02 July 2014

The perfect strategy

On the second day of bad weather, it has been possible to reflect back on the Spanish Championships task 2, 157km  elapsed time race.
The earliest starters were at 13.50. I started at 14.10 and winner (Francisco Reina) started at 14.25. Reina made the classic elapsed time strategy work by storming through the field to arrive only a few minutes behind the first to finish in 3hrs 48. Another top 10 pilot who started 35min earlier only got 14 more lead out points despite being in front quite a lot. I finished in 4hrs32 for 800+pts. So leading paid less handsomely than being fast and catching/overtaking pilots later in the race.
I had let, what seemed plenty of pilots, get going in front of me, but there were very few fast pilots amongst them. Their general lack of confidence in decisions, couple with quite weak conditions made it hard to press on without risk. Meanwhile the later starters such as Reina were able to get on the pace straight away.
Approaching Avilla the conditions improved and the pace was good. I eventually formed a group with an Enzo 2, Enzo and IP7 and we supported each other well although could have been faster to leave weaker/weakening climbs and we should have been prepared to glide deeper in the search for the strong climbs. It was noticeable how I am not holding as much speed through turbulence as some others, so as is usually the case for me it takes a while to get into a good racing mode. 
It was stable after Zegovia and we had to slow right down with 40km to go. I left for finals needing 14:1 and was rewarded with comfortable glide in. There was still life in the day and pilots were still arriving 3/4 of an hour after me. The later start was clearly a good strategy today and even pilots without Reina's relentless pace would have enough time to complete the race AND would be blessed with lots of high quality markers.
For those who like numbers, the results can be found here.

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