Monday, April 30, 2012

Whiskey Off-Road 50 XC

Sunday's 50 mile race was the official start to my season.  With a start list that looked very reminiscent of Sea Otter, it was surely going to be anything but a "fun" race.   Don't get me wrong, I am always racing my bike to have fun, this IS why I continue to compete, all I am saying is that there was definitely some suffering involved.

The race begins with a "neutral" rollout on pavement, mostly uphill for 4 miles.  The road gets quite steep towards the top and gets close to 20% at one point.  While riding in the middle of the pack, I rubbed handlebars with another rider and wouldn't you know it we both hit the deck and crashed.  Not even 2 miles into the race and I am on the ground.  After a few quick words exchanged we were back on our bikes chasing to catch back onto the pack.  After increasing my HR up to near max, I was back on and able to settle in just long enough before everyone began to jockey for position as we entered the beginning of the singletrack section.

photo by

This is where the "fun"  began as the course it pretty sweet...lots of rocks, tight switchbacks, and fast rolling terrain.  There was much more climbing than I recall the last time I did this race.  The first 12 miles seemed to be nothing but climbing.  Once we did begin to descend, it was well worth the effort that I had just put in.  The singletrack descent was lots of banked corners and many water-bar drop offs (some close to 2 feet).  This lasted a few miles before reaching the fireroad that lead down to Skull Valley.  We descended down to Skull Valley just to turn around and begin a 16 mile climb to the top of the road.  I was hoping to have power in my legs on this climb than I did.  The majority of the climbing was on an 8% grade, and I had hoped to make up some time on other riders here. Unfortunately, I only had 1 speed in my legs and wasn't able to make up much time.  No one passed me and I only passed 2 riders the whole climb.  The climb was exposed to the sun the entire time, and I don;t remember the altitude we reached but it was relatively high (although not by Colorado standards, and there were many CO riders competing).  I would say that I suffered on this climb more than I thought I would.

photo by

Once I reached the summit and entered the last section of singletrack, I was reminded just how "fun" this race was.  This section of singletrack  (roughly 9 miles) was probably the most enjoyable.  However, along this section I must have nicked my tire on a rock because I could hear some Stan's oozing out.  I kept on riding hoping that the sealant would seal the tire, however, it got too low so I stopped to change the flat, a few riders had passed by.  There were spectators watching the race at various points along this section of the course.  It was nice to hear the cheers to provide that extra bit of encouragement and help block out the pain.  There was one creek crossing that was somewhat challenging with lots of rocks, and there were lots of people there cheering.  From there the trail meandered along a river (dried up mostly) before popping back out onto pavement for the final 4 miles to the finish.   It's mostly downhill but it certainly wasn't easy.
Making the final turn to the finish, many kids were reaching out to get a high-five.  Giving a few high fives was a great way to end 3 hours and 20 min. in the saddle.

Click HERE for's full report

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Whiskey Off-Road Crit...over before I knew it

The Pro Crit was held on Friday night as sort of a spectator highlight and to kick off the weekend of racing...and drinking.  Yes, lots of drinking going on this weekend.  Of course lots of electrolyte drinking on my behalf and lots of whiskey drinking along "Whiskey Row" downtown Prescott.  There was even a Watering Hole Challenge held last night.

The "Climb"

The crit was 20 min + 3 laps.  I lasted about 12 min. before getting pulled.  The course consisted of a steep 20% climb of about 3/4 mile followed by a descent back to the start/finish.  It was definitely much harder than I anticipated it being and certainly didn't expect to get pulled.  Having fast-twitch muscle fibers would have helped during this event.  It was all out anaerobic up the hill followed by a short recover down.

Photo: © Dave McElwaine/

By lap 3 it was clear I didn't have the power to stay with the lead group.  I slowly began to slide back along with many other riders who had gotten pulled as well.  The lead group of riders, including Sheppard, Decker, Kabush, JHK, and Cares drove the pace insanely fast as the pack separated.  Kabush eventually had the strongest legs of the night holding on for the victory.

Kona boys leading up the climb

Here are the Top 5 results from the Crit.

We have a day off on Saturday before the 50 mile XC race on Sunday.  This region of Arizona received lots of rain over the last few days, so the trails are in perfect condition and should make for some fast racing times.  Weather is expected to be in the mid-70's (phew).  Race begins at 8:30am. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Time for some Whiskey

Yeah you know it. Whiskey always sounds good, right?  However, this time I am talking about the Whiskey Off-Road 50 race down in Prescott, AZ.  This race has been in existence for 8 years and has become (most recently) one of the most attractive races in the country.

The efforts of Todd Sadow (Epic Rides race promoter) has reached new heights as he has transformed this "local" AZ race into one of the most lucrative Pro mtb races in the USA.  By stepping up the prize winnings ($30,000 total - $15,000 for men and $15,000 for woman) he has lured in the best of the best in mountain bike racing.  Just look at the list of registered riders and you will see that it is just as impressive as the Sea Otter Classic (still the biggest event in the USA).  this year even 4-time XTERRA World Champion Conrad Stoltz will be participating.

This season will mark the 2nd time I am competing in this event, the last being in 2010.  I had a descent race then (10th) but am hoping to improve upon that result.  No doubt it will be very difficult to do with the added competition.  Chris Sheppard, local Bend resident, took home top honors (and a $5,000 check)  last season with the victory.

Not only does the city of Prescott embrace this event, but even the city police provide an escort.  Local and headline band perform throughout the weekend as well on the main stage that is right in the middle of downtown.  This years' headline band is once again "Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers".

In addition to the 50 mile race held on Sunday, there is now an added "Fat-Tire Crit" on Friday evening.  Crits are always a fan favorite because the race is held on downtown streets (making for easy visibility), and the speeds are high and action-packed.  Unlike most crits, this one requires racers to use their mountain bikes (knobby tires).  Speeds won't exceed that of a road crit, but there certainly won't be any shortage of excitement.  The race will be 20 minutes plus 3 additional laps; pure anaerobic bliss!!!

Looking forward to some hard racing, good entertainment, sunny skies and warm temps, and of course some whiskey!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What's on your playlist?

We've all got our favorite music that we like to play while riding the trainer, riding the spin bike at a Club, or while riding outdoors.  For me, I like to play certain music based on the type of ride that I will do for that particular workout, for instance intervals or high cadence drills. I'm not a huge fan of listening to music while riding (especially outdoors on the road, or on crowded trails), but when appropriate I think it can certainly help add some motivation.

I've seen many Bloggers post their favorite I-Pod playlist, so without further ado, here is mine.

Artist                                                          Song

DJ Tiesto                                                     Traffic
DJ Tiesto                                                     Adagio for Strings
DJ Tiesto and Diplo                                     C'mon
Lake & Lys                                                  Sloane (seriously... this IS the name of the song)
Swedish House Mafia                                  One
Green Day                                                   Welcome to Paradise
Metallica                                                      Holier Than Thou
Anthrax                                                        Bring The Noise
Iron Maiden                                                  Run to the Hills
Pennywise                                                    Bro Hymm
The Offspring                                               Gotta Get Away
Deadmau5                                                   Ghosts N Stuff

So there you have it.  This is what helps me get through a tough 1.5 hr workout whether indoors or outdoors.  Feel free to share your list of songs in the Comments section below.  I'm always open to some good music to help keep things fun and increase the HR.