2019 Trans-Cascadia

Oktober 08 — 2019 | Gifford Pinchot, Washington


Juliana Bicycles

Debi Motsch is a Juliana Free Agent from the French Alps. She has tried it all everywhere, but her true passion is in enduro and now blind stage racing. 
Good luck finding Debi on her bike as she travels the world sharing her two-wheel love, but you can try to catch her December through March in the Alps on her skis. 
Follow along as Debi shares her Trans-Cascadia experience in her own words.


It’s been 4 years since I put Trans-Cascadia on my bucket list, and 2019 was finally the time to do it. I was very excited about this adventure and it was hard to believe that a dream will come true. Now I’m back home with stars in my eyes. This experience was amazing because of the quality of singletracks, spectacular landscapes and the great community. The weather was an important parameter to manage.

I meet for the first time Alex Pavon at the airport. She picked me up and we went to Portland to hang out. The day after was the big day: Day 0 Trans-Cascadia. Weather forecast was at the heart of our discussion. On our way to the first meeting point, we decided to stop at a sport shop and buy rubber boots. And that was the best idea ever!!

As soon as I arrived at the first camp, I understood it won’t be a race like any other race. We were deep in the forest, in the middle of huge trees, 2 hours from the first city, without reception, at Takhlakh Lake in front of Mount Adams. The race takes place in the heart of Gifford Pinchot National Forest in the East of Portland. My mind is completely taken by this wild atmosphere and focus in the moment. In the camp, there were all our tents for sleeping, tents for dinner, showers, a big campfire, an open bar with « Funky Abides », and games. We could create our own « tie & die » t-shirt, it was fun! Each night, the organizers showed us pictures and videos from the day, everyone chatted around the fire, and enjoyed (more or less) the open bar. The last night, some riders had built a jump over the fire to jump over it. 

Atmosphere & spirit was very « cool » as we say in France. We always started the day with Romain, Alex, Max and Karen. Alex gives me some advice about the clothes to wear, I didn’t always understand how much °F means for °C, anyway, it was cold! Some of the people did « party train », the biggest one was with 9 riders. Alex is a fast and talented rider, I only see her at the beginning of the transfer. I rode all the time with Karen Eller, a German rider I met there. The goal was to have fun on my bike without thinking about the timing and ranking. I was just happy to be here 6 weeks after my injury.

The trails were unreal and in the middle fo big forest with autumn colors. How they have the idea to find and build trails so far in the forest ?! I really feel like I’m in the middle of nowhere. During the ride, my brain is « off » and I enjoy the right moment. I don’t really feel my muscles because of the cold. We had a few stages between 700 and 900 meters of descent, they were all with « loam dirt »... I’ve never seen so much good dirt!! The grip was incredible, we only had to leave the bike playing in the flowy and funny singletracks. Transfers were breathtaking as well, sometimes the sun came out (yes, it has happened!), and there were mountains & forest as far as your eyes can see. We even had mystic fog which is one of my favorite atmosphere. It was only after dinner that we knew what we’ll do the following day. I always had to convert miles to kilometers and feet to meters to have an idea about the race profile. 

We were not lucky about the weather: it was cold, rainy and snowy. The temperature was not more than 5°C during the four days. It was very important to be well equipped for the ride, after the ride and the night. I still have this moment in my mind: Day 1, wet & cold after a shuttle and ready for the transfer to stage 2, there was a campfire, with Alex we tried to warm up our bums and hands, and it was really hard to leave it and go in the cold again. All day long it was a never-ending process of « I’m cold / I need to warm up ». The organizers did their best to keep us warm: campfire at the beginning and end of each stage, delicious food from chefs, warm showers, drying room for our wet stuff, waterproof tents, good atmosphere around the campfire and smiles. It froze during one night... our brakes, seat posts and cranks all froze so we had to leave our bikes close to the fire, and then it all worked well. 

The last day the race was cancelled due to snowfall but we all went for a big group ride. All the riders had taken a piece of wood to do a campfire, beers, lunch, and it was soooo great to share this at the top. What a great atmosphere & community.

This experience was unique and epic. I have really enjoyed it and it’s very different than what we have in France in terms of organisation, spirit and landscapes. Can’t wait for a new wild adventure!!

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