Photo Report: Downieville Classic - California

Aug 21, 2018
by Brad Holmes  

The twenty-third annual Downieville Classic is in the books and needless to say it was a weekend filled with good times. The one of a kind mountain bike festival brings the small mountain town back the excitement, bustle, and influx of people it might have seen during the days of the gold rush. The Classic consists of Saturday's 26.5-mile point to point cross country race starting in Sierra City climbing 4500 vertical feet up to the crest of the Sierra Nevada then drops 5700 vertical feet down through fast rocky single track and the even faster notorious "baby heads" jeep road. The second component of the weekend is Sunday's endurance downhill event which must be done on the same equipment as the day before (there's a weigh-in to keep everyone honest). With 5333 vertical feet of descending and 1010 vertical feet of climbing, this isn't a sprinters event. The downhill takes you through a mix of fast fluid flow trails and faster rough trails littered with sharp rocks along with ominous sheer drops skirting the edge of large sections of the course. The combined time from both days determines the All Mountain World Champion. 

Early morning in Sierra City for the start of the overland cross country race. Competitors make all their preparations before they line up for the long day. In this case, a delicious espresso.

Camouflaged into the natural environment Scott Chapin and Amanda Schaper appear out of nowhere along with their mountain tandem.

The support crew, it takes a lot of dedicated volunteers that allow this race to happen every year. Shout out to everyone who put your hard work into this one of a kind event. 

Off they go Geoff Kabush leads the Pro field off the start as he and Katerina Nash directly behind in the blue Cliff jersey both defending their titles.
Off they go! Geoff Kabush leads the Pro field off the start as he and Katerina Nash (directly behind in the blue Cliff jersey) both defending their titles.

Last years trifecta XC, DH, AM winner Geoff Kabush leads Sandy Floren up the final miles of the climb.

Last years DH runner-up Nathan Riddle on his blacked out Santa Cruz Blur

Last years women's trifecta winner Katerina Nash looks to defend that title.

Samantha Runnels chasses Katerina down.

Olympic skier cross silver medalist Brittany Phelan makes her way up the Gold Valley Rim Trial climb.


No shortage of views of this newly reclassified section of trail. Thank you Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship!!

Scott and Amanda putting down some power.

Syra Fillat on her way to an under 30 women third place.

More views from the top of the climb.

Wait, is that Kurt Gensheimer the angry single speeder on the drums over there?

Yes, it is.

Views of Deer Lake.

Coming out of the new downhill section of the new Gold Valley Rim Trail cruises Geoff Kabush, on his way to a win and one step closer to defending his title.

Sandy Floren still chasing down Kabush. He will end up fourth on the day.

Katerina Nash on her way to a win and one step closer to defending her title.

Samantha Runnels on her way to a second on the day.

The infamous baby heads section. A few miles of chunky fast jeep road.

Rock gardens on the GVRT proved tough for people who were told this was an XC race.

Julia Bennett fourth place beginner looking comfortable on the GRVT

Lichen, lots.

Dusty baby heads.


Scott Chapin and Amanda Schaper flying towards a tandem course record.

Genevieve Kayat having a good time.

Jeff & Gabe Jantos having a really good time.

Long smooth rock rolls are a new feature in Downieville, nice addition!

Whistler BC's Chloe Cross down south to see what The Classic is all about.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Macho Man Randy Savage.

Leslie Oley cruising through baby heads.

Caution cold water can induce cramps at this point.]

Downieville claims another victim.

Heading out the gate first on Sunday's downhill race is Geoff Kabush, Here he is on his way to a win on the day and defending his last years All Mountain title.

Nathan Riddle roosts out of a corner on Sunrise trial.

Tristan Uhl on his way to a second place in the downhill.

Duncan Riffle attacks Sunrise Trail for a 4th place on the day.

Sean Estes
#panshotfriday with Sean Estes.

Jon Dickey making a pass and putting down the hammer for a third place on the day and a podium third place finish in the all mountain.

Comin' in hawt! One minute windows between riders doesn't mean you shouldn't expect to pass people.

Katerina Nash on her way to a win on the day and defending her All Mountain World Championship.

Brittany Phelan gets loose and comes away with a second on the day and a fourth in the All Mountain

Lindsay Dwyer flying through Sunrise.

Lindsay Helmuth cruising her way through the 5000' vertical foot downhill.

Myles Morgan on his way to taking Junior Expert Boys win in style. With a blistering time that would have seen him top twenty in Pro he's earned that style.

Mayhem in waterfall!! Passing here is a big crowd pleaser.

Andi Zolton screams through the rock garden waterfall.

Morgan Smith looking fast on Butcher Ranch Trail on her way to a Junior Expert girls win.

It wouldn't be a Downieville classic without the Ron's House Of Big Air river jump contest. Here is the defending champ Downieville's own McLovin.

And I'll leave you with the senior leadership team from Pit Viper sunglasses.

Find results here

There will be more photos posted soon here


  • 19 1
 Best event of the year. Real mountain biking where you have to be able climb and descend. Add in that there is no support and so you have to be self sufficient and it is the perfect race.
  • 17 0
 "Rock gardens on the GVRT proved tough for people who were told this was an XC race."

God forbid...
  • 7 0
 I used to hit that rock garden waterfall on a full rigid, now I pucker up on a 6" full sus. My shit is getting old. Hats off to all the SBTS crew who make Downieville and surrounding areas the Happiest Place on Dirt!!!
  • 2 0
 this is why everyone should go to their local bike park . ride your regular rig . put on a extra pad or 2 . maybe a full face and session sections . when you get back to your home trails you'll lol at some stuff you used to fret
  • 1 0
 @Ayyggss: this works regardless of skill level unless you live adjacent to a park and already ride lift served dh all the time (F you by the way!)
  • 1 0

you create your station in life and your excuses
  • 12 0
  • 4 1 Team Bike Church Shuttles (the father/son tandem team) invites you to San Luis Obispo for some excellent trail riding.
  • 1 0
 The smoke really wasn't that bad. Racing in the AM lead to pretty great weather conditions all things considered. It had also cooled down significantly from the days leading up to the race. I actually got goose bumps on the final climb/cruise to the saddle.

It got pretty apocalyptic during the evening of XC race day but by morning of day two, conditions were on point. Even with an 11am+ start time for me, conditions at the saddle were really good.
  • 3 0
 Got to meet Kabush a few weeks back. Super nice guy! And just because these guys suit up in lycra, that doesn't mean they won't smoke you down the gnarly stuff either.
  • 5 0
 last pic... white cowboy hat...
  • 1 0
 If look even closer you can see OG Greg W. enjoying the fruits of his labor. MTB legend.
  • 4 0
 The racers did well but the real hero is drumset guy.
  • 2 0
 Kurt Gensheimer is a legend
  • 2 0
 All the smoke from the wildfires in Norcal looks nasty in those pics. You can usually see Shasta and Lassen from DV but there are fires all over right now.
  • 1 0
 The smoke was pretty bad on the XC day, but cleared up a lot for Sunday's DH. After the climb on Saturday, my lungs felt like I'd just smoked a pack of cigarettes. And I know a few people who opted out due to the conditions.
  • 4 0
 is that a broken steel Soma? RIP
  • 4 0
 "Lindsay Dwyer flying through Sunrise."

That's Samantha Runnels.
  • 3 0
 Noticed that error as well. They've got a hardtail, Squid needs to make a FS bike now.
  • 3 1
 TLDR; but is this article thumbnail a one-handed manual on dirt?

I'm impressed
  • 3 0
 Yeow, get it Jeff!
  • 3 0
  • 1 0
 This event is on my bucket list. I drove through that area a few years back and know I gotta get back. It's like The Ponderosa from Bonanza out there. Just gorgeous.
  • 2 0
 Dope Looking Event! Looks like a Grinder
  • 3 1
 great pics yall
  • 1 0
 Congrat Myles my ginger baby has grown up.
  • 1 0
 So much skin tight everything. Why? Not hating, just legitimately curious.
  • 3 0
 It's a long climb, fast decent, and folks at the top take the race pretty seriously. Ounces, drag, and mobility all count!

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