Every Spring the vintage mountain bike dorks (me included) look forward to the season opener of the Keyesville Classic. This race is 22 years old and I am proud to say that I have been there for 21 of those. It’s easily my favorite race when you include trail quality, scenery, and atmosphere. The course is tucked in the mountains along the Kern River in the Southern Sierras so it’s a fantastic place to ride. Vintage racers traveled from Colorado, Texas, California, Oregon and Idaho for this event. For many of them, this is the first time they’ve seen trails that aren’t blanketed in snow during in March.
Traditionally, the Keyesville Classic is a modern-day race with modern bikes. About 5 years ago, the promoters were receptive to my idea of running a vintage class and they have supported every year since. It’s currently the largest vintage mountain bike gathering in the United States. We race cross country, short track and downhill right alongside the modern bikes. There are two classes: 1) bikes that are from 1986 or earlier and 2) bikes built from 1987 to 1995. The racers themselves range from beginners class to expert class racers but it’s categorized by bikes not ability or age, which makes it sort of unique.
Throughout the weekend we camped together in a nice grassy open field and spent at least 3 days talking about old bikes and of course shit talking to ramp up the race day competition. There was some good pizza and fantastic fillet mignon to be had with local micro brew beer flowing all weekend. Spare time in between races was filled by some fly fishing, campfire s’mores, a vintage bike show and the group of downhill racers streaking through camp at night.
I’m already looking forward to the 2011 Keyesville race.
There are more Keyesville Classic photo sets coming so keep checking back.