So there I was, pacelining with two others with 1.5 laps to go and all that I could think of was my strategery. I was pretty much spent but somehow I needed to beat Brian L. to the line so that I could podium. I needed to take my pulls at the front so that any groups behind us didn't latch back on but I also needed to save a tad so that I could muster a sprint at the end. With the three of us being wheel to wheel, a sprint was pretty much a sure thing. So, on the last half of the next to last lap I found the spot where I would attack. Just before getting back to the field where the finish was, you could just catch a glimpse through the woods of the finish chicane. Any winning (3rd place) move would have to happen before the chicane since passing there would be tough. So I decided to make my move there (or a bit further out depending on how things shook out), dive into the chicane, rail the tight corners (which thanks to KillBill's advice, I was riding better than anyone else in the group on the day) and roll across the line victorious, in third place. Ahh, plans. So simple yet so impossible.
So, we're back out on our final lap (which I had to confirm with several other riders that it was, indeed, our final lap) and we're all dutifully taking our short pulls and I'm wondering if anyone has anything up their sleeves. Just to be careful, I was staying extra close to Brian L. So close that in one tight, fast corner he slowed a bit and edged to the right and nearly took me out when our wheels crossed. Maybe that was HIS strategery. Thankfully, I saved it just before taking a dirt nap.
And the group rolled merilly along.
Finally, with less than a mile to go I began to look for my opportunity. That opportunity came as I saw a slower rider up ahead. Brian was currently at the front so my plan was to dart around Brian just as we approached the slower rider and use him to slow any counter attack by Brian. Is that a poor move to use traffic to almost win? Maybe so but I ain't above it. So, as we approached the other rider, I quietly shifted into my highest gear and stood to sprint and kachunk, kachunk, kachunk. My highest two gears were completely packed with sand and trail debris so the chain wouldn't stay on and I was forced to downshift and sit, hanging my head in disbelief. I had just showed my hand.
So, now I was at the front giving Brian the perfect lead out and I didn't have my top two gears. Things looked grim. Shortly, we reached my do or die area where the finish is just visible through the trees. I was still in front and had no idea if Brian was going to make a move so I did what I could, launched a quick attack and was able to enter the chicane first (third) and earn a glorious victory (for third) when Brian just let my dumb ass go.
less than 5 minutes after the finish the skies unleashed their furry with drenching downpours, high winds and lightning finishing the race for folks still out on course.