Search This Blog

Sunday, March 17, 2024

24 Hours In The Old Pueblo - Whiskey Tree

One thing's for sure, we're all just passin' through
No, we're not gonna live forever, not me and you
But, Lord, I've had a good time, yes, Lord, I've had a good life
I've just one thing to say, this is all that matters anyway
Good Friends, Good Whiskey, and Good Lovin', Hank Williams, Jr. (1990)

Two Four HOP appropriate hydration dangles in front of racers at the Whiskey Tree.
(image by

Over its 24 years, the 24 Hours In The Old Pueblo ("Two Four HOP") has earned a well-deserved reputation as a good time for everyone from professional racers and hard core enthusiasts to weekend warriors and pajama adventurers. The Whiskey Tree is part of that legacy.

A little more than half way around the 16.7 mile lap at Two Four HOP, the race course veers back toward the event venue near the Start/Finish area. Just a bit short of that, the course twists through a relatively flat, low lying area and swings 270 degrees to dive back into the distant desert. It's a natural spot for teammates and crew to walk over from the venue to cheer on passing racers.

From the Start/Finish, it's a short cut walk to the Whiskey Tree for crowds to cheer on racers.
(image by

Very early in race history, rambunctious fans brought various forms of liquid refreshment to that spot and offered shots of fortitude to the racers for the remaining miles. Word spread, the crowds grew, and the party was on.

It's a race that goes on all night and into the next day, however, and fans that returned to their camps started to leave behind bottles of whiskey tied to trees. Even in the dead of night, with few fans there, racers could stop for replenishment. The Whiskey Tree was born.

Whiskey Tree wizard replenishes supply as the crowd looks for the next racer.
(image from an unknown year)

On my first lap, the Whiskey Tree tribe is already large and in charge. Whooping, hollering, cheering. This party is started! I ride into the scene in the midst of another dozen racers or so. Some stop for a quick snort, others linger for more, but most add to the clamor while riding straight through. It's a hoot.

On my second lap, the Whiskey Tree crowd still numbers maybe 40-50 people and Happy Hour is well under way with raucous cheering and now jeering. Bottles appear from all sides, with more aggressive encouragement to join the party. Now more like a cyclocross race, a few rowdy heckles mix with cheers when a racer ahead of me waves off their offers.

As I wind through the throng, I enthusiastically thank them but decline to a chorus of disappointment.

Then a persistent voice rings out, "Hey! We have a Senior Citizen's Discount!"

The crowd howls.

Best Heckle Of The Race.

Good Friends, Good Whiskey & Good Lovin'
Hank Williams, Jr. (1990)

No comments:

Post a Comment