Race Report, Epic Rides Whiskey 50
Roll in: Cool little town, neat restored Victorian carriage house (scored by housing coordinator Nina!), Zeph, Nina, and I will be racing, with Deaton, Chad, and Kenny supporting us
Day 1 Friday: Pro “fat tire”criterium, but slicks are allowed, so Schwalbe Marathon 1.5 tires become team attire for the day
Nina launches a blistering attack on lap 2 for a prime right around the start/finish line, which happens to be directly in front of our house. Pendrel and Emmett chase while Zeph and I sit on. I look back at the top of the hill and we have a gap on the shredded field. We ride the hill 10 more times or so to the tune of 1300 ft elevation gain. Yes, painful! I finish 9th, Nina 4th and Zeph 3rd. Podiums and primes with everyone in the top 10! Not too bad.
Day 2 Saturday: Kenny races at 7:30 AM with around 1000 other souls and wins the men’s open, beating the whole field outright with a 5 minute gap on 2nd place (1st place SS racer) Evan Plews. Evan, on Stan’s wheels, wins a trip to Ireland for SS Worlds. Kenny does a bunch of post race interviews, and admits to having great legs, even though he called in sick and is missing work. He wins a quart of Stan’s and an engraved whiskey flask. He’ll need that whiskey if he gets busted for calling in sick Friday and winning a race Saturday. Oops. The Germans (Ben and Markus) and Snoodles from the Jamis crew bring their appetites and some pasta to our sweet quarters for a pre-race pasta feed.
Day 3 Sunday: A crisp and chilly morning with bright sun and cloudless sky presents itself for the pro field- men off at 8:30, women at 8:40. Pendrel drills it off the start and shreds the field with World Cup speed on the pavement. Before even hitting the dirt road, the field already has some big gaps. Several of us, including Zeph and me, independently of each other, miss the unmarked right turn into the church camp, which has no one marshalling the turn and no signage present. Rebecca Rusch’s crew kindly chases me up the dirt road to tell me I’m climbing off course. Zeph is not so lucky and climbs a long way before a random vehicle stops to direct her back down the hill. Off the back and assuming I’m in last place, I relax into a 4-hour pace and ignore my negative mental thoughts about the situation. After overtaking a few gals I reach the halfway feed and receive information from Kenny and Deaton that I’m in the top 10 and doing OK. Then as I begin the hour and a half long climb I see Zeph and others behind me on the course just heading down the road into the feed. Having never passed Zeph I realize she must have taken a wrong turn too -she makes a disappointed gesture at me from her bike. I settle into my climbing rhythm expecting her and others to catch and pass me, and mentally prepare for a battle on the way back into town on the rolling singletrack and downhill pavement. Surprisingly no one catches me, and the only person I see is Jenny Smith, flatted and out of CO2 near the end of the singletrack. I pause and lend her my Genuine Innovations pink Big Air and hit the pavement for the trip home. As I come into Prescott town random citizens let out woots and other encouraging sounds, and the police stop traffic to ensure my safe passage. The crowd at the whiskey tent lets out a cheer as I round the bend and cross the finish line. Nina and Rebecca are there, not too much later Jenny rolls up, then Zeph, and soon we are 5 friends being handed pint glasses while chitchatting in our chamoises. All in all it was a beautiful day on the bike! Our support crew was awesome. The guys kept it smooth, thank you! Thanks to NoTubes, Epic Rides and all the sponsors and volunteers who made this a great event!! I would definitely do it again.