Sunday, October 26, 2014

Worrisome Weekend

Jeff Wren leads Troy Sable in the elite Cat 4 race as the bagpipes play at Celtic Cross.

The final race of my 2012 cyclocross season was the Halloween Classic at Washington Park in Milwaukee. I went into it feeling burned out and I performed badly, losing to a couple of guys who had never beaten me before. I think I had decided to pull the plug on my season before I hit the finish line.

On Saturday, this year’s edition of the Halloween Classic was a little less unkind to me but I still didn’t get the result I wanted: 7th out of 19 in the Cat 4 Masters 45+ race. Anthony James (Team Extreme) took 1st place over PJ Braun (Heavy Pedal Velo) and Andrew Stevens (Rat City Racers). Thomas Clark (Heavy Pedal Velo) took 4th place and wasn’t very far ahead of me early in Lap 2. Jeff Wren (Team Extreme), Troy Sable (unattached) and I were chasing Clark when I slid out in a tight corner. I got back on the bike quickly and never lost sight of Wren and Sable, but I couldn’t get back up to them. On Lap 3 I was really just holding off a challenger from behind.

That was a disappointing result, but not nearly as disappointing as taking 7th out of 14 today at Celtic Cross in Fitchburg. James won again; I haven’t come close to beating him in any of our head-to-head meetings this season. Again I chased Sable (5th) and Wren (6th) without success but at least I could see them. The top 4 finishers were completely out of sight by the time I started my final lap.

The futility of my efforts is the point that was really driven home this weekend. This season I wanted to accumulate upgrade points, but now that I have enough of them I don’t want to upgrade. I didn’t even challenge for a podium spot this weekend, much less a victory, so what sense does it make to move on to an even more demanding level of competition? And what sense does it make to keep racking up WCA series points when there’s no season-long prize in Cat 4 Masters?

I did 8 races in October. There are 5 scheduled for November, 3 of which are in the Madison area and I am beginning to tire of the pre-dawn drive to the race venues. This was a gorgeous weekend but next Saturday and Sunday won’t be so nice. My motivation is waning and I might skip next weekend’s Masters races in favor of the elite (not age-restricted) Cat 4 contests. My fellow West Benders, Wren and Sable, have been racing Masters 45+ and elite Cat 4 all season. They get mid-pack results in the elite race and I figure I can too. If I already do not have a chance to win the Masters 45+ race—and I do not—then I have nothing to lose by jumping in with elite Cat 4 and at least I’ll be a little warmer due to the later start time.

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