(October 6, 2012) SHOW LOW, Arizona- With fall in the air, the third and final Epic Rides event of the year kicked off outside of Show Low, Arizona. Tour of the White Mountains celebrated it’s seventeenth year with great weather and near perfect temperatures. If you have yet to make your way to north eastern Arizona for this event, mark your calendars for next year! This race rocks!
Epic Rides serves up the Tour in a variety of distances; 10, 15, 35 and 65 miles. No matter what your level of riding or passion for pain, there is a distance set up just for you. Each course serves up plenty of fun and a healthy side of the hurt locker.
The Tour of the White Moutains course is unique and challenging. Opening up with a nice gradual two track climb, the course winds it’s way through the White Mountains of Show Low. If you plan to race the Tour of the White Mountains, be sure to go tubeless and add a few extra psi to your tires because this course is rough!
Sections of this course will challenge every aspect of mountain biking. Quick technical climbs, loose descents, rough flats and more baby heads than a toy story funeral. The trails will test your tire’s side wall strength, while the tight narrow singletrack tests your jedi skills.
The race began bright and early starting off with the 60 mile racers. As the bloom of dust settled from their exiting of the race venue, the excitement and anticipation of the 35 mile racer began to buzz. This category was far bigger then the previous. As the classic Epic Rides race start song choice came over the speakers the racers toed the line to begin another great day on the bike.
Likely the most impressive racer of the day was Ryan Brunswick of Flagstaff, Arizona the only junior to take on the 60 mile race finishing in a respectable 6:46. Great job Ryan!
Colorado’s very own Stephanie Jones of Colorado Springs had a great race. She battled it out with Beth Utley of Oro Valley, AZ for the win in the Women’s Open 60 mile race. The two were yo-yoing back in forth for the first half of the race but Jones was able to take the upper hand on the day. “I wanted this so badly last year,” said Jones. “I feel like I have really come into my potential as an athlete and I was able to make it happen today. It means a lot to do so well in the town that I fell in love with mountain biking.”
Another great race on the day was the Men’s Single Speed 60 Mile race. Hunter Keating of Gilbert, AZ was able to put together a great race and finish a solid 13 minutes ahead of second place finisher Daryl Roberts of Anthem, AZ. The rest of the top five were separated by a small margin. “I realize we had some fast single-speeders missing or not present due to other races,” said Roberts, “but I'll take 2nd place with a smile knowing there were a lot of great racers here giving it there all. Another hard ride in Show Low, AZ.”
When the dust of the Tour of the White Mountains finally settled there was a great after party involving libations from New Belgium and a classic fire. Battle wounds were boastfully shown off, stories of mechanicals and hardship on the trails were shared. There were plenty of racers with a face full of dirt, legs coated in blood, scraped arms, flat tires, broken chains, but not a single broken spirit. With all the difficulties that the Tour of the White Mountains serves up for every racer, there was a permagrin planted on each and every racers face.
Epic Rides has done it once again. I’m thinking that they may need to change up their slogan from “A good day on the bike” to “A great day on the bike!”
For complete results click here.
Story and photos by Devon Balet.