Monday, May 08, 2006

MISSION ACOMPLISHED!!!!! The 11 hour drive home will be much sweeter after the events on Sunday. Sunday was the "Gila Monster", the final day of our 5 day stage race. A long tough stage with a whopper of a finishing climb. The last 15 miles are brutal. Ryan Hamilton was our highest placed rider on GC (2nd) when the leader pulled out on Saturday. This made him the virtual leader, and changed our strategy completely. We planned and planned different senarios of attack, but we all had the sinking feeling we'd have to take control of the race on the final day and protect Hamilton.
Our second best placed rider Justin got the green light to attack and try and put pressure on the other teams. He was well marked and smartly sat in and saved his legs for the climb and protecting our leader.
Many stories will come yesterdays events, the one I like to tell is how our two lowest GC riders Kris Lathrop and Alex Lieber turned into "super domestiques" on the final day. With a 50 mile run into the start of the climb, it was key to keep the pace so high that no one would attack. Both of them absolutly flogged themselves for 50 miles while I sat barking orders and covering the hard attacks. It was a symphony of domination as we rumbled down the vally with no fewer than 3 teammates at all times on the front of the peleton. Alex and Kris burnt everylast match and looked like shit at the start of the climb. It was a perfect launching pad for Justin and Ryan who lit up the climb, finished 3rd & 2nd respectively, and of course, got the overall victory for the 3's field at the tour of the Gila. Pretty good company to be in. Jason Donald (pro stage 5 winner) and Tom Zirbel were the 05' & 04' TOG champs.