Well, folks, that was fun. We're going to be digging out of this one for a while. The fourth edition of Trans Cascadia kicked off last week deep in the grip of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. To say that GP was just another character in the full cast of weird characters would be a bit of an understatement. Because this Pacific Northwest Wonderland was quite literally there at every turn.
That's not to say it was the only character out there in the woods. I went along with the media crew to dive in and tell some stories. Something beyond race results (people won!) and the blah blah blah that is sometimes associated with bike racing. And I say that slightly tongue in cheek because this event is beyond bike racing. You don't just go out there to race Trans Cascadia, you go out there to experience all that is TC.
Above photos by Nathan Johnson
In fact, looking through my notes is something more akin to a culinary guide to all that is good in the Northwest than it is race report. Because, where else are you going to be out of range and dine on steaks and burritos and bowls of steaming ramen? Hazelnut baklava and apple cobbler and mushrooms foraged directly from the woody paths surrounding the camp.
That wasn't the only exciting thing around camp. It was the gear — tents and bikes and goggles and glasses, tires and weed and trucks and vans. Every which way you looked was something cool to inspect and mull over while someone filled your beer or passed around a fat doobie.
It is a marvel. In fact, it is marvelous, that all of this comes together in a way that makes you want to come back before you've even left. A testament to the Trans Cascadia Crew for not only their vision, dedication (there were a handful of trail building days over the summer to make sure that these trails were PRIMED for action) and execution (these were no ordinary port-o-johns, these were Gucci-frigging toilets).
Above photos by Dan Sharp
Or the format? We could talk about the format too. Blind Enduro. Like, straight up, the trail builders were the only ones that had seen this shit. And to hear people talk about what people were still doing on these trails, even though they hadn't seen them, amazing. Dan Sharp and I were waiting for the Santa Cruz Syndicate to roll through at one point and when they did, a good number of them were rolling wheelies through the a dense thicket of moss and trees. Did they know we were lying in wait? Probably not. Did it matter? Nope. The playground is open to all.
This is all to say that it is coming.
Stay tuned over the course of the coming weeks - months - years - whatever it takes to uncover all the goodness that we unearthed out there in the woods for a couple days. There were former World Champions here. Multiple former World Champions. But, remember, just because you're a World Champion that doesn't automatically mean you know how to put a tent together. For the record, Steve Peat was just fine. See below. (It was Greg Minnaar that had a bit of a bother, lol).
In any case, start with the TC videos that Pink Bike has been posting up, then wait for me to gather my thoughts into one, or a few different places.
Photos below by Dylan VanWeelden