WHEN I PLAYED FOR THE EAGLES

WHEN I PLAYED FOR THE EAGLES… wait… say that again… he smiles, When I played for the eagles… (really, how could I forget that?)… say it one more time…

When I played for the Eagles, in Philadelphia…

He didn’t offer this, it came up in conversation about college football – the one thing that makes me question why I cut the cord.

Post ride, we ate at Pipes.

He’s a San Diego boy, though he lives in AZ now.  He walked on at BYU (no scholarship) and wound up the starting middle linebacker, basically the Kobe Bryant of the defense.  Then, he tried out and made the Eagles… I think it was very brief, not positive.  But, who cares?  He was a pro.

I miss Pipes.

‘so good, I confirm and get on with what I gotta know…

Hey, what kind of weight training did you do as a football player? (Ya know, because I bought that book)

At BYU, we’d lift for 4 hours in the morning.  I was so wasted, I’d go home and sleep for 4 hours then go back to the field for 7 on 7 passing drills.

That sounds crazy.

It was, we weren’t very sophisticated.

What about as a pro?

The most enlightened training I ever did was the winter before the combine.  I hired a coach to get me ready.  He was much more about recovery, stretching, plyometrics, nutrition, rest.  We never over did it.  I felt great.  Best I’d ever felt in my life.

What was the dumbest workout you ever did?

At BYU, one day they had us squat our weight to failure.

How many did you do?

I squatted 260 lbs 97 times.

What?! That’s nuts!

How long did it take?  (I’m thinking like an hour, right?)

About 2 1/2 minutes.

I’m speechless.

(he’s worked incredibly hard to shed 70 lbs of muscle)

AND THERE’S MY BASELINE

IT’S 547AM AND I’M HUSTLING to load Trevor’s car with our bikes.  It’s been 2 years since he did The TMWC.  He just bought a new bike, and this will be his 2nd ride since taking a long break from the sport.  I know I’m stoked to have my number 1 riding with me, but I can’t decide if I’m excited to be faster than him.

I like it when he’s faster… he’s one of the few people I like to watch thrash me.

Must be a genetics thing.

We get to the start, unload.  He dresses.  I attach front wheels and water the grass.

We’re plenty early, which is nice because… he forgot his bottle.  #rookiemove.

It’s a big group, and the pace is spirited.  I drift back and check on him.  His form is perfect, he’s nose breathing.  But we’re two miles in and he admits this is going to hurt.

I wonder if it’s discouraging, humbling or motivating to be suffering on a ride he owned when fit.

The guys welcome me back too… I’ve been traveling or loafing for 3 weeks.  Damn, I love this crew.  Truly.

I check on him again, still there and looking good.

We race up SMP to Melinda.

I drift back.

Back.

Way back.

I’m done Dad.

We cruise to the re-group.  He pulls the plug and together we spin back to the car.  I let him know the quality of the riders has increased as the group has grown.  I’m not sure he cares.

Well, now we know my baseline.

There’s my answer: motivating.  He’s seen what he can do, and he’ll be back next week to make it a little further.

(yes, the ride has sped up in 2 years)

HAVE YOU STARTED?

HAVE YOU STARTED THE WORKOUT YET?  The rocks in my skull shifted… workout… workout… hmmmm…

The Maximum Overload workout?

Yeah!

Not yet.  Don’t have the book yet.  Did you?

Yes!… go easy.  This is the first day in a week that I can barely walk.

Haha… okay, will do.  Thanks Jim!

Here’s the problem, as cyclists we are fit.  As athletes, we are terrible.  Cycling is a restricted motion.  If you don’t mix it up and stretch you’re asking for trouble.  But, you won’t know you’re asking because you won’t breathing hard or even hurting when you try something new.

I was paralyzed the day after the annual turkey bowl, one year.

This off-season I’m definitely going to back the miles down and work on strength.  I’m going to start with the aforementioned book.  It should arrive tomorrow.  I’m going to get a trainer to make sure my form is correct.

Today, to prep, I did some of the exercises Jim was talking about:  lunges and step-ups.  However… I did them sans any weight.  Just stretching the muscles out, checking my form.  And, that was after 30 minutes on the MTB doing some big ring, out of the saddle climbing.

Have you started?

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175 – this is a guess, left my scale in UT.

Blunt

GENERALLY, I PREFER NUANCE, but I’m failing to make my point regarding USA Cycling.  Saying competitive cycling is on the decline is like MySpace saying social media is on the decline.  MySpace was squashed by FaceBook the minute it was purchased by Rupert Murdock… because his vision was not forward looking.

Social Media has exploded, because the products got better.

The new guys had a better vision.

USA Cycling… oh, how you break our hearts with your pathetic market offering.

USA Cycling should have invented STRAVA.

USA Cycling should have brought the Gran Fondo to the US.

USA Cycling should have seen the opportunities to race on different surfaces.

Instead, they saw nothing.

NOT,

ONE,

DAMN,

THING!

I came back to road cycling about 4 years ago when my oldest son developed an interested.  We rode together, then he left me far behind.

But not as far behind as USA Cycling had remained.

Trevor and I went to do the Boulevard Road Race.  I’d done it 20+ years before, and was looking forward to seeing how things had improved.

Nothing had changed.  NOTHING!

Same crappy paper numbers.

Same ridiculous lines – longer for pre-reg racers than those registering day of.

Same lack of organization.

Same guys forgetting to bring pins for the racers’ numbers.

Same tape across the road for the finish line…. no banner, no arch… just a flipping orange cone!

Same surly race refs.

I was completely flabbergasted at the lack of interest on the part of the self-appointed governing body to put on a first class event.  The guys racing were on amazing equipment, training better than ever, spending more money and time than ever.  But USA Cycling had done nothing in 20 years to improve the product!

NOT, ONE, THING.

P-A-T-H-E-T-I-C.

What had they done?  They’d loaded up on old people with old thinking.  Collected the dues, and cried themselves to the bank at the membership’s expense.

Is it Lance Armstrong’s fault… give, me, a, break… LeMond and Lance did more for cycling in the USA than USA Cycling ever did.  2 guys. 2.  Incredible guys for sure, but it was just 2 of them.

L & L inspired us.

Have you ever been inspired by USA Cycling?

Ever?

There are great intentions at the local level, investments of time and energy by smart and passionate people some working to fix USA Cycling, others have given up on USAC and are putting on hugely successful events… I personally love you for it, and have tried to do all the USAC races I could to support you.

Still doubting me?  Ask yourself what happened to NORBA once USA Cycling got it’s fangs deep into NORBA’s neck.

The best mountain bike races, with the deepest purses are put on outside of USA Cycling.  Go to an Epic Rides event – big money, big competition, big fun.

Take a look at The Crusher.  Huge turn out, hugely competitive.

Where did Levi get his idea for brining the Gran Fondo to America?  From Europe.  What the heck has USA Cycling been doing in Europe all this time?  #clueless

OverTheHump gets 600 people on a weeknight.

There are more races – analog and digital – than ever.  Many, you can’t even get in if you don’t register in the first few hours, minutes sometimes.

USA Cycling sold out a long time ago.

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DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?

“HE LEFT KANSAS CITY IN JULY, wearing a checkered coat and un-matching pants.  He had $40 cash, and his imitation-leather suitcase contained only a shirt, two undershorts, two pairs of socks and some drawing materials.  But when he paid his fare for the trip to California, he bought a first-class ticket.”

Who?

The digital world is magic.

But, books are magical.

Books make me think, different.  Books transport me through time.  Books get into the nitty gritty details of life, the characters’ minds.

Through the years, I’ve probably spent more on books than on bikes, and I miss getting lost in the local bookstore for hours.

Books like Uphill Battle: Cycling’s Greatest Climbers thrust us into the minds of the elite climbers much better than I simple Instagram post of a naked Froome on his bike.  Here we discover the standards they held for themselves, and the expectations  their bosses and fans rained on them.  Exploring these pages brings to surface my own dreams and expectations.

The standards to which we hold ourselves, the visions of our future selves

are the wheels we ride through life.  

(Walt Disney took that Kansas City train to Hollywood, and built the Magic Kingdom)

Quote from Walt Disney: An American Original

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TO EVERY SEASON TURN, TURN

FROM A RESULTS STANDPOINT,  this has been an amazing year. I haven’t had this much success since the kids were just hopes.

Here are the variety of reasons:

The kids are gone.

Well, technically they’re back.  They are adults now, and we run what feels like an AIRBNB while they get their careers going.  It’s a lot of fun, more than I anticipated… probably because they are so busy making their own lives, and we get a lot of snippets of the action.  So… I have the time to train 10-12 hours a week.

Road vs MTB.

I’m a far better road racer than XC racer.  Trevor got me back into the road, when he picked up bike racing. Prior to that it was 80% MTB.  It took about 3 years to get my 1-2 minute power back.  On the road, you need group savvy and you need bursts of power.  Without those two skills, you’ll be looking at a lot of butts… disappearing in the distance.

Equipment

For the first time in a million years I have a truly awesome road bike I named Flashy Jack.  It’s very aero, pretty light, with ceramic bearings everywhere.  Plus, it looks fast.  If you want to play with the best, and you’ve got decent talent, you have to have equipment that is on par with the best.  If you have immense talent, you can skimp on the equipment – I don’t.

Diet

It’s hard to be svelte as you age.  I do my darndest to stay under 170.  I’d like to be skinny Todd of 30 years ago, but my core is just so muscular.  I’ve focused on eating real food vs processed food, drinking a lot of water, and getting plenty of sleep.  That’s the trifecta… oh, and removing stress from my life as much as possible.

Training

The best thing that happened this year was the massive increase in the quality of our Tuesday morning ride.  It’s just so, darn, great.  Really talented guys, pushing each other.  We’ve all become much fitter, and better tactically.

Doping

This occurred to me after reading Seth’s blog post on USACycling participation.  It’s down.  That’s true, very true.  “Why back in my day”, we used to have 70-100 guys in every race.  The racing was very dynamic.  This was my first in a long time where I did a lot of racing.  The races had smaller fields, not empty, but smaller.  Lots of people tell me guys stay home because they don’t want to race dopers, and others tell me the dopers all quit after they started getting caught.  I’m not discounting my results at all, the guys that are showing up are plenty o’ fast, but…

… if you’re a masters racer and you’ve been away…

… come back, we’re having a blast!

(our Tuesday crew)

WE ARE SO RICH

THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO IN OUR BIKE COMMUNITY, where we are… and hopefully where you are, too!

More clubs.

More group rides.

More Fondos and Centuries.

More bikes for more surfaces.

Mobile mechanics, mobile apps.

Excellent blogs and podcasts.

“TV” covering cycling around the world for pennies.

Up in the South Bay there’s even an annual awards ceremony.

Everyone’s invited.  I’m going for the first time this year, and expect it will be filled with hilarity and hi-jinx.  Check it out.

But, some traditions are dying out.

It’s kind of like the restaurant business.

As a kid, my family ate at Coco’s and Love’s Barbeque.  Both companies had many locations.  They are gone.  Nobody has stopped eating, nobody is starving.  We’re fatter than ever.  The old have been replaced by the new, catering to new demands of new generations.

If dynamic changes aren’t taking place in your cycling community, get started.  Create a Facebook group, or a Strava club.  It’s free, and it’s a blast to stay in touch with each other.  Start a group ride.  Write a race report.  Put on an event.  Bike riders are so much fun to be around, help your community connect.

If you love the old traditions, get involved.  They are struggling due to lack of love, nothing more.  They don’t need to fade away, they need to adapt.  They need your energy.

Change is apedal, and we are richer for it in every way.

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PAID TO RIDE – SURFER DAN

I MET SURFER DAN ON THE DONUT RIDE. after he’d ripped my legs off on every climb in Palos Verdes.  I didn’t know his moniker was Surfer Dan at the time, he was just Dan and he looked like he surfed.  But on STRAVA, he shows up as ”   … surfer”.

Later in the summer of ’15, Dan came down for the unOFFICIAL TMWC.  And, he’s joined us unofficially every year since.

Along the way, I figured out what he does for a living – he’s an extremely modest, world-class surfboard shaper.

Awesome.

Awesome because Trevor (my oldest) wasn’t riding bikes and kept inviting me to surf nasty shorebreak waves with him… I needed a new, high-performance surfboard.

At the ’17 TMWC I asked Dan if he’d make me a board.  We chatted about the magical properties the board would need to get The Old Diesel surfing like a punk.

What an easy conversation: we’re friends + he’s at the top of his profession + I have a real need.

And, that’s how you get paid to ride.

You get to know people.

Decide you like and trust them.

Pick them to help you get what you want.

Dan never asked me if I wanted a board.  He could have easily, but it would have been weird if it was on that first Donut Ride.

Part of me wishes he’d asked me if I needed a new board, because I did.

(my new board is perfectly magical – Thanks DAN!)

THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE

THE FIRST TIME YOU SEE A KID, especially your own kid, pedal off on two wheels you know her life will never be the same. Her smile is ear to ear.  She can fly.  For a brief moment you’re cool… then she pedals off with her friends.

You may not seem cool, you may not get public credit, but the two of you will always cherish the day you made this time just for her.

Each time she rides, she’ll be reminded of the love you have for her.

Kids, well most kids, grow out of bikes.

Some get back on in their 20’s, others much later.

The reasons why are countless but you can sum it up with one word: fun.

(goofin’ around at Deer Valley)

(this kid just bought himself a new road bike)

EL PISTOLERO GOES OUT WITH A POP

ALBERTO CONTADOR, AKA EL PISTOLERO, left us like a string of firecrackers instead of an M80.  He was so close to astonishing, and I think it’s because he just mistimed his taper.  I believe he could have beat Chris Froome in the 2017 La Vuelta, and I believe he planned his season around the biggest exit ever in the sport.

Bummer.

The 2017 Vuelta was the best grand tour of the year, by far.  More drama, more suspense.  Instead of Contador going out with a giant bang, Chris Froome proves his complete dominance.

(Note: Tapering is the training you do just before a key event, do too much and you are too tired/too little and you lose too much fitness.  Doing it right will have you at maximum strength on the big day(s).)

To me, it’s pretty obvious Bert raced Le Tour de France as a tune up for La Vuelta.  He underperformed to the point of embarrassment.

But, he had a plan…

he always does,

and it’s not what you think.

One, he just wanted to get the miles in and see how the other guys were racing.  Two, he wanted to once again catch people off-guard… in this case, having his competitors underestimate his fitness for La Vuelta.

Everything was going exactly to plan.

Why then did he lose so much time on a early stage?

Based on the super exciting performances he gave us the rest of the way to Madrid, I think he came in a little undercooked.  What I mean is, he started the Vuelta almost too rested with the plan being that his fitness would increase over the 3 weeks of racing.  Part of that plan included banking on the other favorites to win getting more tired as the days accumulated because most of them had actually raced a lot more while he merely trained at Le Tour.

Ya follow?

It was almost so perfect… he nearly blinded us with explosive brilliance, instead it was a lovely Roman Candle of a performance.

Don’t get me wrong, only he could do what he did.

After his disastrous day left him 30 places off the podium, he attacked and attacked… when we least expected it he punched his fellow races in the face… day after day.

Finishing 4th after a start like that is masterful, but less than what he wanted to give himself and his fans.

Contador has either finished atop the podium or not on it at all at the grand tours.

So, maybe it was perfect after all?

LOTOJA – THIS IS THE END

A FEW THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE FINISH in Jackson Hole.

  1. You still have a good 30 minutes circumnavigating the city, once you’re there.
  2. The finish is on a closed road, very straight with a slight curve in the last 1k.
  3. Get off you bike and into that stream, it feels amazing.
  4. Check the results – they had mine wrong… easily corrected in the morning.
  5. Nothing, and I mean nothing, tasted better than a crisp apple. A day later, I’m still craving fresh fruit and cold water.
  6. We stayed at the Golden Eagle Inn, an easy walk to the “downtown”.
  7. Lots of great food to be had in Jackson.
    1. Two trips to Hagen-Dazs, 1 before and 1 after pizza
    2. Pizzeria Caldera
    3. Café Genevieve – Belgian Waffles and Eggs Benedict were yummy.
  8. Stay a few days, I wish we had planned to do that.

ON THE WAY SOUTH, we stopped in Thayne WY to visit Susie’s cousins.  For 6 generations they have owned the Preston Ranch.

Barley blows across rolling hills.  Cattle wander.  Everybody lives on a county road.

Introductions were made, and familial friendships rekindled.

All new to me.

Roger, started out a veterinarian in life and wound up moving back to take over the ranch.  His hands are thick and strong, like shaking a marble statue. He and Bonnie, a California surfer, returned to save the ranch from inheritance taxes.

At the time, they were so poor they rented out their farm and lived on the ranch in the original 100-year-old ranch house.

The house is still there.  Musty, tiny, rickety.

Bonnie told me it took 15 years of paying the government everything they made to clear the debt.

It’s homestead land, and the original ancestor starved out there for years.  But, that’s how you got land back then.  You lived on it, worked it, prayed you didn’t starve… to death.

Ron and Marcia were high school sweethearts.  They married and lived all over the US.  When it came time to retire, Thayne called them home.  For a while they both worked with the Chamber of Commerce and coordinated with the LoToJa race organizer.

I can see why these good people stay here.

The air is clean.

The people are nice.

Just like LoToJa.

(dreamt of ice cream all day)

(hasn’t changed since the college road trip days)

(I’m glad we had our own photo finish, timing had me behind this black horse… FYI, the strength of timing chips varies)

(one of our stops along the Snake River)

(Cousins… Marcia, Ron, Susie, Bonnie, Roger… Preston Ranch in the background… it had been decades since Susie had seen some of these cousins… Find your family, they are interesting and will love to re-connect with you!)

LOTOJA – MOCHA-CHOCA-LATA-YAYA

WHEN YOU WAKE UP WITH CHRISTINA AGUILERA BELTING LADY MARMELADA IN YOUR HEAD,  you know it’s gonna be a great day.  Those lungs, that bass, you know Joe come what may you’re gonna give it a go!

Ride your bike long enough, stuff’s gonna happen.

Prepare well enough, and enough will go right that it don’t matta what goes…

… flat, in my case …

So… here I am, rolling along with a great group of bike racers.  Really good skills, excellent fitness.  We’re out of Utah, into Idaho with a group of about 15 guys… down from 50, I think.

Strawberry pass is harder than I expect.  Definitely some steep pitches.  My lungs feel really good, my legs are only wincing.

We decided to go with transition #6 based on some very solid logic.  Lots of religious folk in these parts + 3 feed zones… so I figure no one will want to run with the Devil, 666.

My pal Jeff is in his bright green RockNRoad shirt, as planned. He hands up the sweet musette bag we made out of a Walmart shopping bag, and I’m rolling.  1st out of the transition.  Just like we planned it.

The next climb wasn’t too bad and our group stayed together.

But… before Salt River things start to go off plan.

Bountiful Mazda guy rides up to the front and yells Neutral Pee, Everybody stop.

Hallelujah.

Yeah, except… 1 of the 3 horseman (there were 3 guys in black kits, all strong and pulling hard) and little green spindly guy and one other don’t stop.  Party foul.  Oh, and there’s one big guy that rolled off the front earlier.

The chase is on.

5 of us go over the top together, everybody else is gone.

The Old Diesel goes to the front Superman style, drops everybody, sits up, tucks again… you could say I’m slightly peeved at this cheap move.

Important side note:  This year I’m rolling on an inexpensive, aero, aluminum Specialized Allez so I could put the money into the 50cm Rovals with ceramic bearings.  I coasted while others pedaled – true story.  My Kask helmet is also super aero.  My Speed kit is super aero.  Aero matters, especially over 200 miles.

Of course, we catch those turds.  It’s all good, part of racing.

I’m well into the farthest I’ve ever ridden in my life.

And,

I flat.

Awesomely, a support car stops.  Unawesomely, the guys are well meaning but a little green on the tire changing.

I get it all set for air,

they start pumping,

I start peeing.

Fellas, is it ready?

60 lbs.

Lemme see it… it feels like steel.

That’ll do.

Thanks fellas, your’e awesome.

Now you can do one of two things here, cry in your water bottle or be the fire breathing beast God put you on earth to be.

I’m at mile 150, 54 to go.

Red kit guy, who the race ref told us was 5 minutes back, comes by.

Let’s go!

He’s cooked, gone after 1 pull.

5 miles later I Nascar into the third #6.  Trophy wife is there with my bag.  I grab it going about 110 mph.  Of course, I drop one of my bottles don’t grab the pickle juice… but,

… she’s packed a Twinkie, hot damn …

A mile later race ref rolls up.

How far behind am I?

Behind? You’re leading.

What?

They all stopped for food and to pee.

No way!

Yep.

Well screw ’em, they didn’t wait for me.  I go full gas.  Kinda wish I had the bottle now, but when it dropped I was thinking I had one shot to catch ’em.

The tailwind is powerful.  Nothing worse than chasing a guy with a tailwind.  Sayanora suckers!

Uh oh.

There’s one of the 3 horsemen, flatted.

Crud.  They must be ahead.

Oh well.

I’m just gonna go my pace.  Top 7 would be amazing.

Oh, look at that bee… with it’s stinger deep into my arm!

Whatever, everything hurts any way.

Kind people hand me water and “Gatorade” at the last neutral stop.  I don’t know what that red, fizzy stuff in the bottle is… but, it’s delicious.

Through the roundabout at Holbart (sp?) the traffic is heavy.  I’m going almost as fast as the cars.

And I start thinking… what’s causing this traffic?  I love it, but what is it?  Heehee… it’s gotta be a group of riders and cars can’t get around.  Maybe it’s mine!

About 3 miles later I see a group chugging up the last hill.  Might as well burn the final match, it’s my group or it’s not.

It’s them: 2 horsemen, green spindly, the reigning champ, America First, and the big guy who snuck away before.

I sit in the back for a while, then do my rotations.

I’m bonking, but ya know…

… there’s nothing like a Twinkie… all sugar and fat…

We’re cruising, and I’m feeling better.

No matter what, this has been an amazing ride for me.  Perfect weather, fun trip with good friends, the best support ever from Jeff and TW, I’m happy… but, I’m also a fire breathing beast, right? : )  in my dreams anyway.

So, it’s gonna be a sprint.

We are shells of ourselves.

It’ll be slow motion.  The few times I’ve stood on the pedals weren’t inspiring.  I figure I can go all out with 100 meters to go.  Pathetic, but that’s it.

I’m in the perfect spot.

5th guy, right behind the champ.  What could be better?

Well, not letting the big guy roll up the road, doh!

I can’t believe it.

Two horsemen let him go.

They don’t want to chase, because the champ is right behind.  I figure he doesn’t want to chase because The Old Diesel is chugging.

Finally, we speed up.  He has about 75 meters on us with 200 to go.

I almost catch him.

2nd place, and thrilled.

(best support, ever)

(by all means, get in that stream!)

(Orthodontist by day, musette maker by night)

WELP, THIS IS IT

I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE DOODOO, the day before some bigrediculousginormous “ride”.  Leadville does this to me.  Nationals does it, too.  If it’s big, my body goes into hibernation.  Lethargy sets in.  Usually a little fluish.

I have a headache.  Sitting in bed, with the AC cranked.

Allergies?

All the smoke the past few days?

Altitude?

I’m taking Coldeezz, but it’s not a cold.  It’s just The Old Diesel in the station, doing it’s thing.

Next up, Why did I commit to this? conversations.  What was I thinking?  It’s an impossible challenge.  Just sleep in tomorrow and go eat a giant Belgian Waffle with whipped cream and real maple syrup from Canada.

Dinner is soon.  I’ll have no appetite, and will have to force myself to eat.

Then, it’s time to hit the hay.

I’m going to sleep GREAT tonight.  I can feel a big slumber coming one.  Deep.

The alarm is set for 4am.  I’ll get up, eat my sardines and beans and lay in bed.  Sleep some more. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

At 530, I’m up again.

I’d take a bath to heat up my legs, but we have a shower.  I’ll take care of #1 and #2, pump up the tires, take care of #1 and #2, hit the chain with a final shot of lube, take care of #1 and #2, and so on…

… until about 6:00 …

… and I’ll feel great, rested, youthful and ready to ride with 2000 of my closest friends …

(my body, ready to deliver… I hope)

RED, RED, LIGHT

Dear Diesel,

I don’t have enough experience to know what to do if I’m crossing as the light is turning when riding with a big group… should we slow,stop, go? I would like to learn…

Dear Newb,

Good question, and one that will be answered differently by different groups.

Let’s start with this… nearly EVERY, person I know who has been hit by a car has been a chronic red light runner.  This is not scientific, just think about the habits you are developing as a person, and as a group.

We’ve all been on rides where every light is run, especially if the leaders have a chance to gap off the rest of the group.  This is their norm.  Personally, I stay clear of these rides as much as possible.

You, however, are referring to the most polite and social ride in the Northern hemisphere: The TMWC.  The standard is held quite high to not run red lights, or ride dangerously in traffic.

Regardless of the ride culture you are in, running red lights is dangerous.

The leaders have a responsibility to keep the group safe.

Only a knucklehead attacks knowing the light is going to change… this is the same cat who doesn’t point out holes and glass hoping the rest will suffer the consequences.

Regarding the video footage in question, at the 1:06 mark the light is clearly red.  The guys slow and go… my guess is that is because the leaders stayed on the gas.  If the guys who went through first, sat up to wait the rest of the group probably would have stopped at the light.

It can also be equally dangerous to hit the brakes hard if you’re in the front as other riders may not have your quick reflexes, or worse, they may not even be paying attention to the lights.

If you happen to be at the front and you know the group has no chance to stop in time, just roll through and wait.

If you have a decent gap, no need to wait.

Ultimately, it’s a judgement call.

Same for the guys in back:

The myth that as long as your connected to the group you won’t get nailed by a car has been proven fatally wrong on Como Street.

If you’re kid/lover/besty was behind you what would you do?  Probably stop, if possible.  If not, wait on other side of the light.

Rules to LIVE by:

  1. Slow up if you know the light is going to change.
  2. Stop if you have time and think the group can stop.
  3. Wait on the other side of the light if the group gets split.

Most of us will fail at it more than we’d like… do your very best to get it right…

… let’s redline the green lights, and keep the asphalt black …

PLAYING IT SMART

I MAY NOT BE AS SMART AS I LOOK, but I’m still pretty darn smart.

Dad, you don’t look that smart – is usually the reply.

Want proof?

Tonight we are going to see Fitz & The Tantrums open for One Republic.

Why?

Because that’s what the trophy wife requested.

Why?

Because that’s what she likes to do.

Why?

Because it’s smart to make a tiny deposit in the love account, before making a massive withdrawal.

Why?

Because she’s going to drive 250 miles Saturday so I can ride my bike at LoToJa.

Why?

I don’t know why she’s doing this, she already told me she never, ever, ever wanted to go to another one of my races.

Why?

… because she likes live music, hot beaches and good surf …

 

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

RACER GIBSON IS THE ONLY GUY I TRUST to work on my bike.  Tyler didn’t even hesitate.

I’m in a bind.

600 miles from my local bike shop, and I got a problem I can’t fix:  outta true rear wheel, creaky BB, misadjusted derailleurs.  This is unpleasant at any time, and magnified with the whole point of being out of town being to race that darn bike.

I need someone I can trust, and Tyler is a local friend in the area.

Racer Gibson, that’s his real name – legally changed.  Look him up.

He’s easily found on the web.

I shoot him a text.  He promptly replies.  We set up a time.

He shows up.  Super nice.

I gotta know… Is Racer really your name?

Yep.  Worked at a bike shop with 3 Jareds and I was the only one that raced.  It’s legally changed now.

I gotta know this too… How’s the mobil business?

Great.  I owned a shop for 15 years and some developers bought the building.

Of course, you have to go with a guy named Racer, who races, and has owned a shop for 16+ years.

But, that’s not why I didn’t hesitate to call him.

It’s not his name, it’s the “name” he’s built by being awesome…

… let’s see you dot com that …

(he really test rides his work)

(If you’re ever in a bind in Provo, UT)

IT’S A TOTAL GEEK FEST

IT’S A TOTAL GEEK FEST at the moment.  Sometimes you know there will finally be a break in the action to get _____ done.  That happened today.  Finally had time to plan out next Saturday’s logistics.

The house is vacant.

The phone is off.

I’m consumed with all the information LoToJa puts out to help us prepare for 204 miles of silliness.  It’s a great packet.

They’re pros.

Great maps.  Great advice.  Great tips for the highly-recommended personal support crews.  And I’m banking on their great neutral support – water – too.

Spreadsheets are helpful for me to visualize what needs to happen for a successful day.

Warning:  you have to be a special kind of weirdo to love this.

I’ll take white electrical tape and Sharpie in the stops and miles (top 2 lines), then apply it to my top tube.  When the Cuckoo clock chimes, and it will chime for nearly all of us, this will keep me sane enough to finish.

As of now, the weather looks outstanding.  Good temps, favorable winds.  So, I’m plugging in the fastest time estimates for me and the crew.

It’s important to give the crew a good idea of when I’ll be rolling in.  Beating the crew to a feed would be a bummer for all of us.  My crew has sacrificed a beautiful Saturday for me to go ride my bike.

I’ll get up early the day of and have my usual sardines and beans for breakfast.  Mmmmm.

Each feed zone has 110% of what I think I’ll need.  Better to roll out with extra fuel than run out of calories.

Gone in 60 seconds is the goal for the 3 stops.  That seems better than fumbling around with a feedbag.  I hope I’m right, and I don’t get jumped by the rest of the guys at the stops.

Will we stop and pee?  I don’t know.  But, I do know this:  don’t crack the seal, unless you want to be peeing all day.

I’m still debating on one of my Speed kits, or the Dominator.

Also up in the air, my vented helmet or my aero helmet.

#aeroiseverything

… not necessarily, especially in a pace line with a tail wind …

… but, that’s all part of getting geeked up for a big ride or a race …

… and a last second #2 at 6:16am, 9/16/17 …

(how’s this for detail?!)

Still with me?… well maybe you can recommend a place for steak fajitas the Friday night?


170.6

LOTOJA – LAST TRAINING RIDE/I CAN’T BREATHE

TYLER ASSURES ME YESTERDAY’S ALL-DAY DRIVE + ALTITUDE is making me s-l-o-w.  I hope so.  He doesn’t know, I was late and hustling to make up time.  Oh, and the stiff headwind going up the start of the canyon is a special treat.  My h.r. is okay, I’m just short of breath.

We are high, and getting higher.

The Alpine loop is perfect today. 60 or so degrees.  Lots of water flowing down.  We are kind of early, long shadows reach across the western slope of the Wasatch Front.

Above Tibble Fork, I finally start to settle in.  There are fewer cars.  We ride side by side and catch up on life, family and promoting races.

Tyler is the force behind The Vision Relay.  He shares some of his ideas going forward – ways to keep his super unique race fresh, other events and concepts.  Fun stuff.

The summit is just over 8000′ above sea level – I wheeze.

A group of BYU students are kitted up in school colors taking selfie shots by the summit sign:  4 girls, 1 guy.  I feel like Trevor just missed the blossoming of an actual cycling scene on campus.

Quaking Aspen wave and whisper alongside the curvy plunge down to Sundance.

This

could

be

the best cycling road ever.

Someone has a car just like mine parked at the resort.  CA plates, just like mine.

… Back up folks, give him some air!…

Sheesh, that is my car.  Someone’s driven up to hike Stewart Falls.

I’m going to get a giant cookie, some ice and mountain water.  The stream sings.

Heaven.

Refueled, we hit South Fork and an unconversational speed – PRs are popping.  Just testing the legs.

To sum it up, I’m pretty sure I disrespected the climbing involved next Saturday.  That was dumb.  Oh well, I’m smartish… I’ll think of something.


When I roll in the driveway, Nana is in the car.  Passenger side.  She recognizes me.  Then we go to lunch, and she has no idea who I am.

Kinda puts things in perspective.

I miss Nana.

There’s no climbing like this anywhere near home.

Look at that beautiful pavement.

Hold that gut in buddy!

On my way back… the bridge that almost ended it all one snowy winter night.

Can’t miss a cruise through campus on a Saturday

169.8

I SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING, AND I LOVE IT

RETAIL IS CHANGING, retail has always been changing.

I love it.

From the general store which had to compete with the Sears catalog which had to compete with Woolworth’s then Walmart now Amazon.

Who wins?

The consumer, AND THE RETAILERS THAT GET IT.

Who is that in cycling?

From my travels, I can tell you unequivocally that the shops who are embracing the cycling lifestyle are doing great.  They are busy.  There are plenty of customers in the store finding what they want.

What do they want?  An experience… today’s consumer wants to drink deeply of your waters: knowledge, experience and passion.  They want to be told what you recommend, what you ride, where you ride, how they can improve their ride.  They want a friend, they can trust.

I was reminded of this on my way to Utah today.  For the last 5 years I’ve been stopping along the way and visiting shops.  Some are gone, those that remain or who are new are providing more than just a bike.

Take Las Vegas Cyclery.  When you get there, you’ll see good looking logo’d vans ready to carry you and your crew into the wild via guided bike tours.  Go into their beautiful showroom and you see a huge selection of accessories, lots of new bikes, an immaculate service area with trained techs in plain view.  Best of all, you’re made to feel like part of their posse – even if you’re there to sell : )

Can everybody do what they’re doing?  Yes.

… I’m pulling for you all! …