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.
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.
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.
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.
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
. 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. 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. 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. 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.