May 7, 2012

Optum Pro Cycling at the 2012 SRAM Tour of The Gila

The SRAM Tour of The Gila is a 5 day stage race around Silver City, New Mexico.

The dry desert air, the hot desert sun, a few twisty descents, long climbs, and the high altitude make the Tour of The Gila one of the tougher races on the NRC calendar, and of course one of the most fun.  This wasn't a time for me to leave my Banana Boat SPF 50 sunscreen at home, it was one of the first things I packed before leaving.
The hills, sand, shrubs, and cacti around New Mexico

Riding down from our host homes to several of the stage start-lines was scary at times; wild deer wandered out on the roads that we flew down.  The jackrabbits and lizards seemed a little wiser and stayed amongst the cacti and tough bushes.  We didn't hit any of them.  I wondered if like those silly cows, the deer are also tricked by the cattle guards that make for the majority of the ''desert road furniture''...  If they are, they might consider putting those metal contraptions in the ditches.  Roads are for bikes, not deer.

Stage one saw the field split up as it always does on the final climb.  Carmen Small and Janel Holcomb were the top Optum finishers, impressively (zero exageration) taking the second and third steps of the podium.   This set the stage for our strategies for the week.
Stage two was another road race, and day three was a 21 km out-and-back time trial.  Day four was a criterium, and the final day finished on the open road, once again.

Stage 4 criterium. -Casey Gibson
Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies brought home second place overall (Carmen Small) and the green jersey (Carmen Small) as well as second place in the team general classification.

We rode hard, fought hard, and were patient boiling our eggs and cooking our rice (it takes a long time at about a gazillion feet of altitude).

I'm being patient, I've got an 18h day of aiplanes and aiports before I get to home sweet home, Québec. I have my Compex muscle stimulator hooked up to make the best of it.  Next race: Gatineau Grand Prix UCI women's 1 day race in Gatineau, Qc.  Then it's the Exergy Tour in Boise, ID.

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