Vintage Radness at the 30th Annual Keyesville Classic
Photos and words by Erik Hillard
This past weekend was the 30th annual Keyesville Classic, the longest running mountain bike race in the United States. Because of its Vintage Class races, Keyesville is also a gathering of mountain bike restoration artists from across the country. Each year, a group of enthusiasts meets for the weekend with a beautiful selection of historic mountain bikes.
A chit chat vintage ride went out along the XC race course on Friday afternoon. The night was filled with campfire banter over how someone’s modern tires were too big for their vintage brakes and an amazing find of rare Steelman frames at an estate sale.
This was my second year heading to Keyesville to camp and ride with the collector crowd. Last year, Martin from Second Spin convinced me to join him and my interest in mountain bike history was only further fueled spending time with this enthusiastic group. It is cool to see how mountain bike design has grown in 30 years. Did you know IRD made a cable activated dropper post in 90’s?
Saturday, the impending rain held back until after the Short Track and DH races. These guys push their bikes hard on the courses and it’s a blast to watch. The race for first is heated and the fun crowd was smiling through that race face grimace. The famed “DH Snake Pit” is hairy and the new All Mountain crowd has nothing on these folks ripping the course on vintage steeds. Impressive.
Keyesville Classic is a great race venue with easy camping and well worth the trip up the Kern River Valley. I’m already looking forward to next year. Maybe I’ll even race. Maybe.