Bit of a rant/race report/push off the fence.
Here's the situation.
We picked up a rider this year who only has a few seasons racing but seemed to be doing well in the lower cats and is a pretty decent guy. His role was to be a domo for our designated riders.
At each race we discuss our overall plan and I assign roles. He rarely is in the right place at the right time to execute his. Sometimes it's his fault and sometimes it's just racing.
Last week our race had a technical finish that suited me perfectly. We don't get many of these and we talked about what to do (and no, it's not a language thing. We discussed it in Chinese). Heading into the bell lap I gave him a tap on the leg and he was supposed to take me where I needed to be. He just growled at me and I ended up having to do it myself. In the end it worked out ok but that's not the point.
This week we had a race that had absolutely no meaning for us so I decided to make him the protected rider so he could see how things are supposed to play out and we could all watch him. Before the race I was even drawing stuff in the dirt to make sure there was no doubt.
I spent extra time talking about wind direction (it was really windy) and placement in the group in different parts of the course. Then I reviewed it again. I even assigned our top rider (Gavin) to ride with him and "drive' him like a remote control car. He was told clearly to listen to Gavin.
Circuit race of 6 laps. Windy with rain (BIG RAIN) threatening.
Laps 1 and 2: Do nothing. Stay out of the wind and in top 20 to avoid the sketchiness. There were 2 teams there with lots of riders and I knew they would up the pace to drop the dead weight and that they would send weaker riders up the road as rabbits.
So sit in and DO NOT CHASE.
Laps 3 and 4: Sit in. Myself and another rider would work to chase down anything threatning. BUT...if at least one of the better riders from BOTH of the 2 stronger teams went in a move Gavin was to send him (or take him) across and we would help block.
Lap 5: We were to actively try to initiate a break if nothing had gone by now.
Lap 6: Set up for a sprint (being very mindful of the wind) but not to take any risks because there were no points, money or any other benefit from this race for us.
I honestly didn't care where any of us finsihed it was all about executing as a team.
Lap 1 and 2: This rider was in 3rd wheel. He chased a dumb move and attacked at one point. He was very often on the wrong side of the road and sitting right in the crosswind. Both Gavin and I told him AGAIN where he needed to be.
Lap 3 and 4: A good move goes and he is nowhere to be seen. Nowhere. Gavin tells me he isn't listening to anything Gavin is telling him. We are forced to chase a move that we should have been in. I spent a lot of jam.
Lap 5: The chase starts in earnest (no-one was helping me on laps 3 and 4. I was keeping them close but couldn't pull it back by myself). I had already decided to switch off to Gavin and I was in the process of pulling him up along the long thin line at 50kph+, waiting for the pause so I could launch him across and then start blocking when the move finally came back. There was a pause and no-one went.
Suddenly our rider appears at the front.
Now there's no break and it's all about a bunch sprint.
Lap 6: We set up for a sprint. About 4km out Gavin went hoping to catch people napping. For some reason we are all already at the front so we set a false tempo and the gap opened. About 3 km to go and people are having none of it and they jumped around us.
Our rider was sitting on my wheel at 1km to go when the sprint started to wind up. A rider jumped around me on the right side (the WIND SIDE we talked about) and our guy goes. I yelled at him to move to the left side of this guy and follow wheels on the LEFT. He looked over there and then goes RIGHT. FRICKEN RIGHT!
300m later the sprint shifted right, closed the door on him and I can see all the way to the finish on the left.
I sat up I was so pissed.
I finshed last (except for the dropped riders).
After the race I had a quick chat with 2 of the more experienced riders on our team. They saw what I saw.
I was about to axe this kid when one of the guys says something to me; He suggested that maybe this kid is so on the limit he just can't think straight. Or maybe he is trying way too hard to prove himself because he thinks that if he doesn't get reults he will lose his ride.
I hustled everyone into the team car for a quick coke and a chat. I asked this kid to explain what our race plan was. He does. Then I asked him what the hell he was doing here, here, here, and here. I got a bit angry with him and I could see he was about to cry.
Really. There were tears in his eyes.
I asked him if he understood. He said yes.
We chatted for a few minutes and then I asked him if he could make the next few Thursday night world's so we could work together on skills.
He says he can and we left it at that.
After, I talked with the other 2 guys and they were not very hopeful.
It's time to start putting together the 2012 program so I need to make some choices over the next 30 days.