I just got an email regarding the Annual Downieville Classic Race. It looks like it is cancelled this year. However there are some other events and happenings including a different Downieville Race and a metric Century ride which will be in that area. Click Read More for the details.
Dear Downieville Classic friends and family,
No doubt many of you have already heard the rumors surrounding the potential non-occurrence of the 2004 Downieville Classic. Well, they’re true. There will be no Downieville Classic event this year. But there will be some other fine happenings. Some explanations are in order.
First, Greg and Heather are going to be parents, sometime around the end of May. Second, they are in the process of building a house together. It’s going to be a busy summer for them, and since they have poured themselves heart and soul into the Classic for the last decade, they know that it’s going to be asking too much to pull off all three of these things in one summer. And, kids and houses just end up being priorities that can’t be pushed aside. Bike races, on the other hand, just aren’t as big a part of life.
Meanwhile, things are changing in Downieville. Originally, the idea of the Classic was to bring cyclists to Downieville and showcase the world-class trail riding in this area. Mission accomplished. There are two businesses running full throttle all summer nowadays, shuttling people up to Packer Saddle and renting bikes. Conservative traffic estimates put the number of people going down Butcher Ranch trail last summer at around 20,000. Twenty Thousand! It is safe at this point to say that Downieville has become a “destination”. Concurrent with this increase in popularity, there has been a gradual paring down of the Forest Service’s funding and ability to maintain these trails. More traffic coupled with less trail funding resources doesn’t look like a good long-term picture of health.
To that end, we have launched the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship (www.sierratrails.org). Our goal is to raise funds and maintain the trails around this area, in the hopes of keeping them from eroding into the watersheds around here, as well as keeping them buffed out and fun, not to mention OPEN for future generations to use and enjoy. It is going to take a lot of work. Last spring, it took us 300 hours just to clear the deadfall out of Butcher, Pauley, Big Boulder, and the Divides. All of these trails are in need of more extensive restoration, and most of the prime singletrack in the Lakes Basin is also looking pretty overgrown and shabby. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
So, no Downieville Classic, and another damn non-profit, you are probably thinking right about now. What about fun? Well, we’ve got a few things lined up: The Stewardship will be hosting three separate Mountain Metric rides this summer. Each will be between 50 and 60 off-road miles, and will incorporate some of the most epic, lesser known trails and scenery to be found in the northern Sierra. Barbecue lunches and aid stations will be provided on course. The rides will be timed, but will not be races. All proceeds will go to benefit the Stewardship. Dates (tentatively) are as follows: July 10th, August 7th, and September 11th. Routes are still being worked out, as are entry fees (at the moment we are calculating $40 for a bare bones entry- ride, t-shirt, lunch. $50 for ride, plus camping and showers, $60 for all that plus dinner and a beer. Still, nothing is set in stone yet). We should be able to provide camping, showers, post-ride vittles, some good music and libations. The usual Classic level of debauchery, just with a few more miles required to earn your party. Details will be on the website as we get them ironed out.
There WILL be a downhill race. Similar in format as before, just not put on by us. We hear that it is slated for the day after the September 11th Mountain Metric. That would be September 12th. Stay tuned for further details. All you downhillers can stop sending us angry emails now, okay?
Trail Daze. We will be putting on three of the things this year. There is no end to the amount of work that needs to be done. For those of you who think trail work is no fun, fine. That leaves more beer and pizza for the rest of us. Check the website for dates and details. All are welcome.
Okay, that about wraps it up. The Classic may be dead (for now), but there is a heck of a lot else going on. And we have some things up our sleeve for the onset of cyclocross season, as well as 2005, that should really blow a few minds. We hope to see you up here (remember, check out www.sierratrails.org to see what’s going on). Bring on the summer!
The Yuba Expeditions/Downieville Classic/SBTS crew