aptly named The Devil’s Staircase – Nick had (jokingly) assured racers at dinner the previous night “but it’s great, you’ll love it!”

 

At the top of the hike, Stage 3 was a sweet and speedy 1-mile descent and a favourite of the day for Trans-Cascadia newbie Brooklyn Bell. “It was fast, there was nothing I had to think about or worry about, I could just let go. I also really liked all the alpine and the stunning views on the way to Stage 4.” The gentle climb from the bottom of that stage 3 put racers into some truly unique terrain near Jumbo Peak with incredible fall colours and even the potential to see some mountain goats and views of Mount Adams.

 

Despite being cold and wet, Brooklyn was still all smiles. “It’s so fun, it’s so community based and so different from any race I’ve ever done. And it’s hard and hard in a different way. Today was so cool, we had no idea what kind of trails we would be riding and to go up into the high alpine and do this adventure ride and then descend through really fast flowy and a little bit more of moto style trails was really cool. High alpine, adventure rides, and fast downhill flow don’t always really go together. It’s cool to see the thought that’s been put into the what people would like riding.”

The last stage of Day 1 was a huge descent with a flat-but-downward-trending section in the middle and a couple of creek crossings. The stage ended on the far side of one of the deeper crossing and racers had been advised by Nick to:

“either go fast or walk.”

“Dark Meadow, new for this year and an incredible piece of trail with three different sections” describes racer Lars Sternberg. “Fun flowy, perfect dirt with full moto turns up top and then a creek crossing section and then super rocky and toothy down towards the bottom. Pretty mind blowing.” There was a steady chorus of cheers as racers exited the bottom of the dark forested section. A mellow transfer out with a couple of rolling climbs brought racers back to the vans where a fire was roaring, and beverages were being served.

                                         

World Cup XC racer, Kaysee Armstrong, felt a little out of her element in the morning when she realized in the shuttled that the tags were still on her knee pads but that didn’t stop her from having an incredible day. “What got me into mountain biking is not racing, it’s adventures with friends,” she said. “Being dragged into the woods with a bunch of guys telling me ‘you can do this!’ It felt a lot like that today, the hike-a-bikes were tough but worth it. Getting up there and those beautiful views, we basically got to go on a big adventure tour and go to places that an XC race never gets to go to. And everyone is drinking beers and hanging out, talking, you just don’t do that anymore in the races that I go to. It’s nice to come here with a bunch of people, make friends, and enjoy it.”

 

Back at camp heated drying tents, hot showers, campfires, and a gourmet meal – locally foraged spaghetti with seasonal pork ragu – were waiting. Neither wet, nor cold could dampen the revelry and spirit of this community as they cheered the podiums after dinner.

 

Here on the advice of Steve Peat, Loris Vergier, and the rest of the Santa Cruz Syndicate team who were at the race last year, Romain Paulhan took the top step on the podium at the end of the first day.  “[They said] you’re going to love it, the trails are amazing, and the dirt is so good – and it was definitely so good!”

 

Ingrid Larouche was in the lead for the pro women after Day 1, “This is very cool, this area because you feel really deep and far and you never really know what to expect with the weather and these elements that add to the whole experience. I feel like everyone who comes here comes in with this idea of having such a great time so if you go anywhere, like over by the fire, everybody is so fun to hang out with!”


To further their advocacy efforts, Trans-Cascadia has created Ten for Trails.

Each $10 donation increases the chances of winning a Santa Cruz Megatower and all proceeds from the raffle will benefit the continued work of Trans-Cascadia.


This event is under special use permit of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

The 2019 Trans-Cascadia Kicks-off Thursday!

The fifth edition of Trans-Cascadia kicks off on Thursday! For the second year, the basecamps will be in the depths of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington state. Race organizers and volunteers have been hard at work over the last year expanding access to the backcountry network and they are thrilled to introduce another batch of new and returning racers to it. 

In the second installment of Common Ground - Freehub Magzine’s three-part video series on Trans-Cascadia, they take a look at the organization's partnership with the Backcountry Horsemen of Washington. Despite common challenges between user groups, these two organizations successfully opened, cleared, and repaired trails together this summer.

“There are some enhancements and fine-tuning we've been able to do this year after the initial kind of peel back that we did in 2018 which is awesome,” Says Volunteer Coordinator, Ben McCormack. “We've been able to focus more on tread and sustainability as opposed to just splitting the vegetation open and making sure there's still a trail there. I think some of the stuff that we've been playing around with this year is just going to blow people's minds!” 

This truly remote area of Washington offers natural and diverse trails that are steep and challenging. The high alpine riding will give racers descents of 2,000-3,000 feet at a time. Within the blast zone of Mount St. Helens, in addition to the stunning ridgeline views and massive descents, the riding here has another unique property. “[The pumice] layer is like Swiss cheese marbles that float,” says Ben. “Ultimately it's just a really fun thing to ride because you've got traction but you don't have traction. I mean, the whole bike is moving, so it's pretty playful and a little disconcerting at first. But once they get used to it and know how to run it, I think folks will be surprised to see how well they’ll do in those sections.” 

We can expect to see an exciting race from an international field of Pro Women with diverse disciplines. Attending will be Canadian EWS Racer, Chistina Chappetta; American World Cup XC racer, Kaysee Armstrong; French enduro racer, Deborah Motsch; American downhill racer Caroline Washam; and German 3-time Transalp Challenge and Transrockies winner, Karen Eller. 

In the Pro Men’s category, newcomer Marco Osbourne will be up against some familiar Trans-Cascadia faces including 2-time Trans-Cascadia winner, Geoff Kabush; Trans Cascadia winner, Aaron Bradford; and 2nd place Trans-Cascadia finisher, Chris Johnston. Other new faces in the Pro Men’s category this year are legendary freeriders Matt Hunter and Thomas Vanderham. 

Once again racers will be accessing this mostly primitive singletrack using both shuttles and pedalling and will return, exhausted to their tents at basecamp to find welcoming campfires and gourmet meals. The bar will be open – serving beer and cocktails nightly – and for those who get to sleep, they will drift off dreaming about the big mountain ridgelines and ribbons of dirt under the old-growth canopies that the next day will bring.

The isolated location of our basecamps and lack of access to cell service and wifi is a big part of the culture of Trans-Cascadia. Instead of focusing on social media, racers and crew alike spend time sharing stories and dreaming up ridiculously entertaining antics around the fire. That said, our media team will be working hard to get our daily reports and updates out to you. Keep an eye here and on our website for daily photos, videos, and race reports starting on Friday!

To further their advocacy efforts, Trans-Cascadia has created Ten For Trails. Each $10 donation increases the chances of winning a Santa Cruz Megatower and all proceeds from the raffle will benefit the continued work of Trans-Cascadia.

Find out more information about Ten for Trails here.


This event is under special use permit of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Common Ground: Filling the Void with Trans-Cascadia

Over the last five years, Trans-Cascadia has evolved to be more than a 4-day backcountry enduro. The non-profit’s mission to promote and build sustainable trails throughout the Pacific Northwest has created a passionate community and united once-divided user groups. Working year-round with the forest service and land managers, the Trans-Cascadia team continues to establish and maintain backcountry routes that were previously impassable.

 “We've actually got to be well beyond 3000 hours for 2019 at this point,” says Volunteer Coordinator Ben McCormack, “just given the number of folks that we've got out here and we're pulling 10-hour days pretty regularly. We did a lot of work last year, but we've been able to multiply that by a little bit this year which is cool to see.”

 As the team finishes up the last of the details for this year’s Trans-Cascadia race – beginning September 26 – in partnership with Freehub Magazine they are kicking off a three-part series that takes a look behind the scenes. From advocacy to hands-on work and from racing to good times, these edits give a full view of what Trans-Cascadia has become and inspires ideas of what may be possible for the future of mountain bike access.

“We've been really lucky with our volunteers and especially the community that surrounded the race from day one,” says Alex Gardner, Trans-Cascadia Producer. “We all work hard towards our goals, but we also make sure everybody gets a taste of what their efforts give – and that brings it all together.”

With three heavily attended work parties completed in Washington State this year, the team is beyond excited to welcome a new and returning batch of racers to enjoy their efforts in just two weeks. 

To further our advocacy efforts, we have created Ten For Trails. Each $10 donation increases your chance of winning a Santa Cruz Megatower and all proceeds from the raffle will benefit the continued work of Trans-Cascadia. Donate now.

Uniting User Groups to Keep Trails Open

“There's a place for everybody. I do believe that.”

- Jason Ridlon, Backcountry Horsemen of Washington


This third and final work party of the 2019 Trans-Cascadia season (pre-race) was the first collaborative event with The Backcountry Horsemen of Washington (BCHW) – a group representing stock trail users.

“We got a call from them last year just kind of out of the blue,” says Trans-Cascadia Race Director Nick Gibson. “They were pumped and thankful for the work we had done clearing out the trails.” When the Trans-Cascadia team had first arrived in the area to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest to prep for their 2018 race, nothing was rideable. Due to road closures, it had been four years since the Backcountry Horsemen had been able to access the area. “They invited us to this legacy meeting that has been going on for 30 or 35 years. There were hikers, equestrians, the Washington Trails Association, the Backcountry Horsemen – and we were the first mountain bikers to ever attend.”

After that, the two organizations began speaking regularly and despite what seems like commonplace conflicts between user groups when it comes to managing trail networks on public land, the collaboration between them was a natural win-win situation. “The places that we're cutting out, even in previous years at Old Cascades Crest and Grasshopper, is stock backcountry area,” explains Nick. “We both need log out to make it happen, so we have a lot in common. And what you find with horse folk, hikers, and bikers is that we all have different skill sets that we're really good at, if you take that collective group and their skill sets and put them together, you get a bunch of good work done that compliments each other.”

 

“[Working together] is our future,” confirms Jason Ridlon, Backcountry Horsemen Vice President. “I think it's absolutely necessary. Our national trail system is in peril and I believe that the future of stock depends on other groups. And I think that the future for the other groups depends on stock.”

 

The collaborative project – one of many going on during the work party – that Jason worked on was clearing and putting a puncheon through a boggy trail area. A large tree had fallen on the existing structure and the remaining debris had backed up the creek. Utilizing the experience of some of the professional riggers and loggers from the Backcountry Horsemen and the enthusiasm and numbers of the Trans-Cascadia crew, they were able to replace the damaged crossing with two 24-foot stringers – about 12,000 pounds apiece – cut in place from a fallen Douglas fir roughly 44 inches in diameter.

  

This time spent one-on-one and working as a team seemed to have the most lasting impact when the weekend ended. “We all live the same basic trials and tribulations and to actually work with the people and get to know them as people, not as a horseman, not as a biker, not as a hiker - it allows you to put aside the things that may bother you or that you may still not agree with,” says Tyler Forman, the President of the Cowlitz-Naches Chapter of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. “We'll never agree with somebody 100% but if we can at least relate to where they're coming from, you can go work together and have a good time and agree to disagree and be happy about it instead of bitter about it.”

While mountain bikers are the “new kids at the table,” as Nick puts it, the important part is recognizing the value that each group brings. “We are really strong right now and we're really capable, if we use it in a positive way where it's collaborative, it means there are a lot of good resources being thrown at a multi-use trail network that will ultimately make everybody happy. [Mountain bikers] came in in the eighties and nineties and now we're more prevalent, but we were just maintaining what was built out here. We want to talk about the legacy of hiking, horses – they've built and maintained these trails for centuries prior to us. I think we have to be really respectful of that.”

On the Saturday night of the work party, after three days of working together deep in the backcountry, the two organizations shared a feast. Following the meal – which included a roasted pig and award-winning Dutch oven apple turnovers – leaders from both groups stood atop a picnic table to address the crowd. One after the next, they checked off a long and challenging list of work that had been completed as the volunteers cheered. The celebration proved that while collaborations like the one between Trans-Cascadia and the Backcountry Horsemen may not be all that common – the positive results are undeniable.

Photos by Dylan Van Weelden and Chris Hornbecker.

2018 Day 4 – An Impossible Thing

2018 Day 4 – An Impossible Thing

“We started coming out here 13 years ago riding our dirt bikes in this forest and we fell in love with it,” Alex Gardner, Race Producer told the racers. “Being on those ridgelines and seeing those mountains, from certain aspects you can see all four on a clear day, we started wondering how mountain bikes would work on these tracks. We weren’t quite sure and didn’t have the skills yet to host here, but we spent our time in Oregon and we figured out how to do it. And now we are back, so it’s a pleasure to have you guys out here enjoying these tracks. I think we’ve put together some of the best – for mountain bikes at least.” The rain held off for the last day of racing, allowing riders to experience the incredible mountain views and fall colours that first inspired the Trans-Cascadia crew to come to this area.

2018 Day 2 - A Spiritual Experience

2018 Day 2 - A Spiritual Experience

“Because Day 1 was such a hard day of climbing, today is payback,” welcome news from Nick Gibson, Race Director. “We’ve got three big shuttles and your stats are 8,000 feet of descending with 2,000 feet of climbing.” What was best described as an active recovery day saw racers shuttled to the top of the ridgeline east of camp three times to enjoy a wide variety of terrain – including what became known the ‘spiritual experience’ of Stage 6.

Reclaiming Trails with Trans-Cascadia

The model of the Trans-Cascadia – a backcountry, blind format, 4-day enduro race –  has been built around the practice of re-opening long forgotten or neglected trail networks deep within the Pacific North West. The result is a hard-earned backcountry singletrack race with deluxe accommodation, gourmet food, and plenty of beer shared around the campfires with likeminded riders from around the world.

All photographs by Dylan VanWeelden.

The process to achieving this requires thousands of hours of labour annually and often years of planning before being able to move to a new area - leaving behind a legacy of rediscovered and rehabilitated trails for all riders to enjoy. This year the race is moving to a brand-new zone in Southwest Washington and through a series of work parties involving the local community, sponsors, TC Crew, and even some returning racers they have already reopened upwards of 45 miles of reclaimed trail.  

Cody Olsen is the Trail Maintenance and Volunteer Manager for the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and was onsite to help with the work. “It’s super cool to see that they aren’t only focused on opening trails that they are using to race, but that they are interested in reclaiming trails that haven’t been maintained in a long time. Rather than only focusing on trails that they will need, they are simply using their time and energy to clear as many trails here as they can.”

The basecamps of these work parties are not unlike the event itself. Roughly 50 people showed up for camping and long work days two weeks ago and were treated to gourmet meals and plenty of good times around the campfire. Much of the work required in this new region is basic maintenance, cutting back brush, and clearing out logs – hundreds of them. Due to a lack of volunteers, budget, and time, the trails had fallen off the radar and haven’t been ridden – some of them haven’t seen attention in over 20 years.

The trails here are steep, challenging, natural, and diverse with high speed sections and true PNW loam. With nice long descents of 2000-3000 feet, this high alpine area truly helps you realize how remote the racing will be. “It’s a little bit of a different ride when you know you are that far away from help. You just ride a little different,” says Allan Cooke, Marketing Manager at Santa Cruz Bikes. Allan was onsite to lend a hand for his third year in a row and was thrilled to check out the new area firsthand, “driving in at 2am with the full moon, I was getting that feeling like, ‘they did it again, they mined it out, they found it!’ We were pretty stoked and haven’t been let down one bit.”

“For me personally, when I have the opportunity to be representing a brand, working for Santa Cruz, and to partner with a group like these guys, it’s not just something we want to write a check to. It’s not just for the promotional side of it or ‘hey, look at us’ but we actually really enjoy this; being around these guys, putting in the hard work, and seeing the fruits of that labor. We want to get our hands dirty. This week there are six of us up here – there are a few hourly employees from production, from the line, and who get to clock in while they are out here digging. People are motivated to get out here and do the work and the company is motivated to back it. We are out here this week because we actually love this.”

Similarly, Steve Blick from Oakley has found value in actively being involved in Trans-Cascadia. “Oakley is deeply invested in the mountain bike world, so it is exciting to be involved with an event that celebrates all aspects of the sport: the athletes, great outdoors, mountain bike culture and more,” said Blick.

“At Oakley, we develop products and technologies used by world’s best athletes, so it is cool to see those products and technologies validated at an event like Trans-Cascadia. For example, this year, you will see Prizm™, Oakley’s revolutionary lens technology designed for both sport and everyday environments, on the faces of many of the athletes racing. Specifically, you will see, Prizm™ Low Light and Prizm™ Trail that have been designed for the wide-ranging MTB environment – revealing nuances that would be missed by the naked eye and allowing riders the ability to spot unexpected obstacles and changes in the terrain. This year’s Trans-Cascadia will also be one of the first events where the Oakley DRT5, our new highly versatile, do-it-all trail helmet, will be used in competition. What could be better than seeing some of the world’s best athletes relying on your products to get the job done?”

Blick went onto say, “For the brand, it is an honor to be involved from a product side, but it is also great to give back to the community and celebrate the sport that we all love so much.”

Ben McCormack has been working with Trans Cascadia since last year and has been involved with each of the Work Parties dedicated to this new location. Sussing out the best approach when tackling such a massive expanse of potential trails takes a lot of pre-planning. “We are looking at maps and talking to people – and then looking at maps some more and prioritizing. We’ve been able to hook in with some local folks that have a lot of knowledge about the area and know what’s good and what’s worth looking at.” The progress over the hundreds of hours that have already been invested in this new location has been inspiring. “It’s amazing. Just clearing the trail – what we did today, in a day, is a big deal!” There was much excitement around the fire at the end of the weekend as everyone shared stories of what they had accomplished towards preparing this new location and some of the riding they had experienced. But the true celebration of all this work will come on September 26, when 100 racers venture into the backcountry to find what has been uncovered.

Announcing Trans-Cascadia Excursions

Over the last three years, Trans-Cascadia has made a name for itself as the backcountry race with great riding and good vibes. Racers come from all over the world attend the sellout event to experience all that the Pacific North West has to offer.

From the epic trails that cross mountain tops, wind through old growth forests, and offer sustained gravity fed singletrack, to the gourmet meals under the stars back at camp, the event has created a truly unique niche in the stage racing world. Trans-Cascadia Excursions is the natural extension of the race that will allow small groups to take in all that the Cascade Mountain Range has to offer. 

From the beginning, as a mountain biker, you have had to be self-reliant to find your way – to look at maps, ask questions, make mistakes, and get lost. It’s nice to break a familiar riding routine by venturing out and experiencing something new while someone else takes care of all the details that make a vacation truly a vacation. The Trans-Cascadia team has spent years looking for trails and experiences that didn’t yet exist. They’ve looked for uncharted territory and ways to connect with nature that can be hard to come by these days – especially on a mountain bike. And they want to show you what they’ve found!

These private, all-inclusive, multi-day mountain bike adventures will take you riding and camping in some of the most remote areas of Oregon and Washington’s forests. Experienced guides will lead you through expansive alpine meadows, through bench-cut trails with fade-away corners, and down flowy and rugged pumptrack style valleys. The style of riding available is as vast as the area in which the tours will be lead. They have over a decade of experience exploring and advocating for trail access in the Pacific North West and are confident that whether you are a local or a visitor to the area you find incredible riding and scenery to create lasting memories. 

The tours will operate in Oregon and Washington and access some of the most remote singletrack in the United States.  In Oregon, they operate within the entire Willamette National Forest.  This area stretches along the western slope of Oregon’s Cascade Range from Mount Jefferson south to Windigo Pass near Diamond Lake and includes the Old Cascade Crest, McKenzie River area, and the entire Oakridge network of trails. This national forest is 1.7 million acres in size and includes mountains and valleys that range from about 1,500 feet to over 10,000 feet in vertical at the summits of the Three Sisters and Mount Jefferson. 

Guided trips are available in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest near Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams. This national forest is located in southern Washington and boasts an area of 1.32 million acres. It extends along the western slopes of the Cascade Range from Mount Rainier National Park to the Columbia River and straddles the crest of the South Cascades. This vast area includes old growth forests, high mountain meadows, several glaciers and numerous volcanic peaks. Mount Adams is the highest peak in this park at 12,276 feet; the second highest volcano in the state after Mount Rainier. The 110,000-acre Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is also included in this park. 

During the multi-day trips, a private gourmet chef will prepare the menu of your choosing. The Trans-Cascadia team takes their food and beer very seriously and puts an emphasis on using the best possible ingredient from their region. Stumptown Coffee will be starting your mornings off right and Pfriem beer will cap off your evenings in camp. For single day tours, lunch and ‘post-ride snack-packs’ are provided: a beer, a tequila, and nourishment! 

With Trans-Cascadia Excursions you will be able to experience all the best parts of a riding road-trip with friends, but with the luxury of knowing exactly where to find the best trails, the best camp spots, and, of course, the best food. Experience something new but let them take care of all the details so you can arrive with your bike and get out on the trails as soon as possible. 

A selection of 8 itineraries is available this year with limited spots, including; a Trans-Cascadia Excursion in August, a variety of single and multi-day trips through Washington and Oregon, and women’s riding trip including yoga. Trans-Cascadia Excursions is also working with leading industry brands to create content, develop new products, and – straight up entertain! There is no better way to tell your story than through adventure and shared experience. So, whether its personal or business, contact the Trans-Cascadia team and let them design the perfect trip for you! 

For info on Packages & Booking visit:


Join Us for Our 2018 Work Parties

Prior to the race, we are hosting three summer work parties to put in some long hours rehabilitating some old-school trails in Washington and a project in the Old Cascades Crest, the area we re-opened last year.  

If you sign up in advance, we’ll provide food and drinks to keep everyone fuelled.

Our goal is to find trails that are unmaintained and unridable, and rehabilitate them back to riding standards. Last year, with the help of a great crew and 2000+ hours applied, we revitalized 32 miles of trails in the Old Cascade Crest. We got them ready for the race and for future generations to enjoy.

Our work weekends are open to everyone, no trail building experience necessary.  To make sure everyone is on the same page, we’ll provide trail building etiquette and skills education on day one of each event. We are also looking for folks that are chainsaw certified, those who can run a power brusher, and volunteers with dirt bikes or e-bikes.

Pack your tools, your tent and your bike.

 

Check your calendars: these parties will run over 4-day weekends in the summer.  Joins us for one, or all three.

#1  July 12- 15

#2  July 26 - 29

#3 August 9 - 12

 

If you're interested in joining us:

Sign Up Here


PRESS RELEASE: Trans-Cascadia Announces 2018 Dates!

Trans-Cascadia – a five-day all-inclusive backcountry blind enduro race – returns to the Pacific North West from September 26 to October 1, 2018.

The race uses existing and reclaimed, mostly primitive, singletrack to allow participants to experience the most incredible wilderness this area of the world has to offer. Accessed by both shuttles and pedalling, racers will tackle a mix of local favourites and lesser – sometimes unknown – gems. From steep loam tracks to rocky tech and from high mountain ridges and alpine meadows to the shade of old-growth canopies, as racers drift off to sleep in their tents each night they will be dreaming of what tomorrow will bring. 

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Registration will open on February 1, 2018 at 9am PST. Out of respect for the pristine environment that hosts the event, only 100 spots are available. This race has sold out every year since it began three years ago, so don’t miss out! Browse the website for more details on how to register. 

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"It [was] refreshing to see a course, and all these courses, that no one has ridden, so the whole vibe of the event is different because no one knows where they are going. It makes everyone friendlier and all the transfers more friendly, they talk about the riding more." - Mark Weir
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Each participant will be provided with their own solo tent and sleeping pad – set up for them at each basecamp, a reusable camp plate, utensils, and cup to lessen the impact on the environment, and more – new for 2018 – swag! Gourmet breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be provided daily by a hand-selected team of top chefs from Portland – each showcasing their own specialty nightly. The bar will be open and serving beer and cocktails nightly as racers from around the world socialize around the campfire like long lost friends sharing the highs and often comical lows of the day. And, once again, the men and women’s pro fields will equally share a prize purse of $16,000. 

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"Love! Capital L–O–V–E. It was just pure fun." 
- Spencer Paxton

In honour of their commitment to true blind-racing, race maps and course details are handed out nightly – so there are no opportunities for practice runs or scouting. Organizers also plan to add some new Pacific Northwest locations to the program for 2018 – details to come. This year racers can expect 100 miles over 16 stages – don’t forget, it’s not all descending. 

Each year the Trans-Cascadia team goes to work uncovering long forgotten or neglected sections of trail that open up access to backcountry riding and link existing trail networks together in the areas they visit. The trails are used in the event, but are also left as a legacy for the locals and visitors to continue enjoying. In order to make this happen the team works both in advocacy and trails building – working with local authorities and builders. Since 2015 the team has opened up 52 miles of trails and contributed over $60,000 dollars and over 6000 labor hours to make it all happen. 

"The only thing I’m upset about is that I didn’t come here sooner because that was so unbelievable." - Joe Lawwill

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As a part of this program, in 2016, they introduced the Trans-Cascadia Work Parties. During these 4-day work events – three formal parties held each summer – the team, along with volunteers and sponsors, have gotten together to contribute hard work and long hours to uncovering some of these long-forgotten sections of trail. One example – of many – is the first stage of Day 2 during last year’s event when racers tackled Grasshopper. It was an eight-mile traverse through alpine meadows and along a ridgeline that included 3,907 feet of descending. It took the team two years (In collaboration with some really strong locals and the USFS lead by Kevin Rowell) to uncover trails that had been mostly unused since the 1950’s.

“It started with a major log-out effort; there were hundreds of trees down across that trail. The trail kind of needed to be moved around some trees that couldn’t be cut out of the way, but for the most part the tread was intact and the trail was pretty healthy, it just needed to be uncovered,” explained Adam Craig. After clearing the logs, the first year, the crew went back in and had to find their way through the meadows to the next trail entrance because it had been completely obscured. “We recut tread in a couple of meadows to address some erosion issues, but for the most part you’re just riding through the meadows following flagging tape – and it’s amazing, it’s beautiful up there!”

Accommodations, food, and good times are included in these weekends – so if you’re interested in receiving more information about participating, sign up here.

For more a more detailed account of a Work Party weekend, check this article by Allan Cooke.

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"Unreal! Grasshopper was a pretty amazing trail. I didn’t really know what to expect, it was just an incredible piece of singletrack. Super fast, stunning fall colours, amazing forests – sort of a mind-blowing trail actually." - Dylan Wolskey

If you’re looking for more information on the race, please browse the website or check out some of the 2017 race reports listed below. Mark your calendars – it’s going to be a good one!

Mark Your Calendars!

The 2018 Trans-Cascadia Race Dates: 

September 26 - October 1
 

Registration Opens:

9 AM PST, February 1

 

The forth annual Trans-Cascadia will once again be held in the Oregon backcountry. Check back here February 1st to reserve your spot. We're looking forward to showing you some of the best single track in the PNW!

Day 4: Trans-Cascadia 2017

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!”

Thinking about coming out for the 2018 Trans-Cascadia? Look for registration opening in February – and for a few surprises throughout the year!