Fun at the Fort – 03/25/2023 –Jack O’Neal

In my previous race, victory was snatched from my grasp in the final sprint when my foot unexpectedly came out of my pedal. But with grit and determination, I saw the setback as an opportunity to prove my worth and redeem myself in this race. I had a second-place call-up and was behind by 1 point overall. If I win this race I will be leading overall.

When the race started I got in the lead immediately to see if I could get a gap but my closest competitors held on. I didn’t want to give them a free draft the whole time so I went hard on the climbs and went easy on the flats and downhills. Sam, Deme, and I were riding together but no one wanted to pull on the flats. We started behind division 2 so we had to pass riders. We had a couple of sketchy passes. Deme passed and I was behind him, I tried to pass after him but the rider hit my handlebars. Luckily I stayed up. Near the end of the first lap, there was a long flat windy straightaway and Deme flicked an elbow and said “ya’ll are roadies you know what that means”. I negligently took the front. I made sure we didn’t let anyone catch up but I didn’t want to waste energy. At the end of the first lap, Sam and I thought we had dropped Deme but we later found out his chain snapped.

Second lap Sam and I were saving energy on the flats and attacking the hills. At this point, my legs were hurting but I still had energy. I was trying to gap Sam on the downhills so that he couldn’t benefit from my draft on the flats but he always caught back up pretty quick. I went a little too fast on a turn and went into the grass. I got back on the trail without slowing down and Sam didn’t pass me. On the gravel climb all the seniors were there running up the hill next to me. I passed Sam before the big downhill thanks to the senior’s support. I made him pull for part of the long straight away and he was in the lead when we crossed the road. There was some lap traffic when we were going on the trail next to the pit zones. If he didn’t let us both pass that would have been really bad.

I was ready to slow down a lot for that tight turn so I shifted down to be ready to go all out for the sprint. I was behind him after the turn. I started to go around him to the left but he was very close to the wall. I was worried he would box me in. He gave me just enough room and I got up next to him. At the last moment, I threw my bike forward so that my wheel would be a little bit further ahead. It worked and I WON!

Now I am the leader in points for the series. I have to win the next race to win the overall. If sam wins then I lose the overall by 1 point.