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  1. #1
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    Downieville for Noobs

    Ok, so I am doing a weekend in Tahoe with some buddies at the end of the month and wanted to stop at Downieville on the way home. We want to stop for around 3, maybe 4 hours and ride there for the first time. Problem is, none of us have ridden there and none of us have any clue which trails to ride. Any suggested routes? Also, can you drive your own car to the top, or do you have to go with an organized tour company?

    All help is appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Proud lame eBiker
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    Use Yuba Expedition, or the other outfit in town, and have them shuttle you up to the top.

    Take Sunshine(rise?) to Butcher Ranch to Third Divide to Upper First to Lower First Divide Trail back to town. That's the standard 'dh' ride.
    www.velocitybicycles.comWhere customers become friends, not simply a dollar sign.

  3. #3
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    Yup - YE folks will fill you in with any details you need - great info on their web site - http://www.yubaexpeditions.com/ . Also, the trails are well marked, so no worries there either.

    Check the schedule and make a reservation when you know what your plans are:
    http://www.yubaexpeditions.com/pages/trailshuttles.html

    And if you need to rent (or want to try) a bike, YE keeps their rental fleet in excellent shape (not like N* or others). Last year when I rented a bike in October it was in 'like new' condition - so I bought it! Very cool!

    Final note - YE invests a lot of time and $ in the Downieville trail system. Great people to meet, talk to and work with. Have fun!

  4. #4
    mikeb
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    you can drive to packer saddle BUT...you either have to ride back up or have another vehicle in downieville big enough to carry you and your buddies back to get the vehicle that took you there.

  5. #5
    Track Junkie
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    Expect to spend more than 3 or 4 hours riding the "Downieville Downhill" if you have never done it before. Shuttles leave about every hour, and the shuttle ride to the top takes about an hour. For your first time, expect the typical downhill to take 2 hours (including all your stops and mechanicals).

    -B
    I get paid to ride shotgun.

  6. #6
    Ebo
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    I left you a tip in the Downieville sticky
    Last edited by Ebo; 06-14-2008 at 10:31 AM.

  7. #7
    Lusus Naturae
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    Are you mountain bike newbs or just new to Downieville? If the former, I honestly don't recommend D-ville. If the latter, just take the shuttle and follow the other fools on the trail.

  8. #8
    openwound
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    As has been asked, are you new to riding dirt or just dville? If you're just new to downieville, it shouldn't take you more than four hours. Maybe about 4 tops if you stop to eat and take pics and dick about.

    Definitely visit the good folks at Yuba. They'll hook you up with trail maps and they've got sweet rides to rent, too.

    The signage on the trails has improved over the years and you shouldn't really have too much trouble finding your way down the hill. Remember that since they run shuttles on a regular basis, there are bound to be more folks coming along every so often. As long as you don't get too far off of the beaten path... As has been suggested, you might also try following a group that knows the area. Though that could be a recipe for disaster if they're really rippin'.

    I'd definitely recommend their shuttle service, too. As has been mentioned above, you *could* drive your car to the top but if don't have a second car to use to fetch it, riding back to the top would suck in a rather large way.

    Be sure to pack tubes, tools, food, and water. And don't forget that, even though it's June, you are riding in the Sierras.

    Have a great time!

  9. #9
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    All of you guys are missing the TRUE fun of the D-ville experience - Forget the shuttle vans. Ride up to Packer Saddle.
    It really not that hard of a climb, just takes a long time.
    Its all Shits and Giggles until somebody Giggles and Shits

  10. #10
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    All of us are good riders, we just have never ridden Downieville before.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for all the advise guys! If we were to book a shuttle, how far in advance do I need to make it? And also, how many people can go per shuttle. We are going to be either 5 or 6, so I don't know if we can all go together.

  12. #12
    openwound
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    Book the shuttle as early as possible. They do fill up. Each shuttle holds 10 riders, I think. They're big vans with major rackage.

  13. #13
    mikeb
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    Quote Originally Posted by voodoochild
    Book the shuttle as early as possible. They do fill up. Each shuttle holds 10 riders, I think. They're big vans with major rackage.
    doesn't one of the shuttle companies use a retired school bus or is that something i remember from a few years back?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoBalance
    Are you mountain bike newbs or just new to Downieville? If the former, I honestly don't recommend D-ville. If the latter, just take the shuttle and follow the other fools on the trail.
    This brings up a question. At what point would a rider not be too much of a newb at mountain biking to attempt Downieville? Is there a certain amount of time in the saddle you would recommend before trying it?

    What about just riding up lavezzola road and taking first divide back to town?

    I ask because my family camps near Downieville every summer. I have just gotten into mountain biking for about a month now. I'll be up there next month with my bike ... and it just seems hard to pass up the experience ... but I don't want to break my melon either.

  15. #15
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    1st Divide can be missed if you don't know where it starts. When coming down the fireroad, right after the bridge, veer right and drop down off the road. You will see the signs and trail. Its not marked out on the fireroad. About halfway thru the First Divide trail you will cross the road, (don't wall ride dude's trailer) and once across the road, continue to follow the trail. When it comes to a 90 degree turn, take the upper trail, not the lower one. You will see a small sign on tree to guide you. The trail will take you back into town.

    Quote Originally Posted by thepaul
    This brings up a question. At what point would a rider not be too much of a newb at mountain biking to attempt Downieville? Is there a certain amount of time in the saddle you would recommend before trying it?

    What about just riding up lavezzola road and taking first divide back to town?
    Within the last week, two different people have posted in the forums here that Downieville is akin to vanilla XC. That kind of pisses me off, because its far from vanilla. People that are newer to the sport see those kind of posts, and think they can just run up there and blaze the trail with 2 dollar bikes and no gear. Even if you have intentions of riding slow and cautious, there are parts of the trail that cause you to hit some serious speeds, braking or not. Not to mention big rocks, roots, sketchy decents, unpredictable trail conditions, shears, etc. I'm not trying to say that you have to be Joe Professional to navigate the trail, but it definetly is NOT vanilla XC. I've seen plenty of people packed out of there with serious injuries.

    There are other trails up there that you can ride straight out of town without taking a shuttle (Chimney Rock, new trail to Goodyears, etc.) And those trails have alot of climbing and such, but aren't quite as crazy as the main downhill trail. One could definetly ride up L Road and take 1st Divide back into town. Just be mindful of some of the shears on 1st Divide. I had been riding for about year on mountain bikes, and been racing BMX for about three years before I went to D-ville. Still crashed like crazy the first few times I was there. It gets better once you know the trail.
    Last edited by renderedtoast; 06-15-2008 at 10:13 AM.

  16. #16
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    Are all the trails here singletrack? I hate riding down fire roads when I know that there is sweet singletrack just a few miles away.

  17. #17
    Mountain Lion Bait
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    From 3rd to 1st divide, you have to ride the fireroad. Some of the other trails up there require riding fire/access roads, but you will be too busy blowing out your lungs and guts on the climbs to pay much attention to whether its a road or a trail.

  18. #18
    Urban Ninja
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    You can pedal (which I often do as I'm in Downieville a lot) or you can get the full D-ville experience by taking two shuttles. One early (9am) and do Pauly Creek to 3rd divide to 1st divide. Then take the 2nd shuttle at or 2pm and do the DH course Sunrise/Butcher Ranch/3rd/1st.

    Downieville Outfitters is the shuttle company I would suggest. I get a better vibe from Gregg than those guys at Yuba. I think that D-ville Outfitters is cheaper also. Gregg will give you good directions on how to get down. It's fairly intuitive, but make sure to buy some maps at the bike shop before you head up though. Have fun!

  19. #19
    Ebo
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    Why skip 2nd divide?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by renderedtoast

    Within the last week, two different people have posted in the forums here that Downieville is akin to vanilla XC. That kind of pisses me off, because its far from vanilla. People that are newer to the sport see those kind of posts, and think they can just run up there and blaze the trail with 2 dollar bikes and no gear. Even if you have intentions of riding slow and cautious, there are parts of the trail that cause you to hit some serious speeds, braking or not. Not to mention big rocks, roots, sketchy decents, unpredictable trail conditions, shears, etc. I'm not trying to say that you have to be Joe Professional to navigate the trail, but it definetly is NOT vanilla XC. I've seen plenty of people packed out of there with serious injuries.
    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I have been going back and forth (depending on which topic I am reading in these forums at the time) about what I will do. As of now I think I might just hold off until next year before hitting the main Downieville downhills. If I could find some other (easier) trails in the area, that will be great. I will have to ask for info at Downieville Outfitters when I get there.

    I am probably one of the people you are talking about with a 2 dollar bike (well it is a 500 dollar Jamis hardtail, but for all intents and purposes.. the same thing). I have been riding trails in my area that are listed as "expert" or "weekend warrior" by websites like dirtworld .. but I am under no delusions that they are equivalent to Downieville.

    Next year I will have my Heckler and more experience ...

    Thanks again .. you may have helped insure once less helicopter rescue this summer

  21. #21
    rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebo
    Why skip 2nd divide?

    2nd is a great ride, it is about twice as long as 3rd divide and takes at least three times as long. Plenty of climbing going down 2nd. As in lose elevation & gain it back again and again. Lots of spots where you can carry some really serious speed into some way more serious exposure. Yikes! Knowing 2nd well is the only safe way to carry real speed down it.

    So, I'd suggest that a D'ville noob do the usual DH run a couple of times and possibly Pauley as well before doing 2nd. Then, when you are fresh (this is important!), access 2nd on your first run of the day via the usual DH run (maximum freshness). At the top of 2nd take a good hydration/snack break. Keep the safety meeting to a minimum. Then head in with the mindset of controlling your speed and getting your flow/rhythm on, plan on walking a few sections. It will be great.

    If you are a world class rider who can blast into unknown gnar without a thought, the above can be ignored...
    Last edited by 29erchico; 06-15-2008 at 08:05 PM.
    Abandoned the 26" wheel in May '03

  22. #22
    openwound
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    electric kool aid shuttle service

    Likely attributable to an acid flashback or the like... You might wanna get that checked out.

    I haven't been riding there all that long, maybe since 2001. It wouldn't surprise me if there were something rather colorful like that in the town's past.

    cheers.

  23. #23
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    I was just there this weekend.
    If you want to save some money on the shuttle, just drive up to the top with your own car ride down.
    buy ONE shuttle ticket to go back and pickup your car drive back to town and puickup your friends. shuttles run till 5:00 I think.
    only thing that sucks is that it took 1.5 hrs just to pickup the car. then I had a 2.5 hr drive home, made for alot of driving. but saved $66 on shuttle costs.
    thats alot of pizza and beer
    Three out of the four voices in my head say, "Go for it!"

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  24. #24
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    Which run is considered the "downhill run"? Also, I saw its an hour drive to the "top". What is the "top" considered to be (Which trailhead)?

  25. #25
    Urban Ninja
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpine93
    Which run is considered the "downhill run"? Also, I saw its an hour drive to the "top". What is the "top" considered to be (Which trailhead)?
    Dude, just call Downieville Outfitters. They'll give you all the information. 530 289 0155

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