I’ve gotta be honest. I love Downieville mountain biking. We have done more mountain biking this summer than I ever have in my life. The majority of that mountain biking was downhill riding. We’ve been riding Northstar Resort here in Tahoe pretty regularly, about twice a week on average. To go with that, we have found a great free campsite just up the road from Northstar so we’re only a few minutes away each day. All that training and practicing at Northstar was going to come into play when Bailey’s mom told us that she had a family mountain biking getaway planned!
I had heard of the famed Downieville before, so I was anxious to get there and do some hauling ass. For those of you that didn’t catch that, it means going really fast. Last Thursday we loaded up the bikes, coolers, and our overnight duffels into their family truck and we headed off toward Downvieville, about a 3 hour drive from Sutter Creek. It wasn’t long before we were halfway there and taking a dinner break at the local In-N-Out burger. I had the 3×3 burger, animal style. It’s on the secret menu. You’re welcome.
Downieville Mountain Biking
We arrive late Thursday night, unpacked our things and settled in with an ice cold beer. There were big plans for Friday to tackle the infamous “Downieville Classic”, and thats exactly what we did. We loaded up all 3 bikes, and had Jean, Bailey’s mother, drive the 3 of us to the top of the Sierra Buttes about 30ish miles outside of Downieville. The Downieville Classic is no beginner trail. It’s about 15 miles of rugged downhill mountain biking with 6,000 ft of so of elevation loss. Sounds like pure bliss, right?
Family trip for Downieville Mountain Biking
The 3 of us rode through most of the trail with no problem. Top notch bikes really do seem to ride like Cadillac’s. I did pop my back tire coming around a turn and hitting a sharp rock so we were off course for about 20 minutes taking care of that. Once the rear tire was fitted with a new tube, we were off and rolling again. Ready for the last downhill portion. We burned down the rest of the trail with ease going from Sunshine Trail > Butcher Ranch > Second Divide > First Divide. The trail does split off in some spots but ends up coming back together down the line. For us, we cruised into town much later than we had originally intended. That is accredited to my flat tire and the super technical sections that Phil doesn’t seem to remember, LOL.
We rounded out the afternoon with a large pizza and some cold beers from the local pizza joint. This is the perfect way to cap off a great day of Downieville mountain biking. The evening was spent on the back patio of our lovely AirBNB rental. The views were unparalleled. Downvieville really is an amazing small town with a local feel. Check out the views from our patio below. Feet picture included.
Mountain Biking Downieville Classic
Next up for Downville mountain biking – Saturday! We had big plans. We would ride the lower portion of First Divide again before heading to a brewfest that was happening in Downieville that day. Perfect. Mountain bikes and beer? Yes please. Well, my riding didn’t go so well that day. My front tire got sucked into the bank on the left hand said, and I crashed pretty hard. I got a nice road rash on my right hip and a bruised heel. The real bruise though, was on my bike. I picked the bike up to notice that my front wheel was totally taco’d, bent up all to hell.
We spent a few minutes trying to bend it back to as normal as possible so we could get down the hill. The remainder of the ride my front wheel scrubbed on the fork each and every rotation around. Not the perfect setup, but it still rolled. We made it down without much more trouble, though I was already pretty beat up.
Downieville Brewfest to recover
What better way to heal some biking wounds than cold beer? I bandaged up my wounds and we all headed downtown for the brewfest. That afternoon was filled with many different beers. We even went swimming in the Downie river to give us a libation break.
I’m no saint. I drank entirely too much beer (as anyone who paid to get into a brewfest should) that day and wasn’t feeling so hot the next morning. The trip finished off with a big plate of bacon and eggs Sunday morning. As we left out of the valley that is Downieville, I was already wondering when we could come back to this magical place and also when my head would start feeling any better! You know, this whole trip reminded me of being a ski bum and going on the road. Thanks for reading about our grand journey that was all about Downieville mountain biking. See you on the next adventure!