When you and your closest 250 racing buddies are invited to sample the goods in Hood River, you go. Simple as that. That's why the Evil
Cascadia Dirt Cup presented by Shimano
kicked off the season with a double header in the little adventure town in Portland's backyard. The weekend delivered two days of fast and fun racing — endearingly dubbed the "Deux-Duro".
Not satisfied with just a new venue and state to race in, the CDC also threw a brand new timing system into the mix. Gone are the days of wildly braking to a stop as you frantically attempt to slap your wrist against an iPod-sized box staked to the ground. Instead, racers were invited to enjoy rolling stops and finishes for cleaner and safer starts and stops on the course.
The CDC has a proven record of turning out quality events. This year, they got a jump on things by introducing She Spoke, a women's only pre-ride hosted at each venue before the big day. And, if you have groms in tow, the good folks at Acorns were on site to provide a day camp so both parents had a chance to compete. Finally, add in a new beginner's category with a shorter course and assisted climbs and there are few reasons to not come race in the great land of Cascadia.
Hood River is home to a fine selection of trails, with Post Canyon being the best known. This large network of trails is half tree farm and half recreation escape. The miles of trails provide easy access to hikers, equestrian users, motorcycles, quads, and mountain bikers. In general, you'll find ribbons of tame singletrack winding through the woods, but Post Canyon also has a few pockets of gnar and some jumps too if you know where to look. There's also a lot of clay, which translates into thousands of ball bearings gathering at the bottom of every turn in the hotter months.Stage One | Day One
A rock embedded rip down the Ken A portion of trail 170. Racers had lots of opportunity to pump, but enough got you corners, rises, and obstacles kept them on their toes too.
Unlike most CDC races, day one of the Deux-Duro was pretty much one giant climb followed by several descending stages (with a few climbs mixed in of course). In total, racers pedaled out around 20 miles with 4,663 ft of climbing to complete the transitions and all four stages. The weather on day one was cool and formidable, and had a sinister enough flair, that at least one photographer was worried about a resurgence in climate from the 2015 series (here
). Fortunately, wind and some spitting showers were the worst to hit.
Local rider Nick Hardin was the first pro to arrive at the start of stage one, only to discover that a malfunctioning derailleur would deny him access to a full gear range. He was determined to overcome, and continued to punch out the fastest time of the day. Less than ten seconds back came Ben Cruz and Aaron Bradford, who were in turn followed by Craig Harvey and Logan Wetzel for day one's Pro Men podium. 2015's series overall winner, Luke Strobel, was absent attending Steve Smith's memorial over the weekend.
Nick's counterpart, Kim Hardin, wasn't to be outdone, and she systematically put in the fastest Pro Women times on every stage (a feat she enjoyed so much she did it again on day two). She topped a podium ahead of Bekah Rottenberg, Andi Zolton, Nikki Hollatz, and Lynn Hyde. The newly formed Junior Expert category was lead by Layton Meyers who beat out Elliott Cramer by 27.13 seconds. Alex Walker, Luke Topol, and Dylan Brown filled out the next three steps on the podium. To round out the finishing festivities, the CDC presented the Hood River Area Trail Stewards with a check for $8,000 to fund the trails in and around Hood River. Day One Results Here
The number of no-shows was up on the second day. But it wasn't due to the weather forecast, which called for partial sun. And the sun did show - there was just a lot of fog, clouds, and the occasional rain shower in the way. It's more likely that the bulk of climbing on Saturday, or the post-race superhero party hosted at the Dirty Finger Bike Shop may have been at fault. The large group of racers that did compete on day two faced a more approachable 14 miles of pedaling and 3200 feet of climbing. Though, on the flip side, the trail difficulty was greater on Sunday too. A particularly long stage one saw a share of riders struggling to finish the course after flatting in the rock garden on Hidden. And while the smooth contours of Kleeway lacked any gnar, it was a challenge for riders to stay focused amidst the shenanigans from local hecklers on the final stage.Stage Two | Day One
Racers would continue on trail 170, after a push-a-bike transition out of a steep gully. Dirt Surfer was all high-speed flow and the dirt conditions were especially conducive to letting er' rip.
Once again Nick Harden brought his local experience to bear and took home the win on day two. Some reordering in the ranks saw Neal Strobel in second while Aaron Bradford held onto third. Logan Wetzel improved to come in fourth and Matt Slaven closed out the podium. Kim Hardin maintained a sizable lead, ending the day over a minute up. Bekah Rottenberg placed second followed by Nikki Hollatz who had her pro debut over the weekend. Andi Zolton and Adrain Hopkins came in fourth and fifth. Layton Meyers tied up his second win of the weekend, with Alex Walker just a few second behind. Daven Kuder, Brayden Buchanan, and Gideon Bender placed third through fifth. Day Two Results Here
And just like that, it's time for you and your 250 racing buddies to head home on tired legs, stoked on a great weekend, and ready to race the next great Cascadia riding location. Up next in July, the CDC will join forces with several other Northwest Enduro series for the premiere of the North American Enduro Coalition's two-day event held at Silver Mountain, Idaho. Don't miss out.Stage Three | Day One
Hidden was the most formidable section of trail both days. On day one riders would start at the road before plunging through the rocky turns that give way to smooth pedaling on Borderline.Stage Four | Day One
Stage four opened with Bad Motor Scooter, a moderate jump trail that winds through dark woods before crossing the road. On the other side was GP which traverses back and forth between shallow berms. The final trail of the day was Toilet Bowl — a narrow singletrack through lush foliage, which actually does have a toilet on trail.Stage One | Day Two
A long pull down 2 Chair (Trail 160) which is a high-speed bomber road into segments filled with baby-heads. The constant force of riders, and I suspect some local kindness, gave racers a mostly clear path to follow. Next up was a second crack at Hidden before winding down on Borderline.Stage Two and Three | Day Two
Stage two was a fast dusty descent down the steeps on Antioines with racer's pick of ladder diving-board or log drop. Stage three was a fast and flowy romp down singletrack on Mitchell Ridge with a series of root steps to keep things zesty.Stage Four | Day Two
A straight forwards mile along Kleeway, the area's signature flow/jump trail. With speed on the mind, most racers kept things low and fast to maintain speed. But a few still found time to pop some air and earn some smiles over hard packed doubletrack.