Elite men and women Whiskey 50:
Marathon world champion Christoph Sauser (Specialized) was pushed to his limit at the Whiskey 50, but again showed why he is the best in the world at this distance. He credited the fitness gained at the Cape Epic, along with his knowledge about hydration, flat tire avoidance, and having a superior downhill/singletrack bike in winning the $6,500 first place prize.
It was a great day for Specialized, placing three riders among the top five finishers. Todd Wells (Specialized), who had earlier been dropped by Sauser, finished second in the final sprint to the finish. Canadian champion Derek Zandstra (Scott 3Rox Racing), who did much of the work in hunting down Sauser, claimed third place. Fernando Riveros Paez (Scott-Rotor USA), the only rider who could match Sauser on the climb out of Skull Valley, finished fourth after fading on the downhill singletrack. Howard Grottts (Specialized) again proved he is a climbing machine by nailing down fifth place.
The 50-mile course begins with a six-mile pavement climb out of Prescott. While the pace seemed moderate, the peloton was split by the time they got to the dirt section of the course. Todd Wells led in the early going with Paez glued to his wheel. Sauser, Grotts, Zandstra, Grotts, Carl Decker (Team Giant), and Alex Grant (Sho-Air Cannondale) were never far behind. Wells was first to crest the mountain pass that begins a descent in to Copper Basin and Skull Valley, but Paez, Sauser, and Zandstra were with him. Grotts had been gapped by up to a minute, while Grant and Decker had lost even more on the climb.
When the riders reach the bottom of Skull Valley, they make a U-turn and then must climb 12 miles back up the mountain. Sauser decided to make a decisive move on the climb. He said, "I attacked on the middle of the long climb and Fernando and I got away. Then we got a pretty good gap."
Sauser then attacked Paez one mile from the top. "I knew at the top that I would have to go in front of him on the singletrack (descent) because he wouldn't be that fast technically," said Sauser
Behind the leaders, Grotts made up his lost time on the long climb and joined the chasers. Surprisingly, both Wells and Grotts (Sauser's teammates) could be seen at times on the front of the chase group as they closed the gap to Sauser. Derek Zandstra later credited Grotts in helping to chase down Paez, who had been dropped by Sauser.
Just before the long singletrack descent off the mountain, Sauser had a bit of a shock. He said, "I was just keeping myself really safe, no mistakes, no flat tires - then before the left corner to the downhill I looked back and Todd and Zandstra came. I thought they were far back so I got a big fright and pedaled really hard."
The final run into the finish is on pavement. Sauser was able to hold off a charging Zandstra for the win. Geoff Kabush, last year's winner, was never really in contention as he was recovering from a recent illness. His teammate Zandstra took up much of the slack, first by winning Friday night's fat boy criterium and then by nearly pulling off an upset in the Whiskey 50 itself.
The women started 10 minutes behind the men's field, which meant that the leaders would catch and pass many of the slower men and have to deal with getting around them on the singletrack sections of the course. All eyes were on Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team), who finished second last year, over seven minutes ahead of anyone else in this year's field. She led onto the initial singletrack and seemed strong as she towed along Chloe Woodruff (Backcountry.com), Evelyn Dong (Backcountry.com, and Erin Huck (Tokyo Joe's).
However, this was clearly Woodruff's day to shine. She led over the first big climb and onto the descent to Skull Valley. Huck lost contact with the leaders as they came through the gap, but made up her losses on the descent into Copper Basin as the leaders sat up a bit. Dong made her move on the 12-mile climb, which clearly put Nash in distress. Woodruff and Huck kept Dong close, however.
Woodruff, who now lives in Prescott, has ridden these trails dozens of times and knows them like the back of her hand. She said, "We had a great group. Erin, Evelyn and I were together at the top of the climb. I've ridden that downhill so many times I just tried to think and said, hey, it's just another time down the mountain."
"So, I got away on the descent but Erin caught me on Cramp Hill, where I was on the verge of cramping. I was able to get around her but she caught me again on the flat coming back in. I think she went a little too soon."
Woodruff, who was riding for the new Backcountry.com team and in support of The Arizona Nature Conservancy, was emotional as she explained her victory to the media. "It's a wonderful community here. We came up here the first time because of the Whiskey and each year we stayed a little longer. We moved up here about a year ago - and there's no better place to ride a bike."
At the end of the day, Huck could be proud of her strong second place effort. Evelyn Dong finished third followed by Nash in fourth place, while Rose Grant (Sportsman & Ski Haus) took fifth place.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Christoph Sauser (Specialized)||2:58:35|
|2||Todd Wells (Specialized)||0:00:02|
|3||Derek Zandstra (Scott)|
|4||Fernando Riveros Paez (Scott-Rotor USA)||0:01:13|
|5||Howard Grotts (Specialized)||0:02:26|
|6||Carl Decker (Giant Bicycles)||0:04:55|
|7||Markus Bauer (Shimano)||0:06:07|
|8||Alex Grant (Team Sho-Air/Cannondale)||0:07:33|
|9||Spencer Paxson (Kona Bicycles)||0:08:41|
|10||Barry Wicks (Kona)|
|11||Chris Baddick (Red Ace Organics)|
|12||Rotem Ishay (Jamis Bikes)|
|13||Thomas Turner (Jamis)||0:08:42|
|14||Jonathan Mccarty (Scott Bikes. Durata Training.)||0:08:43|
|15||Brian Matter (Trek)||0:08:59|
|16||Tom Sampson (Adigga Racing)||0:09:07|
|17||Menso De Jong||0:10:02|
|18||Jamey Driscoll (Raleigh / Clement)||0:10:28|
|19||Cole Oberman (RareDiseaseCycling.org)||0:11:13|
|20||Cameron Chambers (podium cycles)||0:11:19|
|21||Tj Woodruff (Backcountry.com)||0:11:45|
|22||Benjamin Sonntag (Stan's NoTubes)||0:12:00|
|23||Bryan Dillon (Griggs Orthopedics)||0:12:24|
|24||Bryan Alders (Marin Bikes)||0:12:49|
|25||Kris Sneddon (Kona)||0:13:26|
|26||Ernie Watenpaugh (Jack Daniel's)||0:14:53|
|27||Samuel Morrison (Red Ace Organics)||0:14:56|
|28||Jason Siegle (Sdg)||0:15:00|
|29||Bryson Perry (DNA Cycling)||0:15:02|
|30||Sepp Kuss (BMC)||0:15:59|
|31||Peter Kalmes (HoneyStinger)||0:17:09|
|32||Troy Wells (Clif Bar)|
|33||Anthony Smith (Team Santa Cruz X-Fusion)||0:17:15|
|34||Jason Sager (Backcountry.com)||0:17:41|
|35||Geoff Kabush (Scott)|
|36||Tristan Uhl (787 racing)||0:17:42|
|37||Kyle Taylor (Ergon)||0:19:29|
|38||Keith Omundson (Evol)||0:20:15|
|39||Josh Tostado (santa cruz)||0:20:35|
|40||Chris Jackson (Castex Rentals)||0:21:22|
|41||Ben Bostrom (Specialized)||0:21:50|
|42||Kalan Beisel (Giant-Tuff Shed)||0:21:53|
|43||Yuki Ikeda (Topeak)||0:22:49|
|44||Dana Weber (Stage 21)||0:24:00|
|45||Christhian Ravelo (Colorado Bike Service)||0:25:24|
|46||Jakub Valigura (92 Fifty\ Cyclery)||0:25:25|
|48||Steven Beeler (Area 51)||0:25:56|
|50||Joseph Clemenzi (Sports Garage Cycling)||0:27:15|
|51||Tyler Gauthier (Bike Marquette)||0:28:27|
|52||Richie Trent (92Fifty\ Cyclery)||0:30:04|
|53||Ryan Standish (Lapierre Bikes)||0:30:05|
|55||Quinn Keogh (Harmony Systems)||0:30:15|
|56||Ryan Petry (Tribe Multisport)||0:30:19|
|57||Jeff Kerkove (Ergon)||0:31:24|
|59||Kacey Campbell (marlboro)||0:34:44|
|60||Jason Hilimire (FasCat Coaching)||0:35:11|
|61||Matt Connors (DNC Cycling)||0:35:13|
|62||Levi Kurlander (Trek Bicycles / Ska Brewing Company)||0:36:12|
|64||Jonathan Davis (92Fifty)||0:38:10|
|65||Stephan Davoust (San Juan Cycles)||0:38:21|
|66||Adam Looney (Borealis Fat Bikes)||0:39:37|
|67||John Salskov (SLM Coaching)||0:40:54|
|69||Matthew Fox (mom)||0:42:08|
|70||Ryan Cook (Parkside cycle)||0:42:50|
|71||Rocky Gingg (Momentum Endurance)||0:44:41|
|72||Jon Pettit (Sram)||0:47:44|
|74||Colby Pastore (Santa Cruz Bicycles)||0:49:17|
|75||Michael Dickinson (SpecialEd)||0:56:37|
|76||Eliel Anttila (Marin Bikes)||1:07:37|
|77||Sam Gross (Harmony Systems)||1:09:18|
|79||Cody Johler (My day job. Wyoming.)||1:17:59|
|80||Donny Warbritton (Boulder Running Company)||1:29:10|
|81||Rick Ianniello (POC and Yeti)||1:31:26|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Chloe Woodruff (Backcountry.com)||3:37:14|
|2||Erin Huck (Tokyo Joes)||0:00:01|
|3||Evelyn Dong (Backcountry.com)||0:00:29|
|5||Rose Grant (Sportsman & Ski Haus)||0:07:46|
|6||Crystal Anthony (Riverside Cycle)||0:07:52|
|7||Amy Beisel (Liv/Giant)||0:10:49|
|8||Mary Mcconneloug (Kenda Stan's NoTubes)||0:11:18|
|9||Danelle Kabush (Luna)||0:11:22|
|10||Heidi Rentz (Ibis Cycles)||0:11:50|
|11||Erin Alders (Liv/Giant)||0:16:38|
|12||Erica Tingey (Jamis Bicycles)||0:18:59|
|13||Jamie Busch (Juliana Bicycles/Fox Racing/Giro)||0:19:12|
|14||Amanda Sin (Scott)||0:19:46|
|15||Rebecca Dussault (MassStart.org)||0:20:50|
|16||Karen Jarchow (Ptarmigan Group LLC)||0:21:09|
|17||Marlee Dixon (Epic Brewing)||0:22:20|
|18||Amanda Carey (Liv/Giant)||0:25:55|
|20||Deidre York (Red Ace Organics)||0:27:47|
|21||Sarah Kaufmann (Stan's NoTubes)||0:27:54|
|22||Kata Skaggs (Adventure Bicycle Company)||0:29:01|
|23||Jennifer Smith (Stan's NoTubes)||0:29:02|
|24||April Morgan (Foundry Cycles / Bicycle Fit Guru)||0:31:55|
|25||Nina Baum (Stan's NoTubes)||0:33:08|
|26||Beth Utley (Oro Valley Bicycle)||0:40:30|
|28||Melissa Ross (My Husband Aaron Ross)||0:41:59|
|29||Liz Carrington (Hassle Free Sports (Durango))||0:43:41|
|30||Elizabeth Sampey (Heights Performance/Griggs Orthopedics)||0:47:29|
|31||Caroline Mani (Raleigh / Clement)||0:50:29|
|32||Meghan Korol (The Hub/Pisgah Tavern)||0:50:57|
|33||Spring Clegg (Us military cycling)||1:00:05|
|34||Stephanie Jones (Liv/Giant)||1:20:56|
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