Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Paucity Of Podium Appearances

Plain vanilla: Enjoyable in moderation, but anesthetic to the palate in excess.
Remember what I said a few days ago about being a consistently good but never great cyclocross racer? It happened again this weekend. Don’t get me wrong: being consistently good is better than being just average or consistently bad. And I probably never will be consistently great, but at this point I would settle for occasionally great.

On Saturday at the Sun Prairie Cup, I was 4th out of 17 in the Cat 4 Masters 45+ race. I started well and even led the race for a few minutes, but eventually I was passed and began to lose ground to Joe Vadeboncoeur (unattached) of Lake Mills and Jeff Schifano (unattached) of Oconomowoc, who finished 1st and 2nd, respectively. I didn’t race badly; they were just faster. Mark Badger (Brazen Dropouts) outsprinted me for the final podium spot, beating me to the line by about 6 inches after chasing me for 4 long laps.

Today at Gordeldiercross in Milwaukee, I was 4th out of 16 in the Cat 4 Masters 45+ race. Anthony James (Team Extreme) took his 3rd victory this season, overcoming a brilliant start by Andrew Stevens (Rat City Racers), who settled for 2nd. West Bend’s Troy Sable (unattached) passed me for 3rd early in Lap 1. The hard chargers of the 45+ age group wasted no time reaching the tail end of the 35+ field, and searching for passing lanes through the slower traffic created gaps between us that ultimately could not be overcome. I spent the rest of the race picking off more of the 35+ guys, never really closing on Sable and never really feeling pressured by the racers behind me.

So, that’s a 4th place finish in each of my last 3 races, and my 4th such finish overall. I have made 3 trips to the podium this season as the 3rd place finisher. It would be so nice to stand on that top step, if just once, before I leave Cat 4 Masters behind. I am now in voluntary upgrade territory. I am not yet in mandatory upgrade territory. Moving up to Cat 3 still feels like too large of a leap. At least for next weekend I will remain in Cat 4, where by virtue of having been so consistently good but never great I am the Masters 45+ series leader:

If only that were worth something!


  1. Good going Dave! It actually seems like you're in a good groove right now. The competition is clearly tough enough to keep things "interesting" yet, I'm sure, frustrating due to the desire for that highest podium step. You can't get better incentive to push training with that kind of carrot (if that makes any sense:-|). And at least your races are run by crews who care enough to set up a podium. In my three "podium finishes" this season they didn't even bother. Keep it up man! You'll hammer one home before the season's out.

    1. Thanks, Glen. Thought of you today ... After the race I had some time to kill so I put a different set of wheels on the 'cross bike and rode around Milwaukee for a while. My route included a long stretch of the Hank Aaron State Trail. Hadn't been there since I rode it with you.