What it is: A weekend of racing and partying in the Sierras where riders have to pick one tool for two disciplines: a 29-mile cross country race, and a 15-mile downhill with 5000 vertical drop.
The Dirt: Downieville is most famous for its races, and riders come to prove themselves hardened and unbreakable. 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'), to the crest of the Sierra Nevada (elevation 7,100'), 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 5000 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.
Details: 1.5 hours from Lake Tahoe. Registration is $90 for the cross-country classic, and $200 for the Downhill. August 1-4, 2013.