After spending exactly zero hours training together, the three members of a team for the Around the Bay meet to discuss their strategy for the day. Chris Riordan lays out his plan:
‘Ah gentlemen, glad you could make it. Austin, could you please close the door behind you? We don’t want everyone hearing our plans for the ride.’
‘Excellent. Thank you. Well this Sunday is the big day and I feel it’s probably a good idea to discuss our tactics for the day. Now, as the team leader…yes Austin…no, no you are not. While you have excelled in the logistical side of arranging our entry to the race, I’m sure you will agree that on the day we need a team leader who has a shot at winning.’
‘Well it’s exactly that attitude that makes you such a poor candidate for the role Austin, eye rolling and exasperated sighs aren’t going to help us at the pointy end of the race now are they? Also, quick show of hands everyone who was at this year’s Tour de France’…no one else?…That’s what I thought. So it’s agreed that I’m the team leader? Good.’
Melbourne – Queenscliff
‘Now as there are only three of us I’m suggesting we alternate between a 2:1 formation (in which two riders sit at the front and one sits behind) and single file formation. Clearly as the team leader I will not be able to sit at the front in either of these formations, so you will need to organise yourselves as to how quickly you want to roll the rotations…but with our 0 hours of training together, this really shouldn’t be a problem.’
‘A lot of teams will be using the ferry as a chance to rest their legs. We will not be. I’m a firm believer in ‘active recovery’ and so I will expect one or both of you to work on my legs for the duration of the trip. This is not some pansy rub down…but nor is it a deep-tissue, let’s use our elbows on his hamstrings affair either. I can’t be more specific at the moment, but rest assured I will tell you everything that you are doing wrong on the day.’
‘Clearly stopping at the aid stations to collect food runs the risk of an accident with all of the merging cyclists…it will also diminish my ‘numbers’ in terms of average speed for the ride. So 500m from the aid station I will be passing one of you (I would suggest you rotate this role) my drink bottles, two of us will then ride past the aid station and skirt around the danger, while the other will stop, grab food, replenish the water bottles and then put in the hard yards to catch up with us. I will be easy to spot as I will be sitting on the wheel of the person who I’m riding with and taking selfies.
Sorrento – Melbourne
‘Clearly we will adopt the same riding formation on the ride back to Melbourne. However on the climbs, Paul it will be your responsibility to set the tempo (Austin I will need your legs of the flat section from Frankston). As we near the top of each climb I will swing past and claim ‘King of the mountain’ points. Ideally one or both of you will take photos of this. The social media plan for distributing these images will be covered in the ‘Social Media’ section of this briefing.
Once we hit the 10km to go mark, it will be important for me to start getting the legs ready for the final sprint. So I will be moving to the front to get the legs warmed up. These moves to the front will only be for 200-300m max, and it will be your jobs to adjust to these sudden surges in speed, and then allow me to tuck in behind once I’m done.’
‘This is what it’s all about. All the training we haven’t done comes down to this moment. All the time we haven’t spent away from our families, all those mornings when we got up at 4.30am and then went back to sleep, all those sacrifices we didn’t make will all be worth it. But we need to execute this correctly! I do not want you screwing this up on me.
At 800m to go Paul will wind up the pace and start stretching the elastic of the weaker riders, then at 600m he goes flat out, I want to see some Tony Martin style drool coming from out of your mouth, then at 400m, Austin, you swing around the exhausted corpse of your brother and really turn on the after burners (while also checking behind you to make sure you haven’t dropped me…if you have, you must wait until I catch up and then start sprinting again). At 200m I swing past Austin (If I don’t have the leg speed to do this, Austin will start braking to create the impression that I am flying past him), then it’s all on me. I will power to the finish line, victory Riordan!
I will of course acknowledge your efforts in all post ride interviews, however (and this is very important) all winnings will stay with me. After all, I was the one who came up with this plan, I was the one who had to sit behind you two all day, and I was the one who put himself on the line for that last 200m to take the victory. So while there is no ‘I’ in team, there is in ‘win’. So you think about that before you start sending any snide tweets about me.’
‘Clearly any time I roll to the front it is incumbent on you to take photos of this so that the people at home know that I’m a team player and willing to do my fair share of the work. I’m suggesting hashtags of #whataguy #trueleader #sunsoutgunsout (this is only to be used if it is in fact sunny, and you have managed to capture an angle at which it looks like I have muscles…please let me know when I should flex).’
‘So that’s it. It’s a going to be a great ride, and I look forward to having a few drinks after we’re done (although I should stress that this will not be with either of you).