I must have mentioned these elsewhere on AP, but after the first race of the year, my goal became pretty clear: win the 3rd tier.
Tier 1: Enger, Bone, Harvey, Ledins
Tier 2: Jones, Nachev
Tier 3: Nuss, Toomet, Olson, Hayes, Christopherson, Baughman (it took a few meets to identify the rest of the 3rd tier, but this is it)
Tier 1 is undefeated against everyone else, so that's pretty clear. Tier 2 is winless against Tier 1 and only has 1 loss against everyone else (Jonathan Olson beat both Jones and Nachev in Race #3).
So how am I doing against Tier 3? Pretty good so far.
Me vs. Toomet: 4-0
Differences of 0:26, 4:19, 1:45, 2:12
Me vs. Olson: 3-1
Differences of 3:49, 0:40, -8:34, 3:41
Me vs. Hayes: 2-0
Differences of 1:04, 2:06
Me vs. Christopherson: 3-0
Differences of 0:18, 11:55, 0:48
Me vs. Baughman: 3-0
Differences of 3:56, 0:25, 0:50
I'm undefeated against everyone except Olson's one race (15-1). I've had some close calls, but I'm 6-0 in head-to-heads decided by less than a minute. The obvious outlier here is Olson's Race #3, when he beat both of the Tier 2 guys and he beat me by a whopping 8 minutes (in fact, he's 24 seconds faster than me through 4 races if you look at cumulative time).
With 3 races left, I'm feeling pretty good about the money in the bank. In fact, my current score of 351 might be enough to get 7th place for the season. Obviously, I control my own destiny by showing up and performing, but if the Tier 1's and 2's keep showing up, there may not be enough points left over for the Tier 3 guys to pass me!
I'll also mention that people are noticing that I'm getting faster, and that feels pretty good. I dropped off the course-setting gear at the course-setters house on Thursday night, and he hadn't seen me in a while. I was wearing street clothes, but he asked, "Are you running more? You look a lot fitter!"
Rick Breseman also predicted that I would finish today in 43-44 minutes. I was at 39, and I was actually closer to Will's time than I was to Rick's.