Adventure. Travel. Race.
Tiger Mountain is awesome. Located about half hour East of Seattle, at the base of Snoqualmie Pass, it's an awesome riding destination, especially with Tokul and Exit 27 nearby. Most of the time, our visits go a little something like this: shred, eat, shred, eat. And by eat, I mean wander Pike Place Market and sample all the goodies: Piroshki's, the Original Starbucks, Beecher's cheese, the Fish Mongers, and more!
About Tiger....It's got a pump track trail, a twisty turny jumpy trail, a slow rooty-techy trail, a new super-fast tech trail, and the famous Predator, a loamy-ish fun perfect grade to let-er-go, DH trail. The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance is forever building here, so it seems every year there is a new trail.
We were particularly excited about this race as Nick's dad had flown out from Tennessee to visit, as well as watch us race. Nick grew up racing BMX, traveling the world, and winning Nationals at 5 years old. His dad hadn't seen him race mountain bikes in years, so we were especially excited!
The Cascadia Dirt Cup chose Tiger Mountain as the location for the Finals of their series. In our non-typical fashion, we woke up at a decent time, and mosied northward to Tiger mid-day to get in a practice lap or two on the new trail and Predator. We had ridden Tiger a few times over the summer, and felt that while we didn't know trail "details", we knew enough to skip practice on those three stages and save our legs. Always looking for that balance between practice and race-day.... with one flat for Nick and one for me by the end of practice, we took to making some bike adjustments late into the evening. Thankfully my Easton Arc 27 rims are super strong, and I didn't need to toss on my spares wheels (go Easton!).
Race day came and of course, so did the rain! And when it rains, it pours..... we started our first transfer in the rain, and ended our last stage in the rain. It was so wet and dark, it was nearly impossible to wear any eye-protection. By stage two, most of us chose no eye-wear -- a little scary with all the mud!
Did I mention it was really dark and wet? Made for some fun slip n slide moments, as well as made you question your decision to even wear a rain jacket. SO FUN.
After a few hours or riding in the rain, we came to our last CDC Stage of the year: Predator. The most FUN, awesome, slippery, RAD trail of the CDC Series! The off-camber rooty sections were especially challenging in the wet and muddy, but all the same: AWESOME. Predator is one of my favorite trails, period.
Like clockwork, the rain stopped AFTER we had changed into dry clothes, just in time for awards. I rode away with the "W" for the weekend, as well as the overall series. Nick found some slippery spots throughout the day, however, took the win for the series as well. It's a great weekend to be a Hardin!
Until next year CDC! Special thanks to the organizers and the many many volunteers who made such a great series what it was. We will be back next year!
It's not every day you get to do a Pinkbike "Bike Check" with your husband (Photo: Cam Sloan)
The Cascadia Dirt Cup has fast become one of Nick and I's favorite series to race. Put on by a rad, dedicated group of PNW shredders, the CDC is FUN, and puts us on the best trails in the region. Their timing is spot on, as is their scheduling, and more or less everything else.
Since returning from Whistler, we'd been looking forward to racing Chuckanuts, as it has some similar slab-like features, and one particularly fun descent trail known as Double Down. It's in our backyard, sort-of (5.5 hours away), yet in a zone we don't venture to very often. What better an excuse than to go to Bellingham!
"Shark-fin" slab on Upper Ridge, Chuckanuts WA (Photo: Cam Sloan)
In our usual fashion, we rolled into Bham casually late after a full day of work (or early : 1am, depending on how you look at it). We woke up bright and early, and straight into practice, joining Nick's Teammate Kyle Warner for a few shuttles. After practice, this is what we had to work with:
Stage 1: Upper Ridge: Fast, some slabs (see above photo), punchy steep climb, hard left to wicked fast descent to fire road.
Stage 2: Lower Ridge: Ridgeline trail. Two main slab options- way faster on right. Second w/ tricky lead-in. Tight, loose turns at the bottom.
Stage 3: Raptor Ridge: No time = BLIND. Who knows? Supposedly a cool transfer though on a hiking only trail, cool!
Stage 4: Double Down: Longest stage? Sick descent. Swoopy S-turns on the first half, road crossing, three FUN step-downs. FUN FUN FUN!
Come race day, we both had a blast, and learned that despite watching video from horseback of Raptor Ridge, it was nothing like we had anticipated. Lots of switchbacks, and the climb that we'd hear rumors of never came. Hmmmm...
All in all, minus a small mechanical on Nick's part we both had a decent weekend. He managed to stay on his bike despite, and rode away with a top ten. I had a good day, and came away with the Win -- Guess we're stopping in Seattle for a fun night out on our way home!
Pinkbike Bike Check: http://www.pinkbike.com/news/cdc-round-4-naet-round-6-chuckanut-bike-checks-2016.html
Next stop- Tiger Mountain for the CDC Finals!
Crankworx is one of those events you watch on TV as a mountain bike enthusiast -- an event I've been watching for the last five years or so, never imagining I would be a participant, let alone alongside my husband. HA, It's funny how life works sometimes....
Back to the story... For 2016, Whistler was probably THE event that I was not only the most nervous about, but the most excited about. Whistler has steeps, slabs, roots and drops unlike most other race venues, and has been known to be a beast of a race. I wasn't sure what to expect, but felt to have a slight advantage with terrain similar to that of my PNW training grounds, and, well -- it was close to home. Somehow having our own car, spare parts, and food at the event made it feel more like home, despite the 7 hours drive.
After getting the thumbs up at the border, and a little spin at Squamish (Thanks Wolsky!), we headed straight to Whistler. A day of fun in the bike park to remember how to fly, and It was time for practice: two days of bike park brake bumps, and ending up on the Garbanzo DH course (oops!) instead of the EWS Enduro course multiple runs, we were ready to roll, albeit wishing "In Deep" was in our race, as well as in the Garbo. Oh well.....
In comparison to the previous years' races, it felt as though this year's event was right on the money in terms of difficulty, although there was only one (and a half) real climb transfers to speak of (climb to Crazy Train, and Climb to stage 4). Otherwise, everything was lift access with a few traversing transfers between Whistler Base and Creekside. Easier than expected in terms of physical fitness, but challenging for sure in terms of terrain. All in all, I was stoked to stay on my bike, minus a small OTB on a root in Crazy Train, and am excited for next year!
Stage 1: Bike Park (Blue Velvet,
Stage 2: Crazy Train: Steep, loamy, slabs, RAD!
Stage 3: Heavy Flow/Tunnel Vision: Super short, off Creekside. Fresh-cut/loamy, short steep section, flat pedaly!
Stage 4: Pigs w/wings: Steep, lose, slabby. HARD
Stage 5: Top of the World to the base (RAD!)
Twentieth on the weekend, and first American down Stage 5 from Top of the World -- not bad for Whistler.
Off to the next stop of the North American Enduro Tour (NAET) in Bellingham, Washington in a few weeks!
See you on the trails,
"Some place warm, a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’m talking about a little place called Aspen," Dumb and Dumber.
When I first heard the stateside EWS was at this little place called Aspen (+ Snowmass), I was stoked! I'd never been before, and only heard good things of the area, especially the new trails that we heard were getting built just for the EWS.
We left Hood River bright and early, arriving to Denver, CO just in time to meet up with our friend, Matt Patterson, and claim our Turo rental car.
(If you haven't heard of Turo, you should check it out--private parties rent their care. Super cheap, super easy. Think bike racks, too!)
Once we arrived in Snowmass, we rallied to registration and built bikes late into the night. Brake rotors made it this time- yes!! Two days of solid practice, all lift-serve felt like a piece of cake, compared to South America.
If I remember right....
Stage 1: Snowmass, top-to-bottom: bike-park bermy, to tall grass and aspen trees, creeky runout
Stage 2: Buttermilk, top-to-bottom: Tall grass, swoopy through trees, more scary, sketchy tall grass and blind corners
Stage 3: RAD stage! Aspen, Top-to-bottom: Off camber woods, swoopy field, tight steep switchbacks, fire road, fresh cut open grassy.
Stage 4: Snowmass: Fun, Quick steep, grassy!
Stage 5: Snowmass: Fresh-cut grassy GS turns
Stage 6: Snowmass: Super rad, steepest stage. Three fun drops.
Fun Fact: I do remember that whenever I saw a gondola above, it usually meant there was a hard 90 degree turn coming up. Who knows if that will be the same next year.
Anyway, back to the story...
Race day #1 came, and so did my legs. I've never felt completely and utterly gassed, just sitting at the start line. I was exhausted -- thanks altitude! With that said, I had a blast! As usual, the company was amazing (Love you Teal!), and the trails were awesome. Transfers weren't bad at all, and the last stage of each day sent you giggling all the way back to the house.
Day 2 was a little shorter of a day, with a top to bottom stage at Snowmass, followed by two more shorter stages also at Snowmass. Unfortunately, the final stage was cancelled for females, out of respect, as a result of a rider down. I was excited to see how I would fair on a stage that I thought fit my style a little better -- will have to wait until next year.
, I gave it my all for the weekend, and came out mid-pack, slightly disappointed, however, having learnt a lot from the weekend.
1. Don't mess around with an altitude tent. Instead, get to the event as close as possible to race day, and leave as soon as you can.
2. Thunderstorms can happen at any time.
3. Colorado = 29'r zone
4. I need to practice riding in tall grass w/ blind corners.
Pinkbike, practice: http://www.pinkbike.com/news/two-halves.html
Pinkbike, Day 1: http://www.pinkbike.com/news/ews-aspen-day-1.html
Pinkbike, Race: http://www.pinkbike.com/news/the-boss-ews-round-5-aspen-snowmass-usa-2016.html
Until next year, Snowmass!
First things first, I love toying with performance and nutrition. When the opportunity presented itself to try out an altitude tent for this year's EWS Colorado at Snowmass, we jumped on it.
Let me tell you... .there's something exhilarating, and awesome, yet horrible about sleeping in an altitude tent. The first night was HOT, the second night tolerable. The third night, I think it was raining when we woke up only 90 minutes after entering -- and I'm pretty sure the rain was condensation. We continued to was up on the hour. The fourth night, I thought I was going to pass out and fell back asleep with my head out the tent. The fifth night, I duct taped the A/C unit to the condenser, bought 6 battery powered hanging fans, and a 20" box fan -- it was finally cool in the tent, but clammy and uncomfortable. The next night I bailed. Then we got ballsy, amidst our insomnia, and sealed ourselves in for two more nights, right before a decidedly last minute race, the CDC Round 3 in Yacolt, WA. Seems like a good idea, right?
We woke the morning of at 8,000ft (According to our tent specifications), and zombie-drove our way to the event. A week of little to no-sleep at altitude was killing me slowly --
Yacolt, WA is a gem of a place, with the Cold Creek Trail Network located at it's heart. The Cold Creek MTB Alliance is hard at work opening new trails, whilst keeping the existing ones rad. Known for their aptly named, Trillium trail, this event was sure to be a thrill!
Five stages of radness were planned for the day: a new section on Tarbell, Cold Creek x 2, and Trillium. Rain was looming in the distance, but never came, making for tacky trails, and perfect weather.
I learned five things this day:
1) Thrillium is always, always FUN
2) Singing with friends on transfers is the only way to go
3) Derailliuers are important, but not always needed
4) Salt tabs dissolve in pockets when it's sprinkling rain..
5) Learning to use an altitude tent for the first time only days before a race is a bad idea
Regardless, we had a blast riding some of our favorite trails, saw our amazing bike-racing family, and definitely set ourselves up for some good sleep! Off to Colorado in a week!
PInkbike Race Report: www.pinkbike.com/news/cascadia-dirt-cup-round-three-yacolt-burn-race-report-2016.html
Pinkbike Report #2: www.pinkbike.com/news/race-report-cascadia-dirt-cup-round-3-yacolt-burn-2015.html
Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” So... we went to Idaho! While we weren't originally planning to attend the North American Enduro Cup, we decided to on a whim to go, with the hope to put some more money toward our van fund (did I mention we're building a van? More on that later...).
"The North American Enduro Cup is a one-off race that embraces all the regional race series: the CDC, the Idaho Enduro Series, the Montana Enduro series, BC Enduro, and MTB Enduro (a Mexican Enduro race organization). Initially, the Cup was planned to be a race series, but with the announcement of the North American Enduro Tour (NAET) becoming an EWS qualifier, the Coalition adopted more of an Enduro of Nations format: a one event race with teams as well as individual racers competing against each other." (Pinkbike).
Stoked to check out a new venue, Nick and I left Hood River after a full work week on Thursday, to arrive around midnight to a nice camping spot just outside of Silver Mountain Resort, near Kellogg, Idaho. Just in time for practice... don't mind the thunderstorm delay!
Between rainy, foggy, snowy practice, and perfect dirt, what evolved over the course of the weekend was one of my favorite stateside events, ever! Silver Mountain Resort has it all -- bike park-style jump lines, loose steeps, flow, drops, and plenty of pedal sections to go around. Did I mention there is a gondola? YES!!! And the field of 13 pro ladies who rallied for the event? So Awesome!
By the end of the weekend, we'd seen all kinds of weather, and all sorts of terrain. Nick managed a flat, but had some solid stage finishes throughout the weekend, and I brought back some time for the "W"! Time to drive back to Oregon in time for an 4:30am work wake-up -- rough, but worth it...
Pinkbike coverage of the event: http://www.pinkbike.com/news/north-american-enduro-cup-recap-2016.html
Pinkbike Bike Check: http://www.pinkbike.com/news/2016-naec-bike-check.html
See you at the next race!
There's something special about racing at home: backyard trails, known traction, familiar faces, waking up in your own bed, and a garage full of spares ... thank you, Cascadia Dirt Cup! This last weekend was our first two stateside races after EWS 1 & 2 in South America, and let me just say it was nice to have our introduction to stateside racing be at home.
We were blessed with rain the days leading up to the event, making for perfectly tacky trails -- a refreshing change from the typical dust ball-bearings that we are so accustomed to seeing at the beginning of each and every summer.
Photo: Colin Meagher
Each day was a separate race, hence the name, CDC Duex-Duro. Unlike most CDC races, the event was one large climb, followed by multiple descending stages, totaling about 20 miles and 4,600 ft of climbing a day.
Day one had us climb from the bottom, and routed us down Upper Dirtsurfer to the creek (Stage 1), from the peak after the creek to the bottom of Dirtsurfer (Stage 2), Hidden through 130 (Stage 3), and Bad Motor Scooter, GP and Toilet Bowl (Stage 4). Day 2 climbed us from the bottom once again, up to the Top of the World to then descend through the Baby-Heads, Hidden and Borderline (Stage 1), across to Antoine's (Stage 2), Mitchell Ridge (Stage 3), and Kleeway (Stage 4), one of my favorite jump-line trails named in honor of HRATS legend, Matt Klee, and the home-base for hecklers for this year's race.
Both Saturday and Sunday, Nick and I managed to take the win -- (even though Nick had a busted derailliuer and only three gears!)! T'was a great weekend to be a Hardin!
Cheers to the Cascadia Dirt Cup to giving back $8,000.00 to our local trail alliance!
Click the link below for Pinkbike coverage of the event: http://www.pinkbike.com/news/cascadia-dirt-cup-deux-duro-hood-river-or--race-report-2016.html
Photo: Colin Meagher
Photo: Colin Meagher
It's not every day, you get to stand on the top box of the podium with your husband... <3
You are what you eat!
As athletes, it is vital for us to ensure we are eating CLEAN in order to reduce the amount of overall inflammation in our bodies, and ensure we are getting the phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals our bodies need to perform and recover quickly.
Our rule of thumb is to consume as few processed foods, refined sugars, flavorings and preservatives as possible. We eat according to an "Anti-inflammatory Diet", and do our best to keep our intake of "inflammatory foods" low: dairy, gluten, red meat, caffeine, etc. Instead, we eat a healthy portion of fruits and veggies daily -- the more fibrous the better! Fruits and vegetables provide a plethora of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, giving our bodies what they need to perform at their best, and recover quickly!
Why an anti-inflammatory diet? While the inflammatory process is an important part of healing, persistent inflammation damages the body and causes illness. Inflammation may be caused by: exposure to toxins, genetics, stress, lack of exercise and, the less commonly known: FOOD! By reducing the amount of inflammation in your body, you improve your overall health, increase longevity and prevent disease. You will not only feel stronger, you will perform better.
When choosing your fruits and veggies, it's important to be mindful of their source. If you're aiming to reduce inflammation but you're eating produce with exposure to chemical pesticides, you're kind of defeating the purpose. Look for locally grown, ORGANIC produce, particularly for "The Dirty Dozen" (see below).
But Why Hood River Organic?
Hood River Organic is based in Hood River, Oregon, and provides weekly (or bi-weekly) CSA delivery of locally grown fruits, vegetables and local add-ons to Hood River, The Dalles, White Salmon, Portland, Beaverton, Tigard, Vancouver, Bend, and Seattle. If you care about your body, and believe in the mantra, "You are what you eat", do yourself a favor and choose Hood River Organic.
Customizable: Each CSA Box is customizable, weekly. We decide how many of each fruit and vegetable, and choose fun local add-ons, such as: Ten Speed Coffee, Cascade Creamery Cheese, NuCulture Cashew Dip, Portland Ketchup, Blue Bus Kraut, Columbia Gorge Organic Juices, Nuts and more... It's like grocery shopping online!
Accessible: Home delivery and pick-up options.... almost too easy!
Locally Grown: Support your local economy! Grown in the PNW, we are provided with year-round quality, organic produce.
Environmentally-Sustainable produce: Hood River Organic uses natural pesticides, and traditional fertilizer. Chemical pesticide-free food means less inflammation!
Pay as you go, and Delivery Hold: Going on vacation? No problem... put your box on hold!
Exposure to produce: It's not uncommon for us to get a fruit or vegetable in our box that we've never tried before. Or one that we wouldn't have purchased that particular week at the store. We are forced to think "outside the box" to use that ingredient, which exposes us to new recipes, and gets us out of that recipe rut! Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins, Homemade Kimchi, Spring rolls/wraps, fresh-made juices!
USDA Organic certified
Oregon Tilth certified
Good, quality produce
Hood River Organic saves us time, and makes grocery shopping easy. We simply customize our box, and pick it up every Wednesday at KickStand Coffee & Kitchen. We know what we're getting, and can plan the rest of our meals around the produce. Fruits and vegetables are of the highest quality, and most importantly, grown locally, organic, and environmentally-sustainable. We can feel good about supporting our local economy, while eating healthily, and improving our athletic performance.
Get involved and sign up today! Sign up for a single box today and get 25% off your first box. Just head over to the store, enter the code FB25% in the coupon code, and get 25% off your first box.
Follow me on Facebook for weekly delicious, easy-to-make recipes using ingredients from our Hood River Organic CSA Box!
Kim and Nick Hardin
When you fly with your bike, you're flying with one of your most prized possessions. You don't know who is going to be handling your bike, nor how many times it may be dropped off the baggage cart. Bikes need serious protection when in the big tin bird, and Dakine has you covered.
The bag itself is 51 x 30 x 12.5 in, made of a tough Nylon fabric, and EPA Foam, and folds in half for storage. It fits road, mountain and DH bikes -- both 27.5" and 29". While most bags have one handle, wheels and sit vertically (EVOC, etc), Dakine has two handles, wheels and sits horizontally. This makes for easier one-handed bag-driving, as well as greater stability as your taking tight turns throughout the airport. Not to mention, it's easier to drag it over rough terrain: gravel, grass, etc.
While most bike bags only have room for your bike and a few odds and ends, I'm able to fit everything but the kitchen sink (full face & half-shell helmets, pack, spare parts, sleeping bag and pad + much more), and still keep it under 70lbs (overweight limit for most airlines).
First, remove your front wheel, and put it into the handy wheel-sleeve provided with the bag, rotors in the fancy foam surround. You may choose to take your rotors off. Put the wheel sleeve in the bike bag, velcro-ed into position.
Second: Put your fork in the provided sleeve, take your bars off, and slip the rear end of your bike into the provided sleeve. Then, slip your bike into the bike bag, and affix your bars to your frame.
1. Lower your seat completely.
2. Take off your rear derailliuer, and zip-tie it between your rear chainstays for protection.
3. Put "chocks" between your pads on F & R Brake Calipers to avoid the need for a brake bleed upon arrival.
4. Deflate your tires slightly to give a little more room when packing.
5. No need to take the air our of your fork or shock.
Third: Put your rear wheel in the other wheel-sleeve provided, and place it in the bag, sandwiching the frame between wheels. Secure the straps, and pack your helmet, bag, and spare parts around the frame. Once packed, items are secure, and don't shift around.
VOILA! You're bike is ready for take-off!
All in all, the Dakine bag provides great bike protection for travelers, and is quick to pack, as well as stable and maneuverable at the airport. If you're looking for the best in protection and storage, Dakine's new bike bag is worth a look!
Stage 3, Argentina (Photo Sven Martin)
EWS Round 2 was a battle. It was challenging, it was hard, it was terrifying. At first, riding waist deep ruts full of sand was frustrating, and seemed impossible. As Sarah Leishman puts it, "I think the key thing that separated the fast riders from those of us who flailed all weekend was a willingness to embrace the chaos and the wildness of the riding and enjoy it." Eventually, with some serious pep talk, and a whole lot of creativity, it became fun, as riders right and left were slashing brown pow, and I learned riding sandy ruts was possible.
EWS Round 2 took place at Cerro Cathedral, one of Argentina's premiere ski resorts located just outside of Bariloche, Argentina. Bariloche is a town of german influence, located on the Southern shores of Lake Nahuel Haupi, with a well known chocolate manufacturing industry, as evidenced by it's "Chocolate Mall" that we became so intimately familiar with. The Enduro World Series did us a favor when the chose Bariloche: cheap eats of huge portions of steak tenderloin and french fries, lots of french fries. Don't forget about the empanadas...
Practice started early with shuttles on Stage 2 -- a rocky start, some tight, loose turns, and some deep, sandy turns in the flat -- I quickly learned that riding in Argentina required very little to no front brake, and whole lot of creativity. Six total stages were split 50/50 between the bike park proper, giving us the opportunity to use the gondola to re-coup our legs after our big weekend in Chile the week prior.
Dropping into Stage 2 high above Lago Gutierrez (Photo: Nick Hardin)
Looking down on the start of Stage 3
Pedaling through the woods on Stage 1 (Photo: Sven Martin)
The race weekend came and went as I chose to ride conservatively, and keep it rubber side down. Argentina was a true learning experience for me, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity once again ride alongside the fastest ladies in the world. After two days of sandy ruts, I placed 15th, First American Girl.
Special thanks to Yeti, Chris King, Easton, FOX, Race Face, Smith Optics, Dakine, Kate's Real Food, Hood River Organic, Vim & Vigr for a great start to the season!