After all, the pain you impose upon your competition is a pain you too must feel. No matter how powerful you are, it takes effort to cause hardship. So ordinarily, there is no need to attack and sit up just to cause pain for your competition.
But as with most statements, the above is based on a simple assumption: people are rational actors.
And if you’ve met me, you realize the above is rather false.
Sunday is a rather clear example of this reality.
Going into the race, I was sitting either 5th or 4th overall in the 1/2s. My goals were to protect my lead, get the IsCorp juniors into a break and to leapfrog the riders ahead of me.
As things began, it was clear that the race was going to be a painful one. The wind was brutal. To ride outside of the draft was to tempt fate.
Somehow, a break made it up the road. The original break was small but dangerous. I tried several times to bridge the gap, but I was covered. Eventually, another move went—this one larger and even more dangerous. After a several lap chase, the field and I had managed to close the distance.
Naturally, when I relented and settled into the pack, the same group of riders attacked. Up the road, the race was riding away from me.
At this point, a rational actor would have made a decision: Try to bridge the gap, or focus on winning out of the remaining field. Naturally, frustration rendered such a decision moot.
Rather than break away, I began a policy of scorched earth. Attacking laterally, I would do a series of sprints to dislodge the weaker riders. Once up to speed, I would settle into an anaerobic pace. As I tired, I would get up to sprint again. For several laps, I continued this policy.
I was not attempting to break away. The initial accelerations were not violent enough, and the pulls were far too hard. Rather, my efforts were with a single intention: to cause the long line of faces behind me to grimace in pain.
Finally, the cards read three to go. My legs were dead from torturing the field, but I decided to make a final dig.
So I attacked. And this time, I did little looking back.
With the day over, my teammates and I discussed the racing. To my utter joy, they mentioned the field’s ire at my riding.