Jason Mindeman was our designated man for Monsters, following a sprint duel at dawn against Alan the Mirage. Accordingly, the plan was for Jason to suck some serious wheel and then have a XXX lead out train take over the race for the last lap and a half.

With about 3laps to go, the pack was all together and the XXX train started to form up around 10th position, led by cycle cross phenom Erik W., then Matt W., Eric G., Jason and Alan. Erik W. and other XXXer's having done a heroic effort to keep the boys out of the wind, Matt W began the march up to the front with about 1 1/2 laps remaining. I was sitting 3rd or 4th wheel as they came by so I tucked in right between Eric G and Jason.

Everything looked good, but then an unexpected acceleration just before corners 3 & 4 knocked everything out of whack. Riders came swarming in on our left and we were boxed in. Next thing I knew, there I was coming through the start/finish for the bell lap and Eric G and Alan were 20 meters off the front. Meanwhile, I had no idea if Jason was on my wheel.

Chaos, folks.

A few riders eventually gave chase and as they passed Eric and Alan, I was sitting 2nd or 3rd wheel. I didn't hear Jason yakking at me, so I assumed he wasn't on my wheel. Turns out, he was busy fighting for position with James from Higher Gear, who is a regular at Matteson. Anyhow, in between corners 3 & 4 I took a peek back and there was James on my wheel. I could have sworn he gave me a little wink. I took the last corner wide to try to draw James off my wheel and to find Jason.

James followed me wide, but finally I spotted Jason. Turns out he was right next to James, but I couldn't see him with my quick glance back. Jason, though, took the inside corner so now we were on either side of the lead bunch. Damn! Jason began moving up on the left, so I jumped, went to the front and we met in the middle. Jason again had to fight for my wheel with the guy who had been leading, but he ended the debate when he told me to move left a bit.

So, finally, there we were 1-2 coming down the straight away. I went as hard as a could for say, 3 seconds, and then yelled at Jason, "Go!! Go now!!!" (Don't ask me why. Seemed like the right thing to do at the time.)

Jason jumped, got a good gap, clicked into his 12 cog and went screaming towards the line. (Luckily he still caught everybody by surprise even though I essentially announced he was going to jump.)

Since I told Jason to go from so far out, the chasers were slowly closing on him. To make sure he knew it was going to be close I kept yelling, "They're coming for you!!!!!!!" That was probably breath wasted on my part because there was no way Jason was going to let anyone beat him to the line.

So, big props go out to Jason for conserving energy during the race, maintaining position, keeping a cool head, and DELIVERING a win for XXX Racing-AthletiCo.

I figure next time if we get the XXX train kinks worked out and if I can keep my big mouth shut, he'll win by no less than 3 bike lengths.