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  1. #1
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    Hough/Mills/Downieville advice for the weekend of Sept 15-16

    Making an impromptu trip this weekend and have never made it further than Auburn (coming from Oakland). Tell myself every year and never do it. This will be the only free weekend I have for a month and a half — so going to wing it.

    Probably going to shuttle via Yuba to two of the aforementioned destinations this weekend.

    I'll be solo & will have phone/GPS/trailforks.

    Mt Hough seems fairly easy to do from videos and I plan to do it twice on Saturday.

    Between Mills and Downieville, which is easier to navigate? Mills seems a lot more straight forward. Should I do something else?

    Any recommendations on where to stay?

    (yes, I will search this forum)

  2. #2
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    ride downieville and mills. both are easy enough. especially if you take the shuttle. you'll probably have company if you want it if you take a shuttle.

    hough is also fun, but why do the extra hours of driving? shuttle the two close ones first.

    in order of flowier -> rowdier, it's hough (all flow), mills (some chunkyness), downieville (various routes have various levels of chunk).

    (there's other riding there too, but for a first time solo ride stick with the main options.)

    just remember: d'ville eats equipment, esp. tires.

    edit: also phone is mostly useless as a phone; there's wifi in downieville (museum and other places) and cell coverage once you're in sight of highway 89/70. maybe a touch of verizon in a few more spots.

  3. #3
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    You won't have any trouble navigating either trail. The handsome and charming guys down at Yuba Expeditions will go over the route with you and give you a map. You will most likely find someone on the van who is down to shred with you as well. Have a blast!

  4. #4
    J-Flo
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    If you haven't ridden in the Sierra, solo at Downieville is not something I would recommend unless you are experienced at chunky remote trails or fast enough to keep up with the others who will be in your shuttle. There is no cell service, a lot of steep hillsides and some cliff drop-offs that people and equipment have been known to go down, and no way out of there except on foot for very long stretches of trail. And spare tubes won't help if you shred a sidewall. If you are willing to take those risks, then go for it. The ride is great. I prefer the longer way down the XC course (about 17 miles from the top - new Gold Valley Rim Trail to Baby Heads to Pauley Creek to Butcher to 3d Divide to 1st Divide); that ride is especially excellent with the new trail (formerly PCT) replacing fire road for the first 4 miles. But only about 10-20% of riders go that way so, again, riding it alone is not something I recommend. You might not see anyone for a while or even at all if you need help. The classic downhill route (Sunrise to Butcher) is shorter and easier to follow, and a bit steeper and rockier on Upper Butcher, and is the one I would take if alone because it has more traffic and someone else is likely to come along if you need help.

    Mills Peak is also a terrific ride, and can easily be ridden as an up-and-back with no shuttle. That one is less trafficked but also is less challenging, so maybe a bit less risky for a solo ride. If you are shuttling and not climbing, you can do Mills and Downieville in the same day.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for all the tips!

    Will probably skip Downieville this time as a soloist. Hough and Mills seem much more accessible for a first go.

    Will report back to this thread to help the next n00b after me.

  6. #6
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    How much of a noob are you? As in what can you ride?

    The thing about a shuttle is that you can join other people taking the shuttle. Then you won't have to ride alone. On a weekend there will surely be others willing to go with you. The signage is good if you take the Sunrise->Butcher->3rd route.

    This applies to any of the rides--if you crash, you want someone to find you. Fewer places to fall off the side of Mills or Hough, but also fewer people to find you even in the middle of the trail. (Especially Hough?)

    Do Bring spare tubes, patch kit (can be usef to repair slashed tire), boot (aka $1 bills). And a small light never hurts.

  7. #7
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    n00b to the Sierras area.

    on the weekends, usually ride Demo or UC for reference in comfort level.

    Navigation is my biggest concern. Not sure how I survived pre-phone (lots of printed mapquest maps, remember those?).

    Downloading offline maps right now.

    Debating to bring my rebuilt 27.5 or 29er. Nimble vs monster trucking.

  8. #8
    J-Flo
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    Navigation should not be a real problem at Downieville. There are some intersections with no or unclear signage on all routes but just follow the map that they have at the bike shop, write down instructions for how to make the junctions, and follow all the tire tracks. Mills Peak is even easier as there is only one short road interruption of the trail. Also, Trailforks tends to work even without a cell signal if you download the map first.

    My cautions are due to the fact that I have crashed on a few solo rides and know how much it can suck, and safety is a priority for me. I don’t like to ride some of my favorite Bay Area off-grid trails alone even though I know them well, but that’s because they get no traffic and I ride mid-week in late afternoon.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    I dig trails!
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    Sounds like you have a solid plan together! Go have fun!

    Like said above, Yuba Expeditions staff and shuttle drivers will help point you in the right direction, there are maps at the shop. And you can usually hop in with other riders.

    The Lost Sierra is all doable with intermediate skill riding, but greater skill is needed with greater speeds. Just stay in your comfort zone.

    Here is how to use your phone to navigate without a cell signal if you are worried about it:
    http://www.adventurealan.com/iphone-...p-backpacking/

    Reserve your shuttles spots in advance: Downieville Downhill Shuttle Reservation

    P

  10. #10
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    If you can ride demo and UC down to 9 then all these trails are fine for you----I ride demo flow and sawpit when I could and braille is beyond me and I ride downieville with no issues----it is hard at speed and I'd say intermediate at less speed----note I am 65 and do this on my Pivot 429 so a trail bike is fine----more travel would be better but this is what I have. If you do have an issue I agree downieville is a tough place to have it

  11. #11
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    Downieville is easy to navigate.

    Get a shuttle up to the top. Download trailsforks, download the California region. Whenever you come to an intersection go the way you think you should go for like 100 feet. Pull out your phone, open trailforks, confirm you are on the right track. It uses GPS so you don't need to worry about data or service at that point.

    Have fun and die on the climb up to 3rd divide.

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=J-Flo;13814131]If you haven't ridden in the Sierra, solo at Downieville is not something I would recommend unless you are experienced at chunky remote trails or fast enough to keep up with the others who will be in your shuttle./QUOTE]

    2nd this... great advice.

    I often ride Dville solo, but I would recommend against it if you haven't been there before and don't have a good understanding of the geography. It can be a very long walk out of there.
    Last edited by Brah; 09-13-2018 at 01:12 PM.
    Live to Ride, Ride to Live

  13. #13
    wretch
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    [QUOTE=Brah;13814924]
    Quote Originally Posted by J-Flo View Post
    If you haven't ridden in the Sierra, solo at Downieville is not something I would recommend unless you are experienced at chunky remote trails or fast enough to keep up with the others who will be in your shuttle./QUOTE]

    2nd this... great advice.

    I often ride Dville solo, but I would recommend against it if you haven't been there before and have a good understanding of the geography. It can be a very long walk out of there.
    I think he'd have a blast riding Quincy and Mills and finishing at Brewing Lair! 1-2 laps on Quincy and jam over to Mills for a hot lap.

  14. #14
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    I'd ride Downieville with you (or anyone else) on Saturday with a late morning start. Never done it and would like to tick it off the list soon.

  15. #15
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    I survived!

    Did Mt Hough 2x on Saturday and the classic Downieville route on Sunday.

    Some random thoughts and observations:

    Hough:
    • barely made it back for the 2nd shuttle
    • dynaplugs work! (helped a kid on the trail)
    • not the most technical trail, but extremely fun, fast and flowly.
    • was the last guy down the mountain, not the smartest.

    Downieville:
    • super surprised I didn't rip a tire open, some jagged rocks up there
    • need to ride it a few times to really get comfortable with it
    • didn't clear those three rock obstacle/gardens, need to follow someone
    • loss the feeling in my hands on 3rd divide
    • having more travel would of been nice
    • composite pedals > metal flats (deal with rock strikes better)

    going to try to make it back in October, weather/schedule permitting.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by shapethings View Post
    I survived!
    Downieville:
    • super surprised I didn't rip a tire open, some jagged rocks up there
    Lucky you. Rode DV for the first time on Friday and it tore my Aggressor EXO - but I was able to get them to seal up, though I don't think they will last longer give I have a tear on the casing meets the side knob. Already ripped again, but sealed up again.

    Riding partner had 3 flats (we used all our 3 spare tubes). But now he knows, Nobby Nics no-good for DV! What tires did you run?

  17. #17
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    Running a 2.5 Maxxis High Roller II double down rear, 2.6 specialized butcher grid front

    buy the dynaplug set-up, should save you some tubes

    saw someone using the bacon strips or whatever they're called on 3rd divide, doesn't seem as elegant of a solution

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