4 Days, 21 stages, 35,000 ft of descending, over 100+ miles of back country singletrack adventure. These where the promises made as Kris and I approached the Inaugural Trans-Cascadia Enduro in Oakridge Oregon
We where told to show up at 11am, bags packed, bikes readied, and our spirit of adventure qued up. After a long, bouncy two hour School Bus transfer we arrived at the fairytale land of Lake Timpanogas, home to squirrels, owls and deep green forests. Our initial shake down spin up buttery singletrack to a high alpine lake had us quivering with anticipation. The location kept secret for so long had been revealed, and it was going to be an awesome week in the back country.
After taking a moment to appreciate our luck, we ripped back down to camp, got our tents squeezed in amongst the fir trees, and took a dip in the crystal cool waters of the lake. The sun went down, the stars came out, and large quantities of adult beverages where consumed.
The following morning came early, and whatever cobwebs steaming pots of coffee could not shake out, the initial climb up to 6500 ft quickly cleared the senses. Highlights of the day included summiting Sawtooth Mountain and seeing all the way from Mt Shasta to South Sister, extremely buff, high alpine singletrack ridden at irresponsible speeds, huge smiles and excessive giddiness. After five stages, Kris and I still had our bikes and bodies intact, and more importantly, had begun to learn the art of blind enduro racing.
Day two began again with enormous amounts of coffee and bacon, the climb from camp doing a satisfactory job of clearing the brain fog from the previous evenings festivities. New trails, incredible vistas, and a final stage nearly 20 minutes long finishing at a swimming hole put an exclamation point of day two, and 10 stages completed.
Day three we packed up our tents as we would end the day in a new location. Rolling from camp the chatter was about rain, slick roots and rocks, and some true Oregon adventure. The first two stages came fast, with the promised wetness keeping everyone dancing on their toes, Enduro fenders put to maximum effect. After regrouping on the shuttle to stage three, the sun popped out, and we spent the remainder of the day riding a spirited pace downhill, and taking sunny meadow naps on the way back up to dry gear and catch up on our wild flower smelling. We ended the day on a high speed romp directly into town, where an open tab at the Brewery awaited, compliments of our friends at Shimano.
Day four was bitter sweet, the anticipation of adventure giving way to fatigue and the afterglow of 3 amazing days in the bank. Kris and I hadn’t had enough, so we opted out of the proclaimed massive shuttle, and instead strapped on the feed bags and left camp early. We pedaled along a river, across some bridges, and then up a 3000ft climb. Perfectly timed, we rolled into the start zone just as our compatriots rolled off the school bus. The Oakridge Classic A-T-C-A route did not fail us, and we spent another day blissed out in the forest, breathing hard between bouts of slick roots, perfect duff and blue groove perfection.
No one really wanted it to come to an end, but the real world had begun to creep back in after we finally emerged into cell service. We spent the final evening connecting digitally with all our new brethren of Cascadia, making plans to come back again no matter what. The effects of Trans-Cascadia sure to linger in our minds for the remainder of our lives. New ideas formed of how fast we can ride, how scared we could be, and how to be in awe of the world around us at all times etched into our complete being for eternity. This race changed us, and we are thankful.