The Tour of the Gila has been branded as one of the most challenging North America premiere cycling road events, but also one of the most personally rewarding. Now in its 32nd year, Tour of the Gila has seen many outstanding professional and amateur cyclists ride its stages, face its daunting climbs, strategic descents, pedal through 40 mile wind gusts, and push to victories that become personal career highlights and proving grounds to higher triumphs.
In the words of some of the Gila’s proven:
Mara Abbott, a 6X Tour of the Gila Champion, shared that the Gila was one of the highlights of her season and she always saw to it that she worked Tour of the Gila into her schedule. Mara Abbott, now retired, during her 10 year career, held many accomplishments such as overall victories at the Giro Rosa Italy twice, two-time winner of the US National road title, 4th at the 2016 Olympics, plus numerous other accomplishments, including an impressive record at the Gila. (Photo with post: Mara Abbot waves to fans at the conclusion of Stage 2)
Matthew Busche, a U.S. National Road Champion, shared “the Tour of the Gila is a great national event for cycling in the U.S. It’s got good challenging stages and it’s well organized.” He contends that the Tour of the Gila’s last stage is “probably the hardest stage within the U.S. of any kind of domestic racing outside of California or Utah.” In his words, “this last stage is like as hard as anything you can do in Europe so if you can make it through this and your with some of the best, maybe it’s the precursor to something great that is next.”
Kristen Armstrong, a 3-time ITT Olympic Champion and 2X Tour of the Gila Champion, shared how the Tour of the Gila has really been a significant part of her career, serving as a preparation piece for each of her Olympic games. She recognized and stated that the Tour of the Gila represents a significant part of a cyclist’s fitness level and helps to grow and build athletes in the sport.
Brendan Cusick, amateur master racer from Durango, Colorado, shared some of the softer sides of the Tour of the Gila. He expressed that not only is this “the single greatest stage race for amateur racers available in the United States, [but that the Tour of the Gila] is a unique race in a location steeped in culture and history of American bike racing, provided in a warm, hospitable town on the edge of the Mogollon plateau blessed with historic beauty and richness.” He recognized how the Tour of the Gila organizers and numerous volunteers put their “heart and soul into providing a unique, top notch race experience for everyone, pro and amateurs alike.”
May you feel inspired to become Gila Proven. Ride where famous riders have pedaled before you such as Vaughters, Swindlehurst, Armstrong, Abbot, Leipheimer, and so many more. Register today for the 32nd Tour of the Gila.