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PEZ On Scene: Gila Monster Day
gilas14st05-look650 Roadside Report: The last stage of the Tour of the Gila is known as the Gila Monster and on Sunday it certainly lived up to its name. It’s simply a beast of a stage through some amazing countryside but over some truly torturous climbs.




Words by Travis Dixon, Photos by Angelica Dixon

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Ready to face the Monster? Sunday was the final stage of The Tour of The Gila, also known as The Gila Monster. The UCI men in particular faced a very tough day with over 9000 feet of climbing in 100 miles. The course features two cat 3, two cat 2, and one cat 1 climb. The peloton climbed through the magnificent Gila Cliff Dwelling National Park which was home to Puebloan people of this region over 700 years ago. The scenery is breathtaking but unfortunately the riders weren’t able to take it in as they were well focused on the task at hand.

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A high speed decent that saw riders topping out over 50 mph leads into the Mimbres valley. The course starts with wide open country but continually closes in as you enter tall ponderosa pine forest and the road gets ‘lumpier’ as the course gets closer to the final two Cat 2 and Cat 1 climbs.

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Forest fires are part of the natural process in this region, and the effects of last years fires were evident along the Cat 2 climb to Anderson Vista. What the riders weren’t able to see was how the forest recovers and takes new shape as new growth was making its presence known.

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The decent into the Gila Cliff Dwellings is fast and very technical. The riders climb back out of the valley and what makes the decent very fast, makes the return climb very steep. The Cat 1 climb has the riders climbing out of tall red rock cliffs that have been cut by the elements through the centuries. It’s a remote and breathtaking region.

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Another fast decent empties into a kilometer of flat before hitting the final Cat 2 climb of The Sapillo and Cat 3 to Pinos Altos. It’s a brutal ending to a tough 5 days of racing.

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The stage finished in the small village of Pino Altos, the 2010 census stated it’s population was all of 198 people. Gold was fist discoverd in the 1800′s where the population swelled to over 9000. Orgininally known as Birchville, due to the prevelance of birch tree, but these were all cut down in order to build the houses for the swelling population. The stage finished in front of the Buckhorn Saloon, which was built in 1860 and was the only site for alcohol and entertainment for the miners at that time. Today the Buckhorn is used as the final stage for the podium presentation, not sure if there was any alcohol though!

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Team Optum rode a tactically aggressive race and it played out perfectly by putting Carter Jones back on the top step of the podium. It was a big win for the 25 year old rider and his director Jonas Carney was ecstatic with the result, “The key to our victory was Will Routley, by making the original break, sitting on while (teammate) Tom Zirbel drove the pace, then making the lead group, and sacrificing himself so Carter could sprint at the end.”

Up next is the Tour of California, and after a hard won Gila, they seem ready for the challenge.

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Men’s Stage 5 Results:
1 JARAMILLO DIEZ Daniel Alexander JSH 4:18:50
2 BRITTON Rob SSC @ 3
3 ROUTLEY Will OPM ”
4 DE LUNA Flavio SSC ”
5 CARLSEN Kirk JBC ”
6 OBANDO BRENES Gregory JSH ”
7 JONES Carter OPM ”
8 JENKINS Maxim MPS @ 28
9 COOKE Matt JSH @ 34
10 BEYER Chad 5HR @ 3:11

Men’s Final GC:
1 JONES Carter OPM 13:04:47
2 OBANDO BRENES Gregory JSH @ 00:02
3 BRITTON Rob SSC @ 00:04
4 CARLSEN Kirk JBC @ 00:16
5 JARAMILLO DIEZ Daniel Alexander JSH @ 00:40
6 COOKE Matt JSH @ 01:05
7 ROUTLEY Will OPM @ 01:22
8 DE LUNA Flavio SSC @ 01:34
9 JENKINS Maxim MPS @ 02:31
10 DAY Benjamin UHC @ 03:28

Women’s Stage 5 Results:
1 Abbott, Mara UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 3:16:19 10 0:00
2 Oliveira, Flavia FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore 3:18:13 6 @ 1:54
3 Mickey, Abagail TWENTY16 Pro Cycling 3:18:46 4 @ 2:27
4 Hall, Katie UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 3:19:36 @ 3:17
5 Doebel-Hickok, Kris Team TIBCO to the Top ” ”
6 Countouriotis, Athen Sisterhood of Cycling ” ”
7 Perry, Anne DNA Cycling p/b K4 3:19:54 @ 3:35
8 Brown, Laura Colavita-Fine Cooking 3:20:01 @ 3:42
9 Laws, Sharon UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 3:20:03 3 @ 3:44
10 Stephens, Lauren Team TIBCO to the Top ” ”

Women’s Final GC:
1 Abbott, Mara UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 3:16:19 10 0:00
2 Oliveira, Flavia FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore 3:18:13 6 @ 1:54
3 Mickey, Abagail TWENTY16 Pro Cycling 3:18:46 4 @ 2:27
4 Hall, Katie UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 3:19:36 @ 3:17
5 Doebel-Hickok, Kris Team TIBCO to the Top ” ”
6 Countouriotis, Athen Sisterhood of Cycling ” ”
7 Perry, Anne DNA Cycling p/b K4 3:19:54 @ 3:35
8 Brown, Laura Colavita-Fine Cooking 3:20:01 @ 3:42
9 Laws, Sharon UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 3:20:03 3 @ 3:44
10 Stephens, Lauren Team TIBCO to the Top ” ”

 

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