Randy Hodson from Old School said our tactics looked like a well coordinated plan. That’s funny considering we really had no plan going into the race. We came so close to getting a real breakaway to stick with one of our guys in it. Scott is a workhorse, we just need to work on timing our breaks better.
Since I was not feeling 100%, I wasn’t sure how my body was going to react. So on the 3rd lap when the announcer called out a prime (preem?) lap, I figured I’d go for it and at least take a shot at winning something since I was unsure at that point of my ability to the finish the race. I knew I pulled a gap but this whole effort was about to get real complicated since I was within sprinting distance of the 40+ group that started 15s ahead of us. The moto in front of me didn’t know what to do either and actually slowed me down as we rounded the final corner. After rounding the corner, I could see a shadow right on my wheel. I kept and eye on the shadow and decided I needed to go into full sprint mode to have a shot or he would likely ride my wheel and sprint around me. Mission accomplished, my instincts were right on and I won the prime easily but was gassed.
At this point, I was nearly on the back of the 40+ group and wasn’t sure what to do. The Pedal rider who was on my wheel came around me and yelled “let’s go, we have a big gap!” My first thought was “f*ck me, I need to recover” but then my brain woke up and said “this is a golden opportunity to go on something other than a doomed-to-fail solo break. Let’s do this!” I tried to hit it but my legs were really cooked. I was about to dive head first into the pain cave when Scott Berg came around me and I thought “YESSSS! Scott, take it away.” I wasn’t quite ready to give up yet and tried to grab his wheel, but I couldn’t keep their pace and decided to let them go. That was a decision that I’m really regretting now. Three on a break would have been much stronger. I can only call on my brain with limited requests and apparently, that bar is really low. What I should have done was called out to Scott and the Pedal guy to slow up a bit so I could catch on and recover. We had such a big gap that we could have managed that situation and then worked together and probably finished 1-2-3. The kicker was that the moto let Scott and the Pedal guy pass through the 40+ group. When he did that, I thought, “there it is, GAME OVER!” Nobody was going to catch them now.
It took a while for the main group to catch back up to me. I was able to fully recover and re-engage. The rest of the race was uneventful until the final lap. Once again, we caught back up to the 40+ group and played a back and forth game where they passed us back. On the back straight I jumped on the wheel of a small group of 50+ guys who were attempting to leap frog back in front the the 40+ group. Around the final turn, it was impossible to tell who you were racing against since the groups were all mixed up. On the final straight, I found a wheel and sat on it and let the early sprinters burn themselves out and then hit it hard with 200m to go and passed a whole bunch of riders. Somewhere in the mix, I saw a Pedal rider with a 500 series number and thought, “that’s strange, where did he come from?” And then I saw Scott as we blew by him. My heart sank when we caught him. I figured we were all racing for 3rd. But then I thought, “oh boy, this thing’s up for grabs.” Had it been a single group, the task at hand would have been much clearer on who you needed to pass, but I gave it my best and ultimately finished 5th in the 50+ group.
I really really really wish I had managed to get in the breakaway with Scott. I think we’d be looking at a whole different result. Live and learn.