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Thread: 2018 Whiskey 50

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    2018 Whiskey 50

    Registration just opened... who all is going this year? I have seen references on this board from various people who have been In the past.

    This will be my first race of 2018 and first MTB trip in Arizona. Definitely looking forward to a week of MTB vacation with what looks to be a big racing event thrown in.

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    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Im racing it, trying to win the 50 proof. Amateur race.

    Lets hear some course layout descriptions please if anybody has any, i want to train specific to this course over the next few months.
    Thanks for any data.

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    Does the race sell out pretty quick?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    Im racing it, trying to win the 50 proof. Amateur race.

    Lets hear some course layout descriptions please if anybody has any, i want to train specific to this course over the next few months.
    Thanks for any data.

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    Be a beast of a climber ..

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    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacksheep5150 View Post
    Be a beast of a climber ..
    Thats me. Show up to blow up haha. Climb like Howard Grotts, descend like Aaron Gwin.

    I moved to Tucson specifically to win the Whisky 50. Ill have ridden the course at least 10 times by then.



    * disclaimer (Joking in the first part)

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    Lets hear some course layout descriptions please if anybody has any, i want to train specific to this course over the next few months.
    I've been doing a little reading (lots of threads on the W50 here on MTBR over the years.

    If we are going to talk strategy the pieces of the course I am interested in hearing more about are how others have dealt with ascending/descending the water bars and the clusters of people who HAB through those areas.

    There is some interesting power data on Strava for the race--absolutely a climbers course. https://www.strava.com/segments/909942

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    Quote Originally Posted by flowby2wheels View Post
    I've been doing a little reading (lots of threads on the W50 here on MTBR over the years.

    If we are going to talk strategy the pieces of the course I am interested in hearing more about are how others have dealt with ascending/descending the water bars and the clusters of people who HAB through those areas.

    There is some interesting power data on Strava for the race--absolutely a climbers course. https://www.strava.com/segments/909942
    What waterbars, the Trail 48 stuff? Last year I cleaned the entire thing somehow. I hadn't ridden it in years, but I seemed to nail it on the race. There's a lot of steep stuff on 48 (after a crap-load of steep stuff up wolvertin) and it's challenging. It's all about putting the power down, weighting the pedals/bike just right, momentum, a high enough gear (if you too low you spin out and stall), and the big wheels help a lot (29ers). Another key is to be out in front as far as possible so there is a minimum of people that stall out in front of you. That takes power training and speed, as always. Unfortunately, it'll never happen further back in the pack because of bottle-necking.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    Im racing it, trying to win the 50 proof. Amateur race.

    Lets hear some course layout descriptions please if anybody has any, i want to train specific to this course over the next few months.
    Thanks for any data.

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    With what you've seen so far, Lane, what gearing are you thinking?
    I'm trying to decide on the 50 Proof as well, SS. The climbing and loose stuff has me rethinking 32x19.

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    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    What waterbars, the Trail 48 stuff? Last year I cleaned the entire thing somehow. I hadn't ridden it in years, but I seemed to nail it on the race. There's a lot of steep stuff on 48 (after a crap-load of steep stuff up wolvertin) and it's challenging. It's all about putting the power down, weighting the pedals/bike just right, momentum, a high enough gear (if you too low you spin out and stall), and the big wheels help a lot (29ers). Another key is to be out in front as far as possible so there is a minimum of people that stall out in front of you. That takes power training and speed, as always. Unfortunately, it'll never happen further back in the pack because of bottle-necking.
    Did you/will you run your 429? I love your posts man. Especially about suspension. I really am debating a hardtail or fs for this race.

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  10. #10
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Quote Originally Posted by cairnmtb View Post
    With what you've seen so far, Lane, what gearing are you thinking?
    I'm trying to decide on the 50 Proof as well, SS. The climbing and loose stuff has me rethinking 32x19.
    I have not ridden in Prescott yet. Some people i know from back in Mi/Wi live there and i will be checking it out with them a few times. I am not racing SS at Whiskey 50. Im only racing SS in normal xc races and Gunnison Growler and Lumberjack.

    Recently moving to Tucson though, most SS guys are riding 32/19~. I have only been riding SS and 33/19 i did an AES race on, felt undergeared, would have rather had to do some running my bike uphill too and make up everywhere else. Ive been running 34 oval 19 since on most trails, ive had to run a few sections of climbs. I dont mind that, its a good workout. I did some swapping and Ive found out here that if you gear for climbing 34/22 you dont have enough torque to get over obstacles, you cant spin up a 2ft rock ledge, and then if you go too tall 36/20 you have torque but can die out on super steep stuff. The loose ground is all new to me so you cant just stand and hammer because youll just spin out and flop over. So im trying to feather the clutch a bit and stay seated more, then get to a rock ledge and attack it and get back on the seat fast. I wouldnt run a gear just for the climbs because if you are stuck in traffic, you cant use it anyways, i would gear to be prepared to go cx mode at any moment. 32/19 sounds good on paper.


    I will be riding the Whiskey 50 course on SS though a few times just for training until i get my 2018 race bike sorted. I will take 34ov/20 and if i have to run i will. I have suspension and a dropper i can make up those seconds in other places.

    If you or anybody wants to meet up there and pre ride im all in. Im ~3.5hrs away and have contacts there that can show us around. Legit pros. They can give us inside info also.

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  11. #11
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    Whiskey 50 is hard on SS. The road to skull valley is a killer. You fly down hill for 30 minutes at 25-30 mph only to turn around and go back up at 5 mph for 2 hours. The singletrack downhill is however technical enough that you don't need big gears to run that. Your pace is limited by your riding skill. Even so not technical enough that you need a dropper to clear things. You could be bit faster if you make use if it. Once finished with the single track the downhill paved road run it is deadly on SS. You can't gear for it and the only hope is aero tuck and hope not too many geared guys down pass you. The normal guys that do whiskey will gear low. Like 32x21 and deal with spinning out just to make the climbs. However the crazy fast/strong guys just use bigger gear and work hard on the climbs.

    Since it warm out now it would a good time to pre-ride the course before it get snowed in at the tops of the climbs.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

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    I'll be there. Not sure how hard I'll race it yet. Still trying to nail down the rest of my season.

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    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Any way to get a gpx of the 50? Might as well go ride it this week since its not snowy

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  14. #14
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    The promoter gave me this...

    https://www.trailforks.com/route/whi...50-proof-2210/

    Said i can ride it anytime.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    I have not ridden in Prescott yet. Some people i know from back in Mi/Wi live there and i will be checking it out with them a few times. I am not racing SS at Whiskey 50. Im only racing SS in normal xc races and Gunnison Growler and Lumberjack.

    Recently moving to Tucson though, most SS guys are riding 32/19~. I have only been riding SS and 33/19 i did an AES race on, felt undergeared, would have rather had to do some running my bike uphill too and make up everywhere else. Ive been running 34 oval 19 since on most trails, ive had to run a few sections of climbs. I dont mind that, its a good workout. I did some swapping and Ive found out here that if you gear for climbing 34/22 you dont have enough torque to get over obstacles, you cant spin up a 2ft rock ledge, and then if you go too tall 36/20 you have torque but can die out on super steep stuff. The loose ground is all new to me so you cant just stand and hammer because youll just spin out and flop over. So im trying to feather the clutch a bit and stay seated more, then get to a rock ledge and attack it and get back on the seat fast. I wouldnt run a gear just for the climbs because if you are stuck in traffic, you cant use it anyways, i would gear to be prepared to go cx mode at any moment. 32/19 sounds good on paper.


    I will be riding the Whiskey 50 course on SS though a few times just for training until i get my 2018 race bike sorted. I will take 34ov/20 and if i have to run i will. I have suspension and a dropper i can make up those seconds in other places.

    If you or anybody wants to meet up there and pre ride im all in. Im ~3.5hrs away and have contacts there that can show us around. Legit pros. They can give us inside info also.

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    Thanks, Lane.
    I live in Boulder, CO, but am in Arizona every five weeks or so, bouncing around Tucson, Phoenix, and Sedona, for business. If I have to the opportunity to sync up with you, I'll definitely take advantage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Whiskey 50 is hard on SS. The road to skull valley is a killer. You fly down hill for 30 minutes at 25-30 mph only to turn around and go back up at 5 mph for 2 hours. The singletrack downhill is however technical enough that you don't need big gears to run that. Your pace is limited by your riding skill. Even so not technical enough that you need a dropper to clear things. You could be bit faster if you make use if it. Once finished with the single track the downhill paved road run it is deadly on SS. You can't gear for it and the only hope is aero tuck and hope not too many geared guys down pass you. The normal guys that do whiskey will gear low. Like 32x21 and deal with spinning out just to make the climbs. However the crazy fast/strong guys just use bigger gear and work hard on the climbs.

    Since it warm out now it would a good time to pre-ride the course before it get snowed in at the tops of the climbs.
    Great info, Joe. Thank you. Very validating, in that your real world experience maps directly to my concerns as I view the course on paper.:-)

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    Mtb Project has the route too

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    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Would it be better to start "slow" and then just bury it on skull valley? I am a climber and will be on a hardtail. I wont let the leaders out of sight but if i try and go post to post it could backfire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    Would it be better to start "slow" and then just bury it on skull valley? I am a climber and will be on a hardtail. I wont let the leaders out of sight but if i try and go post to post it could backfire.

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    I can't remember of the traffic builds up on the 50 as bad as the 30. If so. I'd push at the start to at least the single track.
    The 30 proof is a nightmare if you don't get out front soon. I had a Prescott pass last year and sweet god, those bastards left that line like it was the last race in their life.

    I will be out there again for the 30 proof, my 10 year old is giving the 30 a run this year (he has solo'd the 15 mile race for the last 2 years)
    Too Many .

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    Quote Originally Posted by flowby2wheels View Post
    Registration just opened... who all is going this year? I have seen references on this board from various people who have been In the past.

    This will be my first race of 2018 and first MTB trip in Arizona. Definitely looking forward to a week of MTB vacation with what looks to be a big racing event thrown in.
    I will be, I have a camp spot saved at White Spar Camp ground. It will be a awesome weekend as always
    Too Many .

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    [QUOTE=LaneDetroitCity;13483927]Would it be better to start "slow" and then just bury it on skull valley? I am a climber and will be on a hardtail. I wont let the leaders out of sight but if i try and go post to post it could backfire.

    The fastest guys in the Southwest will be racing the 50. Race McDowell this weekend. If your lap times put you in the top 5 of Cat 1 open, then you have a chance of being in the top 20. Remember these guys will have a pass to start in the front. So you will be standing in line for an hour before the start and still be behind at least 100 guys who are warming up and then they line up 15 minutes before the start. Then they sprint on the paved road section then dirt road section and then file into the single track. The front guys will be averaging over 400 watts on the paved road climb. You will have to hammer out an incredible amount of power just to catch up to them from your mid-pack starting spot. If you aren't in the top 50 when you hit the single track, a top 20 finish is unlikely. I'm just being realistic, cause the top 20 finishers are crazy fast and can climb too. But who knows, maybe you're a mutant with a 6 w/Kg ftp. Your starting position is what will really limit your result.

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    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    [QUOTE=nephro;13492761]
    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    Would it be better to start "slow" and then just bury it on skull valley? I am a climber and will be on a hardtail. I wont let the leaders out of sight but if i try and go post to post it could backfire.

    The fastest guys in the Southwest will be racing the 50. Race McDowell this weekend. If your lap times put you in the top 5 of Cat 1 open, then you have a chance of being in the top 20. Remember these guys will have a pass to start in the front. So you will be standing in line for an hour before the start and still be behind at least 100 guys who are warming up and then they line up 15 minutes before the start. Then they sprint on the paved road section then dirt road section and then file into the single track. The front guys will be averaging over 400 watts on the paved road climb. You will have to hammer out an incredible amount of power just to catch up to them from your mid-pack starting spot. If you aren't in the top 50 when you hit the single track, a top 20 finish is unlikely. I'm just being realistic, cause the top 20 finishers are crazy fast and can climb too. But who knows, maybe you're a mutant with a 6 w/Kg ftp. Your starting position is what will really limit your result.
    Thank you, i get what you are saying for sure. Can only go so fast with 35 people in a line in the trail.

    Im not racing McDowell it also has no bearing on the whisky 50. If you mean cat 1 open with like Kyle Trudeau and them, im not that fast and they race the pro race. If you mean like the one just below that, im on that level. The starting position will affect me more it seems and your the first person to talk about guys getting preferred starts. How do they get the preferred starts? Past results or something?

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    I meant racing McDowell will compare your speed with the faster guys in the state. Although none of the guys who raced cat 1 open were in the top 5 at WOR 50 last year. The top guys racing the marathon class at MBAA seem to do well at WOR. Tullous won the amateur WOR 50 last year and he was actually the masters world champion a few years back. That dude has big power and can't weigh more than friggen 100 lbs. Maybe you can get a jump off the start and get with that front group. You have to line up REALLY early though. First time I raced it was 2012 I think. I rolled up to the line one hour before the start and it seemed like there were 300 people lined up in front of me. Then I got the Prescott pass (I think the top 100 from an Epic race the previous year gets one) and that helped a lot. I blow up the first two mile every year. That road section is the worst part of the entire race, unless you take it easy. But then you're stuck in the bottle neck and any result is out of the picture.

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    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Quote Originally Posted by nephro View Post
    I meant racing McDowell will compare your speed with the faster guys in the state. Although none of the guys who raced cat 1 open were in the top 5 at WOR 50 last year. The top guys racing the marathon class at MBAA seem to do well at WOR. Tullous won the amateur WOR 50 last year and he was actually the masters world champion a few years back. That dude has big power and can't weigh more than friggen 100 lbs. Maybe you can get a jump off the start and get with that front group. You have to line up REALLY early though. First time I raced it was 2012 I think. I rolled up to the line one hour before the start and it seemed like there were 300 people lined up in front of me. Then I got the Prescott pass (I think the top 100 from an Epic race the previous year gets one) and that helped a lot. I blow up the first two mile every year. That road section is the worst part of the entire race, unless you take it easy. But then you're stuck in the bottle neck and any result is out of the picture.
    This is great info man, i super appreciate it. If i raced Mcdwoell it would be the marathon and i would hope to be top 5-8. I just started my training season, these guys are just starting their race season. Im peaking in September, so by whisky they will have been racing a bunch also. Thats why i moved to Tucson, to get some races in before the Whiskey 50. Im doing the aes antelope peak route instead of McDowell and then racing it the next weekend. Ill be doing the mbaa marathon and aes races, and probably do the Arizona trail 300 a few weeks before Whiskey as my last big training rides. True grit 50 also. Ill be ready to do my best.

    Its not possible to start a race with a road sprint without a warm up, so i wont be lining up early. I might have my gf stand there with her bike and go warm up hard though, then switch spots with her. Ill be finding a way to start near the front somehow.

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    2018 Whiskey 50

    If you're racing the 50 get lined up early. You'll be standing there in the cold but the grid will fill really fast as you get closer to the start time.

    Paved road climb turning to dirt road that takes about 20m at 240w @ 175 lbs 3.5 miles.
    Descends on that dirt road for a short while and then narrows to a rolling single track that you can't pass on. If you're not at the front here you're just plain stuck.
    You roll along until you hit Wolverton which is about a 1000 foot climb.
    Short descent then hit Trail 48 climb which is 2.5 miles and 500 foot climb.
    Major descent which has a good amount of jeep road where you can kind of pass...but you have to be careful because it is shale and you can easily lose it and crash if you're off line or end up cutting a tire.
    Then hit Copper Creek climb which is 2.3 miles and 722 feet.
    Once you come out from the climb you are at the aid station. Turn left and you descend down skull valley 25-30min. I used my dropper all the say down, tucked, and gave my back a break the whole way down and tried to be aero while pulling the Froome/Sagan pedaling while my saddle was down. If you had turned right that continues to climb to the top of the course and final descent to the finish (that is the 30 proof course).
    Once at the bottom there is another aid station and you climb back out. I was 175 lbs at the time climbing at about 200 watts and it took me an 1:50 to get back out. I cramped like a mother close to the top. It was in the 50's and windy last year. If it is warm this climb back out is where people melt. It is totally exposed and I can see it being an absolute oven if it is in the mid 60's and up, especially if not windy. The wind was coming up the climb so head wind on the descent. Not sure if this is normal.
    You hit the same aid station again and continue climbing for another 3.5 miles and then it is pretty much a descent the rest of the way.
    I rode a Fuel EX 29'er with 27.5+ carbon wheels and while it was great on the descents I am going to race my hard tail 27.5 with a dropper this year.
    There is one area that has a rocky drop section that a lot of people were walking, I think it is on the descent after Trail 48. It was totally fine with my saddle down. The final descent is pretty fast and you could descend it faster on a FS with a few rock gardens in it but definitely nothing that "Requires" a FS bike. In the last descent right before you come out on to the pavement there is a water crossing and then a few rock gardens that are a "thread the needle" type or you'll hit your derailleur or cranks. Then just tuck and pedal on a fast paved downhill to the finish.

    Crap ton of climbing. I'm sure it is a different experience for the 1st half of the race for the leaders as I just rode the pace of people in front of me until it started to clear up space about 1.5 hours in. The water bars were no big deal on the way down them because I was having to go fairly slow due to the number of people on course. Same with any that were on an uphill. Someone would jack it up and then everyone is walking. I finished in 5:36 and was 121st in the amateur menís open.
    Last edited by bikeguy0; 01-11-2018 at 01:35 PM.
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  26. #26
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeguy0 View Post
    If you're racing the 50 get lined up early. You'll be standing there in the cold but the grid will fill really fast as you get closer to the start time.

    Paved road climb turning to dirt road that takes about 20m at 240w @ 175 lbs 3.5 miles.
    Descends on that dirt road for a short while and then narrows to a rolling single track that you can't pass on. If you're not at the front here you're just plain stuck.
    You roll along until you hit Wolverton which is about a 1000 foot climb.
    Short descent then hit Trail 48 climb which is 2.5 miles and 500 foot climb.
    Major descent which has a good amount of jeep road where you can kind of pass...but you have to be careful because it is shale and you can easily lose it and crash if you're off line or end up cutting a tire.
    Then hit Copper Creek climb which is 2.3 miles and 722 feet.
    Once you come out from the climb you are at the aid station. Turn left and you descend down skull valley 25-30min. I used my dropper all the say down, tucked, and gave my back a break the whole way down and tried to be aero while pulling the Froome/Sagan pedaling while my saddle was down. If you had turned right that continues to climb to the top of the course and final descent to the finish (that is the 30 proof course).
    Once at the bottom there is another aid station and you climb back out. I was 175 lbs at the time climbing at about 200 watts and it took me an 1:50 to get back out. I cramped like a mother close to the top. It was in the 50's and windy last year. If it is warm this climb back out is where people melt. It is totally exposed and I can see it being an absolute oven if it is in the mid 60's and up, especially if not windy. The wind was coming up the climb so head wind on the descent. Not sure if this is normal.
    You hit the same aid station again and continue climbing for another 3.5 miles and then it is pretty much a descent the rest of the way.
    I rode a Fuel EX 29'er with 27.5+ carbon wheels and while it was great on the descents I am going to race my hard tail 27.5 with a dropper this year.
    There is one area that has a rocky drop section that a lot of people were walking, I think it is on the descent after Trail 48. It was totally fine with my saddle down. The final descent is pretty fast and you could descend it faster on a FS with a few rock gardens in it but definitely nothing that "Requires" a FS bike. In the last descent right before you come out on to the pavement there is a water crossing and then a few rock gardens that are a "thread the needle" type or you'll hit your derailleur or cranks. Then just tuck and pedal on a fast paved downhill to the finish.

    Crap ton of climbing. I'm sure it is a different experience for the 1st half of the race for the leaders as I just rode the pace of people in front of me until it started to clear up space about 1.5 hours in. The water bars were no big deal on the way down them because I was having to go fairly slow due to the number of people on course. Same with any that were on an uphill. Someone would jack it up and then everyone is walking. I finished in 5:36 and was like 121st
    Great post, thank you. Where would you say the separation of the people who should have lined up at the front and the ones who did but are now blowing up takes place? The guy mentioned finishing top 100 the year before gets you lined up in the front automatically, thats a big spread of people. The winner and the guy who finished in 100 are probably an hour apart not 3 min. So those guys will get to start ahead of some people who are faster, which climb of those before skull valley would be the place to pass as many people as you can because they are going to be climbing hard all race not the first x miles before reality sets in. Or should someone just be as aggressive as they can starting from the back, its a balancing act of letting them fade out some and holding back to be able to go fast when all the traffic is clearing out. Lumberjack it was all jammed up for the first few miles then people started realizing they were going way above their ideal pace and it opened up. I keep asking around when i see riders and they say its a shitshow at whiskey trying to pass.

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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeguy0 View Post
    If you're racing the 50 get lined up early. You'll be standing there in the cold but the grid will fill really fast as you get closer to the start time.

    Excellent post... Thanks for the beta. In looking at the results from last year 2017 Whiskey Off Road it seems like there is a constant stream of finishers that are all one after another. I suspect this makes for a good show for the spectators but with 500 racers it is probably going to be pretty frustrating. Based on distance/elevation (having never ridden the course but looking close at the pictures) this appears to be a pretty straight forward and buff race.

    I have looked through many strava power files for this race and conservatively I should be around 4:15 or so finish time. Unfortunately that means that means I have to contend with 400-450 other racers to ensure I find my slot that works with my pace to have a hope of achieving my personal best. Obviously passing 400 racers is not going to happen... hell passing 50 or 100 would be pretty tough. Given that I can understand why many people come up with "I'm not fast enough to be in the top 20" or "I am stuck here in the back behind 200 racers" ... there for "F@#$ it I am just going with the flow and having a good time".

  28. #28
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    2018 Whiskey 50

    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    Great post, thank you. Where would you say the separation of the people who should have lined up at the front and the ones who did but are now blowing up takes place? The guy mentioned finishing top 100 the year before gets you lined up in the front automatically, thats a big spread of people. The winner and the guy who finished in 100 are probably an hour apart not 3 min. So those guys will get to start ahead of some people who are faster, which climb of those before skull valley would be the place to pass as many people as you can because they are going to be climbing hard all race not the first x miles before reality sets in. Or should someone just be as aggressive as they can starting from the back, its a balancing act of letting them fade out some and holding back to be able to go fast when all the traffic is clearing out. Lumberjack it was all jammed up for the first few miles then people started realizing they were going way above their ideal pace and it opened up. I keep asking around when i see riders and they say its a shitshow at whiskey trying to pass.

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    You can line up fairly close to the front if you just get there early. The place to make the passes is on the start climb. If you donít make the passes there you are stuck for an hour before you can really get past people.

    The start climb is on roads and wide so you can get past people easily. Once in the single track I wasnít joking about not being able to pass. Some courses you can skirt around people or just say on your left and they can move over. On this one that first trail is constantly turning and kinda fast rolling so there isnít a way for someone to move over.

    Also, I spent too much time at the aid stations last year. I took a camelbak classic and refilled with water. I should have been quicker in the refill process. Or if youíre really gunning for it people can drive and then ride to that aid station before the descent to skull valley. Drop a camelbak and grab a new one from you support team would save you probably 3-5m.

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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by flowby2wheels View Post
    Excellent post... Thanks for the beta. In looking at the results from last year 2017 Whiskey Off Road it seems like there is a constant stream of finishers that are all one after another. I suspect this makes for a good show for the spectators but with 500 racers it is probably going to be pretty frustrating. Based on distance/elevation (having never ridden the course but looking close at the pictures) this appears to be a pretty straight forward and buff race.

    I have looked through many strava power files for this race and conservatively I should be around 4:15 or so finish time. Unfortunately that means that means I have to contend with 400-450 other racers to ensure I find my slot that works with my pace to have a hope of achieving my personal best. Obviously passing 400 racers is not going to happen... hell passing 50 or 100 would be pretty tough. Given that I can understand why many people come up with "I'm not fast enough to be in the top 20" or "I am stuck here in the back behind 200 racers" ... there for "F@#$ it I am just going with the flow and having a good time".
    Kudos to Bikeguys narrative. Having ridden the trails and helped clear/setup part of the course in the past, I will add in my $0.02. Therr is one climb section I think was not mention which is after you've topped out the 3.5 mile fire road segment from the aid station, it's not "all downhill" as once you leave the frd onto s/t again you'll encounter some more climbing before you actually top out. Then partway down that descent you have a section I think they call it "Hamstring/Cardiac Hill" or something similar. As for passing besides the early road sections, which in the frenzy is where it can be done (possibly too early as mentioned), there's the rolling frd sections leading to and thru the camp. Once thru the camp and into the singletrack is where the conga-line starts. Trail 48 jams up but after awhile climbing the many water bars isn't too bad if walking riders are thinking clearly enuff to be out of the line. As mentioned going over the top and descending the shale jeep road does have places to pass for the more skilled riders.
    Once down in Copper Creek and climbing up to the aid station works out too.
    As for 50 proof racers coming up from Skull Valley that want to take a chance and "not" stop at the Aid Station it is possible to have someone drive to the top lookout point from the backside and have liquids/supplement handouts there which I've done for people in the past.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    Did you/will you run your 429? I love your posts man. Especially about suspension. I really am debating a hardtail or fs for this race.

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    I have made the mistake twice of running the suspension too hard in a race. I figure I should pump it up a bit due to how hard I'll be riding it, but in reality, it hasn't seemed to be necessary. I didn't notice it much during the race, but I think I could have been a little softer and just used my "normal" settings. I also used the "trail" and "climb" settings a significant amount, riding up with other fast people, this seemed to be pretty constant. It's not that all the different 100mm bikes having all that much different efficiency, being so short-travel, but most of the people up there run the locks on during anything that they can stand to be shaken on, so for a majority of the way up Wolverton, people were running them with the locks on, as was I. Same thing with the climbs on the fireroads up Copper and up from Skull.

    It's a race, any time you can make up on the climbs means 4x more than being faster on the downhills.

    That said, it's pretty punishing to ride a hardtail on it. I've done it, but I can't put my body through that kind of punishment anymore. I need suspension. At high speed in the rough it's like snap-your-wrists-off in some of that stuff. I watched some of the pros do it, but it's just not realistic for me. I don't think it would make most people noticeably slower, especially the higher-skills type, at least until you've pounded the hell out of your body. I did a 100 mile race last summer and one of the hardest parts was the 2nd big descent, around 55-60 miles in, it just pounded the living hell out of me and I can't imagine doing it on a hardtail. This was the other race where I made the mistake of having the shock and tire pressure too high, it beat me to hell over the 100 mile course and I think I got a flat because I encountered a sharp rock and the tire couldn't deform enough, resulting in a puncture. I didn't regret running a bit higher tire pressure during the Whiskey, but I think the longer the race, the more I need to balance out the compliance of both the suspension and the tire pressure, with the terrain I'm going to ride. Obviously I can't lower it enough where I might be causing rim strikes. I DO need more tire pressure during races than I normally do, because I push the bike pretty hard and I WILL get rim strikes if I don't.

    The 429SL was perfect for the Whiskey IMO.

    I'm all signed up for this year!
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    The promoter gave me this...

    https://www.trailforks.com/route/whi...50-proof-2210/

    Said i can ride it anytime.

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    Aspen Creek and the top of Sierra Prieta is high enough that a winter storm could leave it with snow for a few weeks or a couple months. If it's clear, go for it. You can absolutely ride it any time that it's clear.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    Would it be better to start "slow" and then just bury it on skull valley?
    No, it'll bottleneck on the singletrack and you want to be out in front as much as possible to avoid this. You'll lose time on the singletrack to White Spar, then you'll lose time up Wolverton, then especially on 48. If you are a climber and technical climbing is your specialty, you want to be out in front as much as possible, otherwise you'll be bottled up behind people that aren't as skilled/fit for that. There are people that will stall and bottle up going up Wolverton, and then they'll really stall out all over the place on Aspen Creek (48), happens every time. You'll have to keep it up on the climb up from Skull Valley obviously, but that's the whole fun of it.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  33. #33
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    Does anyone know what the cut off times are?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    No, it'll bottleneck on the singletrack and you want to be out in front as much as possible to avoid this. You'll lose time on the singletrack to White Spar, then you'll lose time up Wolverton, then especially on 48. If you are a climber and technical climbing is your specialty, you want to be out in front as much as possible, otherwise you'll be bottled up behind people that aren't as skilled/fit for that. There are people that will stall and bottle up going up Wolverton, and then they'll really stall out all over the place on Aspen Creek (48), happens every time. You'll have to keep it up on the climb up from Skull Valley obviously, but that's the whole fun of it.
    Totes. Youíll lose 15 minutes or more just by having to ride everyone elseís pace.


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  35. #35
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    If you want place well in the race you need to be in the fastest possible pack once you hit singletrack. Passing on the climbing single track is darn near impossible. As mid packer I have found that just 5 gained from a brutal push on road section can mean a 10-15 improvement once I get to the single track. The reason is being in faster group and less bottleneck formation.

    As for warm up. You pretty much won't get any. Best to warm up early before you line up. Then line up early and even if you have spot saver you need to be in line at least 30 minutes before. If not you may not even get in by the the time of the start. The entire area is jam packed and it takes time to just walk up the grid. I have been mid pack and heard the gun go off and have not even moved for 3 minutes. So that means spotting the fast guys 3 minutes off the top.

    It is however an experience.
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  36. #36
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    No - you will be with too many idiots going into the woods and will end up walking single file. Go hard to the woods. Relax in the woods. Go hard up skull valley.
    TTHHHHHHHHHPPPPPPPPPTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

  37. #37
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    This. The single track is super easy and fun, but there will be people who dont clear features.
    TTHHHHHHHHHPPPPPPPPPTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by heeler View Post
    This. The single track is super easy and fun, but there will be people who dont clear features.
    Trail 48 is "super easy"? I managed to clean it all last time, but it sure wasn't "super easy" and it's rare for me to clean the entire thing. Not sure it was easy for anyone. These were all people with times close to 4hrs with good technical skills too. Even on a good day when not in a race it's a difficult trail to clear due to all the steep ups and downs, you usually have to be on your game.

    Maybe you refer to the initial singletrack from last-year's course. Yes, pretty easy, but lots of road and then double-track before the singletrack to help pare down the traffic and let the faster people get ahead.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Trail 48 is "super easy"? I managed to clean it all last time, but it sure wasn't "super easy" and it's rare for me to clean the entire thing. Not sure it was easy for anyone. These were all people with times close to 4hrs with good technical skills too. Even on a good day when not in a race it's a difficult trail to clear due to all the steep ups and downs, you usually have to be on your game.

    Maybe you refer to the initial singletrack from last-year's course. Yes, pretty easy, but lots of road and then double-track before the singletrack to help pare down the traffic and let the faster people get ahead.
    There were a couple downhill sections and rocky climbs, but overall I felt like the whisky singletrack was not that bad. Very fun stuff. I dont know the trail names so not sure what part was 48.
    TTHHHHHHHHHPPPPPPPPPTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

  40. #40
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    [QUOTE=LaneDetroitCity;13480379]Im racing it, trying to win the 50 proof. Amateur race.

    Lets hear some course layout descriptions please if anybody has any, i want to train specific to this course over the next few months.
    Thanks for any data.

    I think the new route really increased your chances of catching the front group, Lane. Going back to the original starting road climb, but it looks even longer. I think there is around 1000 ft of climbing before hitting single track. That'll give you plenty of miles and climbing to get past the slower people before a bottle neck. And it looks like 48 was taken out, which is awesome cause that trail really wasn't fun. Especially climbing with the water bars after you've been redlined for an hour. Unfortunately no Wolverton, but I'm pretty excited for the new course that was announced last night.

  41. #41
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    I canít make it this year, but two things: train with ALOT of climbing, and start as fast as you can manage to get as far ahead of the pack as possible.


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  42. #42
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    So anyone have the down low on the new course layout? I see that the initial climb is much longer and then you descend East Copper 260, which if I remember correctly was kind of a loose double track wide descent with one steep step down that some people were stopping to walk down?

    ***Any changes to the trails that might necessitate using a full suspension vs a hard tail?

    I raced a 130/120mm light trail bike with 27.5+ carbon wheels last year but this year I am planning on my 27.5 120mm fork hard tail which has a short travel dropper on it. That climb back out of Skull Valley would have been more efficient on a lighter HT.
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeguy0 View Post
    So anyone have the down low on the new course layout? I see that the initial climb is much longer and then you descend East Copper 260, which if I remember correctly was kind of a loose double track wide descent with one steep step down that some people were stopping to walk down?

    ***Any changes to the trails that might necessitate using a full suspension vs a hard tail?

    I raced a 130/120mm light trail bike with 27.5+ carbon wheels last year but this year I am planning on my 27.5 120mm fork hard tail which has a short travel dropper on it. That climb back out of Skull Valley would have been more efficient on a lighter HT.
    The new course eliminates much of the techier stuff, including the steep step down you are referring to (that is on Trail 48, which is out now). The long, loose 260 descent is still on-course, and is even longer now, because they've added the top of it.

    That said, you definitely do NOT need a FS bike. A hardtail will be plenty, and much faster.
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  44. #44
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    Depending on how much pounding you can take and how fast you intend to ride.

    I've done it on a hardtail, don't care to repeat. Wouldn't want a heavy FS either.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    Im racing it, trying to win the 50 proof. Amateur race.

    Lets hear some course layout descriptions please if anybody has any, i want to train specific to this course over the next few months.
    Thanks for any data.

    Sent from my SM-G360P using Tapatalk
    I've finished top 20 a couple times.

    You can not wait at the start. You have to be prepared to give it a threshold effort until you hit the singletrack, even more so if you don't have a front row pass. There will be lots of people who have power, but no technical skill. If you get stuck behind them on the singletrack, you will lose time.

    The last few years have seen a huge increase in talent and there have been groups heading up from skull valley. If you want to win, you can not afford to not be in that group. The climb up from skull valley should take you only 1:05 or so if you want to be in the front. So, plan for a max effort there, too. Like others have said, it can be very cold (snowed one year) or very hot. Even if it is 65, the climb makes it feel like 90. All exposed, no wind.

    I looked at the last course when we went the same direction out of town and the whole first singletrack section is different. So, I'm going to watch this thread and get as much advice as I can.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB Funky Flow View Post
    I've finished top 20 a couple times.

    You can not wait at the start. You have to be prepared to give it a threshold effort until you hit the singletrack, even more so if you don't have a front row pass. There will be lots of people who have power, but no technical skill. If you get stuck behind them on the singletrack, you will lose time.

    The last few years have seen a huge increase in talent and there have been groups heading up from skull valley. If you want to win, you can not afford to not be in that group. The climb up from skull valley should take you only 1:05 or so if you want to be in the front. So, plan for a max effort there, too. Like others have said, it can be very cold (snowed one year) or very hot. Even if it is 65, the climb makes it feel like 90. All exposed, no wind.

    I looked at the last course when we went the same direction out of town and the whole first singletrack section is different. So, I'm going to watch this thread and get as much advice as I can.
    Very good advice, but I'd say if you can make it to that group near the front, they all have pretty darn solid skills, I was there like you last year and there weren't too many hiccups as far as that. The key is getting there in the beginning, like you said. Many of the people further back run into far more stall-situations just because that's where there's more people with less "engine" and "skills".
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  47. #47
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Im in Prescott till May if anybody wants to ride the course.

  48. #48
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    After i make the left turn on thumb butte loop rd at the top of the skull valley climb where does the race go?

    How much of this race is actually singletrack mountain bike trail? The skull valley descent and climb is like 24 miles of road, plus the start is road, doesnt leave much miles for trail.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    After i make the left turn on thumb butte loop rd at the top of the skull valley climb where does the race go?

    How much of this race is actually singletrack mountain bike trail? The skull valley descent and climb is like 24 miles of road, plus the start is road, doesnt leave much miles for trail.
    If Iím following where that left turn is (more like a bear left, right?), continue up a bit more to the Prieta Overlook, then enter the singletrack directly across from it (right turn as you top out on the road).

    And yes, the 50 has lots of dirt road, to go along with the road start, and itís been increased over previous years with the course changes for this year.


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  50. #50
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    So what did everyone think of the new Whiskey course?? Definitely a faster course. I took over 30 minutes off my time from last year but didnt place nearly as high.. That sun was killing me on Skull Valley... Had a really good time though!!

  51. #51
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    Still could have used 48 IMO, but the descents were very good, they didnít lose anything IMO. 324 and 318 gave some different character to the DH that helps balance it out IMO. I was talking to Todd (director) on Sunday. The climbs are largely all on road, to help string it out. He said he might still get some complaints of bottlenecking, as the recreational riders tend to ride in big groups and itís hard to avoid completely, but I experienced no bottlenecking just a few racers towards the end that thought they were much faster than they were moving, but thatís to be expected. You could really rail and just blast though those last two trails, super fun. Really enjoyed the DH. Got a little hint of cramp at the top and has to let 3 people pass, then just dropped the hammer and only passed people after the first half mile of descent. People were dropping like flies towards the end due to cramps. Had a Javolina try to cross the road in front of me on Thumb Butte Road as soon as I popped out. Temps on Saturday were a little warmer than I wanted, not to the point of being horrible, but warm. Not too windy, but it was crazy windy on Sunday, I was up top at the overlook that day. Supposedly the pros got a big boost with a good tailwind out of Skull Valley. It was about 20 min faster for me this year, but I wasnít in as good shape as last time either.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  52. #52
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Still could have used 48 IMO, but the descents were very good, they didnít lose anything IMO. 324 and 318 gave some different character to the DH that helps balance it out IMO. I was talking to Todd (director) on Sunday. The climbs are largely all on road, to help string it out. He said he might still get some complaints of bottlenecking, as the recreational riders tend to ride in big groups and itís hard to avoid completely, but I experienced no bottlenecking just a few racers towards the end that thought they were much faster than they were moving, but thatís to be expected. You could really rail and just blast though those last two trails, super fun. Really enjoyed the DH. Got a little hint of cramp at the top and has to let 3 people pass, then just dropped the hammer and only passed people after the first half mile of descent. People were dropping like flies towards the end due to cramps. Had a Javolina try to cross the road in front of me on Thumb Butte Road as soon as I popped out. Temps on Saturday were a little warmer than I wanted, not to the point of being horrible, but warm. Not too windy, but it was crazy windy on Sunday, I was up top at the overlook that day. Supposedly the pros got a big boost with a good tailwind out of Skull Valley. It was about 20 min faster for me this year, but I wasnít in as good shape as last time either.
    You kep mentioning 48. 48 was in the race if you would have chosen to ride it! You obviously rode right past it on purpose. 324 is a climb not a dh.



    The peoples times were faster because they obviously avoided 48 and cramp hill. Otherwise the winner of the 50 proof would have been top 15 pro.

    Still dont understand how you can call it a race and have optional choices on the course. After riding the whole pro course 3 times that course provided zero stimulus to me and i didnt enter. Supported 4 pros in the pro races and got 3rd, 14th, 42 in mens and 5th womens. We ate good.

    Congrats to everyone who raced and thanks for helping make it a huge event.
    Ill be out riding, youll still be trolling mtbr. Mtbr, where people who dont ride come to pretend they do.

  53. #53
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    Seems to me this year had about a 1000 ft less of elevation gain , which accounts for the times being faster


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