The Downieville Classic Mountain Bike Race and Festival takes place each summer near Downieville in northern California. Founded in 1995 by promoter Greg Williams as a way of showcasing the riding opportunities available in the local area, it started as a 28-mile, point-to-point cross-country race, and by 1998, a downhill time trial had also been added to the programme.
Since then, the festival has been staged every year except 2004, and has become incredibly popular with riders from all around the world. The 2014 event, which will take place from 31st July to 3rd August, will feature a cross country race following a rugged ‘Gold Rush’ era route departing from the mountain town of Sierra City, climbing to the crest of the Sierra Nevada, before plunging 5,200 vertical feet into downtown Downieville.
This will be followed by the Downieville Downhill Race – dropping 5,000 vertical feet in 15 miles from Packer Saddle to Downieville, it is probably the longest and most demanding downhill mountain bike race in the USA. Only riders who complete the cross country race the day before are eligible to start the downhill race.
Riders who compete in both cross country and downhill races on the same bike qualify for the All-Mountain World Championships, for which the times from both races are combined to find the best all-round bike rider. Since 2010, this competition has been won each year by Carl Decker from Bend, Oregon, despite competition from riders including Adam Craig, Levi Leipheimer, Macky Franklin and Cédric Ravanel.