Sunday, November 15, 2015

Records Falling, Enthusiasm Failing

See that map? The red lines represent the 32 miles I rode on my cyclocross bike today. Only a couple of them were at Hiestand Park, site of the penultimate WCA cyclocross race of 2015. I previewed the course, hated every inch of it, asked the USA Cycling official to remove my name from the start list, then went off in search of consolation. I had never seen the Hiestand course before, and I don’t expect to see it again.

Saturday’s trip to CamRock was a little disappointing too, though the course was very much to my liking. I rode well, probably even better than last year when I had a good result as a Cat 4. But I’m racing against a much stronger field now, and placing 18th of 26 overall in Masters 45+ Cat 1/2/3/4, 13th of 15 Cat 3s, won’t impress anyone. Fellow West Bender Troy Sable (unattached) made the jump to Cat 3 a few weeks ago and he also is finding the competition to be much tougher and much deeper at this level. On Saturday, Troy and I were locked in a really good back-and-forth battle for most of the race. Unfortunately it ended with an anticlimax. I thought we had 1 lap to go when we approached the finish line for the last time, so I didn’t put up a fight when Troy passed me. It was stupid of me not to realize that a late pass by 35+ age group winner Scott Daubert (Trek Cyclocross Collective) had put us a lap down. Mike Curtes (Milwaukee Bicycle Co.) won the 45+ age group.

On Saturday I surpassed 6,000 miles of cycling, year-to-date. It’s my first time above the 6,000-mile threshold, a place I never expected to be back in 2011 as I was approaching my first 5,000-mile season. What did I say then? Oh, yeah: “The next plateau, 6,000 miles, is neither realistic nor attractive.”

Well, I really mean it this time: nuts to 7,000. That’s just excessive.

Saturday was my 205th day of cycling this year, breaking my old record of 204. So, today was 206 and anything more will be … more. But rain and much colder weather—perhaps even snow—will arrive this week and I am looking for the exit. Today’s experience in Madison was the biggest “fuck this” moment I have ever had as a cyclist. I am physically strong but mentally fatigued, and my participation in the state championship race next Saturday is far from guaranteed.

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