Now I know that there are 333 teams that did worse at FSA DS than I did, but wow, 591st place was not what I had imagined when I put my team together. Back in the fairytale land that was last February I was stricken by some foul madness. A delusional sickness which inspired failure. I was bold where I should have been cautious, optimistic where I should have been cynical. I was loyal where I should have callous.
The Boldness came in a mad plan to dominate FSA DS through my brilliance. I and I alone would see through Ursulas mistakes and find the hidden value. I would without a 24 pointer. The plan was actually to win without a restricted rider at all, but I had failed on that regard by the time I hit submit. I picked Hesjedal! He would win the Giro and do enterprisingly well at the Tour. I don't need no stinking J-Rod or Sagan. On and on it went. My only bright spots were Kittel and Talansky.
The real question though is this. Why did I suck? I sucked because I made some basic errors. Now these are my errors and apply only to my own addled mind. If you resemble any of these comments please seek professional help.
I believed that I could "beat" the system. Do not try to "beat the system". City Hall (Ursula) always wins. As the game has gotten bigger Price setting has moved into the realm of Dark Magic. Through much blood sacrifice the she bear discovers who will have a good year and who will have a bad year. With the power of prescience prices are defined.
Pricing had move in much more conservative directions as of 2013. There will be "no more gifts" extra points will be tacked on at the drop of a hat. Colombians becoming popular? 2 or 4 extra points per Columbian even if they have only been on a bike for 2 months. American? give him and extra 6 points. Cav? Got to be 30 heck Holms wil still take him!
Expect that the Hidden Gems will be truly hidden. A rider having the year he is expected to have will likely not pay off. Most riders will be priced so that they must exceed last year or some previous best year in order to pay off. Pricing in hope is guaranteed. Kingtana the climber who will rescue stage racing from the Vile Skybots? Heck make him 28 points. Saviours don't come cheap!
How does one fight Hubris. Humility. Assume that the system is good (statistically not morally) and pick the riders you think will do well. Forget about trying to game the system. Quality will be expensive, so buy what you can afford and gamble the rest.
There is in many of us a tendency to put on rose coloured glasses as we pick out FSA DS teams. We assume that we can see the future. Unless you are precognitive I suggest simply buying talent. You may misjudge the talent or it may not get the opportunities you hoped for but talent will out. We are all guessing here, some guess better than others. All winners will need luck to win. Buying talent seems to be the best way to go. There is so much of it out there and so many paths to victory that you may as well buy the guys you think are the best.
Up and Down guys like Hesjedal and Pozzato, are deadly. You will believe that you have hit the right moment to buy, and then fail. Timing the market is for suckers. We will all need to buy some of these schleps because they often cost less after shit years. Some will get lucky and pick the guys bouncing up, most will pick the guys who followed bad year A with worse year B some the guy who followed with even worse year C ( see Andy Schleck). Pick your poison and be prepared for the painful death as they disappear the moment you hit submit.
You were on my team last year Robert Gesink. I love you to bits and pieces for the way you ride. You never do quite live up to expectations and now your team has given mister boring your Tour leadership spot. I am thinking that you must be suspended from my team. Every year I sink points into you, and every year I am disappointed. For me, for you I think it is best if we take a break. Its time for you to see other teams, and for me to pick other riders. We can still be "Friends". I may pick you again in future, but for 2014 we must go our separate ways.
I believe I will have a few more of these notes to pen as I say goodbye to those riders I love who disappoint. It is important to know when to say good bye. Picking your favourite riders because you "believe" sometimes you alone "believe" in their ability to recover and do fantastic. Sometimes the best thing you can do is say goodbye.
- Rober Gesink
- Filippo Pozzato
- Matti Breschel
- Ryder Hesjedal
- Andrea Guardini
- Franco Pellizotti
Breaking up is hard to do. But I must move on.
So, hopefully, I can purge the Ghost of FSA DS Past. Look forward to the New Year and a chance to study FSA DS Present. Before screwing up FSA DS Future.