Roots, rocks, beer, and miles of prime singletrack — Bellingham, WA has everything you need for the perfect enduro race. Although it's better known for the trails on Galbraith Mountain, Bellingham also has convenient access a forest playground at Larrabee State Park. The narrow sandstone ridges, lush forests, and silhouetted glimpses of the Puget Sound and Mt. Baker instantly set the park apart. Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition
had their first Enduro of Subdued Excitement here last year, and this year they returned for more shredding and to race a new trail.
A lot goes into planning a race, but rolling out a new trail isn’t usually one of them. Double Down started taking shape in April, and the bone-work of a great trail was in place by the time the dry summer months hit. With moisture on the horizon and a looming race date, the trail has undergone a fervor of repairs and tweaks that only stopped the day before.
All of the planning, sweat, and volunteer hours were clearly worth it after seeing the looks of concentration and smiles from the 187 racers as they attacked Double Down. In roughly a mile, the trail packs in a slew of drops and rolls, plenty of exposure and a ride through a spectacular old-growth forest — and yes, it can be shuttled. Things worth having require time, though. Double Down was originally proposed back in November of 2012. Riding on the trail today was only possible through the strong advocacy of WMBC, the leadership of trail director Eric Brown, and a receptive partnership with Larrabee State Park. Going forward there's already a trail day this weekend to keep working on Double Down, and further trail planning will continue this winter.
An unfavorable weather forecast in the week leading up to the race clearly had racers on edge — as was evident by the influx of entrants once the barometer settled down. Luckily, Saturday presented with cool, overcast weather with just a dash of sunlight and some ripping fast dirt. All good news for riders who rode 16 miles and climbed 3,800 feet during the race. Overall things went smoothly during the four stages, except for a long line leading into stage one and a few injuries.Race Results
: In total, a little over half of the entrants were local riders. And while there were many strong finishes from visiting riders, the locals did a good job putting their numbers and home-court knowledge to use. Lars Sternberg crushed every stage to carry a clean win in Pro Men. He was followed by Logan Wetzel, Aaron Bradford, Jason Eiswald, and Matt Russell. Seattle's, Emily Sabelhaus took the win for Pro Women ahead of Adrian Hopkins, Britney White, and Karen O'Connell. Despite some overzealous maneuvering on stage four, Jimmy Schwend-Cloherty ended with a healthy lead in Junior Men 17 & Under ahead of Bryce Kans, Brenden Pelkie, Elliot Jamieson, and Eli Gold. Check out the full results here
Want to see just what Larrabee State Park has to offer? The trails (along with work days
) will be running all winter long. All for the unbeatable price of a Discover Pass.