Hello world. It's Annika Ruth reporting in on a great loooong weekend in the wild west. Yes, I know living in San Diego is living in the west. However, a trip to Prescott and Sedona, is a trip to the Wild West. Anyhoo my Mom, Dad, and of course me, along with a bunch of the their crazy mountain biking friends made the drive to Prescott, AZ for the Whiskey 50. It's basically a cool weekend long festival of mountain bike racing that takes over the town of Prescott. Yee haw!
In case you are wondering the race is called "The Whiskey" because it starts and finishes on Whiskey Row in downtown Prescott, not because they serve Whiskey on the course. There are 11 old fashion saloons that mark the row.
Since I was born my Mom and Dad split up....to ride bikes that is ;) Context is everything. My Dad raced on Friday afternoon. He did the 15 proof fun race so he and I could provide neutral support for my Mom and Company on Saturday. This is what he looked like just before he got a flat tire and lost the 7 minute lead he had over the entire field.
I guess sometimes that is just how it rolls. My Mom raced "The Whiskey 50" Saturday in the Single Speed division. The race course consisted of 48 miles (not really 50) 7,000 ft of climbing at 5,000-6,000 ft of elevation. For the gear heads out there she rolled a 32 x20. There were 1700 people in the race but only 20 girls racing single speed. Out of those 20 girls she placed number 12. Considering her skill level, the amount she rides or rather lack of it, and that she lives at sea level she had a good day and I do believe she executed to the best of her ability. Talent and ability vary, but largely life is about the choices you make and my Mom didn't make the choices
like living at 10,000ft that would have prepared her to go faster. The single track was most excellent and really, really fun. In fact it went by too quickly as it was so fun. A big part of my Mom's day was spent on the fire road to and from Skull Valley. Fire Roads...meh! According to my Mom, they are just not delicious pee in your pants fun like the single track. My Dad and I greeted my Mom at the turn around in Skull Valley and I gave her a fresh hydration that's backwards from our norm. We also gave her the best slice of orange she ever did have. My Mom gave me a hug and probably would have dilly dallied longer but we told her she had to go. Hurry it's a race. She explained a little of her spirit for racing was lost because there were more people than the course could really handle. It created quite a bottle neck getting on to the single track. A 20 minute LA style traffic jam to be exact. Usually in a mountain bike race when things back up tactical individuals would run around the congestion but in this race it was "not allowed" because there were simply too many people. Darn because my Mom is trained to run and push things on wheels. That is part of why she chose to race single speed. Any hoo they are changing the course next year due to this issue. Onward.
The highlight of my Mom's day was seeing me. OK and my Dad at mile 34. She was near the end of a long hot climb in full sunlight
and starting to think why do I this? I am "returning" from endurance racing of any kind. This is comparable to giving birth, not as hard, but of course when you give birth you can have an Annika and an epidural, all I am going to get for this is a pint glass. and there we were.
I was there with a cold bottle of water and a smile. We surprised her. She didn't think she would get to see us until the finish. We gave her a cold water bottle and she poured it on her head. She wasn't giving up or anything but it was no joke and all hard work. She wasn't confident she had a finish in the bag. Seeing us and getting the cold water were just what she needed and she churned out the last mile of the climb like butter.
Once she finished the climb things where looking up because it was time to go down. The course was not only net downhill but also in the shade. Giddy with glee and thankful beyond belief is how one feels when it is time to descend technical single track after earning it on a fire road climb. By the time she got back to Whiskey Row she felt pretty refreshed. The race she would recommend to the right person with the right attitude. Riding in the town of Prescott, she would recommend without any hesitation. 42 legal miles of trails in the city, now that is something to brag about.
The next day we headed down to Sedona via Jerome. Jerome deserves a drive by at the least as it is a western town built into the mountain side like a village in Switzerland. Fancy that! Once in Sedona we wasted no time heading out to explore. I had the experience of my lifetime at Slide Rock Park. I waded (with help) in the Sedona River. It was 55 degrees and I didn't cry. I shrieked with joy. It was awesome! More! More!
My Dad scoped the trail first with the group during the heat of the day. At sunset it was my Mom's turn to ride. My Dad and I snuck out to Cathedral Rock and when she came riding up amongst the tourists from all over the world, there we were. It was surreal. The perfect sunset, the perfect temperature, the perfect trail...and us. I'm a realist. Not everyday is a special day but boy was this one ever a special one.
Until the next adventure. Yours truly, Annika Ruth