In all the kerfuffle of slipstreaming and contenders quizzing each other's pedigrees, it's not surprising that riders in a peloton have the propensity to miss something fundamental.
Hawke's Bay rider Max Williams found that out to his detriment after finishing runner-up to home-boy Isaac Schuurman in the 86km Huka Challenge race of the annual Taupo Cycle Challenge at the weekend.
Williams, at first, clarified that Schuurman, who had clocked 4h20s, was a pedigree under-23 rider and the Hawke's Bay Ramblers Cycling member was an under-18 prospect in the mountainbike event. Alex Ellwood, of Auckland, finished third, a split second behind Williams on 4h14m10s.
So was the disparity in age the only difference or would the Havelock North teenager have approached things differently, in hindsight?
"Nah [age wasn't the difference because] I would have probably liked to have known where he was at the start, really," says Williams who had won his male 19-34 age-group category ahead of Ellwood. "I didn't think I was incapable of riding with him. It's just that I didn't see him."
Mmm ... how does a rider lose sight of someone in the cacophony of the main group that had peeled away, albeit in a field of 146 in race that is billed on a par in time and difficulty with the 160km Round the Lake road ride, offering a mix of the Waikato River course, the Craters MTB Park and Warakei Forest.
"He just basically disappeared because we actually thought we were all together at the end of the race but we went back and there was someone actually up the road
"So, I mean, just trying to be alert a lot more next time will be good, I think," he says, revealing it was his first marquee race although he was familiar with the terrain before the 43rd challenge.
He hopes to make amends next year.
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Williams doesn't feel the need to ditch his script but just make a more vivid mental note of where everyone is placed.
For someone who got into mountainbiking when he was 4 because of his parents, Richard and Natasha Williams, the St John's College Year 12 pupil is taking road and track in his stride, too.
The younger Williams got hooked on the adrenalin rush derived from the need for speed.
The three formats are broadening his horizon, having excelled at the Oceania track meeting for his country in 2018-19 as well as competing at the Canberra Junior Tour in Australia in 2017.
The 17-year-old, who wears the Team Tank Guy stripes, made the cull for its road team to Xian and Weinan in China last month in the 54km criterium and 87 road race disciplines.
The former Havelock North Primary School pupil has his sights set on making the Kiwi team to the UCI Junior Track World Championship in Cairo, Egypt, next year.
"It's something I want to carry on into the next part of my life."
Fellow club mate Chris Clark was fourth overall in the Huka Challenge.
Kirsty McCallum also was runner-up overall in the 100km elite women's race, finishing behind Sharlotte Lucas, of Hokitika, but ahead of Jorja Swain, of Whangarei, after the trio all clocked the same time 2h 50m 21.72s.
"She [Lucas] was definitely in front of me just by only a tiny bit [of wheel]," says McCallum
of Lucas who rides professionally in Europe and the United States for Tibco.
"I'm very happy with second but, obviously, everyone wants to win the race, don't they?" says the 27-year-old from Hawke's Bay who had clinched the 30th edition of the Harcourts Bev May Women's Tour in Morrinsville.
McCallum, akin to Williams, has conducted her post-mortem and takes note she should have been in front of Lucas rather than a conscious tactical decision to sit behind her.
"Looking back on it I may have been able to beat her if I had started sprinting first rather than having to go around her," clarifies the sports co-ordinator at Napier Boys' High School after coming up shy following the 250m dash from the finish line.
McCallum says everyone was mindful Lucas was the best sprinter in the field of 27 so, consequently, the rear perch.
The Velo Project professional rider is resigned to returning to the race next year to exorcise a few demons on a flat course that presents Hatepe Hill where the bunch had split in half.
Her mother, Carol McCallum, was the third woman overall in the 160km solo lap event, in a field of 318, but second in her female 55-59 age-group category.
"It's pretty special to travel and race alongside my parents. Mum was impressive," says Kirsty McCallum. "She has been training hard and I am stoked for her to achieve her goal time."
Her father, Dave McCallum, also competed in the 58km mountainbike race.
"Usually parents support from the sidelines but we all have a debrief on how our rides went post-race usually over a coffee," she says.
Other Ramblers performers included Richard Woodward clocking 3h 38m to cross the line in seventh place in his 35-44 male category of the Round the Lake 160km race, finishing 43rd overall, while Strat Ellingham taming the two-lap 320km course in 13h 42m.