Things were going so well.
We had completed one run of the Downieville Classic downhill course and we were standing atop Packers Saddle, mulling about, relieving our bladders and getting ready for a second drop to Downieville.
But somehow we had been unfortunate enough to be joined on the second shuttle by a 16-year-old man-child.
“I got third place on the Butcher Ranch segment on Strava,” said the young, lanky lad. “Anybody want to race me?”
We all turned to face our best chance at victory and his response was classic.
“Listen kid,” said David Scocca, our star player. “I’m 50 years old. When you have two kids, a wife and a mortgage you come back and we’ll give it a go.”
We thought this would be the end of it, but the young man was more savvy than we could have been predicted.
“Okay, then I’m just going to take it easy and ride down with you guys,” said the grinning teenager.
And so off we went, trying desperately not to be bated into chasing this skinny, not-as-of-yet-pimple-faced aggressor down off the mountain.
Regardless of what our adult minds were telling us, our own teenage minds couldn’t just let it go. And so a couple of close calls and a tiny bit of trail rash later, we finally pulled up and bid the young man adios and let him “escape.”
“Letting that kid go was the best decision I’ve made all day,” said Scocca.
Backing up just a bit, the lead of this story should be the fact Downieville Outfitters is open for business and running shuttles.
This normally would have happened earlier in the year, but Covid19 put things in Downieville on hold and it was only recently Greg and Sabrina at Downieville Outfitters got the shuttle moved to “essential” business status.
Downievilel is not quite open. The taqueria is closed. The River Inn is not going to open at all this year. And Yuba Outfitters is renting e-mtbs, but not going to run shuttles. But you can still get a Coke at the market and the pizza place is offering carry-out.
With the “kid” headed off down the trail alone we were back to our core group to complete our second “short” run. Sure there were plenty more stories, including an unholy rash of flats, a couple of weird mechanicals and a fair amount of cursing. And sure we drove in separate cars, we wore masks on the shuttle and we used liberal amounts of hand sanitizer.
But for a brief, but beautiful moment, the world almost seemed normal.
Not the new normal, but actually normal.
Special thanks to David, Vic and Herbie who were not only great riding companions, but like all good firefighters, they never left the scene until the fire was completely out.