Another classic Classic goes down in MTB history
By Liam Ruff
The Downieville Classic is a mountain bike race unlike any other event on the planet. It combines rugged mountain singletrack, serious racing, and absolute anarchy in four wild days in the Lost Sierra.
The event is comprised of two separate days of racing and challenges riders’ mental and physical strength. Day 1 consists of a 29-mile point to point cross-country race with over 4,000 feet of climbing. The race starts with a climb known as the “Trail of Tears” and is extremely challenging, leaving all competitors deep in the pain cave. After the Trail of Tears racers descend Sunrise Trail and then traverse a fire road to the top of the “Baby Heads” section – a high speed jeep road littered with loose rocks the size of baby heads. After a few miles of bone shaking downhill the course continues onward on the Pauley Creek, Butcher Ranch, and Third Divide trails which are all beautiful stretches of technical singletrack and some of the most popular trails in the Downieville region. After plunging down Third Divide riders must put the power down on a flat fire road section and the First Divide trail to the finish in Downieville.
Day 2 is the downhill race on the infamous Downieville Downhill course – a 15-mile technical yet physical descent with over 5,000 feet of drop and 1,000 feet of climbing. Racers can only compete in the Downieville Downhill if they completed the cross-country race the day before on the exact same bike.
The combination of both days is known as the All-Mountain World Championships, a title that accurately illustrates racing in Downieville. With shenanigans such as the river jump, log pull, live music, and hellbent hecklers, the Downieville Classic is an event that can be enjoyed by everyone – racers and revelers alike.
The Downieville Classic is round 2 of the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship’s (SBTS) Lost Sierra Triple Crown, which also includes the Lost & Found Gravel Grinder which took place this past June and the Grinduro coming to Quincy in October. Learn more about the Downieville Classic here. Learn more about the Lost Sierra Triple Crown in this ASJ article: Triple Crown Summer.
Liam Ruff is a semi-pro enduro and cross-country mountain bike racer in Northern California who has a deep passion for bikes and the outdoors.