What's Cool In Road Cycling

Out of The Gutter And Into Some Warm Clothes

Your faithful author and domestic U.S. Cat 4 pack fodder favorite has hung up his wheels for another season. My initial plan of upgrading to Cat 3 this season didn’t pan out as I thought, but there were some insurmountable extenuating circumstances from the very get go in 2004. The new city, new friends, festivals, travel galore, oh yeah, and work, pretty much kept me firmly ensconced at the rank of Category 4 schlep. Somehow I still had a blast…

Dave boldly goes off the front in search of a prime. Go Dave go!

I came back strong after Ragbrai (read about it here) and a nagging knee injury to contest the Fall Fling stage race, where I had high hopes of doing no worse than a top 5 overall finish for both crits, a road race, and a “prologue” time trial. Well, as per usual, I showed up for the TT with just the straight road bike. No bars, no disc wheels, no funky tri frame. Just my Salsa and me. And I got licked.

Oddly enough, the placing in the TT (21st) was about where I’d sit out of the 50 riders for the whole shebang. When it was all said and done, after two weekends of traveling, hotels, more sleep than I’ve had all summer, and one destroyed GT road bike (cannot fully comment), I was somewhere in the mid 20’s in ranking, with nary a point to my name, and one measly prime in a crit that rightfully belongs to my teammate Greg, who dragged me to the line and graciously moved over to let me have it. I won a t-shirt and a cap.

I drowned my sorrows on the Team Evil Chort Ride the next weekend, a 100-mile excursion where bars serve as rest stops (story forthcoming) and tried not to think about how much I had sucked the past few months.

See Dave suffer. See Dave back in more familiar territory.

I was a little bummed at first. I thought it was a potent mixture of bad mojo and shame. I couldn’t shake the idea out of my head that I needed to feel bad about what had transpired over the summer. But, with all things, hindsight is 20/20, and time allows the minds eye to see things a little more clearly. It was during a recovery ride that things were put to rest.

As I trucked easily around the northern Milwaukee area, under iridescent and stunning fall foliage, enjoying a ride for the first time in what seemed like months, I realized the cornerstone of my cycling career, and one that I had lost sight of – I’m out here for fun. This is all fun, with a nice slice of fitness to serve as a fringe benefit. I’m not a natural talent, and that’s ok. My paycheck doesn’t come from riding it comes from marketing. My body thanks me for all the nice benefits of being this healthy. I compete. Progress is to be made as progress is warranted, whenever and wherever it may be. I have my whole life to ride yet; putting unrealistic goals on ones’ shoulders when one has to earn a living is trouble. I love my bike, and I love cycling. I love going to race weekends. And you can bet your bippy I’ll be there next year, bright eyed (hopefully) and bushy tailed.

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