OAKRIDGE, OREGON, September 25, 2015. After 17.8 miles of trail on Day 1, yesterday may have looked like a minor reprieve on paper at 15.6 miles, but with the scree slopes, flat switchbacks, and pedal sections, it didn’t feel like one. The course took racers back on some of the same trails as previous days but in the opposite direction. “It was cool to see the terrain that we road yesterday sort of in the opposite direction,” says Barry Wicks, “you think ‘oh we know what we are getting into,’ but you totally don’t because you’re going four times or ten times faster.” Even local racer, Jack Love said, “definitely helpful that I got to see [the trails yesterday], but I wished I had looked a little harder going up them.”
Day 2 included another five stages that at one point allowed the racers to transition through basecamp where they could pickup a fresh made gourmet lunch before continuing on. After completing Stage 9, the racers were shuttled to within a mile of the start of Stage 10. Coming from a cross-country background, Barry says, “the last stage was pretty baller – we don’t usually get to do twenty minute descents unless you ride uphill for two hours. The bus ride kind of sucked and then you realize, ‘I didn’t have to pedal up here and this descent goes forever so it’s totally worth it!”
“Sections today were pretty exposed in some parts, the dirt is good though, there are a lot of pine needles to drag your tires away, but it’s good fun.” – Jack Love
Staying true to the blind racing format, the routes for each day have only been released at the racers meetings the evening before. This has led to he development of some technique from rides like Barry, “I like to go last so I can see the lines that everyone is taking – and I’m like ‘how’d did they go over there? They must have jumped like 30 feet or something, I’m just going to ride the normal line.’” And for others it has lead to some crashes. Lev Stryker, currently in second place for Amateur Men, describes his crash yesterday, “I came around a corner [on Stage 7] that was a little blind and I was a little too far outside and all of a sudden my front tire was gone and I basically dug my toes in like I had ski boots on as far as I could because I felt like I had fallen off a cornice. I was just like all claws in the freakin’ wall to stop. The next stage I was shaking in a few little exposed bits but pretty good overall.” But it didn’t shake him up too badly, “I’m still second in Amateur. A local guy, Eugene, came back and now he’s a few seconds ahead of me so that battle is on!”
“I saw the scree slope coming, there’s a little left hand chicane that cut some people off – I believe Mark Weir might have tomahawked a little bit which I’m sure would have been really exciting to watch. I had a good highline, it’s kind of like lava dust in there and you can see if there’s any tracks, I went super high and connected it and then had so much speed I for the next turn that I completely over shot it so then I slowed ‘er down – I think I broke even on that.” – Aaron Bradford, Pro Men Day 2 Leader
The screen slope on Stage 7 caught a few people, including Mark Weir, “After we hiked up the sand, I thought ‘oh this is sweet, it’s all damp and nice,’ and it comes in and you could load it high left. So I load it left and I go to do a French nose wheelie because I think I’m good at that and then I realize that I’m not French, and the wheel dug in and was like, ‘oh, but it’s sand.’ I’m going over the bars and thinking that I’ll roll a somersault because it’s so steep and then get back on the bike. I did two somersaults through the corner and then my bike rotated around and I’m like, ‘mother –‘, you know wen you’re kind of pissed off, but I can’t be too pissed. And then the next one came and it looked like a Swiss Army knife half opened and I club-cyclisted every one of them, I’ve never felt so dominated on corners that I thought I could own. It was a humbling zone. I was only 9 seconds off and I was doing somersaults down the hill. And then the rest of the stage, like Lars said, he ran it mad – like fuck this, I’m just going to go for it.”
Mark may have tomahawked down the screen slope, but it was Lars Sternberg who owned the biggest of the crashes on a transfer stage yesterday, as Mark tells us.
Rosara Jospeh who maintains her lead in Pro Women also had her “first proper crash in the last stage of the day” but she says, “I escaped relatively unscathed I just want to keep having fun, which means riding the same as always and trying to push it a bit, but today was definitely rowdier. The trails were more challenging than yesterday – tighter, rockier, steeper, and just higher consequence.” After Stage 10 and two days of riding, Rosara has a 2:53 lead over Rachel Walker.
Aaron Bradford closed a decent gap took a 20 second lead over Geoff Kabush by the end of Day 2, “I felt pretty confident after each stage I felt smooth and fast, I stood up every time I should and I certainly feel strong right now.”
“It’s amazing, the vision has come through 100%, and grander than I think any of use really imagined, which is awesome! And the hoots and hollers at the end of the stage finishes are really what it’s all about!” – Mercedes, Event Team
For Day 3 Trans-Cascadia moves the riding, and basecamp, closer to Oakridge where racers will experience slightly more travelled trails, but ones that continue to set the standard for fun, flowly descents.
“I’m super impressed, it’s probably one of the best events I’ve been to in terms of organization – super smooth.” – Rosara Joseph, Pro Women Day 2 Leader