« Tour of the Gila - The Day Before | Main | Gila Stage Three - The Lance & Levi Show at the ITT »

Tour of the GIla - Stage 2 Inner Loop Road Race - 78 miles

Stage Two - Inner Loop Road Race - 78 miles

Well, Peggy will laugh at me about this. She always makes fun of me because I pretty much believe that a good bike ride can cure just about anything. Got a cold? Go for a spin. Low back pain? Ride your bike. Insomnia? Get some miles in.

So today, somewhere between breakfast and the start of the stage, I developed one hell of a throbbing headache. I was seriously worried at the start line. That's always where your mind messes with you. I never have headaches, so something must be seriously wrong. If you're having a stroke, do you get a headache?

Those first few miles just seemed to aggravate the headache. But by the time we did the first ten miles of climbing, I never noticed it again. Pretty amazing - bikes cure everything (except - apparently - sore legs). 
George Heagerty & Kevin Barton (before the race)

This is always a hard stage. There is an 1100 foot climb in the first ten miles of the race. Ouch. I was shelled about halfway up it. Ouch. Luckily Tom Bain was shelled even earlier. His group of four caught me before the top, and we bombed the next 10 miles before the next climb. By then we had picked up a few (including George Heagerty) and lost a few. I threw up in my mouth a little, but it wasn't a big deal. Six of us went over the climb together at mile 20. But we blasted the ten mile descent so hard (40+ mph) that only Bain, Heagerty and I were together at the bottom (plus two more that we caught along the way). I got to watch Heagerty almost bite it big time when he started to slide in a corner and just barely avoided going off the road and down the hill. 

As usual by the time we reached  the bottom at Sapillo Creek at mile 32 I felt like I had already done a whole bike race. Only 46 miles to go. We picked up a couple more people over the next 15 miles, butJame Carney  there were still 30 riders ahead of us that we would never see before the finish. Heagerty had an exciting, gunshot-loud blowout at mile 57. Maybe he lost too much tread sliding out in that corner thirty miles earlier? So we lost him. 

After crossing the valley, the (now six) Jives had to climb past the mines - about 10 miles of uphill into a headwind. Not steep (only about 5%) but unrelenting. No one said a word. I just kept my eyes glued to the wheel of the guy in front of me and tried to avoid a liquid yawn. I didn't even know if Tom was still in the group or not until we were mostly done with the climb. I didn't want to spend the energy to look back.

Phil Sladek and Kevin Barton (after the race)

Eventually, we finished - only 17 minutes down on the leaders. Michael Carter had lit it up at the base of the climbs by the mines (about 15 miles to go) and soloed in to finish 38 seconds ahead of a group that included Jame Carney, and Korioth. Joel Grimmet rolled in two minutes later to secure a solid 6th place on the stage and on GC. Kurt Bickel, who had been with that lead group of seven until Carter lit it up at the base of the mines climbs landed in 7th on the day and moved up all the way from 24th to 7th place on GC. Yeah, that's right - moved up 17 places in one day.

Me, I slipped down to 34th place a mere one second ahead of Bain (I cramped in the final kilometer). 

Tomorrow - a forty minute time trial. Relatively speaking, it will be a recovery day.
Stage 3 ITT
Tour of the GIla stage 2 afterwards
I found this guy after our race today, on the grounds of Ft. Bayard, where we started and finished.

09:09 PM in Cycling | Permalink


The comments to this entry are closed.