Words by Travis Dixon, photographs by Angelica Dixon
Crit day is one of the most fun days for cycling photographers as there’s racing all day and the racers are so accessible. Preparation for the day starts early as the huge number of volunteers, who are the backbone of the race, get to work setting up hay bales/ tires , safety barriers, PA system … before 7 AM as the first amateur race starts at 8 AM. Local shops open early to support those who race and who work the race. It’s the biggest day of the year for the local economy.
It’s refreshing to find a pro coming out in full kit to support friends who race in lower categories. life for pro riders is far from glamorous and most find themselves, by necessity, living in a bubble as they travel from race to race. Connection to the ‘real world’ is through their cell phones.
3rd turn- getting this shot requires “hiding” behind a street sign pole, more for protection, should one of the riders decide to jump the curb.The Gila Crit course does not follow the usual recipe of a flat and fast circuit. Nope, this rectangular course has two stiff climbs on the backside with less than perfect road conditions. The riders drive hard into turn 3 before diving down into the super fast turn 4. This corner offers many views with riders cresting the hill, the corner itself with riders cutting the apex at the curb itself. and then the serpentine line of riders as they fly down into turn 4.
Riders must find the line or end up in a barrier of rubber tires that are blocking the 3-4 foot elevated concrete sidewalk. Turn 4 is a dramatic corner as the riders come screaming down from turn 3 and hit the corner at 40+ mph. Rows of tires line the outside of the corner and the crowds are huge as the speed, sound and breeze from the riders at speed is captivating. The riders carry this speed into the long super fast finishing straight. The nature of the circuit makes it difficult for a team to control so it’s a frantic sprint.
Crit day is the stage for the citizens of the Silver City community. Cowbells, music, vendors, and every bike lover over 2 years old, partakes in “Crit Day”. Kids race – the kids race is one of the highlights of the day for everyone who’s out supporting the race for the racers themselves. The kids have the experience of the huge crowds cheering them on as they race the streets of Silver City.
Brecht Dhaene of Astellas Cycling Team was present supporting his team, which was incredible considering that his right arm was in a sling from surgery that morning! Dhaene was one of the many riders involved in the massive stage 1 crash, which resulted in a shattered collarbone for him.
He was incredibly engaging and we were able to spend time talking with him. The 25 year old Belgian is in his first year racing as a pro and The Gila was one of his targets. 2 years ago Dhaene completed his Masters degree in European Politics. He’s an incredibly grounded young man, “My education was very important. If I am lucky I can race for maybe 8 years? But I can relax because I know that there is a guarantee for a future after cycling.” It’s quite refreshing to talk with Dhaene as he has perspective, a plan, and he’s going to have as much fun, with this part of his life, as he can.
There is a big movement to support and recognize women’s racing within the cycling community around the world. Included in the Tour of the Gila, is a showing of the “Half The Road” about the modern women’s racing scene, struggles, and success.
A four man breakaway in the men’s race saw Ben Day take over the GC lead while Mara Abbott remained solid and in control in the women’s race. There may be just one stage to go, the 100 miles from Silver City to Pinos Altos but as we’ve seen so far in Gila, anything can happen.
Men’s Results Stage 4:
1 ROMERO AMARAN Luis JSH 1:30:57
2 SELANDER Bjorn OPM ”
3 DAY Benjamin UHC ”
4 MAGNER Tyler HSD @ 2:16
5 BROCHNER Nicolai BDT ”
6 MCCABE Travis SSC ”
7 REIJNEN Kiel UHC ”
8 ROBLES Gerardo Medina BMW ”
9 MARCHIORI Fererico HRB ”
10 SMITH Dion HSD ”
Men’s GC After Stage 4:
1 DAY Benjamin UHC 8:45:26
2 JONES Carter OPM @ 00:28
3 OBANDO BRENES Gregory JSH @ 00:30
4 BRITTON Rob SSC @ 00:38
5 CARLSEN Kirk JBC @ 00:44
6 ROMERO AMARAN Luis JSH @ 00:58
7 SELANDER Bjorn OPM @ 00:59
8 COOKE Matt JSH @ 01:02
9 JARAMILLO DIEZ Daniel Alexander JSH @ 01:21
10 ROSSKOPF Joseph HSD @ 01:44
Women’s Results Stage 4:
1 Powers, Alison UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 1:05:54 11 0:00
2 Small, Carmen DNA Cycling p/b K4 1:06:01 14 @ 0:07
3 Kiesanowski, Joanne Team TIBCO to the Top ” 9 ”
4 Cerra, Jessica FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore 1:06:06 4 @ 0:12
5 Dillon, Olivia Colavita-Fine Cooking 1:06:21 @ 0:27
6 Laws, Sharon UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling ” ”
7 Thornquist, Amy DNA Cycling p/b K4 1:06:22 @ 0:28
8 Fischer, Heather DNA Cycling p/b K4 1:06:25 @ 0:31
9 Salcedo, Jannie mile National Colombia Team ” ”
10 Johnson, Kimberley Cloud Racing p/b Ride to Recov ” ”
Women’s GC After Stage 4:
1 Abbott, Mara USA UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 8:34:35 00:00
2 Oliveira, Flavia USA FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore 8:36:50 @ 02:15
3 Mickey, Abagail USA TWENTY16 Pro Cycling 8:36:57 @ 02:22
4 Small, Carmen USA DNA Cycling p/b K4 8:36:59 @ 02:24
5 Powers, Alison USA UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 8:37:02 @ 02:27
6 Stephens, Lauren USA Team TIBCO to the Top 8:37:37 @ 03:02
7 Brown, Laura CAN Colavita-Fine Cooking 8:37:49 @ 03:14
8 Wilborne, E Scotti USA Team TIBCO to the Top 8:38:15 @ 03:40
9 Laws, Sharon USA UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 8:38:19 @ 03:44
10 Hall, Katie USA UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 8:38:30 @ 03:55