For most mountain bikers snowed-in or rained-out of their trails for the winter, New Year's Day is more about looking forward to the next riding season and setting goals; some serious, some not so serious. Whatever those riding goals may be, the Epic Rides Off-Road Series has been attracting riders of all skill, fitness and experience levels by putting on events focused on good times, great trails and free live music.
Pro Men winding up a sharp switchback during the Inaugural Carson City Off-Road in Carson City, NV.
Stan's NoTubes riders Chloe Woodruff and Rose Grant work together ahead of CLIF Bar/Luna's Mahgalie Rochelle up the Whiskey Off-Road's Skull Valley climb.
The Grand Junction Off-Road course leads riders on a tour through the area's array of purpose-built mountain bike trails.
The Whiskey Off-Road attracts upwards of 2,000 mountain bikers, yet the start shakes out quickly with a climb up Senator Highway and some recently added "bonus sections" thanks to the efforts of the Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance
Each Off-Road Series event boasts a weekend of free live music, from local bands to national acts like Shakey Graves shown here playing to thousands in Downtown Grand Junction on Saturday night following a good day on the bike.
To get the New Year off to a rolling start, Epic Rides has opened registration today for all three Off-Road Series events, the Whiskey Off-Road
(April 28-30), the Grand Junction Off-Road
(May 19-21) and the Carson City Off-Road
(June 16-18.) And from January 1st through January 7th, Epic Rides is offering a registration discount for each of the three Off-Road Series events at $99 (retail value of $120).
I'll cheers to that! Gary Fisher clinks pints with Epic Rides Co-Founder Todd Sadow during the Inaugural Carson City Off-Road Dedication Toast.
Views from the Tahoe Rim Trail make the climb from Carson City well worth the effort.
Some say the lunar landscapes of Grand Junction are out-of-this-world.
All three Off-Road Series events are held in mountain bike-centric communities with an extensive network of singletrack trails within a couple miles of downtown. Started in 2004, the Whiskey
is known for its mix of flowy, rocky and fast singletrack descents through the Prescott National Forest's Ponderosa Pine trees, and for participants that opt for the 50 Proof/mile distance, a 12-mile, 3,500 vertical foot ascent from the aptly named Skull Valley to the top at Sierra Prieta overlook.
Smile through the pines on the newly added TR 396 (Bonus #1).
Bypass a brief dirt road for Wolverton singletrack (Bonus #2).
The beauty of mountain biking is that it requires your undivided attention, a practice that seems to be getting harder and harder these days.
Identify your squad, enjoy the pedal.
Smiles for miles, that's what this mountain biking thing is all about.
2016 Olympian Chloe Woodruff paces Rose Grant to a top place finish.
A speedy Todd Wells leads the Pro Men through a feed zone up the Skull Valley climb.
Grand Junction Off-Road
Celebrating its fifth year, the Grand
has earned a reputation for being one of the most technically challenging backcountry mountain bike events in the United States of America. Although the 40-mile loop starting and finishing in downtown Grand Junction is 10 miles shy of the Whiskey, the Grand makes up for that shortage with rocky terrain favoring riders who can pick and flow their way over technical lines.
Riders wait for the roll out of Downtown Grand Junction to the Lunch Loops Trail System.
Dropping into Andy's Trail atop some rocks placed (and maintained) by local trail advocacy group COPMOBA
Navigating a heinous section of trail on Andy's Loop.
Locals line the streets to watch the Pro's pretend to be roadies during Friday evening's Fat Tire Crits. This piece of each Off-Road Series event weekend always brings big crowds, high energy and shenanigans.
Like ants, riders make their way up Grand Junction's Tabeguache trail - the main artery of the Lunch Loops Trail System.
The face of satisfaction when putting your skills to the test on some of America's most technically challenging singletrack.
Grand Junction Off-Road riders ascend an exposed section of Andy's Trail.
Jennifer Smith takes in the expansive views on Twist and Shout.
Barry Wicks plows through a technical segment on the Tabaguache Trail followed closely by Eivind Røed.
Carson City Off-Road
The first running of the Carson City Off-Road
last year was a hit, filling to capacity weeks before the event. The 35 and 50-mile events climb for almost 20 miles, topping out on the iconic Tahoe Rim Trail at nearly 9,000 feet elevation.
Riders from near and far lined up and ready to tackle the first ever Carson City Off-Road.
A Drunkcyclist leading the Inaugural Carson City Off-Road? This must be photoshopped...
Eventual winner by over five minutes, Jake Yackle at age 15 looking comfortable on the front.
With a 20-ish mile ascent in the rearview, riders are in cloud nine knowing much downhill is in their near future.
Halfway into the near four-hour race. Katerina Nash in the lead, with Rose Grant and Amy Beisel nipping at her heals.
The payoff is a world-class 4,000 vertical foot descent amidst signature Tahoe terrain mix of granite rock faces and forgiving sand, finishing back in Carson City with the award-winning Ash to King's Trail network.
In addition to its fast growing reputation as a city with great trails and thanks to support from local advocacy group Muscle Powered
, Carson City also just completed a multi-million dollar downtown revitalization project, making Nevada's state capitol more walkable and bike-able.
As if Carson City wasn't welcoming enough, Nevada State Governor Brian Sandoval hosted the Pro Rider's Meeting at the Governor's Mansion on Friday afternoon before go-time.
Gary Fisher in the limelight doing what he does best. The future is bikes!
You know it's a bike party when...
The local mtb community comes out in droves for Friday evening's free Klunker Crit. May the force be with you, Carrie Fisher.
CLIF Bar/Luna rider Katerina Nash leads Stan's NoTubes' Rose Grant into an early corner during the Pro Women's Fat Tire Crit.
The Pro Men line it up.
Although the Off-Road Series events each have their own distinct style, all three are bona-fide backcountry courses filled with challenging terrain, big climbs, ripping descents and incredible views.
Views on views, Lake Tahoe is a beautiful sight from the saddle.
Whether beginner or seasoned expert, all participants that complete an Off-Road Series event will feel the accomplishment that comes with doing a huge backcountry ride, and be rewarded for their achievement too.
Free Live Music
Aside from the riding, the Off-Road Series is just as much about good times and free live community concerts.
Arizona-based band Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers have become a household name in the Grand Canyon State, drawing massive crowds to Prescott, AZ's downtown square.
The Stone Foxes rocked as dusk settled in over Grand Junction, CO.
Seattle-based, The Cave Singers made the trek to Carson City to keep vibes rolling into the night.
Each event has a three action-packed days of music, a massive bike industry expo and lots of fun activities for the entire family to enjoy.
Carson Street in full swing with snow-capped peaks as a backdrop, not bad by any measure.
The Grand Junction Off-Road boasted four stages with over 20 shows, needless to say the tunes were plentiful and the vibes were strong.
Maxxis if the Official Tire Sponsor of Epic Rides, there is no shortage of fun when they are around.
The future of cycling getting their steeds ready for the Shimano Youth Series Kids Fun Ride at the Rocky Mountain Health Plans Bike Decorating Party.
A Star Wars-clad family ready to klunk their way around Downtown Grand Junction.
For Prescott, Grand Junction and Carson City, the Off-Road Series is their annual Super Bowl of sorts; hotels are full, restaurants and bars are bustling and merchants are ringing the cash register. Mountain bikers are helping these mountain communities thrive through supporting a recreation-based economy.
Austin, TX-based artist Black Joe Lewis performs inside Matt's Saloon on Prescott's infamous Whiskey Row.
Professional mountain bikers can also ring the register at the Off-Road Series, with a total $100,000 cash purse between all three events and equal payout to both the Pro Men and Women, the highest payout of any mountain bike series in North America.
Big checks for big dollars. A $100,000 series-wide purse draws some of the world's top talent.
Since introducing the Pro purse in 2011, it's been split equally between the males and the female.
For registration and complete event information on the Epic Rides Off-Road Series, visit epicrides.com