Silver City has been hosting the Tour of Gila since 1989. The 2019 race consists of 5 stages with stage 5 taken place on May 5. The stage 5 route took the racers past the KOA entrance off US 180 early this morning and Peg, Scout and I were there waiting for them. The first groups through were the amateurs.
These men and women are truly dedicated to the sport. These groups are lead by a single car with flashing lights and maybe a couple of chase cars. Mind you that the Men’s Cat 1,2 and UCI Men are racing about 100 miles across large rolling hills, then two Cat 2 climbs and a Cat 1. Peg and I drove the portion of the climbs and it was real work just driving the F350 up and down. It does give some perspective on the difficulty you see on TV when watching races such as the Tour De France where the racers will do a couple Cat 1’s and a Beyond Cat climb. These are really steep grades. Of course, big climbs lead to big downhill racing at speeds up to 60 mph. We were behind a racer training on the downhill section Thursday and she was flying along right up to the Cattle Guard. Full brakes on and creep over very slowly. I do not know how the men will deal with them.
It was impressive to see the UCI Men and Women who have the full support of the Tour. They get police motorcycle and car support and vans, trucks, and cars of all sorts following them. A lot of these racers will be going on the Amgen Tour of California which starts May 12. It was a great morning.
The pictures in the link below start with the first groups and end with the UCI participants.