We are all home now, and I am still feeling the after shocks. This truly was the hardest, greatest, bike race we have ever entered. I can’t wait to come back next year. That’s right I want this to become a staple on the El Grupo Calender. This race is just plain awesome, and we should never miss it. So how did it end up?

Well as you all know we started the last day with Nathan in 5th place. So our job as a team was to get him to the last climb of the day without having done any work and then to let him go for it. Logan was to be our wild card. He was to hang with Nathan, not do a thing, and to see what he could do at the end. Logan on his best days can hang with the best. So Donovan, myself, and Marcos had the task of marking any moves by the leaders and to protect the two boys all day.

The race started with some really big rolling hills and then it would flatten out into a river valley then the finish was tailor made for Nathan. An 18 mile climb that is steeper than Mount Lemmon, more fun, and covered in trees so the wind would not be a huge issue.

Well we all did our job. By the time we got to the base of the climb we had already started to pick up the remainence of the days break away and I had been marking the leaders all day. I want to give the biggest shout out to Marcos at this time. He was the greatest teammate in the world this weekend. He did everything we asked of him x10. Everyone should know that Nathan would not have finished 5th without the efforts of Marcos on Sunday. Thank you Marcos I am honored to have you as a teammate and will be very sad to see you go off to school. THANK YOU!!!!!!!! He consistently went to the front of the group and would put in huge pulls. Longer and stronger than anyone else in the pack to keep the break away in check. He completely sacrificed his result to ensure Nathan had a chance. He dug crazy deep for hours all just to get to the climb to blow up. He was cooked and still had the hardest part of the race left.

Donovan on the last day had his best ride of the weekend. The boy was getting stronger as the race went on. He was able to help us the whole way to the last climb and animated the bunch on a number of strong pulls. I know he is coming back next year with some big intentions.

My job for the day was to make sure that I knew where the leaders where all day. I was to sit on their wheels so that if anything happened I could notify Nathan to follow them. I enjoyed my task riding at the front and playing task master. So at the end of the day when the climb arrived, and Nathan and Logan where not on my wheel as I had been begging for the last two miles, I started to yell their names like a crazy man. The front leaders group was forming and moving and going up the road and they were no where to be found. Of course moments after my frantic yells the boys appeared and closed the gap. I just wish they did not have to use the closing speed and could just have been there.

The day ended a top of the climb with Nathan in 4th place on the day. Logan and I ended up finishing together as he was bonking and I was getting stronger about 8 minutes behind. I caught him in the last mile. Donovan and Marcos finished about 10 minutes behind us.

At the end of the event Nathan held on to his 5th place over all. The greatest result in El Grupo history which was accomplished only because of the amazing team that supported him. His friends ensured this result and we are all winners because of it.

What a cool race. I had the best time in the world racing with these boys and I am looking forward to the rest of the season and seasons to come.

Lizzy of course was out there as well and along the way we passed her. Which was super fun as she cheered for us like the greatest supporter in the world. She finished the 71 mile race intact and with a smile. She finished the hardest race she could enter in the South West US against grown women. An amazing a achievement, and one we will achieve next year. That said I am coming back with her next year and she has already said we are going to fight for some results next year.

Thank you everyone for following this and supporting us. It meant everything to us to know that our teammates where behind us.

Also most important THANK YOU RICHARD, DANIELA, and DAMIANO. You were all the greatest support crew we could ever ask for. We were the best fed team in town for sure. Thanks Daniela. You made this all possible. We would not have been here without all of your hard work. So much happens behind the scenes to get us to this race and it is all because of your hard work.

Richard our bikes were in perfect condition all race because of your efforts and you were there to make sure we all at the right place at the right time. Next year we hope to be supporting you in the race even more, and with more teammates.

Damiano your cheering is the most inspiring thing in the world thanks.

And to NIPPY of course. Who after supporting a team of pro women would turn around and do everything he possibly could for us. THANK YOU!!!!!

4 Responses to “Tour of the Gila Wrap Up”

  1. Tyler

    Great job guys!! That is amazing. I can’t be at practice today because I have a band concert I have to perform in. I will be there Wednesday!

  2. Lauren

    WOW! YOU ROCK MY SOCKS, EL GRUPO! I wish that I could have been there to witness all of the awesome teamwork that was going on.

  3. kathleendreier

    Congratulations everyone! Awesome recap, Coach, thanks!

  4. Cathy

    Congratulation! This was a race that called for teamwork and strategy and you guys were awesome! Lizzy you should be so proud of yourself, I know I am beyond words!
    Cathy