Grand Junction Off Road – 2016

by Josh Tostado on May 25, 2016

I have been riding in Grand Junction for many years because of the close proximity to home with the almost year round riding potential of the area. It doesn’t hurt that the terrain in GJ is the type of rocky physical riding that I seek out… Because of that, I knew that the Grand Junction Off Road course was going to be a good one and I can always count on the Epic Rides crew to put on a great event.

As with the Whiskey Off Road, there was be a criterium in downtown Grand Junction on Friday night. This crit course was pancake flat with lots of cornering, so it was a much different affair than the Whisky course. I pretty much sat at the back of the pack trying to hold on. The pace picked up quick, with lots of attacks at the front. I stayed in the lead pack all the way to the end and even sprinted by a couple people in the end for 14th place.

On Saturday we again went on a leisurely ride to keep the legs fresh and relaxed and enjoyed the day. It was perfect weather for this race and we hung out in downtown checking out the bike expo and enjoyed some bluegrass music with lunch.

For the XC race on Sunday, the weather was looking perfect and I was ready for some fun racing. We had about a 3 mile paved start before we hit the dirt, the pace was quite leisurely until we got close to the start of the trail then it was a full on sprint, I was about mid pack by the start of the trail and quickly moved by lots of racers through the technical terrain. I was really surprised at what these pro mountain bikers were having trouble riding and was able to work my way to the top 20 very quickly.

josh-tostado-grand-junction-offroad-2016

I was a little worried that I was going to be stuck behind some slow downhillers on the butter knife single-track section so I made a hard effort to stay ahead of as many people as possible. I ended up behind Carl Decker who is probably one of the best all around mountain bikers in the country so it was best-case scenario for this section. When we got to the long windmill climb I had Carl to work with and we started trading pulls up the hour long climb back to the road, this lasted for about 15 minutes then Carl had to stop and fix a slow leak. The wind was pretty strong and it was hard work without anyone to work with.

By the time I got to the road I had been battling with a couple other riders and was about 30 seconds ahead and tried to keep it that way. Andy’s trail was great for me at the end because I could widen the gap a bit in the technical terrain. When I crossed the finish I had held on to my position and ended up in 15th place out of about 60 pro racers. I’m very happy with the result and the fitness that I have heading into longer races for the rest of the season. The Grand Junction Off Road was great event, super fun racing and a great weekend overall. I highly recommend this race if you’re into fun, challenging terrain.

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Whiskey Off Road – 2016

by Josh Tostado on May 5, 2016

josh tostado whiskey off road 2016

This year I made my second trip to Prescott AZ for the Whiskey 50, which is actually an entire weekend of racing. Starting with the pro crit on Friday night right in the town of Prescott, then the amateurs race on Saturday followed by the pro race on Sunday. The last time I came down for the Whisky, the weather unleashed full on blizzard conditions for the amateur race but turned to perfect conditions for the pro race day. This year’s weather was not looking to be very good, with rain predicted for the entire weekend we crossed our fingers and hopped for the best.

The crit is so far off of the radar of what I’m used to doing, the course is less than a mile in town up a big climb, then down you negotiate a couple corners through town then back to the climb and you do this for 20 minutes and then 3 more laps, sounds like fun right? Wrong, it’s full gas the whole time and you have a bunch off mountain bikers who don’t usually race in big packs what could go wrong? Right off of the start, two guys tangled up in front of my and I slammed the brakes on and barley missed them, the climb is a brute and it was full sprint every time. I stayed with the main pack for about 5 or 6 laps then I started to loose contact and got stuck in no mans land and killed myself trying bridge the gap. I was basically drooling on myself by this time and lots of men had dropped out and there was only a small group behind me, they had caught back up to me and we were at the three laps to go but I had nothing left so I dropped off. I felt much better than the last time I did this but still it was so damn hard.

On Saturday we lounged around went for a leisurely ride and checked out the amateur race and whisky row were there were tons of venders in an almost fair atmosphere. The amateur race drew almost 2000 people making this one of the largest mountain bike races in the country. Epic Rides does a great job with this race, which is a big reason why it’s become so popular. There were bands playing every night and the town square was a great place to eat food, listen to music and do some people watching. It rained off and on all day Saturday and the weather was not looking good for the pro race on Sunday. That night it rained fairly hard but stopped about midnight.

When race day arrived, it was cloudy but not raining although rain was still in the forecast it was looking like we may get lucky and avoid getting hammered on. This year they had added more single track to the start of the race making the course about 20 minutes longer than previous years. The race started out fast, but not crazy and we had about 2 miles of pavement then on to double track for another mile or so and onto the single track. Things got spread out pretty well by the time we hit the trail and I was about mid pack.

I definitely wasn’t feeling that great out of the start and was hoping that my legs would kick in later. When we reached skull valley I was somewhere in the top 30 and feeling much better, when you hit the bottom of skull valley you have about a 16 mile climb up a progressively steeper dirt road, the riding had been fun until this point but now I was finally feeling good and able to push up the hard climb.

At the top you drop into single track for the final push to town, thankfully you do get rewarded for all that work with some fast fun and technical riding. I was trying to push hard in this section and I new there were people right on my heels. After the long hard climb my legs were seizing up with bad cramps and was trying hard to just keep the pedals turning. I wanted to get in the top 30 and I figured I was close to being in that but had to fight for every spot, I did end up holding on to my position thankfully because I just squeaked out 30th. Even though this is not the distance I like to race, it was a fun time and I always love to see all of my mountain bike family.

12 Hours in the Wild West – 2016

April 12, 2016

This was my second year racing the 12 Hours in the Wild West. For 2016 they moved the venue from Fort Stanton to Village of Ruidoso, NM. This brought it right outside of town to the purpose built trails of Grindstone lake trail system. The staging camping area was just below the Grindstone Lake in […]

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True Grit 100 – 2016

March 16, 2016

True Grit 100 is one of the best 100 mile mountain bikes races in the country. It serves as the season opener for the NUE series and a great way for me to get an early season hard training ride and have a hell of a good time along the way. Getting back on the […]

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24 Hour World Championships – 2015

October 8, 2015

I have been thinking about this race all season, worrying, planning, and worrying some more, only to lay in bed thinking about it. The thing about 24 hour racing is that it’s really, really, really hard! Especially when you get a bunch of crazy hammerheads from around the world in one place, things get really […]

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Vapor Trail 125 – 2015

September 28, 2015

The Vapor Trail 125 is a one of a kind mountain bike race! It is 125 miles with 19,000 feet of climbing on some of the most fun and burly trails you could find in Colorado. Oh yeah, did I mention it starts at 10pm? I don’t know why more races don’t take place at […]

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