It’s About Time

My maternal grandfather retired in Newport Beach, East Bluffs.  There was nothing better than getting on the bikes he kept in the garage and riding over to the elementary school to play hide and seek.  Certainly that old codger couldn’t find the slippery 7-year old speedster.

Grampa was a genius at getting us to play with him.

No matter where we were, when Grampa pulled up it was time to play.  Up popped the trunk and out came footballs, basketballs, softballs and bats and mitts, frisbees.  It was time to have some fun.

The kids always won, no matter what the game.  And if things got too lop-sided Grampa would make up a new rule and say “southern rules”… meaning that’s how they played in the South.  He wasn’t even from the South, but he’d raised his family for a good stretch of time.

Time passed, and grampa got older.  But he kept moving.  Lifting his 15 lb weights, jumping on his miniature trampoline, jogging down the block.  He was taller than everybody, and stood as straight as giant pine.

I’d go visit him on the weekends when I was in college.  They’d moved to Utah, and that’s where I was studying.  What at treat to visit those two characters.

Diabetes slowly brought him down.  He couldn’t feel his feet, and his vision failed him.  For a while I’d just read the prescriptions and medicine he was taking.   Then, I’d read him the newspaper.  Eventually, we’d watch a game together and he’d listen and I’d add my color to the commentary.

He never lost his sense of humor, never took life too seriously.  He had very high standards for himself, and for others.  I’m sure it was humbling for him to ask for help, but it was healing for me.

Tonight as I fumbled trying to adjust my seat post height I could only laugh at my resistance to wear glasses.  I’d adjusted my seat post height only to realize after I’d loosened and raised the post that I couldn’t read the markings on the seat post collar indicating the torque required to tighten the bolts.

Solution?… take a picture, and zoom in to read it.  Maybe it’s time for some glasses.

Where’s Grampa was, I now am… where he went, I am sure to go.

newt

A Whale of a Time

The forecast was for rain, but it was just cloudy.  I’ve slept a ton all week, but I’m still pretty worn out.  My eyes opened at 5:30am.  Ran down to see if all the pics had downloaded, and started uploading to the HUNKR website.  They are awesome, but they take forever to upload at home.  I kept working on site content until she woke up.

She wanted to go whale watching.

We loaded up the paddle boards and drove to Shaw’s Cove.  Passed Patrick Coffey on his TT bike, in his new TMWC kit.  Got to Shaw’s and slid into her secret Mini spot.

Unloaded the boards and paddled out. And Out.  And further Out.  We were probably 1.5 miles off the coast and she stopped paddling.  What do we do now?  We wait for about an hour and pretty soon we’ll see whales and dolphins.

I don’t believe her.  I do, but I don’t.  She always has these crazy dolphin and whale stories.

I think about how geeked up I get about riding, take a friend along and the magic just doesn’t happen.

We wait.

I have to paddle slowly because my balance is not to keen.  The clouds persist.  A whale watching boat comes to us thinking we’ve got something.  Nope.

Bored, I paddle North towards Emerald Bay.

Then I see them.  Dorsal fins slice through the water in pairs.  Up, dooooown, up doooown.  Over there.  Next to me.  Over there.  They are racing south, too fast for us to follow.

The sun bursts through.

Hot, we shed the neoprene tops.  Mission accomplished.  I start heading in.  It’s been fun, but I’m ready to quit.

Come on… wait a little longer.  She’s so faithful.

We wait.  Float.  Soft paddle. Float.  The sun feels great on my great paleness.

Then we hear it… a wind so distinct even I know what it is.

About 100 feet away we see the spray from the whale’s exhale.  The long body moves gracefully and she paddles furiously.  Me not so much.  Come on! she yells.

It’s gone.  Silence as we crane here and there.

More water shoots in the air, no more than 10 feet away from her.  It glides on it’s side and even I can see it’s eyeing her.

Hello Whale!

Down it goes.  Off she races for another glimpse. Not today.

But, today I got a glimpse of what makes her so happy.  I know this, and she knows I love to ride.  Most Saturdays, all?, I’m off on two wheels and she’s off to see whales and more.

It’s good to change gear.

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Team. Work.

Someone will step up and lead your team.  It might be you, because of your experience or willingness or vision or frustration or opportunity.  Whoever it is has the responsibility to teach the rest of the riders their roles AND how to execute their roles.

Those roles can range from driving directions and hotel selection, to cook, to bottle handerupper, to canopy set up, to equipment selection, to equipment maintenance, to riding the front of the paceline, to leading the final miles, to sprinting for victory.

Regardless of how you assign the roles, you’ve got to define them in such a way that supports the main goal of the team.  Winning, friendship, fun.. all worthy goals.

A team united behind a goal, understanding individual roles can adjust as conditions change.  Someone might get sick, have a mechanical breakdown, etc.  That’s when the leader’s vision and the team’s goal will allow for the rest of the team to pick up the slack.

More important than filling each position is being in position to find the right teammates… then getting out of the way.

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The Friends We Make Par Duex

Tonight, I had dinner with David whom I hadn’t seen in 37 years.  We met on a cruise ship in Greece, summer of ’80.  He’s British, and was traveling with his father… we were a rowdy bunch of Americans spending the summer in Europe.  We all hit it off and absorbed him into our mania.

This morning, Gould and I were out rolling around town.  Zone 3 was his assignment, my assignment was self-assigned:  get out on that new bike!  While we blasted along the coast we picked up a caboose.  We turned right, he turned with us.

I turned and said, I’m Todd.  He said, I’m Justin.  Where are ya headed, I quizzed.  Home.  Where’s that?  Up ahead.

You on Strava?  Yep, Justin Aida.  Cool, I’m there too.  We meet at La Pata and Saluda every Tuesday at 5:50am.  Join us.  Will do.

We parted ways.

Gould and I rode on.  My bike, so new and pretty, still wasn’t “fit” to me by Eileen.  That would happen at lunch.  So I rode with a little discomfort, comforted knowing that would soon change.

Eileen’s, my kindred sister.  She’s been fitting me for 18 years.  She keeps all my fits on paper.  She’s old school and new school all in one.  When I told her what bike I was getting, she paused… I could hear her shuffling through my file.  In less than a minute, she blurted frame size and stem length and bar width and saddle width and crank length.  I try and explain the magic she works, most people can’t see the value.  A few do, and their riding is changed forever.

You’re changed forever, because it’s more than a bike fit.  Sometimes I’ll see her for an adjustment and she’ll touch my leg.  Work is stressful, isn’t it?  That’s weird I think, but then I absorb what it takes to pick up on someone’s state like that and realize why she’s such a treasured friend and mentor.

Dinner time came.  What  a reunion.  It was awesome.  So fun to hear what people have done with their lives.  What brought us together again is another story.

But what does bring us together?

As I wrapped up the day, I checked in on Strava.  Justin had left a comment on the morning ride.  Then Mike C had commented on Justin’s comment.  Turns out, Mike had rented a house with Justin’s brother and my brother in Huntington a few years back.

Maybe it’s not what brings us together that’s important but why we are brought together and what we learn and share with each other that matters?

Ride On.

david

It’s The Friends We Make

There are a lot of reasons to ride your bike.  Your doctor might say, “hey, chubby get out there and drop some pounds”.  Your spouse might say, “hey, grumpy get out there and come back with a smile.”  Your friends might say, “hey, it’s like being a kid again.  Try it.”  Off you go.

One day, nobody says anything.  You suit up to suit yourself.  The sky is blue, shining on your shoulders.  The wind sings away any blues in your soul.

Cyclists eventually come across other kindred souls and bond, and that’s what keeps us healthy, happy and young.

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Flashy Jack Moves In

It was hard to let Black Lightening go.  Three years ago I brought him home, his twin was already there and being ridden by Trevor.  Such happy days, a dad getting throttled by his son on matching bikes.  That passed, BL and I rode on – over 20,000 miles.

Winning was rare and hard, but we had a few wins: on the group ride seen, a thimble full of TMWC’s, a couple of Market Rides, 1 Food Park and 1 CV… on the USA Cycling side, a few top placings and wins at small crits and one very sweet road race win in Santa Barbara.

We’d commuted to and from work many days, through sunlit mornings and dark nights. We’d moved from Coto to Las Flores to San Clemente.  Each stable a little different.  Each location offering new starting points for rides.

I re-shoed him with Roval CLX 40’s.  These magical wheels were a game changer for us, the speed gains amazing.  Recently, I’d upgraded all his electronics.  His paint was still quite nice.

How could we part?

It wasn’t easy.

When I saw the chrome forks on Flashy Jack I knew I had to have him.  Black Lightening could have stayed on as a back up ride.  That would be the smart thing, especially this rainy year.  But it would be cruel.  He is still so fast, he needed to find a good home.

His new jockey, Chris Hill, has already confirmed that Black Lightening is a game changer for him too.  They rode to a top 3 placing in HUNKR – OC in a star-packed group.

Flashy Jack waited patiently for me to find the time to put him together.  I was impatient, and couldn’t wait to see Eileen for a bike fit tomorrow.  We rode together for the first time today.

It was early, very dark.

I fumbled with the new e-tap shifting.  My position was wrong enough to make my back tense and my knee twinge.  The deeper dish wheels created uncertainty. We hit the TMWC, still no daylight.

A break went off the front.  The gap was expanding.  It was time to see how Flashy Jack would perform.  Ziiiiinnng!… we flew across the gap with minimal effort.

Flashy Jack, welcome home.

flashy

 

Back To Work


I need a break, but there’s still so much to do. That’s what happens when you sign up to make a difference.  I’m tired and on fire… thank you for stoking me

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These Are A Few Of My Favorite Blogs

These are my top 3 cycling blogs.  One I almost always disagree with, and come away a better person.  Another, is very personal and real and raw dealing with racing and life.  The last, inspires me to grow the cycling tribe.

I wouldn’t rate one above the other, and I tend to binge on one for a while and sample the others then switch it up.  Over time, these three stay in the rotation while others come and go.

They all have their own unique style and authenticity honed over many years.  None of them are newbs.  One of them has become truly rich and famous, one makes a few bucks which I think mostly go to sponsor local races (I could be wrong, again), and the other plugs long-time, loyal sponsors.

One thing I’ve come to appreciate is I think they would each blog for free.  It’s more of a calling, fulfilling a need for them and ultimately feeding the rest of us with entertainment and knowledge.

Big thanks to:

Wanky

Steve

and Seth

You make my life richer.

3 blogs

Race IQ = MinutesToGo/IQ

I have noticed over the years, the closer I get to the finish line the dumber I get.  One year at Leadville I was putting down a fast time.  I raced into the transition and couldn’t find my team.  Granted, there were about a million spectators… still my friends were right in front of me yelling to grab the bottles and go.  Here’s the formula for Race IQ and how to raise it.

Let’s say your IQ is 120.

Your Race IQ = MinutesToGo Divided By Your IQ

If your race is a week out, that would mean your Race IQ is 84. Why is that?  Because you’re running out of time.

Two weeks before a race, you’re a genius with a Race IQ of 168.  You’ve got lot of time to break and fix stuff, travel, make upgrades etc.

3 days out = a Race IQ of 36.  A good chance of forgetting something is looming.

Race day = RIQ of 13

3 minutes from the finish you have an RIQ of 1.5… and so does everybody around you.

So pay attention, this is when bad things can happen.

The antidote is getting into a state of flow.

FLOW = Confidence X Prepration X Visualization X Heart Rate X Panic X Pleasure X Smiling

If you’re confident in your skills and you’ve practiced something similar to these last 3 minutes and you’ve visualized a good outcome and your heart rate isn’t a million and you’re calm and actually having fun and smiling your RIQ can be 120 or more.  When you’re in flow everything slows down.

Most of us, myself included, spend too little time on the formula for FLOW.  If things aren’t flowing, you might consider slowing down.

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Write The Finish, Then Get Started.

Trevor asked me to drive to the high school together and time him running 1 mile.  He’s only done that once before and has probably run less than 50 miles in his life.  5 minutes was his goal.

5 minutes?

Yep, I think I can do it.  I ran 5:20 last year after running 1 day.   I’ve run 11 days this year, so I should make it right?

Right. (?)

Just like that he’d written his finish.  Set the goal, reviewed his prep, checked his shoes and bathing suit, picked the music, chosen the location and time.  Now it was time to perform.

I get it.

I never plan on winning or PRing a race I don’t care about.  Once or twice a year, I’ll target something.  Write that finish in my mind, and go for it.  Get the equipment ready, try and shed some lbs, monitor my sleep, huddle with my coach (I can only handle about 6 weeks of structure which drives her nuts – there’s a lesson on loyalty), you know the drill…

but, are you writing your finish?

Can you see it?  Is it coming to life as the timeline shortens?

All kinds of things will pop up on the way:  work will get busy, your family will need more of you, your bike will need fixing, your nutrition will fail on training rides, and so on.  Write how you make it all work into your finish now.

We had worked out a signal for each lap:  thumb down, faster than required; thumb up, too slow.

3, 2, 1, GO!

Thumb down, 1:05.  Thumb down, 2:28.  Thumb up, 3:55.

5:06.

He collapsed on the synthetic field, his back covered with tiny crushed rubber dots.  Phone laid still.  Air pods popped out.  Panting.  I sat on the bench and waited.  Man I love this kid, even if he’s 25 he’s my kid… who takes after his mother athletically.

Let’s walk, he says.

My flip flops clop.  I listen as he writes a new finish.

Dad, once I’m through busy season and have passed my CPA exams and can rest and run, you pace me on your bike.  I’m going to crush 5 minutes.

100' to go

100′ to go

What The FUNKR?

Making a game of sport is all the rage.  And look, racing a bicycle is hard… making a game of it can take some sting out of the efforts.  Isn’t that what Strava has done?  Well, check out what we’re doing over at HUNKR.

We created FUNKR, because…

Going for your personal record at HUNKR is fun, going for it with 5 or more friends is FUNKR!

Our top-secret software and supercomputer will take the five fastest times of your team and rank y’all against all the other FUNKR teams..  Then we’ll call up the fastest and shower you with gifts and trophies.  How FUNKR is that?

There are 3 categories:

All ladies?  You’ll be competing with other ladies.

All dudes?  Same.

Mixed?… ah, mixed.  Everybody’s thinking, “we could win mixed, all we need is a fast girl”.  Maybe, who knows?  Could be 4 fast ladies and some fast dude.  Ya see our technology is so savvy, it will scan for the fastest mixed group.  Just remember, you have to have at least 1 member of the opposite sex be in your top 5 fastest times.

Let the FUNKR begin.

Those cats crack me up… thinking so hard… “well, what about… you know that crazy fast kid that came on the ride that one time?”… HUNKR down boys and girls it’s FUNKR time.

funker

Kids Under 23 Ride FREE!

Kids, if you’re under 23, you ride FREE at HUNKR… as long as you register before 3/15/17, all of ya from 12 to 22. Pre-reging helps us to have enough food, t-shirts and awards for y’alls.  No need to hit the parents up for some dough.

If the dog eats your internet, and you just can’t get it done in time…  Come anyway!

If you register at the event,  we ask $22 for a top-notch day on the bike… and, please get to the on site registration EARLY.

Bring your friends, especially the ones that just ride for fun… ’cause this is gonna be fun.

PS… This is a pic Trevor Brown took when he was 22 and still racing.  He was out on a training ride and bombing down the Alpine Loop in Utah and he sees Peter Sagan out cruising… slams on the brakes… whips around… sprints up to Peter and they ride for a good long time just chatting.  We’re sharing this story because we know all about the financial struggles you face… that’s our motivation to have HUNKR free to the kids under 23.

Y’all are awesome!

trev and peter

Sunny Days Are Here Again

As a cycling event promoter I haven’t had to worry about the weather too much.  The TMWC is in July and the SoCal Cycling Summit was in doors at Oakley’s HQ.  As a cyclist in Southern California, rainy days equal rest days.  It’s been wet and cold for months, and that has been on my mind more than ever as we prepare for our very first HUNKR.

I’ve monitored the registration rates at other cycling events this year and 90% of the participants are signing up the week of the event.  It’s an element we like to keep hush-hush, but it’s stressful nonetheless.  Imagine planning a wedding and not getting any RSVP’s until a few days before – yikes!

While it’s impossible to predict… I can firmly say whether your coming from Silverado (Amber Neben) or San Francisco (Ted King) or Los Angeles (Rahsaan Bahati) or San Diego (Thurlo Rogers) it’s looking like a perrrrrfect riding weather for HUNKR – OC on 3/18/17.

All those days of mist and chill and rain, when you threw your leg over the saddle and went for a pedal, are going to pay off.  You were passionate enough to brave the elements or mount the trainer.  Bring that fire when you go for your personal best over a 100 kilometer course on the only “country” roads in Orange County.

Meanwhile, we’ll keep getting things ready for ya!

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Premium Experience

Part of the HUNKR ethos is delivering a premium experience, that’s why we have hired Chef Joe Youkhan.  Because when you roll in after a 100k your body is craving goodness.  He’s personally preparing platefuls of  Paella, Pulled-Pork, Vegan burritos and sweet potato fries… and it’s included in your race entry.

… envisioning this is making my mouth water…

Joe is a Five Star Award Recipient at the Ritz Carlton. He has been featured in Best Chefs of Orange County and Flavors of Los Angeles and the Culinary Masters Event, and much more…

It’s gonna be good.  It’s gonna be hot.  It’s gonna be fresh.

Spread the word, Chef Joe is coming to HUNKR too!

Peaky, Pitchy, Bowly

In the 80’s we would call 976-SURF for the surf report.  Some dude imitating Jeff Spicoli would give us the low-down for well-known spots.  My all time favorite report was for Oceanside Harbor one hot summer afternoon:  peaky, pitch, bowly.  We checked the common cash and gas and hit the road.

The rest of that summer, Stephen and I just looked at each every time it was good and laughed “peaky, pitchy, bowly”.  It was such a goofy, succinct way to describe special surf: super fun, with lots of opportunities for everybody.

Today’s late lunch ride was like that:  sunny, warm and dry.

It was only an hour.  It was just what I needed to power through the end of a busy week.

The new bridge I found nearby is a perfect set up to a sweet little 5 minute hustle.  I ripped the loop off 5 times, then spun around town smelling the sunshine and feeling the spring grass grow.

Peaky.  Pitchy. Bowly.

jeff

 

I Thought About It

Steven thinks I’m nuts.  He’s the only one that sees the hours I’m putting in right now.  From 6ish when my feet hit the floor ’till 9ish when I’m a little coocoo it’s all work.  And those are the times I think about not taking a spin.  Like today.

Up at 6.  Emails.  8, meet with Tyler on all the volunteer positions to fill as well as the “big rocks” that we are finalizing – guessing how many delicious meals we need on the 18th aint easy. 12, get to office makin’ calls ‘n emails ‘n such.

… funny aside:  speaking with the Sheriff’s dept and the CHP I feel like a teenager getting pulled over.  They’re all on board with HUNKR, just keeping them up to date…

Leave office around 7.  Costco for my veggies, nuts and fruits… ’cause ya are what ya eat.  Crank out more “day” job work.

Viola it’s heading towards 10.

At 5:30 with the sun setting it was tempting to keep at it.  Young Todd, who ballooned up to 195 lbs woulda done that, The Old Diesel knows a break in the action is the winning pace to make it ALL happen.

Volunteers

Volunteers make things great things happen because they want something important to them to succeed. They don’t ask if anything needs to be done they ask how can I help? and then they get busy.  Tonight I was truly inspired at ou first HUNKR volunteer meeting

Eight of us met and poured over the details of our plans. Many refinements were made. The major operations were assigned. Training begun. What a talented team we have assembled.

Feeling very blessed tonight.

What’s The Big Idea?

As much as I love group rides and racin’… I do love to ride alone.  Doesn’t matter if it’s road or mountain, flat or up, fast or not.  Ridin’ alone is magical in it’s own way because that’s when nothing else matters.

When nothing else matters, my head is clear.  Eventually.  Not at first.  It takes a bit for the voices to dwindle.  Faux conversations dim.  Cares don’t need tending.  Wheels spinning it all away.

It’s just me.

And my bike.

And my voice.

My real voice, surfaces.

Hey man, how you been?

Life okay?

What can I do for ya?

Well, ya see, it’s like this…

…and I spin…

It’s not deliberate or intentional.

It’s flow.

Ideas flow.

I stop, write them down.

Expand on them.  Think on them.  Prey on them.

The winners return, ride after ride.

Until one day they are real.

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Strawberry Fields

Today, I lost my front wheel on a very slick sidewalk.  Maybe it was subliminal?… I was, after all, humming Strawberry Fields Forever… Let me take you down… and now I have a great big strawberry on my left hip.

At some point you’re gonna take a tumble, whether it’s riding bikes or falling in love.  How you handle the wound makes all the difference in recovery speed.  Don’t let it scab, keep it moist and heal from the inside out.

Here’s what I do:

  1.  If at all possible, keep riding… mainly because that is what tough guys do and I like to practice my tough guy skills in case I need them.
  2. Get home, strip down, get in the shower, soap up the loofa and scrub all the dirt away.
  3. Air dry the road rash.
  4. Put on too much Neosporin – you can’t put on enough, trust me.
  5. Cover with giant band aid.
  6. Go to work and hope it doesn’t leak.
  7. If you can, add more ointment during the day so it doesn’t scab – I blew this today.

If a scab forms you will lose movement because the scab isn’t flexible.

This will hurt like a son-of-a-biscuit sooner than you think.  You will ride anyway, because of step #1 and the scab will crack and bleed and that’s just a drag.  But, if it happens just pour on more ointment than you think you need and let it soften up the scab.

As the wound starts to heal you can de-breed it carefully.  All the while, you should be able to ride and enjoy life.

Keep the rubber side down!

scab

Trust me it’s nasty under there.

Like I’m Young Again

Rolled up to the start line behind all the dinosaurs, watched ’em roll off without me… bye-bye turds… Brownie is racing with the Category 3 kids today.  The whistle went off (no guns here) The Old Diesel led through the first turn – wanted the little ones to know who not to worry about.

Dang, was I ever this young and frisky?  Suicidal attacks consistently whipping things up only to be slowly shut down by idunnowho… sorry punks.

We, Pete and I, were sporting the 2017 kits with our new sponsor’s colors:  HUNKR … I thought we looked awesome – serious bias on that.

Since getting back to road racing, I’ve been racing the age group stuff.  No teammates, just freelancing when I can.  Pete upgraded to Cat 3 last year, and this was our first race together.  He’d been freelancing his way from 5 to 4 to 3.

We had a grand master flash plan, and it worked pretty good until my Adult Onset O.L.D. flared up, withering my legs comically fast.  A mile to go and bye-bye punks… sorry Pete…

…but, I did feel young again… and I’m gonna find The Cure.

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