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Fall ’16 with the Prescott Bike Team

14355706_10154433278209566_3759926877834063631_n-1It’s a heck of a time to be a cyclist in northern Arizona.  As the 2016 cross-country mountain biking season is coming to close, here’s a recap of a month’s worth of pedal powered shenanigans.

The 2016 off-road season is stacked with some pretty burly races, starting off with the Barn Burner in Flagstaff.  This was a 26, 50, or 100 mile dirt road race, circumnavigating Kendrick Mountain not far from Flagstaff.  This course is consistently hilly, and famously muddy, however this year it ended up being more of a Dune-like dust-storm environment than derailleur-hanger swallowing mud.  The race starts Le Mans style, where racers must first run a quarter mile to their steed before sprinting off wondering why they started so hard.  Regardless, the four racers from Prescott College crushed it and enjoyed the free post-race libations.  This was a great, grass-roots mountain bike race that would certainly be friendly for beginners, we’ll be back next year!

Next up for the team was a singletrack race in Gallup, New Mexico on the High Desert Trail System.  This course never disappoints and takes riders over three distinctly unique mesas and countless interesting rock-formations.  The geology nerd inside all of us was a bit sad to blow past these formations so quickly.  Gallup is a great race year after year, with a growing crowd of quality competition, here’s looking forwards to next year!

After a month of two of getting our legs under us, a brave few took on the Bradshaw Grinder starting out of the near by town of Mayor, and taking the dirt roads and doubletrack to Crown King and back.  Early on in the season, the 62 mile course with a butt-ton of climbing seemed a bit Hurculean for the lot of us mortals, but historic stoke levels from teammates and other riders made it seem as casual as Sunday brunch.  The team brought the full assortment of bikes, including ‘cross bikes, hardtails, and even Martha’s famed wooden bike!  The course seemed to be four parts up hill to every one part down, but the scenery was enough to somehow pedal on.  Luckily, they had tons of free Little Ceasar’s pizza at the finish that kept team moral high.  A special shout out to Luis, who raced this course on a singlespeed and still managed to finish smiling.

As the cross country season drew to a close, the always entertaining cycle-cross season began with races every weekend between Phoenix and Flagstaff.  Cycle-cross never disappoints as the most quirky, fast paced, and viewer friendly form of bike racing out there.    The stoke-train is being relentlessly driven forward by Greg Cooper, who can be seen practicing his skills in Granite Creek Park.  Contact the team to join in on our weekly, beginner friendly cycle-cross practice!

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Fenix Lighting and 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

For all the night hours of 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, Prescott College riders could see the trail as clearly as during the day with the generous support from Fenix Lighting. In return for that support, our riders put together a short video for Fenix about the experience . . .

 

Spring racing

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Over the past couple months, we’ve been traveling around the Southwest to some of the region’s premier Spring mountain bike events over the past couple months – a couple races in the Mountain Bike Association of Arizona series, the Beti Bike Bash (a weekend of mountain bike events for women!), and the Intermountain Cup event in St. George, Utah. Prescott College racers have been tackling both cross-country and marathon distances, regularly standing on podiums, and getting praised by announcers for beards “beyond their years.” Next up is Prescott’s own Whiskey Off-Road weekend, and our riders couldn’t be more excited to be racing on our backyard trails.

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24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

 

Written by Coach Kurt Refsnider

The weekend before our semester kicked off, we had a big crew head down to 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, the largest 24-hour race in the country. Prescott College fielded a men’s 4-person team, a women’s 4-person team, a coed duo, a men’s duo team, and Prescott College Adventure Education instructor Kaitlyn Boyle raced solo.

The 17-mile cactus-lined course saw thousands of racers streaming around it from 12 pm Saturday until 12 pm Sunday. The enormous cycling community that springs up in the desert every year for this event celebrated the entire time. And our entire crew pushed hard through the night and into the second day. Fenix Lighting contributed lights for our riders to see in the dark, a few parents came out to help support, and I was there help with anything that our riders needed.

In the end, our riders stood on two different podiums: Greg Cooper and Ruby Zitzer took 2nd in the coed duo category with 17 laps (280 miles!), Kaitlyn Boyle won the women’s solo category (266 miles!). And the entire time left feeling incredibly accomplished, humbled by the positivity of the entire event, and completely exhausted.

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