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Race Report: Cascadia Dirt Cup Round One, Post Canyon Hood River, Oregon

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Video Produced by Sebastian Gonzalez @wildhuskystudio

On the crisp morning of Saturday, May 18th, 2024, the Family Man Staging Area at the scenic Post Canyon trail system buzzed with excitement as racers gathered for the much-awaited return to the trails after a long winter hiatus. Located just minutes from downtown Hood River, Oregon, Post Canyon proved to be the perfect backdrop for a weekend of racing, offering breathtaking views of both Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. 

Mt Hood wearing his lenticular hat, as seen from Stage One, Dirt Surfer. Photo by Heather Carter

As the sun rose, casting a reddish hue over the terrain, competitors exchanged greetings with familiar faces, eagerly anticipating the challenges and fun that lay ahead. With a brisk chill in the air, the atmosphere was charged with anticipation and smiles as old friends reunited and newcomers embraced the spirit of racing. Post Canyon, known for its scenic views and speedy fast terrain, drew riders of all skill levels, from seasoned pros to enthusiastic amateurs eager to take on the track. Post Canyon promised an unforgettable adventure for all who took on the big course and its 22 mile, 4250’ of elevation gain!

2024 Season Shirts! Katie Campbell & Luke Krieghoff, who placed 1st & 2nd in the More! Category. Photo by Heather Carter

With all the subtlety of a bulldozer in a china shop, the Pro/Expert categories kicked off with a thigh-burning ascent of nearly 7.3 miles, and had racers climbing about 2,000 feet before finally granting them passage to stage one, Dirt Surfer. Stage one stole the show with its jaw-dropping backdrop: an awe-inspiring vista of Mount Hood framed perfectly behind a left-handed berm at the end of a bumpy straightaway. Sport category racers started out about an hour later, cruising over to Mitchell Ridge for their stage one, followed by Beginners.

Andrew Cavaye, reigning champion of the Men’s Pro category, fiercely conquers the picturesque berm. Photo by Heather Carter

Kim Hardin, local legend. Pin it to win it! Your Pro Women’s Champion for Round one.

Riders popped out here before climbing up to Stage Two. Not a bad spot for a rest and some laughs! Photo by Heather Carter

Throughout the day, the trails reverberated with the sound of tires gripping the earth and the cheers of spectators lining certain sections of trail, spurring riders onward as they navigated rocky terrain and conquered the climbs in between stages. This sounds a lot like a section on stage two, Hidden Trail! The entrance is littered with rocks, and it provides the perfect corridor for spectators to access and cheer on their friends. Each section of course presented a new challenge, pushing riders to their limits and rewarding them with breathtaking views and adrenaline-fueled descents… and a little bit of wind. 

Alex Baldwin navigating the rocky entrance to Hidden Trail, 9th place Men’s Expert 40-49. Photo by Brandon Clarke

Look, a quarter! All jokes aside, this section is tough at speed. Luckily our rider turned out ok and got back on his bike to finish the race. Photo by Brandon Clarke

Eric Olsen, Pro P2, flying down a steep tech section on Blade Runner, Stage 3.

The Sport category contenders faced their own formidable test with 3 stages awaiting their conquest. Doesn’t sound like a lot? Despite a slightly shorter course, at 17.3 miles, they were not spared from the grueling climb out of stage one at Mitchell's Ridge, before tackling Stage two and then the fast finale on the Blue Carr DH descent. The course represented a Flow sandwich if you will, with Stages 1 & 3 offering up flowy tracks with huge berms, and a technically challenging middle stage with white-knuckling sections of trail. 

Kelsey Barklund ripping down Blue Carr DH in her Banana shirt, 3rd place in the Women’s Sport category 30-39. Photo by Heather Carter 

Greg Turnage, 7th place E-Bike Sport.YES, Race Cascadia has E-bike categories!

Charrette with his eyes on the prize. Photo by Brandon Clarke

New for 2024, Race Cascadia introduced an Under 21 Pro Men’s category for Saturday, catering to the younger riders aiming to ascend to the Pro ranks. This category featured five competitors, with Oregon local Kalden Charette clinching the first first place. Backed by sponsors Evil Bikes, Leatt, Magura, and The Hub Cyclery, Charette is a rising star in the racing scene. His legendary Iron Maiden shirt must be his lucky charm!

Womens Pro Winners: P1- Kim Hardin P2- Chloe Bear P3- Hazel Donnelly P4- Maggie Kirkwood P5- Meg Alexandra. Photo By Heather Carter 

The U21 Men’s Pro category. P1- Kalden Charrette P2- Oliver Brandyberry P3- Two Bergsma P4- Tyler Winans P5- Ethan Eggert.

Men’s Pro had a neat trick up their sleeve. It made for an epic podium photo! P1- Andrew Cavaye P2- Eric Olsen P3- Keith Robert P4- Elijah Krause P5- Tanner Westcott. Photo by Heather Carter 

But wait, it’s not over! Sunday dawned with a brilliant display of weather, setting the stage for another exhilarating day of racing. But it wasn't just any ordinary day; it was our dedicated Youth day, where the future stars of Enduro Racing took center stage! 56 enthusiastic youngsters took to the starting line. Following the same course maps as Saturday's veterans, these young riders embarked on a journey of adrenaline and determination, showcasing their grit and skill. As they tore through the trails, they weren't just racing; they were carving out the future of MTB, leaving spectators in awe and anticipation of the greatness to come!

Teo Gray, Jr Expert 13-14 Winner, determined to cross the finish line first. Photo by Brandon Clarke

Adeline Dishman slaying the tech section on Hidden Trail. She is your Jr Expert girls 13-15 winner. Photo by Brandon Clarke

Jr Expert 17-18 winners. P1- Jude Sparks P2- Jacob Soares P3- Keith Bazinet P4- Benham Schmid P5- Cooper Garland. Photo by Brandon Clarke

Jr Expert 16-18 Winner, Alivia Brodie. Photo by Brandon Clarke

Cascadia Race contributes a portion of every race entry fee to the local trail organizations hosting our events. Without their support, we wouldn't have the opportunity to race in these incredible locations! Photo by Heather Carter

And with that, Race 1 draws to a close! We eagerly await your presence at our upcoming events throughout the season. North Slope is our next stop, at Capitol Forest in Olympia, WA on June 1st-2nd. A big thank you to our sponsors: Transition Bikes, Evo, Schwalbe, Muc-Off, and Iron Horse Brewery as well as our Volunteers, who are the unsung heroes behind the scenes. They lend their time, energy, and expertise to ensure the success and enjoyment of our race events. Their contributions are invaluable, and the impact of their efforts is felt far beyond the finish line!

-Race Cascadia

Photos by Heather Carter & Brandon Clarke, @heathercarterphoto & @_bccreative_

Video Recap by Sebastian Gonzalez @wildhuskystudio

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