There are moments that we each have in our lives when we do something special that gives us more insight  into who we might be.  Its these moments that help us create our dreams and show us how to achieve them.


The Whiskey 50 is that kind of event for the youth of El Grupo. It is as hard a bike ride/ race that you can enter, and it makes all finishers at some point question themselves. And it is that moment of question that is so critical in the life path of all youth. For if you are able to persevere and over come the doubt, you finish as a different person.


That is why we race the 50 and not the 35. We go big to learn big.


It could be questioned that some kids should have done a shorter distance, that it was too hard for some, that I was asking too much. And of course I listen to those concerns and worry about them incessantly. As all I want is for the youth to be able to conquer the question and rise up.


Well through rain, sleet, and hail, we all finished. We came across that finish line. Some like Collin Kisiel came in 5th in the Junior field, followed closely by Juanny in 6th, Dillon in 7th and Rogan in 8th. Jack, Quinn and Unai all finished as well and know more about themselves now.


The ladies in the race showed amazing class and strength as well. Chloe brought home the victory in the 50 mile event over coming huge obstacles to get to this race. She crashed out of the 24 Hour race hard this year on her first lap and was off the bike for a month. Most would not have questioned her if she did not ever want to mountain bike again. However she got back on and then rode the hardest race she could find. That is true bravery.


Ripley 8 hours into the event and in the driving rain found the finish line as well. Ripley who was forced off the bike for almost 2 years because of crash came back and finished. Her smile and enthusiasm when she crossed the line was sheer beauty. I was most worried about her being out there in the cold, and rain alone at 8 hours. I so wanted for her to battle the question and come out on top, but of course I too worried if I had asked too much. So when the clock kept ticking I kept worrying ever more. Shawn waited in the rain at the finish line as I waited under a tent. Ripley some how got lost en route to the finish and actually missed the finish line but she found Shawn.


Once she found Shawn and gave hugs, they went over to the timing table, told them what happened, and asked if she could cross the line and get a time. They of course said yes, yet when she went to cross the line she rode down the street more than a block, so that she could get a full sprint across the line. Not only did she answer the question, she smashed it. I am so very proud that we as a team were able to give her the spirit to persevere in this way.


This is the spirit I hope we as team are able to instill in every youth that comes through our program.




2 Responses to “Whiskey Recap”

  1. Jeff

    I have seen El Grupo at nearly every race I have been to in Arizona since moving here three years ago and I was not sure who they were until a colleague of mine explained it all. Not only am I 100% behind the entire program but I see theselightening fast kids all over the place. Riding up from skull valley an El Grupoan flew down the hill with rain in her face and howled at every one of us slowly plugging away heading up the hill as if to say “I’m right there with you all!”. She later passed me en route to her goal. On the downhill from Sierra Prieta I went Back and forth with two more El Grupo ladies. Some of the most courteous biking behavior I have witnessed at any race, letting me pass on the downhill with a smile and plenty of room. 10 minutes later though, there they were appproaching my back tire with grit, increasing speed up a hill leaving me panting and wondering who trains these people? That process repeated itself three times before we crossed the finish line. They wore smiles and tears while hugging teammates and dads and coaches and all of a sudden my saddle soreness drifted away. My quads were just fine and my heart grew a little more for the youth of this great sport. Keep doing whatever it is you’re doing down there in Tucson.

    • Daniela

      Thanks so much Jeff for sharing that awesome story!