Much as I expected, I find myself behind Mr. EX500 again and we begin our dance. Without making a dipshit move I cannot find a way around. I dig into my bag of tricks but the only thing that seems plausible is the outside move at the end of the back straight I used on him last time. I have my doubts that it will work.
Lap after lap I draft him down the straight, a little bit closer each time, elbows practically denting the gas tank I am tucking in so hard, neck straining as I watch the bike's tail section. For a moment I wonder if I might get light-headed from breathing too much of his exhaust. I know if I make the move too early we might end up fighting back and forth until one of us makes a mistake. I can't make a pass and break away, we are too evenly matched. I have to make a pass very late in the race and ride defensively so there is no opportunity for the other rider to try anything.
My patience wanes on the seventh lap and I make the move, pulling out of his draft and braking as late as I dare at the end of the back straight. I pass on the outside and make it stick, barely. The tires are telling me we have reached the limits of adhesion, and the chassis responds by twisting itself up into a fucking pretzel. I laugh and force it through the corner by sheer strength of will.
I now replay the other rider's lines in my mind and copy them verbatim, knowing I will be much harder for him to pass if I am exactly where he wants to be. Gone is the wide entry, wide exit, everything is tight, close to the vest with no margin for him to stuff it up my inside, which experience tells me is nearly always where a guy will pass you. If he wants this pass, he is going to have to earn it. He doesn't. I beat him. Again.
Although history will not record it as such due to our difference in ranking, we both know.