Armchair enthusiast and World Cup fanatic Tim Wild takes time to reassess his Fantasy League team and to steady the ship in time for round 5 in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, this weekend.
Words: Tim Wild Photos: Steve Jones (in the kitchen) and Seb Schieck (at the races)
It was a clement day in the Forest of Dean. The office window overlooking the garden was open and the routine sounds of the village filled the air: leaves dancing in the wind, the call of the neighbour’s chickens and the odd sheep bleating in the distance. On the radio Lauren Laverne provided the soundtrack as the cat napped in her usual spot on the decking.
It was very much business as usual until a distressed cry filled the air. “WHAT THE SHIT”?! The cat stirred but knew that this was nothing to be alarmed about; with nothing more than a glance at the window and a smug smile she went back to her nap. After all, this is just Tim (me) and his stupid hobbies. He howls like this often, maybe Giroud has failed to score again or he’s overcooked a pizza. Maybe his fantasy team has slipped in the rankings.
And that, my fantasy friends, is exactly what has happened. After weeks of steadily climbing the ranks my team, Ron Swanson’s Bacon, has slipped from 252 to 321. I am DEVASTATED!
It’s kind of hard to tell what went wrong. I had two riders score maximum points across the weekend, Danny Hart came 4th and one of my 25k riders scored points. We did well, but I could have fallen foul of the change from the original fantasy league point structure to the UCI point structure the game is now using (Ed note: sorry about the confusion).
After debating the merits of my tactics last time round I’m left wondering if I made the wrong decision to go all in with three cornerstone riders. However, at this stage I figure I have to live with my choices. I’m going to stick by my guns this week and change as little as possible. I keep tinkering and getting annoyed at changes, so provided everyone is fit and racing they are staying and I’m only going to change the lowest scoring racer of the round.
So, on to the rider-by-rider reviews from Leogang:
Rachel Atherton gets 10/10 for Leogang having scored maximum points across the weekend again. You’ve got to ask if anyone is capable of putting up a challenge when she is in this form. Will it be a clean sweep for the season?
Aaron Gwin (10/10) is another racer in the team that got maximum points at the race and in my rankings. On a track with little room for error and tight margins he pulled out a near perfect run and won by 3 seconds.
Lenzerheide should suit Gwin. He didn’t do well there last year but it’s a high-speed track – the winning average speed in 2015 was 43.7 km/h. Gwin has won the fastest races this year: Lourdes (39.9 km/h) and Leogang (45.3 km/h). The races he didn’t win had lower average speeds: Fort William was 36.8 km/h and Cairns was 33.5 km/h. Oh, hey… maybe he just wins races that begin with ‘L’? Either way, get him in your team, he has to be the favourite with Bruni still waiting to return following his injury.
Danny Hart is ever reliable and gets 8/10 from me. He got more points at Leogang than any other race this year so far. As another racer that favours the higher speeds he’ll be looking to improve on last seasons 7th at Lenzerheide. I wouldn’t bet against him to do that – he is doing well compared to last year with 518 points after 4 rounds in 2016 compared to 343 in 2015.
Bryn Dickerson, a RSB newcomer, scored a respectable 33 points. These points get Bryn a 6/10 (he cost 25k and is scored by price band) and a place in the team for this weekend. Good job, buddy!
Louis Hamilton didn’t qualify for this round. He gets a 3/10 for the weekend, his bus fare home and a P45. Sorry Louis, you didn’t take your chance but there is always the ‘Wildcard’ draw…
Last time out I joked that I would get my cat to choose my 25k racers. It was a throwaway joke; only an idiot would get his cat to choose a team member, right? Well, I know I’m an idiot, so I’m going to use my cat to choose my Wildcard™ and wipe that smug smile from her face.
From a shortlist of seven racers at 25k I just got my cat to prod the page and pick a racer at random. And that racer is… Emyr Davies. Welcome back, Emyr. No hard feelings about the time I kicked out of the team, yeah?
So there you go, the team is picked and the bus is rolling to Switzerland. See you in front of the TV!
A note for racers: Don’t take any of this personally, it’s dog-eat-dog in the world of fantasy sports, I love you all really. If I’ve talked you up and you do badly I haven’t cursed you, but if you think I have please complain to the editor.
No cats were harmed in the making of this article.