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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Jumps with Nicoya

This year at the Downieville Classic, Rachel Lloyd had a much better DH run than I…everybody had a better DH run than I. I flatted in the second turn. And, at the 1st water crossing. And, in the rock garden on Butchers, and then on First Divide. My DH run took an hour and half.

By the time I got to town the sun had climbed high enough in the sky to take a direct and unobstructed aim on everybody’s head. I drank a lot of water, breast fed my baby, and then chugged a cold Sierra Nevada.

I knew that tomorrow’s cross country would be a suffer fest, and that there was no way I could climb out of the all mountain hole I had dug for myself, so I decided to enter into the river jump contest.

My husband says I have a bigger competitive streak than the ‘other’ kind of streak in his underpants, so I really wanted to nail the contest with a jump that nobody else could come close to.

And, I think did, with my baby’s help. The jump wasn’t as dangerous as it appears in the photo…Nicoya and I have been practicing for weeks in my back yard foam pit.
She felt comfortable in the air, but didn’t like all the water up her nose in the landing…thank god her crying did not affect my score.

marla streb
Marla and Nicoya go for a jump.

Downieville is a Classic in every sense of the word. The small Sierra foothill town of a few hundred, now a mountain biking mecca because it is surrounded by hundreds of miles of single track, originally cut by gold prospectors.

The Classic features an epic 40 minute DH, a grueling 3 hour cross country, and a unique All Mountain category where you race in both events on the same bike. The bike is actually weighed before the race start to prevent competitors from swapping out wheels sets, forks and other cheater stuff.

Mark Weir (WTB/Santa Cruz), is the Burgermeister-Meisterburger, of the whole shebang, crushed in the DH and still had enough in the tank to secure a fourth place in the XC, cementing another All Mountain win.

Rachel Lloyd, who formerly used to race for Gary Fisher, recently beat all other women in the Quad Dip-Sea Trail Run and scared the bejeesus out of a lot guys because she was really close to winning it outright. Anyway, Rachel smoked the DH and scored a 3rd in the XC so she was also All Mountain champ.

Rachel smashed the existing DH record, which was set two years ago, by…me. My river jump set two records though: one for distance with a baby, and one for poor taste.

(Disclaimer: Don’t worry. In the jump I was wearing a stuffed rag doll; Nico was safe in my husband’s arms the whole time.)