The fifth annual Whiskey Off-Road, set to kick off April 26, will be dedicated to the memory of Michael Paul "Mike" Janelle, last year's men's open class champion. Janelle died in his sleep last November.
"Mike Janelle represented everything that was good about the sport," said Todd Sadow, president of Epic Rides, which puts on the Whiskey. "In addition to being a tremendous athlete he was a friendly, compassionate person." Held in the Prescott National Forest, the race was one of Janelle's favorite events.
Janelle, one of the top endurance racers in the country, was a three-time Race Across America team champion, two-time US World Championship marathon team member, three-time US National Championship podium finisher and three-time 24 Hours of Moab Champion. His fiancé, Maribel, was pregnant with their baby at the time he died.
Riding in his honor at the Whiskey will be his Gary Fisher/Tokyo Joe's team-mates Jay Henry and Gretchen Reeves, Subaru-Gary Fisher's Nat Ross, and long time friend and mechanic Myron Billy.
Janelle was considered a driving force behind Team Beaver Creek - Catlin, riding alongside his friends Ross, Jimi Mortenson and Zach Bingham. In June, the team won first place in the four-person team category at the 2007 Race Across America (RAAM), their third consecutive victory (riding as Team Beaver Creek/Vail in 2005 and 2006). Last July, Janelle placed fifth at the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Marathon National Championships. Later that month, he came in second in the Breckenridge 100, which was the fourth event in the National Ultra-Endurance Series.
Mike's father, Jack Janelle, and close friend, Jay Henry, will address riders at the pre-ride meeting.
Riders may choose to enter three different distances, from the 15 Proof Fun ride to the 25 and 50 Proof routes that will appeal to more ambitious participants. The "Proof" theme pays homage to the infamous Whiskey Row element of downtown Prescott, an entire city block of watering hole type of establishments; a "proof" in this case represents one mile.
For more information on the event, visit www.epicrides.com. To contribute to a memorial fund established to help support Maribel and their recently born son: Mike Janelle Memorial Fund, c/o 1st Bank of Avon, PO Box 5270, Avon, CO 81620. Donations written to the fund will be accepted at packet pickup and during event weekend.
Festivities begin Friday, April 25, with packet pickup and a mandatory pre-event riders' meeting. Racing will start at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning on Whiskey Row.