Tour of the Gila: Stage 4

While I was studying the race bible I had marked stage 4 as a “recovery crit” but our team director told us to go win the stage which meant I would be playing the roll of domestique (helper). It would be my job to make sure things stayed together so Sam could sprint for victory.

I started on the front row and found myself chasing an immediate attack from one of the Slipstream Juniors. That effort put the hurt on me and I drifted back also trying to figure out the lines on the course. It was pretty bumpy and broken in places. After a few laps I had a good read of the course, which meant I threw caution to the wind and rode my bike like a bucking horse. I decided to go to the front to help patrol and wouldn’t you know that right about that time another Slipstream Junior goes off the front. So I chased him down and drifted back to recover, a few laps later, the exact same thing happened.

With 2 laps to race I was moving to the front to get into our leadout train when someone in front of me started pinballing around the group and nearly crashed, jam on the brakes and go from 12th to 50th. Crap, now I’m useless to my team.

Sam placed 2nd and lost the race by a bike throw. Jon was 4th wheel on the finishing straight when the GC leader crashed in front of him. That was pretty silly on the leader’s part to try to be in an inconsequential sprint and it cost our team another podium. I finished safely in the group and on same time.

As for the recovery crit, hah, we raced at an average speed of 26.5mph on a pretty hard course.

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