The Boss and the Mailroom Clerk

Joey Bacala tied up the 2015 Tour of Anchorage Sunday. After a near disastrous mechanical on Saturday's road race followed by an impressive team effort to save his GC lead, Joey could have sat in the field and marked the competition during the final stage. That's what I would have done. Joey didn't do that.

Joey rode like a Boss.
After several blue-bird days of racing, it had been raining steadily all morning. The temperature hovered around 60F, which is relatively comfortable for Alaskan riders. Your mileage may vary. The water coming off the tire in front of you ensure hydration wasn't an issue, and as a bonus there might have been some electrolytes mixed in with the dog poo and motor oil.

A little over 15 minutes into the 75 minute + one lap Open Men circuit race, Joey rode off to one side of the pack and then rode away. When nobody reacted, he rode a little more. While the pack alternated between chasing, throwing attacks of their own to try to bridge, and arguing about whose turn it was to bring him back, Joey kept riding. He took all of the remaining time bonuses and swag primes, dashing the hopes of those that had tried to challenge him the day before. He build an almost two minute lead by the end, on a course where you can easily gauge time gaps, since it's run on both sides of a divided, 4-lane street. It wasn't a case of out-of-sight, out-of-mind. It was a case of a strong rider taking advantage of a situation, putting his head down, and going to work.
Like a Boss.
There was no doubt who the strongest rider was. Anyone who saw it just shook their heads in wonder. The rest of the field included some of the strongest riders in Anchorage and Fairbanks, who regularly amaze us mortals with their powers. Just trying to hold their wheel for any distance is a matter of pride for riders in the lower classes. Joey beat them all.
Like a Boss.
My race went somewhat differently.
I was 23 seconds out of a panty-moistening 6th place finish. The final stage had a maximum of 25 seconds up for grabs in intermediate and finish sprint bonuses. All I had to do was win every sprint and 1000 virgins would have been mine. Actually, I was just hoping to have a decent result in the stage and maybe feel less like a well-rounded failure. I was going to go out and try.
Like a mailroom clerk.
I really have no power over the competition. I don't have what it takes to dominate that sort of field, but I can sure annoy the hell out of them. At least, that's what my wife says. Reactions to my most spirited displays of force range from irritation to pity. I'm powerless when confronted by even the most meager talent. 
Like a mailroom clerk.

I took the first, uphill drag race by a tire width, which is likely the last time I ever win something going uphill. When the second sprint hit, I glued myself to Pete's wheel and told him to ride. He tried as hard as he could, but soon ran out of gas and I jumped the sinking ship for a faster set of wheels like the brazen harlot that I am. Second was the best I could manage, meaning if I won the rest of the sprints I would tie for 6th. I guess I can live with 500 virgins. 8 seconds down, 15 to go.

As the post-sprint blood drained from my eyes, Jens and Andy casually rode away, followed by a small group of other big diesels. My legs were done, and I sprinted into no-man's land before exploding and fading back to the other forlorn chasers. The reality of what was happening was all too plain- every person up the road had crushed me in the time trial. I chased with a couple of castaways for 20 minutes, gaining time here and losing time there, but 10 minutes from the end we realized our pursuit was pointless. We rode at a moderate pace to keep from getting lapped, and when the finish came I leapt out and crushed the sprint for 5th place.

Like a mailroom clerk.

I picked up another 3 seconds for my douchebaggery, but in the end 6th place and the associated maidens proved out of reach.

I gave it a shot, and while I made a tactical blunder by going for sprints instead of the break, missing a shot at 5th (I think they get MILFs) I can't say I'm upset about how it all went down. For a brief moment, I was in the race.

Afterwards, Masters race winner Jens paid me an undeserved compliment without probably meaning to. He referred to me as a sprinter, as if I had any real promise in that regard. He likely meant it as an insult, but I was flattered that he recognized my skills in wheel-sucking douchebaggery. If that's the bright spot I take away from this season, I'll take it.

I'm one of the fastest guys in the mailroom.


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