This year’s Downieville Classic saw some big changes. The event became the inaugural All-Mountain World Championships, the XC course gained two more miles of ripping singletrack and, for the first time in years, Team WTB didn’t dominate everything.
The weekend started with a completely sold-out field of 800 riders departing Sierra City, California for the point-to-point XC race. Chris Sheppard (Santa Cruz/WTB) and Ross Schnell (Trek) were the first two riders to crest the 3,000-foot climb. At the Downieville Classic, however, the race is won and lost on the rugged descent in to downtown Downieville. The first victim of the rough landscape was Sheppard, who sliced a rear tire while trailing Jason Moeschler (Team WTB/Santa Cruz) through the infamous “Babyheads” section.
“I passed Sheppard just before we dropped in to Babyheads,” said Moeschler. “I showed him all of my best lines through the rocks and I guess he flatted.” Moeschler expected to catch Schnell in a similar fashion, but the Trek rider hit the finish line first, with a 2:30-minute gap over Moeschler. Mark Weir (Team WTB/Santa Cruz) crossed the line a minute later in third. WTB teammates Moeschler and Weir spent Saturday evening strategizing how to capture the All-Mountain title.
|Caption: WTB's OEM sales manager Tom DeLacy. Jason Moeschler on the green machine. Moeschler and friends on the patio above the madness downtown|
“Schnell proved his strength in the XC,” Weir stated. “I’m normally really careful and conservative in my race run. This year I knew I couldn’t afford to be conservative. It had to be all or nothing.”
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