Round three of the Evil
Cascadia Dirt Cup presented by Shimano
gathered this weekend in the remote hills of the Yacolt Burn State Forest. You’ll be forgiven if you can't point to the area on a map, or if you haven’t heard about the collection of trails nestled less than an hour northeast of Portland. Historically, the area hasn’t been big on the mountain biking radar, but the region’s beautiful forests, lively trails, and dedicated trail builders are starting to change that. For the CDC, the Yacolt Burn has played a major role over the last few years and despite its remote location, it’s been one of the most frequented stops in the series.
| When you're climbing well over 4,000 feet in a day, a cool morning is very welcome.|
2015's stop here brought unforeseen challenges when the weather decided a forecast for light morning showers really meant an all day deluge that left riders soggy and beaten. Fortunately in 2016, the weather was cooperating and conditions were dialed with a cool misty morning that faded to bluebird skies under a warm sun. As a result, the ranks of racers were packed for a full day of climbing and descending. Nothing is perfect though, and many south bound riders lost out on practice time Friday when the route from Seattle was slowed for hours after a back-to-back fire and trailer/overpass collision along the route.
| Kristian Duft was surprisingly chipper after only a few hours of sleep (Pro Men).|
The 4,500 feet of climbing planned for Saturday would be the price of admission to four stages of fast and rowdy riding that featured sections of Grouse Vista, the Cold Creek Trail, and part of Thrillium — a course change Friday afternoon actually added the top half of Thrillium for an even grander race.
| It takes a lot of generous volunteers to put on a successful race.|
Stage One served up mist shrouded trees, a dollop of slop, and an alpine meadow before racers finished charging down the fast straight aways on this never before raced section of trail. A short but rocky hike-a-bike brought riders back to the top before finishing Transition Two across the shale fields of the Cold Creek Trail. Stage Two opened with a techy descent into an optional log drop before this old-school section of trail continued snaking back and forth with sharp corners and a few unruly rock gardens that gave way to smooth berms into a clear cut.
| Right: Josh Gibb demonstrates the merits of his electronic dropper post (Expert Senior Men 18-29).|
Stage Three started directly afterwards and took racers down a fast open descent that transitioned to a creek-side pedal with short punchy climbs and a notable rock garden at the end. From there it was a pedal to the top of Thrillium, the area's best know trail. This 2.6 mile descent sports plenty of downhill flavor, a large section of table tops, and some high speed rock gardens at the end.
| Tune in for the freshest of dirt reports from James Whitesides.|
Each year the CDC is made up of five stops, so round three is always an interesting time to start tallying points and looking ahead to the overalls. To mix things up in 2016, the debut North American Enduro Cup in June served as a bonus race — with racer's best 5 out of 6 races counting towards the overalls.
With that optional boost from the NAEC, Layton Meyers had a strong lead ahead of Gideon Bender and Alex Walker (Junior 17 & Under). Kim Hardin's claim to the top was undisputed with three wins in a row followed by Nikki Hollatz and Andi Zolton (Pro Women). And for Pro Men, a recent win at the NAEC put Logan Wetzel a respectable distance ahead of Craig Harvey and Nick Hardin. Last year's series overall winner Luke Strobel had yet to put in an appearance.
| Once again, Nick Hardin slammed out the climbs on transition one to be first to the drop-in (Pro Men).|
| A misty summit and a little slop was just the ticket to get racers going. Nate Hoch (Pro Men).|
WIth so many rough stages, flat tires were a real risk and more than one podium-promising run was derailed by the dreaded walk or sad roll to the finish line — both Logan Wetzel and Matthew Slaven were taken out of the contending and Jimmy Cloherty endured a 50 minute walk down stage four. For those lucky enough to dodge any mechanicals, the favorable dirt conditions were ready to return fast course times.
| Following a win at the bonus NAEC race in Idaho, Logan Wetzel started the weekend with a lead in series points (Pro Men).|
| Craig Harvey maintained a good pace throughout the day, losing a step on the podium by only a few seconds (Pro Men).|
Layton Meyers once again put his fast and loose style to good use and claimed his fourth consecutive win of the season ahead of Gideon Bender, Brayden Buchanan, Daven Kuder, and Dylan Brown. Kim Hardin was off her game and ended the day 24 seconds behind Adele Mery. Janea Perry, Andi Zolton and Bekah Rottenberg brought up the rest of the Pro Women's podium. Tyler Littlefield and Erik Nilson took fourth and fifth for Pro Men, each earning their first Pro podium. First time CDC racer Nate Furbee finished third behind Nick Hardin and Luke Strobel lost no time heading back to the top for his first race of the season. Full results here.
| Nate Furbee and Luke Strobel (Pro Men).|
| Alex Grediagin (Pro Men).|
Restocked on food and beverages, a happy crowd of racers turned their attention toward podiums and some well deserved recognition to the Cold Creek Mountain Bikers for building and maintaining such high caliber trails — rumor has it that some of their volunteers spent the previous week weed whacking late into the night, using head lamps to make sure corridors were clear and safe.
This type of dedication is just one of the many reasons the CDC continues to be a successful series with a constantly growing tally of grins and cheers along miles of Cascadia's finest trails. If you haven't ridden at Yacolt Burn yet, it's time to add it to your bucket list. Up next the CDC heads to Bellingham to savor the trails at Chuckanut for Round Four on August 27
| Tobin Foulke pedals through a slightly soggy alpine meadow (Expert Master Men 30-39).|
| Dylan Wright (Expert Senior Men 18-29).|
| Focus ahead, mud flying behind. Parley Ford puts in a determined stage one (Expert Senior Men 18-29).|
| Like riding on dinner plates. Joy Ride Bicycles team members Erik Dukes, Cameron Sloan, and Tyler Littlefield make their way across the shale at the bottom of transition two.|
| Nick Hardin navigates the optional log drop on stage two. At the end of the day the Hood River rider took second (Pro Men).|
| This rocky berm made a chunky chaser to the drop. Right: Nate Furbee (Pro Men).|
| Logan Wetzel carrying good speed at the top of stage two (Pro Men).|
| Erik Nilson linked together good runs across all four stages to nab his first pro podium.|
| Switching gears from downhilling, Matt Orlando carried an eighth place finish at his first CDC race (Pro Men).|
| A slower start to the day didn't keep Tyler Littlefield from taking fourth and his first pro podium.|
| Tight racing in the Expert Veteran Men 40-49 class saw Jess Palacios take first less than a second ahead of Chad Gurney.|
| Matt Seemann likes his turns cooked extra well (Expert Senior Men 18-29).|
| Alex Walker and Brayden Buchanan. Buchanan finished third (Junior Expert 17 & Under).|
| Layton Meyers put in the fastest junior times on all but stage one, ending him with a lead of over 20 seconds (Junior Expert 17 & Under).|
| Doug HIll (Expert Senior Men 18-29).|
| Brian Piper delivered his third second place finish or the season on Saturday (Expert Master Men 30-39).|
| Anthony Palandri (Expert Senior Men 18-29).|
| A narrowly missed spill on this corner didn't keep Brandy Willie from finishing the day in third (Expert Veteran Men 40-49).|
| The bottom of stage two transitions into a series of smooth linked berms as riders enter the clear cut. Jason Ding (Expert Master Men 30-39).|
| Josh Gibb followed up his win during the NAEC with a fifth place spot on Saturday's podium (Expert Senior Men 18-29).|
| Nick Hardin and Logan Wetzel making the second major ascent of the day (Pro Men).|
| Nate Hoch possibly got a bit more air off of the Godzilla step-down than he'd intended (Pro Men).|
| Nick Hardin (Pro Men).|
| Scott Kemp enjoying the hang time (Pro Men).|
| Cheer long and cheer loud.|
| Luke Strobel heading to claim his spot back on the top of the podium (Pro Men).|
| Nate Furbee delivered his best time on stage four, we'd wager the downhill flavor of Thrillium played a part (Pro Men).|
| Ben Furbee (Pro Men).|
| Jacob Flinn clearing tables on his way to first (Expert Senior Men 18-29).|
| The tables section on Thrillium delivers hits one after the other in quick succession. More than one racer found themselves coming to terms with their trajectory. Anthony Palandri (Expert Senior Men 18-29).|
| Recent Bend, OR transplant Alex Walker (Junior Expert 17 & Under) pulls over to let Jason Gainey (Expert Verteran Men 40-49) pass. Walker's flat on Thrillium snatched away what would have been a podium finish.|
| Erik Dukes (Expert Master Men 30-39).|
| A good first CDC race from Chad Gurney landed him in second (Expert Veteran Men 40-49).|
| Janea Perry making quick work of the middle of Thrillium. Perry took third (Pro Women).|
| Plagued by flats. Both Matthew Slaven and Jimmy Cloherty didn't find the race they were looking for at Yacolt Burn (Pro Men).|
| Delia Massey (Expert Women).|
| Scrapes and bruises aside, Travis Holman had a solid day of racing and headed home with a second place finish (Sport Master Men 30-39).|
| Bekah Rottenberg and Adele Mery. Mery swept the board by putting in the fastest time on each stage (Pro Women).|
| Felling a bit off her game, series leader Kim Hardin still put together a second place finish (Pro Women).|
| Poster child for riding-and-smiling, Nick Lerma delivered his third second place win of the season (Sport Senior Men 18-29).|
| Erin Roe (Expert Women).|
| Agnes Sauvage (Sport Women) moves in for the pass behind David Bennett (Sport Super Veteran 50+) on upper Thrillium.|
| Out of the canopy cover in the woods, the sun shown down merrily by the end of the day.|
| Denied the spot at the top. Jessica Hatch came a close second to Agnes Sauvage, ending the day 1.85 seconds back (Sport Women).|
| Daniel Rodriguez (Sport Master Men 30-39).|
| Some extra curricular climbing on the final transition saw Kerstin Holster and Karen O'Connell making a late exit (Pro Women).|
| Alicia Wilder (Sport Women).|
| The Cascadia is strong with celebrity MC Lee Peterson.|
| Major race-prep contributors from the Cold Creek Mountain Biker's gathered for some well deserved recognition and to receive a check from the CDC.|
| Nicholas Franzen collected an impressive amount of medals in the hardtail open category after dominating the field.|
| Pro Women Podium: Adele Mery, Kim Hardin, Janea Perry, Andi Zolton, and Bekah Rottenberg.|
| Pro Men Podium: Luke Strobel, Nick Hardin, Nate Furbee, Tyler Littlefield, and Erik Nilson.|