Race Cascadia – Awards Backdrop

Venue: Varies based on race location; Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Idaho
Services Provided: Custom Printed 2D Form, Additional Printed Skins
Client: Race Cascadia

The Pacific Northwest and the Cascade Mountain Range is home to an extensive network of world-class mountain biking trails, making it the perfect base for Race Cascadia. As the Northwest’s premier producer of enduro mountain bike races, the Cascadia Dirt Cup is Race Cascadia’s signature series.

When you’re responsible for producing over a dozen events per year, in different locations across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, there are a lot of details and travel to manage. In 2018, after 6 years of hosting racing events, Race Cascadia was ready to level-up their awards podium.

They reached out to Stretch Shapes hoping to create a cool background that was more professional and interesting than a standard banner wall or vinyl backdrop. Because of the extensive travel schedule and the high volume of events, they needed something that would travel easily and withstand the rugged outdoor locations, without requiring an entire stage crew to set up.

After connecting with their Relationship Manager, they discussed the idea of a mountain shape – appropriately fit for mountain bike races! Our existing Mountain 2D Forms were along the right lines, but the established shapes and sizes didn’t quite fit because of the podium that would be placed in front of it. The Creative Design team was able to create a customized version of the 2D Mountain Forms, designing a size and shape that would meet their specifications and fit seamlessly with the award steps.

2D Forms are designed using a pillowcase system, where the frames are enclosed in a stretch fabric skin. Installation takes 15 minutes and each 2D Form breaks down into smaller segments for easy transportation. This system also allows frames to easily be reused and recovered with new fabric skins, helping to minimize costs in future years.

Their first-year print in 2018 featured a woodgrain backdrop and blue mountains that listed the names of sponsors. In 2019, their new fabric skin featured a printed backdrop with vibrant colors, mountains, trees, and a bigfoot figure. The newer print featured sponsor logos and created a rich, high-resolution backdrop for events held throughout the year.

Providing a striking awards podium gives the appearance of a professional, reputable race. With competitors ranging from men to women to youth, taking the steps is the perfect opportunity for instagram-worthy photo moments. Whether your competitors are shredding the mountain or running towards the finish line, Stretch Shapes 2D Forms can be a tool to help secure sponsorships and provide the high-impact backdrop you’re looking for. Check out our Q&A below with Race Cascadia to see their feedback and pro-tips!

Can you tell us a little bit about this event and how the printed 2D Mountain Form played a role?

Race Cascadia produces mountain bike races across the Cascadia region. We have three different race series and a total of 12 events we host each season. Our events are outdoors in forests and mountains. We needed a podium backdrop that was sturdy and could withstand all kinds of conditions. We wanted it to make a statement, to be the centerpiece of the race venue, that grabs racer’s attention and makes them think “that’s really cool and I want to stand up there at the end of the day!” Finally, we needed to be able to change the art each year, to coordinate with each season’s theme.

We googled podium backdrops for weeks. In all our searching we came across photos from the Tour de France podium, and that’s when we first discovered 2D shapes and thought “Oh, that’s cool!”

That took us in a whole new direction with ideas, which led us to Stretch Shapes right here in the NW. From there we found the mountain forms and knew we had something worth exploring. After a quick chat with Michael, we got all of our questions answered and knew that this style of podium backdrop would meet all of our needs and wishes.

What was the inspiration behind the design?

I was literally moving mountains on my computer screen playing with ideas, I wanted an entire mountain range for our podium backdrop. However, due to scale and space constraints at some of our venues, we decided on one large mountain shape.

How has your experience been working with your Relationship Manager, Mike?

Mike has been fantastic. He’s professional, he knows his product, he’s thorough and he’s personable to talk with.

How was set up and strike?

So fast and easy! It’s pretty impressive to watch it take shape during setup. We have a member of our crew who is super tall and he can set it up solo.

Any other comments, feedback, or “pro tips” to share?

Definitely use a professional graphic designer. Due to the size and scale, you definitely want crisp, high-quality vector artwork, and to be spot on with your specs.

For setup, the pieces are all labeled so even if you don’t have a dedicated crew, it can easily be constructed once you give your helpers some basic instructions.

Finally, we did take a picture to save in our camera rolls, because there was always someone who was sure we had the peak on the wrong side and thus were putting the slipcover on backward!

Any last words you would like to add about your overall experience working with Stretch Shapes?

Our podium backdrop draws a lot of attention and rave reviews. It’s a highlight of our race venue and our season. We are still working on the 2020 season artwork and can’t wait to see what our designer dreams up!