The week that was: Gila and Joe beat up domestic pros
By Omer Kem
Last Sunday marked the end of the SRAM Tour of the Gila. Some ProTour guys showed up and made a hard race harder for the pro men’s field. The women didn’t have it any easier as a small field left little shelter for the gale force winds that reared their head. A couple of things happened, expected and unexpected….
Expected: Levi won, Lance rode himself into some form, domestic riders fought for scraps, bike racers who thought they were good were broken. Teams got into team cars and drove to Ar Kansas when it was all over.
Unexpected: Levi got beat in the TT, the break stayed away on the final stage, Dominguez got beat in the crit, somebody shot out the Bissell team van’s rear window with a pellet gun.
Next stop in the domestic cycling world was Joe Martin. Most teams traveled by vehicle from Silver City, NM to Fayetteville, AR. This is part of the glamorous life of a domestic pro bike racer. Total travel time is roughly 16hrs and 975 miles. Awesome….
Joe Martin is exactly what NRC racing is all about. You kick things off with a 10min uphill TT; long enough to hurt, but short enough to keep things very, very close. Next, you get two LONG, very hard road races complete with time bonuses. Odds are, if you won the TT, you are going to lose the leaders jersey on one of these days. BUT, this only comes after your team has destroyed itself trying to defend against at least five just-as-strong teams. The grand finale is a crit that can sometimes decide the tour, but will most definitely hurt some guys.
Next up on the domestic circuit is the Tour of CA. It’s guaranteed to destroy the hearts and minds of all those domestic pro bike racers who thought that they were ready. There will probably be a couple of surprises, but it will be the Levi and Shack show with some Euro’s doing a “vacation” race for training. At least it wont be raining the first three days like last year….