Tour of the Gila Pro Race Experience - Lizard Head Cycling Guides
   
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891 info@LizardHeadCyclingGuides.com

Tour of the Gila Pro Race Experience

Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

A “Race Like a Pro” Race Experience!

Have you ever wanted to be a pro bike rider? Or, have you ever wanted to be treated like a pro bike rider?

The Tour of the Gila bike race is the only event anywhere where regular amateur cyclists can race the same course, on the same day, as the UCI pros! It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to “live the dream” and feel like a pro!

After many years of preparing to offer this experience, in 2025 Lizard Head Cycling will be giving our cyclists (our team) a pro-level race experience. First off, don’t be intimidated. This is a citizens’ offering, with the options to race at the Novice, Cat 4, or Cat 3 level, and at a range of age groups, including Masters (learn more about USA Cycling Race Categories and Age Categories). You do not have to be a racer, or even have to ever raced, which is the is point!  We are geeking out on the support that Pro level riders receive: prepared meals, world-class ride support, top-notch service such as a bike mechanic, and a 3 hours of massage therapy while on tour!

If you’re curious for your own “pro” experience, get on your horse and join Lizard Head Cycling Guides in late April, 2025 and race the Tour of the Gila on team Lizard Head Cycling.

Tour of the Gila Pro Race Experience: Highlights

The Tour of the Gila is the longest continuous running stage race in North America, and one of a small handful of UCI-sanctioned, professional races held in the US each year. The race traverses the Gila Mountains, a little-known range in southwestern New Mexico. The Gila Mountains are so far off the beaten track that few have ever heard of the, and even fewer have had the chance to experience the world class cycling routes that crisscross these mountains.

Team Lizard Head in the Gila!

Riding hard in the Gila Mountains

Lizard Head Cycling has been running tours in the Gila (pronounced Hee-lah) since 2012 and we believe we have found gold in southwest New Mexico. The Gila’s roads twist & turn, crest the continental divide (repeatedly!), provide the most car-free roads of any of our tours and offer European-style grades of 6% to 14%. It’s fantastic terrain for all cyclists, from dedicated amateurs to UCI pros!

Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway in the Gila Mountains

On our Tour of the Gila Pro Race Experience, each rider on team Lizard Head Cycling will be treated just like a pro. You’ll be given your own team kit to wear while riding, stellar mechanical support (your bike will be cleaned and tuned for each day!), daily pre-ride briefings, a 40-minute massage after each day of racing, all pre & post race meals, shuttles to and from race venues, and hydration and nutrition support as you ride (fresh water bottles, food, gels, etc.). All you’ll need to do is ride, eat, sleep, and repeat!

Silver City, New Mexico, home to the Tour of the Gila

Tour of the Gila Pro Race Experience: Dates

Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891

To easily register for a particular tour, please click the Book Now! link after the tour date listed below. This will select the tour name and the appropriate date on the registration form.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  1. Due to the field limits imposed by the race organizers, please sign up for this tour with us and we will instruct you when to secure your Tour of the Gila registration.
  2. Registration for the 2025 Tour of the Gila will open in the Fall of 2024 or Spring of 2025. Cyclists also need a valid USA Cycling license before registering for the race.

2025 Tour Dates

  • April 23 to 28, 2025 (Book Now!) – TOUR A GO!

Tour Status Notes: NO STATUS = Date Set, no riders have signed up. TOUR OPENED = Tour Opened, rider minimums not met. TOUR A GO! = Tour is Go, rider minimums met. SOLD OUT = Tour Full, rider maximums met.

Why Should you Sign-Up Now and OPEN a Tour Date?
This is the proverbial chicken and the egg conundrum! We need our cyclists to first commit to the date that works for them so that we can commit to that date.

For starters, when you OPEN a date you get to pick your preferred departure date, and there is no penalty if the tour does not run. Once you pick your tour date, Lizard Head closes nearby dates and funnels all additional riders to your chosen date until the tour meets its 6 rider minimum.

BONUS: As an added bonus, we can also hold a spot for you on another tour date of your choosing. There is no fee to switch to another tour date.

In conclusion, if you want a tour to run, we need you to sign up and not wait for others to do the same! Waiting for others may mean that a tour date takes longer or does not confirm. Just Do It! Once a few riders jump into the proverbial waters, others will follow!

Tour of the Gila Pro Race Experience: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour of the Gila Amateur Race Length: 3-Days

Race Experience Length: 6-Days/5-Nights

Meeting Town: El Paso, TX

Ending Town: El Paso, TX

Total Miles: 110 to 170 Miles (varies based on rider preference, racer category, and race route)

Ability Levels: Upper Intermediate to Advanced (3/4) , Expert (4)

Race Experience Cost: $4,350 per person.

Race Package Includes: 5-nights lodging (double occupancy), all meals, Team Support including mechanical & musette bags along the route, 3 hours of massage therapy, shuttles to and from race venues, daily aid stations, water bottles, socks, cycling clothing, energy food and liquid refreshments.

Single Room Supplement: Add $400 for 5 nights of a private room while on tour (cost includes 5-nights)

Exclusions: Tour of the Gila Race Entry Fee and a USA CYCLING Race License.

Meeting Hotel and Ending Hotel reservations and costs are NOT included unless specified otherwise. Guests are on-their-own to make reservations at the Meeting Hotel or Ending Hotel, or other nearby hotels.

Road Bike Rentals

NOTE: The make, model, and specifications of rental bikes may differ from what is described below. Please contact us if you have any specific needs for a rental bike or have any questions about rental bikes.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent Scott Bikes. The Scott Addict 10 Disc was designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind. With geometry that is less focused on racing and more on enduring, the Addict 10 will be your go to when you’re looking to put the miles in.

The Scott Addict 10 Disc features: Carbon Frame and Fork, Shimano Ultegra 2x11 Drivetrain, 34x32 Compact Gearing, 30mm Tires, and Hydraulic Disc Brakes. Approx. Weight: 16.89 lbs / 7.66 kg (without pedals)

Learn more about our Rental Bikes and Equipment

Road E-Bike Rentals: Click Here for more information on our Road E-Bike Rentals including pricing. Please note that E-Bikes are not available for certain tours including those that involve camping. Please contact us for more information before registering for a tour. NOTE: E-Bikes are great, but our tours are designed to be ridden without motorized assistance. We offer "bumps" along the road so that everyone can stay together.

Tandems and Recumbents: Lizard Head Cycling Guides happily accommodates both tandem and recumbent bikes on our tours.

If you have any further questions, please read more on our Rental Bikes FAQ page. You can also email us at info@lizardheadcyclingguides.com or call us at 970.728.5891

Meals On Tour

Lizard Head Cycling Guides provides most meals on all tours (unless otherwise noted) including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guides will prepare a daily lunch en route for nearly every tour, both road and off-road, as well as provide nutritious snacks at periodic aid stations during the day.

Most of our road tours utilize local restaurants for all meals and occasionally guides may prepare a dinner or two during a tour. Due to the nature of being "off the grid", most of our off-road tours feature guide prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. FUN NOTE: When guides prepare a meal in camp and the guests sit around and watch, this is called "Guide TV". :)

We also pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests and needs, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works best for you during your tour. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!

Lunches: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and, of course, plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies.

Dinners: On our road tours, Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients and guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu including: appetizer, salad, entrée, and of course, dessert... yum! :) Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post-ride element.

Ability Level: Can I Ride This Tour?

Definition of Ability Levels

= Intermediate (2/3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 1 to 3 times a week for a total of 50 or more miles.
= Upper Intermediate (3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 2 to 4 times a week for a total of 75 or more miles.
= Advanced (3/4) Rides and/or takes spin classes 3 to 5 times a week for a total of 100 or more miles. Has ridden multi-day tours and done a century ride.
= Expert (4) Rides 4 or more times per week totaling 150 or more miles. Rides E.F.I. with regularity. Has done numerous multi-day tours, century rides and races.

How Fit do I Have to Be? If one month prior to the tour, you can ride 2 to 3 times a week equaling a total of 75 or more miles a week, you'll do just fine. We like to jokingly say that "one is ready for a Lizard Head Cycling Tour when they are finished with tour" and this is true! The only way to simulate a week long bike tour is to go on a week long tour.

Our average rider age is 55 years. These are bike tours, not races so we take our time to stop, take pictures and see the sights. We have all day to reach our destination and most riders take "bumps" at some points. We offer reduced mileage options for each day. Of course if someone wants to ride E.F.I. (Every Freaking Inch), we love to show them all the extra climbs, loops and hidden canyons that can be included!

Do the Bump! Daily mileage options allow cyclists of varying abilities to enjoy this tour. One of our favorite options is to give cyclists a "bump" via the support vehicle, or a 10 to 20 mile lift down the road representing an hour of pedal time. After the bump the rider is "off the front" and riding at his or her own pace without feeling they are being left behind the group. They'll then have time to linger and take in the spectacular scenery. All cyclists come together in time for lunch. Afterwards, cyclists can take another bump and/or continue riding.

Seamless Mileage Options: Lizard Head Cycling Guides designs multiple mileage options for each tour – something we're well known for in our business. This technique is similar to heliskiing in that one does not ski everything, they ski the best. 🙂

Slow or Fast? Many cyclists who sign up for our tours have worried themselves silly about not being able to keep up, but then they're surprised to find that all the worrying was about nothing. They do just fine! Slow and Fast only exist relative to other cyclists. Speed does not matter as long as one is moving on the bike. As long as one is moving, they are truly going fast enough.

If you have questions about your ability to ride this tour, please contact our office via email or call us at 970.728.5891 - we'll more than happy to guide you!

Please also see this blog post for more information.

Tour of the Gila Pro Race Experience: Itinerary*

A winding descent in the Gila region

*PLEASE NOTE: Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations, road construction, road closures, and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Also, the distances and elevation profiles shown below may not reflect the actual distances and elevations while on tour as these are provided here to give an idea as to the anticipated mileage and terrain. Please view this itinerary, the distances, and elevation profiles as a general outline as to what to expect while on this tour.

NOTE: The schedule and routes described below is based of the 2024 Tour of the Gila, in order to share a sense of the riding/scheduling. The 2025 edition will, in all likelihood, be very similar to this route.

Day 1: Arrival in El Paso, TX, transfer to Silver City, NM

Our Tour of the Gila Race Experience begins with a 2 PM rendezvous in El Paso, TX. Guests are welcome to arrive in El Paso this morning, or fly in the night before, arrange their own accommodation, and spend some time exploring El Paso before we head out.

After we drive to Silver City, NM (our home for the next 5 nights), today is all about preparation: preparing our bikes, preparing our bodies, and preparing our minds. The goal is to have fun. When the day is done, we’ll have time to see historic Silver City and enjoy our first meal as a team.

Day 2: Warm-up Ride and Race Prep
25 to 40-miles based on rider desire

Today we’ll go for a ride as a group onto the roads surrounding Silver City, NM. It’s a fantastic introduction to the riding that has made the Tour of the Gila a popular race for decades, and a chance for riders to get used to riding with the support of a team. In the evening, we’ll enjoy our first post-ride massages of the trip!

Day 3: Tour of the Gila Amateur Stage 1: Tyrone Individual Time Trial
16 miles and 1,200′ of climbing

The Individual Time Trial is a key part of nearly every UCI-sanctioned multi-day race, and the Tour of the Gila is no exception. The Tyrone Time Trial starts and ends in the small town of Tyrone, NM, just south of Silver City. Riders navigate a steady climb to start the time trial, but are then rewarded with a high-speed downhill to the finish.

After a relatively short day on the bikes, this afternoon presents a great opportunity to relax, recover, and make sure we are fully prepared for the next two days of riding.

Tour of the Gila – Time Trial Course

Day 4: Tour of the Gila Amateur Stage 2: Silver City Criterium
13 miles and 650′ of climbing to 22 miles and 1,200′ of climbing

Criteriums are arguably the most exciting form of bike racing, as riders make multiple laps around a small circuit. The Silver City Criterium course goes right through downtown, which makes for great spectating during the UCI-pro races and exciting racing during the amateur time slots!

Day 5: Tour of the Gila Amateur Stage 3: Gila Monster Road Race
69 miles and 5,200′ of climbing

The last stage of the Tour of the Gila is the hardest of the whole race, and doubly so when you factor in the prior days’ fatigue in the legs! The stage ends with a grand finale: there’s a 1,800′ Category 2 climb AND a 1,000′ Category 3 climb in the last 20 miles.

After the day’s finish (and the final awards presentation!) we’ll celebrate a great long-weekend of riding, and everything we’ve accomplished as a team!

Tour of the Gila – Gila Monster Road Race Course

Day 6: Post-race celebration and departure

This morning riders will enjoy a final breakfast as a team before we wrap up our time in Silver City and head back to El Paso, TX. The tour ends this afternoon around 1 PM in El Paso; guests are welcome to book departing flights from El Paso this evening, or arrange their own accommodation in El Paso if they’d like to extend their trip.

Tour of the Gila Pro Race Experience: Logistics & FAQs

Bike Shipping

Lizard Head Cycling recommends shipping with BikeFlights.com. Bikes can be shipped either to our partner bike shop in each meeting town for professional assembly or directly to the meeting hotel for self-assembly. Bike boxes can generally be left at the meeting hotel during the tour. Bikes shipped across the continental US should be shipped 8 days prior to your tour.

General Tour & Cancellation Policies

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.

Travel Insurance

If you have not already, now would be a great time to consider adding travel insurance to your tour. You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you would like. We recommend Generali/Trip Mate.

Generally, if contracting COVID causes clients to cancel or interrupt their tour, trip insurance companies would treat it as any other illness as long as it is contracted after the insurance was purchased. Please check your individual plan documentation for details. Please note that quarantine is usually only covered if clients are actually sick with COVID. If a state requires quarantine upon arrival because of standardized state law, coverage is generally not covered. Again, check your individual plan documentation for details.

American Guests - use this link: http://www.generalitravelinsurance.com/get-a-quote.html?partner=LIZA0855

  • The Premium Plan is the only plan which offers Pre-Existing coverage so long as the plan is purchased prior to Final Payment.
  • The Premium Plan is the only plan that offers an optional Cancel For Any Reason - the policy must be purchased within 24 hours of initial trip deposit, the full trip cost must be insured, and if they cancel for Any Reason, it must be 48 hours prior to departure, and the reimbursement for an Any Reason claim is 60% of pre-paid, insured, non-refundable trip cost.
  • Customer Service can be reached at 1-800-874-2442 for coverage questions and policy modifications or to purchase by phone. Agency Code: LIZA0855

Canadian Guests - use this link: https://tripmate.catravelins.ca/?utm_source=lizardhead

 
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