El Tour de Phoenix Race Report

Submitted by Chris Anderson

Chris finished in 40th place out of 1029 racers. That ‘aint too shabby. Chris is a good friend of mine (by “good” I mean as good as an obsessed mountain biker can be with an obsessed roadie… :). Now that I see what a supreme cyclist he is, I don’t feel too bad that he bested me in the Varsity Triathlon last year. I’ve still got him beat on the Helipad TT, but after his Tour de Phoenix top 40 finish, I’m not sure I want to let him ride the TT again… Congrats on a great ride Chris. Here’s his story.

The race started at 6:15 am. The weather was 60 degrees and it was shaping up to be a fabulous morning. As the race began I quickly positioned myself towards the front of the 1000+ riders. As we went to Brown, to Power, to University, to Alma School the pace was fast and furious. We were averaging about 28 mph.

As we turned on Alma School, McKellips and onto Hayden the pace stayed about the same. I was surprised to see the group hadn’t really split yet. As we hit Shea and started the first real incline (about 1%) the pace was pretty fast and the group started to split a little. Once we hit the main climb on Shea the group began to separate. I was lucky enough to be in the lead group.

The decent down Shea was very fast. I was able to get behind a tandem and rode their wheel the entire way to the Beeline. Surprisingly, the lead group was still pretty large. When we all turned on the Beeline the pace picked up. I was positioned towards the back of the lead group. As the pace started to get faster and faster I got caught up in the second group. There was about 50 yards between us and the lead group.

As we turned on Bush Hwy we could see the lead group getting farther and farther ahead of us. Being a small group of about 15 riders we all began working together to catch the lead group. We all worked in unison and I’ve never been apart of a group like that. Each person took a short, but strong, pull. We all did our fair share of the work and we ended up catching the lead group at Butcher Jones.

We all rode together until the 4 way stop sign at Usery Pass. At the start of the climb about 3 guys attacked and about 20 others tried to follow. The rest of the group (about 70 riders) scattered. I took the climb at the pace I felt comfortable with. I tried to keep the lead group in my sights the entire climb. As I was riding up Usery I was passing people left and right. After I was done with the climb I realized I pulled about 30 riders up the entire 4.3 mile climb.

As we reached the top two tandems passed me. I hopped on behind them and both of them pulled our group to University. As we turned on University me and two other guys did most of the work to Power, then to Brown and to the finish.

We ended up finishing as the second group. We were about 1 minutes and 30 seconds behind the lead group. Our time came in at 2 hours and 54 minutes, 40th place. Our overall mph for the race was 24.8 mph.

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