Top 5 reasons why…

…I am not going to win the State Road Race this weekend:

5. I weigh 180 lbs.
4. I weigh 180 lbs.
3. I weigh 180 lbs.
2. I weigh 180 lbs.

And the number one reason why I will not win:

1. I weigh 180 lbs.

Actually, there are more important reasons why I lack optimism for this weekend, but rather than divulge them in this embarrassingly public forum it is more convenient to make those tenacious last 5 lbs. my scapegoat. Not that I haven’t been trying, I expected them to melt away during my half-marathon training – they didn’t. Buckling down on food quantities over the past month has only resulted in more hunger pangs – but the scale remains unmoved. I don’t know, blame it on old age.

Despite my trepidation about this weekend, it has been a pretty good last couple of weeks. José and I, both in last ditch attempts to gain some semblance of form going into the State Road Race (which, I still maintain, is far too early in the season), have had some good weekend training rides out here in the hills of Wildwood et al. Featured climbs have included Six Flags, the Allenton loop (both directions) and the always frustrating Doberman and Orrville climbs near the end of each ride. José is a great training partner for these long, leg-breaking rides. He loves hills, he’s not afraid to suffer, we have similar ideas about how to train (and how not to), and we share a common world view on politics, society, and – of greatest importance – Chilean wines. He’s also not afraid to explore new ground, and this past weekend our shared sense of adventure turned up an almost insurmountable obstacle called Woodland Meadows (featured in this thread on the StlBiking.com message board). I live very close to this road but had never thought to try it until José – also having noted discussion of it on the message board – asked if I knew where it was. With its maximum reported grade of 24%, it is steeper than anything I’ve ever tried in this area – I was game but suggested we wait until later in the ride before trying to tackle it. That turned out to be a smart choice, I think, because we really didn’t know what we were in for until it was on top of us! In fact we went into it quite blind – we didn’t remember which was the hard direction, or what the reported pitch was, or how long it was, etc. After coming back up Six Flags, we turned onto it off of Hwy 100. For a time, we coursed through a private neighborhood, commenting on its beauty and seclusion. Then a long, narrow, twisting descent took us to a roundabout with two road options – both looking murderously uphill. We chose the left, and we could tell quickly this was gonna be tough. I was already laboring in my 39×25 when the pitch increased even more, and for a few moments I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep turning the pedals. I heard José muttering expletives behind me, and at the worst of it a resident shouted something to us – I don’t know exactly the words, but the tone was one of encouragment. When we finally got to the top of the hill, we looked at each other, and all I could say was, “What the fµ¢k was that!?” José’s Garmin verified that the maximum pitch was, indeed, 24%, and we both immediately agreed that we had just done the hardest climb in all of St. Louis Co. We joked that we should turn around, go back down, and go up the other climb, too (even though it looks to be longer yet gentler) but decided to save that for another day.

Last night was the fifth and final Wed Night Time Trial. It looked to be the best night of all in terms of weather – sunny, temps in the 60s, and a NW breeze that would make for a light cross-tailwind on the way out and light cross-headwind on the way back. I missed last week because I was SURE nobody would be there the way it had rained all day – I figured it would be stoopid for me to drive all the way up there just to find that out. Turns out, I was the one who was stoopid, as five people braved the elements to grab some easy points. Live and learn. I actually don’t mind TTing in the rain, I did my fastest 40k ever (55:28) in the midst of a thunderstorm a couple years ago at the Kansas State Championships – I think the water on the road reduces rolling resistance. At any rate, there was quite a good showing for this last edition of the series, and I went about as fast as could in an effort to beat my previous time. I felt pretty good and passed three people before crossing the line with my best time yet of 21:14, but my first reaction was damn! I wanted to beat 21 min. The more I thought about it, however, 9 seconds off my previous time equates to 24 seconds in a 40k – anytime you can shave almost half a minute off a 40k, that has to be considered good improvement, so things look like they remain on track for bigger races later this season. I was 8th in the overalls, but I look forward to (hopefully) the day when I can once again routinely hit the top 5 against serious competition. I did win the 50+ in all three of the events that I did for this series, but my personal rainout from last week prevented me from capturing the series title – local icon Joe Black showed up one time more than I to capture a win for himself, thus retaining a slim, one-point advantage over me at the end of it all.

Revenge will be mine!

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About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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4 Responses to Top 5 reasons why…

  1. Anonymous says:

    You know, sometimes, just sometimes, personal satisfaction doesn’t have to end in material success. Of course, I’m intensely competitive and feel like a failure every day, but know that you are successful. You are a good person. You are interesting, engaged, talented, brilliant (not to mention you weigh a mere 90 lbs. more than me, which really makes me feel bad). My heartfelt, genuine, smiling good thoughts your way. Tomorrow after my meeting at Johnson’s Shut ins, I’ll make sure your permits are stamped and approved. Bureaucracy can be crude and awful, esp. when the guy in charge is never around…I’m on the case. Hey, so, thanks for reading. I feel small and simple compared to you. ajv

  2. Bobber says:

    Good work Ted. You are on track to better performances. Just stick to your plan.

    I hope you write down your training ideas or just put them in some rough notes. I for one would like to get a little more insight into what makes the Bugman so fast!

  3. Boz says:

    Sounds like someone is coming on form. Great! I’m actually going to give the State TT a try if all goes well. The only problem for me is that it comes 1 week after I return from Europe.

    That Woodlands climb is a killer. You feel like you’re going to rip your bars from the stem, too.

  4. Brian says:

    I too weigh 180 pounds. I also enjoy Chilean wines.

    How about that Woodland Meadows climb? I tackle it every time I ride Wildwood…it’s 24% of awesome. 🙂

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