Capitol Forest Enduro Preview

Aug 23, 2012
by Trey Wilson  

The Diamondback Capitol Forest Enduro presented by One Industries is gearing up to be one epic day. On September 15th racers will take on a challenging course that is made up of 4 timed “special stages” descending over 4100ft and 4 non-timed transition/climbing stages. The varied terrain, casual climbs and single-track descents of Capitol Forest, just outside Olympia WA, provide the perfect mix for a European style enduro.

Stage 1 - Racers will start atop the 2659ft Capitol Peak and descend Trail 30. Once the crown jewel of Capitol Forest mountain biking, it fell into disrepair for several years after a storm took out an access bridge. Fortunately for us, it has been recently resurrected by a group of Trail 30 aficionados determined to restore the trail back to its former glory. Immediately from the start you will be challenged by steep terrain, loose rocks, root drops and more rocks. The upper section is short lived and line choice is crucial.


The trail quickly turns to smooth single track with the occasional baby head, root and loose scree to keep you honest. There are a few short "ups" to contend with that momentum and laying off the brakes will make easy work of.


Turning east the trail winds its way down a ridge using switchbacks with berms carved by years of motorcycle use. This section is fun and flowy, but can be very loose in dry conditions.


Stage 2 - This stage will start similar to stage 1 with a short and fast technical section beginning with a sweet bermed S turn. You will gain speed quickly to a section where motorcycles have formed a groove down the middle of the trail. You will have to pick a line inside or outside the groove. A common mantra by locals is “commit to the groove.”


After you've gotten your groove on the trail turns into Mima Porter #3. This may be the least technical but the most pedally section of the enduro and could be a chance for some riders to make up some ground.


Stage 3 - The newest trail in Capitol Forest, the Little Larch Mountain Trail (LLMT) will host stage 3. The origins of the LLMT began in 2007 when Friends of Capitol Forest (FOCF) pitched the idea of a mountain bike specific trail to the Department of Natural Resources. In 2010 ground was broke and the LLMT started to take shape. Over the next few years and thousands of volunteer hours the LLMT has become the pride of FOCF and an example of modern design methods resulting in better drainage, less erosion and reduced future maintenance.

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Weekly trail parties continue to hone and evolve the trail into an instant classic. In the dead of winter, a grassroots local Super D race takes place to celebrate the work hard-play hard spirit of FOCF.


The trail starts at a modest 1340', but you'll gain speed quickly as you carve through bermed corners, small drops and rollers. There a few different line options that will be open and could sway the outcome of the race. A pre-ride is highly encouraged. A little over half way down the stage you will pop out into a clear cut carrying a lot of speed. This sections flattens out, but it has berms and rollers perfectly positioned (think long pumptrack) to keep your momentum to the finish.


Stage 4 - The Green Line 6 Trail (GL6) is the final stage of the Capitol Forest Enduro. It is a special trail for many people who ride in Capitol Forest, so much so a local team pays homage to it by naming their team GL6 Racing. This grassroots team is mostly made up of Friends of Capitol Forest members who also race and routinely find themselves on podiums across the Northwest. Supported by Norco and Joyride Bicycles GL6 has 30 team members that represent the team in every mountain bike discipline. GL6 also knows how to give back by requiring each member complete at least 30 hours of trail work a year.


The trail will lead you to the final finish line at Fall Creek where a well earned beer will greet you, if you choose. However, you must first negotiate just over 3 miles of root sections, a couple very short but steep climbs and berms aplenty. The upper section has been labeled "Gnarly Rooty" on Strava and it's no misnomer. The middle section has been dubbed the chute by locals. With its thick over head canopy and bermed troughs from years of horses trudging through, it is a surreal roller coaster ride that ends way too soon. By the time racers reach the lower section the trail smooths out and it's all out to the finish with berms and other features to increase the flow meter.


Check out the website for more details. Registration is open here. See you on race day!


32 Comments

  • + 4
 Starting to dig this enduro thing. Don't know about everyone else but I think moto's and horses are cancer for a trail. I also have never seen them to any trial work (don't trip, not making absolutes here). Looks fun, I'm interested. I'd like to see some vids.
  • + 2
 I'd add that many of the best trails we ride here in Bellingham were built on trail beds originally set down by motos. Motos also set the trail bed in much more quickly than bikes. Trouble often comes when the trail follows the fall line, and then the ruts are a pain. Otherwise, I've enjoyed riding hundreds of miles of trails in the Cascades, Rockies, Moab and other places that were created by other 2-wheelers. ...as for horses, don't get me started. At the least, if I shat on the trail, I'd flick it off the trail.
  • + 1
 Reverend, noted my brother. I wish I had a moto again, especially to help scout and lay initial tracks (huffing it on foot or pedaling raw forest is rough stuff). It’s the long term heavy use that gets me fired up. We have a lot of guys locally that will literally shoot roasters as they go by you (shovel in hand) over freshly groomed sections.

Awesome comment about the shat, I laughed my ass off.

I’m not too familiar with your area but it’s my dream to live in the pacific northwest someday (not just for the riding). I cried when you guys lost The North Fork, so freaking sad and pointless. I hope there is something in the works to rebuild (permanently). You guys seem like you have a pretty awesome community of riders up there. Best of luck!

I’m still laughing man.
  • + 4
 rock candy is not a trail its actually an atv area but it is nothing but rocks out there and all the trails up there are exactly what the pics show rocks rocks roots and more rocks o yah and greasy clay
  • + 2
 the cap' has a lot of descents that are sweet and these cats have coordinated to make a very plausible mostly downhill steez (ie timed enduro) on the east side of the elevation, but don't get your panties all in a twine, the cap has good west side descents as well, but you would not know unless you are local
  • + 4
 rock candy is a great name for a trail
  • + 1
 still waiting for enduro to start in our country. i envy these events and trails. would love to do a long dh after the climb.
  • + 1
 I would really, really like to race this event, but it seems like I would need a couple of days of riding there to be relevant? Anyone?
  • + 1
 If you ride in Canada you will most likely be fine. One day would be enough. There will probably be a lot of people riding the day before so I am sure getting a shuttle ride will not be an issue. Hope to see you there.
  • + 1
 Overall, it is going to be a great race and a lot of fun with the peeps of Capitol Forest. Such an awesome place to ride.
  • + 1
 Bike wise, its this more of a sorted 4" travel race our should I bring a bigger 5-6" bike?
  • + 1
 A 4" travel bike is certainly capable but if you have a 5"-6" travel it would serve you better over the entire race.
  • + 1
 I really wish I had a more capable bike so I could do enduros and super d races cuz they look soooooooo fun!!
  • + 1
 Happen to be headed down that way this weekend from Bellingham. Anyone got trail recommendations?
  • + 1
 8,50,gl6 is a good loop, long climb but soooo worth it take mima porter 8 to trail 50, and trail 50 to gl6, youll finish where you started. the LLMT trail is a great one too but will not last very long
  • + 1
 Green Line #6 from C4000 to Fall Creek, or Trail 30/Molly Porter #3/North Rim to C8000.

check the map on www.capitolforest.com
  • + 1
 Had a great time riding green line #6 and some other stuff. Trails were fast and loose.
  • + 1
 This is like 15 mins from my house! But I'm heading out to Montana tomorrow :/
  • + 1
 it like 20min from mine. Boston Harbor guy.....ok 25min
  • + 1
 i know them trails like the back of my hand i road them 2-3 times a week! to bad im in eugene oregon now...
  • + 3
 Too bad I'm in Poland now ! Frown
  • + 8
 Too bad I'm in jail right now.
  • + 0
 None of these photos depict the colossal amounts of horse shit I encountered when I went out there from Boston!
  • + 1
 actually not much horse poop right now, and it will only be on the GL6 trail if there is any.
  • + 1
 All signed up and ready to go!
  • + 1
 Looks like a ton of fun, Nice photos to.
  • - 1
 Hmmm, maybe it just seems that way in the pics, but it looks like pretty XC stuff.
  • + 1
 Sometimes Enduro riding involves open face helmets and pedaling. The lack of downhill bikes and full face helmets does not make it "pretty XC stuff".
  • + 2
 +1. some dudes also dont like to gear up with all sortsa shit. (i would know i am one of them).
  • + 2
 stopped there a couple months ago on the way to whistler and hooked up with a local, tons of trails and definitely some sick dh
  • + 2
 No bro, just saying the trail looks more smooth than super technical, no judgement on lack of gear or what not. I could be wrong however, never been there.
  • + 1
 The trail types are on par with the other Enduro's in the region, or maybe even a little rockier in stage 1 and 2 than most others.

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