Written by: Jens Raz
A weekend At Downieville!
On July 10th (plus or minus a few)
800 daredevils descended onto Downieville, aptly named for what the event was
to offer. Plenty of ferocious down hills! The old gold mining area now offers a different kind of Gold.
Tasty single-track, mouth watering drops, lung-busting climbs and the best part
in my opinion, adrenaline laced descents are the new bling! Downieville for the
past decade and a half has offered the real mountainbiker a true challenge,
both physically and mentally! About 3 hours north east of Sacramento deep into
the Sierra Nevada’s the little town hosts one of the last real point to point
races in North America. Saturday offers a cross country race consisting of 29
miles which includes 3500 feet of climbing and close to 5,500 feet of
descending. For the lucky 200 that were able to register or qualify in time the
next day showcased the epic and infamous 17 mile 5000 foot drop into town.
Unfortunately I was not one of those lucky few. The trick to the second day was
to balance lightweight and reliability. The caveat to the all Mountain Classic
is one has to ride exactly the same bike down both days.
Saturday morning opened up with some of the
best conditions possible. A late winter resulted in the trails still relatively
fresh and with the help of a recent rainstorm creating some very tacky trail
conditions, the race was on. Starting in nearby Sierra City, the fireworks
started at 9.30 on a warm and sunny day. The opening salvos were fired during
the first 8 miles of the climb. The "Giant” fast guy, Carl Decker, motored to a
record ascent, rumored to be 45 minutes, to reach the first single track
descent on his new proto-type 29 full-suspension rocket. Carl completed the
overall race in a record 1h and 50 minutes and change. The closest competitor
was his Giant-Rabobank team mate and defending champion Adam Craig. Trailing by
about 5 minutes the gauntlet had been thrown for the next day. Third place’s
Jason Moschler used his superior descending skills to come in a close third thereafter.
Beating most of the men as well as her female competitors, Kelli Emmet of "Giant”
cruised in at a time of 2 hours and 8 minutes ahead of Katarina Nash and Lizzy
English. The trend seems to be going towards Giant, as their bikes appear to
have a taken a commanding lead on the first day.
Saturday afternoon did not end with an
amazing free lunch from Chris King, but it was concluded with another cool and refreshing
sponsor, The New Belgium Brewery. Having in the past enjoyed a few Fat Tires
the company’s Pale Ale was even more refreshing. New Belgium Brewery, Chris
King and more were there to help the Sierra Buttes Trails Stewardship raise funds.
The day’s competition though was concluded with McLovin taking the River Jump
World Championships. Partying went late into the night with life rock and fire
Now on to Day 2…………………
The second day of fun and games started with warm
temperatures and free pancakes, berries and coffee from the manufacturer of
finely tuned precision components "Chris King”. The humane starting times of 9:30am worked out perfectly
with a time trial type start format. Riders pushed off every minute. Mark
Weir set an early fast time of 44.01 minutes. The main challenge came from
Ross, "Almost As" Schnell (fast, for those of you who are not German.) Ross came
in within 9 seconds of the Weir. Running into traffic behind Jason Moeschler,
he was not able to pass on the descent and he had to settle for 2nd. Stay tuned to see this speedster at the singlespeed Worlds in New Zealand on a custom Trek Fuel SS!!! Not to be left off the
podium on both days the defending Champ, Adam Craig flew into 3rd
place. The top 5, over the 17-mile
race were separated by a mere 71 seconds.
Saturdays’ top performer, Carl Decker, was able to keep the
top seat with a 14th place showing on Sunday. Decker proved to all
in 2010 that the fastest man of the Mountain was the best climber. Decker after
crashing on the down hill limped into first place. He was joined by second
place Adam Craig and 3rd place Jason Moeschler on the podium.
The battle for female Downhill supremacy was dominated by
Katerina Nash with a smoking time of 49 minutes and 46 seconds. Kelli Emmet
came closest with just over 52 hard and fast minutes. Lizzy English rounded out
the top 3 Pro women.
Luckily for Kelli Emmett, she built enough time Saturday
in the bank to keep her "W” over Katerina Nash by a whopping 24 seconds. 3rd
place was held by Lizzy English.
The big winner of the weekend appeared to be Giant Bicycles.
Putting on the podium 4 racers between the Pro Women and Men, all while showing
off some new firepower.
It is pretty difficult trying to put this event, town, trails
and people into print, but the memories from the rough climb to the
complimentary Tecates at the top, the brutally fast descents, amazing scenery,
wild and fun entertainment will stay for a long time, at least until next year.
Now I just have to find a way to get into the Downhill!!!!!!
Sunday's Enduro Results
1, Mark Weir (WTB) 44.01
2, Ross Schnell (Trek) 44.10
3, Adam Craig (Giant) 44.19
4, Nathan Riddle 44.25
5, Jason Moeschler 44.57
1, Katerina Nash (Luna) 49.46
2, Kelli Emmett (Giant) 52.08
3, Lizzy English 55.21
4, Karla Kingsley 56.26
5, Jamie Stamps 1.00.25
All-Mountain - combined times - Results
1, Carl Decker (Giant) 2.37.31
2, Adam Craig (Giant) 2.40.55
3, Jason Moeschler 2.43.50
4, Tim Olson 2.45.50
5, Mark Weir (WTB) 2.45.52