The most anticipated gravel race of the year in the Pacific Northwest took place on February 4, 2017. Nestled between Seattle and Portland, Capitol Forest, just on the outskirts of Olympia, WA, hosted the inaugural DiamondBack Bicycles Cascadia Super G presented by Full Speed Ahead. Organized by Race Cascadia, the same team who brings us the Cascadia Dirt Cup, the Northwests premiere enduro series, the Cascadia Super G is a brand new event that will challenge the way you perceive racing. Bursting on scene with the burgeoning ranks of alternative road races, the Cascadia Super G offers a hybrid race experience with a cross section of racers and gear across many different disciplines. It is a race where finishing is the major accomplishment, winning is an added bonus, and having a great time by everyone is guaranteed. Head over to the website and you’ll see the race summed up in four words. Grit. Guts. Glory. Gravel.
While gravel races are popping up all over the country, the Super G is carving it’s own niche. Racers are given two opportunities to make a podium; Racers are given two opportunities in each category to make a podium and receive a coveted custom leader jersey provided by Castelli; the blue jerseys go to the fastest cumulative time for the three special primes, green jerseys are awarded to the overall fastest time for the entire course.
The course consisted of 41 miles of gravel logging roads that carried you over 4800’ of elevation gain. Mixed in were three utterly devastating Primes, covering roughly seven miles of the course. Riders were pushed to their limits while they tried to navigate the pot holes, braking bumps, and chunky aggregate that epitomize the logging and forest service roads of western Washington. With a smoking time of 2:44:37, Open Men Overall winner Steven Westover stated “That was hard, those 40 miles felt like 80”.
It takes a small army of volunteers to put on a race like this, covering everything from registration, timing check points, aid stations, search and rescue and course sweep vehicles. The folks that showed up for this raced displayed a rarely seen dedication to the cycling community, as well as some true grit for braving the weather while maintaining the wit to both encourage and heckle passing racers. Two well stocked aid stations provided warm food and beverage to racers as they started and finished the second Special Prime, and while we saw most of the competitive racers blow past the support, Sportive riders took full advantage of the amenities.
This was Race Cascadia’s first gravel event, and they were primed for the challenge of putting together all of the complex logistical pieces t pull it off. Sponsors immediately stepped up to back the event, and racers were enthusiastically on board as soon as it was announced. Pair that with dedicated volunteer force , spot on timing, an indoor catered venue and beer from the venerable Iron Horse Brewery, and the end gams is a question Race Cascadia has been fielding since ravers crossed the finish line- When’s the next Super G?