Man, what a long season. Maybe i'll do another post reminiscing about the past year (it was awesome) but for now i'll just stick with the final cross race of the year.
Cross off the old year race re-cap:
Going into this race i was winning the 360 series and was a very close second in the KBARCX overall. My teamate David was winning the KBAR but i had been gaining on him over the last few races and still had a chance to win it on the last day.
The weather was beautiful and i wore shorts a short sleeve jersey and no gloves! Unbelievable.
I remember this race being snow covered in years past, not today.
We had 24 starters in the 3/4 race. A good size. It seemed like most of the 3/4 races we did this year were a good size. I got to the start first and hung out while everyone else drifted in. People seemed to be in good spirits. Less pressure since it was the last local race of the year, i guess. Plus the A+ weather was making everyone a little giddy.
All the usual suspects were on the front row, Boulevard Jason, Teamate David, Boulevard Carl, Coppage Copperfield. Only James was missing, but It was going to be another good race none the less. The whistle blew and i almost took out Jason when i swerved while clipping in, whoops. It was basically the same course as Wednesday's race. My memory is fuzzy but after a lap or two it was the same old faces at the front. I was feeling a little tired and was riding at the back of the group. There were attacks and seperations but the brutal winds helped keep it together. I believe there were 5 of us together at the front. Dave, Jason, Carl, Coppage, me.
With 3 to go i was starting to think about riding for my teamate Dave instead of for myself. There were a few reasons for this but chief among them was that i was feeling tired. Also I won on Wednesday and then theres the fact that Dave is the bomb. So without knowing exactly what it entailed i decided to ride for him. Really this decision came when i noticed nobody wanted to pull on the pavement section. Jason had been leading but started looking around for help. People hesitated and i could see that Dave was about to pull thru and start working. So instead i rode up past him and said "ill take a pull".
Everyone slotted in behind me and i pulled as hard as i could for a lap and half. During this time i would glance back to see that we were all still together and Dave sitting 2nd wheel. I liked this. I was starting to get tired when i heard a small commotion behind me. I think someone went into the tape and held a few people up for a split second. I used this opportunity and pulled off the front and told David to go. At this point i think there was 1.5 laps to go. As soon as David pulled thru i swung back in line and went slow thus opening up a gap to Dave. I think Jason snuck thru before i got back in line to block.
He was on Davids wheel pretty quickly but then David quickly pulled clear again and was riding solo. Coppage came around me (yes i was blocking but i was trying to do it in a cool way, no swerving or anything like that) and made contact with Jason but by that time David had already pulled clear so they became a two man chase group. The course was constantly rubbing up against itself so when david and i crossed paths and i saw he had a gap of 2 or 3 seconds i said "go, you got a gap". My play was working! I'm a genius!
Now, Britton was making fun of me afterwards, saying my claim of 'team tactics' was a bunch of bs, but this is exactly what i was hoping would happen. When i glanced back during my pull and saw that David was on my wheel i was hoping i could sling shot him off the front... and that's what happened. I knew he was really strong and that if he could just get a little daylight he might be able to take it home.
As David's gap increased i gave one more big yell of encouragement, this was fun. We were riding as a team.
So lets re-cap, David is off the front with 1.5 laps to go. Jason and Brett are together maybe 5 seconds back, then there's me and Carl. Both of us soft pedaled for maybe 30 seconds. I didn't want to help him get up to David and maybe he didn't want to help me get back up to Jason, his teammate. So essentially it went from a 5 man race to a 3 man race. The question is would Brett and Jason catch up to David? At this point I was much more interested in this than my own race. I kept glancing around to check it out. Then I saw Brett wipe out pretty hard on the gravel and right then i knew Davids chances just went up big time. Instead of 2 chasers it was down to 1.
Long story short.... it worked, Dave won!
I was totally psyched for him.
I finished 4th behind Carl.
So did our 'team tactics' make the difference? Whose to say. It was waaay fun though. Obviously Dave still have won without my help but he also could have lost. This cross season has been a blast and a big reason why is the fact that for the last half of the season there have been 5 or 6 guys who were all evenly matched. When thats the case then any advantage you get can be a game changer. Sometimes all you need is a tiny gap and if someone can help you get that gap then you're already a step up on the competition.
Of course none of this would have worked if Dave didn't have the legs, but he did and therefore i'm a genius.
I cant think of a better end to the season.