Epic Ride's Whiskey Off-Road- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Epic Ride's Whiskey Off-Road

    Could some of you who are familiar with this area in Prescott give me an idea how tough the 25 mile course is? Would it be fun for an average recreational rider? I can ride several hours at a time on trails like T-100, Pima/Dynamite, McDowells, and would be willing to spend a little more time for a decent adventure. I don't mind having to get off the bike to walk a steep hill or get past a section that's too technical for my skills. But I don't want to deal with an endlessly grueling uphill battle, or a situation where I'm having to get off the bike alot. So what's your honest assessment of this course? How long do you think it would take an average rider to finish?

    Thanks in advance for any information.


  2. #2
    Jm.
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    I wrote this up on a lower thread, it's called "open for registration" or something.

    The initial climb is up Copper Basin ROAD, very easy. Then there is a pretty difficult and steep section of initial trail, it is also extremely loose on parts of this trail. Not technical except for the fact that there is so much loose rock.

    The single track descent that comes next also has many real loose sections, some steeper ones as well. I wouldn't call any of it real hard, you'll be on your brakes and "loose conditions" handling skills is what it will be all about. So it's not like comming down a technical rocky descent on National, but it could be challenging if you dont like loose stuff.

    From the bottom it is a climb back up on a road again, easy in my opinion but keep in mind it's a 25 mile ride. You come out onto copper basin road again and ride along the flat ridge to the overlook, then push your bike up a little steep section to get to the single track trail that goes back into town. This turns into a double track in a little bit and follows a ridge. Eventually you come upon an extremely loose and steep section. It is ridable, but if you go to fast you aren't going to have much control. This is what I would call the worst section, it's only a few hundred feet long but going into this with too much speed will cause some problems. I plan to hang out here with some buddies and take pictures of people falling over during the race. I might ride the race (but not register) and then "stop" here and watch everyone. I do expect some people to go down here because they are going to come into this with a little too much speed and not be able to stop. Past this point it is back to being completely non-technical and boring double track. End the off-pavement portion with a nice little single track down to what used to be the cattle-guard and what is currently the thumb butte free-parking area, and then ride back into town on thumb butte road.

    It wont be terrible challenging as far as aerobic ability, the worst climb is in the first 2 miles or so. Heading out on the single track off of copper basin is the only hard part as far as climbing goes, the rest is up roads and pretty darn easy.

    Word of warning though, the southern part of this loop is very exposed, even though it may not be terribly hot, it will feel hotter here and you will consume a lot of water out here. It may be a good idea to stash some gatorade or something at the 4-corners around Mt Francis or at the outlook.

    How long to ride? Not much more than 4-5 hours. 5 hours is probably on the conservative side.
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  3. #3
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    Thanks, Jm

    It was those earlier posts on the "Open Registration" thread that caught my eye. However, my brother-in-law, who lives in Prescott, and my husband, who grew up there, are telling me I am out of my mind for even considering such an outing. When it comes to mountain biking, I think sometimes I am a little bit out of my mind!

    At any rate, I appreciate your details, and feel like I can make a more educated decision about whether to sign up or not.

  4. #4
    Jm.
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    Whats really hard is to try and say what is easy or hard for one person. I know the ride that we did last thursday over by costco going up to spruce mountain along the trail 62 and 299 ridge, then down 297 and back on 305 was harder, but it's all relative. I won't call what we did "easy" by any longshot, so something that is a little easier may absolutely not be considered "easy" by others.

    What I can gaurentee is that the hardest climb is the first one, the 2nd climb back up is much more gradual and on roads at realistic grades. The sheer distance is going to be a lot more of a factor than the climbs. This is good for some people, bad for others.
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  5. #5
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    Yes, you're right.

    [QUOTE=Jm.Whats really hard is to try and say what is easy or hard for one person. .[/QUOTE]
    Some people say Trail 100 is easy. Well, some areas are easy, but some parts are challenging for me. I think sometimes some of the highly skilled, experienced riders lose sight of how a trail appears to a newbie or less skilled rider. That's why I appreciate your response with lots of specific details, so I have a better idea of what to anticipate. Thanks again!

  6. #6
    Skinny legged XC geek
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    But the 50 miler . . .

    It looks like the extra mileage for the 50 take you down into Copper Basin almost all the way to Skull Valley and then BACK UP! The climb back up from Copper Basin, after you've already covered 15+miles will take its toll on a lot of riders. Yikes that looks hard.

  7. #7
    Jm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalAZ
    It looks like the extra mileage for the 50 take you down into Copper Basin almost all the way to Skull Valley and then BACK UP! The climb back up from Copper Basin, after you've already covered 15+miles will take its toll on a lot of riders. Yikes that looks hard.
    Especially given how exposed that area is, it may not be nearly as hot as phoenix, but dropping into skull valley is going go take it's toll on a lot of people. You might as well bring a cyclocross bike or at least real skinny tires if you are going to do that ride.
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  8. #8
    SHU
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    I helped lay out the course for this race and am frankly pretty shocked that you say it is easy. You must be one hell of a climber to consider this an easy course. The first 40 minutes of it are uphill with little rest. There are some granny ring climbs on the single track, with water bars in the middle of them. I think this is an above average, technically and physically challenging cousrse. Try doing it at race pace and then tell me it is easy. The winning time will be under 2.5 hours for the short course. Do it in that time and I will listen you your review with a more open ear.

    I would feel comfortable bringing anyone that rides trail 100 or SoMo to this ride, but I wouldn't suggest it for the average roadie.

    Thanks,
    John

  9. #9
    Jm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHU
    I helped lay out the course for this race and am frankly pretty shocked that you say it is easy. You must be one hell of a climber to consider this an easy course. The first 40 minutes of it are uphill with little rest. There are some granny ring climbs on the single track, with water bars in the middle of them. I think this is an above average, technically and physically challenging cousrse. Try doing it at race pace and then tell me it is easy. The winning time will be under 2.5 hours for the short course. Do it in that time and I will listen you your review with a more open ear.

    I would feel comfortable bringing anyone that rides trail 100 or SoMo to this ride, but I wouldn't suggest it for the average roadie.

    Thanks,
    John
    Yeah, that's not very impressive. We climed for over 4 hours on saturday back near mt union, and the ride up trail 62 to 299 to spruce mountain road to the top of 297 takes a good 2 hours as well.

    It would be a lot harder if it was all on single track of course, with steep sections other than the ROAD that you are riding back up.

    Paul B was riding with us this last weekend and he has ridden the route as well. He confirmed what I thought.

    I have ridden that "40 minute climb" myself...yeah, it's a climb...its the worst climb in the "race", but it isn't that big of a deal.

    And finally, try doing ANYTHING at a race pace. It's not the size or vertical, although that can be a big factor, doing anything at a race pace is much more difficult than just doing it at your own pace. Try doing a downhill race, it's a sprint event and if you aren't pedaling 110% of the time, you are not going to win. At the bottom if you can still turn over the cranks, you probably didn't pedal hard enough. Anything at a "race pace" is usually pretty difficult.

    The course is pretty sorry....I'm sorry that you feel the need to defend it. I know that it is nice that it starts and ends at Whiskey Row, and I ride Thumb Butte a good deal because it's convienient, but the trails there aren't that great, and this course is pretty sorry...sorry.
    Last edited by Jm.; 03-30-2004 at 01:43 PM.
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  10. #10
    Jm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHU
    I think this is an above average, technically and physically challenging cousrse.
    National would be a technically and physically challenging course (like doing the entire national trail past the towers and back or something).

    The inital single track around mt francis and down to white spar is ok. We've downhilled and XCed there before and while it is no yankee-doodle or 7-mile gulch, it is ok. Yes, there are some waterbars near the bottom. Water bars are hardly technical challenges, and there is not much technical challenge to the course. This ONE trail is going to have some challenges, most notably speed and looseness, but this doesn't make up the entire race, half of it, or even a third of it (considering all the riding on roads).
    Last edited by Jm.; 03-30-2004 at 01:48 PM.
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  11. #11
    Jm.
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    And finally...if you want hard...you can start out at Palace station, ride up senator highway to trail 381, then up the ridge to trail 281, then drop down (some real technical here at the top, and even a couple dropins/roll-ins) the trail to climb up to the top of the ridge back to the 5-corners area. Once you've made it up to the 5-corners you've already climbed almost 2500 feet...then continue on the ridge to the top of Mt Union (7979 feet high) and descend back down on Yankee Doodle. The total climbing is almost 3300, in a good deal less than 25 miles I am sure (I dont carry computers with me). The grades at the top of 281 are pretty crazy, doable, but you'll be too tired to sustain the pitch probably. This is a good amount of climbing, and definitely harder than the Trail 62 to 299 to spruce mtn road to 297 ride, which is definitely harder than the "whisky-something-or-other-40% singletrack-25 mile ride"

    BTW, I ride my 49lb downhill bike to the top of Thumb Butte (the overlook) all the time.
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    Last edited by Jm.; 03-30-2004 at 01:47 PM.
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHU
    I helped lay out the course for this race and am frankly pretty shocked that you say it is easy.
    Just because it's hard doesn't make it interesting or fun.

    p.
    Don't be that guy! Read the forum guidelines.

  13. #13
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    Whiskey Off Road Review

    JM, I have ridden the course in Prescott as well and I do not understand your bashing of this course. Your statement that the climbs are road and non technical is partially accurate but I believe you have underestimated the difficulty of the first singletrack climb immediately following the road. It is steap, loose, rocky and has multiple waterbars. Any of these sections can be easy if you continually dab your foot and recover multiple times. Shaw Butte here in Phoenix is short (~1.5 miles), partially paved and the rest is graded. It is not however easy.

    The fact of the matter is that this is a race and it will be ridden by the competitors at race pace. To clean all of the sections smoothly, both uphill and downhill, is not easy. I agree that if you did this course in 4-5 hours it would be an easy day as well.

    I could provide many more rides that are more difficult and longer. But this would be pointless. I hope to see you on race day at the starting line and after, we can compare race times and if your time is better than mine I will gladly shake your hand. Last Wednesday we did this course in 2:40. I hope I can improve on that for race day. Save your hostility for race day.

  14. #14
    Jm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stew
    I believe you have underestimated the difficulty of the first singletrack climb immediately following the road

    I HAVE RIDDEN THIS QUITE A BIT

    Not only that, but last year, one of the prescott newspaper guys took a picture of me riding ON THIS TRAIL. I'm not sure what the story was, nor did I go looking for the article, but you can say that I AM familier with this area.

    If you want a difficult climb, we'll be riding on Saturday.

    I am not sure what I'll do with regard to this course. I may go ride my downhill bike on it (but not enter in the race), or we may ride on the north side of thumb butte and then hang out on 9401J right before it meets with 51 and take pictures (hehehe). I'll probably do something centered around it...

    BTW, there's only 3000 feet of climbing on this course, no where near the claimed 4200.....
    Last edited by Jm.; 03-30-2004 at 07:34 PM.
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  15. #15
    SHU
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    Jan,

    It is obvious that you are an incredible rider with a flare for the extreme trails. I think those of us who are mortals should all consider this when we read your trail reviews.

    I hope to join you on one of your adventure rides very soon.

    Cheers,
    John

  16. #16
    Jm.
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    Unfortunatly there are no "extreme" trails in Prescott. There are some good trails, but we lack technical. The guy that took the rocks out of trail 345 wasn't doing us any favors, nor is taking rocks out of trail 318 (the end of White Rock). Not sure why this is happening so much, well I konw what is happening on 345, but the 318 stuff is pretty recent.

    I'm doing more long "adventure rides" for some reason at this time of season. I've hosted a few rides already, I don't know how many more of these I'll do, but some weekends I'll just be riding shorter trails as well. I haven't been shuttling in a long long time either.
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

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