by Greg Chmelik
Last year was my first time riding in El Tour de Tucson. I had crashed turning onto Hughes Access so this year I was pretty nervous until I made that corner. I kept a good amount of space around me until I got past that turn. After that I was able to mentally settle in and be comfortable getting close enough to draft off other riders.
Last year we did not do the first wash crossing so that was a new experience for me. I saw an amazing number of full bottles lying around. I figure they got knocked out unnoticed when people had their bikes over their shoulders for the crossing. Seemed kind of funny at first but then I started thinking about how much that missing bottle could mess up somebody’s race!
Once the turn onto Hughes Access was in the books, I was able to settle in and relax. From there it was steady on and mostly uneventful. I was able to catch a good group where several people were rotating at the front and taking good pulls. We made it around in a little over four and a half hours -- well within the limit for platinum.
Now I’m in kind of a weird place mentally because the whole reason I started cycling two years ago was to get platinum in El Tour de Tucson. Having been blessed to achieve that goal, I need a new focus to stay motivated. Fortunately, there is a lot to choose from here in the southwest. Also, as a new member of the IC3 racing team, I can work toward team goals rather than just personal goals. It is going to be a great year!