Tom Ritchey, Thomas Frischknecht and Thomas' son Andri (in his US debut) competed in the All Mountain World Championships at the Downieville Classic this past weekend.
The (unofficial) “All Mountain World Championship” is a combination of a tough 33mile cross-country race from Sierra City to Downieville, that includes a one hour downhill. Stage 2 is the famous Downieville Downhill (winning time was 43:48 minutes by Adam Craig) on some of the best single trails in the Sierras. The riders have to compete both races with the exact same equipment. Only tire pressure and lube on the chain can be changed. A smart bike setup is key to success. Frishi was riding on a SCOTT Genius with a 150mm DT Swiss fork, the new SRAM XX groupo and2.25 Ritchey Z-Max tires, which he felt was the perfect setup for this kind of racing. Good technical skills are a must but not the only thing it takes to do well in Downieville. Even though there is a lot of descending, there is also a lot of pedaling is involved as it was a very anaerobic downhill. True all mountain riding at it’s best…
Tom reports on the downhill as: “a crazy fast -52 minutes. Starting at one minute intervals, I was passed by 2 free ride 6in. bikes, while I was racing my XC Scott Spark bike. This downhill was harder than anything I've done in a race situation...having two almost disastrous crashes....I still managed to pass three riders on the downhill and got skunked by the women's Downhill race winner, Rachel Lloyd, by three minutes!”
Tom took the win with his combined time in the 45+ category! (not too shabby, considering his 5-minute handicap for a late start!)
Frischi also did quite well in his short-term comeback with a 7th place overall placing, first guy in baggy shorts and still the fastest of the old guys…
The untouchable winner was US national champion Adam Craig, who won both the cross-country and the downhill race.
Along with Tom Ritchey and Frischi, other “all (or old) star riders” such as Brian Lopes, Miles Rockwell and Greg Herbold competed in the 14th edition of Downieville Classic. Tom was excited to race against Gary Fisher over the two days - Gary was there and signed up, but for an unknown reason he pulled out last minute.
Congrats to Frishi’s son, Andri, who won the “all mountain world championship title” in the junior’s race.
It’s a great event that still has the spirit of mountain biking like in the old days. Free beer, pancakes and tacos got everybody in a good mood. The party with live music and funny side events like the river jump contest or the pixie bike race are just as important as the racing itself. It’s a wonderful festival with the true soul of mountain biking.
Here are a few shots from the weekend.
Tom and Andreas Hestler post race.
Tom and Santa Cruz Bikes founder, Rob Roskopp, at the top of the Downhill.