So what happens when the team car isn’t there, and a racer can’t get a spare bike after a crash? Zack Allison found himself in that unenviable position on Wednesday, four kilometers from the finish of stage 1 at the Tour of the Gila.
“I took my shoes off and shouldered the bike and walked for about 500 meters in sock feet and realized it was a real long way to finish, and my situation sucked really bad,” the Elevate Pro Cycling rider said.
And then, help arrived. It wasn’t a team car, or a teammate with a similarly sized Giant bike. Instead, it was a local fan and his old Specialized Stumpjumper mountain bike. “He had ridden to the finish from the bottom, or maybe his house, on his old Stumpy,” Allison said. “I’m not really sure the year, but it had five speeds and a triple. He saw the finish and was making his way back down. I flagged him down, told him my bike is broken, asked if he was open to it, if I could ride his bike to the finish, then bring it back down. He actually said, ‘I would be honored,’ which was a good sign.”
The 26-year-old Coloradan put his head down and rode tempo up the final hill, passing a couple stragglers and drawing cheers and laughter from racers who were heading down the Mogollon climb after finishing.
“As I was going up the climb at first I had no reservations and didn’t really think it a big deal. As riders started coming down to their team cars and were cracking up or cheering, I started to realize that it was a pretty unique situation.
“Nothing like that has ever happened to me. I’ve had mechanicals and bike changes but never been out of neutral support and out of ideas on literally how to not have to abandon. Lucky this guy was around. I did not get his name, but now he has a bike that has finished the first stage of the pro race at Gila.”
Here’s the finish bike in all her glory. Crashed into the guys who crashed into the dog. Kept riding, almost made it back, derailleur exploded with 4K of climbing left. Started walking to make time cut, flagged down a spectator with this mint ’82 ish stump jumper, upgrade from walking, left my bike as collateral, he wasn’t going anywhere on it. Rode her in with plenty of time. Picture cred @jkneve #elevatecycling #ridelikecaleb @davetowleannouncer @robear92