Monday, April 30, 2012

Whiskey !!

Last weekend was the Whiskey Off Road in Prescott, AZ.   It's another mountain bike race put on by Epic Rides.    I entered myself for the 25 Proof Ride ( about 29 miles actually), drove up to Prescott last weekend and pre-rode part of the course, then went back for the main event.

Awesome !   That's about the only expression for this event.   Prescott is a pretty little town a bit southwest of Flagstaff, bordering the Coconino Forest.   The ride takes us out of town on a paved road, which turns into a dirt road, then beautiful single track into the forest.   We had running streams to cross, uphills with waterbars, downhills with waterbars, a pretty rapid descent on loose shale, followed by a steep climb on a fire road.   Then more descents, back into deep woods, more stream crossings, followed by a stream crossing with lots of people watching !   Then back into town.   It was a hard ride, and I think I rode over my head quite a bit of the way, but you tend to get caught in the whole thing when you are doing it.   Only scary part was I hit one rock that came loose, and the front of the bike started to give way.    The guy in back of me goes "nice recovery"... he saw me later at the finish and we spoke for a second, he really thought I was going to go down.

I did two good training rides to help prepare for this.   The first was the Mt Hopkins ride that I blogged about earlier, and the second was doing the Mt Lemmon Control Road.  It's a dirt road that goes up the north side of Mt Lemmon here in Tucson, and looks remarkably like the fire roads ( FR53 and Copper Basin Rd ) in Prescott on the course.


Mt Lemmon Control Road ( Training Ride )
Prescott is a pretty little town.   This statue is on the Court House square, and the race began and ended right around the corner.
Cowboy at Yavapai County Court House
This shot is of Thumb Butte from up in the forest on the course.   I did a pre-ride on Friday morning, doing a piece of the course that I did not get done on my pre-ride.
Looking at Thumb Butte Just Outside Prescott
 Yeah, this about says it.   I can do this ( I think I can ! )

Yep, that's about it !
I lined up at the back.   After the start, I started feeling better, and climbed past a bunch of these folks.   Some of them passed me during the race, but I still ended up about 481 out of about 695 of the 25 Proof riders.  First time for an old guy ( Yeah, I am happy ).

I lined up at the back, and climbed past a lot of people on the paved ascent, then lots of them passed me on the descents, but I passed them again on the fire road ascent !
 Really pretty.   This was the highest point of the ride.
Sierra Prieta Overlook into the Coconino Forest

There is a creek called Miller Creek, that has water in it most of the time.   It was running pretty strongly on Friday morning when I did a pre-ride, down a bit on Saturday, and down more when the Pro ride came through on Sunday morning.   This movie shows Pua Mata, the leading women rider, coming across.  There is a big audience !

video

Will I do this ride next year ?   Would be cool to have some other folks go up with me, and I have to work on my downhill switchback cornering ability ( scares the xyz out of me ! ).  My strength going up the fire road was great, I passed EVERYONE, young and old, so if I could just rail the couple of shaley places, handle the steep descents without some serious pucker factor, then I could knock some serious time off my run.   Will have to see.    My next event is the Assault on Mt Mitchell.    

Assault on Mt Mitchell starts in Spartanburg, SC, and finishes at the top of Mt Mitchell.   It's not all that high compared to our mountains out here, but the climb is at the end of a 100 mile race.   Could be exciting.

Got the pictures from Zazoosh, the photo folks for Whiskey, and they have one of me crossing the creek, so I thought I would add it in.