Kabush and Paterson win Whiskey 50

Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox Racing) and Lesley Paterson (Scott) won the Whiskey 50 marathon on Sunday in dry and sunny weather conditions.

Men: Kabush repeats as Whiskey 50 champion

Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox Racing) proved again on Sunday that he is master tactician, and one of the best all-time North American racers. The Canadian got clear of the field with Todd Wells (Specialized) to take victory in the 10th Annual Epic Rides Whiskey 50.

When Wells suffered an untimely flat followed by a second flat a few minutes later, Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/ Cannondale) capitalized on the mishap by claiming second place. Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/ Cannondale) finished third despite suffering due to the altitude and heat. Ben Sonntag (American Interbank/ Cannondale) rode consistently to finish fourth while Fernando Riveros Paez (Rotor USA) rounded out the podium in fifth place.

The Whiskey 50 course is brutally difficult, and 1.5 miles were added this year to alleviate rider congestion. It begins with a twisty six-mile road climb followed by further climbing up fireroads and singletrack. As riders crest the mountain pass, they are treated to a 10-mile descent into the small town of Skull Valley. After refueling at the aid station there, they began a 12-mile climb back up the valley, ending on a steep dirt climb called "Cramp Hill". After enjoying a brief view from "The Overlook", riders make their way through up-and-down singletrack before hitting the final pavement stretch back into town.

Nobody really expects to get away on the first six-mile road climb. The pace seemed moderate this year until the final steep pitches before the first fireroad. Kabush, Wells, and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Trek Factory Racing) were never far from the front. Travis Woodruff (Momentum Endurance) did a considerable amount of the pacing and appeared eager to get the show on the road. Cory Wallace (Kona) lifted the pace considerably at one point and went clear, but the peloton quickly reabsorbed him into the pack.

Todd Wells was the first rider to reach the dirt road at the end of the pavement. Kabush and Adam Craig (Giant) followed him into the Prescott Forest. The course conditions were dry and somewhat loose due to nearly 1,700 riders having raced the course on Saturday. Dust was a factor for anyone not on the front of the race. In addition, temperatures increased somewhat dramatically during the race, making the long climbs even more uncomfortable.

Kabush and Wells were the first to reach the summit before the long descent into Skull Valley. Kabush explained his race strategy at that point, "Once Todd and I got away we just traded pulls. I knew we were the two strongest guys."

Wells was riding his Specialized hardtail 29er, while Kabush had opted to ride his Scott Spark 29er. On paper, this gave Wells the advantage on the fireroad climbs and Kubush the advantage on downhill singletrack.

"I wasn't sure if Todd would attack on the hill (the 12-mile climb out of Skull Valley) but we were able to ride together to the top," said Kabush. "Then I just laid it down about 30 yards before the top, got a gap on the singletrack, then had a lot of fun on the last descent and opened it up."

Bishop and Plaxton crested the first big climb together but quickly separated after that. Plaxton said, "I was feeling the altitude and the heat. I've been training quite a bit this past week and Friday (the Fat Tire Crit - ed.) was tough on the legs. I just didn't have enough at the start to stay with those guys and got caught behind some traffic."

As Wells and Kabush attacked the descent into Skull Valley, Bishop lost nearly a minute. "I gave it everything I had. I put my head down but it was one of those types of races when I missed the boat," said Bishop. "It (the descent) was really blown out and dusty with brick rocks. The downhill was intense. I almost killed myself."

The prize money at the Whiskey 50 totaled $40,000 this year, with $6,500 going to both the men's and women's winners. When Todd Wells suffered his two flat tires on the final singletrack section of course, it cost him at least $2,800 and as much as $5,800 if he had won. After fixing the first flat, Wells was still in second place, but he was out of CO2 and didn't have a second spare tube to fix the second flat. He rode into town on the flat tire to finish a disappointing seventh place.

Kabush rolled into the town in 2:57:37 and was welcomed by thousands of spectators lining the finish. He took his time crossing the line while slapping hands with fans on both sides of the course.

"It's an awesome weekend. It feels incredible to come back and win again," said Kabush. "It's a huge event for our team, Scott 3Rox Racing. This has always been up my alley; controlling the tempo and three hours is right in the ballpark of what I do in training."

Women: Paterson wins from behind

The pro women started 10 minutes behind the pro men and caught some of them on course. When they got to the singletrack, Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) broke away with Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers) and Kelli Emmett (Team Giant). Lesley Paterson (Scott) slipped to nearly 1.5 minutes behind the leaders as they crested the mountain pass to begin the descent into Skull Valley.

Emmett had opened about a 30-second gap on Woodruff and Nash as she began the descent to Skull Valley. A skilled descender, she attempted unsuccessfully to extend her lead during the 10 miles to the bottom.

Georgia Gould (Luna), the pre-race favorite, seemed to have struggled during the first half of the race. She could be seen riding behind Mical Dyck (NoTubes) in eighth position. Evelyn Dong (White Pine Touring) shocked many observers as she started the descent to Skull Valley in fifth place.

Paterson, however, had a master plan. "My tactic was to take it steady across 15-20 miles and then hit it hard on the climb from Skull Valley. I was about a minute and a half behind Kelli, and 30 seconds behind Katerina and Chloe.

Nash explained what happened at the bottom of Copper Valley, "At the turn-around point, I was with Chloe and then Lesley caught up to us. She was really strong and brought me back to Kelli. Then Kelli had a flat so that's how I moved up to second place".

Paterson then rode Nash off her wheel. She said, "I got away on the big climb. I'm a light person so my power-to-weight ratio is really good. I caught a bunch of girls on the big climb and then kept attacking, attacking. I knew I needed a lead going into the final section (of singletrack) because I had not pre-ridden it."

Nash said, "I had to ride my own pace. It was a long race, and I was a little intimidated by it."

Paterson rode into the finish alone in a time of 3:31:21 to claim the victory. Nash finished a little over two minutes behind her to take second place. Emmett recovered from her flat tire to finish third. Dong was fourth, and Gould fought her way onto the podium with a fifth place finish.

A successful formula

Epic Rides has developed a blueprint for putting on some of the most successful races on the mountain biking race calendar. The combination of Friday evening's Fat Tire Criterium, thousands of amateur racers participating on Saturday, a concert and party on Saturday night, and pro racing on Sunday makes for an unbeatable weekend. The Town of Prescott fully participates in the race weekend by dedicating their police department, fire and rescue staff, and volunteers.

Epic Rides recently announced a new race to be held in Grand Junction, Colorado, during Labor Day weekend this year. It will copy the Whiskey 50 format and will offer $20,000 in prize money for the inaugural event. The pro field will be limited to 100 racers.

Full Results

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Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing2:57:37
2Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Sho-Air / Cannondale0:05:10
3Max Plaxton (USA) Sho-Air/Cannondale0:06:43
4Ben Sonntag (USA) American Interbanc / Cannondale0:08:04
5Fernando Riveros Paez (USA) Rotor USA0:08:51
6Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona Bicycles0:10:16
7Todd Wells (USA) Specialized, Clif Bar0:10:21
8Alex Grant (USA) Sho-Air/Cannondale0:12:04
9Rotem Ishay (USA) jamis, geax, stans no tubes0:12:26
10Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott Sports / Shimano / CRCS Disaster KleenupRow 9 - Cell 2
11Macky Franklin (USA) Santa Fe Brewing - Pivot Cycles0:12:27
12Brian Matter (USA) RACC/GearGrinder, Trek, ShimanoRow 11 - Cell 2
13Sepp Kuss (USA) Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory0:12:30
14Adam Craig (USA) Giant / Sram / Schwalbe0:14:21
15Colin Cares (USA) Kenda tires, Felt BicyclesRow 14 - Cell 2
16Ernie Watenpaugh (USA) Jack Daniel's0:16:58
17Barry Wicks (USA) Kona Bikes, Sram, Easton0:18:33
18Tj Woodruff (USA) Momentum Endurance/ Arizona Cyclist0:18:55
19Cameron Jette (Can) Scott / 3 Rox Racing / Shimano0:19:47
20Kris Sneddon (USA) Kona / Sram / Maxxis0:19:50
21Chris Jackson (USA) Castex Rentals, Felt Bicycles0:19:56
22Carl Decker (USA) Giant / Sram / Schwalbe0:20:02
23Thomas Turner (USA) Jamis, Geax, Stans NoTubes0:20:07
24Tinker Juarez (USA) Sho-Air / Cannondale0:21:07
25Cameron Chambers (USA) Tuff Shed, Orbea, Enve0:21:09
26Menso De Jong (USA) Clif Bar, SRAM, Stevens Bicycles0:22:03
27Samuel Morrison (USA) The Gear Movement, CarboRocket0:22:15
28Jeremy Horgan-kobelski (USA) Trek, Shimano, Oakley0:22:31
29Payson Mcelveen (USA) Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory0:22:44
30Cory Wallace (USA) Kona / Sram / Maxxis0:23:11
31Sid Taberlay (USA) Kenda, H2O Overdrive, BH Bikes0:23:32
32Sean Babcock (USA) Kona, Sellwood Cycle, Giro0:24:59
33Yuki Ikeda (Jpn) Topeak / Ergon / Canyon0:25:10
34Howard Grotts (USA) Specialized Racing0:25:11
35Ryan Petry (USA) Tri Scottsdale, Tribe Multisport0:25:45
36Brennan Wodtli (USA) All Access Staging&Productions0:27:00
37Philip Tinstman (USA) MRI Endurance/ Haro Bikes0:28:45
38Jason Sager (USA) jamis bikes, geax tiresRow 37 - Cell 2
39Daniel Matheny (USA) Honey Stinger / Bontrager0:30:02
40Michael Hosey (USA)0:31:31
41Trapper Steinle (USA)0:31:38
42Anthony Slowinski (USA) Bicycle Sport / Rooibee Red Tea0:32:16
43Bryan Dillon (USA) Griggs Orthopedics, Stans No TubeRow 42 - Cell 2
44Dana Weber (USA) Stage 21, Cannondale, Cytomax0:33:21
45Blake Harlan (USA) jamis, geax, stans no tubes0:34:11
46Daniel Munoz (USA) G2 Altitude Training0:34:26
47Keith Omundson (USA) Boulder Running Company0:35:12
48Stewart Gross (USA)0:36:57
49Sean Leader (USA)0:37:06
50Marcus Hayward (USA) PH Structural-Bicycle Ranch-SRAM0:37:07
51Kurt Refsnider (USA) Salsa Cycles0:37:22
52Eric Salstrand (USA) Bike Haus0:38:05
53Jason Hilimire (USA) Gear Movement0:39:58
54Chad Davis (USA) Scott/Syncros/Tricia0:42:03
55Lance Runyan (USA) Jetset / Allstate / TROV0:42:21
56Christopher Beardsley (USA) Club Pilates0:43:10
57David Graf (USA) American Interbanc, CannondaleRow 56 - Cell 2
58Jeff Kerkove (USA) Ergon / Topeak / Canyon0:43:19
59KALAN BEISEL (USA) Orbea-Tuff Shed0:45:34
60Tom Obrien (USA) Nationwide Insurance, Scott Bikes0:45:35
61Scott Keller (USA) Form Cycles, OTE Sports Sedona0:45:39
62Ted Willard (USA) G2 Bike, Bailey Bikes, SPY Optic0:46:47
63Ryan Clark (USA) Audi/Felt/Oakley0:48:14
64Brian Sells (USA) Trek, Honey Stinger, Ergon0:57:00
65John Sawasky (USA) Ride Dirt / ZMS / FBR0:57:09
66Adam Looney (USA) Eriksen, Honey Stinger, My Loving Parents0:58:17
67Anthony Tintelnot (USA) Natural Dynamix/Bike Religion1:04:01
68Sam Chovan (USA) Giant, Pabst, Rudy Project1:04:02
69Shane Demars (USA) Pedal Pushers Cyclery1:37:47
70Phil Grove (USA) Hammer Nutrition, My Tax Return1:37:51
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lesley Paterson (USA) Scott Bikes / 2xU / View Hotels3:35:21
2Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna / Orbea / Shimano0:02:19
3Kelli Emmett (USA) Giant / Sram / Schwalbe0:05:05
4Evelyn Dong (USA) White Pine Touring, Smith Optics0:09:24
5Georgia Gould (USA) Luna / Orbea / Shimano0:10:24
6Chloe Woodruff (USA) Crankbrothers, Scott Bikes0:12:53
7Erica Tingey (USA) Jamis Bicycles, Stan's Wheels0:12:54
8Mical Dyck (Can) Stan's No Tubes, Cannondale0:14:40
9Heather Irmiger (USA) Trek, Shimano, Oakley0:14:56
10Nina Baum (USA) Stan's NoTubes / Cannondale0:15:00
11Deidre York (USA) The Gear Movement, Carborocket0:16:46
12Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) Luna / Orbea / Shimano0:17:03
13Amanda Sin (Can) Scott Sports / Shimano0:17:25
14Amanda Carey (USA) Stan's No Tubes, Kenda0:17:50
15Jamie Busch (USA) Quadzilla Racing/Specialized0:18:38
16Serena Gordon (USA) All Access Promotions, Giant0:21:15
17Sonya Looney (USA) Ergon, Michael David Winery0:22:13
18Amy Beisel (USA) Greg's Orthopedics0:22:25
19Suzanne Snyder (USA) Luna Pro Team, Orbea0:23:19
20Blair Hurst (USA) Boulder Running Company0:23:54
21Judy Freeman (USA) Crankbrothers, Scott Bikes0:23:55
22Elizabeth Sampey (USA) currently, myself.0:27:57
23Lauren Catlin (USA) Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory0:28:18
24Karen Jarchow (USA) Santa Fe Brewing Co0:29:08
25Heidi Rentz (USA) Ibis, Hammer Nutrition0:30:18
26Rebecca Gross (USA) tough girl/Scott/reynolds0:33:48
27Andrea Wilson (USA) Niner Bikes, Outdoors Incorporated0:34:41
28Jari Kirkland (USA) Griggs Orthopaedics, Mavic0:37:14
29Sarah Sturm (USA) Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory0:38:43
30Christine Jeffrey (USA) 2XU, Extreme Endurance0:38:57
31Alice Pennington (USA)0:40:17
32Beth Utley (USA) GU, PASA, Heart Center0:40:38
33Tracy Thelen (USA) Carmichael Training Systems0:41:08
34Erin Alders (USA) Liv Giant, Giant mt bikes0:45:23
35Jane Rynbrandt (USA) Tough Girl / Shimano / Rudy ProjectRow 34 - Cell 2
36Shannon Gibson (USA) Stan's NoTubes / Cannondale / Kenda0:45:25
37Brianne Marshall (USA) STAN's NOTUBES, Niner, Maxxis0:48:20
38Beth Ann Orton (USA) Sellwood Cycle Repair0:48:56
39Kata Skaggs (USA) Adventure Bike Company, Trisports.0:52:53
40Jaime Brede (USA) Honey Stinger, Bontrager0:53:58
41Vicki Barclay (USA) Stan's NoTubes / Cannondale / Kenda0:54:10
42Bryna Blanchard (USA)0:54:11
43Sarka Ruzickova (USA) cannondale, No tubes,honeystinger1:07:41
44Lisa Uranga (USA) Comedy Defensive Driving, Plano Cycling1:09:43


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