The Tour of the Gila is one of the hardest bike races in North America. Riders have to contend with heat, mountains, thoroughly unglamorous sleeping conditions, and, apparently, kamikaze dogs. Yesterday afternoon during stage 1, Zack Allison of Elevate Cycling crashed into a pile of riders who had fallen because a dog ran out in front of them. Allison broke his bike in the mayhem and initially thought about walking to the finish with his machine over his shoulder, cyclocross style.
But four kilometers is a long way in the heat. Allison apparently saw a fan riding his bike down the finishing climb, so he flagged him down, traded bikes with him, and rode a bitchin’ early-80's Specialized to the finish. Allison passed a few lagging riders and finished the stage inside the time cut. He spoke with VeloNews, and it sounds like the bike owner was enthusiastic about Allison riding his old bike to the finish:
“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.”