I went for a rip on the North American Enduro Tour / Cascadia Dirt Cup course over in the Chuckanuts, on the south edge of town.
Bellingham could be called the Loam Factory. The trails on Chuckanut Mountain weave through an old growth forest that provides that abundance of soft, PNW dirt. When the trails get steeper they snake around some crazy sandstone ridges that brake up the flow and add a technical aspect to some of the harder sections. The course is on the longer side for a single day race, we’ll keep the specific layout under wraps until closer to race day, but expect a 26-28mi course with 4000+ feet of climbing.
I did the Pro course, except I added Hemlock and bypassed Raptor Ridge (because, by then, I was running out of daylight.)
Total Time: 03:39:33
Great area, one of the most scenic rides. Of course, I didn’t take my camera.
But here, in words, are some of the highlights. First of all, you ride up the mountain with a view of the Pacific. Then, you get onto a ridge with views east (Twin Mountain, Mount Baker) and north (Bellingham Bay, Bellingham City, Squalicum Harbor). I did a little out-and-back on Hemlock Trail with its cool tunnel under a giant log and then, for the final climb you get to ascend “Rock Trail” (breathtaking in both senses of the word) which traverses a ledge under 200 foot cliffs and 200 feet above Lost Lake. The final act is the “Double Diamond” trail with views south and sunlight streaming through the old growth.
But these trails are so good, the scenery fades into the background. Shhh.