2009 Tour of the Gila Race Report

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 @ 10:32 AM - race reports

Nate Freed and I drove out to Silver City New Mexico, ready to rape the 5-day Tour of the Gila Cat 2 race in the ass. We fared well in the Cat 3 edition last year, and figured it would be a simple repeat for upgrade points. It wasn't so easy this time around.

We secured host housing with a woman in her late 70's who was on the precipice falling into complete mental senility. She had lots of cats, lots of loud TVs (turned on 24 hours-a-day) and lots of repeat questions. It made for an interesting week in Silver City.

There was no easily accessible internet access from our house, so all of my updates were composed on my Blackberry. Short emails and Twitter tweets were my communication to the outside world for the next 7 days.

Stage 1 - Mogollon Road Race

Just took 2 huge dumps. So I'm ready to rumble in stage 1 of the Gila Tour. 94 miles with an epic climb to a finish atop a ghost town. 7:43 AM Apr 29th from TwitterBerry

A 2 man break stayed away the whole race, with the winner finishing 6 mins ahead of field. I came in 10 mins down in 25th, Nate finished 15 mins down in 35th. We just didn't have the goods after 4 hours of torture in the sun. We aren't too far off the mark though, as long as my snoring doesn't keep us awake at night we have a good chance at recovering and moving up the GC ladder.

And yes, Lance is here. But racing in the Masters 35+ Cat 4/5 field to avoid the UCI ban. He is in a Mellow Johnny's Kit, not Astana. He won his race solo by 1 hour today.


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Stage 2- Inner Loop Road Race

Gila Tour Stage 2, my $400 GPS computer fell off my bike mid-race. I had to stop. It took 30 mins to find. I probably finished dead last... 2:59 PM Apr 30th from TwitterBerry

77 miles, 5800' of climbing. We hammered uphill from the gun, dropping a good portion of the field, including myself in the first 20 miles. After a quick recovery, I chased hard to catch the follow cars right before the "worlds most dangerous downhill." The descent is so gnarly that they post ambulances along a few corners.

Racing this stage last year, I gaped the field by 5 mins on the downhill, so I was thrilled that I was able to catch back on. That excitement was short-lived however as my very expensive Garmin 705 GPS computer fell off my bike and into the dusty bushes aside the road. I had to make the decision to stop and retrieve the $350 device, or continue on with the remote chance of winning the stage and earning a whopping $80. Even in oxygen debt the choice was clear.

It took me 30 minutes to find the damned Garmin. I then spent the next 50 miles riding by myself. I finished dead-last for the first time in my racing career, coming in over an hour down on the winners. Still not last on the GC though.

Nate stayed strong with group, but faltered in the final uphill head wind section to take 30th, moving up to 31st in the GC.

Needless to say, we are going to redeem ourselves by going 1-2 in the crit on Saturday, just as we did last year.


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Stage 3 - Tyrone Individual Time Trial

Gila Tour Stage 3, Tyrone ITT. 15th today. Proved I've got legs, I'm just lacking in luck. Looking forward to downtown crit tomorrow. 4:42 PM May 1st from TwitterBerry

16 mile out and back individual time trial with 1200' of extended climbing. There were no flat sections on the course, it was up and down the whole route. Nate and I were too far back on the GC for a good TT result to move us up, but we still wanted to test our legs against our peers.

I took 15th and Nate was 23rd. Evidence that we are still riding strong. Tomorrow is the downtown crit where we took 1st + 2nd place last year and are planning a repeat win. We are going to try and also get 3rd, 4th and 5th place just to prove how dominant we are.


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Stage 4 - Downtown Silver City Criterium

Gila Tour Stage 4, Downtown Crit. Nate was 3rd from the break and I sprinted the field for 6th. I blocked the break for 20+ laps. Phew... 1:11 PM May 2nd from TwitterBerry

32 miles, Silver City Downtown Criterium. The course featured one steep climb, a 50 mph downhill and a false flat through the finish with 20 mph winds gusting all over the circuit.

After the first lap, Nate slid up behind me and mumbled something along the lines of, "We should do something." That was all I needed to hear, and I fired off an attack. I stayed away with 4 guys for 5 laps before Nate bridged up with 2 more riders. But it wasn't long though before the field reeled us back in.

With 20 laps to go, Nate marked a strong rider off the front and formed a 3-man break. I rode immediately to the head of the peleton in order to disrupt the chase.

20 laps later and Nate's group still had a 15 second gap. He was killing himself in the break, and I was dying at the front of the pack setting pace and covering all attacks.

Nate grabbed 3rd place at the line and I muscled out a field sprint for 6th. We were both shattered by the end, as we worked our brains out for our placings.

$50 for 3rd & $16 for 6th. That almost pays for gas on the way home...


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Stage 5 - Gila Monster Road Race

Gila Tour, Stage 5. 102 mi. 9k climbing. In a 4 man break for the first 65 mi. Got dropped & hung on for dear life till the finish. Amen. 2:31 PM May 3rd from TwitterBerry

I knew I wasn't going to be able to achieve a good result today. 9000' of climbing over 102 miles is beyond my endurance. There was a $60 sprint preme at mile 10. I figured that I'd start with that and see how the rest of the day went.

I launched out of the pack as soon as we ended our neutral start. I was joined by two other riders. They were interested in an all-day break and I just wanted gas money for the drive home. I played the crazy-card hoping they would let me go and spoke nothing of the $60 prize. I kept taking really stupid long and hard pulls on the rollers in an effort to be set free. With a mile to the sprint line, I took off and grabbed the preme uncontested.

At this point we had a 5 minute gap on the field and decided to wait for one more rider to bridge up. Once we had our foursome locked in, we put in a solid 60 miles of work. Once I hit about 2000 kilojules on my power meter, the lights went out on my legs and I told them go on without me. The peleton, including Nate, caught me suffering alone at mile 65.

I limped the rest of route at the tail of the group, and meandered my way up the big climb to the finish. 34th on the day.

The consolation prize for the day was knowing that the breakaway I started and dropped out of managed to stay away and win the race.


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Just dropped the biggest deuce of my life in the dirt off Hwy 70 en route to the Gila. It measured longer than my forearm. Thanks Jack-in-the-Box. 9:30 AM Apr 28th from TwitterBerry

Article was last edited on Thursday, May 21st, 2009 @ 8:22 PM