DOWNIEVILLE, CA (BRAIN)—Epic riding, great eats, cool product—it all came together last weekend as the best mountain bikers in the world along with more than 30 exhibitors descended on Northern California’s Downieville Classic.
And once again, the resounding chorus echoed overwhelmingly positive vibes.
“The expo was full of mountain bikers checking out new products and we had our sprinter van with Nick DeLauder—our west coast technical services road rep—setting up people on their bikes and educating riders about their suspension and our 2010 lineup,” Elayna Caldwell, marketing manager for Fox Racing Shox.
It seems more and more big names are showing up to experience the Downieville buzz: Legends like Tom Ritchey (all mountain expert men’s 35-44 winner) and Gary Fisher.
“Having guys like Thomas Frischknecht and Tom Ritchey (pictured) on the Scott Team lent even more credibility to our brand and also put the event into perspective for a couple of guys that shaped our sport of mountain biking,” said Adrian Montgomery, marketing director for Scott USA’s bike division.
According to Yuba Expeditions Wayne Hoffman, who puts on the event each year, he saw more people roaming the exhibit area than last year. “Guys like Tom Ritchey were saying, ‘This is one of the best events I’ve been to.’”
Downieville’s rapid rise in popularity for racers and those in the industry is actually working against it in some regards.
“Downieville's popularity is also its biggest impediment,” said Dain Zaffke, marketing manager for WTB. “Several categories of the all mountain race filled up seconds after the online registration opened. The race gets a lot of negative attention about that. It seems like this situation is only going to get worse until other race organizers wake up and make other events similar to Downieville.”
But for now there is only one Downieville.
“Faster guys are showing up every year, and this edition saw a host of world cup racers attend,” Zaffke said. “That really adds to Downieville's credibility. We're also proud that Jason Moeschler (all-mountain overall 2nd place) gave Adam Craig (all mountain overall winner) a run for his money. When the local nice guy [and WTB’s OEM sales manager] has such a strong showing, it demonstrates the depth of talent that's always been present at Downieville. A lot of the locals kicked ass against some of the world's top pros.”
For more on this year’s Downieville Classic including extra industry feedback, be sure to the read the August 15 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.