Downieville Classic 2011by Joy Martin on 07/11/11
The All-Mountain World Championships is what the D-ville classic is all about. Last year I decided I would give this race another go. Which meant hours of pedaling on my xc bike, because to race the descent, of 13+ miles one must also race the XC course. This is not any old XC course either, this is a burly, nasty, grumpy, not for the feign of heart riders. 3000 feet of climbing in the first 8 miles and then one of the burliest XC descents you can find. Because of all the snow this winter the XC course was sent down Butcher Ranch instead of Pauly Creek. This news was heaven to my ears. I love Butcher Ranch and this meant I got to race one of my favorite trails twice.
I got to ride this event with a bunch of friends, Lauren my new Loeka Teammate, Christine my old Teammate and Roy, a co-worker. It made for an excellent crew on the trail and a lot of fun overall for the weekend.
I rolled up to D-ville on Wednesday, did one practice run, and found that I was covered in mud by the end. The top of the course still had a lot of snow and mud, but it was a blast. Thursday I did three practice runs, and got five flats. I tore up a tubeless tire and decided it was time to put 50psi in the tires. This took about 30 seconds to get used to. I normally don’t run that kind of tire pressure, but once I did get used to it, I was screaming down that hill. I felt really good riding the course and I was ready for the weekend.
Saturday morning I raced the XC course. It was tough, but I got to the top of the climb in a reasonable amount of time. On one of the jumps at the top of Butcher Ranch I hit my seat hard and realized after that it was not going to stay level. I stopped to try and fix it cause riding with a seat vertical was very uncomfortable. No luck and I spent a bit of time trying to fix it on the side of the trail… I eventually made it down, but I was not a happy camper by the bottom. To ride a broken seat that far was excruciating….
Christine suggested we do the Cruiser Criterium, which was the replacement for the river jump. What a great idea to shrug off my disaster that was an xc ride, drink beer. Love it!! The comp involved a log pull, with beer chugging, a pixie race, a track stand comp and a relay with more beer chugging. I love beer and this sounded really fun. I did get to do the log pull and chug the beer. I put our three person, women’s team in third place against the other seven teams, which were all dudes. I was stoked at least my beer chugging skills were still intact.
Sunday morning my legs were still feeling the climb from the day before. I felt good overall though. As I headed down that hill I was so pumped and had so much fun I couldn’t believe what a blast that trail is to ride. I lost my chain in a few spots, but I didn’t get any flats and I had a great time railing Butcher Ranch. When I got to first divide I still had gas in the tank and I gave it everything I could on the bottom. I ended up third on the day and stoked to race such a fun event.
Downieville is one of the toughest races out there, and I was glad to have worked hard and played hard on that mountain. The overall weekend was awesome and a great event.