Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Wrapping Up Joe; Discovering Santa Fe

So I need to catch you up on the final two stages of Joe Martin. The third stage was a fun one. It was the more challenging of the two road circuits and we raced it hard. We kept the same game plan trying to play a GC card in the breakaway while holding the field sprint card in our hand. The course was a circuit that we did 4 times with a little out and back piece we did to start and finish. On the second circuit we played some good teamwork and landed Danny and Jonny in the break of about 10, which was a good situation for us. I was pretty sure it was finished as the peloton lost all motivation and Jamis (with the yellow jersey) didn't show interest in chasing. Silber came to the front though and did an impressive chase to bring down a 4 minute gap in a little over one lap. It was gruppo compacto when we hit the climb the last time, so I watched for any last chance to escape or make sure any other GC threats didn't go up the road, but we were pretty dedicated to the field sprint now. We took control and kept things under wraps to the finish. I rode the front with a few of the other guys until about 3km to go and then faded away to watch it all unfold. There were multiple crashes as we raced down the curvey road into the sunset. There was a moment when all I could see was dust everywhere as a guy or two crashed into the ditch on a curve. I was just happy to be observing and not partaking in the chaos at that point. And I was even more elated to find out that Carlos and John had gone one, two on the stage: mission complete!

Onto stage 4, my first criterium since 2009. I was admittedly nervous, but we had a good team and would likely be riding the front, the safest place to be, in order to set John up for the sprint. With the confidence from the previous day's win, we kept our cool and the race under control. All was going well until one to go when a crash in turn one took out John. I had just finished my job, so I'm not sure what happened in the front because of that, but Carlos was left to sprint for us. He did his best, but fell short of the win landing in third. It was definitely a disappointment for the team, as were the overall results of the week, but nothing is ever guaranteed in racing; that's why we do it!

After the race Lisa and I headed west in order to prepare for Gila. We stayed in Santa Fe, NM for the week and had a good time. I'll tell you honestly that trying to recover from a solid race, yet alone ride, at 7000 feet is not easy! I managed alright though and had a few good days out in the New Mexican desert discovering some pretty nice roads. I must say I was pretty impressed with Santa Fe's athletic "infrastructure". First, the drivers seemed overly friendly, which is a nice change of pace. Second, I was highly impressed with the trail network they had throughout the city that connected different neighborhoods and all parts of the city. It would provide tremendous opportunity for family outings, and inspiration for many to exercise. Linked to that trail network was an incredible amount of green space. I was very surprised by the amount of parks and playgrounds available to the population. Outside of the athletic/recreational opportunities, there was a good food and life culture in the city. We visited the famous Saturday farmer's market and had a good experience. We also tried a couple different restaurants and would have to say that Cafe Pasqual's was a big winner. It had some unique dishes on offer, but brought us that familiar NM chili flavor we had been missing for years. Overall, Lisa and I really enjoyed our time there.

Following Santa Fe we made our way toward Silver City for Tour of the Gila, but we had to make a quick detour to our old homeland of Las Cruces. A quick 24 hour stop over allowed us to get a quick fill of some old favorites and see some friends. It was fun to be back. It's amazing how you develop a bond with a place and can almost instantly feel at home when going back after even several years. We had dinner at one of our favorite mexican restaurants Andele's, had a custard dessert at Scoopy's, and picked up some of our absolute favorite coffee at the grocery store. Simple things to make us happy! We're now here in Silver City and preparing for Tour of the Gila to start on Wednesday. More update on that later. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had an awesome time! Really great post. Best of luck at the Gila. Looking forward to cheering you on in San Diego at the ATOC.