The 14th Annual Whiskey Off-Road came and went with record attendance and bluebird skies. In all, over 1,850 mountain bikers converged on Prescott's Whiskey Row to celebrate a weekend of good ol' fashioned mountain bike culture, featuring graduated distance courses on Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance
maintained singletrack, Pro Men's and Women's Fat Tire Crits, an expo with over 60 vendors including industry stalwarts SRAM, CLIF, Shimano, Maxxis Tires, Giant, Specialized, Pivot, Norco and others, plus live music and free finisher's beers courtesy of Four Peaks Brewing Company, and a dedication toast to Zapata Espinoza
at the CLIF afterparty.
Amateur 15, 30 and 50 Proof Rides
Contradicting a recent trend of inclement weather, last weekend presented near perfect riding conditions with temps hovering near 70 degrees and sunny skies, allowing Prescott to put its best foot forward in marking the community as a premier mountain bike destination for the West.
An event that prides itself on its ability to provide authentic mountain bike experiences to the beginner, seasoned amateur, and the world's fastest pros filled three categories of riding and racing with over a week to spare. Capped at 1,850 total riders, the 15 Proof (1 Proof = 1 Mile) kicked off Friday afternoon and provided youths, first timers, and those looking for a taste of Prescott's world-class singletrack with a fully supported and scenic route around nearby trails. From downtown, the course took riders up a big climb to the Sierra Prieta Overlook then rewarded with a fast sweeping decent back to town via Garden Grove Trail.
Saturday's amateur 50 Proof and 30 Proof rides went off without a hitch, and proved to be some of the event's largest fields yet. Early options including Trail 396 - Goldwater Lakes
and Wolverton Mountain
did their part to break up the group and provide a quality ride experience to the masses.
Link to amateur results: here
Pro Fat Tire Crit
Friday evening boasted the Professional Women's and Men's Fat Tire Crits. "What in tarnation is a Fat Tire Crit" you ask? It's a full throttle road race on mountain bikes throughout a weaving one mile circuit in downtown Prescott, that's what it is. Not only does it give the community something insanely fun to watch, but it also determines call-ups for Sunday's Pro backcountry race. Oh, we should also mention the $400 CLIF put up for prime laps and for making good times on the patio of The Barley Hound
Pro Backcountry Race
With a weekend of festivities in the rearview, Sunday is when the Pro's got down to business. With an equally split $30,000 purse ($15k to the men / $15k to the women) on the line to be divvied up between an internationally stacked list of racers
, including past Whiskey Off-Road Champion and 2016 Olympian Chloe Woodruff, 2016 Off-Road Series Champions Rose Grant and Todd Wells, two-time Whiskey Champion Howard Grotts and his Specialized teammates Christoph Sauser, Sam Gaze and Christopher Blevins. Add Kristian Hynek, Jeremiah Bishop, Derek Zandstra, Benjamin Sonntag, Fernano Riveros Paez, Stephen Ettinger and Geoff Kabush to the mix and the stage was set for top-tier competition.
On the women's side and up against Woodruff and Grant was first timer Kate Courtney, fresh off her Pro XC win at Sea Otter
, 2016 Carson City Off-Road Champion Katerina Nash, Erin Huck, Maghalie Rochette, Crystal Anthony, Amy Beisel, Serena Bishop-Gordon and Evelyn Dong.
The day belonged to team Specialized with commanding wins by Kate Courtney and Sam Gaze.
Pro Women Top 10
Pro Men Top 10
Link to Whiskey Off-Road Facebook Live videos: here
From Prescott, AZ, that's a wrap on the 2017 Whiskey Off-Road. Stay tuned for the 5th Annual Grand Junction Off-Road
May 19 – 21 on Colorado's #westslope
and the 2nd Annual Carson City Off-Road June 16 – 18 in Nevada's capitol city located on the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada.
Photography by Brian Leddy.