Al Senft, Hugh Selby, and Keith Ashmore represented the Colavita NM in the Masters field at the VdB stage race this year. 87 contenders signed up for the B (Masters) field, and their was some serious competition bumped over into the Masters, due to a loaded Pros A field.
After a smokin 2 mile HC Prologue, it was obvious that Al was our team leader. We started Stage 1 RR with AL in 7th, Hugh in 20th, and Keith in 22nd. Not bad for the ONLY NM team to show up this year. During the first road race, the start was very chilly, especially while whipping down a 45 MPH shaded canyon for 6 miles at 8 am in the morning. After flattening out, Hugh patrolled the front, and his attentiveness garnered him points over the KOM climb of the day.
After turning on the flat Davis road, the attacks started in earnest, and with a good crosswind the pack was breaking into multiple groups. Keith wasn’t having such a good day and ended up chasing with a small group of 6 more many miles. Fortunately, ten miles from the finish the route turns directly into the wind, and that slowed the lead pack just enough for Keith to catch back on. Most of the peloton rode steady until the final two miles past the mine, and then the fireworks went off. The legs hurt but Al and Hugh hung tough just a 13 and 23 seconds behind the stage winner. Keith lost 47 seconds. GC: Al 8th, Hugh 22nd, and Keith 34th.
Stg 2 was a same-day 7 mile TT that same afternoon. The winds were light and a slight tail/crosswind on the way out and headwind back. Al drove in a smokin’ 5th place time of 15’19”, just 20 seconds off the winning time. Hugh (showing off his KOM VdB skinsuit!) had a great 7th place show at 35 seconds off the winning time! Keith wasn’t firing on all cylinders, and lost another 2’23”. GC: Al, 5th, Hugh 12th, Keith 36th.
The clouds and cold front finally left the area for Sundays final road stage. This queen stage ended on a hill that would see who had any legs left after multiple steep rollers along the route. After the same 6 mile decent as Stage 1, the solo attacks started early, and Keith finally had some gusto. With legs that would allow, Keith patrolled the front of the pack and chased multiple attempts to get away. The rest of the other riders seemed complacent, and a group got away finally, just before the turn at the old west town of Tombstone. Keith tried to get some help to chase but had very little recruits. The last time check was four minutes, before starting the stages long climb to Bisbee. Keith drove the pack to the base, then pulled off and let the shenanigans start amongst the leaders.
The last 2km the to top of the climb gets pretty steep and it had its effect on the peloton. One of the breakaway riders stayed away to the finish, and Al and Hugh 2’48” and 3’01” behind the winner. Keith limped in 7’51” minutes later. Final GC: Al 9th, Hugh 15th, and Keith 46th. 73 of 88 starters finished the Tour.
A great showing for a small team of three from NM. Next year we’ll bring a bigger team, and things will be a little more balanced against our adversaries!