DOWNIEVILLE CLASSIC: SATURDAY XC GALLERY
Carl Decker made it two in a row in California’s Gold Country over the weekend after winning the Downieville Classic All-Mountain World Championships in 2010 and 2011.
Decker, of Bend, Oregon, won Saturday’s 26-mile cross-country race from Sierra City to Downieville and then placed second in Sunday’s 17-mile Downieville Downhill. The XC course had to be shortened by a few miles due to snow and heavy stream flows.
Aaron Bradford, meanwhile, won the DH, nipping Decker by about five seconds. And while that may sound like an eternity in a normal downhill race that may last four minutes and racers are separated by tenths of seconds, consider that Bradford’s time in the Downievill DH was 38mins 49secs. Rounding out the top three was Kenny Burt at 39.31.
Saturday’s cross-country race wasn’t as close. Decker won the XC aboard a beefed up Giant Anthem X 29er in 1hr 32min 50sec. Second and third were Josh Carlson and Mike West at 1:36:41 and 1:37:52 respectively.
Putting the XC and DH together for the all-mountain bragging rights in the men’s category were Decker in first, Bradford second, Aussie Sid Taberlay in third, Kenny Burt in fourth and endurance specialist Alex Grant in fifth.
Was mention made that racers competing in the all-mountain category had to race the exact same bike on Saturday and Sunday.
Decker’s Giant Off-Road Racing teammate Kelli Emmett started her bid to win back-to-back all-mountain titles as planned. She won Saturday’s cross-country handily in 1:49:32. Giant-Northstar rider Lizzy English rolled across about 12 minues later followed by another endurance pro, Cheryl Soronson of Team CF.
But the cycling gods struck Emmett on Sunday when she broke a chain on the downhill. The mechanical cost Emmett, of Colorado Springs, a boat load of time.
That meant the downhill title as well as the all-mountain crown were English’s to lose. And she delivered with a DH run of 45mins 42 secs. Next up was Soronson about 3.5 minutes back. In third was Joy Parlen at 49:53.
English, therefore, is Downieville’s new all-mountain queen. Emmett managed to hold on to second place while Soronson, of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, ranked third.