Grotts wins Whiskey 50

Howard Grotts (Specialized), the U23 Pan American Champion, proved again that on the right course nobody can climb with him, winning a highly animated 12th edition of the Whiskey 50. Grotts topped Canadian Derek Zandstra (Scott 3Rox Racing)and Keegan Swenson (Sho-Air Cannondale). Fernando Paez (Raleigh-Clement) clearly had designs on winning the race, but ended up fourth again this year after a valiant effort, while former World Champion Christoph Sauser (Specialized) finished fifth.

The Whiskey 50 course was more difficult than usual and finishing times were longer than last year after rain made the twelve-mile climb out of Skull Valley a slow slog. Temperatures were in the 40’s at the higher altitudes, rain continued off and on, and a freak hailstorm greeted the riders as they returned to Prescott.

In a surprising move, Jamey Driscoll (Raleigh Clement) attacked the peloton almost immediately after the start and opened at least a 500-meter gap by the end of the five-mile pavement climb. He explained the strategy after the race, “It was part of the plan because I don’t have the pointy end of the race form at this point yet, so that was the most I could do for my team and teammates today. I put my guys in the offensive and let everyone else chase.”

Keegan Swenson led the main peloton onto the first fire road at the end of the pavement and quite quickly the group began to break up. By the ten-mile mark, Todd Wells (Specialized) led with Swenson, Grotts, Paez, and Swenson close behind.

Christoph Sauser came through the ten-mile mark in about twenty-fifth place after suffering two flat tires. His teammate Sam Gaze saved his day by giving him the rear wheel from his bike. In a massive effort, Sauser then pulled himself all the way back to the front of the bike race. While he finished on the podium, he acknowledged that all the chasing destroyed his chance of winning.

After climbing from 5,300 feet and cresting the first mountain pass at 7,000 feet, riders faced a 10-mile descent to the small town of Skull Valley and then a 12-mile ascent. It was on this climb that the real fireworks began, Grotts explained.

“On the last (12-mile) hill I decided to just give it everything. We had Todd and Suzi up there in the lead group with us. I knew it was going to be a long effort but fortunately it happened.”

Grotts climbed away from everyone in the lead group and had at least a 300-meter lead by the top of the climb. It was enough to ensure victory after the long descent back to Prescott.

“I have been to this race several times, but up until now I have just not been able to make it happen. I am super excited. It is a great event they have here. The weather was a little cooler, but the trails are great out there, and we had some good competition.”

Pro Women

Chloe Woodruff (Stans NoTubes-Niner) was not to be denied this weekend. She won both the Fat Tire Criterium on Friday, and the Whiskey 50 on Sunday. She did it the hard way, by beating two Olympians from the Luna squad and two feisty relative newcomers to the elite ranks. Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) was the best of the rest and finished second. Rose Grant (NoTubes) finished third in possibly her best result to date. Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) took fourth place, and newcomer Larissa Connors (Sho-Air Cyclery) rounded out the podium in fifth place.

The Pro Women started onto the course ten minutes behind the Pro Men. By mid-race the leaders could be seen passing some of the slower men. By the ten-mile mark Woodruff lead, followed closely by Gould and Nash. Grant was about 100-meters back from the leaders, and Connors even further back. This positioning continued to the top of the mountain pass before the ten-mile descent into Skull Valley.

By the beginning of the climb out of Skull Valley, Grant had bridged up to the leaders. Everyone in the group knew that the real race was about to begin at that point.

Woodruff explained, “There was a group of four on the climb. It was great to have Rose Grant in the group. Due to all the rain it was it was pretty soft on the climbs. We were not going that fast so I just tried to stay smart. It was not until the top I started putting some pressure on. We came onto the singletrack (at the top) together. I was first, but Georgia (Gould) is a phenomenal downhiller and I could not get away from her. I tried.”

Woodruff added, “She actually passed me on Cramp Hill and had a little gap on me. I knew how it keeps going and going, so at the very end of that hill I was able to get around her before the last singletrack. I got enough of the gap to the finish. I raced my full-suspension Niner bike today. Last year I was on my hard tail.”

Once they hit the pavement in Prescott, Woodruff knew she could not relax, “On the final pavement I was just time trialing back in. I was just riding scared and was looking back all the time.”

Woodruff moved to Prescott from Tucson a couple years ago and now calls it her home. She commented, “I feel the love from the town. I don’t think there is a better place to live and train and race mountain bikes. We love it here.”

Many of the same pro racers will also compete in the Grand Junction Off-Road on May 29-31. It offers the same prize money, and the same three-day festival atmosphere that has become the trademark of the Epic Rides promoter.

Full Results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Howard Grotts (USA) Specialized3:04:25
2Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott, Shimano, CRCS DKI0:01:45
3Keegan Swenson (USA) Sho-Air, Cannondale, Kenda0:03:35
4Fernando Riveros Paez (USA) Raleigh, Clement, Shimano0:04:52
5Christoph Sauser (Sui) Specialized0:05:06
6Benjamin Sonntag (USA) Clif Bar, Niner Bikes, SRAM0:06:22
7Todd Wells (USA) Specialized, Clifbar, Oakley0:08:13
8Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott, Shimano, CRCS DKI0:10:10
9Cameron Jette (Can) Scott, Shimano, CRCS DKI0:10:11
10Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona Bicycles, Shimano, Fox, Stages Cycling0:10:28
11Justin Lindine (USA), Vittoria Tires, Yeti Bikes0:11:47
12Brian Matter (USA) KS Energy, MOSH, Trek0:12:36
13Kerry Werner (USA) Raleigh, Clement, Shimano0:12:40
14Menso De Jong (USA) Clif Bar, Niner Bikes, SRAM mtb0:13:20
15Bryan Alders (USA) TrainingPeaks, Yeti, Pactimo0:14:38
16Antoine Caron (USA)0:14:45
17Payson Mcelveen (USA), Vittoria Tires, Yeti Bikes0:15:22
18Chris Baddick (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport, Yogaglo0:15:25
19Barry Wicks (USA)0:16:08
20Joao Paulo Pereira (USA) Scott Brasil, Assc Batatais,0:16:11
21Jamey Driscoll (USA) Raleigh, Clement, Full Speed Ahead0:16:49
22Ernie Watenpaugh (USA) Jack Daniels, Telluride Venture Accelerator, BMC Bikes0:16:50
23Tj Woodruff (USA) Pivot, Stans NoTubes, Momentum Endurance0:20:58
24Sam Gaze (NZl) Specialized0:23:11
25Kris Sneddon (USA) Kona, Logging, Mom and Dad0:23:25
26Cole Oberman (USA), Specialized, DNA Cycling0:23:26
27Dana Weber (USA)0:24:00
28Patrick Chartrand (USA) Powerwatts Nord, Zibo Restaurants, Cycles Lambert0:24:40
29Kyle Trudeau (USA) AZ Devo,0:25:06
30Tristan Uhl (USA), Vittoria Tires, Yeti Bikes0:28:05
31Marc-Antoine Nadon (Can) Scott, Shimano, CRCS DKI0:28:23
32Greg Krieger (USA) Vanlyfe.com0:29:27
33Peter Kalmes (USA) Sonoran Cycles0:29:30
34Stephan Davoust (USA) Giant Co-Factory0:30:25
35Carl Decker (USA) Giant Bicycles, SRAM, Schwalbe0:30:45
36Alexandre Mantovani (USA) MARCEH Intl., Borelli, Assc. do Ribeirao Preto.0:30:59
37Kristofer Ochs (USA) Tokyo Joes, POC, Scott0:31:16
38Kurt Refsnider (USA)0:33:16
39Levi Kurlander (USA) Trek Bicycles / Ska Brewing / Zia Taqueria0:35:06
40Greg Gibson (USA)0:35:29
41Chris Jackson (USA) Castex Rentals, Enve Composites, Sierra Pacific Farms0:36:01
42Marc-André Daigle (Can) Louis Garneau Sport / Quebecor0:37:20
43Jason Hanson (USA) Bicycle Experience, Rotor Components, Old Lady0:37:38
44Adam Gaubert (USA)0:37:56
45Matthew Turner (USA) Summit-Competitive Cyclist, Pivot0:38:04
46Brandon Mills (USA) Moment Bikes, Braveheart Racing0:38:34
47Caleb Thompson (USA) CRC Janitorial, Cannondale, Smith OpticsRow 46 - Cell 2
48Nick Truitt (USA) Breck Bike Guides, Shimano, Naturally Fast0:39:10
49Mark Flis (USA) Squadra Clothing, Spy Optics0:39:31
50Tyler Gauthier (USA) Gauthier Insurance, Quick Stop Bike Shop0:41:11
51Michael R Sampson (USA) Competitive Cyclist, Summit Bike Club, Pivot Cycles0:42:34
52Corey Stelljes (USA) Cannondale, SRAM, Motorless Motion Bicycles0:43:05
53Thomas Gauthier (Can) Pivot, enve, OTE0:43:08
54Nathan Miller (USA) ENVE Composites, Drunkcyclist, TWC0:43:54
55Jesse Kelly (USA)0:45:07
56Nick Skaggs (USA) Nationwide Insurance, Trek Bicycle, Flat Tire Bike Shop0:45:26
57Hunter Keating (USA) Harmony Systems Pro Cycling0:46:21
58Tim Racette (USA) McDowell Mountain Cycles, Mikes Mix Recovery Drink, Schwalbe Tires0:52:32
59Nick Thomas (USA) Arizona Devo, Trek/Bicycle Ranch, Cadence Promotions0:53:03
60Jason Hilimire (USA) FasCat Coaching-Geneva Bicycle Center0:54:02
61Ricky Willis (USA) Paragon/bootdoctors , Telluride cycling club0:54:41
62Sam Chovan (USA) Honey Stinger, Bontrager, Trek1:00:27
63Dave Harrison (USA) Club Ride, Borealis, Orbea1:04:09
64Mark Feeney (USA) Trigger Point, Road ID, Dirty Dog Eyewear1:06:17
65Dax Massey (USA) Planet Foods/Peak Nutrients, Light & Motion, Stans NoTubes1:08:59
66Henry Svendblad (USA) Nationwide, Trek, Flat Tire Bike Shop1:13:06
67Jonathan Sundt (USA)1:25:06
Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Chloe Woodruff (USA) Stan's NoTubes, Niner Bikes, Clif Bar3:47:12
2Georgia Gould (USA) Luna, Orbea, Fox0:00:13
3Rose Grant (USA) Stans0:00:57
4Katerina Nash (USA) Luna, Orbea, Fox0:02:32
5Larissa Connors (USA) Sho Air Cyclery, Cannondale, Enve Composites0:09:02
6Maghalie Rochette (Can) Luna, Orbea, Fox0:10:22
7Serena Bishop Gordon (USA) LIV|Giant CLIF Bar, Julbo0:11:16
8Mical Dyck (Can) Stan's NoTubes, Cannondale, Kenda0:13:42
9Amy Beisel (USA) LIV / SRAM / OSMOnutrition0:18:40
10Evelyn Dong (USA) Sho air/cannondale, crank brothers, smith optics0:18:41
11Caroline Mani (USA) Raleigh, Clement, Shimano0:20:45
12Erin Alders (USA) Ride Biker Alliance, Ol Republic Brewery, Sho-Air0:29:20
13Heidi Rentz (USA) Ibis, The Cycling House, GU Energy0:29:30
14Nina Baum (USA)0:34:39
15Megan Chinburg (USA) Liv Cycling, Sellwood Cycles, BikeFlights.com0:35:10
16Liz Carrington (USA) CRC-Janitorial (Durango, CO), Hassle Free Sports (Durango, CO) Mavic0:50:20
17Emily Shields (USA) Stan's NoTubes0:52:00


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