Astral employee, Patrick Means, is a part-time photographer and has volunteered as a member of the still photography team at Trans-Cascadia, a four-day backcountry mountain bike enduro race, for the past two years.
I love how they sell Trans-Cascadia. The best backcountry trails (in the world?), gourmet food, hot showers, mountain biking with friends, zero cell service, and maybe, the best party of the year. All of this is, of course, true.
In the spirit of recruiting their mountain biking brethren to attend the mysterious and arduous event, they could easily get away with a more Shackleton-esque classified advertisement (if you don’t get the reference, google it, and shame on you,) such as:
“People wanted for righteous journey. Shredding,
giggling, high-fives, long hours of complete
awesomeness. Weather questionable. Mind-
expansion facilitation obvious. Safe return optional.
Perma-grin for weeks in case of success.”
I especially love that the promoters gamble with the weather. Late-September can be a hit-or-miss for serious precipitation here in the Pacific Northwest, but I’ll be damned if the dirt won’t be perfect. And perfect dirt? Well, some would argue, that’s worth risking it all.
This year’s edition of the weather-gamble went in favor of the weather gods, but not by much. They sprinkled down nice fluffy snow, mixed with sunbeams here and there. They blew apart the rain clouds at almost the perfect time, as spirits were waning. And the jerks were likely laughing when, near the bottom of Stage 10, they unleashed torrential rain by the cloud-load upon us wayward cyclists. Of course, we were prepared for this. But they still got the last laugh—it snowed again—enough to cancel the final day of the race, but it’s easy to see the beauty in that, too. Instead of racing, we went for a one hundred plus person group ride to the top of a peak, had a huge bonfire, then party-trained down to camp. We’re not in-charge, but we can make decisions to try not to die, and still have a good time.
Trans-Cascadia’s fearless leaders, Nick Gibson and Alex Gardner, have built a bit of a monster, and I don’t believe they’d have it any other way. I’m sure their racers wouldn’t either.