Downieville Classic Mountain Bike Race celebrates 20th anniversary this weekend |

Downieville Classic Mountain Bike Race celebrates 20th anniversary this weekend

Amber Finch of Truckee holds onto her bike after launching off a ramp into the Yuba River during the Big Air River Jump during a previous Downieville Classic. The event is celebrating its 20th anniversary this weekend.
Sierra Sun file photo |



7-9 a.m. Registration - Sierra City Community Hall

9:30 a.m. Cross Country Race Start - Stage 1 All-Mountain World Championship - Sierra City

10 a.m. Downieville Class Expo (Event times TBD by race completion)

— Big Air River Jump & Shimano Cast Off Competition

— Cross Country Race Awards Ceremony

— SBTS Raffle & New Belgium Bike Auction

— Ride SFO Box Jump

— Log Pull Competition - Main Street Expo

8:30-11:30 p.m. - Downieville Classic Dance Party, Live Music by Joy and Madness - Santa Cruz Fire House Stage


9:30 a.m. Downhill Race Start - Stage 2 All-Mountain World Championship - Packer Saddle

10 a.m. Downieville Classic Expo (Event times TBD by race completion)

— Cozmo’s Wild Island Splashdown - Yuba Expeditions Expo Area

— Downhill Race Awards Ceremony, SBTS Raffle


The Downieville Classic Mountain Bike Race expects to draw hundreds of mountain bikers, fans, friends and families this weekend for its 20th anniversary.

The celebration surrounds the competition, which draws some top-tier mountain biking talent, with today’s annual 29-mile cross country race and a 15-mile downhill with 5,000 vertical drop race one day later.

“Downieville is most famous for its races, and riders come to prove themselves hardened and unbreakable,” the race website states. “The Downieville Classic Cross Country race is one of the last remaining point-to-point bicycle races in the United States.

The 29-mile course follows a rugged Gold Rush era route from the mountain town of Sierra City (elevation 4,100 feet), to the crest of the Sierra Nevada (elevation 7,100 feet), and down 5,200 vertical feet into downtown Downieville.

It’s considered a tribute to the mountains, the rivers, the big trees, the fresh mountain air and the hard men that carved trails through the river canyons in search of gold and prosperity.

“The Classic is followed by the Downieville Downhill, which drops 5,000 vertical feet in 15 miles from Packer Saddle to Downieville. It’s the longest and most demanding downhill mountain bike race in the nation. Not a racer? Not to worry. Nearly as famous are the Ron’s House of Big Air River Jump, the log pull competition, and a soundtrack of live music.”

The starting time of those festival events depend upon the finish of each day’s race.

The event was founded in 1995 by Yuba Expeditions owner Greg Williams, who told The Union in 2003 the opportunity arose while he was giving mountain bike tours in the area.

“The Chamber of Commerce was looking for a way to boost the economy,” Williams said of the race’s founding. “The logging and mining industries were suffering from changes in the Forest Service, and the economy up here started shifting to recreation. We decided we’d start doing a race.”

The Downieville Classic has since grown from about 100 competitors in the early years to nearly 1,000 today.

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