Whiskey Off-Road 2019- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Whiskey Off-Road 2019

    Post your thoughts and experiences here! I’ll post some follow up later.


    This is how I dealt with the creek crossing in the heat: Whiskey Off-Road 2019-8de0a781-2eb6-4ee2-bad6-619a0ad3d343.jpg
    "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.

  2. #2
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    My thoughts.
    The good
    1) Loved the new adds to the course. It was fun and challenging. Enough road to get good climbing, but enough single track to be fun. Sure glad they put those road sections in spence basin. It was needed.

    The bad
    2) Not enough split between 50 and 30 starts. This lead to major back ups with 50 riders having to fight through slower 30 traffic. Seemed like the 50 guys from the race winner down through the pack were fighting to pass slower 30 riders. Not the 30 rider's fault, but in effect the top 20 in the 50 were fighting through in effect lower Cat 1 or Cat 2 30 racers. Lower Cat 1 50 riders were fighting through cat 2 and 3 30 racers. While there were not formal Catagories in the race I use it state the skill levels and fitness were mis matched. I finished 152 of 460 got held up a lot. May times having to walk minor tech features or getting behind train of 10 riders have to work through. I might get past 10-15 riders then 2-3 minutes catch another 5-10 riders and have slow down any try to filter through. On the road sections on 332 in spence basin I was passing 20-30 riders at a time. I am no superman, but just mixed in a slower pack. I think separating the waves by 30 minutes at least would have made it much better. Then my 30 traffic would have been faster and less impact on both of our races.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  3. #3
    NedwannaB
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    That had to be frustrating along with some wasted energy.
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMac47 View Post
    That had to be frustrating along with some wasted energy.
    Yeah especially given I missed my sub 5 hour goal by 1 min and 56 seconds. The worst was going significantly slower than my non race pace pre-ride on the descents due to the speed of the traffic. I would have just thought it was my being slow on the climbs (in spite of riding hard and all out) in the first part of the course and thus slotting in a bad spot after the merge, but when I learned the leaders in the 50 ran into the same thing with speed differential with 30 riders I realized it was an error in starting times.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  5. #5
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    My main goal was to finish, having been off my legs for most of winter due to surgery. I had a pretty short amount of time to train up on a bike. I wasn’t too worried about finishing, until I saw how hot it was going to be and how I felt riding the days before. I filled up my 100oz all the way and put a 24oz bottle of mix in my revelate feed back. The climb on “moby” surprised me because I thought it would be like last year, but instead we turned onto 48 and took a branch off which climbed a lot and eventually met back up with 48. I rocked the 260 descent though because I was able to break through to a semi-fast group. My higher pressure hurt me a bit in some turns on the course, but more than made up for that in my ability to bomb down this and the overlook trail. Watched a guy in front land on a sharp rock and pssssst! Skull valley felt as brutal as ever, event though it was shorter. The heat kind of made up for the length. I was able to start back up with a nearly full camelback, but in that heat I started blowing through water. Got passed so many times up that road. Got to the overlook and as everyone else says, it was a lot of trying to pass. People on trail and Enduro bikes going so slow downhill. It was seriously like these people were standing still. At least the real loose rocky chute near the end was relatively clear, only a few people switchbacking down and blocking the lines. Started to get some bad cramps right before cramp hill and fell off the side, about 30 seconds later I decided I wasn’t going to let cramps win and forced myself past the pain, god that hurt, but the cramps never came back. Got caught in another big slow-up on 392, a lady in a white shirt that would not yield over the entire descent, despite a train of us asking the whole time down. I didn’t get too upset, but that was by far the lousiest part. Got into a pretty nice trail of a few fast riders and we were passing everyone in front, until 318, I starter to really feel the heat and the lack of my remaining water. I was ready to be done then, but kept going. The new trails were much of the same, as bad as I felt, I was still able to pass most people. Lots of backups over very moderate stuff, but I think it got a lot better as we got more into it, more spread apart. At the last aid station I was getting desperate for some extra water, I knew I’d be out soon, if not already. There seemed to be some confusion with one person saying “we have no water” and another offering me some in a jug. I got my bottle partially filled up after a snide comment of “really?” (don’t know what that was about). I already planned to dunk myself in the creek, a technique I used in WA on a 100 degree ride, so I rode at it real fast like I was going to hop up, which got the crowd cheering, then I abruptly stopped, got off my bike, and laid down in it. The guy with the drone asked me to do it again, so I did. At the top of the next hill a girl asked if I wanted a bottle of cold water poured down my back, not feeling one bit guilty, I said yes! Again I got on a pretty good train of faster riders passing people heading to the end of the trails. Once I broke out, I had a hard time tucking and pedaling, when I tried to tuck and pedal, I started to cramp a bit again. Kept a decent speed up though and crossed at 4:47:34. Something like 52 out of 188 for the category, but I’m just happy to have finished and not had anything catastrophic happen. My post surgery foot gave me no issues and that was really the best part.
    "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.

  6. #6
    LMN
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    It was my first time doing it. I knew coming in that the course had basically all my weaknesses, (altitude, heat, fire roads, and length) and few of my strengths (slow speed tech, wet, and roots). I decided that I was going to let negatives interfere with executing a good race.

    Opening climb went well for me. I usually struggle on open pavement climbs, but I managed my effort well, moved up from near the back of the field and entered the single track just behind the lead pack. Moby I rode conservative and just held my position, passed those who went out too hard and were blowing.

    I was actually nervous about the first descent, when I had pre-rode it the other day my wife left me for dead on it, I was worried about staying on wheels. Fortunately even in the top 50 the descending speeds are way slower then front of the women's field. I had a nice easy descent where I relaxed and got ready for my effort on the next climb.

    I had a good 2nd climb, hit it hard and moved through a group hit the top and was feel pretty confident going into the fire road descent. Unfortunately, I had a massive moment on the first corner on the Skull Valley Descent, the granny panties went on and the guys I passed on the last climb all went by me. Fortunately I found another guy who knew how to work with someone and we rocked the rollers on the way to out and back.

    My climb out of Skull was OK, I definitely struggled the 2nd half, but I never really fell apart. I was feeling pretty confident that I would be able rip the last 1/2 the course. And then I hit traffic.

    Man did I pass a lot of people, in some places I was taking them 1/2 dozen at a time. It was really interesting because you would be crawling in the single track and then the second it opened up you would have to hit it as hard as you can to get by as many people.

    Everybody was really good about passing, except two pro-riders who were out there pre-riding. I would never name and shame but these two should have known better. A real contrast from the rest of the Pro's out there who jumped off course as soon as you asked.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    This is how I dealt with the creek crossing in the heat: Click image for larger version. 

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    I was visiting PHX this past weekend... Buddy and I drove up Friday to pre-ride the course for S&G's. I was tempted to do the same at that creek crossing.

    Based on the trail traffic that I was seeing on Friday, it looked like I would've been a fish out of water. Seemed like a popular race for the XC spandex crowd. My heavy, slack, steel hardtail with big knobby tires caught some eyes.

    Never been to Prescott before. Cool town. Good biker vibe and tons of rolling, XC/trail singletrack to explore.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  8. #8
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    Yep, that sounds like the Whiskey
    "You either want to or you don't."

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 06HokieMTB View Post
    I was visiting PHX this past weekend... Buddy and I drove up Friday to pre-ride the course for S&G's. I was tempted to do the same at that creek crossing.

    Based on the trail traffic that I was seeing on Friday, it looked like I would've been a fish out of water. Seemed like a popular race for the XC spandex crowd. My heavy, slack, steel hardtail with big knobby tires caught some eyes.

    Never been to Prescott before. Cool town. Good biker vibe and tons of rolling, XC/trail singletrack to explore.
    Lots of people on single speeds, hardtails, steel bikes, plus tires, etc. Big descents too for you to leverage descending skills. Ironically, it wasn’t spandex xcers that I was passing on the DHs, but there is an XC spandex crowd that takes these things super seriously. It’s always a balance and trade off, if one wants to be the fastest, they have to sacrifice other stuff in their lives. Most people that race want a reasonable balance. A few want to be the fastest, that takes money, time, dedication, support and a lot of other things. A lot of people do it just to ride and finish a 50 mile ride with other people.
    "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.

  10. #10
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    I had much of the same experience but from the Whiskey 30 perspective. I was in wave #2 of the 30. I will never win a climb to the top but hold my own with most riders on descents and do ok on the rest of the course. I put the blame on me for not being faster to the Sierra Prieta downhill drop in but the traffic down was brutal. I must have passed 20+ riders and it was dangerous with riders coming to a stop with other racers coming down fast. After the downhill i did not get to tackle many of the technical obstacles because of the bottlenecks. In Spence Basin the traffic continued and the top women for the 50 were behind me in a long line of racers. At first chance I let them by and then I had to wait for 10 riders to get by. The riders that were in front of me did not extend the same courtesy and we all ended up getting to the top of West Side Story together. Felt bad for the fast 50 riders caught in that. I agree with Joepaz that the timing was off for the waves.

    On the positive front, the course was great. Love Prescott and everything else surrounding the event. The only other feedback I gave Epic was that I rather get the pint glass at registration then at the end of the race. I know it is for finishing but carrying it around after the race was a pain. I guess this only applies to racers that are not staying or have a car close to the square.

  11. #11
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    Another 30 perspective here from Wave 2. I made it to the top of Sierra Prieta I think 8th in the wave and by the aid station I had already caught maybe 50 from wave 1. Traffic was rough working through the back end of wave 1 after that and then we had maybe 5th - 20th of the Men's 50 coming through as well before Thumb Butte. A lot of the 50 riders were actually being quite rude so it made the whole passing experience even more hectic.

    My main point of feedback to Epic Rides was the wave timing too & how you get sorted into waves. At least for the 30 they needed to be a lot more selective for those going off in wave 1.

  12. #12
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    Sounds like a real cluster that needs to be addressed.... Maybe limit the entry or split the races between 2 days?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillbo View Post
    Sounds like a real cluster that needs to be addressed.... Maybe limit the entry or split the races between 2 days?
    Given how much smaller the pro field is compared to everything else, it would make sense to launch 50 experts (cat 1) after pro on Sunday. That way any 50 expert that "catches up" is rightly doing so, into a field that they should have started in anyway. That would take the greatest pressure off of the 30 riders from 50ers that are catching up. I realize it's hard to do it all and make everyone happy. On Saturday, we launched at 730am, which is great doing the 50, until we ran into the 30 racers. I wouldn't want to start later though, and I'd guess the 30ers would have to launch even later to avoid this mess, but with everyone funneling back onto the same course, there has to be some kind of significant delay with as many people are doing this race now. One big issue contributing to this is that the 30 is a straight shot to the overlook, there's no singletrack to slow them down, unlike both 50 options that branch off of Copper Basin Rd and hit singletrack. Another idea would be to put the 30ers on Moby instead of Copper Basin, and have them turn the opposite direction at the end, go right to the top and come into the 4-way from the Mt Francis access road. I think the possible issue with this is that the "30" may have already been a little over 30 and this would make it longer, but it would significantly slow them down, rather than the graded roads they stay on until the overlook.
    "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.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Given how much smaller the pro field is compared to everything else, it would make sense to launch 50 experts (cat 1) after pro on Sunday. That way any 50 expert that "catches up" is rightly doing so, into a field that they should have started in anyway. That would take the greatest pressure off of the 30 riders from 50ers that are catching up. I realize it's hard to do it all and make everyone happy. On Saturday, we launched at 730am, which is great doing the 50, until we ran into the 30 racers. I wouldn't want to start later though, and I'd guess the 30ers would have to launch even later to avoid this mess, but with everyone funneling back onto the same course, there has to be some kind of significant delay with as many people are doing this race now. One big issue contributing to this is that the 30 is a straight shot to the overlook, there's no singletrack to slow them down, unlike both 50 options that branch off of Copper Basin Rd and hit singletrack. Another idea would be to put the 30ers on Moby instead of Copper Basin, and have them turn the opposite direction at the end, go right to the top and come into the 4-way from the Mt Francis access road. I think the possible issue with this is that the "30" may have already been a little over 30 and this would make it longer, but it would significantly slow them down, rather than the graded roads they stay on until the overlook.
    The 30 course does divert off to some double track before the aid station. This not moby, but not wide dirt road either. I pre-rode the 30 course a few weeks back. You could add Moby, but I think that will add to many miles. Plus once you get past that double track climb on moby and get to the proper ST is very narrow and tight. No room for a large 30 field to pass at all.

    Really just a time shift is all that is needed in my opinion. If you time it so the fastest 50 riders slot in with the fastest 30 riders it will go much smoother. 50 riders can start at 7:15 and push the 30's back 15 mintues. In fact I seem to remember there used to be a 2 hour gap back 4 years ago. Of course that put the fast 30 riders into the slower 50 riders. Not ideal either, but sheer numbers make that less a factor since there are so many more 30 riders than 50.

    The issue with the Cat 1 going on Sunday is that who is really Cat 1? There are no categories and the waves are just in tended to spread out the field. Do you then have two winners? Saturday and sunday? The other issue who is going to be able to have fun Saturday night and then race sunday? I already have limit the fun factor Friday to be race ready Saturday.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    The 30 course does divert off to some double track before the aid station. This not moby, but not wide dirt road either. I pre-rode the 30 course a few weeks back. You could add Moby, but I think that will add to many miles. Plus once you get past that double track climb on moby and get to the proper ST is very narrow and tight. No room for a large 30 field to pass at all.

    Really just a time shift is all that is needed in my opinion. If you time it so the fastest 50 riders slot in with the fastest 30 riders it will go much smoother. 50 riders can start at 7:15 and push the 30's back 15 mintues. In fact I seem to remember there used to be a 2 hour gap back 4 years ago. Of course that put the fast 30 riders into the slower 50 riders. Not ideal either, but sheer numbers make that less a factor since there are so many more 30 riders than 50.

    The issue with the Cat 1 going on Sunday is that who is really Cat 1? There are no categories and the waves are just in tended to spread out the field. Do you then have two winners? Saturday and sunday? The other issue who is going to be able to have fun Saturday night and then race sunday? I already have limit the fun factor Friday to be race ready Saturday.
    Good points. I will say they have a de-facto "cat 1", besides the "prescott pass" racers, there's also the "wave 1". That said, I think time could do it, the slower 50 riders are likely to be far more spread out due to being much further on the course.
    "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.

  16. #16
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    All these complaints, and yet, they will likely make little or no changes next year, except raising the price again, and guess what, it will still sell out. What does that tell you?
    "You either want to or you don't."

  17. #17
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    It's actually quite simple. This was the first year on the revised course, and Epic made their best guess, and there were some issues to be worked out, which they will begin to address next year. First and foremost, and Shu alluded to this already in a post on Facebook, is that they will adjust the start times. I, for one, advocate moving the 50 start up to as early as 6:30 am, and moving the 30 start back maybe an hour. Whatever it is, that will be it for next year, and they will assess how that works and adjust from there, if necessary. I'd be surprised if there are any changes to the course for next year.

    Regarding the cost, eh... I'm happy to pay for the event and the experience, and I'm a big supporter of what Epic Rides does for the sport and the community. Seems like plenty of others feel the same way, since all their events sell out, and some very quickly.
    Ride more; post less...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbyte View Post
    All these complaints, and yet, they will likely make little or no changes next year, except raising the price again, and guess what, it will still sell out. What does that tell you?
    So you already know what’s happening next year? Did you already know one year in advance that they had significantly increased the single track and rerouted the course for this year? It seems more like you are just talking out your a$$.
    "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.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    So you already know what’s happening next year? Did you already know one year in advance that they had significantly increased the single track and rerouted the course for this year? It seems more like you are just talking out your a$$.
    Talking out my ass is what I am best at! You guys are hilarious in here, you can argue about anything... Carry on. Have a nice day
    "You either want to or you don't."

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbyte View Post
    All these complaints, and yet, they will likely make little or no changes next year, except raising the price again, and guess what, it will still sell out. What does that tell you?
    Dirt you missed out on a great race. Yes it was not perfect, but still lots of fun and much better than last year's course. What happened can be fixed with fine tuning of start times. Even then it was cool to pass so many riders and in race time passing slower traffic is a skill. It was "fair" from the standpoint that every in the 50 had to do it and so you could use that. If you had your competition near you and could get them stuck behind slower 30 riders in the ST you could pull a gap. Of course that gap could go away to so you could catch guys who pulled away too. So while not ideal racing is about getting to the end first dealing with what ever the course, weather, and riders are thrown at you. Last year in MBAA I did a lot of passing of tail end of the 50/ 60+ age group guys usually about 20-40 minutes into the race. You know passing slower geared guys up climbs on a SS is tough. Takes planning , quick execution, and some luck to catch guys at the right times. You should go ride the 30 course some time. Just for fun.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  21. #21
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    Oh not arguing that fact at all. Just observing that people seem to complain about this race a lot, and it is expensive and sells out every year Everything is awesome.
    "You either want to or you don't."

  22. #22
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    I only have the 15 proof perspective, I'm too fat and out of shape to ride longer than that right now! I was a first timer this year, and I thought it was a pretty well run event, and I thought the course was great. The copper basin climb was long enough to put some spacing between riders. I never got passed on the trail, starting with the Aspen Creek descent, and passed a whole bunch of riders myself. Never really had any issues passing, or waiting to pass. Everyone was really nice and courteous. Did get behind a lady for a minute or two, apparently a little too closely because when she crashed in front of me, I nearly went OTB myself trying to avoid her. Saved it somehow though. No real bad back-ups either, one little moderate section just before Thumb Butte I had to get off the bike while about 4 or 5 riders in front of me negotiated it. At that point I welcomed a short rest, and I think I passed all of them on the 318 down. All in all pretty happy, finished 80th of 282 (I think), at 2:14, only about 10 minutes back of my 19 year old son. Not too bad for a old, fat 53 year old. On that course my only limiting factor was conditioning, or lack thereof.

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