Gaze wins Whiskey Off Road Fat Tire Criterium

Woodruff wins women's Fat Tire Criterium

Nineteen-year-old New Zealander Sam Gaze (Specialized) pulled off a startling win against 80 other men in the Whiskey Fat Tire Criterium on Friday night. He did not do it by a sneaky move at the end, but instead by pummeling hardened veterans of the sport on the front.

Last year’s winner, Derek Zandstra (Scott - 3Rox Racing), finished second in a solid effort. Former World Champion, Christoph Sauser, was third followed by Menso DeJong (Cliff Bar) in fourth place, with Geoff Kabush (Scott - 3Rox Racing) rounding out the podium in fifth place.

Alison Dunlap, former world champion, was given the privilege of reading pre-race instructions to the riders. A man in full western garb then started the race with a blast from a shotgun. Riders immediately had to face the head wall leading out of the town square where Keegan Swenson went to the front.

But, within a couple laps, a group formed that include three Specialized riders; Howard Grotts, Todd Wells, and Sam Gaze. Raleigh Clement also had numbers with Fernado Paez and Kerry Werner.

Suddenly Menso DeJong sprung from the group and amassed a substantial lead. Many spectators began checking their racing rosters to see who this relatively unknown rider was. DeJong eventually forced Zandstra and Wells to give chase, and in the process they dropped the rest of the field.

At this point, Gaze made a calculated gamble that paid off. He decided to bridge the gap to Wells with a massive effort that none of the other chasers could match. He later explained, “All the way through it was a really fast race. My teammate Todd was in the breakaway so I knew that was going to be the key moment. I got myself across…and I loved it.“

With two laps to go, Wells went for the win but could not shake his rivals. Gaze again went to the front and stayed there. As he rounded the final corner on the course, he looked backwards and found that nobody could really challenge him in a sprint finish.

Somewhere in the final laps, Sauser also joined the leaders and rode in for a podium finish.

Gaze commented on his new team, “The support from Specialized has been amazing. I’m looking to get myself a good name out there, and build a good relationship with the team.”

The pro men will race again on Sunday in the Whiskey 50. Former world champion Christoph Sauser will attempt to repeat his 2014 victory. He will face major challenges from within his own team from US champion Todd Wells, and Pan American under-23 champion Howard Grotts.

Scott - 3Rox Racing is the most likely team to upset Sauser’s plan. Geoff Kabush is a former Whisky 50 winner, and Derek Zandstra finished second last year.

Fernando Paez (Raleigh Clement) is the most likely person to play “spoiler” on Sunday. Last year he was the only rider to be able to match Sauser’s tempo on the 12-mile climb out of Skull Valley.

Woodruff repeats as Whiskey Fat Tire Criterium Champion

Chloe Woodruff (NoTubes Niner) certainly had her hands full in a one-on-one battle with Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team), but she came out on top. Gould finished second, young Maghalie Rochette (Luna Pro Team) was third, 2013 winner Katerina Nash was fourth, and up-and-comer Larissa Connors (Sho-Air Cyclery) was fifth.

The Whiskey Fat Tire course includes a head wall climb immediately after the start, immediately followed by a deceptively difficult false flat climb to the top of a ridge overlooking Prescott. Riders then descend through the city streets back to the Courthouse in the center of town.

Rose Grant (NoTubes) did much of the early work and created a split in the peloton. Woodruff was frequently seen by her side, while Gould, Rochette, Connors and others kept pace.

Katerina Nash, a frequent winner at these types of events, seemed to struggle early on, but was riding for a podium position by mid-race. She told Cyclingnews after the race that she had been battling some illness during the past two weeks.

By mid-race, Woodruff and Gould managed to break away from the group and seemed to be working together at the front. Woodruff explained, “It was exciting the whole way through. Georgia and I were working together to keep the pace high, and with three to go Maghs almost caught us at the top of the climb.”

She added, “I was a little worried that with Katerina right behind her, we would group back together and I would be out-numbered. So, I put in a good effort to keep things separate.”

With three laps to go, Rochette and Nash caught and passed Grant. At the finish, Nash appeared to recognize the efforts of her younger teammate by not challenging her for the third place finish.

Rose Grant lost her podium position late in the race when passed by Larissa Connors. Both have looked sharp all season.

Woodruff was clearly pleased with her victory. She moved to Prescott from Tucson a couple years after spending some time training here. She commented, “I want to thank everyone from coming out. It’s really exciting to race at home.”

The pro women will race again on Sunday in the Whiskey 50 where Woodruff will attempt to repeat her 2014 victory. However, she will once again face the two Olympians on the Luna squad, Nash and Gould, plus their scrappy new Canadian rider Maghalie Rochette.

Erin Huck (Scott - 3Rox Racing), who was expected to be a factor, did not start tonight’s criterium race.


Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sam Gaze (Nzl) Specialized  
2Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott- Shimano- CRCS DKI  
3Christoph Sauser (Sui) Specialized  
4Menso De Jong (USA) Clif Bar- Niner Bikes- SRAM mtb  
5Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott- Shimano- CRCS DKI  
6Cole Oberman (USA) Specialized- DNA Cycling  
7Howard Grotts (USA) Specialized  
8Todd Wells (USA) Specialized- Clifbar- Oakley  
9Benjamin Sonntag (USA) Clif Bar- Niner Bikes- SRAM  
10Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona Bicycles- Shimano- Fox- Stages Cycling  
11Brian Matter (USA) KS Energy- MOSH- Trek  
12Fernando Riveros Paez (USA) Raleigh- Clement- Shimano  
13Marc-antoine Nadon (Can) Scott- Shimano- CRCS DKI  
14Barry Wicks (USA) Kona Bikes- Shimano- Fox  
15Justin Lindine (USA) Vittoria Tires- Yeti Bikes  
16Joao Paulo Pereira (USA) Scott Brasil- Assc Batatais-  
17Tom Sampson (USA) Vittoria/Yeti/POC  
18Carl Decker (USA) Giant Bicycles- SRAM- Schwalbe  
19Antoine Caron (Can) Pivot Cycles- ENVE- OTE  
20Kerry Werner (USA) Raleigh- Clement- Shimano  
21Payson Mcelveen (USA) Vittoria Tires- Yeti Bikes  
22Keegan Swenson (USA) Sho-Air- Cannondale- Kenda  
23Kris Sneddon (USA) Kona- Logging- Mom and Dad  
24Tristan Uhl (USA) Vittoria Tires- Yeti Bikes  
25Marc-andré Daigle (Can) Louis Garneau Sport / Quebecor  
26Kyle Trudeau (USA) AZ Devo-  
27Brandon Mills (USA) Moment Bikes- Braveheart Racing  
28Levi Kurlander (USA) Trek Bicycles / Ska Brewing / Zia Taqueria  
29Greg Krieger (USA)  
30Henry Svendblad (USA) Nationwide- Trek- Flat Tire Bike Shop  
31Steven Beeler (USA) Area 51 / Oro Valley Bicycle  
32Alexandre Mantovani (USA) MARCEH Intl.- Borelli- Assc. do Ribeirao Preto.  
33Chris Jackson (USA) Castex Rentals- Enve Composites- Sierra Pacific Farms  
34Lance Haidet (USA) Raleigh Clement Shimano  
35Peter Kalmes (USA) Sonoran Cycles  
36Adam Gaubert (USA)  
37Jamey Driscoll (USA) Raleigh- Clement- Full Speed Ahead  
38Ernie Watenpaugh (USA) Jack Daniels- Telluride Venture Accelerator- BMC Bikes  
39Chris Baddick (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport- Yogaglo  
40Tyler Gauthier (USA) Gauthier Insurance- Quick Stop Bike Shop  
41Tj Woodruff (USA) Pivot- Stans NoTubes- Momentum Endurance  
42Kenny Wehn (USA)  
43Caleb Thompson (USA) CRC Janitorial- Cannondale- Smith Optics  
44Stephan Davoust (USA) Giant Co-Factory  
45Adam Looney (USA) Peak Cycles  
46Bryan Alders (USA) TrainingPeaks- Yeti- Pactimo  
47Howard Grotts (USA) Specialized  
48Ryan Petry (USA) Tri-Scottsdale- Endurance Conspiracy  
49Patrick Chartrand (Can) Powerwatts Nord- Zibo Restaurants- Cycles Lambert  
50Cameron Jette (Can) Scott- Shimano- CRCS DKI  
51Mark Flis (USA) Squadra Clothing- Spy Optics  
52Dana Weber (USA) Stage 21- CytoSport  
53Matthew Turner (USA) Summit-Competitive Cyclist- Pivot  
54Kurt Refsnider (USA) Salsa Cycles- Prescott College  
55Michael R Sampson (USA) Competitive Cyclist- Summit Bike Club- Pivot Cycles  
56Jonathan Sundt (USA) Giant  
57Hunter Keating (USA) Harmony Systems Pro Cycling  
58Jesse Kelly (USA)  
59Raul Cancado (USA) MARCEH Intl.- Assoc ciclismo Dourados-  
60Jason Hilimire (USA) FasCat Coaching-Geneva Bicycle Center  
61Ricky Willis (USA) Paragon/bootdoctors - Telluride cycling club  
62Mark Feeney (USA) Trigger Point- Road ID- Dirty Dog Eyewear  
63Greg Gibson (USA)  
64Kristofer Ochs (USA) Tokyo Joes- POC- Scott  
65Sam Chovan (USA) Honey Stinger- Bontrager- Trek  
66Ian Wilkey (USA) AZ Devo- Trek Bikes- Cadence Promotions  
67Nick Thomas (USA) Arizona Devo- Trek/Bicycle Ranch- Cadence Promotions  
68Tim Racette (USA) McDowell Mountain Cycles- Mikes Mix Recovery Drink- Schwalbe Tires  
69Corey Stelljes (USA) Cannondale- SRAM- Motorless Motion Bicycles  
70Thomas Gauthier (Can) Pivot- enve- OTE  
71Nick Truitt (USA) Breck Bike Guides- Shimano- Naturally Fast  
72Nick Skaggs (USA) Nationwide Insurance- Trek Bicycle- Flat Tire Bike Shop  
73Dax Massey (USA) Planet Foods/Peak Nutrients- Light & Motion- Stans NoTubes  
74Nathan Miller (USA) ENVE Composites- Drunkcyclist- TWC  
75John Nobil (USA) bear valley bikes specialized team ninja  
DNFJason Hanson (USA) Bicycle Experience- Rotor Components- Old Lady  
DNFReusable Reusable (USA) Validation Matters- GPE Racing- Athlete Octane  
DNFJakub Valigura (USA) 92Fifty/Eleveted Legs- Ergon- Smith Optics  
DNFJonathon Firth (Can) Honey stinger-Smithoptics-planet foods  
DNFAdam Morka (Can) Trek Canada  
DNFDave Harrison (USA) Club Ride- Borealis- Orbea  
DNFMichael Muhlestein (USA) ENVE- Bikers Edge- Destination Homes  
DNFNick Fisher (USA) Enve- Destination Homes- Togs  
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Chloe Woodruff (USA) Stan's NoTubes- Niner Bikes- Clif Bar  
2Georgia Gould (USA) Luna- Orbea- Fox  
3Maghalie Rochette (Can) Luna- Orbea- Fox  
4Katerina Nash (USA) Luna- Orbea- Fox  
5Larissa Connors (USA) Sho Air Cyclery- Cannondale- Enve Composites  
6Rose Grant (USA) Stans  
7Evelyn Dong (USA) Sho air/cannondale- crank brothers- smith optics  
8Serena Bishop Gordon (USA) LIV|Giant CLIF Bar- Julbo  
9Beisel Amy (USA) Liv Cycling- SRAM- Osmo Nutrition  
10Caroline Mani (USA) Raleigh- Clement- Shimano  
11Mical Dyck (USA) Stan's NoTubes- Cannondale- Kenda  
12Erin Alders (USA) Ride Biker Alliance- Ol Republic Brewery- Sho-Air  
13Megan Chinburg (USA) Liv Cycling- Sellwood Cycles-  
14Heidi Rentz (USA) Ibis- The Cycling House- GU Energy  
15Kata Skaggs (USA) Adventure Bike Company- Fast Forward Chiropractic  
16Liz Carrington (USA) CRC-Janitorial (Durango- CO)- Hassle Free Sports (Durango- CO) Mavic  
17Emily Shields (USA) Stan's NoTubes  
18Evelyn Racette (USA) Mike's Mix Recovery Drink  
19Jennifer Smith (USA) Stan's NoTubes- Cannondale Bicycles- Griggs Orthopedics Performance  
20Nina Baum (USA) Stan's NoTubes- Cannondale- Kenda  
DNSMindy Mulliken (USA) Cogma- Mountain Peak Nutrients- Honey Stinger  
DNSErin Huck (USA) Scott- Shimano- CRCS DKI  
DNSAbbey Alexiades (USA) Liv Cycle- Giant- SRAM  


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