The Whiskey 50 course contains a little bit of everything except for one thing: flat ground.
With over 7,000 feet of climbing over 50 miles, the trail is constantly turned either up or down and generally fairly steeply. The race begins in downtown Prescott and after a 30-second reprieve of downhill, pitches straight up towards the Prescott National Forest.
After a handful of miles spent climbing on pavement in order to spread the field out, the road turns to dirt and then quickly to singletrack and the fun begins. The trail continues to climb before leveling out at the top of Trail 260 for a handful of feet and beginning a long descent down a rocky singletrack.
It is classic desert riding with loose rocks and high speeds where flat tires are a distinct possibility for those riding lightweight tires.
After a brief dirt road climb to recover from the adrenaline rush of the descent, riders face the Skull Valley Out-and-Back, a 12-mile descent on a dirt road where riders are able to preview every mile they are about to have to climb back up. Luckily, there is a well staffed Aid Station at the bottom to refuel before riders retrace their steps and continue up the road.
They climb to the top of what is described by race organizers as a “monster 45 minute descent” which is a mountain biker’s dream combination of rocks, roots, turns, and smooth singletrack with a handful of technical creek crossings that are manned by flocks of photographers ready to capture every bobble on digital media.
The trail eventually spits out on pavement and riders are treated to a 10 minute, mostly downhill, cruise back to the finish line in downtown Prescott.
Course map and profile: 50 Proof >>
Course map and profile: 25 Proof >>