Payout to be split evenly between male and female athletes
(LAS VEGAS, Nev.) Epic Rides, most known for the Kona Bikes 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, will host the largest one-day race cash purse prize in the mountain biking industry at the 2011 Whiskey Off Road in Prescott, Arizona on May 1, 2011.
The $20,000 purse will be split in half between the top ten male and female competitors for a unique equal payout opportunity in the world of bike racing.
“This equality is inspiring to women and is a testament to the uniqueness and individuality that mountain bikers embody. An equal prize purse nurtures independence, encourages tenacity, and adds legitimacy to women's racing,” said Heather Irmiger, 2009 U.S. XC and Marathon National Champion.
Epic Rides anticipates 1,500 riders (1,400 amateurs/100 professionals) will participate in three solid days of racing, riding and celebrating the mountain bike in Prescott, AZ from April 29th – May 1st. The weekend will kick off with a pro level fat tire Criterium, a well appointed industry vendor and tech expo, and beginner level 15 Proof fun ride on Friday (one proof = 1 mile.) Saturday will present a complete day of amateur riding in the 25 and 50 proof distances complimented by live music on the courthouse lawn and a full schedule of ancillary events and activities centrally located in downtown Prescott. The showdown for the cash purse will commence Sunday morning, after a spirited evening of celebrating on the historic Whiskey Row by the amateurs. The pro and amateur 50 milers will ride the same course.
|Riders take off through downtown Prescott during the 2010 Whiskey Offroad.|
The Whiskey Off Road course presents participants with an authentic mountain bike experience including an abundance of quality technical singletrack combined with very legitimate climbing and descending on a variety of terrains. Now in its 8th year, the “Whiskey,” as it’s known, is an event capable of entertaining everyone, including the non-rider. With all event activities based in a centralized downtown location only 1.5 hours north of Phoenix, AZ the events accessibility and scope of accommodations are sure to entertain the anticipated 5,000+ attendees comfortably.
Registration for professional riders opens November 1, 2010 and amateur registration opens January 1, 2011.
“With 7 years of development invested into the Whiskey Off Road infrastructure made possible through significant cooperation from the City of Prescott and the Prescott National Forest, this is a major step forward,” said Todd Sadow, president of Epic Rides. “I strongly believe the 2011 Whiskey Off Road is an event model that can play a significant role in representing American mountain biking throughout the country. Tighten your woodscrews folks, the cross country mountain bike scene is about to get interesting.”
|2010 Leadville 100 champion and endurance racing phenom Rebecca Rusch (Left), discusses the Whiskey Off Road with Todd Sadown and Cat Zaval of Epic Rides.|
Mountain Flyer sat down for a short conversation with Epic Rides’ Todd Sadow and Specialized pro endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch just after the press release was made public during the first day of the Interbike trade show at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev. Here’s what they had to say:
Mountain Flyer Rebecca, is this a race you plan to attend in 2011?
Rebecca Rusch I’m not fully committed yet because I need to check my schedule but I’ll say I definitely want to race it. I’m not bound to a specific schedule so I mostly look for races that are fun, places I want to go. I like to get out of Idaho in the spring and get some riding in.
I’ve only done it once before. It’s a great combo of a fitness course with a massive road climb and also has a ton of great singletrack. It’s a great event.
MF The Whiskey’s promoter is offering to split the prize purse 50/50 between the men and women. Is the money important? Is that common in mountain bike racing?
RR Well, of course. It’s Super rare. It’s a challenge for race directors but doing this will bring more people out there. If you have the money, more women will come.
Todd Sadow We’re in a fortunate circumstance in that we have outside support. We don’t base the prize purse on the entry fees. So we can say today that the prize purse is secured. We have $20,000 and the first place male and first place female athletes will walk away with $4,000.
As far as equal pay. I think that more women will participate at the pro level if we give them more incentive. We’re going to offer the supply first and believe that will increase the demand. With that purse, we’re hoping to draw some male and female athletes from other disciplines—from the road side or even from X-Terra.
We’re hoping this will also encourage other race promoters to follow our example but maybe we’ll just do it ourselves and we’ll see Epic Rides with some sort of National Series down the road (laughs, with a sly grin)
MF How important is prize money in mountain bike racing?
RR I certainly choose races based the course and how much fun it will be, not for the money. But that’s mostly because the money is just never there. We’re used to doing it for other reasons but of course if you’re racing pro it’s nice to be able to make a living.
TS The objective is to get more racers and raise the game. Our goal is to get 100 pros on the start line for 2010. It’s a great place and a great backdrop and we think bringing the pros to the event will also entice more amateurs to come.
MF A big attraction to this race is the venue, being based in a tourist town. Has the race had significant economic impact on the area?
TS The town of Prescott is giving us the biggest road closure in the history of Prescott. They’re giving us the city center—a tourist attraction that gets 12,000 visitors per day on it’s own—including Whiskey Row, which is an historic landmark, and Goodwin street for three days. That gives us two boundaries out of four around the town park closed for three days. The third, the eastern boundary, will be shut down Friday for the fat tire crit. So that gives us a great back drop and a great place for the participants to hang out versus a dirt lot out in the middle of nowhere like we have at our other premier event: the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. At that event we, typically see a one to one ratio in attendance. If we have 17 riders, they bring 17 people with them for support. Historically, the Whiskey Off-Road draws three or four people for every one racer who attend. So we’re confident we can bring three to four thousand extra tourists to town for our event.
I’ve worked with the Tourism Department for three years now and each year we meet or exceed the expectations so they say, great, let’s do more. It’s clearly having a valuable impact.
Do you have any other venues in mind where you think you can bring this same format?
Oh yes. (Sly grin)