by Michael Hast
Cochise County Cycling Classic is my favorite race. The scenery is great, the race is very challenging with the climb in Bisbee and then on the way back there usually is a pretty stiff headwind. Usually it is a very tough race, but right from the start, with a tailwind pushing us to Bisbee and Gary in a breakaway, it was the easiest CCCC ever, or was it?
Well, right from the start I positioned myself in the middle of the pack, not being able to see what was happening up front. It was to conserve as much power as possible, because last year's attacks happened after only 40 miles of the race with over 50 more miles to go. And with the pros from the Stone House Group in the midst, I wanted to be ready this year to handle their attacks. Being that far back led to Gary, Dwight and Craig pulling away from the peloton unbeknownst me. They pulled further and further away. I got the news about their breakaway and who was in the breakaway a couple of miles before Bisbee. That was great news because I knew that the Stone House Group pros would not chase down one of their own. Nor would I chase down Gary. So I started praying for my brother Gary who was ahead, that God would give him super strength that day. The climb in Bisbee was hard, but unlike last year where I got dropped, I hung on to the chase group and made it with them over Mule Pass.
After Mule Pass, Kyle and Eric from TriSports with Adam tried a few times to get a pace line going to chase down the breakaway. The riders from the Stone House Group interrupted their efforts quite a bit. Right before Davis Rd. another pack caught up to us, because they worked together to catch us. On Davis Rd, we got closer and closer to the breakaway. Many more attacks happened on Davis Rd to bridge the gap between the breakaway and us. Finally, Kyle and Stephen with riders from the Stone House Group were able to bridge to the breakaway. I followed Brian Forbes' wheel with the same intent, but when we closed the gap to some riders that failed to bridge to the breakaway, Brian took the left side around those riders and I got stuck on the right side. I tried one more time to bridge to the breakaway but got stranded in no-mans land. I burned pretty much all my matches at that time and got pulled back into the chase pack. I stayed there until the end of the race.
My plan to stay with the lead group over Mule Pass was successful. I was even able to stay with the chase group through some of the attacks, but finally got dropped on Davis Rd. All in all, it was tiring and fun. Looking forward to next year's edition, LORD willing.
Michael at the start