Photo Epic: 2015 Downieville Classic

Aug 6, 2015
by Brad Holmes  
Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic

Last weekend was the 20th anniversary of the Downieville Classic. The weekend of racing includes Saturdays grueling 30 mile point to point cross country race from Sierra City to Downieville. Sunday, 200 racers who were lucky enough to sign up in the first 3 minutes of registration race down the 4500'/17 mile decent. The trails raced are some of the oldest in the western United States most which date back to the 1800's when Downieville was a boom town in the middle of the gold rush. Today the trails are maintained by Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship and are enjoyed by dirt bikers, hikers and mountain bikers alike.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  The weekend starts early on Saturday morning with a bike weigh in. To race in the All Mountain your bike must weigh the same for both Saturday and Sundays races. Scott Chapin gets his steed weighed up before a big weekend of hunting podiums.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  The front of the Mens Expert starting line. Angry single speeder Kurt Gensheimer stretches the legs out from too many hours driving the Yuba Expedition Shuttle.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Billy Damon all smiles...until the climb starts.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Lindsay Chirdon and Leslie Oley, 2 expert women getting faster every year. Pro next year?

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  The first aid and sweeper crew led by Doctor Rob. If you get hurt on course these are the people you're really happy to see. Without the help of these guys and countless other volunteers the race would never happen.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Their chariots await.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  The pro men start line. Check out the monster truck tires being sported by Sean Estes!

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Carl Decker bushwhacks his way to the pro men's start line, avoiding the riff-raff.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Barry Wicks leads Colin Daw and Alex Wild followed by a chase pack with Menso de Jong leading Carl Decker, Jason Moeschler and Sam Anderson-Moxley. This is the first section of the 9 mile climb.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  A closer look.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Further up the climb Alex Wild makes the pass on Colin Daw with Barry Wicks close behind.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Carl Decker picks off Menso de Jong as he begins to reel in the lead group.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Jason Moeschler setting his own pace on the climb in 6th waiting till later to attack.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Scott Chapin on the hunt.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Billy Damon pedals his Nomad up in between Jantaraboon Kiangchaipaiphana and Spencer Rathkamp. 6" trail bikes have come a long way.

Downieville
  Squint and you'll see Carl Decker has made the pass on Barry Wicks and chases Colin Daw and Alex Wild up the beast that is the Downieville classic climb.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Another closer look.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  I just catch a glimpse of Colin Daw as he leads the field up the last section of the climb and beats me to this photo location.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Alex Wild second place heading into the last section of the climb. He would end up with a mechanical which would cost him the race landing him in 45th on the day.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Carl Decker third place followed by Barry Wicks and Menso de Jong.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Jason Moeschler looking comfortable staying in 6th place through most of the climb.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Colin Daw, first to Packers Saddle. This is the top of the 9 mile climb 3500ft climb.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  After taking 2nd from Alex Wild, Carl Decker sets his sights on the lead.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Still in 6th place local favorite Jason Moeschler gets ready to start kicking ass and taking names on the decent.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Billy Damon leads Scott Chapin into Sunrise trail. This battle would last the entire decent.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Scott Chapin right on Billy Damons wheel.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Having passed Colin Daw, Carl Decker is the first in to the baby heads section. Photo Credit: My wonderful wife, Susannah Cantrell. She decided to take this year off from racing the Classic and with about 5 min of instruction with the camera shot some of the best pictures of the weekend from this corner of the baby heads section.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Jason Moeschler Charging on his new Cannondale Habit.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Billy Damon still being chased by Scott Chapin.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Sean Estes letting those giant tires roll through the baby heads on his way to 15th place in XC....apparently those big tires roll faster than I had thought.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Erin Alders cruises her way through baby heads to a 1st place pro women XC finish.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Debby Sullivan battling with the guys for a 5th place pro women XC finish.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  This is Carter, the course marshall/ first aid/ pit crew one man band that never stops.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Carl Decker holds on to the lead as he passes the last cliffy section of lower first divide. Only about 5 min to go in the race at this point.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Colin Daw chases Carl Decker to a 2nd place finish on the day.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Jason Moeschler ends up third on the day after getting passed Barry Wicks and Menso de Jong on the decent.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Billy Damon climbed up to 10th place through the decent and still followed close behind by Scott Chapin right till the end.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Anthony Medaglia, coming hot into the cliffs ended up 16th on the day.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Jeff Kendall-Weed carving beside the cliffs ends up 27th.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Kurt Gensheimer getting low in the first divide turns to a 3rd place single speed XC finish.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Carolina Gomez-Villafane looking really strong in the exposed heat of first divide and cruising into town for a 2nd place for pro women XC.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Megan Chinburg chases down Carolina Gomez-Villafane for a 3rd place finish on the day followed by someone on a really nice Ibis.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Connor Kuhns rolls through the jagged white rocks or first divide to a 24th place finish in under 35yo expert men.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Sarah Pittiglio with a 3rd place finish in under 35yo expert women.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  The Shimano cast off. They gave first place a rod reel and tackle box!! Not a bad days work.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  The river party. The Yuba giveth.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  McLoven with the biggest superman of the day.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Ahoy party tube.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Pro Womens XC podium. Erin Alders 1st, Carolina Gomez-Villafane 2nd, Megan Chinburg 3rd.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Pro men XC podium. Carl Decker 1st, Colin Daw 2nd, Jason Moeschler 3rd.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Jason Moeschler's Cannondale Habit still weighing the 27lbs it weighed the day before.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Mike Turner playing around at the start of the DH.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Carl Decker on Sunrise trail. A flat tire would set him back to 34th place in the DH taking away his chance for the AM win.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Jason Moeschler charges his way to a DH win which gave him the AM victory.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Colin Daw on a flyer down sunrise trail ended up getting a flat but powered out on a tube for 21st in DH and a 7th place finish in the AM.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Jeff Kendall-Weed sporting a visor on Sunday rides to a 9th place in the DH and a 15th in the AM.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Paul Freiwald navigates the most awkward turn on sunrise.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Billy Damon rips a corner lower down on Sunrise for a 5th place finish in the DH and a 6th place in the AM.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Jantaraboon Kiangchaipaiphana with a strong 8th place finish in the XC, he rides to a 16th place in the DH and finishes 13th in the AM.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Ryan Gardner on his way to a 3rd place finish in the DH bringing him up to 5th place in AM.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Quick down and up the gorge on Butcher Ranch trail.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Spencer Jones has a sketchy moment unclipped but makes quick a recovery.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Peter Rehage works his way through the wet rocky section on Butch Ranch.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Ian Kirk takes the left line on the waterfall....well in non drought year its a waterfall.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Justin Robinson drops in the right hand line on the waterfall on his way to a expert men DH win.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  The first sight of Pauley Creek mean your almost at the end of Butcher Ranch.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Megan Chinburg going fast beside Pauley Creek on her way to a pro women DH win.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Jamie Kendall-Weed sends it down a part of Pauley Creek that scares me every time I ride it.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Nathan Barnett on a charge down Pauley Creek to a Junior Expert DH win. His time would have landed him in 6th place pro men.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  The Third Divide climb. This is the cramping zone just before the fastest section of the race.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Melissa Hygelund cresting the second divide climb on her way to a expert women DH win.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Pro men's AM podium. Jason Moeschler 1st, Scott Chapin 2nd, Carl Decker 3rd (not in picture), Cody Kaiser 4th.

Photo Epic 2015 Downieville Classic
  Pro women's AM podium. Megan Chinburg 1st, Carolina Gomez-Villafane 2nd, Erin Alders 3rd, Jamie Kendall-Weed 4th.

Full results here.



MENTIONS: @holmesslice




36 Comments

  • 13 1
 Great to meet you last Wednesday Brad, thanks for the first aid help! I think the doctors got most of the rock fragments out of my knee.
I was super bummed to throw away my All Mountain entry, but these amazing photos make me that much more hungry for redemption next year. Thanks for making our local trails look like the heavenly stretches of perfect dirt that they are. There's just a lot of rocks too!
  • 2 1
 Bummed to hear you weren't able to race LarryFrown thanks for the co2!! I owe you a couple canisters!! Can't wait till next hopefully I see you in a bit better shape and we can get out for a rip!! Cheers bud!!!
  • 11 2
 Nice to see XC on real mountain bikes
  • 10 1
 Shout out to Jantaraboon Kiangchaipaiphana for having the best name ever
  • 3 2
 Which is harder to do.... finish the race or saying " Jantaraboon Kiangchaipaiphana " correctly outloud.......
  • 1 0
 He'd finished 2015 Genghis Khan MTB Adventure at 5th,It's big deal!
www.genghiskhanmtbadventure.com/images/stories/genghiskhan/pdf/results/2015/L_MTB_M_Total_Result.pdf
  • 8 1
 awesome pics, race and story!!!!!! I need to go back there!!!!!
  • 5 1
 "We've created the sweetspot of geometry, travel and spec" was Cannondale's claim with the Habit...

What better way to prove it than to stick it under a Downieville AM winner!
  • 3 0
 Incredible pics! I believe it was Susannah and Carter that helped me with my flat repair on Butcher! Thank you both and thanks Carter for pumping up my tire!!! my arms were toast!
  • 4 0
 Great coverage, best race event out there imo, it's the one race I train for, captures the true all mtn aspect of the sport, ride on!
  • 2 0
 On that last flat part beside the river it gets very narrow, with poison oak on the left, and a massive drop down a cliff into the river on the right (as shown in the photo of Megan Chinburg). I stayed the ***k away from that ***king poison oak!
  • 4 0
 Great write up and great pictures. Do you happen to have a photo dump from the race?
  • 5 1
 That camo lycra kit doe...
  • 2 0
 Yeah!!!! The 20th Downieville was definitely something special. Can't wait to see what happens when it's old enough to drink!
  • 3 0
 In a perfect world, Jantaraboon Kiangchaipaiphana would have podiumed...just so they would have tried to pronounce his name.
  • 3 0
 Brad, you killed it! The amount of homework and prep you did to shoot this is clear. Thank you.
  • 1 0
 Agreed great photos, they almost make that dry, hot, miserable, dusty climb look fun.
  • 1 0
 props to everyone who did this race, I spent a few summers up there and those trails can put a hurting on you, especially the climb up from Sierra City. I can't imagine doing it at race pace :/
  • 4 0
 You're a wizard Harry
  • 3 0
 Shout out to Conner Kuhns and Caro GV , local friends!
  • 2 1
 Sad there weren't any pictures from the single speed category. I was looking forward to seeing some shots of Yuri Hauswald on his Marin CXR single speed.
  • 15 15
 I don't want to take away from anyone's skill, abilities, or athleticism but there's something about the combination of Lycra and goggles that makes me cringe.
  • 6 3
 Wouldn't be so bad if the outfits looked like the ones on TRON legacy. Then I could see myself in them.
  • 4 3
 I think it's RAD.
  • 2 2
 1. I don't wear Lycra but apparently it makes the person wearing it faster. I have been told there is scientific evidence of this as well. But I'm old, fat, and don't give a crap about wind resistance. 2. I don't wear goggles but I hear they help keep the dust out of your eyes on the DH and aren't necessary on the UH. I prefer to stay in front of the crew I ride with on the DH so dust isn't an issue, but I will invest in some as I get older and slower. I hope this useless ramble is just that. You're welcome. P.S. I am glad everyone made it down safe. That hill is a SOB!
  • 3 1
 Lycra is necessary to survive the incredibly brutal climb at the beginning of the XC race. This year it wasn't too hot, but that climb is usually in full-on direct sun with no shade for the second 1'000 feet or more at 11-12% average grade with terrible traction/loose shaly rocks everywhere. It is just a killer. I saw at least a dozen racers wearing pads down around their ankles on the climb (they wear baggies; I couldn't bring myself to bring pads, as I was wearing Lycra and needed to stay cooler on the climb). I confess I was wearing goggles. Yeah it looked goofy, but it worked.
  • 1 0
 What a cool race. It slightly upsets me that the Habit weighed 27lbs with XTR and a pike.
  • 1 0
 Thanks SBTS for maintaing the Happiest Place on Earth. Gets better every year.
  • 2 0
 Does anyone know where I can pick up that Real tree pattern lycra gear?
  • 1 0
 68 is Spencer Peterson, not Spencer Jones. Great pictures though!
  • 3 5
 Why are they all wearing Lycra?
  • 1 2
 I think the word 'downhill' isn't explained in the article, but people familiar with the event know the context of the word 'downhill' for this particular event. The race is held around a very big and very long descent, I can't remember how long it takes, maybe about 45 minutes. The course is more like a fast long descent, and then the bottom part of the 'descent' is merely a ride back into town on what is virtually flat terrain - you pedal your arse off the whole time. On the first day you have to pedal from the bottom to the top of the descent, and then also do the descent. This gives you your 'XC' time. On the second day, you shuttle to the top, then do the descent only. This gives you your 'DH' time. Your XC and DH result is combined to give you your All-Mountain time. Two races, three results, lycra all the way since even the 'downhill' only component is still an XC race.
  • 2 0
 The top parts of the course are different for the two days -- the XC takes a longer descent route that involves a few miles of fire road traverse followed by the awesome Baby Heads "fire road" and equally awesome Pauley Creek. The "downhill" involves a more direct, quicker, and steeper descent down Butcher Ranch trail. (They skip the upper "flow" section of Butcher, opting instead for the Butcher OHV fire road that is much faster/no pedaling). Both courses share the same bottom 2/3, which includes a sudden sharp climb of maybe 250 feet up to Third Divide trail (which causes many racers to cramp up). Due to that climb, and the flat section on the last trail, nobody brings downhill bikes to try to win this race.

An excellent time on the downhill is 55 minutes or less. 45-50 minutes is possible only for the fastest pros.

Super, super super fun race and must do!
  • 8 2
 How about: "Because it's not a f*cking fashion show."?
  • 4 0
 I'm sure our Kiwi friend was asking a legitimate question based on the article using the word 'downhill', which, for this event, is not the same as what we generally accept to be a downhill event. Consider the question in the context of the article, not in isolation. Not as single Kiwi I've met was an arsehole. There's no need to get narky here.
  • 1 2
 I rode it for the first time a couple of months back and it has a couple pedal sections that if you were racing you would be bummed on wearing knee pads and a full face, but the speeds you can hit on the descents are pretty nuts.i wouldn't be wearing an xc kit, but that is prob all those guys ride in anyway. Lycra was banned from UCIDH for a reason, it's faster.

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