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Jim Hewett's Blog (106)

Downieville Classic DH Race 2018 - All Mountain Part 2

I felt pretty fresh as I blasted off from the start tent on my DH run Sunday morning.  I started 9th, with a ghost racer behind me and Ryan Gorman in front of me, so I didn't anticipate any company.  I had recovered from the vision problems of the day before and made it to the start line with glasses.

I pushed hard on Sunrise and came close to my fastest time, keeping it up down the fire road and across to the single track.  I had reduced the rebound damping on  my fork to 11 clicks…

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Added by Jim Hewett on August 7, 2018 at 9:28pm — No Comments

Downieville Classic XC Race 2018 - All Mountain Part 1

At the end of every season of mountain bike racing, there is the Downieville Classic All Mountain World Championship.

Though racing starts for me in March, I always try to tailor the last half of the season to have some fitness left for this NorCal testpiece.

This year found me in less than peak form, but eager to compete in the All Mountain category once again.  I had raced a Trek Fuel EX for a few years, with some good results, but this year I returned to a cross country race…

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Added by Jim Hewett on August 7, 2018 at 8:30pm — No Comments

CA Dirt Series #5 - Sugarbowl - Final Race of the Series!

After 4 rounds of racing in the CA Dirt Series, we made our way up for the 5th and final round at Sugarbowl ski resort near Truckee.  This race would decide the winner of the CA state championship series.  I was leading the series in points, so I knew I needed to have a solid race to clench the title for a second year in a row.

There were some fast guys that had not raced any of the races this year:  Tristan Uhl, Tate Mientjes, Xander Sugarman, Carson Benjamin, and Nathan Barton were…

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Added by Jim Hewett on July 10, 2018 at 10:30pm — No Comments

California Dirt Series #4 - Riding High at the Ranch

This is a race that has been happening for years in Susanville, CA.  Due to the fact that Susanville is 270 miles away from Fairfax, and the very small pro field I had seen in past race results, I had never made the trip to do this one.  This year, as part of the California State Championship Series, it was solidly on the race calendar for me.

After 3 rounds, I was leading the state championship series.  Though back in a late base training period, I knew I needed to be there and get…

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Added by Jim Hewett on May 27, 2018 at 5:55pm — No Comments

California Dirt Series #3 - Hoot/Pioneer Trail

After a race fitness period, I was back in late base endurance training.  I wasn't sure what to expect from my legs for the 3rd race of the California state series, but I knew I had to show up to get what points I could.

I placed second at this race last year, and knew what to expect from the course.  The start was flowy and then straight and fast.  There were some wide open slightly downhill fire roads that emptied into singletrack before a bit of climbing.  Once we turned left, it…

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Added by Jim Hewett on May 21, 2018 at 11:00pm — 1 Comment

The Lemurian Shasta Classic 2018

Back up to Redding for the Lemurian, a great single loop mountain bike race that has lots of climbing and some great singletrack.  I raced my Trek Top Fuel again, this time with Vittoria Mezcal tires and a 34 x 9-46t drivetrain.  Though the Mezcal is quite heavy for an XC race tire (730g), it is a very fast roller and puncture resistant, with decent grip.

The competition has thinned at this race over the years, but there are always 5 or so fast guys.  Stephen Mills has been winning…

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Added by Jim Hewett on May 10, 2018 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Sea Otter Classic Pro XC

The Sea Otter Classic pro XC race is always a challenge for me.  An international field racing a short XCO style course means that the bottom half of racers usually don't finish on the leader's lap.  I've had to accept that I am now finishing in the bottom half of a national level pro field, so it is really a race to see how many laps I can complete before I am pulled.

This year, it was also the first race of the California State Championship Series.  The California racers would be…

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Added by Jim Hewett on May 10, 2018 at 4:38pm — No Comments

California Dirt Series #2 - Round Mountain

I am prioritizing the races in the California Dirt Series this year, as the series determines the California State Champion.  I was consistent enough in last year's series to win the Pro class overall title, so I'm doing my best to make it two in a row.

This course at Round Mountain was a new venue, but the NVCDC/California Dirt races are always good.  The track comprised a 5 minute climb to get up to the top of the mountain where we would then do 4 laps.  My son Simon raced before…

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Added by Jim Hewett on May 6, 2018 at 11:24pm — No Comments

CCCX Fort Ord, March 4

The Base Phase of training had just ended, so I decided to get a fast pace workout in by heading down to the CCCX race at Fort Ord.

Rainy weather had given some firmness and grip to the sandy trails, and the cool temps and sunny weather promised ideal conditions.

I lined up with Carson Benjamin, Kell Mckenzie, and a bunch of young guys that I didn't recognize.  We cruised up the paved road start and turned into dirt with Carson in front and me second wheel.  The course was VERY…

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Added by Jim Hewett on March 4, 2018 at 10:55pm — No Comments

Old Caz 'Hopper 2018

Once again, the Old Cazadero Grasshopper pops up just in time to add a little spice to the early season training.  Never the right thing to be doing in my first periods of base training, this race nonetheless tempts me to go out there and see how things are going.

I have had many top ten finishes on this course, but the competition has been getting deeper every year.  Add to that the decline of fitness that seems to inevitably come with age, and it becomes more and more of a…

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Added by Jim Hewett on January 29, 2018 at 12:00am — No Comments

First Time Racing The Annadel XC

The XC race at Annadel State Park in Santa Rosa is a great single loop race that isn't too far from where I live, but I had never done it before.  I usually try to stretch some fitness into August for The Downieville Classic, but this race is so late in the season that I have passed on it...until today.

I figured I would give it a try, as I had heard the course is good.  Though I had a cold for the week leading up to the race, I was able to pre-ride the course on Friday.  It involves…

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Added by Jim Hewett on August 13, 2017 at 11:49pm — No Comments

Another Year, Another Downieville All Mountain Race - DH Edition

Okay.  A new rear derailleur solved the chain drop and my legs were feeling pretty good, prior day's racing considered.It It looked like Wicks opted out of the DH, so I had a ghost rider in front of me for my run.  I didn't figure I would make two minutes on the guy that started 8th, so everything would be set for me to have a clean run.  It was a little warmer than the day before, but my relatively early start time kept that from being a factor.

Sunrise went down smoothly, within 3…

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Added by Jim Hewett on August 7, 2017 at 9:30am — No Comments

Another Year, Another Downieville All Mountain Race - XC Edition

I was back this year for another crack at the Downieville Pro All Mountain weekend.

This year, I was racing a 2017 Fuel EX with 130mm travel in the back and a 160mm Pike on the front.  This longer fork raised the bottom brackett a little and slacked out the head tube, both of which come in handy for me when riding fast into the many rocks on the course.  I chose Maxxis Minion SS tires front and rear, with a low tread center to roll fast and chunky side knobs for cornering traction. …

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Added by Jim Hewett on August 7, 2017 at 9:21am — No Comments

Carson City Offroad

The good burst of XC racing in NorCal ended a few weeks ago, which works for me as my fitness is usually down in June as I prepare for another peak in August.  I have gone back to some endurance oriented base miles, so I thought it would be fun to check out a longer race not too far away.  The Epic Rides Carson City Offroad is a 50 mile race and a weekend-long mountain bike race festival.  It is part of a 3 race series, and the prize money is quite good, so the Pro field is very…

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Added by Jim Hewett on June 20, 2017 at 12:00am — No Comments

Nevada City Dirt Classic #3, Final State Championship Series Race

April and May are the strongest months in NorCal for XC racing.  I had raced about every weekend for these two months, with the real block of competition starting with the first NCDC race and ending with this one, the last of the series.  After a second place in the first and second races of the series, I was in a good position to win it all and be crowned California State Champion in Pro class.  I was leading the points, with Cody Schwartz being the only other person that was within…

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Added by Jim Hewett on May 22, 2017 at 12:15am — No Comments

Old Cabin Classic 2017

This was my second year doing the recently revived Old Cabin Classic.  Last year I finished 5th in a pretty strong Pro  field on the 3 lap, 33 mile course.  I was back for more this year and I hoped to put in more consistent lap times.

Cathy and I arrived Friday and did a pre-ride.  Definitely a good idea, as there were a few technical sections and one tough short climb that would have surprised me if we had not.  The course conditions were a little different than last year, and we…

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Added by Jim Hewett on May 15, 2017 at 12:27am — No Comments

Nevada City Dirt Classic #2, California State Championship Series, Berms for Days

The three Nevada City Dirt Classic races comprise the California State Championship series for 2017.  I placed second in Pro class at the first of the three, and traveled to the second for more series points. 

This one was on the trails of the Sanchez family property near Nevada City, the location of the weekend before's TDS Enduro.  I had never raced there, but I figured that any course on these trails, even XC, would involve some spicy stuff, so I outfitted my Trek Top Fuel with a…

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Added by Jim Hewett on May 7, 2017 at 11:53pm — 1 Comment

The 30th Annual Lemurian Shasta Classic

Cathy, Simon and I were very excited to do The Lemurian Shasta Classic again.  Last year was the first year for those two, but I had raced this 28 mile single loop course many times.  Simon would be racing the 8 mile short loop, and cathy once again doing the long course.

We traveled up Friday evening and had a chance to preride Simon's course, which shares common trails with the start and finish of our course.  For him it is pretty much a gravel climb of 800 ft to the slightly…

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Added by Jim Hewett on April 30, 2017 at 10:03am — 1 Comment

Sea Otter Classic 2017

Cathy, Simon and I left early on Friday to make it in time for me to race the Short Track at 11:15 on Friday.  The course was very short and flat, with various sections of loose and slow materials ranging from pea gravel to sand.  I guess around 85 people started the race, and I had a pretty good first lap, coming through the finish about mid-pack.  I soon felt the effects of my hard start, and I was overtaken by 20 or so racers over the next few laps.  I think I completed 5 of the 8 laps…

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Added by Jim Hewett on April 24, 2017 at 11:20pm — No Comments

Nevada City Dirt Classic #1, 2017, First Race of the California State Championship Series

I had heard good things about the Nevada City Dirt Classic races.  Friends had told me that they were fun courses with a well-run grassroots feel.  I had them in mind when I was building my race calendar for 2017, and their designation as the 3 race series that would determine the USAC California state champion sealed the deal.

Mark GIbson and I drove up past Auburn and into the state forest to throw our hats into the ring in our respective classes, and for a little more training…

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Added by Jim Hewett on April 15, 2017 at 11:00pm — No Comments

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