Tour of the Gila Stage 2: Inner Loop Road Race
by Geoffrey Curran (Get Crackin)
Stage 1 of Gila was terrible. The first 135 km was a flat, slow, boring march through purgatory to an 8km climb. After the slog through the valley, the road tilted skywards into the Mogollon Mountains. This is where I was dropped by old guys, Strava freaks, and someone with a Halo sweatband. I was left alone, crawling up the steep grades and arriving over two minutes behind the winner. It was thoroughly embarrassing. I previously had visions of myself dancing up the switchbacks and soloing to victory. The day before, I told my director, Bart Bowen, that I was at Gila to win. While I collapsed on the ground with my left foot clipped in and bike tangled on top of me, I wondered how I was dropped. I mostly blamed it on the altitude, not wanting to admit that maybe some of these guys were actually faster up a hill than me.
The effort in stage 2 was fueled by the smackdown I had received on stage one. I had looked at the profile and realized that the wind favored a breakaway, so long as it established a gap over the climbs at Pinos Altos and Wildhorse Mesa. The race started on a few rollers and went up the climb to Pinos Altos. It went up and down until a very technical descent into the Mimbres Valley, stair stepping up to the Continental Divide. From the Continental Divide, it was a downhill tailwind blast to the feed zone and final climb. After a few rollers, the race finished back at Fort Bayard. The day was perfect for racing with temperatures in the seventies and cloudless skies. [Read more…]