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Tour of the Gila - The Day Before

On Tuesday, the day before the race start, Bckel, Bain, Sladek, Barton and I (The Five Jives) drove the 20 miles out past Pinos Altos to the high point of Thursday's stage 2 RR so we could do a practice run on the descent down to Sapillo Creek. Kurt (on his 12 1/2 pound Scott) was phenomenal, he was strong on all the uphills and descended like he was in his own backyard. Me, I was just thinking about saving my legs for the Mogollon stage.

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Up on Horseback Mesa, you're in the pines, miles from the dessert floor - it's the lush and beautiful, with grand vista's. 

I tried to appreciate these as I slogged back up the climb from Sapillo Creek to our cars. The other four Jives were somewhere ahead of me - Bain was generally in sight. I was continually reminding myself that at the halfway point up the Mogollon climb on Wednesday I would be cursing myself over any spare kiloJoule I burnt on Tuesday.

As we got back to the car, and were discussing our form, Kurt was struck by how good his legs felt. All I could think about was how thin the air seemed.

After all that riding and resting and cleaning up, our day still wasn't done. The Mogollon stage is point-to-point and finishes 75 miles from Silver City so we needed to drive out and leave a car out there. Kurt and Kevin followed me out to the finish in Kurt's Prius and we dumped my Mazda at the base of the climb. Then, after reconnoitering the Mogollon we headed back. 

I learned something very important about Kurt on the way back. He's freakin' crazy. As we idly chewed the fat - analyzing who was likely to be strong in the race and who not - we eventually ran out of bike race fodder. Kurt is also an avid spearfisherman and I was asking him about that, which he was happy to discuss since he obviously loves it and he's been doing it for years. Eventually I realized that I was hearing about the 3rd shark attack story in a row and he didn't seem to be particularly bothered by the danger. Then, after we commiserated about how hard it was to race in the Texas heat, the conversation turned to Kurt's previous hobby of motorcycle racing (in the heat). After a couple of motorcycle pile-up stories, I realized that although bike racing is by far the most dangerous activity I engage in, it's about the least dangerous thing that Kurt does. Watching the way he could fearlessly descend earlier in the day, on a course that he had never seen before and which regularly sends people to the ambulance on race day, only confirmed the impression. 

Tomorrow - the race begins.

07:22 PM in Cycling | Permalink


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