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Kalan Beisel's Blog: The Whiskey Off Road

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |June 6, 2014 12:32 AM
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The Whiskey Off Road

 

Once again I found myself packing up the truck, getting geared up and ready to race the Whiskey 50. I was happy to be driving and I was looking forward the beautiful drive to Gunnison, CO to stay the night and pick up my little sister Amy. I love Gunnison and someday I plan on moving there. The mountain bike trails there and surrounding areas, like Crested Butte are some of the best Colorado has to offer! I wish I could have stayed longer, but we had to make the long haul to Prescott, AZ early the next morning.

The 10 hour drive south to Arizona proved to be pretty dang enjoyable. We passed through Telluride and the 4 corners, and then into the high dessert of Arizona. Huge red rock formations littered the landscape, it was truly beautiful. We made it to Prescott with daylight to spare, so we decided to unload the bikes and get a little spin in before it got dark. The next day we attended the pro racers meeting held in a historic theater in downtown Prescott. It’s always cool to show up and see so many familiar faces and friends. Just about everyone who races a bike was there, the field was stacked. It was all fun and laughs at the meeting, but soon we all knew we would be suffering our asses off in the always hard, Fat Tire Crit! The crit ended up going so-so for me… I kinda showed up late to the start and found myself starting in back. I moved up quite a few spots in the first 3 laps, but then soon realized I wasn't moving up anymore, so I decided to ride some wheelies and give some high fives to some of the hundreds of fans and spectators. I had a blast! 

The next day we woke up to 30-degree temps, blowing wind, rain, and SNOW!  I don't think too many people were ready for snow in Arizona, seeming it's the end of April! I was more than happy I didn't have to race that day. Luckily for the pros, we didn't have to race ‘til Sunday. Leaving the amateur racers stuck out in blizzard like conditions to race their bikes 50 miles! I seriously couldn't believe people actually finished. I don't think I could have done it. Big props to all that did. I think you are hardcore! 

Sunday morning on the other hand was absolutely perfect racing weather. The start of the 50-mile race started up an asphalt road, which kept attacks from happening right off the gun like a typical mountain bike race, but as we approached the dirt, the road got steeper and the pack started to break up as the pace increased. I was in good position and felt comfortable going into the singletrack and first major climb. Coming out the singletrack I was in the lead chase group heading down the road to Skull Valley.

When we got to the bottom I picked up two bottles at the feed zone, slammed some Honey Stinger gels and waffles, and turned around to head back up the 16-mile climb to the top. About a fourth of the way back up the climb, I started to fade off the back of the pack, and was only a matter of time before I found myself in "No man's Land", climbing to the top by myself knowing I have over 80 racers breathing down my neck. As I was climbing the first of the pro women where making there way down the road (they started 10 minutes behind the pro men). It wasn't long before I spotted Amy speeding down the road in the top 10! GO AMY!

I somehow managed to not completely implode, and was only passed by a few racers before reaching the top and descending to the finsh. The final descent was a ripper, so much fun! I was loving my Giant Anthem SL 27.5 over the rocks and technical sections. The bike was eating it up! As the fun stuff came to an end, I still had about a 5-mile (mostly downhill) road section before the finish line. About 2 miles from the finish a group including Ben Bostrom, Jason Sager, Tristen Uhl, and Goeff Kabush (who was obviously having an off day) were pace lining and steam rolling to catch me. It was only a matter of seconds before they were sitting on my wheel heading into a very fast right hand turn.

As we made the turn I suddenly felt my rear wheel lock up, followed by the loud sound of spokes snapping and Ben hitting the deck at about 20mph. I somehow managed to keep it upright (thank goodness), Ben on the other hand, not so much.

He was banged up and bloody, bids torn and all. My rear wheel was demolished, and I had no other option but to run it in to the finish. Ben felt horrible and repeated to tell me he was sorry. I repeated to tell him it was all good, "rubbin's racin!”

He told me to get on his handlebars and he would coast me into the finish. I looked at him like he was crazy. Ha!

After running about 400 meters to the crest of the hill, I was more than willing to take him up on the deal. So me, my bike,and Ben hopped on his bike and coasted as far as we could (dumb n dumber style), almost crashing again, as far as we could to the finish. We made it about 200 meters from the line before I had to hop off and start running again. Ben refused to finish ahead of me, so I grabbed his hand and we crossed it together. Ben showed a lot of class, My hat goes off to him. It just goes to show how cool the sport and people of mountain biking are!  

I grabbed my finishers glass, filled it with beer, and waited to watch my little sister roll to the finish line for 7th place in the pro women at the Whiskey 50! So cool!

It was a great weekend. Thanks for reading :)

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Tim Watkins 05/01/2014 6:06 PM
great of you to tell the story... seems like what appears to be less than the success we strive for, is in fact an interesting and fun story that makes us mortals want to try harder and enjoy the ride more! thanks Kalan!
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