Tour Of The Gila - By Kathryn Bertine
Tour of the Gila: Silver City, New Mexico
You know you're in for an exciting race when the weather forecast predicts wind and snow! Tour of the Gila is the toughest 5-day stage race in the USA, and I traveled to Silver City, NM with my Trisports.com Cycling teammates to experience its grueling wrath for the third time. The first day was relatively mild, with a small crash toward the end which I was lucky to avoid. Day 2, however, was crazy...60mph winds with 80mph gusts during the last 15 miles of our 79 mile race. Absolute attrition! I've never been blown off my bike before, but it happened here. I was not hurt, but I did have to ask a passing car (an ambulance!) to sheild the wind for me as I re-clipped into the pedals. That day put me a little too far back in the GC. Day 3 was the time trial, and I placed 25th (sporting my St. Kitts and Nevis skinsuit), which I was pleased about as we had great international competitors. Again, tough wind! Day 4 was the criterium. Not too much to report there, as criteriums are not my strong point. Yet! Day 5 was a great day of climbing up the 7000ft Gila Monster. The best part came at mile 60, when--in the beginning of May--it began to snow! Luckily, the cold weather felt kind of nice after all the hard climbing. I finished up the Gila with a good TT and a middle pack placement in the GC, but we had our Trisports team well represented with rider Heather Pryor in the top 15. Go Team!