Prescott will host what will undoubtedly be a battle royale from April 27-29 at the 2012 Whiskey Off-Road. Race organizers are proudly announcing a “legitimate old west showdown,” between some of the strongest competitors in the country and internationally. “The 100+ pro roster…, steeped in talent, assures a showdown kin to that of Whiskey Row’s heyday as the quintessential old west town inhabited by unruly gunslingers rivaled only by more unruly gamblers, and the law,” race organizers declared.
The women’s field, supported by Stan’s Notubes, is nearly twice what it was last year, and packed with star power. Olympic hopefuls Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Trek) and Georgia Gould (Luna Chix) will be joined by past winners Gretchen Reeves (Tokyo Joes) and Monique “Pua” Mata (Sho-Air).
The men’s field also has overwhelming talent that includes U.S. Olympian Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru, Trek), Geoff Kabush (Scott, 3Rox) and former winners Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) and Andy Schultz (Kenda-Felt-Hayes).
The men’s field will also include former top finishers Carl Decker (Giant Bicycles), Colin Cares (Kenda-Felt-Hammer Nutrition), Jay Henry (Tokyo Joes) and four-time XTERRA world champion Conrad Stoltz (Specialized, Avia, Suunto).
Todd Sadow, president of Epic Rides believes that the race could be won by riders with diverse skill sets. “After last year’s female pro race played out in the final two miles of the course between a world cup and an endurance specialist, the nail biter between Catharine Pendrel and Pua Mata proved that at 50 miles of racing, the marathon format can be anyone’s game. Plus, with a variety of multi-disciplinary specialists entering the fold, including Shonny, Conrad and others, there is significant potential for a battle royale,” he said.
Other notable riders in the women’s field include Teal Stetson-Lee (Luna Chix), Kelli Emmett (Giant Bicycles) Kelly Boniface (Moots Cycles, Honey Stinger) and 2010 XTERRA world champion Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna Chix).
The event begins with a fat tire criterium on Friday evening in downtown Prescott. The pros will face the final showdown to claim the $30,000 cash purse Sunday morning to the sound of raucous fans fueled by New Belgium refreshments.