Do we get a T-shirt for this?

Silver City, New Mexico.

Population: 10, 545

Elevation: 6000

Although they never did find silver in Silver City, like its namesake implies, they did find some copper here.  They also host a bike race, sponsored by our favorite components, SRAM.

The Tour of the Gila.  I will give you more details on the rest of the race at another time.  You may recognize some of the names here, Lance? Levi?  Oh yeah, and a stellar women’s peloton. Kat? Mara?  Everyone came out to Silver City, Neuvo Mexico to bike race.  Why? We may ask ourselves that after yesterday’s stage.

The Tour of the Gila is known for its brutal climbs at alitude, high desert, cliff dwellings, and a classic stage race.  Did anyone mention wind?  Oh yeah.  The highways are often closed in the area for severe wind storms and dust storms.  What better place to host a bike race?

Yesterday.  A day I will remember for the rest of my life.

We all like racing our bikes, right? Sure. But in a sustained 33mph wind with gusts up to 85mph?  Then you are just talking crazy.  Yes.  We raced our bikes in these conditions.

The race was brutal from the start with severe winds, echelons forming, and riders being guttered.  It is a hard truth of windy racing.  We can handle that.  But the gusts?  Riders were literally blown off their bicycles yesterday.  Yes.  Blown off.

Lance Armstrong ““I do not know that I’ve seen wind like that in a race.”

Levi “With all this wind guys were getting blown off the road”

Weather: Extreme Wind Advsiory.  Freeways were closed.  Roads were closed.  Why not keep the bike race on?  The race must go on.

Yes. Blown off the road.  I found myself climbing the last feed zone 7k climb with incredible gusts of wind.  My back tire, with myself on the bike, lifted up, and threw me across 2 lanes.  It got so bad, I literally was blown over, sliding onto the pavement.  I went to pick up my bike to resume walking, yes walking, up the climb.  The wind then grabbed my bike and elevated it into the air and blew it down the road.  It is nice to have a 15lb bike, but not when the wind carries it away.

The highway patrol that was escorting me along the road to ensure trafffic stayed out of my way because I was at risk of flying through the air at any given moment, stopped to grab my bike.  He asked me, “What are you doing this for?” I responded, “That is a good question.”  Yet we persisted.  One girl was blown up in the air and spun around 180degrees.  It was the most grueling day on the bike of my life.

We finished the race. Mer got 4th.

After reflecting on our miserable day, we were trying to dislodge the sand from our ears, wipe out the memory of the debris being blown into the peloton, and the roofs of house being dislodged.  Did we really ride 83 miles in these condition?  Really?  Yes.  Do we get a T-shirt for this?  Or, did I just get a sandblasted facial?

“I Survived Stage 2 Record Winds of The Tour of the Gila 2010”.  I hope so.

This high desert is a crazy place.

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