How you like us now?
Tuesday Night Worlds #3, AKA the most important race of the year until next Tuesday, was epic weather win with persistent, freezing rain that made my heart swell with glee. As promised I attacked on the line (and again, yes that's how it's gonna be all year long so get over it... better yet attack first). And yes, if you let me go I am fully prepared to ride the whole race solo. Here's where things got nuts and I smiled with real pride! I'd only been out for a few ticks of the PruPain clock when several riders bridged up and immediately started taking turns! If you don't race masters you may not appreciate how unusual that is. Usually guys bust a gut to bridge and then sit on; I am always amazed by the willingness of guys to expend energy to kill a move instead of investing that energy in trying to win. But not last night! It was Game On!
From there on out it was a KR 1-2 as Randy & I took turns attacking with Jim sitting in for the sprints. And each move saw riders scrambling to cover and work. I think I was in a move that lasted two full laps end-to-end (with a shuffle of riders in the middle).
The difference last night? SCCA / SBUX is strong but was constantly on its heels the last two weeks. But clearly they decided they'd had enough of that from us and where gonna assert some Swagger (tm) of their own. And. It. Was. Awesome. If you ask them they'll say the difference was having their sprinter, Mirante, out. I say that was just icing. The real difference was guys clearly had roles and committed to them. Last week the team wasted a ton of energy trying to cover all our options and as a result wore themselves down. This week each guys had a role from the dude who covered the first danger move and sat on (I assume those where his orders) to Jeff Reed riding out of his mind in the moves he covered to Sean being patient and saving energy for the finish. Well played sirs, well played.
1. Most Improved - Jeff Reed. Jeff started the season with a pretty forgettable ride at Mason Lake and some stern words from the PruDog. And his and Sean's penchant for covering / attacking together both killed any move they where in and wore them both out. That changed last night (maybe it changed when he won IVRR 40+?) when the Jeff that showed up got in moves and made the PruDog buckle his seatbelt with a couple leg crushing turns that put me in the pain box! Obviously I should take credit for turning him into a true NW Hard Man! Keep that sh&^ up man!
2. Best Ride - Sean Phillips. I think Sean wants to attack. I think he really really wants to attack but isn't always sure he should. When he does (Mason #1 yo!) he's is Epic Win but he also knows someone needs to cover the sprint. This week Sean picked a plan and stuck to it. I followed him a couple times while Randy was up the road and he was always in position to cover if he had to, but he was also sheltered and in control. I know how hard it can be when you want to just unleash pain and watching the patience and reward at the end was Much Inspirational.
3. Best Couterpunch - Randy came up last night and decided that he was going to deal out some pain. Randy is sprinter, but with Jim & Mike on the team he has the freedom to get in moves and be a real pain in the ass. And he jumped in it. Nothing is better than a team mate coming up to you and saying "I got this one". I think Randy got about 10.
4. Fail Parade of the Night - OTB for putting two riders in a six man move with Randy, Farestart and SCCA/SBUX. The move had the right mix and was going away. So obviously Old Town decided to bring it back. And it's not even like the just rolled it back. They went full tilt, balls out chasing to catch the break. Out of the saddle chasing. Mark it zero dudes. Then they lined it up for the finish and blew up en masse. Listen, I appreciate the effort but wow did you guys just completely do that wrong. In case you guys actually had a game plan there let me disavow you of any delussions: no one on your team is fast enough to win the sprint. The list of guys with more power and better kicks is too long and includes our entire team, most of the SCCA/SBUX team, Dave Hecht and two or three other dudes. You all of those guys to screw up to crack the top three. Your best and only move is to get a guy in the break. Also, you cannot put more than two guys in the break or we will kill it. We are not stupid. If you get one guy up, great. If you manage a second guy awesome. The third guy, no matter how much rationalizing he does just f***ed his teammates. third, the guy in the break was your best rider. I suspect there are a couple other guys who think they are. They're not. Finally, no you won't win from the break most of the time. But you'll never win the sprint. Ever. It's your best move. Take it.
Updated: Lone Ranger Award - Eric Olsen deserves credit for being the lone (not alone! one is a lifestyle, the other an unfortunate condition) Cucina Fresca rider, sucking it up and trying his best to get in the moves with us. A great example of not having a lot of cards, but playing the best you have instead of just giving up.