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All American Gal: The Kimberly Baldwin Diary 2005

Last year wasn't one of her best. After a close call with cancer at the end of 2003, newlywed Kim Baldwin (nee Bruckner) was hoping to come back and represent her country at the Athens Games, but apart from a podium finish at the Tour de L'Aude, 2004 didn't quite live up to expectations. However, cycling's all-American gal is looking to the future with new objectives and a new-look T-Mobile cycling team. Let's see how she goes...

Tour of the Gila

Stage 1 - April 27: Tyrone time trial, 16.15 miles

Time trialling in the great wide open

Getting to Silver City, New Mexico for the Tour of the Gila is a feat in itself. Silver City is a long way from anywhere. The closest airports are Albuquerque and Tucson. These are still a four-hour drive away from your final destination. And I think the closest big city to Silver City is actually in Mexico. It took Lara and me 12.5 hours to drive here from Boulder. But that included driving through a few snowstorms in Colorado and another big mishap that I won't mention. I think we can make the drive home in 10 hours if we push it… and remember to buy gasoline periodically.

Being that we are T-Mobile girls, we are all very used to having constant phone and email access. We don't go anywhere without our phones and Blackberries. So it comes as quite a shock to arrive in Silver City and find there is still no reception for anything. The last time I did this race was 2002 so I thought maybe in three years, technology would have advanced in this area. But no. So it's kind of funny now at our host house… six girls and one phone line for all calls and internet. It's a little like sorority living again, fighting for the phone line and chastising the one that stays on the Internet for too long. I think it's good for us to have to turn everything off for one week, as long as I can call my husband of course.

This is the 19th edition of the Tour of the Gila, and this year the main sponsor is Outside magazine, which I love. We were all excited to find in our registration packet a note that said all participants in this year's race would receive a one year subscription to Outside. Very cool. Hopefully they can just extend my subscription that is already in existence! The team is staying at this great host house about 1000 feet above Silver City back in the woods and mountains. The view from the living room and bedroom windows is spectacular. It seems so far removed from bike racing so it'll be a great escape after hard days of racing.

This is the longest time trial we've raced this year at 16.15 miles. It starts with a 4.4 mile climb, a 1.4 mile descent, rolling to the turn around and back. The constant in this race is always the wind. One is just never sure from which direction it will be blowing! Today it happened to be a head-cross wind going out. It made the times a bit slower from previous years. The women's field this year is 62 riders, and I'm sure big time gaps were established between the riders thanks to the TT. I was the fourth rider off - they put all riders in alphabetical order. Ina didn't start far behind me even though her last name actually starts with T. Instead of Ina Yoko Teutenberg, they gave her a name of Ina Yoko Teuten Berg. She was only a few riders behind me, which worried me a little bit. I had to make sure she didn't pass me! The four riders ahead of me served as great rabbits, but once I passed them, there was nothing but wide open space ahead of me. I love being able to chase people so it felt a bit lonely out there racing against myself and the wind.

By the end of the race it was Genevieve Jeanson that came out on top with me finishing second, 45 seconds behind her. Third was Katheryn Curi from Webcor. T-Mobile did well with Brooke Ourada in fifth and Kori Seehafer in eighth. It wasn't a great ride for me… I can't explain it. Just one of those feelings. The whole time I kept thinking, "I really need to ask Chris how he does this so well again!"

One of the best things about Silver City is the Mexican food so after showering and getting massaged, we all headed into town for a guacamole-laden feast. We're all hoping this will prime our legs for the task ahead of us tomorrow!

Until then,
Kimberly