After a hair-raising crit experience, the team wanted to make their mark on this edition of the epic Tour of the Gila. Alison Tetrick informed us at our evening race debrief that historically a break can go on this stage. We were determined to be represented in it. The plan was to follow be ready for the break if it went in the first 20 miles, which included both sprint and QOM points. Lisa went on an early flyer to try to get teams used to us making non-threatening moves off the front. This was soon followed by the sprint and QOM surges. We almost lost Helena in that hard first 45 minutes, but fortunately she caught back on. When we hit the valley the big teams sat up to get food/bottles from the caravan. Lisa told Helena it was time to go and covered her backside as she launched off the front causing confusion in the peloton. Helena dug deep and paced herself up to a 3:30 minute lead at one point as EF-Education-Tibco and Cinch tried to decide how to deal with the ‘threat’ of Helena. EF-Education-Tibco sent a couple of attacks to try to bridge up to Helena, but Eleanor would have none of it and kept the peloton together This allowed Lisa to stay sheltered in the peloton in preparation for the upcoming Gila monster climb. Helena was caught after over 30 miles soloing out in the valley of headwinds and rollers. The peloton caught her on the Gila climb. Eleanor attempted to hold onto the leaders as they attacked up the climb. Lisa moderated her effort and gradually made her way back to gapped and gassed riders. Eleanor and Lisa worked together to the final 2k with a group of about 7 women. Lisa began putting in short attacks on the way to the finish, and Eleanor out sprinted the group for a top 20 finish! In the end, Lisa came in 18th in the GC, and Helena claimed a sprint point as well as the stage hero of the day! Thank you Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club and Live Play Real Estate for this incredible experience!
Stage 5 – Gila Monster Road Race