Reliving the Downieville Classic experience
Spoke n' Word
Last weekend marked the annual Downieville Classic All Mountain World Championships and#8212; which proved once again that mountain biking is alive and well in the region we hold close to heart.
Downieville is a classic town with a steadfast Wild West history. Little has changed. The main bridge through town is one lane wide and has a story all its own (visit the plaque in downtown to find out). The town also vied to become the California state capital once a long time ago and had a populous in excess of 5,000. This is Gold Rush territory: Brandy City, Whiskey Diggins, Poverty Hill and Poker Flat and#8212; now we’re talking.
One weekend out of the year, Downieville carves itself out as the West Coast’s capital of mountain biking in all-mountain form. During this weekend, you’re not going to find a gold pan or a large tubeless mountain bike tire for sale within miles. And if you do, snap it up quickly ’cause you’re going to need it. And don’t forget the tire repair kit, chain lube and six-pack.
This year, like the past four, many mountain bikers from the Tahoe area charged their categories and were showered with triumph. The trail is in great shape (thanks to the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship), a little shorter than courses past but nonetheless challenging and rewarding. Countless volunteer hours, blisters and soaring July temperatures abolished the rumors of a snow-covered trail.
Truckee’s local cycling team, marcpro-strava.com (MPS), stood atop the podium with top finishers spanning single speed, cross country and all-mountain categories.
Most notably, Jesse Miller-Smith charged the climb in third place over the top against riders like Carl Decker, then finished a respectable seventh place overall in the XC race (not bad for a local record-holding roadie). Conrad Snover proved once again that he can get dirty with a respectable third-place all-mountain finish.
New-to-Truckee resident and fellow MPS teammate Jamie McJunkin crushed the climb but shattered his handlebar on the famed downhill course at Butcher Ranch, the end. Local Truckee Trails board member and MPS teammate Andy Scott found his way down the hill in seventh place.
Allie Donovon brought her big-mountain freeride prowess with her and landed on the podium in second place. Katie Chappell also raced and finished seventh. MPS rider Forrest Huisman charted a new path down the cross-country course and set a personal best and#8212; crash free. MPS rider Keith Hillier made a guest appearance, nailing down third place.
I went unplugged on the descent and charged my way to second place just before falling flat on my face and finishing fourth on a single speed. There were several other local mountain bikers who deserve shout-outs, like Greg Stone, who finished an amazing ninth overall, Sako Kopanou, who jumped into the mix along with Nate Arnold, Aaron Breitbard and Geoff Rockhey and#8212; a local, podium-sweeping success.
Mountain biking season is open and the trails are awaiting your visit! If you’re interested in helping create or maintain our great network of trails right here in Tahoe, check out the Truckee Trails Foundation’s new website, http://trucketrails.org, and make plans to get dirty.
and#8212; Team rider Matt Chappell is the author of this week’s Marc Pro-Strava Racing column, Spoke n’ Word. Marc Pro-Strava Racing is a Truckee-based cycling team focused on racing and local bike advocacy. For more information, results and upcoming events, visit http://marcpro-strava.com.