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Defending champ Kabush leads stellar line-up at Whiskey Off-Road

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Geoff Kabush (Scott/3-Rox) is having an awesome opening weekend of racing, coming in 2nd today.

Geoff Kabush (Scott/3-Rox) is having an awesome opening weekend of racing, coming in 2nd today.
(Image credit: Daniel Dunn Photo / www.danieldunnphoto.com)
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As always, Georgia Gould (Luna Chix) is pumped to be racing.

As always, Georgia Gould (Luna Chix) is pumped to be racing.
(Image credit: Daniel Dunn Photo / www.danieldunnphoto.com)
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Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) is having a great 2013 race season, leading the Pro XCT after three races

Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) is having a great 2013 race season, leading the Pro XCT after three races
(Image credit: Daniel Dunn Photo / www.danieldunnphoto.com)
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Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers)

Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers)
(Image credit: Anthony Smith)
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Geoff Kabush (Scott/3-Rox) trailing Kohei Yamamoto (Specilized) early in the race

Geoff Kabush (Scott/3-Rox) trailing Kohei Yamamoto (Specilized) early in the race
(Image credit: Daniel Dunn Photo / www.danieldunnphoto.com)

Looking at the start list, the Whiskey Off-Road is shaping up to be a sort of North American mountain bike championship. Record attendance in the Whiskey Off-Road elite field is drawing 51 women and 88 men to vie for a $40,000 elite cash purse in Prescott, Arizona on Sunday, April 28.

Returning champion Geoff Kabush (Scott/3Rox) is confirmed to start along with his teammates Derek Zandstra and Cameron Jette. Flanked with strength and strategy, and showing superb early season fitness last weekend at the Sea Otter Classic, Kabush is a strong candidate for the $6,500 first place payday among the men's field.

Kabush will face riders like Max Plaxton and Jeremiah Bishop (both Sho-Air/Cannondale), Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Trek), Adam Craig (Giant), Ben Sonntag (American Interbanc-Cannondale), Barry Wicks (Kona) and Todd Wells and Howard Grotts (both Specialized).

Unfortunately, Pua Mata (Team Sho-Air/Cannondale) will not be defending her 2011 and 2012 Whiskey victories as she continues to heal a broken leg. However, Team Luna Chix will be showing up with its strongest presence yet including Olympic bronze medalist Georgia Gould, Katerina Nash, Teal Stetson-Lee, Suzanne Snyder and Shonny Vandlandingham. Gould has previously finished second while Stetson-Lee was fifth last year.

Another woman to watch will be Lesley Paterson (Scott), the 2012 X-terra World Champion, who won the Bonelli Park Pro XCT earlier this season. Paterson will be among several women chasing after the $6,500 top women's prize, which is equal to the men's top payout.

Heather Irmiger (Trek), Amanda Carey (Stan's No Tubes), Kelli Emmett (Giant) and Chloe Woodruff and Judy Freeman (Crankbrothers) will also be on the start line.

"The quality of racers the Whiskey Off-Road is drawing to Prescott, Arizona is unparalleled in American mountain biking during recent years. We're very excited to host such an awesome dedicated group of racers," said Todd Sadow, President of Epic Rides.

"Plus, the opportunity to carry this momentum into the Inaugural Grand Junction Off-Road with $20,000 pro purse labor day weekend shows great promise for the North American Pro mountain biker in pursuit of venues able to service both exposure for their sponsors and financial requirements useful in making 'Professional Mountain Biker' a legitimate career path."

For a few weeks, the start list for the Whiskey 50 seemed like it might take a hit. After the UCI announced it would enforce its Rule 1.2.019 earlier this season, all UCI racers who entered the unsanctioned Whiskey Off-Road would have faced a possible fine and/or suspension. However, after the UCI agreed to suspend the enforcement of the rule through the end of 2013, many top mountain bikers went ahead with their original plans to compete in Arizona.

In its 10th year, the Whiskey Off-Road continues to grow at an exponential rate. The race now offers $40,000 in prize money, effectively doubling what was offered three years ago. Matching the purse, event attendance has doubled from 1,000 to 2,000 riders since 2010.

Pros will compete in a fat tire crit on Friday night and a 50-miler on Sunday while amateurs will race various distances on Saturday.

Elite men start list
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott Sports - 3Rox Racing
2Kurt Refsnider (USA) Salsa Cycles
3Ryan Ellis (USA)
4Jason Hilimire (USA) Gear Movement
5Stewart Gross (USA)
6Cameron Chambers (USA) Tuff Shed - Orbea - Enve
7Samuel Morrison (USA) The Gear Movement
8Jonathan Davis (USA) Trek - Ergon - ProGold
9Ted Willard (USA) G2 Bike - Bailey Bikes
10David Ochs (USA) Griggs Orthopedics - Go to Guide
11Keith Omundson (USA) Boulder Running Company
12Trapper Steinle (USA)
13Max Plaxton (Can) Sho-Air - Cannondale
14Alex Ryan (USA) Mock Orange Bikes - Kona Bikes
15Kalan Beisel (USA) Orbea - Tuff Shed
16Alex Grant (USA) Sho-Air - Cannondale
17Mimmo Futia (USA) Swiss American Bikes
18Dana Weber (USA) Stage 21 - Cannondale - Cytomax
19Frank Webber (USA) Orbea - Tuff Shed - Enve
20Bryan Dillon (USA) Griggs Orthopedics - Stan’s NoTubes
21Fernando Riveros Paez (Col) Bandwagon Racing - Rotor
22Nick Gould (USA)
23Shane Demars (USA) Pedal Pushers Cyclery
24Brian Sells (USA) Trek - Honey Stinger - Ergon
25John Nobil (USA) Bear Valley Bikes - Specialized
26Chad Davis (USA) Scott Sports - Syncros
27Adam Looney (USA) Eriksen - Honey Stinger
28Doug Johnson (USA) Bandwagon Racing - Pranava Yoga Center
29Scott Keller (USA) Form Cycles - Over the Edge Sports Sedona
30Ethan Millstein (USA) Airpark Bikes - TRU Composites - Milly Inc.
31Ryan Petry (USA) Tri Scottsdale - Tribe Multisport
32Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Trek - Shimano - Oakley
33Christopher Beardsley (USA) Club Pilates
34Anthony Slowinski (USA) Bicycle Sport - Rooibee Red Tea
35Chris Jackson (USA) Castex Rentals - Felt Bicycles
36Carl Decker (USA) Giant Bicycles - SRAM - Schwalbe
37Adam Craig (USA) Giant Bicycles - SRAM - Schwalbe
38Sam Chovan (USA) Giant Bicycles - Pabst Brewing Company
39Menso De Jong (USA) Clif Bar - SRAM - Stevens Bicycles
40Elliot Reinecke (USA) Velo Hangar - Focus Bikes
41David Graf (USA) American Interbanc - Cannondale
42Tyler Coplea (USA) Orbea - Enve - Tuff Shed
43Jeff Kerkove (USA) Ergon - Topeak - Canyon
44Sepp Kuss (USA) Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
45Payson Mcelveen (USA) Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
46Marcus Hayward (USA) PH Structural - Bicycle Ranch -SRAM
47Sean Babcock (USA) Kona Bikes - Sellwood Cycle - Giro
48Sam Gross (USA) Nationwide Insurance - Flat Tire Bike Shop
49Yuki Ikeda (Jpn) Topeak - Ergon - Canyon
50Tj Woodruff (USA) Momentum Endurance - Arizona Cyclist
51Ben Sonntag (USA) American Interbanc - Cannondale
52Blake Harlan (USA) Jamis - Geax Tires - Stan’s NoTubes
53Skyler Trujillo (USA) Jamis - Geax Tires - Stan’s NoTubes
54Rotem Ishay (Isr) Jamis - Geax Tires - Stan’s NoTubes
55Thomas Turner (USA) Jamis - Geax Tires - Stan’s NoTubes
56Jason Sager (USA) Jamis - Geax Tires - Stan’s NoTubes
57David Timmons (USA) Honey Stinger - NAU Cycling
58Tom Obrien (USA) Nationwide Insurance - Scott Sports
59Ryan Clark (USA) Audi - Felt - Oakley
60Philip Tinstman (USA) MRI Endurance - Haro Bikes
61Troy Wells (USA) Clif Bar - Stevens Bikes - SRAM
62Brian Matter (USA) RACC - GearGrinder - Trek
63Daniel Munoz (USA) G2 Altitude Training - Cyclery USA
64Lance Runyon (USA) Jetset - Allstate - TROV
65Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Sho-Air - Cannondale
66Tinker Juarez (USA) Sho-Air - Cannondale
67Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona Bikes
68Brennan Wodtli (USA) All Access Staging&Productions
69Ernie Watenpaugh (USA) Jack Daniel’s
70Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona Bikes - SRAM - Maxxis
71Cory Wallace (USA) Kona Bikes - SRAM - Maxxis
72Derek Zandstra (Can) SCOTT Sports - Shimano
73Cameron Jette (Can) SCOTT Sports - 3Rox Racing - Shimano
74Barry Wicks (USA) Kona Bikes - SRAM - Easton Cycling
75Derek Hermon (USA) Bear Valley Bikes - Specialized
76Michael Hosey (USA)
77Phil Grove (USA) Hammer Nutrition - My Tax Return
78Todd Wells (USA) Specialized - Clif Bar - Oakley
79Joel Titius (USA) So Cal Endurance - Ellsworth Bikes
80John Sawasky (USA) Ride Dirt - ZMS - FBR
81Jason Siegle (USA) SDG - Felt - iRT Wheels
82Colin Cares (USA) Kenda Tires - Felt Bicycles
83Sid Taberlay (Aus) Kenda Tires - Felt Bicycles
84Logan Taylor (USA) American Interbanc - Cannondale
85Matt Ewonus (Can) Balance Point Racing - Sunlife Financial
86Howard Grotts (USA) Specialized Racing
87Anthony Tintelnot (USA) Natural Dynamix - Bike Religion
88Sean Leader (USA)

Elite women start list
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Bar - Orbea - Shimano
2Tracy Thelen (USA) Carmichael Training Systems
3Elizabeth Sampey (USA)
4Sarka Ruzickova (USA) Cannondale - Stan's NoTubes
5Jari Kirkland (USA) Griggs Orthopaedics - Mavic
6Deidre York (USA) The Gear Movement - CarboRocket
7Andrea Wilson (USA) Niner Bikes - Outdoors Incorporated
8Beth Ann Orton (USA) Sellwood Cycle Repair
9Amy Beisel (USA)
10Eszter Horanyi (USA) Griggs Orthopaedics - Waltworks
11Suzanne Snyder (USA) Luna Bar - Orbea - Shimano
12Kata Skaggs (USA) Adventure Bike Company - TriSports
13Beth Utley (USA) GU Energy Labs - PASA - Heart Center
14Jamie Busch (USA) Quadzilla Racing - Specialized
15Kate Aardal Calgary, AB
16Heather Irmiger (USA) Trek - Shimano - Oakley
17Leah Mccabe (USA) GU Energy Labs - crankbrothers
18Jaime Brede (USA) Honey Stinger - Bontrager
19Jacquie Phelan (USA) Todd DeAngelis
20Mical Dyck Victoria, BC Stan's NoTubes - Cannondale
21Amanda Carey (USA) Stan's NoTubes - Kenda Tires
22Blair Hurst (USA) Boulder Running Company
23Kelli Emmett (USA) Giant Bicycles - SRAM - Schwalbe
24Heidi Rentz (USA) Ibis - Hammer Nutrition
25Erin Alders (USA) Liv Giant - Giant Bicycles
26Alice Pennington (USA)
27Karen Jarchow (USA) Santa Fe Brewing Co. - Pivot Cycles
28Sarah Sturm (USA) Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
29Judy Freeman (USA) crankbrothers - Scott Sports
30Sonya Looney (USA) Ergon - Michael David Winery
31Lauren Catlin (USA) Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
32Jen Hanks (USA) Epic Brewing - MTBracenews.com
33Lisa Uranga (USA) Comedy Defensive Driving
34Chloe Woodruff (USA) crankbrothers - Scott Sports
35Rebecca Gross (USA) Tough Girl - Scott Sports - Reynolds
36Serena Gordon (USA) All Access Promotions
37Amanda Sin (USA) Scott Sports - Shimano
38Shannon Gibson (USA) Stan's NoTubes - Cannondale
39Vicki Barclay (USA) Stan's NoTubes - Cannondale
40Nina Baum (USA) Stan's NoTubes - Cannondale
41Evelyn Dong (USA) White Pine Touring - Smith Optics
42Lesley Paterson (USA) Scott Sports - 2XU - View Hotels
43Bryna Blanchard (USA)
44Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) Luna Bar - Clif Bar - Wahine Farms
45Jane Rynbrandt (USA) Tough Girl - Shimano - Rudy Project
46Erica Tingey (USA) Jamis Bicycles - Stan's NoTubes
47Brianne Marshall (USA)
48Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) Luna Bar - Orbea - Shimano
49Vanessa Humic (USA) Stan's NoTubes - Kenda - Xpedo
50Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Bar - Orbea - Shimano
51Christine Jeffrey (USA) 2XU - Extreme Endurance - Zipfizz