Race Report: 2019 Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 1 - Tiger Mountain Enduro

Apr 23, 2019
by Trey Wilson  




The Tiger Mountain Enduro has built a reputation as being not only one of the roughest races of the year, but also the one that sums up the Cascadia Dirt Cup's iconically PNW theme at its finest. Located in verdant rainforests deep in the Issaquah Alps, Tiger Mountain is a hallmark of the success of local mountain bike advocacy group, The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. Designed to withstand both the high traffic of Seattle and the unstoppable torrent of precipitation that Western Washington is famous for, Tiger makes for the ideal place to start or finish a season in the PNWet. 



True to form, this year was a bruiser. The weeks leading up to the race were plagued with lingering snow, gale storm gusts, and pounding rain, leaving the the trails in dire straights. Teams of dedicated volunteers filed in from across the state to banish the blow down, erase the erosion, level the lips, and otherwise tune the trails back up to show floor quality. Still, the conditions were trying at best. Riders who opted for a last minute practice on the eve of the race were met with heady rain, fifty degree temperatures and a biting wind, leaving many with blue lips and numb fingers at the parking lot. 


Come race day, the weather gods were merciful and the clouds parted. The mist clinging to the ferns lifted and the sun burned through canopy and the world was happy and racing went on. Returning season champion Logan Wetzel (Transition Bikes, Clif) makes short work of the narrow bench and stitch roots on Legend. 


Boosting isn't always fast, low isn't always slow. Jimmy "the Mushroom" Gouin and Jameson Florence demonstrate two ways to stay pinned over the stage three rock drop on MEGAFAUNA

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Why do people move to California again? 




The Clif Kids Clinic with Sweetlines took up the reins for a race day prelude, with legendary coach Kat Sweet taking our youth riders under her wing to practice technical riding skills, and confidence improving drills before guiding them down the second stage of their race run for a hands on lesson in shredding. This was a complimentary clinic, courtesy of Clif, the 2019 CDC Title Sponsor. Expect to see more youth oriented outreach and advocacy as Clif and the CDC work together to share the sport with the next generation.


Another youth program in play this season is the new CDC Youth Rider to Racer Program, powered by Clif! The Rider to Racer program awards a complimentary youth entry into each round of the 2019 Cascadia Dirt Cup to one youth rider who is new to racing and the CDC. The recipient for the opening round at Tiger was Aaron Thelen. Aaron's been riding for two years and wants to race with the CDC because he loves mountain biking, and looks forward to more experience and excitement through competition. When asked what CLIF Bar product describes him and why, Aaron’s reply was: Shot Energy Gel, Mocha because I’m FULL OF ENERGY! Congratulations Aaron, we’re stoked you got to race with us at the Tiger Mountain Enduro!

Lili Heim showed up this weekend as newcomer to the Cascadia Dirt Cup, and left with a 5th place podium in the Super Tight Women's Pro Field. Everyones looking forward to see what she pulls off for the rest of the season. 



Grins on steeps. How can you not be stoked with trails like these? Riders left to right: Linnea Rooke, Melanie Edwards, Lili Heim, Kelsey Philips

No matter how many new pairs of feet land on the podium, there are still plenty of familiar faces holding their ground. Some harder then others. Luke Strobel took the Pro Mens top spot with a healthy five second margin over a challenger who doesn't give up the first spot easily. 


The Second place in question. The Mustache in person. Aaron Bradford ran the party train and raced to a second place pro finish while kicking it in the back with the expert men. Low stress, high results. We could all learn a lesson. 



People often assume that a public trail network equates to a sanitized trail network. We promise you, that's not how it works. Left: Stage three (Legend) charged a trail tax of one visor, one number plate, one pair of goggles, and a little bit of pride. Right: Alpine gravity vortex opens beneath Chris Page, consuming his mortal soul as a sacrifice to the earth goddess Gaia.

With conditions like these who needs enemies? After a week of (or month?) of heavy precipitation leading up to the race, the trails were ready to bite back. The mud on NOTG/OTG gave plenty of riders a run for their money. 


Aiden Edwards and Tyler Winans take on the finish of Legend, with exactly the amount of gusto expected from our youth


Slick rock? Whatever Moab, we've got you beat. Slippier than a greased pig, the iconic water fall drop on Predator led to squeals from the specters below. Some were from fright, but most were with delight to discover that pigs do indeed fly.

In an even tighter race Bonnie Burke (Transition, Dakine) took the Pro Womens win by just some three seconds over another long time series veteran. Racing wouldn't be fun if it was easy. 


Ingrid Larouche was that long time series veteran, slip-sliding her way up onto the second step of the podium. With an already stacked women's field, we're expecting some of the tightest racing of the season to be coming from this category. Pay attention. 



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Are hardtails cool again? Psyche! They never went out of style. Eleven hard-asses signed up for the hardtail class at Tiger, making it the largest group of masochists that the CDC has ever had at a single event. If ever there was a sure fire sign that 2019 was going to shred... Dan Casioppo keeps it smooth and low while Erik Dukes tees up the next move.

From Junior Expert just three years ago, to Pro Men on Saturday. Bryce Kans has been investing in himself, and clearly reaping dividends with his 5th place Pro finish. 


When your bike doesn't show up on time, but you're medical coverage on race day and have to get up on the course, it's Compass Outdoor Adventures to the rescue! With a loaner bike from Compass' demo fleet, Michelle was able to navigate the course and keep the racers that didn't stay rubber side down safe and sound. If you're in North Bend and in need of a ride check these folks out, they're rad and always in the right place at the right time.

Emotions run high after a race... and low. We all handle long days in the woods differently. Sleep it off little buddy, sleep it off.

Light a candle, stare deep into the bathroom mirror, and say "Muc-off, Muc-off, Muc-off". You won't summon a demon, but maybe your bike will get cleaner?

Anybody have a Tide hook up? Arm & Hammer? Downy??? We're looking for a laundry detergent sponsor. JK, NIKWAX give us a call, WE NEED YOU!

There can be only one winner.* (*Some conditions may apply, see rules and regulations for details. One winner per place, per category. In event of a tie, Highlander rules apply. I.E You must fight until only one remains. You are safe only on Holy Ground. No one will violate that rule. It's tradition.)


Atta Boys 1. Luke Strobel 2. Aaron Bradford 3. Eric Olsen 4. Logan Wetzel 5. Bryce Kans

Atta Girls 1. Bonnie Burke 2. Ingrid Larouche 3. Julie Baird 4. Linnea Rooke 5. Lili Heim

While last year's Capitol Forest Enduro marked the $100,000 mark in donations given back to associated trail organization, the CDC hasn't slowed down. This event marked another 5k back to fund future trail development and maintenance. Giving back never felt so good.





Race results, photos and more are all available on the Race Cascadia website.
NEXT UP: CDC Round 2 Post Canyon Enduro, May 18th in Hood River, Oregon.



15 Comments

  • + 6
 Another killer CDC race, even from my vantage point in the way back of Sport... I thought the peanut butter at the top of NOTG looked tasty so I ate some. Ha.
  • + 3
 I was in the middle of the sport pack as well. I'm glad we didn't have to ride predator at race pace in those conditions. That top part of NOTG was hilarious to try to race. I watched my gopro footage and was literally lol-ing trying to make it down.
  • + 2
 @gilby82: I was just happy I made it well out of range of the start so I could be alone while I ate s**t. Haha.
  • + 2
 @DrPete: that's why I had serious reservations about racing downhill after watching the Pro GRT at Port Angeles- too many spectators to see me make a fool of myself. I like enduro- where it will just be the riders coming behind me to see the mess I've made.
  • + 5
 All the hard work paid off! I got my right leg featured in pinkbike! Dreams can come true!!!
  • + 2
 And what a leg... extra toned from all the hardtail thrashing.
  • + 2
 Never mind the leg, is that a Corvid Dirtsurfer frame? Haawwwt!
  • + 2
 @JDFF: One of three racing on Saturday. It was the inaugural unofficial Corvid Cup. The picture 2 below the side shot is Eric on his Dirtsurfer.
  • + 1
 @jon-boy: that’s not muscle definition. That’s mud! Haha!
  • + 2
 So much fun, feel supremely sorry for my drivetrain though. Half way through NOTG-OTG my two small pulleys were rendered inoperable because of that mud. Took 5 minutes to pick out with a stick. The chain would hardly bend when I got home... So nasty.
  • + 4
 Anyone tried the new evo x Compass trailhead delivered bike demos yet?
  • + 3
 Another great PNW race season is under way!!!
  • + 2
 Truly classic conditions.
  • + 1
 Strobel & Brad Ford win my heart every time.
  • + 1
 Such a fun race!

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