100 years ago, dreamers flocked to the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco in hopes of striking it rich in the rugged Mule Mountains surrounding Bisbee, Arizona, USA. This weekend, riders will have four stages in three days to work the same hills for fame and fortune.
LVdB's history includes cycling legends Greg Lemond, Bob Cook, Alexi Grewal and Jeannie Longo, and this edition features Nathan Mitchell (TIAA CREFF), Phil Zajicek (Navigators) and Mari Holden (T-Mobile). But race director Albert Hopper likes to emphasize the grass roots/working class atmosphere surrounding LVDB. "I like to see no-name younger riders win the race. They've gotta start somewhere and this is a great opportunity for them."
The 28th La Vuelta de Bisbee gets underway Friday afternoon, April 28, with the Mule Pass Individual Time Trial. The 2.8-mile uphill burner starts in the heart of Old Bisbee and climbs 837 feet to the "Top of the Divide." Malcolm Elliot holds the men's record of 9:18, set in 1993, with Leslie Schenk holding the women's mark of 10:33, posted in 1987.
Saturday starts with the Stage 1 Sulphur Springs Road Race. The Pro 1-2 field will complete a two-lap circuit that heads east from Bisbee and into the high desert of South Eastern Arizona. The 79-mile course includes 2300 feet of climbing.
The Stage 2 Warren Time Trial Saturday afternoon heads directly south to the U.S./Mexico border and back. The 8.3-mile course totals 400 feet of climbing.
The Stage 3 Tombstone Road Race on Sunday April 30th packs 6427 feet of climbing into the 87-mile course (58.4 miles for the women). The fields will test the "basin and range" geography of Arizona and the riders' legs as they climb out of Bisbee and head West into the San Pedro River valley. Windy conditions, very open terrain and 17 miles of climbing in the last 21 miles of the stage (including two 5 mile 6% grade climbs in the last 15 miles) will likely determine the overall winner of La Vuelta de Bisbee.
More information: www.lavueltadebisbee.us