Busy as a Bisbee

The last three days have been a blur.  Actually, the whole past week has.  I’ll just stick to chronology.  No wait, I’m going to have a little fun.

As I write, I’m sitting in the back of Scott’s Mini Cooper, cruising down highway 80 from Bisbee to Silver City, with Mexico just a few miles to our right.  Two days of rest before Tour of the Gila, where my fortitude and constitution will certainly be tested.

This morning was a hot and hilly 90 mile road race.  Kai and I covered moves for the first part (well I managed to cover stuff for about 45 minutes, until the gradual rise up to the KOM left me gasping for oxygen).  Kai might just deserve most aggressive rider for his work the last two days.  He chased moves like a rabid dog all weekend.

Hong made the right move at the right time, going solo just before the group instituted a nature break.  After some time on his own, the move that stuck swept him up, and he spent most of the day leading the U23 competition on the road.  The heat and the altitude took its toll on Hong too, though, and he eventually couldn’t hold the pace of the strong group of eleven, which included riders from professional teams Fly-V and United, plus a near-complete representation of other teams in the race.

Hong was in third place in the U23 competition starting the day, after pulling one out in Saturday’s 15-minute ITT, moving up after losing a few spots in the morning.  Saturday morning’s road race was “just” a relatively flat 80 mi race, capped of with a very gradual climb.  The race began in the cold morning with a neutral climb out of Bisbee, followed by a long, cold descent leading up to the first KOM.  Corey Carlson from Rio Grande went solo on what seemed like a hopeless dig on the fast descent.  After some shuffling, a Stu got in a group including and riders from United and Fly-V.  They caught Corey after the KOM and the gap grew.  Suffering from stale legs after the long drive from Boise, Stu was put into difficulty over the KOM and came back to the main group.

The flurry of attacks that originally formed the group were so hectic that much of the field still thought there was only one man up the road.  United had Rory Sutherland in yellow, and seemed unsure whether they were satisfied with the man they had in the break.  Fly-V also seemed hesitant, with both teams riding tempo on the front for a time, but eventually settling in to a cease-fire.  We had a nature break.  We soft-pedaled.  And the gap grew.  And grew.  The gap went up to thirteen minutes.  With no radios, indecisiveness ruled the day.  We decided to take action, and expected a significant chase to ensue.  It was primarily just the four of us – Hong, Kai, Lynch, and myself, with Kevin and Stu sitting in for the finish.  Against a break of seven and a thirteen-minute gap, with only thirty miles to go, we were no match.  We pulled back four minutes in the end, not nearly enough.  Lesson learned.

After the race, Tad, the team director, showed me the front page of the local newspaper – it featured a story about the team.  Well, sort of.  The first half of the story, including all the content on the front page, was about me, complete with a picture.  Tad’s much more intelligent, descriptive and relevant remarks were relegated to page B6.  The reporter came to talk to us before Friday’s prologue.  Her interest was piqued by my nickname, and she interviewed me in depth – how I got the nickname, how I got started racing; nearly a complete life history.

After the interview, it was business time.  I was nervous, fired-up, and determined to have a good showing.  Well, that didn’t work out so hot.  About a minute into the seven-minute time-trial, my right pedal came off, still attached to my shoe.  It left the bare spindle attached to the bike, which I was able to force back into the pedal body and finish at a subdued pace.  A clean, well-maintained and functional bike reflects well on its rider, and I had just struck out.

The crazy story about how this all started up next.


~ by awerbuch on April 26, 2010.

One Response to “Busy as a Bisbee”

  1. […] the caravan on the plateau without complaint).  The high altitude changes the game; I found out in Bisbee that at this elevation, I only really had one “match” to burn.  In other words, if I […]

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