The Whiskey off road 50 proved to be an event not to miss in the future. Prescott AZ is a pretty cool place to ride bikes. The town has an old west feel to it with saloons and pubs that line Whiskey row where the race starts. Wish we would have had more time to check out all the town had to offer but the 3 short days we had packed with pre riding racing and trying to stay rested just wasn’t long enough.
Friday Serena and I arrived in Prescott just in time for the mandatory rider meeting downtown. Right after we set out to pre ride the first 25 miles of the race course which turned out to take much longer than anticipated, almost causing us to miss our starts for the Fat tire crit downtown which would have resulted in a 8 min penalty for our race on Sunday. So good thing we made it! Crits are usually my least favorite event to race mainly because to me they are nerve wracking but Prescott sure knows how to bring the crowds and hearing everyone cheering I soon forgot about being nervous and really got into it. It felt more like a cross race with all the fans, costumes, horns, cowbells, beer and some good heckling. The course was awesome and painful. It had a two part stair step climb with a ripping fast descent back to the bottom. Looking at my Garmin file we hit 45mph on the steepest section right into a 90deg turn. I held on with 3 laps to go in the crit and ended up 29th.
Saturday Serena and I met up with Giant off Road factory rider and fellow Bendite Carl Decker to do some last minute course recon and make sure we had all of our lines dialed for tomorrows morning. 2 hours of riding on Saturday probably wasn’t the best idea and proved to be more than what my legs needed but felt good anyway to rip some trails.
Sunday morning came fast and before I knew it we were lined up at the start waiting for the gunshot. A helicopter was buzzing over our heads at the start line. BANG! The gun went off and we were on our way. The energy of all the spectators, racers and helicopter was awesome. Not every race you have a Helicopter buzzing over head. I quickly forgot about my tired legs and focused on working up to the front of the group so I could get the best position possible for the single track. I was off to a good start hitting the trail around top 15ish but on the first main descent I suffered a good crash sending myself over the bars and landed pretty hard on my back, Luckily the water bottle in my jersey took most of the force, puncturing it and lost all my water. Quickly recovering I grabbed my bike and started chasing riders back down so I would have a group to work with on the 9 mile fire road descent to Skull valley which was the lowest part of the course 25 miles in. That’s when you start the 12 mile climb back to the top of the course at 7000ft so having a group to work with meant everything if I had any hope of finishing near the front. I was able to catch back on with a group of 4 and we bridged the gap to the main chase group starting the climb out of Skull Valley. This is where my race went from going well to going backwards fast! I didn’t manage to take in enough food 2 hours into the race. I had a hard time putting any gel or food down which was a big mistake and I paid for it big time! I fell off the group half way up the climb and completely unraveled. From there on I was on my own to the finish. Thanks to a flat cold coke at the last aid station I started to feel a little better. It wasn’t until the last 5 miles of the course (which were conveniently downhill) I started to feel alright and finished strong.Far off the pace of what I was hoping to but at least crossed the line and finished 36th for the day. It could have been worse besides not feeling so well I didn’t suffer any mechanical or a flat tire issues which is always a positive for 50 miles.
Looking forward to next year and giving the Whiskey 50 another shot. Going back with a better nutrition plan, being better hydrated and more rested should make for some steady improvement at next year’s race. For now it’s time to throw on the baggies, knee pads and pull out the Trance X29 and start getting fast throwing myself downhill for a season of Enduro. Oregon Enduro starts in Hood River OR May 25-26 so time to start practicing!