Here’s the thing. You wanted to race today.
But you couldn’t make the early 3/4 35+ race. And the straight-up 3/4 race was too late. That left you with one option, and that option was 1/2/3 35+. You know this option is a shit show, but you race it anyway.
You’re in touch with the group for maybe half a lap. It’s not for lack of trying, but let’s face it – you’re no match for the masters aristocracy.
Your level of situational awareness is high. You’re working hard, but it’s for nothing. You have a lap and a half left, and the leaders have just taken the bell for one to go. This is a critical decision point. With enough grit and determination, you can power through the next few minutes and finish on the lead lap. But that means you’ll have to ride another full lap, and you don’t really feel like doing that.
Out of sight from the rest of the course, your friends are standing at the top of a run-up, and they have access to a keg. So one of them holds your bike while you stand there and drink, keeping an eye out for the top few riders to come through. When they do, you hop back on, ride out the final minute or so of the race, crossing the line in what the casual spectator will perceive as a fourth place finish.
In a commendable demonstration of prudence, you have spared yourself not only the futility of riding the final lap of this race, but preserved precious minutes of your day that you can then use for other affairs, such as socializing with others, or handing out product, or not being cold. You may have finished 15th/15 on the day – if they have to give you a number, that’s what it is – but in the hearts and minds of many, you were a solid five places out of tenth.
Photo Credit: Nick Kirsch