There’s a reason the tiny town of Downieville swells to a population nearly three times its normal size one weekend per year. This race, the Downieville Classic, has a magnetic pull that has drawn riders and families back these past 22 years. The “greatness” measure of a race or event often can be decided by any one of these factors: the quality and setting of the course, the challenge of the competition or the spirit of the community it binds together. The Downieville Classic is, then, rich in all three.

The race is permitted under Tahoe National Forest, making entries scarce and hard to come by. They sell out fast, so getting a spot means earning a special place that is part of a special yearly tradition. While the XC race has 600 riders, the All Mountain Category is limited to 350. Top podium spots earn entry into the next year’s Downieville Classic, amping the already fierce competition….

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Words: Bryan Yates

Images: Jordan Haggard/Crystal Haggard