With support from the Prescott National Forest and Visit Prescott in Arizona, Epic Rides has announced enhanced courses for the 30 Proof and 50 Proof (1 Proof = 1 Mile) routes at the 16th annual Whiskey Off-Road on April 26-28.
Trading out old doubletrack for recently completed singletrack, the new routes will aim to enhance the fun and flow of each route.
“The Prescott National Forest is proud to participate in authorizing the Whiskey Off-Road event on national forest lands as it brings tremendous economic and social benefit to our community,” said Jason Williams, Prescott National Forest Director of Trails & Wilderness.
“More importantly, it showcases the outstanding collaboration and commitment of our partners and volunteers that build and maintain our spectacular trail system.”
50 Proof riders will sigh collective relief upon hearing that the final four miles of the out-and-back to Skull Valley will be traded out of the course. The turn-round is now at the lone homestead located halfway down the descent to Skull Valley. This will also be the location of the first V8 +Energy Aid Station. ‘Fitness monsters can rejoice in knowing 3,000 vertical feet of the climb to Sierra Prieta Overlook will remain intact.’
For 30 Proof riders, the new route will omit the 260 Road double track descent and the 53 Road climb to where the first aid station used to be located. 30 Proof riders will instead climb Copper Basin Road to the aspens along FR 9402 D, and then circle back on the Mt Francis Road descent to re-join the 50 Proof course at the Thumb Butte & Copper Basin Road intersection in route to Sierra Prieta Overlook.
From the Overlook, riders will plunge down the big singletrack descent, previously reached late in the course, until encountering the notorious Cramp Hill, reintroduced for 2019.
“After omitting Cramp Hill from the event last year, feedback was clear – riders love the descent to the bottom of Cramp Hill so much that they’re willing to deal with the inevitable leg cramps that overcome even the fastest and fittest professional racers,” said John Shumaker, Whiskey Off-Road course designer and Prescott resident.
Once past Cramp Hill, riders will follow the traditional course towards Thumb Butte Road, crossing over into the new Spence Basin network of singletrack, featuring more than 30 miles of singletrack built by local trail building team, the Over the Hill Gang. Featured trails include Javelina, Tunnel Vision, Firewater, Tatanka, Waterline and Willy Nilly Tractor.
Both 30 and 50 Proof courses will wind their way through the fast and flowy singletracks of Spence Basin, before exiting with a climb up Willy Nilly Tractor trail that may become the new Cramp Hill, considering riders will be climbing towards the end of the course when their legs are most laden with fatigue.
“Willy Nilly Tractor is actually a longer climb than Cramp Hill,” added John Shumaker. “It’s also steep, but the good news is that it isn’t as rocky as Cramp Hill.”
Riders then exit back onto the pavement at Thumb Butte Road near Thumb Butte Park, riding the final three miles back into downtown Prescott.
The 15 Proof Fun Ride was updated in 2018 with ‘much positive feedback from participants and will remain unchanged for 2019’. 30 Proof and 50 Proof riders can get course elevation profiles, links to each route and reference maps while pre-riding with live locater on at Trailforks.com.
Registration is now open for the 16th Annual Whiskey Off-Road at epicrides.com. The event regularly sells out before event week, so riders are encouraged to register as soon as possible.