Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four: Chuckanut - Race Report

Aug 29, 2016 at 23:50
by Eric Ashley  
Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Nathan Hoch tears into the top of Double Diamond to finish up a long day of racing (Pro Men).

The Evil Cascadia Dirt Cup presented by Shimano made its fourth stop in Bellingham, WA. Home to a flourishing biking community, the small bayside city sits just thirty minutes south of the Canadian Border and has an enviable collection of trails and breweries that make it a prime destination for any mountain biker. The Cascadia Dirt Cup was last here in 2014. This year, the return would bring new trails to race and the stop would also count toward points in the North American Enduro Tour.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Riley Ghio (Sport Senior Men 18-29) and Lauren Ghio (Beginner Women).

The wealth of trails in Bellingham are a result of the strong presence of the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition. While the WMBC's efforts on Galbraith Mountain are better known, much of the group's efforts in 2015 centered around opening a new biker-only trail in Larrabee State Park in the Chuckanut Recreation Area — big names we know, but the riding lives up to it. That new trail extended an existing route to form over two-miles of a rowdy and flowy descent that is one of the area's only shuttle-able trails.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Nick Tuttle, Kristian Duft, and Nathan Hoch (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Aaron Bradford is a big fan of the enduro applications for Giro's new Switchblade helmet (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Logan Wetzel and Logan Roy (Pro Men).

So far this year, conditions for the CDC have been unreasonably favorable. At Chuckanut a long dry summer and the evident popularity of the Double Diamond to Double Down trail was already starting to take a toll on the young trail. Add in plenty of practice laps and nearly 300 riders come race day and conditions were dusty, loose, and blown. And it showed on the shoulders, sides, and knees of many a racer. Despite the rough conditions, Bellingham always delivers a good time and the race was well sold out in advance.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  California's Kyle Warner all ready to try out the roots and dust of Chuckanut (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Karen O'Connell (Pro Women).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  One of a few optional viewpoints from the day's transitions.

The tall sandstone ridge-lines that flow through the park were divided into five stages that were in turn divided into different groups for the various categories. Pros/Experts raced four stages starting with Upper Ridge, than Lower Ridge before a pedal up to Raptor Ridge, followed by an unusual transition to Double Diamond to Double Down. Sport racers began with Two Dollar, followed by Upper Ridge and ended the day on Double Diamond to Double Down for a total of three stages. Beginners enjoyed a stage on Double Down and then a stage on Two Dollar. In short; the race day served up loads of roots, rocks, ruts, drops, flow, climbing, and mileage.

Raptor Ridge was another new trail addition for the CDC. It's a great trail that starts out flat and then winds down narrow singletrack to a small rock ridgeback at the bottom — It's also never been raced before. A privilege that Pros/Experts would have to pay for while carrying their bikes up the steep steps of the hiker-only Rock Trail during their last transition. Hopefully the striking rock formations and seas of ferns along the way helped soften the blow.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  First to the top, per usual. Lingering mechanical issues from the previous day's practice didn't slow Nick Hardin down on the transitions, but they did set him back into seventh for the day (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Fortunately for riders, the extent of the drop-off from Lower Ridge isn't very evident when you're racing by. But for the record, it's a long ways down. Jason Eiswald (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  A fourth place finish from Logan Wetzel landed him just a few points shy of a bid for the CDC overalls (Pro Men).

Following last month's stop at Yacolt Burn several racers had clearly defined their lead in the overalls. Among them Layton Meyers stood unchallenged in the Junior Expert field after claiming the top step in every race this season. Similarly, Hood River racer Kim Hardin's efforts had secured a big margin for Pro Women. On less certain ground was Kim's husband Nick Hardin who had slipped back into the Pro Men lead just ahead of Logan Wetzel. As a reminder, the best four results of the season count to a racer's overall points.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Luke Strobel kept things low and fast on stage two (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Kyle Warner held his own to place fifth, a finish that moved him up the ranks to take the lead in the overalls for the NAET (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Carson Eiswald's practice time on course and local's knowledge of high-risk/high-reward lines allowed him to dominate all but one stage (Pro Men).

Saturday started with a lightly overcast morning that darkened to cool and grey as racers completed their first transition. Although the dark cloud cover made for dim visibility, it did make for a very agreeable August climbing temperature as racers wrapped up the more pedally stages on route to finish on the fast rip of Double Diamond to Double Down.

Keeping true to form, Layton Meyers delivered another win which more than secured him the overalls. Behind him came Eric Olsen, Scott Funston, Bryce Kans, and Brayden Buchanan (Junior Expert). Kim Hardin followed suite and delivered her fourth win of the season, also clearly securing her win in the overalls. Dawn Fidler, Emily Sabelhaus, Adrian Hopkins, and Karen O'Connell took the remaining steps of the podium after Andi Zolton was removed from the contention with a flat on the final stage.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Darrin Seeds earned a spot in the top ten during his first race of the year (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  "Come on, you got this!" Karen O'Connell delivers some self-coaching out of the gates (Pro Women).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Kim Hardin gets a strong start along Upper Ridge (Pro Women).

The Pro Men results saw an upset when local racers Carson Eiswald and Jason Eiswald handily defended their home turf to take first and second. Their command of high-risk/high-reward lines set their times apart from the field, with Carson leading by over forty seconds. Behind the brothers was Evil Bikes' Luke Strobel who placed ahead of Transition Bikes' Logan Wetzel. California racer Kyle Warner rounded out the podium for a finish that pushed him ahead in the ongoing NAET standings. Nick Hardin, who was dogged by lingering mechanical issues from the previous day's practice, was bumped back to seventh. Not the race result Hardin was looking for, but one that was just barely good enough to lock in the series overall. Full Results Here.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Paul Doty rearing to start in on stage two (Expert Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Ryan Fraser makes a clean entrance into a dusty slash on Upper Ridge at the start of his second stage (Sport Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Fumiya Kawahara (Sport Master Men 30-39).

By the time podiums were in full swing the weather had upgraded into a perfect seaside day. The giveaways and beer flew and a grand prize raffle for an Evil Following frame had the crowd anxiously waiting for the finale ticket to be drawn. An ecstatic rider rushed to claim her new park-worthy frame after years of being turned away by lift operators because of her titanium hardtail. At each race, the CDC presents the venue host with a check to go back into stewarding the trails. WMBC's trail director Eric Brown shared that a chunk of the funds donated to the WMBC would also go to constructing a pump track this fall.

The Cascadia Dirt Cup finals at Tiger Mountain are already sold out. To see about getting on the waitlist for the September 17 race visit the CDC's website here. In the meantime, come check out the trails Bellingham has to offer — some well deserved trail love is already in the plans as soon as the rain falls.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Andrew Aiken nabbed a spot on the podium during his first CDC race (Sport Veteran Men 40-49).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  The rocks and roots of the Upper Ridge stage give way to a fast rip through a mass of ferns during the exit to the finish line.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Nicholas Ryser (Hard Tail Open) closes in on Erik Huerta (Sports Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Emmye Cahn (Expert Women).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Jason Williams (Hard Tail Open).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Kim Hardin was still in good spirits after completing a particularly unique transition along the hiker-only Rock Trail (Pro Women).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Joel Morse (Expert Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  The rock trail culminates with several flights of steep steps. Just what every racer is looking for before their last stage of the day. Andy Rigel (Expert Veteran Men 40-49).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Harrison Gill seemed pretty happy to have the Rock Trail behind him as he finished the last little bit of the transfer (Expert Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Evil Bikes' Aaron Bradford and Luke Strobel snagged ninth and third for the day (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Alex Takos (Sport Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Richard Handschin (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Corey Shaffer clearly wanted another spot on the podium this season (Sport Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Jake Hightower's riding was on point Saturday as he rode to his first win (Junior Men 17 & Under).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Jameson Florence finished fourth for his best result of the year (Expert Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Erik Dukes followed Florence by just under ten seconds to take fifth (Expert Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  John Pitton put it all together to take the win on home turf (Expert Veteran Men 40-49).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  If you're only going to race one enduro, make it count. Bellingham locals Jason and Carson Eiswald cleaned up to take second and first (Pro Men).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Eric Randolph (Expert Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Kim Hardin delivered her fourth win of the season and locked away the overalls at the same time (Pro Women).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Adrian Hopkins' fourth place finish puts her in third for the overalls (Pro Women).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Transitions Bikes' Kevin Menard held down the fort to finish third (Expert Veteran Men 40-49).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Even the newish enduro lines are pretty blown. Dawn Fidler, Kathryn Irish, and Jessica Hatch. Fidler placed second (Pro Women), and Irish and Hatch placed finished third and first (Sport Women).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  A flat tire and a several minute sprint down course from this photo kept Andi Zolton from a podium finish on Saturday (Pro Women).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Good to see Emily Sabelhaus back racing on this side of the border this season. Sabelhaus finished third (Pro Women).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  There're some big trees in this neck of the woods.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  High or low, there really wasn't a great line to be had on this eroded turn. Bill Knudsen (Expert Master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  No Instagram filters here, just a prolific amount of dust choking out the plants. Jeff Womeldorf (Expert master Men 30-39).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Jason Gainey headed for second (Expert Veteran Men 40-49).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Tristin Munich (Junior Expert 17 & Under).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  The drops have a way of coming up fast when you're in race mode. Heather Vanvalkenburg (Sport Veteran Women 40+) and Chris Bently (Expert Senior Veteran Men 50+).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Josh Gibb (Expert Senior Men 18-29).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Local Mark Miller taking the big wheel for a spin (Hard Tail Open).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Scott Funston (Junior Expert 17 & Under).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Almost 300 hundred racers and weeks of practice riding can take a toll.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Erin Roe (Expert Women).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Emily Conklin earned second in her first CDC race (Sport Women).

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Eric Brown announced that a chunk of the funds the WMBC received for hosting the race will go to construct a new pump track in Bellingham.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  With an Evil Following as grand prize, the raffles were pretty popular.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  Pretty stoked to have a bike park capable frame.

Layton Meyers Eric Olson Scott Funston Bryce Kans and Brayden Buchanan Junior Expert 17 amp Under .
  Junior Expert Podium: Layton Meyers, Eric Olson, Scott Funston, Bryce Kans, and Brayden Buchanan.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report

Kim Hardin Dawn Fidler Emily Sabelhaus Adrian Hopkins and Karen O Connell Pro Women .
  Pro Women Podium: Kim Hardin, Dawn Fidler, Emily Sabelhaus, Adrian Hopkins, and Karen O'Connell.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report

Carson Eiswald Jason Eiswald Luke Strobel Logan Wetzel and Kyle Warner Pro Men .
  Pro Men Podium: Carson Eiswald, Jason Eiswald, Luke Strobel, Logan Wetzel, and Kyle Warner.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
  It's worth noting that Jason Eiswald (left) is under 21 so he wasn't able to defend himself.

Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Four Chuckanut - Race Report
Must Read This Week

18 Comments

  • + 16
 Rad recap and images, @ericashley
  • + 2
 Thanks Tyler!
  • + 8
 I appreciate all the warm comments all! @CascadiaDirtCup puts on a great event and Bellingham is one heck of a place to ride. Glad you enjoyed the recap.
  • + 5
 Jason Eiswald photo on Lower Ridge...Dang that's a great photo! I had no idea what "wasn't" on the other side of that rock. Now we all know!
  • + 6
 Please tell me the winner was riding a 26" slalom bike?
  • + 7
 27.5 180mm enduro.
  • + 6
 sans dropper
  • + 3
 Excellent coverage! I love seein some amateur racers getting some photos too! More race recaps like this please!
  • + 2
 Second that!
  • + 2
 Dammit toyed with doing this race but decided not to , at least I got a good lap in at Galbraith . Definitely checking this series out in 2017 .
  • + 2
 Great pics with a broad spectrum of coverage of racers of all classes - very cool.
  • + 2
 That transfer stage, though! Ouch! Looks like a super rad time - wanting so bad to get myself up to Bellingham!
  • + 3
 Great photos, looks like an amazing event!
  • + 2
 Unicycle rider looks like Lance Armstrong!
  • + 2
 Great coverage and photos as always!! Thank you Eric!
  • + 2
 Beautiful pics and great coverage!
  • + 2
 Great Recap & Photos! Thanks Eric
  • + 2
 Look at all those supermans on podium..yikes

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