by Jimmy Davis
I was not planning on riding the Cochise County Classic this year. However, because so many of my friends were riding I ended up registering the day before the race.
Michael Coyle and I had been spending a lot of time training at Saguaro National Monument and I felt that I would be able to do fairly well in the race. As the race got closer, Perimeter Bicycling put out a special bulletin stating that you could register for only $50 so Mike C. and I jumped at that opportunity.
I decided to go down to Douglas early so that I could get checked in to the hotel. I had been told that the hotels were all booked up and I did not think I would be able to find one but the Motel 6 was available.
The ChristianCycling team met at the restaurant that we have been eating at for the last three years and we all had a great meal and a great time just hanging out the night before the race. On race morning I felt pretty good. I got up, got dressed and saw Michael C. loading up his bike; we headed over to the expo to meet Michael and Gary and help them set up the tent.
Usually it is pretty windy at the Cochise Classic and this year was not any different but it wasn't as bad as previous years. The temperature was pretty comfortable and I didn't have to wear a base layer or arm warmers so I felt pretty good about the race. As the race materialized we were heading out towards the climb and the pace was pretty casual. I sat in the pack about a third of the way back and just enjoyed the ride. I could see Gary and Greg up at the front and Mike H. & Mike C. where near me at times.
Suddenly, I began to hear a lot of chatter about a few guys who had gotten off the front of the pack. Folks were asking who was in the breakaway and others would respond "It's that IC3 guy, Gary!" I did not know that Gary was with two other folks but I was glad to hear that he was in the break. I was a little nervous because I thought he was alone but I knew it would be a great thing if he was able to get a couple of minutes on the pack and make over the climb before the leaders caught him. It turns out that there were two other guys with Gary and they were able to stay out front for over 60 miles!
As the race progressed I began to get that feeling that I needed to go to the bathroom again so just before going through the tunnel into Bisbee I pulled over and went to the bathroom. At that time I saw some riders go by including Michael C. He asked me if I was ok and I said I'm alright I will catch you guys later. I did not realize that meant I was going to chase them for around five or six miles before getting back on. Once I was able to catch up with that group we all worked together pretty well for quite a while. Soon we were on Davis Rd. and working well. Some of the riders began to fatigue but we were still making pretty good time. As we turned and started to head home I could see a sign that read, "Douglas 20 miles/ Mexico 21 miles." I was tired but feeling pretty good... I was really happy because I had not cramped (normally I have to manage cramps during races this long).
Right about that time there was a loud sound of a tire blowout. Unfortunately the person who had that blow out was me and I began to try to see what was going on with my rear tire. The other guys in the pack with me begin to yell, "Stop stop stop!" My tube had shot out of the tire and wrapped around my cog and chain. I have never seen anything like that before and it was a real mess. Normally I can change my tube in around 3 minutes or less, this time I couldn't even get my back wheel out of the drops because the tube itself was wrapped around the chain and cog. After unraveling all that mess I was able to see that my tire was still in good shape and I only needed to change the tube. About that time a group of three riders came by and saw that I was ready to go and waited up for me to get on with them. We worked together for a little while, however two of the riders were not able to maintain the pace and another rider and I ended up coming in together.
Overall, it was a fun ride. I'm so glad I didn't have my cramping issues and it was a very good day of training! I'm very happy to see how the team rode, how we were able to minister to the community and I'm also very glad to see Margo getting some hardware to take home, she took second place in the woman's 47-mile race.
I made it home to find my family in good health and my house in order. AMEN.
Jimmy and Greg getting ready