When was the last time you tested yourself? For professional and amateur cyclists in the US, the Tour of the Gila race in Silver City NM is a final exam of sorts, one that always seems to come too soon without enough time to prepare. The event is spread over 5 days in a Stage Race format(you have to finish every day in order to finish the race) and features 30mph winds, temps in the high 80s, brutal climbs, and talented racers coming from all over the US. To be successful requires endurance and intensity, expert bike handling skills, and the ability to constantly be reading and reacting to the demands of the race(changing road conditions, attacks, fast descents, your energy levels, hydration…) If you get sloppy with one of these you will likely not pass(finish) and worse end up in the hospital.
In the Stage 1 Mogollon Road Race, Bryce and Corey rolled out with 100 competitors in the category 1-2 race. The combined category field included a number of teams that had 6+ riders and brought aggressive race tactics. After 94 miles of racing and a 6 mile finishing climb, Corey would end up in 70th place and Bryce finished in 80th out of the 100 starters. What happened in between? Corey took a flyer with two other riders in an attempt to bridge up to a lead group of 10, riding off the front for 20 minutes(bad idea). Then after 30+mph cross winds sent the peleton single file into the gutter, a crash occured and Bryce ended up riding his Moots RSL through a rider’s Cervelo frame, snapping it in two, followed by a tuck and roll into a grassy patch. Picture 100 riders single file on the far right one inch of road doing everything possible to hold the draft in front of them while winds gust from the left.
Amy Charity spent the day racing with a field of 65 women, the majority of which were riding for professional teams. In fact Amy was one of very few riders in the pro-1-2 women’s race who did not have team mates (and a follow vehicle). Despite the highly organized teams that included internationally ranked female riders like Kristin Armstrong, Amy hung to the base of the finish climb and ended up in a very respectable 45th place.
Stage 2 will be another long day of road racing with three major climbs and close to 5hrs in the saddle leaving plenty of opportunity to move up in the GC.Calorie Count: ~2800 per rider Destroyed Front Wheels: 1 – Bryce Elevation Gain – 5472ft Suffer Score – 6 out of 10