Originally Published: April 30, 2017 5:46 a.m.
Laid back. That’s the vibe the Whiskey Off-Road naturally provides.
No one is in a rush. None of the venders are hawking their wares. The beer is cold and the music is smooth.
Every few minutes a bicyclist participating in one of the races powers through the finish line to the sound of cheers and cow bells.
“It all about cow bells,” spectator James Bird said.
Reaching that finish line means a free beer courtesy of Four Peaks Brewing Company.
“It’s such a well-earned beer,” said Todd Sadow, founder of Epic Rides, the company that has organized the Whiskey Off-Road every year since its inception in 2004.
Megan Chelf was one of the riders enjoying that free beer after taking first place in the amateur 50 proof backcountry ride.
Being from Alaska and never having raced outside her home state, this was a unique experience for her.
“It was so much fun,” Chelf said. “It was really cool having so many people all over the course cheering for me. It pulled my energy way high.”
Unlike recent years, the weather for this year’s competitions has been just about perfect.
“We had amazing weather for ten years, then we had a bad streak for three years,” Sadow said. “We broke our streak. It feels so good.”
For vendors, the Whiskey Off-Road is one of the better bicycling events to attend in the country.
“For how this one is set up, it actually has better than average attendance and feel,” said Tim Kureger with Terrene Tires, a bicycle tire company out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Supporting the effort this year is local bike shop Soul Ride. Rather than pushing their merchandise, they have set up a tented space they are calling “the ladies lounge.” It’s fitted with a couch, a few chairs and a massage bench. Professional female riders have visited the tent to sign autographs, give talks and just hang out.
“It’s just to create a space for women to come and hang out at an event that has mostly men riders,” Soul Ride co-owner Cina McConaughy said.
While all of the live music took place only on Saturday this year, there will be tunes playing in the background throughout Sunday, April 29, as well.
The Bike & Gear Expo will open on Sunday at 7:30 a.m. and close at 2 p.m. Four Peaks Brewing Company’s beer garden will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the intersection of Cortez and Goodwin Streets.
Featuring all professionals, the final races of the three-day event will begin at 8:30 a.m. and wrap up in the early afternoon. A Four Peaks pro awards party will go from 1:30 to 2 p.m.