Thursday, May 1, 2008

Gila Stage 2

After anxiously waiting through stage 1, the 4's finally got to start the 2008 Tour of the Gila. Our stage today took us 64.2 miles from Pinos Altos, NM to Fort Bayard, NM.

The race started out fast with a descent followed by some tough climbing. With so much effort required early in the race, we decided to warm up for about 15-20 minutes on trainers at the start area. I was really surprised at how fast the race started out and I gave it all I had to make sure I stayed with the group. I had been warned that I needed to stay with the group over the Meadow Creek climb, because otherwise you'll never catch up later. I wasn't really sure how far into the race that climb was, so I kept waiting for it. At some point I looked over to Rob and asked him when it was coming and he laughed at me as he told me we passed it a while ago. Sweet, I made it.

There was some crazy descending on this course. I was about 20 feet behind some guy who came into a corner way too hot. Smoke and burning rubber were in the air as he locked up his wheels and went head over heels off the road. Glad I missed out on that adventure. Being the sweet descender, Rob and a few other guys got a nice gap of around 30 seconds at this point. Eventually, Rob decided that it wasn't a good idea to be in that break with so much time left in the day and he came back to the group.

Rob was the man all day keeping me informed of what was coming up on the course - There's a bump up over there...We're going over that ridge...We're climbing that saddle... That was hugely helpful since I've never ridden these roads before. I don't think I would have made it up the final climbs without him there to keep me going.

The break stayed away for quite a while, but we finally reeled them in on the final big climbs. We hit a nasty headwind going here which kept the pack at a pretty reasonable pace. Anyone who tried to attack immediately got blasted by the wind and tired out. I didn't think I was going to be able to hang on through a couple of those accelerations, but I dug deep and stayed with the group.

I wasn't well positioned on our descent into Fort Bayard and found myself on the back of the group more often than not. At 500m to go, I ramped it up just to make sure I would finish with the pack and not lose any time. I was surprised at how well my legs performed. Maybe next time I'll have to make sure I get closer to the front.

I'm not sure what places we got, but Rob and I both finished with the lead group which is way more than I expected to be able to do here. We were both totally stoked with the good result.

1 comment:

Enrico said...

Ryan, thanks for the Gila updates. It sounds like one hell of a race. Congrats to you and Rob to finish day 1 with the pack. I hope your legs regenerate like a lizard. Props to the 3's finishing on days 1,2.

-EricS