Month: August 2013

Danny’s Downieville Classic 2013 Report

Downieville: the big race of the year for many mountain bikers in northern California, myself included. Like previous Downieville races, there is a strong showing from the lost coast team including Brian, Trevor, Bekah, Larissa, and myself. Below is a little about how my races went.
The XC race
Saturday started out a little different this year. Unlike in past years there was no warming up allowed on the course. I imagine this was to prevent people from zipping down last minute and scoring themselves a spot at the front of the line. Not used to this, I timed my warm-up poorly and ended up starting behind nearly 200 other expert category racers. It was easily 30 seconds before those of us at the back were able to get across the start line. Brushing off the frustration, I set a pace that was hard, but sustainable for the long climb and began picking riders off. I made a lot of good ground, and despite being stuck in traffic a number of times, was able to bring back all but around 15 of the 200 who started in front of me by the time I hit sunrise. I pedaled into sunrise feeling great and very excited to be wearing my new photochromic (tint changes with light level) Smith Pivlocks. They were able to stay dark enough on the bright exposed climb, but quickly adapted allowing me to see more clearly in the dark forest.
Sunrise gave way to a few more miles of fire road on the way to the “Baby Heads” trail. As I entered baby heads, I could tell that I had been a little too tense in the upper body during the climb as I wasn’t able to effortlessly flow over obstacles as I had the week before pre-riding. Through Pauly Creek trail, I could tell I was doing a little too much of the “plowing” style of riding, and being a little heavy on the brakes. Fortunately, the resulting heavier hits only resulted in a broken spoke, a 5 second fix. As the Third Divide climb started I could feel cramps coming on in my calves and hamstrings and decided to take in down a notch so as to maintain for the duration. I powered through First Divide and the road to the line to take 4th in the 19-34 age category and improving my previous best time by 2 minutes!
Sunday DH
I went into the downhill on Sunday feeling less than ideal. I was quite tired from the day before, and a little nauseous. I was able to force some breakfast down, but didn’t really get my hunger back until right on the line. I guess my body suddenly realized it was game time and that I would need fuel to race. Fortunately, Bekah was right there and handed me a few GU blocks to power my way. I started out slow to make sure that I could maintain for the 50 minute sprint this race always ends up being. Also, I felt that if I went a little easier on the pedaling, that I would have more energy for more dexterous bike handling. My thinking paid off as I was able to flow much better through the technical sections than I had the day before. Like I Saturday, I was wearing my recently acquired Camelback racebak, essentially a camelback built into a jersey. I felt this ended up really helping out because of how much more stable it is than a normal hydration pack, and how much easier it is to drink out of than bottles. After holding back a little for the first half of the race I decided to throw the hammer down once I hit the Third Divide climb (about 9 miles to go). Third was fast and everything was going great starting First Divide when suddenly my rear derailleur cable snapped. I was now stuck in my smallest cog, and a much harder gear than would have been ideal. Fortunately, my bike is set up with a triple, so I was able to simply shift into the small ring in front and cross-chain my way along. Climbing the final bit on First Divide involved a bit of a “single speed” style out of the saddle grind, but otherwise it worked out quite well shifting between the little and middle rings. I powered out of the forest and down the road to finish 7th, and only about a minute behind the leader.
My combined 4th and 7th finishes made for a 5th place finish in the combined “all-mountain” category, just off the 4 place podium. It was a solid weekend with solid finishes. One race left to go with Annadel rapping up my season on the 17th.

Larissa’s Downieville Classic Report

First off Camelbak and Gu both saved my butt at this race! I got my new Camelbak Octane LR pack a week before the race, which meant two pre rides with it and I was in love. Such a comfy pack that I wore it on the climb in the xc race and couldn’t have been happier. I was well stocked with Gu gells going into the xc, and although I cramped a bit on Pauley Creek trail, cramming a few Blueberry Pom gells in my mouth quickly ended the cramping and allowed me to crush the climb to Third Divide and First Divide trail.
This race was my peak race this year and I went into it really well prepared. I was well rested, got in a few pre rides and was super pumped to finally be at a race with a bunch of team mates. I came in fourth in the XC despite breaking my rear deraillure cable on Third Divide Trail and having to grind out a huge gear on First Divide. An eighth place finish in the downhill (in which I actually passed four girls!) put me in 5th for the all mountain. Even though the podium only goes 4 deep I was still stoked on the result AND I got a picture with Carl Decker!
The season is almost over now, and I am more and more grateful each day for how awesome team Lost Coast is, and what a great opportunity they have given me to race bikes so much this year! Thanks team!

Bekah’s Downieville Experience

Downieville 2013 couldn’t really have gone much better for me. This was a big surprise considering a few weeks prior I had considered pulling out of the race due to the lack of riding I’d been able to get in after spending three weeks in Nicaragua and normal life stuff that always gets in the way.
The XC, which is normally a torture fest for me, turned out to be a truly enjoyable day of riding. The weather was much cooler than in previous years, and I never felt like I was suffering from heat stroke nor did I cramp-up at the top; both events that have plagued me in the past. I found myself mostly alone on the descent, which meant there wasn’t the usual haze of dust hovering over the trail and I didn’t get hung up trying to pass too many people. I wasn’t expecting to do too well in the XC, but somehow things came together for me and not only did I place third, but I PRed by 10 minutes!
Let’s be honest. I race Downieville for the downhill. Who doesn’t? It’s the legendary “Downieville Downhill” and I was stoked about the race on Sunday. I had flatted the previous year, so I went into the race wanting to have a smooth, clean run. Warming up, my legs felt pretty lethargic from the previous day of racing, but my mind felt clear and I was excited just to be given the opportunity to ride these trails again. The downhill proved to be smooth and fast. I passed four of the five riders who had started in front of me, securing the number one spot in the DH, and subsequently the All-Mountain!

Downieville is a fantastic race, the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship is made up of amazing people and I can’t thank them enough for hosting this tremendous event. I’d also like to give a huge shout-out to camelbak. I used their Octane LR and absolutely loved it! Also gu for their orange vanilla roctane and smith for their fabulous piv-locks. And last, but certainly not least, Marin for making kick-ass bikes like the mount vision!