Social Media, man, I don’t know. I can’t believe the amount of stuff I’ve heard since Sunday’s Masters Race. It’s good and bad I guess. I must have received one hundred emails asking me, “Did MJ ride you off his wheel?” “What happened?” On and on…
Anyway, I decided to take the opportunity to give an old guy’s opinion on a situation that maybe the younger guys can learn something from, if they want to. I’ve been asked by about 999,999 young dudes over the years how they can get better, well Sunday’s race will give you some examples.
Cut to the end of the 35+ race and it was still together going into one to go. But, the racewas tough enough, and I could see that there weren’t any teams at the front, except mine, with any horsepower left, so it was a perfect time to attack. I just needed the right moment. Coming into turn 4 I knew there was a tough head wind on the S/F stretch so Iincreased the speed and hit it HARD as I come out of that turn and moved toward the line. I stayed on it wide open through the head wind, and I could see under my arm that MJ was with me; perfect. When we got through turn 1, MJ was coming through going down the hill and he did what MJ can do, took a monster pull. There was a Helen’s guy there too but I slotted in behind MJ as the Helen’s rider was hesitating. I didn’t recognize him, and he didn’t know it yet, but his race was now over. Why? I’ll tell you later.
So, now it was MJ, me and the Helen’s rider, in that order, going ballistic and coming out of turn 2. I looked under my arm again to see our gap from the field and I knew we had the win for sure. At this point, it was all about who was going to get the “V”.
Here’s my first tip: Always Think Ahead.
MJ asked me to come through, and even though I was hurting, I could have. Instead, I toldhim, “no, I can’t”, loud enough so the Helen’s guy could hear me, and to see if he wouldcome through. Why? Because I was thinking ahead. I wanted to see if he would work; he didn’t or couldn’t.
Now, at the speed we were going, in the order we were in, I knew by the time we got to turn 3, I could open a gap on MJ and see if the Helen’s guy would respond. If he did, Iwould jump on him, follow him up, then attack by him and most likely win, as MJ wouldbe hurting. It was a risk, but as I’ve said a hundred times, you have to risk losing in order to win. When we got to turn 3, I let the gap open and the Helen’s rider hesitated. MJ rolledaway; game over. We both sat up and the field caught us.
See, here’s the deal, MJ is my brother. We’ve been in more wars together as teammates in big time pro races then most guys have seen on TV. So my first choice is that I win, but my second choice is that MJ wins. There was no way I was going to chase him down and givethe Helen’s guy a chance to come around us into a headwind sprint when he hadn’t done any work. To his defense, we were GOING, and maybe he was gassed and couldn’t do it, but if that was the case, just man up and say, “I can’t work, I won’t sprint, I’m happy with 3rd”. If he would have done that, MJ and I would have worked equally to the line and sprinted it out, giving him the last podium spot. But, as it was, even if the Helen’s guy was gassed, there was still a 1% chance in my mind that he could come around us in a headwind sprint after we did all the work in the last lap. That was a risk I would not take. The way I played it, I felt I gave him no chance to win, and guaranteed either MJ or myselfthe victory. MJ had an awesome ride and deserved the win.
Here’s the final tip: If you get in the winning moves, do the work, lose a bunch of times, earn the respect you need, and pretty soon you’re gonna take the next step and win one. Kudos to the Helen’s rider for being there. It was a tough move to follow. Next time, next step for him I bet.