The vast majority of mountain bikers don’t really consider themselves to be racers. Maybe you’ve raced once or twice, or maybe you can’t imagine track-standing in a start gate. Regardless, there is one mountain bike race that every mountain biker, from experienced Cat 1 competitor to weekend warrior should aspire to participate in, the Trans Cascadia.
The Trans Cascadia is nothing like any other mountain bike race in the world. Technically, it’s an enduro race because it takes place on, timed, downhill stages over the course of four days. But honestly, it’s a better idea to think of it as an incredibly unique, carefully curated mountain bike adventure that you can race in if you feel like it. Yes, you’re wearing a timing chip, and yes, if you want to agonize over your overall standing every night, you’re welcome to. But that is really not the point of the Trans Cascadia.
The Trans Cascadia takes place entirely on blind, primitive backcountry trails, many of them specifically revitalized for this race. There’s no practice, no agonizing over line choice. Instead, you’ll just drop in from the top of each stage and do your best to handle whatever the trail throws at you. This is the spirit of enduro recaptured.
Trail advocacy is at the core of the Trans Cascadia – their mission is to promote and build sustainable trails in the Pacific North West, not only delivering world-class riding to the racers, but also giving back to the greater mtb community. The organizers aren’t interested in running racers in laps down some well-known track. Instead, they spend months leading up to each year’s race clearing remote singletrack, doing repairs and maintenance and plotting routes to optimize the amount of fun racers can have exploring new corners of the area.
Leading up to the event, the organizers host a series of trail work weekends, opportunities for riders to get out there and give back. This desire to create a sustainable network of mountain bike trails drives everything they do.
‘These epic trails attract some of the best riders in the world, the start list is full of everyone from industry pros to local legends.’
Aside from the great vibes created by the gathering of so many good riders, part of the magic of this event is the blind racing – everyone comes in with a clean slate. That’s a blessing, and a curse. You have no excuse, but no one else does either. It’s a test of your raw talent on the bike, not your ability to plan, pre-ride, and strategize. Anyone looking to try their hand keeping up with some of the fastest riders on the world, on some very techy trails will come away from the experience more than satisfied.
And that word “experience” is really pivotal. Yes, the Trans Cascadia is a race, but that term undersells the event. The four-day race is interspersed with catered gourmet meals from award-winning chefs. This isn’t a “camp in the parking lot and eat cold ramen between stages” sort of thing. This is a well supported, well fed, and well supplied with beer experience.
A lot of the Trans Cascadia’s magic comes from its infrastructure. Running shuttles on the trails it takes place on, outside of a race scenario would be logistically overwhelming. The same goes for trying to run a self-supported four-day camping mission in the area. There’s no way you’d ever get to experience a gourmet meal after any of these rides in any other context. If you want to get out and experience raw backcountry trails in the Pacific Northwest, there’s no better way to do it than the Trans Cascadia.
If the Trans Cascadia wasn’t already on your bucket list, move it to the very top and make it a priority. In recent years, word has gotten out, and spots in the race are in high demand. So get on the waiting list, and sign up early. Book your flights, box your bike up and pack an extra bag of bike gloves and socks. You’re going to need them. Four days of the best mountain biking of your life await.
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