Machine Does Matter…a Downieville Classic Experience- Jake’s Blog

010Downieville Classic MTB Race  and festival was a fun and unique race, and I loved it!  The XC course the of the hardest I’ve raced with baby head rocks, washboards, jumps and drops not to mention the burly 8 mile climb.  Despite the gnarly terrain my Jamis Nemesis 650B carbon hardtail shredded the course and came across the finish line in 2:30:54 clearing the entire course!Downieville Classic 125

Why is Jamis 650B Carbon Hardtail a great bike for the Downieville Classic?  It’s great because it had nearly everything I needed for this demanding course.   The 27.5 wheel size worked great on the climb because it was the perfect wheelsize to help me keep a good cadence and it was great because it helped me keep my momentum and roll over rocky obstacles on the course.  On the flats the wheels kept my momentum going effortlessly so it felt more like riding downhill than it did like riding on a flat.  On the twisty singletrack descents the Jamis’ Nemesis 650B helped me to maneuver around tight turns and obstacles easily, and it rolled through rock gardens with such ease I felt like a Big Horn Sheep running down a rocky hillside!

Downieville Training 027My Panaracer NeoMoto All Mountain tires were life savers, literally.  Standard XC tires could not have taken the abuse on the Downieville trails and would have found you with a long walk to the finish line. The NeoMotos with their durable casing and tight knobby tread pattern protected my dreams of a Downieville championship like a suit of armor.  They are also light enough to climb while sticking to gravel and powdered dirt. They even stick to wet granite rock after making a creek crossing!  In his race, Nye experienced that they were burly enough to sustain a huge gash in the side wall but the tire still held together through the remainder of his race so he maintained his podium position!!  Now that’s a durable tire!!!

I’m not crazy like single speeders so I use Shimano XT line-up. The drive train worked flawlessly. The clutch derailleur kept my chain tight on it’s sprockets during the entire 20 mile descent!!009  The Shimano XT brakes…. Don’t get me going on the brakes THEY ARE SO AWESOME…with their IceTech system there was never any lever sag from over heating!  They were the bomb for this course with the tight corners, and sudden rocky/rooty sections when you have to hit the brakes fast there is no delay!

At the start of the race I was so glad I had a DT Swiss fork. It locked completely out so it was rigid, which was perfect for the paved road when I needed all of the power going into the pedals. The fork was also good on the downhill, absorbing all of the super rough breaking bumps and rock gardens. 007The DT Swiss HR1501 Spline wheels were stiff so there was no flexing when I powered up climbs and rumbling through the many rock gardens, too. They withstood drops, sharp pointy rocks and of course breaking bumps the size of beach balls!

The FSA SLK Carbon handlebars, stem and seatpost adsorbed all of the brutality of rocks and roots, while keeping my bike as light as possible.  I took some pretty hard hits but FSA components withstood it all….awesomeness!!

015 (2)My Ergon GA1 EVO handle grips were perfect to bomb the downhill with enough cushion that your hands don’t want to scream and a lot of grip that pairs up with the Ergon EX2 Gloves perfectly for maximum performance!!! The Ergon SM3-S saddle was comfortable, light weight and got me through the race with one happy tush!!!

022The XPEDO Ti M-force 4 pedals performed great, meeting my expectations yet again.  After catching some expert racers on a steep hill, the time came to jump off and run up the hill. Unclipping normally isn’t easy on a 15% grade hill but XPEDO pedals make clipping in and out easy. Even going off jumps and ledges I never came unclipped which is great because if I did it would have hurt!


I accomplished a lot in the Downieville Classic.  I finished the race and came away with  a first place only 3 sec off the overall Category winner and on a Jamis Nemesis 650B Carbon hardtail did the descent only 10 minutes slower than the top Pros.  It  just goes to show you that great equipment in capable hands =  Downieville Champion!!