2017 Whiskey Off-Road - Photo Epic

May 3, 2017
by Epic Rides  


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.

Ozomatli were the headline act on Saturday.
L.A. based Ozomatli was the headline act on Saturday.
The crowd raises a toast the Zapata Espinosa on Saturday. The race was dedicated to the former mountain bike journalist who is a Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee.
Raising a toast the Zapata Espinosa on Saturday at The Barley Hound. The event was dedicated to the former mountain bike journalist and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee.

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.

Megan Chelf won the women s 50 mile open category.
Megan Chelf steady pedaling to a win in the women's 50 Proof open category.

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.

Lupines bloom on a fast descent Saturday.
Water crossings, rock gardens, and blooming lupines treated riders on a fast descent back into town.

A racer descends with views of the mountains Saturday.
Big descents + big views = good times.

Racers descend with views of the mountains Saturday.
Riders enjoyed sustained descents and mountain views within the Prescott National Forest.
The course had several creek crossings.
The course's several creek crossings made for dirty bikes and big fun.

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.

Hundreds of racers climb the hill just after the start of the 50 mile race.
Hundreds of riders climb out of downtown Prescott just after the start of the 50 Proof ride.

A man wearing a Hulk Hogan costume and riding a singlespeed raced on Saturday.
Hulk Hogan dug deep on his singlespeed to get ahead of the group.

A racer catches air near the end of the course Saturday.
The Whiskey features a healthy mix of flow trail and technical terrain.

A racer crosses a creek crossing Saturday.
'Captain Al' of Team Cirrus Visual navigates a creek crossing as crowds heckle from the sidelines.

Racers climb the final stretch towards the Sierra Prieta overlook on Saturday.
Riders climb the final stretch towards the Sierra Prieta overlook, where Skratch Labs was perched and handing up fresh baked cookies.

Ozomatli were the headline act on Saturday.
Saturday concluded with a free Ozomatli concert courtesy of Four Peaks Brewing Company. Bassist Wil-Dog Abers happens to be a mountain biker himself, and was stoked to be playing at the Whiskey. Ozo's new album "Non-Stop" drops May 5 in case you're into that sorta thing.

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.

Whiskey Off-Road 2017
The pro women's Fat Tire Criterium speeds down a hill in downtown Prescott.

Crystal Anthony tucks in deep during the pro women s Fat Tire Criterium.
Crystal Anthony tucks in deep during the pro women's Fat Tire Criterium.
The pro women s Fat Tire Criterium begins the climb in downtown Prescott on Friday.
The pro women's Fat Tire Criterium begins the climb in downtown Prescott on Friday.

Whiskey Off-Road 2017
Big crowds lined the course to cheer on the riders. Heckling was also had.

Erin Huck Winds the pro women s Fat Tire Criterium Friday night.
Erin Huck wins the pro women's Fat Tire Criterium Friday night.

The pro mens Fat Tire Criterium moves through the starting gate as the sun sets over Prescott Friday.
The pro mens Fat Tire Criterium moves through the starting gate as the sun sets over Prescott Friday.

The men climb the hill as the sun sets over Prescott during the Fat Tire Criterium Friday.
The men climb the formidable Union St. climb (#pain) as the sun sets over Prescott during the Fat Tire Criterium Friday.

Todd Wells leads the mens pack during the Fat Tire Criterium Friday.
Todd Wells leads the mens pack during the Fat Tire Criterium Friday.
Brian Matter and Chis Blevins push the pace up the hill during the Fat Tire Criterium Friday.
Brian Matter and Christopher Blevins drive the pain-train up Union St. during the men's Fat Tire Crit.

Sam Gaze crossed the finish line ahead of Todd Wells Friday during the Fat Tire Crit.
Sam Gaze of New Zealand finished ahead of Todd Wells.

Erin Huck Kate Courtney Katerina Nash and Maghalie Rochette were the top finishers in the women s Fat Tire Crit Friday.
Erin Huck, Kate Courtney, Katerina Nash, Maghalie Rochette, and Serena Bishop Gordon were the top finishers in the women's Fat Tire Crit Friday.
Sam Gaze Todd Wells Geoff Kabush Derek Zandstra Howard Grotts were the top finishers in the men s Fat Tire Crit Friday.
Sam Gaze, Todd Wells, Geoff Kabush, Derek Zandstra, Howard Grotts were the top finishers in the men's Fat Tire Crit Friday.

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.

The pro men s field begin the climb out of downtown Prescott.
The pro men's field begin the climb out of downtown Prescott.

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 pro women ride the pavement out of town Sunday.
The pro women ride the pavement out of town Sunday.

Kristian Hynek leads a group of men around a corner early in the race.
Kristian Hynek (pronounced Hee-nek) leads a group of men around a corner early in the race.

Sam Gaze leads Christopher Blevins up the climb before Skull Valley during Sunday s race.
Sam Gaze leads Christopher Blevins up the climb before Skull Valley during Sunday's backcountry race.

A group of men climb near the top of the climb before descend to Skull Valley.
A group of pro men climb near the top of the FR 53 road before descending to Skull Valley.

Chloe Woodruff leads Rose Grant Maghalie Rochelle and Katarina Nash up a fire road climb during Sunday s race.
Chloe Woodruff leads Rose Grant, Maghalie Rochette and Katarina Nash up a fire road climb during Sunday's race.
Erin Huck nears the top of a fire road climb during Sunday s race
Erin Huck nears the top of a fire road climb during Sunday's race.

Pro Results

The day belonged to team Specialized with commanding wins by Kate Courtney and Sam Gaze.

Kate Courtney wins the the Whieky Off-Road women s backcountry race with a time of 3 41 19.
Kate Courtney wins the the Whiskey Off-Road pro women's race with a time of 3:41:19.
Sam Gaze wins the Whiskey Off-Road men s backcountry race with a time of 3 07 17 on Sunday.
Sam Gaze wins the Whiskey Off-Road pro men's race with a record time of 3:07:17.

The top five podium spots in the women s field went to Kate Courtney Erin Huck Rose Grant Chloe Woodruff and Katarina Nash.
The top five podium spots in the women's field went to Kate Courtney, Erin Huck, Rose Grant, Chloe Woodruff and Katarina Nash.
The top five spots in the men s race went to Sam Gaze Howard Grotss Kristian Hynick Christopher Blevins and Jeremiah Bishop.
The top five spots in the men's race went to Sam Gaze, Howard Grotts, Kristian Hynick, Christopher Blevins and Jeremiah Bishop.

Pro Women Top 10

Whiskey Off-Road - Photo Epic

Pro Men Top 10

Whiskey Off-Road - Photo Epic

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.


MENTIONS: @epic-rides



27 Comments

  • + 19
 But what about prescott gravity trail coalition killing it up top with the bacon and wiskey?
  • + 2
 Those cats crushed it up there, so good having them out to support!
  • + 1
 Kinda blows my mind that the folks from Epic Rides can host this huge event (and others) with hundreds of riders, but we can't seem to convince the Feds to let us do a single DH event in the state on National Forests. Yet I can ride my moto as fast I want on almost the same trails. Am I blind or ignorant? Are there sanctioned AZ DH events that I'm missing?
  • + 6
 Incredible event by Epic Rides and the City of Prescott. One of the best I've ever been to!
  • + 6
 Hulk Hogan dude is pretty awesome.
  • + 4
 Forgot to add: BROTHER!!!!
  • + 4
 @pinhead907: yeah BROTHER!!!
  • + 2
 I know the guy, went to school with him growing up. He is an ultra runner turned mtbr over the weekend, he is one rad brother!
  • + 6
 Such a great weekend! Looking forward to GJ and Carson City!
  • + 1
 Giddy up!
  • + 3
 Thank you Pinkbike. Great job covering this event with pics and news. It was a picture perfect weekend for the riders...Friday? Not so much :/
  • + 3
 Thanks for the pics! Looking forward to doing this when it hits Carson City next month!
  • + 3
 Ozomatli are awesome
  • + 1
 We agree, make sure to check out their new album dropping on Cinco de Mayo!
  • + 2
 Fat tire crit with skinnies. Come on, man! Run what ya brung. Lame.
  • + 2
 Good result Derek Zanstra!
  • + 1
 It was great. Can't wait for the GJOR!
  • - 2
 Looked like a lot of fun!

Always a good chuckle when I read "technical terrain" but all I see is a couple rocks.

Needs moar lycra!!
  • + 5
 Don't kid yourself, that photo was referring to the "flow trail." Smile

Join us in Grand Junction if you're looking for some more rocks.
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