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Whiskey Off-Road: YOUR one-click info to go!
Whiskey Off-Road enters 13th year with more attractions, alternate course options

Racers take off from the starting line in downtown Prescott during the 2015 Whiskey Off-Road Elite Men's Fat Tire Criterium.
Photo by Matt Hinshaw.

Racers take off from the starting line in downtown Prescott during the 2015 Whiskey Off-Road Elite Men's Fat Tire Criterium.

Schedule of Events

FRIDAY, April 29

• Noon to 9 p.m. / Amateur Packet Pick-up: Whiskey Row

• Noon to 7 p.m. / Bike & Gear Expo opens: Tap into the CamelBak Water Monster and stay hydrated this weekend

• Noon to 5 p.m. / Register for the Shimano Youth Series Kids’ Ride: Registration Tent

• 2 p.m. / Mandatory Pro Racers Meeting p/b Stan’s NoTubes: Hassayampa Inn, downtown Prescott

• 3 p.m. / 15 Proof Fun Ride

• 3 to 4 p.m. / Pro Packet Pick-up: Hassayampa Inn

• 3:30 p.m. / Swing by Stan’s NoTubes tent for a free sealant refresh

• 4 to 5 p.m. / Pro Packet Pick-up continues: Epic Rides Registration Tent

• 5 to 7 p.m. / Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Beer Garden opens: Cortez and Goodwin streets: a great place to watch the Fat Tire Criterium

• 5 p.m. / Time cut-off for 15 Proof participants

• 5:15 p.m. / Pro Women Fat Tire Crit: Goodwin St. (20 minutes + 3 laps)

• 6:15 p.m. / Pro Men Fat Tire Crit: Goodwin St. (20 minutes + 3 laps)

• 7 to 9 p.m. / Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Beer Garden opens: Gurley Street; a great place to experience the awards and music

• 7 p.m. / Sierra Nevada Crit awards: Gurley Stage

• 8 p.m. / Mandatory Stan’s NoTubes Amateur 30 Proof and 50 Proof Riders Meeting: Holiday Courtyard Stage

SATURDAY, April 30

• 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. / Bike & Gear Expo opens – Endura deals galore

• 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. / Register for the Shimano Youth Series Kids Ride: Registration Tent

• 7:30 a.m. / 50 Proof Backcountry Ride: Goodwin Street; activate Strava for the KMC King of the Mountain Challenge

• 9:30 a.m. / 30 Proof Backcountry Ride: Goodwin Street; activate Strava for the KMC King of the Mountain Challenge

• 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. / Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Beer Garden opens: Goodwin Street

• Noon / Stop by the Maxxis tent to check out the all new Forekaster tire

• 2 p.m. / Time cut-off: 30 Proof & 50 Proof participants

• 2 to 8:30 p.m. / Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Beer Garden opens: Gurley Street

• 2 to 3 p.m. / Sierra Nevada Amateur Awards Party: Gurley Street Stage

• 3 p.m. / Visit the fine folks at Pivot Cycles and enjoy the plush of a 429 Trail

• 8 p.m. / Raise a pint to our dedication recipient Sue Haywood at The Barley Hound

SUNDAY, May 1

• 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. / Bike & Gear Expo opens; Grab your In-N-Out Burger certificate

• 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. / Register for the Shimano Youth Series Kids Ride: Registration Tent

• 8:30 a.m. / Pro Men Backcountry Race: Whiskey Row

• 8:40 a.m. / Pro Women Backcountry Race: Whiskey Row

• 9 a.m. / Shimano Youth Series Kids’ Fun Ride: Whiskey Row

• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. / Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Beer Garden opens: Goodwin Street

• 1:30 to 2 p.m. / Sierra Nevada Pro Awards Party: Gurley Street Stage

PRESCOTT – It’s not easy to encapsulate the Whiskey Off-Road mountain bike-racing experience in a single sentence, and yet the 13th-year event’s marketing team appeared up to the task.

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Downtown Prescott road closures for the 2016 Whiskey Off-Road.

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30 Proof Event Course Map (Click to enlarge)

The description is quick and to the point: “Where beginners, seasoned amateurs and the world’s fastest pros come together to enjoy three days of mountain bike culture, live music and world-class single track.”

Tucson-based Epic Rides and thousands of amateur mountain bikers, “accompanied by some of the world’s fastest pro talent,” will arrive here this week for the Whiskey Off-Road, which runs from Friday, April 29, through Sunday, May 1, in downtown Prescott and on the Prescott National Forest.

Follow The Daily Courier's coverage all weekend:

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(Matt Hinshaw) @PrescottPhotog

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• And, be sure to pick up Prescott Kudos in Friday's Courier or downtown for your Whiskey entertainment guide!

The Whiskey, conducted in conjunction with the City of Prescott and the U.S. Forest Service, returns with a $30,000 cash purse for the pro men’s and women’s races on Sunday. It’s all part of a $100,000 overall purse tied into a three-race series, which begins with the Whiskey and is followed by the fourth annual Grand Junction Off-Road (May 20-22) in Colorado and the inaugural Carson City Off-Road (June 17-19) in Nevada.

This year’s Whiskey Off-Road has expanded to include a three-day music festival headlined by Black Joe Lewis, Haymarket Squares, and Jared & the Mill.

The Whiskey’s 50 Proof [mile] and 30 Proof [mile] amateur races on Saturday remain the primary draw.

And yet the 2016 Whiskey 50 Proof pro men’s race roster features some impressive names from the circuit. Although participation in the 50 Proof pro women’s race has fallen off a bit, in part because 2016 is an Olympic year, there’s still an equal-pay purse for the pro men and women.

“We see some of the best mountain bike talent in the world come to Prescott and race in the Whiskey Off-Road to test their mettle,” Whiskey Off-Road co-founder and Epic Rides president Todd Sadow said. “It’s a neat way for the community to have an identity beyond its traditional historic qualities that people tend to know it for.”

One of the primary changes to the Whiskey this year is to the race course. New single-track was added to the 30 Proof and 50 Proof routes, and there are more course options for beginners and youngsters as well as seasoned amateur riders and pros.

“The Whiskey Off-Road has three types of riders,” Sadow said. “It welcomes the beginner and the seasoned amateur who’s been riding several months, several years, plenty of times over a decade, that can be entertained and challenged by preparing for and riding and finishing the 30 or the 50 Proof on Saturday. And then we added a pro category about five years ago now.”

Per usual, the races’ course begins on pavement in downtown Prescott. However, the revised route will now initially head east and up Mount Vernon Avenue, which transitions into Senator Highway and Old Senator Highway.

Once on dirt, riders can choose to head west off the highway and onto Feldmeier Trail for a fast single-track descent to White Spar Campground on the Prescott National Forest. Or they can veer off onto Trail 396, a looping, climbing segment of the Prescott Circle Trail that eventually ties back into the Feldmeier. From there, all riders will travel west and cross White Spar Road (South Highway 89).

Cyclists can then choose to traverse either the single-track on Wolverton Trail or Jack Pine Road. Those separate routes eventually hook up with one another on Trail 48 and into the traditional water bars segment. Trail 48 leads into a southern descent on Trail 260.

After riders take a break at the base of Trail 260, they will continue west to Copper Basin Comfort Station. Fifty-Proof cyclists travel west to Skull Valley. After 9 miles of out-and-back riding, they will ride on Copper Basin Road north and east to the Sierra Prieta Overlook Comfort Station and Trail 366.

From the top of the affectionately named Cramp Hill, cyclists traverse Trail 392 to the west and then Trail 367 to the north, which includes the famed creek crossing. Eventually, riders will exit dirt and head down the paved Thumb Butte Road and east back to downtown and the finish line.

“From when the Whiskey Off-Road started 13 years ago now, the forest, the mountain bike community and the trails community in Yavapai County have progressed a lot,” Sadow said.

“And so there’s a lot of new trails. So switching it up is refreshing for the cyclists that come back year after year. But, also, it’s a chance to showcase other trails in the community that will help communicate to the greater mountain-biking audience, which is international at this point for this event, that there’s a lot of trails to enjoy in Prescott.”

For more information…

To view course maps for each race, including the 15 Proof, log on to: epicrides.com/index.php?contentCat=6&contentId=61,

Or visit the Epic Rides YouTube channel at: youtube.com.

To follow the Whiskey Off-Road on social media, log on to Facebook at www.facebook.com/WhiskeyOffRoad?fref=ts; Twitter at twitter.com/EpicRides; or Instagram at instagram.com/epicrides/.

Users are encouraged to type the hashtag #WhiskeyOffRoad on their posts.

WHERE2WATCH

... but don’t litter, and stay at side of race route’s trails

PRESCOTT – For spectators wanting to watch the Whiskey Off-Road’s amateur and pro races this Saturday, April 30, and Sunday, May 1, respectively, the best place to go is Thumb Butte Park and hit the trailhead there off Thumb Butte Road.

Todd Sadow of Tucson-based Epic Rides, which has been hosting the Whiskey for 13 years now, said you could easily access part of the race course there in the morning and early afternoon.

Folks can watch cyclists at the course’s water crossing, which is a half- to three-quarters of a mile from the Thumb Butte parking area.

Parking costs $5 per vehicle at the park’s U.S. Forest Service facility, where you can hike out on the trail or up the road, which turns to dirt and runs parallel to the trail.

Sadow said that if mountain bike-racing fans want to head out there, they must be aware of their environment and absolutely not litter because race organizers rely on permits from the Forest Service to continue running the Whiskey each year.

“They also need to be very mindful that there’s people riding very fast on the trails, and they shouldn’t be an obstruction to them in their pursuit,” Sadow added.

Other potential spots to watch the race include:

• Aspen Creek Trailhead, off Copper Basin Road (Forest Service Trail 48); spectators can view the race all along Copper Basin Road.

• Forest Service Road 53 (Trail 260), off White Spar Road.

• Trails 326 and 327, off Thumb Butte Road.

• Sierra Prieta Overlook, up Copper Basin Road (no cars allowed at the overlook; park and ride or walk seven-tenths of a mile from Copper Basin).

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