by Gary Schobel
This ride for me was one of my best rides and at the same time one of the toughest ones. I started out the morning by waking up just before the alarm clock. I felt good and ready to race. The weather was in the high 60's with a slight overcast. We got to the fairgrounds in plenty of time to set up the tent, tables, and the banner. It was great to see so many ChristianCycling members there. It wasn't long before the national anthem was played and the 165 milers were at the start line ready to go. The 95 milers were up in 30 minutes. As I made my way to the line I looked around to see who the competition was going to be, all I saw was a lot of my buddies. It looked like it was going to be a good race.
The race started off at a slow pace and the wind was at our back. I don't know if it was just me, but I could feel the anxiousness just waiting for somebody to break free. It wasn't long before a buddy of mine, Dwight Nelson took off. Then Craig from Stone House chased him. With Greg and me in the front I knew it was our job to chase down any attacks. So I felt since I knew Dwight I would take the first attack. It wasn't much of an attack as it was a pick up of the pace. The gap was getting larger and I knew if I was going to catch up with those guys I had to move now. I gave a quick yell over to Greg to let him know that I was going to take this one, and I jumped on it. I caught up with the guys quickly. They weren't really throwing down an attack that just had a little quicker pace then the group. So we just stayed with it. We started to rotate through and decided to take one minute pulls a piece.
Before long we looked back and we couldn't see the pack. We all decided to keep this going. Wanted to see how far we could get. Personally I wanted to make it to the roundabout before the pack caught us. That was only because of the accident I saw there last year. At the roundabout in Bisbee we looked back again no sign of the group. I thought it would be great if we could make it to the top of the tunnel before they caught us. Not only did we make it threw the tunnel but all the way down the other side with out getting. When we made the turn on to Davis road. I looked back thinking surely they got to be right behind us, but there was no sign of the group. Dwight encouraged us by saying even though we were going into the wind let's keep a nice even pace. We were hoping that the wind would discourage the guys in the front of the pack not to want to work so hard and allow us to continue to keep the distance between the pack and us.
About 65 miles into the race the pros from stone house caught us. Wow! They were really moving. I managed to work through two rotations with them before popping. The second group was shortly behind them. Michael and Greg were in this group. I really wanted to hold on with them, but I've spent too much energy staying away the first part of the race. The mountaintop experience that I had so far in this race was now on a drastic downhill slide. I quickly remembered why I didn't want to race this race. Davis Road! There I was, once again riding it all by myself fully exhausted. I just wanted to quit. I wanted to be done. A couple more opportunities came around when some of my buddies yelled out, grab a wheel. I tried but I just didn’t have enough strength to stay with them. Eventually I did reach to finish line. I picked up Platinum. That was great, because I said if I ever got platinum at Cochise I would call it good and never race this race again.
Then something happened. I cross the finish line to see my teammates and my buddies on the other side waiting to congratulate me. It was awesome! You would of thought I had a spot on the podium. Everyone was talking about the breakaway. That part of the race was really cool. I never thought I'd be involved in something like that. I was never so proud to be wearing the ChristianCycling jersey and representing our team. To God be the glory. It was great to hear that Margo had taken second place for the ladies category and was able to pick up a pretty cool trophy. I also praise the Lord for watching out over Jimmy with his tire incident, Steven with his fatigue, and Ray, for his perseverance. I feel that the Lord gave us a great weekend of racing, fellowship, and outreach.
The ChristianCycling Group at the Cochise Classic