The Rainier Enduro venue has been on the bucket list for the CDC organizers since the series inception. The Highway 410 corridor trails, just outside Mt. Rainier National Park, are known for their big climbs and ripping descents all in a lush, old growth forest environment topping out at 5400' from the valley below. The trails in the area are rooted deep in the history of mountain biking in Washington state and considered hallowed ground for many people who have been riding them since the times of fully rigid steel frames armed with cantilever brakes. The CDC, in collaboration with the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, worked diligently with the National Forest Service for over a year to to bring this enduro to fruition. James Whitesides, race director, stated "it has been a long road but worth every ounce of energy to get to this point
Many people didn't know the race was almost cancelled when a nearby forest fire from a lightning strike threatened the area and closed down all the trails earlier in the week leading up to the race. Luckily, a summer rain storm moved in midweek and helped contain the blaze and after two days of constant rain the loose, dusty trails turned into grade-A hero dirt.
There was lots of nervous excitement as riders checked in with 5700ft of climbing/descending over 25 miles in front of them.
Transition 1 up the Ranger Creek trail was brutal.
The Pro Men race was incredibly tight. So tight in fact, Adam Craig (pictured) and Lars Sternberg were tied going into stage 3. Each had dropped a second to each other on the first two stages. Miraculously, they threw down the same exact time for stage 3 resulting in a cumulative time tie. The CDC rules state the tiebreaker goes to the racer who had the fastest last stage. If the last stage is a tie i'ts the fastest in the preceding stage. Adam edged out Lars by a second on stage 2 and took the victory.
Lars Sternberg leading out the Pro field on stage 1.
Nicholas Franzen on his way to 5th in Expert Senior.
Jason Konieczka of Epic Racing through the moss covered trees.
It was nice to see the Veteran (50+) category stacked. Rick Ceccanti pushing hard.
Just one of the 30+ volunteers that helped pull off a great day.
Emmye Cahn on her way to 2nd in Sport Female.
The trails on Stage 1 and 2 had some very tight tree sections. Blake Rollins squeezing through.
A tame section of the Palisades Trail, which made up stages 1 and 2.
XC Pro Russell Stevenson finished a respectable 10th with his first foray in the enduro format.
Rosara Joseph put the hammer down in the Pro Women field and took the win by almost 2 minutes.
Amy Josefczyk 2nd in Female Sport Masters.
Lee Peterson using a grooved horse trough on stage 3 as a berm. Lee is also the "voice of the CDC" and handles all the MC duties.
Laura Ogden cruising through stage 3 and into 2nd place in the Pro Women field.
Scott Funston, 2nd in Junior, lines up his entry into one of the many tight switchbacks on stage 3.
Brian Flynn coming in hot to another switchback.
13 year old Gideon Bender keeps showing up in the "keep" pile of pics.
Mathieu Denuelle of GL6 Racing; 3rd in Sport Masters.
Cam Sloan powering through the stream crossing on stage 3.
Pro Mens Podium: 1st-Adam Craig; 2nd-LarsSternberg; 3rd-Neal Strobel; 4th-Alex McGuinness; 5th-Charlie Sponsel.
Pro Womens Podium: 1st-Rosara Joseph; 2nd-Laura Ogden; 3rd-Dawn Fidler; 4th-Abby Hippley.
Junior Podium: 1st-Jimmy Schwend-Cloherty; 2nd-Scott Funston; 3rd-Jason Eiswald; 4th-Logan Roy; 5th-Mathew Seemann.
Sport Masters Podium: 1st-Todd Kooy; 2nd-Steven Cloherty; 3rd-Matthieu Denuelle; 4th-Cary Clemonsen; 5th-Jason Sikes.
Big thanks to Big Horn BBQ and Iron Horse Brewery for the post race food and brews.
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