Tour of the Gila From the Director’s Seat
This is truly one of the most epic races in the United States. I guess it’s the ulimate GC if you are a climber or tour rider. It’s the only race in the U.S. for women that challenges the status quo. You can be a crit racer or power climber, but that won’t cut it at this race! This is a race for the truly tough-minded racers who can raise the threshold of pain that few people ever experience. Racing in these mountains at 9000 ft. is a big challenge and finishing this race is to be admired and respected. There is nothing like it in the U.S. for women — an experience that every serious bike racers needs to race!
Today started very calm – perhaps the calm before the storm that hit after the neutral point just 10 minutes into the race! Of course, everyone was fighting for the sprint points — not us, as we couldn’t improve our GC by taking those sprint points. We were more focused on strong results and keeping our riders in the front group.
Pinos Altos was all out — attacks and strong, fast climbs. The group split and just 16 riders were off the front. Unfortunately, we didn’t have anyone in the break. Most of the teams were represented, so just Specialized D4W and DFT were the teams in the chase group not represented in the break. So it was up to us. We went to the front and drilled it. I had a chance to talk to the DFT team car and we decided we would make it a joint effort to pull back the break. The only thing from my vantage point is we were stronger than those girls; therefore, we did all the work. Melanie, Heather and Marilyn pulled back a break that had up to 2 minutes advantage! Unbelievable and incredible to watch as they drilled it on the front to make the catch. Indeed the catch was made and then up the final climbs into the finish. Melanie, Heather and Marilyn had a great race with Marilyn finishing directly behind the group. Heather and Melanie were directly behind.
We are on it for tomorrow. So much more racing and we are a team to contend with.
Stay tuned . . .
It’s so much easier calling race strategy from the car! Seriously!