Last weekend was the inaugural Trans-Cascadia race up here in Oakridge, Oregon. For those of you unfamiliar with the Trans-Cascadia, it was a four day long, fully supported enduro stage race. The event was aimed to be the answer to the European multi-day enduro stage races much like the infamous Trans-Provence.
The race began Thursday the 24th, so in order to make it to the campsite at the undisclosed location outside of Oakridge, shuttles were arranged on Wednesday, where dinner would be served at 7pm. This was a problem for me as I could only get enough time off of work for the four days of racing, so I had to leave town after work, which put me into Oakridge at about 11pm the night before the race. Luckily my longtime friend Wittler was running errands and was able to wait around and give me a ride back to camp. An hour and a half of gravel roads later and we were in the middle of nowhere at lake Timpanogas, setting up my tent in the dark, trying not to wake the hundred or so surrounding tents.
Breakfast was served at 6am, with the first riders leaving the camp at 9. All the meals were provided by Chris King, and there wasn’t a single complaint the entire weekend. The first day of racing consisted of five stages ranging from 1 to 12 minutes in length, on trails that the average Oakridge bike tourist would never even hear of. Amazing deep wooded loam, insane views, and brutal hike-a-bike transfers was a great first day of racing that left everybody with huge smiles and am amazing start to a long weekend. The day totaled only 16 miles of riding, but at over 4000 feet of climbing it was a steep day that left me ready for bed early after only 5 hours of sleep. After the riders meeting at dinner, we got an idea of the next day’s stages, drank a few beers around the campfire, and it was time for bed.
After breakfast the next morning we started our transfer straight up the steep descent of stage three from the previous day. From the top of stage six, called SawTooth Mountain, you could see for miles, and was one of the very few places anybody could find a sliver of service. The entire second day of racing consisted of some of the tightest switchbacks and loosest scree fields I have ever ridden. The stages were a true test of everybody’s bike handling abilities, and also their abilities to ride with enough heads up to see the tight corners ahead of time. I had a tough time staying on the bike, much less blowing the switchbacks. The blind racing format really kicked my ass, and I had to really try and tone it down after making one out of five stages clean that day and losing a lot of time I didn’t want to give up.
Stay tuned for part 2!
In the meantime, Pinkbike has great writeups and photos from the first two days: