I’M NOT EVEN TRYING

I’m not even trying to compete with you.  I show up to see all the different ways you can destroy me.  I show up to gaze at your vast arsenal.  I show up to see what real talent looks like.  I show up to know what’s possible.  I show up…

… just for the inspiration.

170.4

LOTOJA TRAINING RIDE #6 – EZPZ

It’s going to be hard today.  We’ve hammered 5 out of the last 11 days.  My legs are cooked, but we are getting very close to the big day and we can’t waste any time.  It’s going to be so hard to…

… ride very easy.

Matt and Ty will there, Cat 1 MTB racers.  Jeff is down from Park City, he just snagged a KOM from Levi.  Plus, Steve and Dr V and Chris and Chris saw the Strava “club” post and will also be there.

The easiest thing to do as the big day approaches is to error on the side of exhaustion, to dig that grave a little deeper.  It’s so stupid, so common, so easy to do.

We’re not gonna do it.

We’re gonna ride easy, cruise the beach, be tourists.  We’re gonna keep it flat.  We’re gonna hydrate.  We’re gonna cut it short.

The hardest thing to do, is to ride easy.

(Lots of people in Laguna early, it’s going to be a beautiful day)

How many cyclists does it take to change a tire?

Kevin at 7-11

See you soon

171.4

IT’S NOT A TRAINING CAMP

Paul and I think it would be fun for our snowbound friends to fly south for the winter and join the locals for some epic rides in SoCal.  Think of it as a chance to start the year off different.  We’ll all learn a bunch of new stuff about bikes and going faster… I mean, if you’re into that sort of thing.

The rides will include HUNKR OC, HUNKR GMR, and Swami’s Long on the road and San Juan Trail off road.

The learning will be from the Carmichael Training Systems vault, and others.

Pencil it in for last week of January, 2018… and don’t blow getting your haul pass by calling it a training camp…

…start the year different.

Nothing says put me on FB Live like flannel in July.

HOW TO GROW CYCLING

It’s starts with a friendly “hi, my name is Todd.”  Within a few miles you’ll know if you like to do the same kind of rides and if you do… then, “hey, we are all riding the Market Ride on Thursday.  Join us.”

We’re humans.

We like to do stuff with like-minded people.

There’s nothing better than geeking out over cycling with your pals.

Embrace the new guys and gals, especially if they are lacking skills.

You’ll soon have friends for life.

… and a growing community.

171

MTB WDNSDY

I once hired Gibby Hatton to coach me.  Google him… there’s 55,000 references to America’s greatest track racer.  I wasn’t going to race track, I wasn’t even racing road at the time, I was prepping for Leadville and wanted to see what I could learn from a new perspective.  He had me come over, get on a trainer and ride.

You hear that?

What?

That… the trainer.

Yep.

Do you always pedal like that?

Yep.

You ride BMX?  A lot as a kid.

Mountain bike?  Yes, a ton.

That explains it.

Oh…

Listen to the trainer, the sound is even.

BMX’rs have the best pedal stroke because the aren’t clipped in.

Mountain bikers are next because they have to put the power down evenly to keep the rear tire hooked up.

Roadies are usually awful, just mashing away.

It was a short lived experience.  Mainly because he was very serious, and I was a little low on dough.  But sometimes, just getting confirmation that you’re doing the right thing is worth the price of admission.

That popped into my mind tonight riding with 17 yr old Reed on a pretty beefy trail bike, and 47 yr old Brent on a Specialized electric bike, and me clipped in on my hardtail.

Different bikes, different styles, same passion.

Some of the drops we did were so steep the back of my saddle was nailed to my sternum… controlled skids.  We loped back to the top and did more trails, found some good jumps  I came up short often enough to bust a spoke.

Can’t wait ’till next week.

mtb wd

172

OUTLANDA-ISH

Oh Mikel!… really?  Granted, the editors at VeloNews might be making you look bad to back up their sensational headline. So, I read on…

“When you start to think about where you could have taken back a second … ufff, que rabia!”

Dude, you sound like every whiner I’ve ever heard.  I woulda one, but…

…but nothing bro, look at the scoreboard.

You lost by one second.

That’s all.

Did you have the legs to drop everybody?  Maybe.  But. you didn’t and you didn’t have the weight of team leadership in your jersey pockets and there’s probably a reason you aren’t a team leader yet.

I hope you do get to lead a team, and I hope you do win.  Winning is awesome…

…whining is for losers.

IT’S JUST A SOCIAL RIDE

It’s just a social ride, nothing to worry about.  The guys and gals getting together, to do an easy, little spin.

… right before they rip your legs off, marinate them, and throw them on the grill.

If your “pals” ever describe a ride as just a social ride, and your spider-sense is screaming DON’T DO IT!, well…

It’s not that there aren’t social rides.  There are.  Lots of ’em.  People being friendly, putting around town, maybe a little site seeing and probably some food and drinks along the way.

… just be prepared for what’s on the menu.

PS… I’m going to do a limited run of these shirts, order now – deliver in 15 days)

CHARITY

Why are so many bike rides and races associated with a charity?  The hard truth:  being associated with a charity greases the government gears.  It all gets easier.

Promoting is still very hard work.

Without the promoter’s charitable heart nothing would happen.

(Jeff promotes CBR)

(Matt promotes OverTheHump and 50MileRide)

(Jon, Andy, Jake and their lovely ladies promote NON-DOT)

LOTOJA TRAINING RIDE #5 – CHRYSTAL LAKE

The Route: GMR to Chrystal Lake and back.

Goals:  test food choices, saddle height, gearing, get Nate’s take.

It hurts.  We hammered up GMR (2300′) and now we are hammering up to Chrystal Lake (4000′).  It’s my first time to the lake.  The ProEco’s (Chris, Slayer and Jerry) are pulling away.  I’m in full diesel mode, 160 bpm.

I never wonder why I do this, I know why… because it feels so good and it quiets my over-active mind.

Unlike GMR, which is quite twisty, Chrystal Lake has long, lying stretches that look easy… Garmin speaks truth, 7-10% grades.  We are a lot higher.  Tall, thick pines reach above casting lonely shadows.

A 911 nearly spun out passing me down East Fork.  On this climb, multiple motos skim by.

The guys are waiting for me at the famous Cafe – basically an ancient burger shack that sells 12oz cans of soda and 16oz bottles of water with their burgers and burritos… I’m parched.  Chris is covered in his own salt.

We refuel, after 2 hours and 40 minutes to cover 6000’+ in 35 miles.

Time to go down.

Descending is the only time I’m able to fully concentrate on one thing, ever.  Everything is quite, everything is visible.  All my senses functioning beautifully.  It’s calming and I’m confident.  I’m an eagle…

About those goals:

Food… at a very fast tempo, I can’t eat.  I can only drink.  So, I’m going to have to go all liquid the first 100 of LoToJa.  My friend Paul Ruggiero, a high-level CTS coach, told me 1 gram of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight.  I couldn’t do that effectively today because:  one, the pace was to high to eat a Honey Stinger an hour; two, we stopped multiple times for water and food.  Next Saturday, I’m rolling out with 4 hours of food and not stop… which is how far we go until the first aid station in LoToJa.

Saddle height… so, I decided to give the POWER saddle in the correct width a try mainly because a lot of my friends love that saddle.  I didn’t get the position perfect and my knees are a tad tender.  I’m still not sure about the saddle.  The Romin should be in this week, I’m probably going to wind up going with it.

Gearing… ordered my 34t small ring for the front but didn’t have time to install it.  It would have been great today.  My 36t/28t is fine for GMR but Chrystal Lake’s pitches were just a little much over a long climb, and we have very long climbs in September.

Nate’s take… Nate has done LoToJa multiple times and I was anxious to hear the comparison between today’s climbs.  He said today’s climbs were steeper, and today’s pace faster.

(Garmin said 34 hours to recover, I actually find these assessments useful)

(Inside the Chrystal Lake Cafe)

(It was nice outside the cafe: ProEco’s Slayer on the right, Jerry on the left, and Chris)

(We are dudes in nature using… this stenching hut… we must be tired!)

(Couldn’t get enough of these big, burly dudes hugging each other before separating)

(Who else but Hartono does all you can eat sushi after an epic ride?!… we’re gonna miss this kid)

HOW TO BUILD A TEAM – GETTING STARTED

Todd, I want to build up ______ cycling… how do I do that?  It’s a good question, and I get it a lot, but it’s not the place to start.  The fundamental questions are:  Who you are? and Where do you want to go?  Here’s a snap shot of a conversation with my friend who stopped today, and where we wound up.

Kim:  Women’s cycling is dying, nobody races.  I want to build that up.

Do you race?

Kim: Not anymore, I crashed hard at Dana Point.  I still ride a lot, and I have these two weekly rides I’ve created.  20-30 people show up each week….

We talked about how these two rides started, and why she puts in the time to promote them.  Who shows up, what the agenda is etc.  She has a really good starting point already. But, she struggled a little bit to answer the fundamental questions.

Who are you?  Meaning, what is the identity of the tribe you want to create.  Some groups seem to take on an identity of their own, but in reality the the leader of the group attracts like-minded people.  I’ve been on group rides where everybody swears and has nothing but lewd and rude comments, others where the dynamic is the polar opposite – saintly.  It all starts with the leader.  It’s going to be hard for my friend to grow women’s racing if she’s not racing, for example.

Where do you want to go?  It’s takes years to build anything substantial.  Kim knows this, she even said it took two years until the rides were self-sustaining.  With that in mind, what do you want your cycling team to look like in 2-3 years?  Racers vs riders vs social vs competitive vs inclusive vs exclusive vs free vs fee vs big vs small vs all men vs all women vs all kids vs all families vs road vs mtb vs track vs BMX vs touring.

Looking at other teams can be helpful.  I told Kim about my friend Jacke’s club, the Trail Angels.  Jacke started very small, with handful of friends and a desire to get women in her area out on mountain bikes.  Jacke shares her passion for our beautiful mountains and biking with complete joy – get out, get healthy, get a break.  She provides friendship and mentorship, teaching hundreds of women how to ride and care for their mountain bikes.  Some years Jacke’s tribe exceeds 300 women.

If you don’t know who you are and where you want to go you will struggle mightily.

My advice is to pick the narrowest segment possible, and build from there.  One at a time.  It’s harder work, but it’s long-lasting and infinitely more fulfilling.  If you can’t make it work small, it will never work big.

It starts with your passion and your willingness to give, anything less than giving and caring will greatly hobble your efforts.

Answer those questions and I’ll cover what’s next… next.

PS… Kim is focusing on women-only road rides, you can join her on Facebook

(one of my all time favorite books)

 

DRIVEN BY PAIN

Everything we make and do is driven by pain.  If we’re feelin’ pain, we want eliminate it so we create something way better… turning pain into gain.

Tired of ill-fitting, ugly kits… we searched out the best Italian fabrics and created beautiful cycling gear.

Frustrated by a giant bag with no organization… we developed the RaceDay bag.

Baggy, boxy t-shirts… fixed that.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about an entirely different sock.  I mean, it’s still a sock… but this is going to be an awesome sock.

It’s all about the “R” and “D”… Realizing you’re in pain and Developing an outstanding solution.  Most of us endurance cyclists can endure pain and not even realized life could be a lot better.

Stay tuned…

JUST KIDDING

Want to change up your riding?  Grab your mountain bike, head out with the high school kids.  Be prepared to stop and talk and size up gnarly stuff.  That’s how kids ride.  Just for fun.

That’s what we did tonight.

We just rode.

No agenda, no plan.

We stopped above some crazy steep drops, then dropped in.

We found some big jumps and some of us jumped big… some jumped… and some just rolled over the jumps.  Then we did it again, jumping a little further each time.  Daring ourselves and each other.

A little blood was oozing, lots of dust mixed in with sweat, smiles everywhere.

It’s cheap too.

The kids bought their bikes on Craigslist… $4000 bikes for $600.  Not the latest and greatest machines, that’s not the point.  This isn’t about racing, it’s about adventure and fun and learning how to ride and work on the bikes.

re·ju·ve·nate     rəˈjo͞ovəˌnāt     verb
  1. make (someone or something) look or feel younger, fresher, or more lively.

RUSSIAN MISSILE OBLITERATES PELOTON

I can’t really compare the attacks to anybody else I’ve ridden with.  They are violent and vicious.  But lots of guys can pedal ferociously.  They are extremely ambitious,  miles from the finish line.  Nothing original there, really.  The thing about Sasha’s attacks is the resemblance to inter-continental ballistic missiles.

Imagine those Space Shuttle videos from the side of the rocket… the flame, the thrust, the lift off to infinity and beyond.

Now imagine you 6″ off that rocket’s rear wheel.

That’s what it’s like.

He’s the flame, and you’re made of wax.

He’s firing away, and you are melting… right… into… the pavement.

…where you will lie and lie to yourself…

Today he launched the moment we hit the bike path.  6 of us hung on desperately.  Pete and Chris and Bret did a few rotations.  One by one, the “boosters” were jettisoned until the launch vehicle reached the top of the wall never to be seen again.

Impressive.  Sasha!

(uphill, 600 watts, 23 mph – click to watch video)

SLEEP MORE, LOSE MORE

My sleeping schedule is off… I’ve stopped reading and picked up binge watching at night.  First MadMen then Shane said, Dad you gotta watch Designated Survivor.  It’s always fun to watch a show together… and since he and Abbey are home for the summer… well, here I am… it’s late and I’m getting fatter, because you get fat when you don’t sleep enough.

At least I do, and I bet you do too.

If I could just get this last season finished, then I’ll get back to reading… and the books are piling up.

Reading is better pre-sleep than “TV” because you have to hold the book.  It’s much less convenient than mindlessly watching the screen with both hands free to steady the popcorn and load the mouth.

Studies have shown that if you don’t sleep enough you’ll put on weight… I think just because you are awake more, and there’s food everywhere in the US.

Sleep more, lose more.

LOW-TO-JAW TRAINING RIDE #4

Today I had two goals:  sort out my saddle and long steady climbing… and hang out with Hartono before he moves back to Indonesia – hanging out is not a goal, it’s too important.  We’d be checking those boxes down on Palomar – apparently rated the #10 most difficult climb in California (it’s not that hard compared to the many MTB climbs, it’s paved and at a super steady grade so the world’s largest telescope could be built on top of the mountain).

So much pre-amble…

Anyway, my saddle has been a real pain lately.  Thankfully Specialized has a satisfaction guarantee so I was able to test a new saddle out today.

CeeDub recommended I get my Sitz bone’s width checked.  Steve handled that with a pretty cool device from ReTul.  I sitz’d on it twice, and he said I need to be on a 155… which is a lot wider than the 143 I’ve  been on.  Then, Steve politely took me over to all the saddles and we settled on the Romin – I’ve been on the Power.  He had a loaner, I took it.  So flippin’ simple… can I tell you how nice it was to have a pro take the time to not make me feel like a retard and kindly help me out?!  (I feel another post is coming on regarding sales).

Verdict?

The saddle is ace.  Perfect.  Me so happy!

8 weeks out… and I gotta get the saddle solved.

We started at Lake Henshaw.  This is my preferred route to ride Palomar.  There are many options, this one is the least traveled.  Here’s the link.

We did two  1 hour and twenty minute climbs, each finishing at the Observatory.

My personal goal here was to keep it in Zone 3.  I did that no problem and was able to climb strong the entire time with no real let off in power.

I did notice that over 8% it was hard for me to keep my cadence up and Hartono would scoot ahead.  He has a 32 on his bike, I’m riding a 28.  I need to dig into the LoToJa course and see how steep the grades get.  If they are over 8% for long periods of time, I’ll be throwing a larger cassette on for next week’s adventure.

Ride Notes:

The East Grade has been resurfaced and it’s amazing.  Black Silk.

A pickup had gone over the edge at the top of East Grade and rolled down about 200 yards – not sure about survivors.

On South Grade a wannabe moto-GP guy went down right in front of us – we were climbing up.  He came out of a left hand turn (for him) and lost the front wheel, laid it down, rolled over the bike and they both landed in the dirt.  Gas spilled all over the road.  He was fine… I stopped to help him pick the bike up… so take 20 minutes off my time up South Grade.

Car clubs were all over:  GTRs, Ferrari’s, classic BMWs.

Ran into JJ from UC Cycles Racing at Mother’s.

Saw Lori and George Everesting on South Grade – they are crazy animals.

(That’s an Enzo, about 20 other Ferrari’s)

(I prefer the GTRs)

(Right before Hartono dropped me)

(Hartono’s first time up to the Observatory, if you’ve never gone the extra 4 miles… DO IT!)

MAYBE WE’RE ONTO SOMETHING?

Just two observations about today’s gripping Tour de France stage:

  1.  SKY dominated the stage, while wearing their new white jerseys.
  2.  Today’s stage was awesome, because it was only 100k.

Are we onto something?

  1. TMWC went to white jersey this year.
  2. We started a series of 100k bike races called HUNKR.

THE RE-RIDE

Whether you ride or drive to the ride or race, on the way home you have the re-ride.  This is usually much better than the actual ride: more animated, more exagerrated.  Somehow it always reminds me of the old black and white movies where the couple lie in bed smoking, reliving the heat and passion of the moment in each others arms.

Oh baby, I wish you didn’t have to go…

Oh man, you guys took off and all we could do was…

We hit that hill so hard I thought…

My cleat broke in the sprint and everybody…

You came by so fast…

I saw that guy swing wide and…

The re-ride is loud.  Everybody clamoring to get their version heard, piling on each others tales.

We’re just so full of energy, even after the most brutal rides, we gotta talk it out.  Re-ride the whole thing.  Hearing how it went down from every perspective, and loving every single syllable said and heard.

Pass the Marlboro’s

(Matt and Jon re-riding the Market Ride)

 

HE’S STARTS TO GET A WHIFF

He’s being shown :50, that will give a whole bottle of courage

He doesn’t touch the brakes because he doesn’t need to.

Finally, the tongue comes out

Normally you need 1:10 at 10k, Bodnar is not normal.

It’s a serious moment.

He starts to get a sniff

Catch him?… they can’t

It’s a face of determination

They can see him

The more technical the better his chances

It is far from over

One thing he won’t do is surrender

He’s just so strong

He’ll steal it, no he won’t he’ll earn it

But… it’s Kittle again… caught in the last 300 meters