Event Coverage: 25th Annual Keyesville Classic

Race Coverage

More than 20 vintage mountain bikes lined up at Keyesville

For those retro grouches who prefer rigid forks, cantilever brakes, Kevlar tension disc rear wheels and non-indexed shifters, Keyesville has also become an annual staple for the vintage mountain bike crowd. Every year a crew of hardy, enthusiastic folks from the MTBR Vintage, Retro and Classic Forum make the pilgrimage to Keyesville with their latest ultra-bling retro finds.

Yeti C-26 found in an Oakland basement

This year did not disappoint, with bikes that covered the vintage gamut including a gaggle of Ritcheys and Yetis, a couple of Team Fat Chance Yo Eddy!s and my favorite – Eric Rumpf’s ultra-rare, carbon fiber/steel/aluminum Yeti C-26 he found in an Oakland basement. Rumpf also brought his magenta, white and green 1990 Klein Attitude. Rumor has it that Tinker Juarez – who was in attendance this year – was trying to negotiate a trade of his high-zoot carbon fiber Cannondale in order to get back the very bike he used to race on way back in the day.

Pancho Herrara’s 1966 Porsche 912

Not only were there classic bikes at the 25th Annual Keyesville Classic, but there were also some classic machines of the petrol-burning kind. Pancho Herrara and Jeff Spaulding, employees of SRAM, drove over from San Luis Obispo in a pair of Porsches with bikes on top. The simplicity and classic patina of Pancho’s 1966 Porsche 912 made it my favorite, especially with the bright orange Ibis Tranny singlespeed strapped on top.

Jeff Spaulding’s 1993 Porsche 964

But Jeff’s 1993 Porsche 964 was an awe striking piece of engineering, a gorgeous and extremely rare machine with so much power that if not driven carefully, will wrap you around a tree before you can say Stuttgart with a mouthful of wiener schnitzel.

Sam Ames put on a terrific 25th anniversary event

In his first year promoting the Keyesville Classic, Sam Ames and his family put together a 25th Anniversary event that lived up to this legendary race in every way. Timing and scoring was accurate and on time thanks to Chris Bassett, beer from KRBC and food from Gear Grinder Grill were plentiful and the popular Keyesville Classic Raffle was a hit. My buddy Phil made the big haul, coming home with a brand new GoPro Hero2 camera.

What happens when you run a dry rotted 20 year old tire

The Keyesville Classic is a very special race in an equally special location. If you consider yourself a legit mountain bike racer and you’ve never done Keyesville, well, then you’re not as legit as you think you are. So mark your calendar for March 2014 and be sure to make the pilgrimage to Keyesville. Once you’ve been baptized in the Kern River, you can then consider yourself a truly legit mountain bike racer. Just kidding. But not really.

Photos by Kitsbow and Mtbr forum members Yo-Nate-y and hollister.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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  • Peter Wonderly says:

    Sadly, it’s almost never a “drunken Bakersfield knucklehead with more huevos than common sense” that drowns in the dangerous Kern River adjacent to Keyesville, but rather the ill-informed weekend vacationers hailing from the southland that come to a tragic end. Otherwise, a brilliant write-up of a sterling event!

  • PCY says:

    Excellent write-up. Thanks especially for the great coverage and descriptions of VRC bikes and people. Didn’t realize that Eric R was such a media superstar with his own paparazzi. I need to remember to get his autograph when next we meet ;)
    Great job and thanks!

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