Chris Winn: Ramblings From The Road


05 May 2008

Tour Of Gila Wrap Up.

So I am back at HQ after a solid 11hr trip back from Silver City yesterday, with the van pulling in at 3.30am and all parties concerned well and truly beat. So back tracking, the last two stages of Gila were tough as expected. The downtown crit was sweet with a huge crowd and a cool course with some of the roughest so-called pavement around. Tony Grieg would have definitely lost the keys in the cracks in this pitch. From the gun I felt awesome. The legs were turnin' sweet so I thought I'd get the game going launching an attack 10 laps in on the back rolling hills while Bissell were content to put their whole squad on the front and keep the pace solid. A short lived break away with two other dudes was all the glory I had until I tried to play my hand again soon after a quick breather back in the bunch. Off the front again and being reeled in, a counter attack blasted by while I was starting to fade. I found myself in the fun position of being in no mans land between the break the hungry bunch for the next couple of laps. Waving the white flag it was back to the bunch with the break solidly gaining time up the road. Damn. And then to make this a little more interesting my chain jumped off after hitting a solid bump in the road, and trying to get it back on track it twisted and jammed up. Coasting into the SRAM Neutral pit the lads were awesome. No panic at all, a spare bike decked out with a RED gruppo and Zipp 404's, seat height adjusted, pedal change and still 20sec before the bunch came back around. Getting back in the game I hung in there as best I could for a bunch finish. Needless to say the break was caught in the final lap while Vogels laid the smack down for the big W.

Okay the Gila Monster. The final stage of the tour. 170km and some 9100ft of climbing with 4 major burgs and 8200ft of descending. Did I already mention Silver City is already at 6000ft. Hello lack of oxygen racing. I guess the major split in the race occurred in the worst way. The descent mid race down the Gila Ciff Dwellings was off trolley. Super steep and fast with some gnarly tight corners. I was only a few wheels back from the major crash of two Tecos riders who went down hard sliding off into a rock wall. Later reports was that one of these guys broke his back and now has no feeling from the waist down. Race leader Tom Zirbel went down too and broke a collarbone, ribs and a finger. So this is where the race broke up amidst all the carnage. I survived okay but lost contact with the front group over the following flat section before the turn around point to go back up. The legs were good climbing back up and I managed to slip off the front of my group and by the peak of the final climb bridge across into the next group on the road. Here i stayed rolling in with the bunch in 26th. A little disappointed not to have been closer to the front of the bike race but after the carnage the positive was to finish the tour in one piece. Overall it was a 42nd finish on GC after a rough week. My breathing issues on the first stage certainly killed my time for the week but shit happens, and I learned a hell of a lot from my first NRC. Plus on a more important note the team gelled really well and we had a fun week. So home for two days and then off to sea level Arkansas for another NRC, the Joe Martin stage race...yeehaw. Thanks for

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