Trans-Cascadia: Bettering Bike Communities Through Racing
Photos by Paris Gore/ Trans-Cascadia.
Mountain biking and skiing and snowboarding have a lot in common. Advancements in gear that is not only lighter but ultimately more durable and confidence inspiring is creating a new wave of what’s possible. The level of riding featured in today’s video parts and contests is nearly unfathomable to all but an elite few. On the other end, exploration around the next corner and getting deeper into the mountains has never been more accessible.
With progression and hype leaving us wondering what’s next, there is also a need to swing the other way and reflect on our roots and bringing the community together. Trans-Cascadia is that counter balance in mountain bike culture. Like the Legendary Mt. Baker Banked Slalom or Dirksen Derby that have built a reputation on bringing riders together all in the name of competitive fun and building community, Trans-Cascadia is multi-day race event unlike any other.
Trans-Cascadia is a 4 day stage race in the Pacific Northwest backcountry put together by Modus Sports Group, the sales agency for Shimano here in the western US. The team at Modus drew inspiration from their experience racing in France’s Trans-Provence and other multi day races all while using the model as a way to leverage the event to benefit the riding local riding communities. Read about how Trans-Cascadia is working with Ten for Trails or to how you can win a new top of the line Santa Cruz bike Click Here. Beyond their efforts with Ten for Trails, Trans-Cascadia follows a blind racing format, revealing each day’s race course the night-before to remove any advantage gained through practice or track memorization. To pull this off Modus works tirelessly with the local land managers and bike stewards to include remote and sometimes rarely ridden trails as well as to bring back forgotten and neglected trails to the regional network. This year alone, Trans-Cascadia, rangers from the Willamette National Forest and the Greater Oakridge Area Trail Stewards, along with volunteer efforts from Santa Cruz and evo re-opened, rebuilt or maintained roughly 40 miles of trails. As a busted logging community, Oakridge is now seeing a rejuvenation from the expansion of trails around some of the Northwest’s most picturesque and surreal spots.
If racers aren’t impressed by the trails, perhaps the draw of communal support and hospitality will win their hearts. The forests around Oakridge are a special places, where you truly feel removed from the hustle and bustle so spending a few days camping in those woods with 100 other riders and like minded individuals is sure to be a good time. Each morning, racers are welcomed with a breakfast buffet and all the fixings to pack lunches for the trail to keep them fueled throughout the 20-30 mile day of racing. An early start means an early finish where racers finish up by 1 or 2pm. Upon arriving back at camp they’re able to decompress with some fishing and swimming in the lakes, some BBQ yard games and beer at the local brewery. Portable showers are available to wash the mix of mud, dirt, dust and blood off before dinner from Chef Chris Diminno of Gourmet Century and Chris King. Racers can relax by the fire each night before slipping deeper into their camping chairs before putting themselves to bed in anticipation of the following day’s stages.
The result of these efforts is riders and racers ranging from me and you to product managers to former Olympians get an unmatched racing experience. And like the Derby and LBS it’s pretty cool to see where you sit compared riders you look up to. If this post and last year’s recaps don’t sell you on it, just ask one of the 100 racers who were able to snag one of the 100 coveted spots this year.
evo is proud to support Trans-Cascadia for 2016 and many years to come. We believe in their efforts to bring riders together from all over the country to experience some of the best Northwest backcountry trails while being the driving force to expand the network of great trails in Oakridge and future hosting communities.