Trans Cascadia is a premium guided mountain biking experience in the format of a four-day blind gravity enduro race on some of the best singletrack in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. Established in 2015, Trans Cascadia has quickly shot to the top of many riders shortlists of must-do events. For most folk, the race itself is not the focus of the event, and simply riding the incredible trails on offer - many of which are built specifically for the event, and joining in the party are the main draw.
The Santa Cruz Hightower was the perfect bike for Trans Cascadia
Collaborating with various trail associations and user-groups, Trans Cascadia is all about sustainable trail building and maintenance, and the event is in part a vehicle towards this goal of establishing an amazing trail network in the Cascadia area. To find out more about what they do, have a read of their web page here.
This year back in September Phil, Branden and Kim took the trip down to Washington to take in the Trans Cascadia all aboard their matching Santa Cruz Hightowers. Though somewhat unintentional it turned out to be the perfect bike for the trip. Keep reading to see through their eyes what they thought of this trip of a lifetime!
The snow and frost was to be a common theme over the week, but that didn't put a damper on things.
Ever since first hearing about Trans Cascadia I knew it was something I had to put on my bucket list. What could be better than 4 days of riding amazing trails surrounded by a bunch of like minded people. Heading down to the event the excitement level was high and so were my expectations. To say the event surpassed those expectations is a major understatement! It was pretty amazing what Nick, Alex, Tommy and all of the volunteers were able to create in the middle of a forest campsite. The entire set up was like getting dropped off in a small village with everything going on. You had all the amenities you would ever need including bike wash, dining tent, full hot showers, full kitchen and amazing camp fire area.
The organisers had the campsite dialled, with fires, gourmet meals and everything prepped for the riders.
Once finishing the first stage on day 1, I remember thinking it was going to be an unforgettable 4 days of riding. The trails were a bit different from riding here on the North Shore. They were fast rolling, smooth, and your line of sight was as far as you could see. I don’t remember ever riding as fast as I rode that week. The highlight of the week was being fully pinned, training down these trails with your friends and not knowing what was going to be around the next corner.
Amazing views like this were not uncommon.
All in all the whole experience was fantastic and I would recommend the Trans Cascadia to anyone who is thinking of doing a multi-day enduro style event.
Well what can I say it was one of the best experiences of my life. Great people & camp vibes; incredible food; free-flowing beer; spectacular scenery; and perhaps the greatest singletrack I've ever ridden! Below are a few highlights that stick out to me personally.
Beautiful campsites with tents already set up for you, what could be better?
1) Arriving into camp with tents set up everywhere; a raging fire going on; getting our incredible grab bag of goodies; grabbing a beer and walking down to the lake with Branden and taking in one hell of a view of Mount Adams for the first time.
2) Literally Day 1; Stage 1 snapping my chain. I can't remember the last time that has happened!! As Drew Pautler said, 'anything that can happen; will happen in racing'. Special thanks to Marty Lazarski for helping me to get going.
Snapped chain? That's just racing, what more can you say?
3) Perhaps the most grueling hike-a-bike I've ever done on Day 1 leading to Stage 3. I remember joking with Thomas Vanderham that we should have done more Grouse Grinds this past Summer. Ugh! But it got us to yet another incredible stage.
We don't often have to hike-a-bike on the North Shore, the hike at Cascadia was humbling for sure.
4) Waking up to unexpected snow in camp on Day 3. I remember being in my sleeping bag and hearing Branden outside, 'woot! Kimbo the drivetrains are frozen. They're not even moving!'.
That was the toughest morning to get going but ultimately I would experience the best piece of singletrack I've EVER ridden. We got shuttled up to Strawberry Mountain where we proceeded to ride/hike up to this incredible ridgeline before arriving at Stage 10. This stage seemed like a dream to me!
Ripping behind Kim & Branden down a never-ending piece of singletrack full of loam on just the right gradient that allowed you to reach incredible speeds. I'm not joking when I say I saw grown men hugging at the bottom of that stage, lol.
The struggle was real on the final day, but a bit of dutch courage certainly helped.
5) Day 4 of racing was unfortunately scrubbed due to heavy snowfall overnight. What seemed like a disappointment at first may have turned into one of the best days at Trans-Cascadia. Nick Gibson and the rest of the Cascadia crew determined we would still ride but in a group up the first climb.
Everyone grabbed at least two or three pieces of kindling for a fire to be started at the top. Multiple beers & flasks were also packed by the 104 rider party. Once the fire burned down Nick led us into an incredible descent down an open shale slope with about ten centimeters of snow on it.
I distinctly remember being at the bottom and looking back up to see 80 plus riders dropping in and shredding down this face. They all looked like a bunch of skiers/snowboarders from that distance. Just making turns on this open white slope with snow covered trees around them. Back at camp that night we enjoyed an endless amount of grilled wild salmon and seafood risotto. Rumour has it I may have jumped the Santa Cruz Hightower over the fire later that night too.
It sounds like the guys had an epic time down at Trans Cascadia, and if I'm honest the rest of us were pretty jealous. It sounds like the trip of a lifetime. If you'd like to find out more or enter, check out their website here. If you can collar Phil, Branden or Kim in store, they would have some stories to tell too!