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Arizonan earns pride in grueling Maccabi competition

David Tannenbaum approaches the finish line at about 28 MPH at the Maccabi Pan American Games in Mexico City. (Michelle Rousnack@altiusevents)

David Tannenbaum of Hereford, Arizona, was the sole bicycling competitor in Team USA’s Master Division at the 2019 Maccabi Pan American Games in Mexico City, July 5-15.  He finished in eighth-place in the 55-59 year age group, receiving a medal for completing all three races. “That makes me the eighth fastest Jewish cyclist my age in the Western Hemisphere. I’m happy with that,” he says. Team USA’s 400 athletes were among 3,820 participants at the games.

In the first race, 13 miles on a Formula 1 car racetrack at 7,200-foot elevation on July 8, his time was 34:07, placing seventh among 18 men. On July 12, the course lapped around Ajusco Mountain in 45-degree temperatures at 11,772 feet. He completed the 48.8-mile course with an official time of 3:53:00. Tannenbaum was last of 11 finishers, with two riders not completing the race. The final race, July 14, was a 51-mile mountain descent from 5,200 feet and return climb in 4:04:35, where he placed 10th out of 11 men.

“In the two mountain stages, when I considered dropping out, I decided instead to ride for pride,” he says. “This is the first time I raced with the USA emblazoned on my chest; I don’t know if I’ll ever get another chance. I’m proud of my medal, even if it’s not gold, silver or bronze.”