Video Credit: Vince Smith
The second annual Full Speed Ahead Cascadia Super G kicked off on March 31 under favorable weather conditions compared to its first foray onto the race scene in 2017. Flirting with sunshine and sixties was a welcome change over last year’s lashing from the rain, sleet and misery. The forecast created a boost in registrations with the final numbers nearly double that of the inaugural event, dispelling any uncertainty about the future of this event. Racers came from near and far, with gravel aficionados traveling from across the country and Canada to see what the gravel in Cascadia is made of. With over 600 miles of spectacular gravel roads we have something special here in our region, and the Cascadia Super G is a great event to showcase and share it with others.
The Super G steered its racers along the logging roads and byways that traverse the Capitol State Forest to create a challenging 55-mile course with 5,200 feet of climbing. New for our sophomore year was the addition of a Super G Lite option, a shorter 38-mile course which may have resorted to tongue-in-cheek tactics to promote it as the same great taste, less filling - but was definitely not a race for light weights with the 3,200 feet of climbing.
Flanked by the tents and flags of FSA, Cannondale and Donnelly, racers started their day with ten miles of winding pavement to warm up their legs before embarking on the first major climb of the day, where the real race began. Leaders of the pack from the Donnelly Cycling Team made their intentions clear by breaking free, bringing some tag-alongs with them.
The hero shaping course included one epic feat to separate the tried from the true – the longest hill climb on course designated as the Special Prime to honor the first man, and woman, to beat their competitors to the highest elevation point in the forest.
Racers of both distances raved about the course where moral and motivation were fueled by the incredible vistas earned as they climbed around and through Capitol Forest. Pushing through deep, lush forests then pitched back out to clear cuts with sweeping views truly showcased the wonder and beauty of Cascadia.
The finish line was also a sight for sore eyes – and bodies – where a hearty chili feast and victory beers from Iron Horse Brewery perked up the crowd before top finishers took to the podium to receive their well-deserved honors.
2017 U23 National Cylocross Champion Lance Haidet of FSA/Donnelly Cycling took the Open Men’s race after putting the hammer down on the B1000 climb securing the Special Prime and kept it going all the way to the finish line. Lance took the victory by a convincing six minutes over Ben Shaklee of Jack’s Homegrown Brewing and Brent Carlson of FSA.
In the Open Women race Egencia teammates Lois Smith (2nd) and Jamie Schoenborn (3rd) couldn’t reel in Overall and Special Prime winner Tricia Fleisher of Monument Wheelworks who rode away on the first climb and never looked back.
Congratulations to all the winners and finishers. You showed GUTS and GRIT to get through the day and we hope you are still basking in the GLORY of your accomplishments.