Tour of the Gila, Day 3: Wind
By Liam Donoghue | Apr 29, 2011
Race name: Tour of the Gila
Race date: Friday, Apr 29, 2011
Wind advisories are fun, eh? Apparently it means that, in addition to 50mph gusts, there will also be 30mph sustained winds. It’s the sustained stuff that makes it an advisory, but the gusts that make it OH MY GOD I ALMOST DIED AGAIN.
Course is 16 miles, out and back, with a big, sustained uphill to start, and a couple rollers before the turnaround. If you thought Hillsboro was windy? If you thought that tornado that picked you up and tossed you 250 yards was windy? You never raced at 3 in the afternoon in Tyrone, NM.
I lost count at about eight.
After the ninth huge gust of wind nearly took out my front wheel, which would have sent me careening over my bike at 50+mph, spun-out on the return trip into town, spun out in a 58-11… I decided to remain in the bullhorns, and not go aero. This five-mile return downhill ended up hurting my arms more than anything. Trying to stay as aerodynamic as possible but being completely unable to use the aero bars meant my arms got a workout they haven’t felt since high school football. I probably put two pounds of muscle mass on my girlish arms today. No joke, thought maybe I would lose half my skin in a terrible wreck. As I warmed up, I saw a couple 40+ guys with bandages around their knees and elbows. Fresh bandages. Also heard of a woman in the P-1-2 field who got torn up really badly.
Pretty fun times for the second official race on a time trial bike. I didn’t crash, and since I was positioned poorly on the GC, I was one of the first guys to go. We had 30-second increments, and I was able to pass everyone in front of me and be the first Cat 2 across the line, but I didn’t break 40 minutes like I’d hoped. But I’m alive, and have all my skin intact, and because of all that, I am happy.
My ride was good enough for 8th place on the day, and that both makes me happy and sad. Happy because top 10s are good. Sad because I know I should have been up in that top 10 the whole time. Oh well. There’s always tomorrow.
Speaking of… if you’re bored and have the Internet, tune in to the crit tomorrow (Saturday) at 2:30 Central Time, streaming live at http://www.tourofthegila.com, and we’ll see if we can’t get Todd “Go-go” Gogulski to announce my name at some point.