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  RACE RECAP Downieville Classic    
 

July 11, 2009
Downieville Classic
Downieville, CA

You know it’s a good event, when before you even cross the finish line, completely destroyed and pushed to your max you are already trying to figure out how you can do better the next year.  To me the Downieville Classic epitimizes what a mountain bike event should be. From the picturesque mountains with miles of epic single track to the little sleepy town that comes alive with hundreds of eager optimistic adventurous mountain bikers you have the ingredients for something special. The place just oozes mountain bike appeal. Although the downhill course does favor the fit cross country rider there is just enough technical trail to motivate the downhillers internal cross country rider to come out. The downhill is not just about speed and fitness, but also about going fast without going too fast and destroying your equipment or your body.

My chance to race this year came at the very last minute as my friend Anthony from Sram who did great last year but crashed the weekend before and was not able to race and offered me his coveted all mtn pro entry. Without even thinking about I said yes I want it! Quickly reality set in and I realized I had a better get my stuff together and my bike set up right now! It's been 5 years since I have
even been to Downieville, but I distinctly remember how critical a tubeless tire set-up would be. My new Carbon Santa Cruz blur LT with the adjustable Fox Talas 150 fork is the perfect all around set up and great for this particular event so I didn't have to worry about that, but I have not used a tubeless set-up in a long time. Luckily I just got a sweet fresh set of WTB wheels so I threw them in the truck along with a few spare parts and hit the road. Once I arrived I tracked down previous D-Ville champ and long time friend Mark Weir who brought me a set of the WTB Weirwolf LT tires with special dual compound (that ended up working amazingly well) helped me dial in my tubless set-up using the Stan's valve and liquid. Also a big shout out to Joe from the Bike Co. who helped me dial in everything. The course is littered with embedded razor sharp rocks just waiting to rip into your tire as well as numerous rock croppings thatRace
can easily give you a nasty pinch flat. Also lets not discount the numerous treacherous stream sections you must splash through that love to wash all that lube right off your chain just as you blast through a nice baby powder section that gives your bike a perfect layer grunge.  

XC Racing...

The event isn’t just about the downhill. There is also the 29 mile 3,000 foot cross country event that ate me up and spit me out this year. After the first hour which was a relentless steady climb with no breaks I was already starting to get leg cramps. It didn’t take long after hitting the highest point that the cramps took over my body. I pedaled through them for as long as I could until I was forced to stop not just once but three differen't times! I was not alone as it would appear about one of every 3 riders experienced some sort of cramping. If you have never experienced a cramp then you simply cannot appreciate the severity of them. They will make a body builder cry like a little girl. Even as harsh as the event is it doesn’t stop it from being completely selling out!

Next up was the river jump contest where anyone willing to hurl themselves 30+ feet into the air and splat down into the water can sign up.  In addition to the river jump there was also the pixie cross which was a small loop set up in town with a couple man made wooden jumps all of about 2 feet high. Even though they were small there was no shortage of crash action. Not sure what motivates these competitors, but they did seem to have a good time.

Super Downhill...

The 17 mile downhill is a true Super Downhill. According my Garmin I recorded 4,714 elevation drop with 669 feet of climbing and a top speed of 51.4 mph with a time of 48.54. I really had high hopes but due to the last minute nature of my trip I was only able to do one run which really just wasn't enough and with the XC the day before that got the best of me I just wasn't able to push like I normally would. So even though I didn't place where I was hoping I still had a great time just being there and riding the trails. I definitely learned a few things and if I get the oportunity to the event again next year I will definitely be more prepared.

photo: Forrest Arakawa - www.mtbr.com
Downhill Top 20 Men
1 Adam Craig 0:43:48
2 Jason Moeschler 0:00:21
3 Ross Schnell 0:00:32
4 Nathan Riddle 0:02:03
5 Brian Lopes 0:02:11
6 Nate Byrom 0:02:13
7 Chris Sheppard 0:02:16
8 Henry O'donnell 0:02:32
9 Tim Olson 0:03:15
10 Glenn Fant 0:03:34
11 Mark Jordan 0:03:49
12 Thomas Frischknecht 0:04:09
13 Timmy Evens 0:04:13
14 Matthew Slaven 0:04:30
15 Dain Zaffke 0:04:45
16 Shawn Wilson 0:04:52
17 Ross Mcmahon 0:04:53
18 Mike Vine 0:04:53
19 Jeff Kendall-Weed 0:05:05
20 Joe Lawwill 0:05:10
All Mtn Top 20 Men
1 Adam Craig 2:35:52
2 Jason Moeschler 0:03:38
3 Sid Taberlay 0:06:57
4 Chris Sheppard 0:08:11
5 Sam Koerber 0:12:47
6 Ross Schnell 0:13:16
7 Thomas Frischknecht 0:14:11
8 Nate Byrom 0:15:17
9 Tim Olson 0:15:20
10 Mike Vine 0:17:29
11 Mark Jordan 0:19:57
12 Henry O'donnell 0:20:17
13 Jim Hewett 0:24:34
14 Nathan Riddle 0:24:51
15 Andreas Hestler 0:24:55
16 Shawn Wilson 0:25:31
17 Kevin Smallman 0:25:36
18 Glenn Fant 0:26:01
19 Joel Baty 0:26:41
20 Timmy Evens 0:26:59
37 Joe Lawwill 0:39:41
Where it all begins...the start of the downhill. Notice it actually goes up at first!
The now infamous Downieville river jump contest is a huge fan favorite.
click here for more river jump photos

 

 



 
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