Santa Cruz Bicycles -  Downieville Classic - 2018

The Downieville Classic

 

23 years of the Downieville Classic

August 11 — 2018 | Downieville, CA

Just like that, the 23rd edition of the Downieville Classic is done and dusted. Santa Cruz and Juliana were well represented by Free Agents, Factory Racers, friends, and family in search of a good time. After all, it’s pretty hard to pass up shuttle riding, sleeping under the stars, and hanging by the river the days leading into the race.

The thing that shines about the classic is yes, it’s a bike race and an extremely difficult one at that, but it’s not your typical race. It's a festival and a party—people come here to let loose and have fun. There’s an energy here unlike any other: the kick-your-shoes-off-and-grab-a-beer energy that's a welcome change of pace from the typical start line to finish line hustle. Downieville transforms into an industry party loaded with racers, friends, and family camping throughout this sleepy town. This quiet town serves as a second home to most folks here at Santa Cruz, so maybe we’re a bit biased, but others have caught on and it was noticeable this year. 

The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship has been the non-profit mastermind behind this event since it's inception. They’ve been fighting the good fight for trail access as well as building miles upon miles of multi-use trails in the region. There were over 800 racers registered for the Downieville Classic this year and all the money raised goes right back into maintaining this beautiful corner of the world.  

scb18_dv_062.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Santa Cruz, the place to be to watch the finish and podium celebrations.  

With fires looming in the nearby area, there was some worry about how smoke would impact the race. As the weekend neared, rumors of shifting winds turned into talk of clearer skies, and eventually the smoke began to clear. A thin layer of ash covered every surface and some resting smoked blankted the valley on the morning of the XC race. It wasn't the ideal condition everyone had hoped for but those who persisted through the dust and ash made the climb to the saddle through it anyway.

 

scb18_dv_003.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Man and his machine versus the mountain.

Our two heavy hitters for Santa Cruz Nathan Riddle and Duncan Riffle would both fall victim to mechanicals on day one and two. Sadly it ruined both riders chances to make a return trip to the podium (Nathan took XX last year and Dunca XX). Geoff Kabush would return and continue to dominate the men’s race, while his better half Katerina Nash showed the same dominance in the women’s race.

scb18_dv_074.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Duncan always races to win and was one of the first Pro men to animate the race but a mechanical held him back in the end.  

On the Juliana side, we were honored to have former Olympic silver medalist and Juliana Free-Agent Britt Phelan aboard her fresh Roubion and charging headfirst into her first-ever XC race. Keep in mind the lycra-clad females she was combatting were on sub 25lb XC race bikes, but Britt stayed true to her Whistler roots and continued on with her enduro race rig equipped with downhill tires. After the punishing climb, the trail turned downhill and it was lights out as Britt went foot-out-flat-out passing the XC boys still on the course during the descent. Read on for more updates from the Juliana Crew at Downieville.

Get all the team results here.

scb18_dv_053.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Speedbump celebrated his birthday in Downieville this year - as if we needed another reason to crack open a cold one. 

scb18_dv_024.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

Josh Kissner (Product Manager) edged out the rest of the Factory competition this year.   

Santa Cruz and Juliana kept the party vibes rolling with a tent party and cheer section filled with your favorite people and beverages, including fresh squeezed Greyhounds courtesy of Scott Turner. You've gotta drink something to ease the pains from the night before, right? After the races wrapped up each day, the real race began - the one that starts at the river and ends at the St. Charles. Saturday evening hosted the log pull World Championships and we’re proud to say our own Brian Bernard claimed the title with equal parts strength and three-second beer drinking skill. Following his heroic endeavor, the crowds stumbled the 200 yards to the river to spectate the famous River Jump where our own Seb Kemp and Matt Wilbur suited up to represent the Santa Cruz family.

scb18_dv_045.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

All smiles as we let the air out of the sails from another successful classic.

scb18_dv_037.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

The second coming of Brian Bernard.

scb18_dv_054.jpg

Santa Cruz Image
Gary Perkin

The Downieville Classic wouldn't exist without all the hard work from this crew. 

Sunday morning came quicker and heavier than anyone hoped for. After clearing our throats of the soreness from Saturday's cheers and howls, we headed back to the expo for the final day. The Greyhounds and cold beverages continued to flow as we awaited the All-Mountain competitors to complete the ruthless downhill segment. One by one they trickled in and the town came to life once again. We awaited the awards ceremony and fought the heat by taking final dips in the river before tearing down the party tent and driving home.

Till next year the Classic lives on as a fun-filled memory of ripping, river time, and roaring with everyone who showed up...

Previous Next Post Links