There are times when it sure is fun to *watch* a race rather than ride it. GDR is one of those. Lots of suffering going on out there - body aches and ills, broken frames, frozen freehubs, headtrippin' drama - the Great Divide Race has got it all this year.
I'm a visual guy - I need plots to get a feel for what's going on at the front of the race. So, using
The first chart simply shows distance covered at call in times. I didn't do it for all riders...let me know if I've missed your favorite rider and I'll see what I can do. One way to look at this chart is to notice the change in horizontal distance between points. For instance, you can see that Matthew gained some time on Jay in the last round, since less time lies between the points at 950 miles than between 790 miles.
Here's the cumalitive average speed for the top 3 riders at each check in. See any trends here?
This is the money plot. It shows the average speed between call ins. Think of this as the current momentum plot.
Clearly, as far as the start goes, Matthew is shooting himself in the foot by doing the Canadian prologue. I just read yesterday he did 200+ miles in rough weather in 36 hours before the GDR start. He lined up with a big load of fatigue, so was unable to hang with Jay and Pete.
That ain't the end of the story tho. Matthew has some serious "mo" building. Mo as in momentum, and maybe mojo...his pace is generally trending upwards! Pete has had a triple whammy the past couple of days...and Jay appears to be slowing down.
Interesting stuff. Time will tell...but based on Jay's aggresiveness in the construction zone, he's still burning some high octane crack. He nailed the fast start he was looking for, in the next week we'll know if it was a good strategy. It very well could be that some of Pete's current issues were triggered or compounded by trying to stick with Jay's hot pace - and that's what he was hoping for. I've tried that strategy myself a few times but it always backfired :(
In the scheme of things, Jay's lead is pretty darn slim. Given the current trends, if I was a betting man my money would be for Matthew to pull out the W. His mo is building, he knows the route well, has finished the race multiple times...and Jay senses the hot breath on his neck.
It's gonna be a nailbiter, that's for sure!