Day 2-Fort Bayard Inner Loop
This stage started out at Historic Fort Bayard, I don't know what that is, but it has some significance for the area...The race announcer said why it was significant while we stood at the start line, but with race nerves and over 3 hours of racing, I seem to have forgotten.
The stage started out slowly, but not for long! With the first sprint coming at 9 kms (where Jamie grabbed the 5 sprint points!), and the first hill climb points at 18 kms, it ramped up quite quickly. That first climb of the day was tough, and things didn't let up too much on the descent. With the altitude effects, I felt like my body would never recover in time for climb number 2 which finished at 34 kms. Stay focused, breath, try to relax and I managed to make it over and down the second climb with what was left of the peleton.
You can just see my opal Smith helmet on the right side of this photo, coming up the first Queen of the Mountain (QOM) climb.
The middle portion of the race was beautiful and forested, or so I was told. I must admit, I didn't get to enjoy the scenery much. The second intermediate sprint happened at about 65 kms, and Jamie handily snatched up those points as well! Putting her into 5th place in the sprint competition.
The sun was getting really hot by this point in the race, so we had to be really diligent about keeping up on hydration! Being the only team in the women's pro field without a team car in the caravan, the Shimano race support staff kindly offered to help us out with neutral water throughout the stage. This was so essential today, because there was only one feed zone in the 120 km loop, and it was situated at 95 kms into the race.
We have been very fortunate this week to have the help of two locals, Miriam and Larry. They are driving us to and from race starts and handing out bottles in the feed zone.
Before the feed zone, the Hagens Bermans Team started throwing attacks, one after the other. Jamie and I were doing the best we could to try and be in them. Finally one stuck and Jamie made a bridge up to the breakaway group of 4, which built a 1 minute lead on the field.
The final climb of the day lasted from 94 to 105 kms. By this point in the race, the field was down to about 30 women. Jamie and her breakaway companions were caught around 100 kms, and this sparked another onslaught of efforts from the QOM favourites. I lost the front group before the top of the climb, but worked together with a group of 5 to catch back on the final descent and managed to finish 13th on the day. Canadian Lex Albrecht took the win!
Check out our post race Facebook Live interview here around the 12 minute mark in the "Women's pro live video" www.facebook.com/
Day 3 - Don Potts Time Trial
A 26 km out and back time trial, starting with a 7 km long climb, fast descent, a few rolling hills and then the reverse. I went into this hoping to hold my GC position, and maybe make up some time. Jamie and Karlee took a more relaxed approach to the day, pushing hard enough to be comfortably within the time limit, but conserving a little bit of energy to attack the Criterium race tomorrow. The climbs on the course were fairly shallow grade, but gruelling nonetheless. Unlike many other teams, none of us traveled to the race with time trial specific bikes. So we all added on clip-on aero bars, and Jamie lent me her disc wheel to use, which offers a significant aerodynamic advantage.
Photo courtesy of Dean Warren Photography
I finished with a time of 41:46, which put me into 18th position, and moved me up to 21st overall, and I believe the the first placed of those not riding time trial bikes.
Tomorrow is the criterium, big team plans for that. You can watch it here
All for now! I am excited about two more amazing days of racing at Tour of the Gila.