We recently caught up with Annie Ewart (Optum Pro Cycling), who gave us the inside scoop on her Stage 2 win at the Tour of the Gila:
The race was going really well. We had everyone in the front group going over the first QOM, and leading into the dangerous descent. I was second wheel going down the descent, and we hit a super tight off-camber right hander, and the girl in front of me went in too hot, slammed on the brakes, and then went down. I slammed on my breaks to try and avoid her, but skidded out and went down too.
I was super mad at this point, as I had crashed two weeks before, motor pacing, and was over all the road rash. Luckily my bike was alright, and I was fine too–minus the road rash.
I managed to get back to the peloton, and just as I did, a rider was attacking off the front, and I thought, well, I might as well go too. It ended up being the winning move. We gained a lot of time quickly, and with 10 km to go, I dropped my breakaway companion and won the stage solo. It was my biggest win of my career thus far.
The last part of the race was one of the hardest times I have ever had on a bike. I think you start to lose it psychologically, and you are doing everything in your power to talk yourself into giving out whatever little bit of energy you have left. With 1.5 km to go, I could have sworn I saw a reduced peloton behind me, and I thought it was over. Turned out it was some of the follow motorbikes, and I was just seeing things. I couldn’t even salute at the finish line. I was so exhausted, but it was all worth it!
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