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2010 Whiskey Off Road April 25, 2010

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, extreme sports, Just Stuff, Mountain Biking, Whiskey Off Road.
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The weather was perfect for the Whiskey Off Road here in Prescott, AZ.

Rumor has it that there were nearly 1000 riders signed up to race in one of the 3 distances.  Because of the name of the race, the different lengths are called proofs.  The 15 Proof, the 25 Proof, and the punishing 50 Proof.

I raced in the 25 Proof again this year with the goal of breaking the 3:30 barrier (it has been a barrier to me anyway!).  If I get the time and energy, I will write a complete blow by blow account of my experience on the race course, but for now, I will just tell you that I am very happy to have broken through and recorded a personal best time of 3:27 (keep in mind that I am only a weekend warrior, and am also 47 years old!)….oh and the 25 Proof is really a little over 28 miles!

There were many pros that showed up for this event, which meant there were going to be some killer times laid down.  Tinker Juarez showed up too!

Epic Rides is the company that produces the Whiskey Off Road, and they have turned it into a huge event that really brings people to Prescott, where they usually spend at least one night on the famous Whiskey Row taking in the flavor of our wonderful city.

The Epic Rides results page is HERE and they say they will have photos up soon as well.

I hope that some of the folks that came and raced this weekend will return in July for the 12 Hours At Night mountain bike endurance ride.

The 2009 Whiskey Off Road April 27, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, extreme sports, Just Stuff, Mountain Biking, trails.
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The 50 milers had gone off an hour before the 300 of us stacked up behind the starting line for the 25 Proof.  There we were, facing into a strong headwind, ready to tackle the 28 miles and nearly 4000′ of climbing that lay ahead.

The Start

The Start

I spent the first mile or so working my way through the huge group of riders, until there were probably only 50 or 60 ahead of me.  On the way up Copper Basin Rd. there was probably an equal number of those I passed and those who passed me, all battling the headwind and the hill. When we got to the steeps toward the end of the pavement, I worked hard to get up them and passed about 10 or 15 while I only had a group of 5 single speeders and a couple of others go by me.

I caught up to a big group in Camp Perlstein, and then promptly threw my chain of the inside of my front derailleur and watched 10 riders go by as I put the chain back on the ring.  At the start of the 393 singletrack, there was a line of about 30 all bottlenecked up.  While most waited patiently, knowing that there was no place to go, a couple were yelling and trying to ride by everyone else.  Like the one guy behind me said, “That guy is worried that he might only get 200th place instead of 195th!”

First singletrack above Camp Perlstein

First singletrack above Camp Perlstein

Once we were all actually on the 393, it worked itself out and we were all riding along at a good pace, until slannnng!..there went my chain onto bottom bracket again!  Dang!  Another 5 or 6 riders passed while I got my chain back on.  At the Aspen Creek trailhead there was an awesome group of spectators and volunteers yelling and cheering us all onward and upward.

I climbed the new section of trail 48 “Rob’s hill”, and I have to admit that though it adds half a mile to the length of the course, it is much nicer than doing the hike-a-bike from hell that we used to do.  I had a couple of guys go past me on the wide track section at the top, and then caught up with some more riders at the first set of water bars.  No point in trying to pass them, as they were riding about the same speed that I was, and there were 6 or 7 in the group.  After the first section of downhill water bars (there are about 8 of the 1 or 2 ‘ drops in a row), I noticed we were spread out again, and that there was no one close behind me.  The traverse across the backside of Mt. Francis was smooth sailing, but we bunched up again on the last climb.  Many people walked the majority of this section, as passing one rider really accomplished nothing.

As I pushed my bike to the top, I unclamped the seat post and lowered it for the upcoming descent.  I passed 2 riders right away, and then came up on another and told him I would come by on the next available wider section.  I started by and said, “On the left!”, but he moved to the left, and I had to swerve to avoid a collision, and went off trail into and through a bush, but managed to keep moving.  We came to the first steep downhill and I stayed right behind him, not wanting another miscommunication mishap.  On the last big drop at the bottom, he almost went over the bars, and I took that opportunity to go by him.

The 260 was a wicked combination of trail that had been powdered by all the 50 milers and sharp jagged rocks strewn haphazardly, this all on a super fast descent down a steep jeep trail.  There were people all over the place, some with flat tires, some climbing back up onto the trail with their bikes after who knows what sent them over the edge, and one poor guy trying to figure out what to do with a rear derailleur hanging only by its cable.  At one point, I had a guy pass me, and then watched as he bounced off the rocks and right onto the brink of a steep exposure, his feet off the pedals, front wheel swerving all over the place, and somehow he managed to veer back onto the trail instead of sailing off the cliff.  I yelled, “Nice save!”, and he replied, “Holy #$%@, that was close!”

At the bottom, I stopped long enough to raise my seat back up and take a shot of Hammer Gel, then started the climb up the bottom of the canyon toward Aid Station 1.  Part way up, I once again threw a chain…arrgh! Other than the frustration of that, I was feeling pretty good, and kept an even pace until just about 400 yards short of the Aid Station.  I got off and pushed up the nastiest and steepest part, then got back on and rode the last 200 yards.

In my opinion, the toughest part of this entire ride is this next seemingly unending climb up to Thumb Butte Rd.  Halfway up, I started to feel the beginnings of a cramp in my left quad, so I slowed down tried to spin it out…no go.  So I got off and walked for a few minutes until it went away.  Then back on the bike and up, up and up all the way to the Sierra Prieta overlook.  Wow!, the group of spectators and volunteers here was fantastic, it was a great feeling to have just suffered through all that climbing, and have people there helping you celebrate and cheering you on.

I turned onto the singletrack and headed for town.

Looking Down the Rock Garden

Looking Down the Rock Garden

I had one guy go past me early on, but then passed 2 riders before the first steep at turkey track, where there was a guy stopped right in the middle of the hill, in the middle of the trail, changing a tire!  In the next mile of bombing down the ridgeline over lots of loose and jagged rocks, I saw 3 or 4 more people stopped with tire problems, and yet another stopped right in the middle of trail, his bike upside down, working on a flat!!  I had to go around him into a pile of babyheads at breakneck speed, and was lucky to stay on my bike.  At the rock garden, I caught up to 3 riders who were picking their way

Part of the Rock Garden

Part of the Rock Garden

down it with their rear brakes locked up, just skidding down it…..so I just picked a line that allowed me to roll off the steep having just passed all 3 of them.

On the 51, I was big ringing it…just flying past people.  I went past one guy, just before that off camber turn to the left, and soon discovered that the pass had taken me outside of my intended line and that I was carrying too much speed to hold the corner….and there in my way was a big downed tree!  I hammered on the brakes and laid the bike down, scraping up my knee, and breaking my bike computer, but probably saving a taco-ed wheel and an over-the-bars excursion.  I hopped up and was on my way again, pushing hard in the big ring.  Toward the end of the 51, I could feel cramps creeping back into not only both quads now, but my hamstrings as well.  I have been drinking lots of water, and electrolytes….what the heck???

On the 321 singletrack, I had 2 riders pass me, and I passed 4 who were stopped at various points along the short exposed trail.  Then came the dreaded climb up the 323.  I call it “Hell’s Hollow”, because it is tough, and climbs up and out of a little meadow.  It is less than half a mile, but it is loose rock on a steep climb in full sunshine, 20 miles into the ride…..the perfect recipe for big-time suffering.  I rode part, walked part, cramping here and there along the way.  Right after the hill, I got back on and started riding only to have both my legs absolutely lock up.  Both legs had hamstring and quad cramps at the same time!!  All I could do was sit at the side of the trail in agony, while a whole stream of passing riders kindly asked if I was okay.  After 5 or 6 minutes, they subsided enough for me to try again.  I managed to limp along at about 5 mph to the top of the 392 Garden Grove trail.

One of the switchbacks at Garden Grove

One of the switchbacks at Garden Grove

This is one of my favorite sections of trail, so somehow I left my cramps behind and flew down the switchbacks, passing several riders who had slowed way down or stopped to negotiate the 4 hairpin corners.  Out on the wider part the follows the canyon floor, I saw a guy 2 riders ahead of me go down hard, and his bike cartwheeled down the trail.  The guy ahead of me stopped to help, and I asked him if he was okay when I got there.  He said, “I think so,”  so I continued on down.  I caught up to some more riders and someone caught me from behind soon after we were on the section that parallels Thumb Butte Rd.  There were a number of small bottlenecks at some of the more technical sections of this rocky trail, but nothing that was much of a delay at all.

I popped out onto Thumb Butte Road, and shifted into the big ring again.  Two riders came out behind me and one shouted, “Let’s go guys!” as they went by, I tried to jump onto their wheel, but my hamstrings said “Nuh-uh!!” and I soft pedaled as I watched them dissapear ahead of me.  I finally got up to speed, and held a good pace down the hill, despite the fact that there now seemed to be a headwind in this direction too!  How could that be?? .  Near the bottom, where it takes a big sweeping left hand turn, I saw my granddaughter and her mom standing my the side of the road looking for me…I waved and yelled to them as Haley yelled, “Go Grampy!!”  This gave me a boost, and I caught another rider just before the light at Gail Gardner.  I sat in behind him for a few seconds, knowing that the race director had switched part of the course back to one last climb up Park Ave. instead of taking Summit like last year.  After coasting behind for a little rest, I went around thinking I could pull for a minute, but he dropped off and I was alone as I turned onto Park.  When I made the turn onto Glenwood, I shifted into my tallest gear and accelerated.  I was going 30+ mph as I swung wide onto Goodwin, and kept grinding toward the finish line.

Finishing the 2009 Whiskey Off Road

Finishing the 2009 Whiskey Off Road

I could hear the voices of people I know cheering as I entered the chute, and finally rolled across the line 3 hours and 31 minutes after the start.

This year’s course was longer than those of previous years, so I couldn’t really compare times.  That being said, I was still 19 minutes faster than last year, and came within 1 minute of my goal of 3:30.  I finished 18th out of 61 finishers in my age division.

It was a great day, and top it off, I didn’t even throw up afterward this year!

12 Hours At Night Mountain Bike Ride! April 21, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, extreme sports, Mountain Biking.
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It’s official, the 12 Hours At Night is now up and open for registration.


This is a perfect time too.  The Whiskey Off Road mountain bike race is this weekend, so hopefully plenty of you are finding this blog and reading it.

This is a great way for all you desert dwellers to get up here in July and escape the 120° temps, and spend one cool night riding your bike.

Riding not Writing April 18, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, trails.
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I have been doing quite a bit of mountain biking this week, and conversly have not been doing much writing on this blog.

Short recap, with some photos to be posted soon:

Thursday evening, Kent and I braved the super cold and windy weather to ride out behind Thumb Butte.  It was snowing on us at one point!  My front tire threw a rock that went into my rear spokes, and broke yet another of them.  Another trip the the bike shop for repairs.

Whiskey Off Road Newbie Jennifer and I rode two loops of the Camp Perlstein/393 /Copper Basin Rd. from the Aspen Creek trail head on Friday afternoon.  She did much better on the switchbacks the second time, and will do just fine in the Whiskey 15.

Saturday morning, I met up with Jonea who was up here from Phoenix to pre-ride the Whiskey 15.  We rode the 19.5 miles and 2500′ of climbing that is called the 15 mile “fun” ride.  The trails are in pretty good shape, with lots of water crossings because of the spring storms we have had.  I am sure she will do fine on the 15 next week too.

Saturday night, Jonea and I went and did some night riding on the single track trails out at Pioneer Park / Brownlow Trail.  Man, it is a whole different world riding at night, talk about tunnel vision!

Wednesday Night and Whiskey April 9, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking.
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Wednesday evening, Kent and I rode from Thumb Butte up the road (5.7 miles of UP!) to the Skull Valley overlook, then followed the last part of the Whiskey Off Road course back down to the truck.

The ride up was tough.  My legs were already feeling a bit sore (could be a combination of so much riding lately and volleyball on Monday night), and on top of that, we were riding right into a very stiff and cold wind.  We saw a group of 5 mule deer cross in front of us about 4 miles in. We made it to the overlook in 45 minutes, and then took the single track to the east.

The single track still has lots of loose sand and big rocks in it.  Maybe it had a tough winter, or horses have been on it or something, because it is rough.  I kicked some rocks and branches out of the way on the way down in an effort to make it a little more friendly.

When the single track opens up along a ridge into a two track, there is a big pine tree leaning over across the trail.  It is not down on it yet, but it looks like it could come down at any time.  This is on the trail I recently dubbed Turkey Track, because of wild turkeys roosting nearby.

At the bottom of Turkey Track, the Rock Garden Trail starts.  The upper part of this is a two track, and is currently pretty rough.  Lots of loose and sharp rock that takes your front wheel wherever it wants too.  There will be some bloodletting in this section on race day, I guarantee it!

When you actually get to the Rock Garden, it has been cleaned up pretty nicely now. It is nowhere near as bad as it was even on Sunday.  After the Rock Garden, the rest of the trails are in pretty nice shape.  We saw another group of deer right next to the 321, they acted like they didn’t even care that we were there. Someone has even come in and cut the huge tree out of the way that was down on the bottom of the Garden Grove trail.  There are still 4 wet crossings on that trail however.

The Miller Creek trail was in good shape. That is, as good a shape as it probably can be, with all the unmovable rocks that are in the middle of the trail as it snakes along the creek toward Thumb Butte Park. 3 wet crossings here.

We finished up just before dark, both hot from the ride, and cold from the evap cooling supplied by the strong winds.  12.4 miles, and my hamstrings feel like they are about to pop…

Solo on the Whiskey; I Drink Alone April 6, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Events, Mountain Biking.
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What started out as a group pre-ride of the Whiskey Off Road, ended as a solo trip through the beautiful pines.

Patrick and Jennifer were going to pre-ride the Whiskey 15 on Sunday, and asked if I would come along to show them the course.  Dore’ , Steve and Rob where also along for the ride.  We started in downtown Prescott just like the race does, and headed through town and up Copper Basin Road.  By the time we got to the steeps on Copper Basin, Rob, Dore’ and Steve were long gone.  I hung back with Jennifer and Patrick.  When we hit the end of the pavement, we saw Toby and Katrina getting out of their cars and preparing to ride too.  About halfway up the switchbacks just outside of Camp Perlstein, Jennifer had had enough.  She was feeling sick, so she and Patrick decided to go back.  Toby and Katrina had just gone by us, and now along came Steve and Michelle.  I followed Michelle up the trail, and went by her on the way up and caught up with Steve in the saddle.  I bombed down to Copper Basin just in time to see all the others that were ahead up on the new section of trail that Rob had designed and built.  That means they had decided to ride the 25 instead of the 15.

I rode up it as quickly as I could, meeting Katrina on her way back down with a broken derailleur hanger.  She said she was going to limp back to her car.  Below, I saw Steve and Michelle headed up.  I rode as fast as I could to try and catch the others and after the downhill with the big drops over water bars, I found Toby with a flat tire.  The others were nowhere in sight.  I stopped and visited with Toby while he changed his tire.  Steve and Michelle didn’t appear, and I decided to go back to Copper Basin and just finish the 15, because I knew Toby would be bored to tears waiting for me on the climb out of Copper Creek (either that or he would leave me in the dust!)

I headed back up the trail and cleaned it up as I went, and then when I got out to Copper Basin Road, turned west and made the climb up to the Skull Valley overlook.  I rarely ride by myself, because I just don’t think it is a smart thing to do, but this was actually very peaceful and I was enjoying the solitude.

I stopped at the overlook long enough to start to get cold in the wind, and then headed up the single track that was the back half of the 15.  I had the Whiskey all to myself.

Side note:  The Whiskey 15 is really 19 miles long, and the 25 is really 27+, and the 50 is only 44 miles long!!

I tried to just take it easy on the way down because there are some pretty hairy sections, and in fact I almost ate it just before the turn onto the Rock Garden Trail.  It is rutted and filled with loose rock, and my front wheel had a mind of its own!

When i got to the pavement at Thumb Butte Park, I pushed pretty hard through town and back to the courthouse square.  It took me 50 minutes from the overlook to the square, so in order to meet my goal of 3:30 or faster for the 25, I will have to be at the overlook in no longer than 2:40.  That could be a tough number for me, given my previous problems with the climb out from Copper Creek.  I never did see any of the others that I had started out with…..in fact, I didn’t see any other mountain bikers at all after I left Toby on Trail 48.

Overall, it was a good afternoon on the bike.  I covered 22.6 miles and did a lot of climbing.

Riding until Dusk April 2, 2009

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Events, Mountain Biking, trails.
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On Wednesday evening after work, Jack, Kent Toby and I rode the long grind (5.7 miles) up Thumb Butte Rd. to the overlook.  My legs were still sore from the Adventure Race on Saturday, but I didn’t know it until I started to climb….ow! We got to the Skull Valley overlook just in time to enjoy an awesome sunset.

From there we rode the descent that the Wiskey Off Road mtb race takes.  The trail 368 single track heads west up the hill from the overlook, then goes NE.  There was a dead tree down across it right at the one pretty wicked drop that is on it, so now the trail goes around and avoids the drop.  This trail is pretty chewed up and in worse condition than I remember from last year’s race. There was another tree down across it just before it becomes a wider track, and Toby and I managed to pull the tree aside while we waited for Jack.  Just before turn onto the 9401J (Rock Garden Trail), there is a pretty knarly section of downhill ruts and loose rock and gravel.  I followed Toby’s line down, and we stopped just past the bottom to wait for Kent and Jack.  We could hear Kent giving some direction to Jack near the top, and then we saw Kent coming down it.  Right at the bottom, there is a deep sandy area, and when Kent hit it, he must have been just a little on his front brake, because his front tire slid out to the left, and he couldn’t stay on top of it.  He fell off to the right, landing on his right upper chest and his head and rolling over once from there.  His bike cartwheeled over the top of him, and he ended up in a sitting position beneath a cloud of dust.  We went back to make sure he was okay, and saw that his helmet had done it’s job incredibly well.  He had left a furrow in the ground about a foot wide and 2 feet long that had been dug with his front right side of his helmet!  His face was dirty, and his eyes were full of dust, but he was okay.

We continued down the Rock Garden Trail (which is named after the last pitch on it), fast and furious.  This part of the trail is a two-track that goes down a ridge, and is filled with lots of loose and sharp rock the size of golf balls and racquetballs.  We stopped at the top of the aforementioned Rock Garden to tell Jack about it a little bit, and for Kent to re0tell the story of  “the fat guy” who literally flew past him in the race on this section a couple of years ago.  The Rock Garden was a mess!  It has been chewed to pieces by ATVs or Jeeps or something…..There is no real line down it now, it is just filled with babyheads and boulders with a few truckloads of loose, sharp rock thrown in.  It is steep and full of obsticles that try to stop your front wheel.  Jack found this out, as at one point he was actually riding a nose wheelie, but somehow saved it.

The next turn is onto the 51 and you can usually just bomb it, but we were a little more tentative this time because we weren’t sure what we would find.  Sure enough, coming around an off camber corner, suddenly there was a giant pine tree down and sticking halfway into the track!  The 51 is also in worse shape than I recall.

At the bottom of the 51 we realized we were running out of daylight, so we circumvented part of the Whiskey route to save time.  We rejoined the Whiskey route at the top of the Garden Grove Trail (392).  This section of the trail was in really good shape and was fast and a ton of fun.  There was water in the creek, so we got a little wet at the several crossings.  At one of the crossings, there is a huge dead tree blocking the trail completely.

We popped out onto Thumb Butte Road instead of taking the Miller Creek Trail (362) because it was getting very dark.  We cruise back down to the cars, and left in total darkness.

It was a great ride, and one that we will be doing many times before the Whiskey to get used to the trail, and to condition for the climbing.

Pedal ’till you Puke…..sort of December 13, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking, trails.
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-This post was written a couple of weeks ago, I guess I was just so out of it that I forgot to publish it-

I have been battling my first case of the flu in years the last few days, and it has been miserable!  But enough of that, lets get to the mountain biking.

On Monday afternoon, Steve and I arranged to meet up with Hal out on the trails.  Steve and I rode into The Pines up the Fireplace Springs Trail, then turned and went up Gulch Trail.  It had been a while since I have been on this trail, and I can tell you that it has become a rocky mess.  It has always been a tough climb, but now, it is brutal.  This would be a tough hike even without a bike! I really struggled.  We had to get off and push a few times.  We were going to meet with Hal at the top of it, but because it took us longer than we had planned, Hal was waiting about a quarter of the way down for us. He wasn’t just sitting there though, he was performing some much needed trail maintenance while he waited for us to struggle our way up to him.  The three of us finished the climb together to where it meets the White Rock (but now it’s green..?) Trail.

From there we headed west.  The afternoon was perfect, just a breath of wind, not a cloud in the sky, and the sun falling sideways through the pine trees. We cranked all the way out to the rock that gives the trail it’s name.  At that point, Hal needed to head back, so Steve and I pedalled up Thumb Butte Rd. to FR51.  We took the first left and followed it down to Trail 326, then took the 392.  The 392 is part of the Circle Prescott Trail project, and is also the final descent on the famous Whiskey Off Road mountain bike event.  We bombed the 392, and shortly after it turns from single track switchbacks to meandering two-track, there was a big ponderosa down across it.  We were going so fast, that I barely managed to come to a stop in front of it.

Back at Thumb Butte Rd. we took the 332 back into The Pines.  Somewhere in there I got a text message, so I stopped to see what it was….it was my wife saying she was really sick and going to bed.  Uh-oh.  That might explain why I didn’t have much in the way of legs this afternoon. We made it to the Fireplace, and decided we had enough time to head back over the Boulders and down into the Meadow Trail.  When it hit the Waterline Road, we went up to a single track that headed north toward the Bobsled Trail, but on the way up that spotted another single track that was unknown to both of us.  We said, “Why not?” and headed down it.  It swooped and bent through the tall pines and was really a lot of fun, I will definitely try to ride it more often.  We came back out on the Waterline Road and then headed back down and out to the car.  We covered exactly 13 miles and had a great ride.

On the way home, I stopped and bought Tracie some chicken soup and Sprite.  By the time I got home, all the muscles in my body, but especially my hips were aching, and I thought to myself that though today’s ride had been tough, it hadn’t been hard enough to make me hurt all over……….well, an hour later I was driving the porcelain school bus.  The flu absolutely KO-ed both my wife and me for the next two days.  Good thing we had the chicken soup!

Whiskey Off Road May 6, 2008

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There were over 500 riders in the 2008 Whiskey Off Road mountain bike ride in Prescott, Arizona this year.

My goal was to beat my time in the “25 Proof” (it’s actually 27.4 miles).  On the climb out of town on Copper Basin Road, my legs felt tight and like there was nothing in them.  Last year I made it to the Camp Perlstein turnoff with only about 20 bikes ahead of me, THIS year, I was weak and slow and probably had over 100 riders ahead of me by the time I got to the single track.  This made it slow going.

On the way up the trail 48 section, I found myself in a conga line of people all pushing their bikes.  No way around them because there were so many.  I am sure that I lost at least 10 minutes in that section of the course, as we all walked and pushed for the majority of a mile and a half.

Once we started the downhill section however, it was a different story all together.  I passed about 6 riders just before 48 hits the 260.  Here I found myself behind a female that was a downhill maniac!  I stayed with her as we passed rider after rider on the punishing descent.  She asked me if I wanted to go by her, but I said “Heck no!, you are riding as fast as I would care to ride this, and you are giving me a good line to follow!”  We bombed the whole section until we hit forest road 53.  I had no chance at keeping up with her on the 6 miles of climb that followed, as she probably weighed 100 lbs. soaking wet, and I am almost double that!  (That’s my story and I am sticking to it)

I suffered through the climb.  It was a hot day, and the road is mostly in full sunlight.  When I made it to the overlook, I stopped long enough to put some Heed in my bottle, then hit the final few miles of singletrack down to Thumb Butte.  I rode this section better than I ever have, but found myself on the edge of control a couple of times when I passed other riders and had to take a line that I really didn’t want to be on, and found myself bouncing over loose babyheads just before a big left turn.  Scary…….but fun!

When I finally dumped out onto Thumb Butte Rd. Shifted into the big ring and tried to gain some speed only to have both my hamstrings lock up.   After forcing my legs through a few rotations of the crank, they loosened up a little and I was on my way.  I caught up to another rider as we approached Gurley Street, and we took turns riding in each others slipstreams all the way into the final turn onto Goodwin.  Here, I gave it everything I had as I pounded through the finish.

Last year I crashed twice and had to stop twice with bad cramps, this year I kept the rubber side down and didn’t have to stop, so I figured I have a better time……..but alas, I was actually 3 minutes slower this year.  I think it was getting caught up in the bike pushing conga line that did me in.

Still, I am happy with the way I rode, happy that I lived through another grueling event, and happy to finish in 19th place in the Masters Division.

A Day of Rest April 13, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Just Stuff, Mountain Biking.
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Today is a day to do the chores around the house and rest up from the last 2 days. Both Friday and Saturday were two-ride days. I already posted about Friday afternoon, so this will be about the Saturday rides.

Saturday morning I met up with a group that road rides together every weekend (not me mind you!) 7 of us headed out White Spar with the intent of doing the out and back to the Wilhoit store, a round trip of 34 miles with plenty of vertical. By the time we got to mile marker 298 (14 miles out), I knew that I needed to turn around. While the other 6 riders continued out the last 3 miles to the store, I turned around and took a leisurely pace back up toward Prescott. I stopped once when my chain came off on the inside of the crank, and another time to look at where forest road 53 (part of the Whiskey Off Road in 2 weeks) connects to hwy 89. When I made it to the top at mile marker 305, I sat and waited for the other 6 that I knew would be along shortly. Looking down across the last switchback canyon, after about 10 minutes, I saw them come around the corner and head into the long switchback. By the time they all made it up to 305, I had been there about 16 minutes. They made good time, much better than they would have if I had been trailing along. We held together as a group on the fast descent into Prescott, and ended up at the Starbucks parking lot.

That was the morning.

In the afternoon, four of us did the exact same ride that Kent and I did on Friday evening, but we had arranged to meet up with some other riders coming the other way up to the overlook. So we had a group of six for the fun, rocky and wild trail riding back down to the cars. That part of the Whiskey course is becoming pretty familiar to me, so I am confident that come race day, I will do well there. The other side, however, is a different story. I am hoping to ride it at least once before the Whiskey.

Busy afternoon today April 11, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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This afternoon my friend who is loaning me his road bike for the Rosarito to Ensenada ride next weekend called me up and said, “I have to get out on my bike for a little while, can you go?”

With nothing but chores to do at home, what do you THINK I said?  I drove over to his house and then realized that I had forgotten my riding shoes, so we rode from his house to mine to get my shoes, then continued across town and out White Spar Rd.  I needed to keep it short so that I had time to get to Costco and still make my scheduled mtb ride with another buddy Kent after he was off work.  We ended up burning through about 20 miles.  I usually have no interest in road riding, because I am smaller and more fragile than any car.  However, with a 50 miler looming next week, I figured I had better get some miles in on Bob’s Trek.  It was a good ride, and my legs felt good when it was over.

At 5:30 Kent and I road our mtbs up Thumb Butte Rd. to the overlook and then down the winding convoluted bundle of trails that make up part of the Whiskey Off Road that is on April 26th.  We had a good ride as well, my legs felt pretty tight on the climb up, but all was well, and I made it back having stayed on top of my bike throughout.

Now, it is off to bed to get ready for tomorrow!  I am going to join a bunch of roadies for a 34 miler down to Wilhoit and back in the morning, then some mountain biking friends and I are going to go do part of the Whiskey in the afternoon.  I know, I am a glutton for punishment.  Hopefully, Sunday will be a day of recovery (and chores).

Priming for the Whiskey April 9, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Mountain Biking.
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My buddy Kent and I rode after work yesterday.  We parked on Thumb Butte Rd. where the 392 hits it, and rode up the road to the overlook.  That part is a grind….42 minutes of up, up and up.  From there, we hit  part of the up coming Whiskey Off Road (April 26).  The 366 was in pretty good shape, although there was one tree down across it.  The descent just before the 4101J is pretty sketchy, with lots of loose rock and some big ones mixed in.  The 4101J is fine until you get to the rock garden.  This part is a total mess, it has been really torn up by atvs or jeeps.  There are many big holes and rocks, all covered in loose and sketchy babyheads.  There will be mass carnage here on race day!  If I wasn’t riding that day, I would be here with a video camera.  The FR51 was in nice shape, only someone has put some logs out into it, and they sneak up on you (hopefully someone will move them by race day).  The 321 starts out as a double track then suddenly becomes a single that edges along the side of a canyon, there is a single tight switchback turn that will sneak up and bite you if you let it.  The 323 is a short but beastly climb on loose rock that makes it hard to hold your line.  It levels out and becomes smooth after about 300 yds.  It curves south and becomes the 326 which is a double with lots of room to get by people (this is good because there is no room on the next leg). A sharp turn onto the 392 gets you onto singletrack that is just a couple of years old, and switchbacks down the face of a mountain before it changes into double that you can really let it rip on.  This part of 392 goes straight down the bottom of a canyon and crosses the creek (yes it was running!) several times.  Just before it gets to Thumb Butte Rd. it takes a hard right and parallels the road for a couple of hundred yards to the intersection with trail 367.  This is where we parked, so it was the end of our ride for today.

I am looking forward to the Whiskey this year, my hope is to improve on last year’s time of 3:47 for the 27 miles that is the “25 Proof”.

Day Hike on 392 March 20, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, Mountain Biking.
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I am always scouting the local trails for my Adventure Recreation business, so I took a short hike up trail 392 from Thumb Butte this afternoon.  Man is it great to see all the water running!  There was even one spot along the trail that was like a seep or slow spring, water was just coming out of the ground and running down hill to another small creek.  For anyone that is riding in the Whiskey in April, this part of the trail actually looks really good (did a little trail maintenance with my foot as I hiked along).  There are, however, several places where (right now anyway) you cross water.  That’s cool though, you always look a little more extreme if your bike is muddy!

Anyway, it was nice to get out for a quick hike, even if it was for only an hour or so.

The toughest part of the Whiskey Off Road March 16, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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Several of us went on a training ride on what I consider the toughest part of the Whiskey Off Road course yesterday. We parked at the Aspen Trail Trailhead off Copper Basin Rd. and started up trail 48. It was very slow going for a bunch of reasons, We had to hike a bike (this area is generally a lot of hike a bike for me anyway) much more than usual, as I counted 17 pine trees down across the trail. It was also a bit more rocky than it is during the Whiskey.

This is all I can tell you about today as I had to stop at the top of the ridge and head up to Mt. Francis and down the road in order to make it to a noon wedding. Guys I am sorry that I couldn’t suffer through it with you!

I heard from one of the guys and he said:

It was a great ride indeed. Little hike-a-bike, lot of grinding and some brutal downhill into Copper Creek. I haven’t ridden that trail in years, but remembered right away how rocky the 260 on the south side of the ridge was. I think I saw on Hal’s trail profile that there was over 4700 ft. of elevation change.
Great ride topped off with a big greasy cheeseburger and beers!

Training Ride March 13, 2008

Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Mountain Biking.
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For those of you that are riding in the Whiskey Off Road in April, some of us are planning a ride over part of the course on Saturday morning at 9:00am.  We will meet at the Trail 48 trailhead on Copper Basin Rd.

We will ride 48 to 260 to FR53 to Copper Basin and back to the cars.  This should take about an hour and a half.  Yeah, that might seem short, but there is a ton of vertical in it!

Come join us!