We took a three o'clock shuttle to Packer Saddle and did a DH run: Sunrise, Butcher Ranch, 2nd Divide. Sunrise is a very flowy single track. There is almost no obstacles. Butcher Ranch has some technical sections. You can see in this youtube video how the rock garden topples many racers. After that, don't forget to check out how Mark Weir styles it like it's nothing.
One of the few rocky sections on 2nd Divide Trail. A few people we talked to say they will avoid 2nd Divide because it's exposed. For the most part, it's a sweet single track. There are a few very short hike-a-bike sections, but it's not that bad.
We planned on doing the Downieville Classic Cross Country Course, which involves 8-10 miles of climb with 4000 feet plus of elevation gain followed by a 5000 feet plus descent. Also, the course includes the notorious baby heads. I walked at least half of that section last year, so, when I cleared the whole section, I was quite excited about it. Never fast, I was able to pick my line through the littered rocks. When we got back to Downieville, Erik hitched a ride to Sierra City, 12 miles up the road, to fetch our car. And then we made two mountain bikers happy by giving them and their bikes a ride all the way back to the camp. We were all impressed how we all squeezed into my small SUV, a Honda CR-V. We crashed at the MTBR gathering site, and we attended the evening event, a raffle with a lot of weird contests. They gave out good prizes including frames and forks. Some people took the contests very seriously.
Initially, we were going to drive to Downieville, get a shuttle, and only ride the downhill, but when we drove through Sierra City, we couldn't resist the calling of the Sierra City Public Restroom because it marks the start of the cross country course. So we geared up and started our ride uphill. This time, we did not stop to take pictures and just kept riding pretending we were in a race. Half way, Mud dropped me by maybe a few hundred feet, but near the end I caught up with him. We topped out at Packer Saddle one hour and thirty seven minutes after we started. I got off my bike twice to push through some loose sections, which was a improvement over yesterday. We then took Sunrise Trail down, and then a fire road led us to the "baby heads" — we did not want to miss any excitement. After that, we were planning on riding Big Boulder Trail, but we ended up doing an out and back on a jeep road that didn't really lead anywhere. There was a group of four that got lost with us. When we finally were assured by two dirt bikers that we were on a wrong part of the country and turned around, we've lost more than two hours and were running low on water. Big Boulder will have to wait. So we followed the cross country course back. When we got back to town, it had been almost seven hours after we left our car and we were starving, so the two of us finished an entire 12-slice pizza.
For all the pictures from Downieville, please visit our gallery.