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It was a good weekend for the Santa Cruz htSQD — team riders Alexis Skarda and Keegan Swenson celebrated double victories at the Epic Rides Whiskey Off-Road in Prescott, Arizona, winning both the crit and the backcountry races.
The Whiskey Off-Road is one of the US’ most iconic mountain bike races, sending riders on a 50-mile course with 6,100 feet of climbing in the Prescott National Forest. Since 2011, Epic Rides has paid pro men and women equally, and this year’s event had a $30,000 purse.
Skarda and Swenson, both US national XC MTB champions, won Friday’s Fat Tire Crit aboard Santa Cruz Blur TR bikes. The rule is that riders must use the same bike in the crit that they plan to ride in Saturday’s backcountry race. The only rule is that tires must measure wider than 38mm.
The women’s Fat Tire Crit podium was completed by Katarina Nash, and Evelyn Dong. They placed third and fourth, respectively, at Saturday’s event, with Rose Grant taking the second step on the podium.
Joining Swenson on Friday’s Fat Tire Crit podium were Lukas Vrouwenvelder and Kyle Trudeau. On Saturday, Russell Finsterwald finished second, five minutes after Swenson crossed the line. Andrew L’Esperance was third.
Both Skarda and Swenson are part of the Life Time Grand Prix Series, a six-race gravel and MTB series. After a win at the Sea Otter Classic, Swenson currently sits at the top of the standings, while Skarda is the third woman in the series. Both will now turn their focus to Unbound Gravel, the 200-mile gravel race in Kansas on June 9.
- Keegan Swenson, 3:15:14
- Russell Finsterwald, 3:20:04
- Andrew L’Esperance, 3:21:18
- Kyle Trudeau, 3:21:33
- Geoff Kabush, 3:22:12
- Alexis Skarda, 3:55:01
- Rose Grant, 3:56:40
- Katarina Nash, 3:59:40
- Evelyn Dong, 4:00:06
- Haley Smith, 4:02:39