Immediately, I can tell that the 29" wheels are the hot ticket. The chatter of the terrain and roots and rocks is heavily muted. My hands are happier. My legs are appreciating the lighter wheels, the rear almost a half pound lighter. The "racing" action is diluted at this point. Fast racers have mostly found their zone. It's just a matter of negotiating my way around lapped riders in the most innocuous manner.
I'm hurting, but nowhere near as bad as before. I have to do my best to give Nick enough time to get his lap in before 3:45PM. I've told him I want three laps apiece, but I know I need to do my part. I come in with enough time for Nick to do a slightly slower than his usual lap to end in time for me to go back out... because of that stupid extra five minutes I asked for.
I come in and we transition nicely. Nick says something to me, but I don't hear it.
I go back for gummy bears and bacon and a beer. Mebbe another, since I've got more than an hour to kill.
3:35PM and it's time to see if Nick makes it back in time for me to get a third lap that I'm not entirely sure I want. I ask Chris if he just wants to wrestle for third place, knowing he would destroy me, but it would be over much quicker. With two minutes to go, Gary comes in and Chris goes out. The clock keeps ticking.
And then the time runs out. I'm okay with that.
Nick comes in and I let him know that I was pretty indifferent about that third lap. He tells me that during the course of his (and our) last lap, he faked a cramp so someone who was following him too closely would just go by. He stopped and took a piss with a nice view of the lake. He might have shook his ding dong more than three of four times when he was done. He didn't really hurry, and I really didn't mind. I was never going to catch Chris.
So in real life, a victory in it own right.