The Hart criterium was on a 1.4 mile loop with one decent climb of almost 100 feet per lap. The final corner was at the bottom of a decent and was only about 150 meters from the finish line.
The first half of the race I felt so bad that I was trying to think of reasons why I should drop out and was actually hoping I would get a flat. Luckily my inner sprinter sounds like George Michael and always sings:
I won't let you down
I will not give you up
Gotta have some faith in the sprint
It's the one good thing that I've got
I won't let you down
So please don't give me up
cause I would really, really love to stick around, oh yeah...
- George Michael, Freedom 90
By just past mid-way I finally started feeling better but there was a 4 man break that was gone already. As the final 5 laps started winding down I just started moving up each lap and found myself in about 10th to 15th going up the hill the last time. From there I just kept moving forward and made sure that no one boxed me.
On the big down hill, Green Mountains lead out started right in front of me on the inside and I was the first to jump on the back of it (remember Power Loops are as much about reaction time as sprinting). Thus we entered the final turn all out with Green Mountains lead out guy, their sprinter, and yours truly in that order.
Their sprinter broke right and their lead out guy peeled off left but I thought that the left distance to the line was shorter so I got around their lead out guy quick and was coming up fast on their sprinter with us both throwing our bikes at the the line. The finish was close enough that I didn't know if I got it and it would go to the camera.
Exciting enough yet? Well now is where it really gets weird!
This was the last BAR/BAT race for the Masters and my old teammate Danny Sullivan went into it leading the BAR but with one guy in striking distance. Unfortunately, the guy 2nd in the BAR got into the break and won while Danny finished several spots behind me in the field sprint. When we talked after the race, Danny joked that I cost him the BAR by beating him in the sprint which would extremely unfortunate as he is a really nice guy.
Then I went and looked at the results and they had me at 9th and Danny in 8th, something we both knew was NOT true but I didn't want to protest because it takes time, only top 3 were in the money, and it might cost Danny places thus the BAR.
After being a little annoyed about finally being competitive in a field sprint after all these years and not even getting credit for it, I got into the office this morning to find the results fixed. It turns out they had me switched with a guy from MOB with a similar sounding name who was in 9th. I don't know if Danny, or someone else, protested on my behalf or whether the officials just went back to the tape but it was nice to find out that I won the field sprint for 5th on the bike throw.
(On a sad note, Danny did not hold on to the BAR but fixing the results had no effect on this placing.)