Race Report: 2019 Cascadia Dirt Cup Round Three - Capitol Forest Enduro

Jun 7, 2019 at 13:38
by Trey Wilson  

Olympia, Washington.
10th Congressional District. Capitol of Washington State. Headquarters of Race Cascadia. Home.

It’s no secret that Capitol Forest holds an extra special place in the hearts of the Race Cascadia crew. It’s the backyard trails and where many of them cut their teeth on mountain biking. It’s where last year, after debuting a new trail network, the Cascadia Dirt Cup eclipsed the $100,000 mark in trail donations across Cascadia. It’s the home of Friends of Capitol Forest, the raddest and rowdiest group of trail advocates and builders in the land. And it’s where seven years ago the first Capitol Forest Enduro planted the seeds for what is now the Cascade Dirt Cup. Capitol forest is, in a word, home.

Sitting on the edge of the puget sound, Capitol Forest is on the receiving end of the prevailing westerly winds that draw weather off the Pacific and shroud Capitol Forest throughout the day in a rapidly changing, dense and damp cloud cover. It’s that moody atmosphere that inspired the first people of the Puget Sound to bestow the name “Klahle” - translated as The Black Hills - upon the forest. It’s also what makes the dirt in Capitol Forest so damn magnificent.

Pre-race camp vibes ran heavy the night before the race.

Racers gather for the AM riders meeting. Almost as many vans as Hood River too... must be a mountain biking thing.

Khahle's morning gift. Riders woke to a rolling fog at the top of the trails, laying down a tack to the trails that was missing the day prior for practice.

If you’ve ever raced Capitol Forest, you likely have memories of the rolling miles of single track, shared between user groups and mostly devoid of steeps, berms and puckering moments. Trails that are as fast as they are narrow, and that test the lactic acid thresholds of your thighs. Well, those trails are still there and they’re still great, but thanks to the decade-plus of work from Friends of Capitol Forest the Cascade Dirt Cup has a new trail system to play on in Capitol Forest, the North Slope. New as of last year, the North Slope of Capitol Forest brings together some of the highest concentration of A+ shralping south of Utqiagvik (We’re biased, you should know this by now). A whole new trail network capitalizing on a formerly untouched side of Olympia's favorite forest, and an opportunity for a new generation of riders to test their mettle in Cascadia.

3...2....1... Race on. Mark Allison (Pro Men) tests the slick rock drop on stage one, Scoby DH.

Wicked grippy bub. Wicked grippy.

Except on the roots and rocks. Those are slippery. Skip the roots and rocks. Those aren't grippy. It's cool though because Kelsey Philips (Expert Women) already knows that. See the tires high and dry? That's how you don't rubber side up.

Fresh for 2019 is the Octagon, a new double black line jutting off of the Scoby DH trail that allows riders to bypass a clear cut and run their ragged edge through the trees.

Pick your poison.

Andrew Howe (Left) and Ben Combs (Right) step into the Octagon to test their might. The quality of the trail had most riders opting for the more technical Octagon stage one over the arguably safer and open right line.
Even the Groms. Wyatt Parker (U17) makes the call to drop into Octagon.

The CDC strives to ensure that the brands we work with reflect our own values, a commitment to the growth of mountain biking in the PNW, a passion for trail work, and a hankering for a good ol' Party in the Woods. Thankfully for Race Cascadia, we've never had to look far from home to find our supporters. Kyle Young (Expert Men 40+) spends his non-racing weekdays as the owner of the #1 bike brand in Cascadia, Transition Bikes. But on race weekends you can find him towing his kids and a gaggle of other groms down the fast lines, making sure the next generation rips. Oh, and sometimes taking the steps in his category.
"A workin' forest has got to work, ya know? Can't go about like all you mountain bike bums living in your vans and shit... *grumble* something about handouts *grumble*." Like much of the wooded land in the northwest, Capitol Forest is an actively logged and working plot of land, and as such trails traverse between the shade of near century growth to sun-kissed clearcuts and everything in between.

Trevor Roland (Pro Men) cuts the rubber loose off the top.

With the #1 plate and riders in hot pursuit, it's... dare we say it.. a party train?

The Transition boys being lead by returning series champ Logan Wetzel through the gnar in a tight but loose party formation. Thanks for keeping it in the woods. From front to back Logan Wetzel (Transition, CLIF), Nate Hoch (Transition) and Sam Larson (Transition).

Caroline Jarolimek tees it up and lays down a time that squeaked her onto the podium in a firm Pro Women 5th place.

Coming into round three with a first (Tiger) and third (Post Canyon) Bonnie Burke is well in contention for a series overall. And clearly, she knows it. With a noticeable lack of Canadian tuxedo and a strong uptick in race face Bonnie's "came to win" attitude mirrored that of most of the Pro field as racers start vying for the coveted series win. Third for the day.

"Talked to homie and got the story, hang down got caught in his wheel strings,... hate it when that happens." While some fought hard for a place on the steps, others fought hard for a race finish. And others yet just tried to finish stages. Patrick Mccabe (Expert Men) makes the best of the worst and wins the style award for best stage 3 finish.

Aaron B. Radford takes a second to treat the photographer while on his way to the #2 Pro Men finish, just 2.25 seconds off of the top step... let that sink in for 2.25 second.

There are a lot of moving parts to put these events on, and moving parts need lubrication. Greg Parker (Expert 40+) of Iron Horse Brewary fame samples the wares to ensure that the races are only getting the Creme de la creme. And after taking a tight #1 in his category, he obviously earned it.
Stoked on being pumped, Ingrid Larouche landed solidly on the fourth step of the Pro Women podium.

In this edition of The Faces Behind the Races: Ever wonder where all the great shots come from at our races? Meet Chris McFarland. This man has shot more Cascadia Dirt Cup races than any other dirt bag alive. And on top of knowing how to wield a camera, he can also ride a bike. Stay tuned for next races episode of The Faces Behind the Races.
All the way up from Carson City, Nevada, Amy Morrison did not waste a mile traveled. Gunning her way into second place in Pro Women.

At the end of the day though....

...It was Hannah Bergemann who took the top spot in the Women's Pro field, 9.7 seconds ahead of the field, giving her a second #1 of the season and securing her top spot in the series standings. For now.

On top of the Octagon, the Cascadia Dirt Cup also had the opportunity to debut the newest legal trail in Capitol Forest: Low Key, a pro/expert only stage named after Loki, the Moto trail that racers pop out onto when they exit. Low Key is the latest trail of variable legality that Friends of Capitol Forest and DNR brought into the fold. Nestled deep between two valleys, Low Key makes use of use of a densely hemlocked ridge line, needling close to the hidden giants and allowing riders to get intimate with the intertwining root veins that run at every degree past ninety, intersecting the trail at every corner.

Autumn Parham rallies the ruts on Low Key, putting down a run that only left her one step off the podium.

While some won glory in their conquest, others won it in their bail-outs. This unknown rider takes a breather after a botched root to corner move landed her in the dirt.

Donny does damage to the stump drop off the top of Low Key. It was the choose your own adventure line, allowing racers to roll it or send it deep into the hole. Mark Allison (Pro) played it safe and smooth with the mid-huck.

Kasper Dean keeps it low key on Low Key, trying to mitigate risk to some lingering injuries. He still slipped himself into to the #10 spot in Pro Men. Thanks for the years of digging homie. We appreciate it, Capitol Forest appreciates it, Cascadia appreciates it.

Melina Glock stays primed and pointed as she puts a burner down that ensures a proper second place in Expert Women.

When the smoke settled and the pressure subsided it was the King of Capitol Forest himself who reigned supreme. With no short supply of tight racing it was less than 30 seconds between #1 and #10 and only 4 seconds between #1 and #3 Logan Wetzel (Transition, CLIF) shaved time from the pack and in his own words "took this one seriously." A little known fact is that Logan has possibly won more races in Capitol Forest than any other mountain biker alive, and he has the crowns to prove it.

Hold the rut! The dirt over race weekend was lust-worthy.

How lust-worthy you ask?

This lustworthy.

Full gas or no gas, Sam Day (Junior Expert 17U) sends the Low Key double.

Small grom demonstrating proper post-race function and form. They'll have their number plate soon enough.

Sit down, stay awhile, podiums happening once the last rider comes in.
Iron Horse Brewery providing the goods to keep racers well lubricated.
Not everyone finished the race in one piece, but it seems like it was nothing a cold can and a good compress couldn't fix.

Not all heroes wear capes. Friends of Capitol Forest manned an A+ beer garden of the Gods.

Pro Men: Logan Wetzel, Aaron Bradford, Austin Hemperley, Keith Robert, Nate Hoch.

Races have rules. This one is non-negotiable: "If you bring a beer on the podium, you drink it before you leave. All of it."

Pro Women: Hannah Bergemann, Amy Morrison, Bonnie Burke, Ingrid Larouche, Caroline Jarolimek

As always, it's about the trails. Kelly Wood, FOCF President presents Andrew Claiborne, the master-mind behind North Slope, with the Cascadia Dirt Cup donation. Thanks for digging friends.

And the real heroes of the race.

Special Thanks to everyone who made this race possible:

Transition Bike Company
Iron Horse Brewery

Thanks for playing.


  • + 9
 Love these trails! I have family in Oly and friends in Bham and I live in Leavenworth so I ride a lot of nice dirt. I'd say the North Slope trails are as good as anything you find up north. Hopefully, I can make it to the race next time it comes around.
  • + 4
 The new Capitol Forest North Slope trails are soo good! Steep AF, gnarly, creative, and tons of trail-speed senders to test your mettle. From the perspective of a weekend warrior, a 1,200' climb and a single lap of Scoby is pretty taxing. Personally, I cannot imagine racing all of those trails with climbs in between.
  • + 2
 I did a full pre ride on Friday and the race on Sat it was like 6K feet of climbing..lol it hurt but those trails were so worth it!!
  • + 8
 Thanks for the love! Always top notch fun in the Capitol Forest.
  • + 2
 Raced there for the fist time, wow those trails are no joke! Gonna come back and savor them a bit more soon!
  • + 4
 Awesome write up Cam!
  • + 1
 Love the CDC and the trails, but 14-15 minutes of total racing time seems pretty short. What happened to longer stages?
  • + 3
 At race pace these trails aren't long. This was Bowfinger, Scoby, DNR upper and lower and Low Key, almost all the trails on the north Slope.
  • + 2
 You ridden these trails? You're welcome to climb back up for a party lap. My legs were done.
  • + 1
 @gilby82: yep. Yep, no problem doing two full race courses under my own power. I'd be glad to show youWink
  • + 2
 Super fun time. Such good trails.
  • - 2
 Anybody get shot at? Love the CF trails, but fearin fo my life there a few times!
  • - 2
 Wish mommy and daddy handed me a camper van.

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