• REPORT: Whiskey Off-Road

    Another season. Another Whiskey Off-Road. I always look forward to this event....at least the 50-miler on Sunday. Honestly, I could do without the street crit on Friday.  Falling at the end of a 3-week work road trip, the Whiskey Off-Road is always a daunting task.....work expo, train, rest, work expo, rest, train, etc.

    I know my place in this event.  Who I can race with....who I can't. With nearly 100+ Pro Men in the field....all of which are fast and solid dudes to boot....the Whiskey Off-Road always lets one know where their early season fitness sits.  The course all week had been super dry, dusty, and loose.  With the lack of riding in the Vail Valley prior to heading on this 20-day road trip, I got bike happy.  I rode a lot.  It was too nice and trails too good not to.  The Whiskey course is great and I got in a few laps on it testing Continental tire combos and SRAM XX1 chainring options.  In the end, I settled on a 34T front ring and a set of Continental Race King 2.2 tires.

    Saturday, 1 day from race start, Mother Nature released its fury dropping temps, rain, snow, and insane wind.  I watched from the Ergon expo tent and the comfort of our rented house as the Amatuer racers buffed out the course and taught us all a thing or two about sucking it up and racing hard.

    2014 Whiskey 50 Off-Road

    Race day came for myself and nearly 100 other Pro men.  It was sunny and cool, but perfect.  My goal for the day was to execute a good race and to beat my previous best time on this course.  The start always gets me at the Whiskey Off-Road.  I can't start fast, fact.  If I do, I blow and the rest of the day is a wash.  I need to work into it...riding my own pace.  I did so, slowly moving backwards in the field.  As the race went on, I got into my groove and was able to up my pace, actually surprisingly high.  Riders in the field started to come back to me over the water-bar climbing as well as on the singletrack descent.


    The hardest part for me, mostly because I haven't been able to take on an big climbs yet this year, was the pace back up to Skull Pass.  I was gap'd off the crew I descending into the valley with...and was mostly riding solo back to the finish line.  I rode a solid tempo, but it wasn't fast by any means.  I foam'd at the mouth for the top and the singletrack back to town.  Once there, I was able to catch a few riders and move up a few places.  The new Canyon Lux CF was so damn fun to ride!!  I actually got goosebumps from the excitement of the riding and handling of the bike.....it was like an effortless roller coaster ride.

    Whiskey Off-Road HR profile. OUCH!

    Finally, a proper race HR file.  Don't think I have ever ridden that long at threshold!

    My final result was 57th....and I did PR my course time.  Overall, I am fine with that....as I have to keep things in perspective and a reality.

    All my race details posted on Strava: http://www.strava.com/activities/134923428

    Photos courtesy of Kathleen Thomas, Photo by The Damion Alexander Team, and Ryan Greeff