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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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
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
told me to get on his handlebars and he would coast me into the finish. I
looked at him like he was crazy. Ha!
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
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!
was a great weekend. Thanks for reading :)