Live music, dozens of vendors, world champion pros, nearly two thousand mountain bike racers, and a cash purse of $30,000.
The plan hatched months ago at the end of a comfortable fall riding season over a pint at the blackfoot brewery. The objective was to find a race somewhere warm early in the season to kick off 2018. Many different choices were considered but in the end Arizona provides reliable weather and excellent desert mountain riding conditions that are similar those closer to home in Montana. The Epic Rides series ensured that the race would be an event worth the 20 hour drive. Having family near by to visit checked a couple more boxes. Little did we know at the time that the 2017-2018 winter would be brutal, long, and full of snow that would still be on the trails in Helena at the start of May.
As a mountain bike races go the Epic Rides Series is a collection of some of the largest dirt oriented events in the United States. In its fifteenth year the Whiskey Off-Road has grown into a major mountain biking event that brings in professional racers from around the US and abroad.
The course is a collection of road and single track bookending an infamous out and back dirt road climb out of skull valley that lends itself to strong climbers over those with technical descending skill. With good early season fitness the course yielded a 4 hour time for Ira Miller despite losing nearly fifteen minutes due to cramps during the 'Cramp Hill Bypass' section of the course. Joe Hamilton would come in 30 minutes later to round out the Helena representatives. Full Results
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