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Epic Rides to offer $100,000 purse for MTB series

Epic Rides has become richest American mountain bike series with an announcement Wednesday that it will expand to three races and offer a $100,000 series purse in 2016. The organizer of the Whiskey Off-Road and Grand Junction Off-Road revealed that its third series race will be the Carson City Off-Road, June 17-19, in Nevada next season.

The three events offer courses that are throwbacks to an older vintage of cross-country mountain bike racing. Instead of the short, high-speed circuits currently en vogue — Olympic-style XC — all of the Epic rides pro races are 40 miles or longer, often on singletrack. The Whiskey is 50 miles, Grand Junction runs 40 miles, and the new Nevada stop is 45 miles, including parts of the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Another hallmark of the Epic Rides events are Friday night fat tire criteriums for the pro racers — a throwback to mountain biking’s heyday.

“The Epic Rides Off-Road Series is the perfect opportunity to introduce Carson City’s incredible recreation opportunities to mountain bike enthusiasts and fans of the great outdoors. With its fresh air, amazing views and direct access to pristine Lake Tahoe, Nevada’s capitol city provides the perfect setting for this world-class event,” said Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. “I would like to thank Epic Rides for selecting Nevada and look forward to the festivities surrounding the 2016 inaugural ride.”

Epic Rides has grown significantly since the first Whiskey Off-Road took place in 2004 on Prescott, Arizona’s Whiskey Row.

“Epic Rides not only puts on great mountain bike events, but also great festival weekends where everyone in the family can have a great time,” said Chloe Woodruff, professional racer for Team Stan’s NoTubes. “When I signed up for my first Off-Road Series event, I was a racer who wasn’t entirely confident I could handle the challenging 50-mile Whiskey Off-Road course, so it was a huge personal achievement finishing my first one.”

Registration for all three Off-Road Series events officially opens on Thursday, December 31.