Wild Fantasies Part 6: The End is Nigh
The pressure is on as the season reaches its climax
It's not about the winning, it's about the taking part. Yeah right! Our Fantasy League specialist Tim Wild on what could have been...
After my trip to Lenzerheide to watch Round 4 I had to settle for watching Mont Sainte-Anne in Chicago O’Hare airport. Anyone that saw me jump out of my (stereotypically uncomfortable) airport seat as Danny Hart crossed the line to seal another 1-2 in the men’s for my team must have wondered what was going on.
To be honest with you dear reader, it was nothing compared to the under-the-table fist pumps (ooh err) I was doing in a meeting the day before when I was following the live timing* and had realised that for the first time this season all of my riders had qualified for the main event.
My team – Rachel Atherton, Aaron Gwin, Danny Hart, Bryn Dickerson and Louis Hamilton (not that one) AKA Ron Swanson’s Bacon – has put me up into the unfamiliar and thin-aired heady heights of 43rd overall of this year’s Fantasy League. I’m thrilled, and while I know I can’t win the thing I’m pretty confident that my team is good enough to get me across the line in a respectable position come Saturday.
For the first time this season I’m keeping the team exactly as it is for the next round. Looking ahead to Vallnord I am pretty sure I’ve got the right team, and in Danny Hart and Aaron Gwin I’ve got two racers going head-to-head for the title.
The results from the last World Cup here in 2013 don’t tell us a great deal and I’m kind of reluctant to base too many decisions on the Worlds at Vallnord last year. Some people don’t seem to do too well at the Worlds (I’m looking at you, Aaron…) and some manage to peak on the day (I’m looking at you, French racers throughout history). Hart was 10 seconds back there last year but unlike the World Cup where you are racing for points it would come as no surprise if a racer eased up when they make a mistake.
Outside of my team, Loic Bruni didn’t seem to do as well at MSA as I’d feared, but after last years win here he’ll know it is a track he can perform on and I think he’ll get on the podium this weekend… and you never know, Hart and Gwin may play it a little safe and leave the door open for a win for Loic or Troy Brosnan.
The all-important review from MSA!
Rachel Atherton gets a 10/10 again. Sure, the series title is wrapped up but it is nigh on impossible to see Rachel easing off to allow anyone a chance of winning this weekend.
Aaron Gwin gets 9/10. A solid performance with 210 points from the weekend keeping a comfortable 178 point lead over Danny Hart. For Aaron to lose the title he needs to not qualify (no points) and then finish out of the top 10 come race day – and that assumes that Hart takes the maximum 250 points. It could be nail-biting stuff, but we’ll know more after qualifying.
Danny Hart gets 9/10, too. He didn’t take maximum points for the weekend so he drops a point. Harsh perhaps; welcome to the big leagues Danny!
As outlined above Danny can take the title so I expect him to go all out for the win this week – he has nothing to lose.
Bryn Dickerson gets a solid 7/10. He finished 49th and with 137 points for the season so far he is the highest scoring 25k rider in the game.
Louis Hamilton (not that one) gets 5/10. He made the final and although 79th probably wasn’t the result he wanted he made the big show and got me a few points.
So, an exciting race for the team ahead! I doubt Danny and Aaron will be making much eye contact over breakfast in the (hypothetical) team hotel come race day. See you online!
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.
*If you are my boss I made that bit up. Honest, I was paying attention throughout the meeting. Really.