Monday, July 14, 2008
Downieville Classic is the All Mountain World Championships. The first day was a cross country race that has a 3,000ft climb in 8 or 9 miles, then some rolling singletrack that is mostly downhill for 17-20 miles. Then next day is the Super D or Downhill. It is a 17 mile downhill with 900ft of climbing. The lowest time for the two days is the All Mountain World Champion. I am not the all mountain world Champion. Rachael "Crazy Braid" Lloyd is. But I did good for a first timer with a pretty light set up.
Ross Schnell is one fast guy. Rad Ross won both events in enemy territory. He was the first guy since the gold rush to win both events and not ride a Santa Cruz. It was a sweet victory for sure. It was so cool to see Ross so confident that he was going to win, but not be cocky about it. Most detractors thought that he was just a "pro" XC rider and didn't realize how good he is at going downhill. Its too bad Mark Weir had a mechanical on the downhill and couldn't finish. I didn't realize that "the Rules" prohibit any changing of gear. So Mark rode a bum rim for the downhill. So its not just the same bike at the same weight. Its the same parts as is. At first, I thought that Weir was a little too intense about things, but he just loves riding his bike fast uphill and downhill andh is personality is actually a refreshing change from most of the super humble folks that I hang out with.
But It was pretty funny seeing Weir at the top the morning of the downhill. I would classify it as a classic bad mood because the pressure was a huge monkey on his back. He was bitchin about people changing their equipment and that wasn't allowed. He accused Ross of clipping his rear tire overnight. He didn't. He had the very same clipped tire for the XC.
Ross rode the Remedy 9 with Bontrager ACX 2.35 front and rear and the Rock Shox monarch and Pike. I rode the Fuel EX 9.5 with the Revelation, 2.35 in front and 2.2 full Tubeless ACX in the rear. Ross's bike weighted 29.74 and mine weighted 26.16. Ross broke the DH record. He actually got booed a little when he got up on stage. It was just so unacceptable for a small majority of folks that a "corporate pro" won the race. But we don't think of ourselves as corporate pros and we are not. Trek makes great bikes. We like riding great bikes. We are lucky enough to get paid to ride great bikes. They make bikes that good for the riding that you want to do.
But all in all, after the race most people came up to Ross and said how psyched they were that Ross won, especially since he was from out of town. I mean Weir has already won it 7 times in a row. I really would have like to beat Racheal and a lot of people really wanted me too, but she is a really fast downhiller and very fit. She has won the race a bunch of times and was up the weekend before pre riding. She knows all her splits at every section. Zack was second in the XC race. It must have been all the baked beans he was eating.
There were more vendors there then a Norba Nationals. Not as many teams, but tons of industry support. Plus, good beer and good food. There were other events as well. There was a River Jump into the confluence of the Yuba and Downie Rivers. There was a Pixie Cross race on little bikes and there was Robot Dancing. The swimming holes were the best, especially since it was really hot and there was a lot of smoke in the air from the wild fires.
Rad kept saying it was a reunion of all the old guys. Now Rad isn't that young anymore...he is 28. But he grew up watching and admiring all the guys that pedaled before him. I'm just going to name drop a little now. Its a thrill for me to see all these icons of the mtb world. And they really are incredible riders and personalities. the list: Greg Herbold, Myles Rockwell, Brian Lopes, Wade Simmons, Jurgen Benneke, Chris Sheppherd, Joe Parkin, Scot Nichols, Andreas Hestler, Jason Moeschler. And of course the lesser know names, but awesome riders and friends of mine that I don't get to see much. And Erin Collar, our former Trek soigneur, was there and life is good for her.
A couple weird things that we noticed: People were so friendly and talked our ears off at the beginning of the weekend and then by the end, they were very happy to see all the bikers leave. Its a town of 350 people with no cell phone coverage, they live out in the boonies for a reason. A lot of kids had tattoes. The restaurants closed at 6 pm during the week. You could only rent a place to stay for a minimum of a week. There is still gold in the rivers.
The locals said it was the biggest Downieville so far. Its one of those things those...it wouldn't be as nice if it got too big. It already sells out in 5 minutes online. It has been on my bucket list for a couple of years now and I'm so happy that Trek sent me and Ross to that race instead of the Norba in NY. I would go back and I think you should put it on your list of races you must do before you die.