This guy has been loving the golf lately, he’s even keeping his head down.
So the Whiskey 50 was this weekend. I have done a lot of races over the years and now I can pick and chose some of my favorite events and this one is definitely on the list. The course is awesome, there are tons of people and great prize money. Pros and amateurs alike are treated to a challenging course, a cool town and plenty of off bike stuff to do(if you have any energy left after that climb out of Skull Valley).
The past few years the weather has been rough on the amateurs, this year was a little better but still nothing like the weekend before when it was sunny and 70 degrees.
Like all Epic Rides Off Road events we raced a mandatory Fat Tire crit on Friday evening and the Backcountry event on Sunday with amateurs racing on Saturday. I started the weekend off right where I left off after Sea Otter XC with a win in the crit. I’ve never won the crit at the Whiskey before and with the shorter course this year the race stayed together more. It was also a big headwind on the descent. We were a group of thirty or so coming into the finish and I hit the front with about 400 meters and three corners to the finish. I managed to hold on for the win in a race that was all about tactics and bike setup. I ran the following: Scott Scale, RS-1 80mm at 150 psi(locked out entire race), 38 tooth Quark XX1 chainring, Maxxis Re-Fuse 40mm slicks(mandatory 38 width for the crit) at 70 psi.
You have to race the same frame for the backcountry as you do for the crit but I was always planning on using the Spark anyway. The backcountry course is well suited for the Spark was well but that 10 mile dirt road climb out of Skull Valley is nicer on the lightest possible setup. The course this year was a bit different as we headed east out of town instead of west and rode about 7 miles of new trails. The weather was wet and cool which has become normal for the Whiskey the past few years but is very abnormal for AZ in May.
I had the whole family at the race for support:
Photo: Kenny Wehn
I was optimistic at the start after a great SOC and fat tire crit the previous night. I knew it would all come down to the Skull Valley climb and when Howie decided to open it up midway up I knew it wasn’t going to happen for me this year. I rolled in for 3rd after briefly riding with Ben Sontag on the climb before having to shut it down and ride my own pace. I was hoping to make up some time on the downhill into town but “cramp hill” midway through lived up to it’s name and that was that. I was happy to get on the podium and keep air in my tires for the whole race this year. It also sets me up well for the rest of the three race series that resumes in Grand Junction in a few weeks.
I ran the following setup for the XC: Scott Scale, RS-1 80mm 90 psi, 36 tooth Quark XX1 ring, Maxis Ikon 2.2 EXO rear 27 psi, Maxis Ikon 2.0 TR front 25 psi. I was planning on using the Pace but with so much rain forecast I was worried it might be too muddy for them. It turned out to be perfect and they would have worked great but better safe then sorry. I also had 4 Citrus Clif Shots, 1 Espresso Clif Shot, 2.5 bottles of Cran Razz Clif Shot drink mix and 1 Coke at the finish. Myron kept my bikes working flawlessly.
I am on a little break after the Whiskey to gear up for the 2nd part of the season. Beach time always helps recharge the batteries and even though it’s a short trip, the Soggy Pesso in San Carlos never disappoints. Plus driving down to Mexico is always an adventure no matter how close you’re going or how short the trip is.
I wonder if Winston is enjoying Durango……