From Mike Hainsworth:
In order to understand the dynamic of this race, we have to discuss the way the previous Sequim race went for us.
In the first race, we were outgunned and I didn’t grasp the dynamics of masters racing.
Pruitt warned me that “if the right move went up the road, the peloton would shut down, go to sleep, and be satisfied racing for the scraps”.
We were heavily outmanned. Audi and Garage had about seven guys each to our four. Pruitt, Cole and I went with attack after attack for the first half of the race until a move went without one of us. I didn’t panic at first thinking we still had a bunch of other teams to help chase. Wrong assumption. The peloton was happy to let us chase and sit on us. So we chased in vain the rest of the race with little help. It seemed the whole peloton raced against us.
Knowing this history, our main strategy was not to miss any move; especially one with an Audi/Garage combo. In fact, we should attack, even though we still were outmanned—“best defense is a good offense”. We had an added gun in the form of Robert Velez who happily executed this strategy. Just before midway point of the race Robert snuck across to a move with a Garage guy and Andy Lund.
Audi had missed the move and chased for a whole lap and managed to maintain the gap at thirty seconds. While this was going on I was able to sit in and rest. If you understand chess, it was like being in a chess game where you were two moves ahead of your opponent. The Audi team was burning itself out of the race. Our situation was reversed from the previous race. There was an added wild card to the race though. Todd Gallagher missed the move and we knew he would make an attempt to bridge, so I marked him. He tried several times to bridge with me in tow, but he sat up frustrated and resigned to chasing. He was in great form, and demonstrated this by singlehandedly bringing the break back. I am convinced this move would have stayed away if not for Todd.
At this point the expected counter went with about 16 miles left, which I was waiting for. On the back straight just after the hill in the crosswind ten of us got a gap and quickly stretched it out to a minute. All the teams were represented, and it was clear this move would stick.
I, being a sprinter that was heavily marked the week before, decided to be as quiet as possible and roll through without saying a word. I let the other guys in the break prod the baggage at the back sitting on and getting a free ride to work. I believe this side drama let me be forgotten about. As we came up the second hill with about five miles to go, the attacks started. I went to the back and got as physically small as I could and hid while the guys chased and countered. The only person I was concerned about was Todd. So I decided he was the only one I would spend the energy to mark as I as was cramping and didn’t have that many bullets left to shoot, so I would shoot them wisely. Andy Lund and Alex from Garage attacked us and got a gap. Todd went across, I went with him. Andy rolled off again.
The chess game turned to poker. Who would lose patience first and bring it back. Not me. A couple solo racers who made the break threw their cards on the table and brought him back.
Just as this happened unfortunately the race was halted two miles from the finish due to a crash in the finish area of the women’s race.
We stood around waiting for thirty minutes as everyone in the break made light of the fact I was “the sprinter” in the break. Of course I said I haven’t been training and didn’t feel great as I stretched and massaged my cramps out.
So as we restarted the race with two miles to go, I had a bunch of cabooses attached to my rear wheel as expected. Todd was banging bars with someone to keep his preferred spot right on my ass. So I decided to follow my own advice. If they were intent on being behind me, I would wait until the last second to uncork my sprint. That way I’d have a bike length on everyone already when it started.
I waited until 150 meters and gave it full gas. My legs cramped, I switched to the 11 and muscled it and gave a bike throw at the line which was needed to win.
Jim won the field sprint behind. It needs to be said that Roberts move and the fact the other KR guys Jim, Cole, and Pruitt covering moves allowed me to get in the break and be fresh.