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Old 05-01-08, 05:10 PM   #1
UT_Dude
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Gila Report

Well... Let's just say it was a bit of a disappointment. Here's how it shaped up...

A month ago, I got the invite to go. At that point, there were going to be 4 from my team in the 3's, all pretty strong. A week after that, the 4th dropped out because of work. Well, OK. We get to conference championships (for collegiate) and the other two guys aren't feeling too strong. To top it off, I crash on the Sunday crit. Me and the 2nd guy drive to NM (the other guy was going to fly out Tuesday afternoon after a final). That part went fine, though hotels in Roswell, NM are way overpriced.

Sooo, once we get here, the 3rd guy calls and says he has something to where he can't eat, and if he does, he throws it up. He's out, obviously, so down to 2 of us in the race. Yuck.

Don't worry, there's more bad luck to follow (I promise this isn't all a woe is me thing, it'll get more upbeat here soon).

First day... We roll out, and I'm feeling great, despite the altitude. I raced a very solid 3 hours against the deepest, strongest 3's field I've seen in a while. Ended up getting popped near the end and suffering like none other up the final Cat 1 climb. Turns out my teammate wrecked about halfway through the stage. We both finished well within the time cut, but we're way down on GC. To add to it, the guy who won the stage is basically 1:30 up on the field for GC, so the race is more or less won for his team. Either way, I was fairly happy with myself for day 1. I raced really strong, especially considering the altitude and the crash a few days before.

Day 2 (today)... We roll out, and half an hour later, on the first climb, they pop me. Ouch. I figure, OK, I'll just try and make the time cut and kill it in the TT to at least get some sort of result. Not so fast... A few climbs later, and my left knee and hip (the side I crashed on) are toast. Couldn't push the pedals anymore. I kept trying to go, because I didn't want to abandon a stage race I spent $600+ to get to, not to mention the time, but I ended up having to. It hurt really bad (physically and mentally), but there was no way I was going to make it back to the start/finish. To add insult, my teammate double flatted and destroyed both of his tubie tires. He's still in the race though, thankfully.

Sooo, the positive... I learned exactly how much altitude sucks. Today I was pushing numbers that should have been a breeze for me in Austin, and suffering like none other. This being only my 2nd race as a 3, and with the altitude and all, I'm reasonably happy with how Wednesday's stage went down. I learned a lot about tactics, descending, climbing, and just riding that I never would have learned had I not come out here. I got a chance to race against probably one of the deepest and strongest 3's field that I probably ever will get a chance to race against. I got to ride hills that just don't exist in Texas, and I got to see some really great scenery.

I'm still here until Sunday, so I'm treating it like a vacation. Tomorrow and Saturday I'm going to ride some on my own, take pictures, and just enjoy it. Sunday, I'm going to play team manager and give out feeds for the other guy (plus the guy in the 2's) on my team. I came here to have fun, and I can still have fun, just not quite the way I thought I could originally. I get to watch some top domestic pros duke it out in Saturday's crit, and some of the strongest climbers in the country fight for Sunday.

It sucks to have the actual race end this way, but it also kind of leaves me wanting more of it. This is by far the best organized, most competitive, and most fun race I've ever been to, so I'll definitely be back, either next year or the following. Next time I'm back, though, this race is mine.
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Old 05-01-08, 05:13 PM   #2
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I forgot... Here are pictures if anyone's interested. I'm planning to take a bunch more tomorrow and Saturday on my rides of the Inner Loop RR/Gila Monster RR. There is really some incredible scenery out there! The first bunch are of UT at conference championships, and may not be 100% G-rated (I'd say PG-13 at worst), but if you scroll down you can see just how alien-obsessed Roswell, NM is, and pictures of the Wednesday climb and some other stuff! Check back tomorrow or Saturday for pics of the other stuff.

Edit...forgot the link!

http://picasaweb.google.com/christop...ferenceAndGila
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Old 05-01-08, 06:04 PM   #3
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Sorry your race went so poorly UT, but it is also better to be there (its that getting to the start is 1/2 the battle thing.). Good on you for seeing the positives and still having a fun weekend. I can relate a little bit - Mt. Hood Classic last year was the worst I have ever done in a race, but one of the funnest races I have done.
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Old 05-01-08, 06:04 PM   #4
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Hey Chris,

Sorry to hear you had to abandon. But it's better to do that than really wreck yourself trying to continue. I spent six months in constant pain because of the latter a couple years ago.

The major stage races bring out the 3's who are auditioning for P1/2 teams, and fast track up graders. Fast strong fields. I saw that at Hood.

The Monster is just that. I've ridden all those major climbs and that's a hideous piece of biz. Hang out and enjoy the agony. You'll get them next year.
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Old 05-01-08, 06:41 PM   #5
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Thanks for the report. I was following your results. Sorry for all the bad luck, but it sounds like you made the best of it.

That was a sick field you were riding in. Those Colorado Cat 3s can be really strong...
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Old 05-01-08, 08:34 PM   #6
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I know a girl, Cat1, who crashed and fractured her femur out there. She's had a rough year in terms of crashes.

Glad you knew when to say "enough" even though it's a difficult thing to do.
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Old 05-01-08, 08:38 PM   #7
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It's weird... I don't think I would've called it quits if I didn't have to, though. It just got to the point where I couldn't turn the pedals over any more.
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Old 05-01-08, 08:44 PM   #8
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Your mind was willing but the body gave you a big old middle finger.
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Old 05-01-08, 08:50 PM   #9
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Basically, yes.
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Old 05-02-08, 11:24 AM   #10
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Sorry to hear about that. Glad you are able to still have fun there though!
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Old 05-02-08, 11:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Those Colorado Cat 3s can be really strong...
You ain't kidding.

Back east, 1/2/3 are of similar speed to 3/4 races out here. Part fitness, and part willingness to pull real hard for no reason other than to keep the pace ballistic.
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Old 05-02-08, 02:52 PM   #12
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What part of the east are you talking about?
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Old 05-03-08, 12:50 AM   #13
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The north part, sorry to bundle you southerners in with us poor yanks.
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Old 05-03-08, 01:26 AM   #14
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Good, I might be doing a bit of racing in Co. this summer. I'm hoping my training will have me ready for the racing there (other than elevation). I was thinking that if the guys here are slow, then those mountain goats must be real beasts, or I'm a lot worse than I thought.
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Old 05-03-08, 09:38 AM   #15
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I moved here (CO) from northern Cali and it took about 2 or 3 months before I had my sea level fitness back. Unless you plan on downgrading, you will get rocked pretty hard.
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Old 05-03-08, 12:12 PM   #16
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Sounds like your making the best of it and that you made a wise decision healthwise. Enjoy your time there!!
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