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Race Report: Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3, Yacolt Burn

Jul 28, 2015
by Eric Ashley  
Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Corey Craig launching the Godzilla step-down on Thrillium (Pro Men).

Round Three of the Shimano Cascadia Dirt Cup presented by Cannonade unexpectedly found itself returning to the Yacolt Burn this year. If things had progressed as planned, the race would have taken place at Green Mountain on the Kitsap Peninsula. But due to a stream restoration project this summer, the CDC was forced to announce their plans to pull out of Green Mountain just days before the series kicked off in the North Shore. Fortunately, with less than three months till round three, a lot of things went right. The Cold Creek Mountain Bikers stepped up to host the race on their trails, two new parking lots were completed ahead of schedule, and the DNR approved a late permitting request for the race to go forwards.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  A glimpse into the rider's experience at the bottom of Stage Three. Daniel Rodriguez (Sport Master Men 30-39).

The curve balls weren't over though. Like any typical race in July, the weather the week before was brimming with sun — which was forecasted to end with light showers the morning of the race. During Friday's practice, riders took advantage of the fair weather, only to have trail conditions shift from dust to peanut butter as the forecasted showers arrived in a deluge. Although the force of the downpour ebbed and flowed throughout the day, the trend was mucky trails and soddened riders.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  The sun sinking into the hills on Friday evening - its final appearance during the event.

As a single day race, the logistics were fairly straightforward. Riders started to leave at 9:00 a.m. and the course for Pro, Expert, and Junior Men was consecutive 1, 2, 3, 4. The Women's categories raced 3, 4, 1, 2. And Sport Men completed the course 4, 3, 1, 2. The harsh weather made for quick first stages as riders raced back to shelter. Although it's doubtful anyone was able to dry out, that refuge, combined with rough trail conditions quickly lead to categories mixing on the following stages.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Instead, riders would wake up to this.

The Cold Creek Trails are best know for Thrillium, a fast and rough downhill trail sure to leave you wanting a downhill rig to match. While the rest of the trails in the area don't have Thrillium's giant table-tops, they also offer plenty of exciting riding. Even on sections that are fast and flowy, there’s always an element of tech lurking around the corner. Because of this, there was a lot of speculation on which course "the race would be decided." Whichever it was, the roughly 24 miles and 3,500 feet of climbing gave racers a quick primer into why a strong relationship between the CCMTB and DNR make this an awesome place to ride.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  The reality of the day's conditions sinking in during the time keeper's meeting.

Venue changes, rough trails, crashes, and unfavorable weather all made Round Three of the CDC a bumpy but memorable experience. But with the rain stopped and the grill fired up, the mood was positive and lively. Underscoring that at the end of the day, we'd rather be on two wheels than not.

Up next, the Cascadia Dirt Cup joins with the Friends of Capitol Forest during the Capitol Forest Classic, August 29-30th (the enduro race will be on Sunday). In the meantime check out the full results here.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Park to the right, lest your car get removed by a logging truck - local wisdom.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Andrew Knott (Pro Men) and Emily Sabelhaus (Pro Women) were all smiles despite the moisture.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Darrin Seeds checks his chip into the system for the day before heading for the transition (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Austin Davis nearing the end of Transition One (Pro Men).

Stage One was the shortest and easiest. Smooth, straightforward, singletrack allowed riders to put the speed down and focus on pedaling without the promise of the tech and gnar that characterized the rest of the race.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Bob Heimbuch had planned to brighten the start of Stage One with some music, but the damp in the air complicated things.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  First racer of the day, Austin Davis (Pro Men), has a little extra incentive for a fast start thanks to JR Rager.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Carson Eiswald getting prepared for the first run of the day (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Kim Eakin (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Luke Strobel on Stage One. Luke once again ended up at the top of the podium (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Neal Strobel was close behind his brother, finishing second at the end of the day (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Scott Dole running back-up time keeping in the driest place available.

Stage Two was separated from Stage One by a minimal transition before riders would dive into the woods for another high speed charge. Unlike its predecessor, this stage had plenty of rock pockets and pedal grabbers laying in wait for racers. The CCMTB's weed-whacking efforts and dry conditions leading up to the race were expected to set the scene for some high speed carnage. While the rain and mud did govern overall speeds, there was still plenty of unruly riding during the race.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Ricardo Broberg (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Just follow the ribbon of singletrack.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Kristian Duft cooking a turn and skidding up some dust in the process (Expert Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Craig Folsom (Expert Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Stage Two featured a brief road transitions before plunging back into the singletrack. Jacob Flinn (Expert Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Alex Davis (Junior Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Matt Salladay slipping a pedal over the roots, but managing to keep upright (Expert Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Torsenn Brown (Junior Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Jason Konieczka putting in some morning drifts on Stage Two (Expert Veteran Men 40-49).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Jason Eiswald getting bucked around on the up-and-over line (Junior Men). Eiswald earned a second place finish.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Erik Dukes (Expert Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Jason Heggenes riding through the clearcut at the bottom of Stage Two (Pro Men).

Stage Three began with a short section of berms on the Cold Creek Trail before dropping in for a fast descent on Murphy's Grade. The last half of the stage connected back to the rolling elevation of lower Cold Creek Trail. Besides having to maintain momentum, riders were presented with plenty of optional drops and opportunities to leap over roots. However, they had no choice in the sinister rock garden to bridge to hill climb near the bottom of the stage.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Kevin Foss (Expert Master Men (30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Scott Kemp (Pro Men) and Steve McConnell (Sport Veteran Men 40-49). Kemp finished fourth in Pro Men, edging out Darrin Seeds by 1 second.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Nick Bechtoldt finished the day in second in his category (Sport Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Jim Tabish losing both feet through the rock garden (Super Veteran Men 50+). Tabish maintained his composure for first place in his category.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  John Wendl starting into the chunk (Sport Veteran Men 40-49).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  The rock garden on Stage Three was the first in a series that went; rock garden, slippery bridge, abrupt uphill climb. Kelend Hawks (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Tight racing between top racers left Lars Sternberg in third, one second behind Neal Strobel (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Kristian Duft (Expert Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Corey Craig (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Darrin Seeds finished in fifth (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Game face on. Brian Piper (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Neal Strobel finding clean lines on the Cold Creek Trail (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Matthew McCluskey (Expert Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  The Cold Creek Trail presented a lot of opportunities to rise above the tech. Blake Rollins (Expert Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  James Jacobson regrouping at the bottom of Stage Three (Sport Veteran Men 40-49).

Stage Four presented the most formidiable challenge to racers with a full-pull on Thrillium, the area's signature downhill trail. The top third was high-speed, chunky, loose turns and booters. Which in turn gave way to a relatively tame middle section through the woods before launching into the generous tables, step-downs, and chicanes that make up the bottom of the trail.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Float like a butterfly - Susan Walsh heads into the finish line at the bottom of Thrillium (Sport Veteran Women 40+).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Still raining in case you were wondering.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Emily Sablehaus (Pro Women) had a rough fall on Thrillium, and initial smiles aside, was quite shaken by the crash.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Lily Hickenbottom (Sport Women 18-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Sarah Bender rolling into the rock garden on lower Thrillium (Expert Women).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Erik Nilson (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Neal Strobel putting in a fast run on Stage Four (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Naish Ulmer sending the "Bear Shit Step-Down," named for a zealous bear who left a scat present on the jump during its construction (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Nathan Hoch clearing table tops on Thrillium as the rain finally begins to retreat (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Kelend Hawks carrying lots of speed through the chicanes (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Carson Eiswald (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Ricardo Broberg headed back into the woods (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Luke Strobel was a few second back from the fastest time on Stage Four (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Darrin Seeds (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Matthew Seeman (Expert Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Zach Rosato finished in first with a healthy margin of one minute and eleven seconds (Expert Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Craig Folsom sending it big on his way to a fourth place finish (Expert Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Miguel Pacheco (Expert Senior Men 18-29). Pacheco tied for cumulative time with Logan Roy but had the faster time on the final stage, putting him in first.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Jacob Flinn finished in third with a time 26 seconds back from first or second (Expert Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Glen McCarthy (Expert Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Matt Salladay pedaling out of a slide on upper Thrillium (Expert Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Jason Heggenes (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Alex Davis spots his landing (Junior Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Check for open zippers. This tasty trail detritus wasn't alone on Thrillium.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Jake Hightower (Junior Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Winners get medals, anyone can get hugs from the friendliest dog in the staging area.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  An extra pie to literally sweeten the raffle.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  A dance-off elimination round advanced two contestants toward a race to snag a High Above hip pack.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Putting in the moves to win.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Members of the Cold Creek Mountain Bikers gather round to receive a check for $3500 to go back into the trails.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Series Director Trey Wilson tossing some schwag into the crowd.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Junior Men Podium: Jimmy Cloherty, Jason Eiswald, Gideon Bender, Anthony Palandri, and Torsenn Brown (not pictured).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Expert Women Podium: Emily Thompson, Emily Sabelhaus, Julie Crittenden, Amy Josefczyk, and Annie Craig.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round 3 Yacolt Burn
  Pro Men Podium: Luke Strobel, Neal Strobel, Lars Sternberg, and Scott Kemp, and Darrin Seeds.
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9 Comments

  • + 8
 Thanks to CCMTB and all the volunteers who made this race happen.
  • + 7
 Great photos. Thanks for leaving the shadows dark in the woods photos - looks awesome.
  • + 6
 I like the way that this formatted over the last one. Having a great time raising this year.
  • + 6
 Impossible......Strobel winning enduro races on flat pedals. Wizard!
  • + 3
 Another nice report Eric. Very solid photography despite the conditions. Looks like you didn't have the focus issues you were worried about.
  • + 2
 Incredible pictures Eric, as it did rain all day! Keep up the great reports.
  • + 3
 It hasn't rained here in months and the one day it does... :/ Well, looks like it helped keep the dust down.
  • + 3
 Way to go @dirtslayer with the, "healthy margin of one minute and eleven seconds" for first!
  • + 2
 Nice job Eric - sad to miss out on this race. Great to have this quality of coverage and photos!

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