May 3, 2011

Stage 5 SRAM Tour of The Gila: Gila Monster Road Race

I ate my waffle and oatmeal like every morning.  The TREK-Livestrong U23 team guys had already scored all of the seats in the dining area, so I just brought the goods back up to my room and ate in bed.  (By the way, congratulations to them for their outstanding week at the Tour of The Gila!).

It was cold.  Everyone was shivering at the start line.  Pat Gauthier, our mechanic, rubbed my arms with the speed of an industrial floor polisher so I wouldn't freeze.  My teammate Anne Guzman broke away for a couple of minutes right from the start.  She was caught, and Diadora started pushing the pace hard.  A few gaps were made in the peloton, but eventually most of us got back together.

Heather Logan from Colavita, and a girl from Primal-Map My Ride launched an attack.  My teammate Véro Labonté told me to go and I followed.  Eventually 4 other riders caught up to us.  We worked together until the bottom of the final climb and gained almost 10 minutes over the peloton.  The remaining 6 didn't respond when Kathryn Donovan rode away hard at the beginning of the long final climb...and I wasn't sure why.  Then I decided to go too. Then they were 5.

Laura Charameda (our DS, or "directeur sportif") caught up to me in the team car.  She and Pat followed me up the hill, making sure I didn't need any more Eload drink or gels.  I took a bottle.  They honked at me, and yelled "go, go, go, 'hup-up-up" for about 15 miles.  Yeah, I asked if I looked strong for a confidence booster.  They answered "correctly".  It always works.
Photos Courtesy of Gila Wilderness Photography | Rob Narvaez
Photos Courtesy of Gila Wilderness Photography | Rob Narvaez

Photos Courtesy of Gila Wilderness Photography | Rob Narvaez
I finished second in the stage, and I found myself in the Best Young Rider's jersey.  Andrea Dvorak, Heather Logan-Sprenger, and Clara Hughes were up on the podium with me.  Final GC (general classification) result for me: 9th.

My teammate, Denise Ramsden finishes second in the BYR classification, maintains her Best Young Rider status for the Prestigue Series.  She's headed to the PanAm Cycling Championships.  Go get 'em girl!

A big thank you to all of our sponsors (check out the right hand column of my blog) for helping us make this all happen.

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