GILA MONSTER ROAD RACE
PRESENTED BY SKYWEST MEDIA
STAGE 5 – OCTOBER 3, 2021
The final stage kicks off early at Gough Park in Silver City. One of the toughest days of racing in North America, the Gila Monster is a challenge for everyone–pro or amateur.
Similar to the Thursday stage, this iconic stage takes the racers in a reverse loop. After a steep descent down Hwy 152, all but one category makes a sharp left/right/left series of turns then travels 30 miles through the extremely scenic Mimbres Valley with rolling hills offering terrific views of each peloton against mountain backdrops with vast meadows or tall pines.
The Men 1, 2 race heads up Hwy 152 and climbs to the crest of the Black Range at Emory Pass then turns around for a swift, winding descent back to a fast, hard right turn returning to the same course. After pedaling around Lake Roberts, racers face the grueling ascent from Sapillo Crossing to Wild Horse Mesa. Winding, narrow mountain roads lead to the uphill finish in Piños Altos. covering 69-103 miles.
The UCI Men race is the true monster, testing the strategies of cyclists and team directors alike as they tackle the turns, climbs and descents of the challenging European type roads.
The race leaves Hwy 35 and follows Hwy 15 7 miles up a steep climb to Clinton Anderson Vista. The race plunges down toward the turn-around at the Cliff Dwellings National Monument Visitor Center, often exceeding speeds of 97 kmph(60 mph). They then return to make the very difficult Category 1 climb before a rapid descent to Sapillo Crossing. Another arduous climb takes the riders to Wild Horse Mesa after which the road winds through the splendor and shadows of the Gila National Forest. Racers complete 2,853 m (9,360 ft) of climbing over 100.6 mi(161.9 km) to the uphill finish in the historic Village of Piños Altos. This steep stage finish determines the overall finish and can make all the difference in overall placing if not calculated well.
Spectators can enjoy the rustic charm of this historic mining village and take in the art at the Hearst Church gallery, visit the museum, check out the old head stones in the graveyard or walk through the pages of history while taking in the historic buildings scattered throughout the town.
UCI Women start at 9 am and race 65.9 miles with 5,610 feet of climbing and 4,714 feet of descent. Two bonus sprints and three QOM sprints (one Cat 2 and two Cat 3 QOM).
After the start, the course proceeds out of Silver City on US 180. Race will remain neutral until clearing the last stoplight on the way out of town at 2.2 miles (3.5km). The first road of the race is a four-lane divided highway with wide shoulders. Riders stay in right lane and shoulder. At 7.8 miles(12.5km), the race will turn left onto NM 152 for the first bonus sprint at 10.9 miles (17.5km) followed by the first QOM, a Cat 3 at 16.1 miles (25.9km). Race turns left onto NM 35 at 22.1 miles(35.6km). After the turn the race heads up the Mimbres Valley toward Lake Roberts. Second bonus sprint will be along NM 35 at Camp Thunderbird, 35.6 miles (57.3km), between mm 13 and 14. After passing Lake Roberts at the junction with NM 15, turn left onto NM 15 toward Piños Altos. Cross Sapillo Creek at 50.5 miles (81.3km), and begin the climb to Wild Horse Mesa, 53.8 miles(86.6km) for the second QOM, a Cat 2. At 68.3 miles(109.9km), bear right to Piños Altos at the “Y” intersection. It is approximately 0.5 miles(0.8km) to the finish.
UCI Men start at 8:40 am and race 100.6 miles with 9,131 feet of climbing and 8,252 feet of descent. Two bonus sprints and five KOMS (one Cat 1, two Cat 2, and three Cat 3 KOM.)
After the start, the course proceeds out of Silver City on US 180. Race will remain neutral until clearing the last stoplight on the way out of town at 2.2 miles(3.5km). The first road of the race is a four-lane divided highway with wide shoulders. Riders stay in right lane and shoulder. At 5.6 miles(9km), the race will turn left onto NM 152 for the first bonus sprint at 8.7 miles(14km). This is followed by fast, straight downhill. At the bottom of the descent at 10.2 miles(16.4km) is a railroad crossing. The first KOM is a Cat 3 at mile 13.9 (22.4km). Race turns left onto NM 35 at 19.9 miles (32.0km). The road is narrow with little or no shoulder. The second bonus sprint will be along NM 35 at Camp Thunderbird, 33.4 miles(53.8km) between mm13 and14. At the junction with NM 15, riders turn right to begin the 7 mile (11.3km) Copperas Vista climb of the Gila Cliff Dwelling leg. The second KOM at 54.9 miles(88.4km) is a Cat 2. Use caution on dangerous descents. At 64.9 miles(104.4km), the course reaches the turn-around. This part of the race course features 2-way bike race traffic – riders and drivers should exercise great caution and look out for oncoming traffic. The third KOM is a Cat 1 at 75.3miles(121.2km). Use caution on descent to Sapillo Creek. Riders will cross Sapillo Creek at 83.0 miles(133.6km) and begin the 3.3 mile(5.3km) climb to Wild Horse Mesa. The fourth KOM is a Cat 2 at 86.3 miles(138.9km). At 100.0 miles(160.9km), the course bears to the right at the “Y” intersection, the road into Pinos Altos. It is approximately 0.5 miles(0.8km) to the finish.
Stage variance is the out and back to Emory Pass for Men 1-2 and Gila Cliff Dwellings Visitor Center for UCI Men
A closer look at stage 5, the Gila Monster Road Race
Details for the UCI Women:
On the Course: 2 bonus sprints: time bonuses for 1st, 2nd and 3rd, cash award for 1st and sprinter points for 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Three QOMS: one Cat 3 and one Cat 2
At the Finish: One final Cat 3 QOM
Details for the UCI Men:
On the Course: 2 bonus sprints: time bonuses for 1st, 2nd and 3rd, cash award for 1st and sprinter points for 1st, 2nd and 3rd. For KOMS: one Cat 1, two Cat 2 and one Cat 3
At the Finish: One final Cat 3 KOM
Jerseys awarded at the end of the stage are:
General Classification Leader’s Jersey (Red) sponsored by Wildlife Generation
Sprinter Jersey (Green) sponsored by SkyWest Media
KOM/QOM Jersey (Polka Dots) sponsored by Freeport McMoRan
Best Young Rider Jersey (White) sponsored by Brian & Lynn Robinson and Southwest Bone & Joint Institute