Recap of Destination Downieville

On the weekend of May 30th, Shine Riders Co held it’s inaugural Destination Downieville–a ladie’s-only retreat that was guaranteed to enhance the fun factor in your riding–resulting in a more confident rider.

Home for the weekend–the Downieville Loft–situated above Yuba Expeditions.
Photo Cred: Shannon Pakes

While our fearless leader, Lindsay (LBC) was the mother hen Friday and most of Saturday, but on her doctor’s orders, she headed home to rest and recuperate from a busted spleen.

We spent 3 days honing our skills, riding the infamous Downieville Classic Race course, and relaxing in the beautiful Tahoe National Forest. With Jacquie Phelan as my co-coach, the lady train focused on Butcher’s Ranch to the Third Divide.

Top of the challenging Butcher’s Ranch trail–part of the Downieville Classic Race course. Photo Cred: Shannon Pakes

We ate nourishing food cooked by Tristan McVay of Fox Racing Shox and El Salchichero all weekend, a Santa Cruz small business that specializes in hormone-free & humanely-raised meat. The high-quality and ample amount was needed from over 16 miles of technical downhill daily kept our bellies empty.

Photo from El Salchichero’s website.
Shuttles from Yuba Expeditions were on time and the drivers were knowledgeable about local fauna and flora. 
A shot of the Sierra Buttes by Diana Bauer

This all-inclusive ladie’s retreat delivered on its promise to kick your riding to the next level, as participant, Melissa Cline from Santa Cruz, California, told us that after returning from the trip, “I rode down the Emma McCrary trail today–and I shaved 2 minutes off of my time!”

Rider: Melissa Cline avoiding death on the trail. Photo Cred: Shannon Pakes

I demo’d the Ibis Mojo HDR, Ibis’ contribution to the 275 wheel-sized world. It was blinged out with the XX1 componentry and Fox Float with 140mm travel. Butcher’s Ranch started out as moto-trails–so these trails are rocky, shaley, jumpy and unpredictable. Rollin’ a carbon fiber bike with blingin’ carbon fiber wheels sketched me out on Friday, but by the end of the weekend I trusted the high-profile wheelset!

Rider: Joh Rathbun Photo Cred: Shannon Pakes

We had lunch at the feature we called Spaghetti Squash on Butcher’s Ranch.
From left to right: Diana Bauer, Shannon Pakes, Melissa Cline, Joh Rathbun, Sean

Staying at the Downieville Loft was key in comfort. As soon as we rode into town we headed straight there. To warm, filling food, and cold beer. And we fell asleep listening to the roar of the North Fork of the Yuba River nightly.

Rider: Melissa Cline Photo Cred: Joh Rathbun

Ride, eat, sleep, repeat. The trail never got old, and it was rewarding to see the progression we made as riders over the weekend.

Rider: Diana Bauer Photo Cred: Shannon Pakes

A quick reminder about body positioning–fore & aft will get you over the rollin’ singletrack!

Photo Cred: Shannon Pakes

Shine treated us to a wine night at 49 Wines Saturday night, where the lively proprietor, Will Clark regaled us with his travel stories and shared rare wines with us ladies.

Photo Cred: Shannon Pakes

With such a great group of folks, how could the weekend not be a success? (Jackie Harlow not pictured.)

From left to right: Diana Bauer, Joh Rathbun, Shannon Pakes, Melissa Cline, Jacquie Phelan

Joh Rathbun is an Action Sports Writer and ShineMTB Coach & Ride Guide. To stay up to date on West Coast events, or ride with her, like her Facebook page , or contact her at

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