photo by BikeReg.comphoto by Jack Miltonphoto by JS McElveryphoto by JS McElveryphoto by JS McElvery


Anna Milkowski’s 2004 Race Diary

 Diary EntriesApril 25, 2004 – Gila Monsters to Beethoven

    On Tuesday I head to the Tour of the Gila in Silver City, NM. Sitting out Bisbee, a stage race currently going on next door, has been a bit of a torment, but I am sure I will be grateful for every extra ounce of energy I have for Gila. I’ve been led to believe that when the courses aren’t climbing huge mountains at elevation, they’re passing through brutally windy deserts. We will have only four racers – Genevieve, Andrea, Erinne, and me. (Katrina, Helen, and Katheryn will be resting, having raced with Genevieve at the Fleche Wallone and the Italian GP Liberazione.) I’m predicting a duel between Genevieve and T-Mobile’s Amber Neben, who’s also known for her time trialing and climbing. T-Mobile brings a strong supporting cast and Victory Brewing is not to be counted out. I hope to see a Gila Monster, a rare speckled black lizard, and perhaps some wild javolinas (peccaries).

    Though my time since Redlands has not been the most exciting, it has been three full weeks, so here’s the rundown:

    Superior RR, April 4
    The Saturday after Redlands, I did a 64-mile road race in Superior, Arizona, a town about two hours north of Tucson and an hour east of Phoenix with an Old West main street. Later that weekend I learned from a friend-of-a-friend who works as a drug counselor that the town hasn’t been doing too well ever since the local copper mine (for pennies) shut down. I intended to take it easy and perhaps put in a few decisive efforts, but our team director had different plans. Genevieve and I were off the front within a mile of the race start, director Andre in the car behind us. I could tell my legs were not just sleeping, they were still wasted, but off we went. The course was an out-and-back on a single road, with a ferocious cross-headwind going out. The entire race was super hard, my legs feeling horrendous, my pedaling a regression in the “maintain form when shattered” quest, my knowing this effort was absolutely not what I needed in my training, and my dearly wanting to do well. In the end, Genevieve let me win. It was a bizzare experience: awesome in the sense of choosing an ambitious plan and executing it, strange in doing a bike race with a constant feedback more akin to a rowing practice, cool to have dug very deep, weird to be given a win, disappointing to have ridden so roughly.

    After Superior I took another week of rest. It would have been better for the mind if I had just planned it as rest. Instead I would head out each day and bail on my workouts. It got a bit discouraging. My cycling-centric Tucson existence proved a bit of a drag when pedaling was not going too well. I started to long for the abundant alternate projects that can draw my attention while at home and allow me to be productive in non-cycling realms. I did finally check out the 18th-century mission after which a common cycling road is named and visit the excellent botanical garden/zoo known as the Tucson Desert Museum.

    Bicycle Ranch TT, April 10
    I figured a 20k time trial north of Phoenix would jolt me back into action. I rode well as far as gauging my effort and pedaling well, I just didn’t have a lot of horsepower. I finished second, with Phoenix racer Heather Woodhouse taking the win.

    In spite of the lackluster time trial, I felt I was on my way out of the trench of exhaustion.

    Colossal Cave RR, April 18
    This 55-miler took place on the southeastern side of Tucson, with 6 loops of a 9-mile course that included a long false flat and the big-ring Pistol Hill. I put in a hard attack up the hill and was followed by Rebecca Cooke (a New England star when I was getting started), then we got caught. After a few more attacks, I began to wonder whether I’d be able to get away, given the strength of the five or six-member Landis-Trek-VW team. Fellow New Englander Nicki put in a hard attack which I countered, with Rebecca on my wheel. The two of us road three laps together, then I attacked on the hill and rode the last lap on my own. I was glad to finally have my legs back.

    Yesterday I did the Shootout, Tucson’s big Saturday ride. With all the big guns away at Georgia and Bisbee, the ride started out downright tamely. I brashly attacked a few times and was soon shot out the back.

    Now I am off to a Beethoven concert some friends are singing in.


photos by Jonathan McElvery, Jack Milton, and

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