With the coming of the Tour of the Gila, some schools receive special visits from professional cyclists. With riders from all over the world coming to the event, students get the opportunity to personally meet with team members. This past week several cyclists from professional teams visited Cobre Consolidated elementary schools. On Monday and Tuesday, there will be visits to Silver City elementary schools.
Some highlights from this past week included having last year’s Tour of the Gila’s overall winner (General Classification) for men, Evan Huffman of Rally Cycling, make an appearance at Bayard Elementary. Kyle Murphy, also of Rally Cycling, presented with Evan, to the elementary kids, covering topics of bike safety, healthy lifestyles and eating; plus, the two answered challenging questions…some a little harder than others such as a question posed from a kindergarten student how to get good enough to take the training wheels off to older students asking about the construction of the bikes, what it means to be a professional cyclists, and technology.
Other elementary school visits in the Cobre Consolidated School District included mobius BridgeLane team from Australia who visited Central and Hurley Elementary schools. Ethan Berends from Australia, Brad Evans from New Zealand, and Alexander Evans from Australia entertained students posing interesting questions from how many countries they visited to what the knobs were on their special shoes. Brad, a sprinter and professional cyclist for 8 years, talked about healthy lifestyles and what it means to be a professional cyclist traveling to over 40 countries so far in his career. Ethan, who raced in the Tour of the Gila last year, finds most challenging the elevation here, but enjoys racing against other teams, the scenery, and “lots of hills.” Alexander shared that he really enjoys climbing. All three team members were inspired by their fathers to ride. All three team members inspired youth to eat healthy and be safe.
The San Lorenzo Elementary school was treated by a visit from two of the women from Hagens Berman Supermint Pro Cycling. Liza Rachetto, who raced here the first time in 2001, and Jess Cerra, who raced here the first time in 2014, visited the students of San Lorenzo Elementary School. Liza and Jess commented that the most difficult factor of the race is the elevation, followed by wind. One factor both racers appreciate is the “consistent climate from Stage 1 through Stage 5.” Both women said that they “love the ‘Gila’ part of the race” and that this is the “hardest race in the United States,” but gives them an opportunity to showcase a woman’s strength. Teamwork is very critical to success in this race. Liza and Jess shared with the youth the importance of eating healthy and bike safety, while inviting all the kids to come out to Saturday’s citizen race at noon where kids can race for fun.
This coming week, on Monday and Tuesday, several more elementary schools in the Silver Consolidated will be visited by other teams. This represents a special time for both the teams and the youth. Thanks to all the teams who are participating in school visits. Race starts April 18th! Youth are invited to participate in Tour of the Gila by coming out Saturday to the downtown criterium citizen’s race sponsored by First New Mexico Bank.