Whiskey Off-Road, Prescott/USA

Date: 24.04.2015 – 26.04.2015

Description: Short Track Friday, Marathon Sunday

Friday Short Track, 20min plus 3 laps, 17km, 450m of climbing
3rd place, 2sec behind winner Sam Gaze

Whiskey 50 is one of my favorite weeks in my schedule. It is not only the racing and good organization itself what makes it special, it is also the unique town with the famous Whiskey Row and its saloons, the great trails combined with the landscape and good weather plus the cheerful spectators.

With Sam, Howy, Todd, our two mechanics John & Brad, manager/soigneur Kandice we were a very strong and fun force during and next to racing. Results often also reflect the atmosphere in the team!

The short track course was really hard with lots of climbing and the surface was 100% tarmac held the middle of Prescott. I have chosen my full suspension Epic bike since you can only use one bike over the weekend for both races and Sunday was a real full suspension course, and with the Epic we have the best fully on the market!

I took it very conservatively for most of the race. From my position it was great to see all my team mates always racing in the mix for a breakaway. On the last lap just before the top of the course I attacked and made a few seconds. I knew Sam would be the best sprinter, either me now or himself in the final stretch before the finish. I led the field until the last two corners, Sam came around with Zandstra on his wheel and won the sprint comfortably. I cannot remember when I ever finished 3rd in a Short Track. I was super happy with it!

Sunday Marathon, 78km, 2000m of climbing, 3.06h
5th place, 5min behind winner Howard Grotts

It rained a lot during the night what is very unusual for dry Arizona. It was also pretty cold at the start but more and less dry. I have chosen my skinsuit and underneath a first layer jersey, knee and arm warmers. I rather over dress a little. It is easy to give away the extra clothes at the feed zones in case I get too warm.

Since Sea Otter Classic I’ve been racing with a sweet power meter from Rotor! In combination with the Rex cranks and oval chainrings the best power meter on the market. Super reliable, very light, stiff and simple to handle! http://inpower.rotorbike.com The wattage pushes me during the race and gives me great feedback in training!

The race itself did not go according to my gusto. Already after 20min leading into a long single trail stretch I had a rear flat tire. I first tried to fix it by myself. Sam stopped next to me and offered me his wheel. True friendship and teamwork! Thanks a million Sam! After this 2min pit stop I started chasing. It took me a good 45min until I was luckily in the leading group again. I must admit the chasing was hurting in my head and legs especially since the race is in between 1700-2100 altitude meters. I was hanging now in the leading group on the hard rolling wet gravel road towards the big climb. Howard Grotts my team mate climbed like Pantani just clean. No chance I could have hang on any more. At the end I reached the top of the course in second together with Zandstra hanging on my wheel. Now more and less 30min of single trails with sharp rocks were ahead of us. Often one flat tire never comes alone… number two happened 15min before the finish. I had no more co2 bomb with me. A spectator helped me out, but I got passed by an other two riders while I was fixing it and finally finished 5th.

This year’s racing in America was not close as successful as last year where I could win both, Sea Otter and Whiskey 50. All in all it was still a really cool trip. A big thank to the whole “Specialized Family”! We have a good balance of professionalism and fun. It is all about the balance 🙂

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