Thursday, May 1, 2008

Gila Day 1 and 2

I finally found some time and dial-up (!) to blog a bit about Tour of the Gila in Silver City, NM. After a 13hour drive and a Motel 6 - stop in Pecos, TX, I got here Tuesday noon with my "one-week" teammates from the Marx and Bensdorf Cycling Team out of Memphis, TN. Thanks to Mike Olheiser a.k.a. "Tank", I get to race here and have a nice hook-up with host housing in the Gila Mountains at 6400ft.
They changed the format of the race a bit, and started Stage 1 with the Mogollon Stage instead of the "regular" time trial. That makes things more interesting in terms of GC and team-tactics since the race is more open and the guy who used to win the TT in the past, won't necessarily win the GC, too.

Stage 1
...was a rough one. The winds are crazy here with sustained 30mph and gusts to 50mph so it was a "Gutterfest" all the way to the base of the final 3mile climb. Imagine riding 2hours at threshold while making sure to stay out of the crosswind and riding on the shoulder. 25 guys DNF'd that day. The field is down to 94 riders. Personally, my job was to make sure Mike has everything he needs and protect + help him as much as possible. It worked out pretty good, except that 2 of my teammates and myself flatted 20miles into the race while going 30mph in the gutter. I got a slow wheel-change but luckily the SRAM Volvo motopaced a couple of us back on and I was back in the field 15-20minutes later. So was Mike, who double-flatted on two brand new Conti Competitions. Once we hit the loop I made the front split of 25 guys who chased the break but the field hit the "Panic-Button" and got us back 10miles later. After the right turn to Mogollon it was man vs. man and vs. asphalt :-) Some guys decided to crash in the middle of the front-group of 45 riders going uphill and I needed to clip out with both pedals to avoid going down, too. Oh well, I just rode up my own pace up the climb and ended up 49th for the day. Mike got 30th, a bit under his expectations but he had to chase hard after his double-flat.
Read the VeloNews article

Stage 2
...went a bit better. The "Inner Loop" Road race was "only" 80miles and 5500ft of climbing. Tecos, who won with their Colombian climber yesterday, took the front from start to finish. It was ridiculous. I never raced this race so hard before. We would be single-file going to the first feedzone, single-file after the first long downhill and 27-28mph in the Valley. Mike and me got comfortable, though and it wasn't too bad actually after a while. Our riding in the Top 25 definitely made our day easier today. There was a break up the road with Bissel, Mexico, and Vitamin Cottage but the Tecos guys just gave them max. 2minutes lead all day. With 10miles to go, we reached the last summit of today's stage and the now two up front were just dangling in front of us at maybe 20seconds. I felt okay going up the long climbs and Mike gave me the "okay" to bridge. Nobody had interest to catch those guys right away so I quickly joined Jaques-Mayne and the Mexcian guy. They've been out for 60miles there and I added a bit "fresh juice" to the break but it only lasted 5 or 6 miles as we got caught with 4 miles to go :-( Colavita, Toyota and Successful Living took over and the last 3miles were double-and single-file in the gutter trying to set up the sprint. I finally felt my legs with 1K to go and had to ease off a bit, finishing just behind the lead-group. Don't know mine or Mikes placing but it didn't matter really. I'm more looking forward to the Time Trial tomorrow and the Crit on Saturday. Those events should suit me more although the officials are going to weigh and measure all TT-bikes in order to meet UCI regulations. Kind of funny, because that's usually a "No-No" at most NRC races and after talking to the head official today, he admitted that different chief officials interpret the rule differently...Now that's makes me feel better :-)
Read the VeloNews article


  1. Gude Stefan,
    weiter viel Glueck bei Gila. Hab eben deinen Namen bei Velonews gesehen und hab gleich mal hier vorbei geschaut.
    Bin am Sonntag bei der US Air Force Classic...mal sehen wie's laefut. Meine Beine sind diese Woche sehr bescheiden...weiss auchnet was jetzt los ist. Naja wird schon..

  2. Tut mir leid, dass gestern nicht besser war. Alles hier ist schwierig, weil alles so schnell sind!

    ...and back to the language I'm better at. Congrats, though, even the 3's were hard.