Todd's Blog


WHAT GOES AROUND

TODD BROWN Bike Life

WHAT GOES AROUND

WHEN DID YOU START MOUNTAIN BIKING?  He's just a little 11yr old, and I must look like an old oak tree.  

When I was about your age.

He looks up at me, That must have been a long time ago.

Or, a dinosaur... I think to myself.

It was a long time ago.  About your age, I started riding with my friends.  Just like you kids tonight.  We rode to school and back every day.  (I skip the shenanigans like kicking out into the trash cans on trash days.) . And on Saturdays we rode all day long, up early and home late.

Did you bring snacks and water?

We didn't, we just left with no plan other than to ride all day.  But, I could see his concern should he attempt such a feat.

Yes, we brought snacks and a coupla dollars in case there was a store nearby.

Small talk from a small human just venturing out on his very first mountain bike ride.  He was somewhat timid.  But every single minute he rode he gained confidence.  Soon he'd mastered a nice section of single track.

We should do this again next week.

Yes, we should.  You did great! 

On my way home, I realized how nice it is to teach someone young about riding.  I reminisced about teaching my own kids, seeing their confidence grow.  Memories of my dad coming to watch me race my BMX bike.

Kids.
Bikes.
Big kids.
Bigger Bikes.
Old kids staying young,
Young kids learning something new.

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163.2
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A 2FER

TODD BROWN Bike Life

A 2FER

LEARN A NEW TASK.  RIDE YOUR BIKE.  GET A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP... and, according to a new study, you will improve your long-term retention of your new skills.

Yes... just more good news for bike riders and the edge we have in the world.

But as I read that formula above, and the cited article, it occurred to me we have a chance for a 2fer.  Learn a cycling skill then finish with some intensity and a good night sleep and we can get better even faster.

... and burning in those new skills with some post ride sugar or carbs...
well, that's the whole point of the ride for many of us.

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164.4
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PASS THE MUSTARD

TODD BROWN Bike Life

PASS THE MUSTARD

THEY DON'T CALL IT THE HARDMAN FOR NOTHING!  86 miles and 6000' of vert into the "ride", I get the hardest leg cramp I've ever had... mind you I've had both legs lock up with me falling over at Vision Quest and the Tahoe 100.  I know something about cramps.  I also have a new trick for eliminating cramps.

Normally, I'd be prepared with pickle juice during the ride and lots of celery the week of the event.

But, today wasn't normal.

Rather than following my cranium and cruising the short route - what I signed up for - I followed my heart and my pals onto the full Hardman 93 mile course.  I couldn't resist.  I was feeling good and we were working well in the "second group" on the road.

I should have stuck to the plan, I knew I wasn't prepared from a dietary standpoint.  Where's the fun in that?  It's a "gravel" event and I'm on a damn adventurous bike.  With my pals.

We were all feeling good until we hit Blackstar.  We got a little spread out on the big climb, but we regrouped at the aid station at the bottom.  Seven of us.

Seven, became 6.
6 turned into 5.
5 down to 4.
4 to 2.

Here is where the cramps hit.  I was out of food and had only a splash of water.  We came in off the dirt through San Juan Capistrano and right then I remembered someone telling me - who was it?, I owe you - that mustard packets will knock out cramps.

Sounds terrible, but I was desperate.

Dan and I pulled into Bravo's.  I grabbed a handful of packets.  Mike rode on by.

We got going.  One packet.  Nothing, still cramping.  Two packets.  Not much better.  Two more, plus the splash of water.

Dan had left me.  I could see him and Mike way ahead on the last dirt climb.

Suddenly, cramps were gone.

Cutting to the chase... Dan made a wrong turn, and we both caught Mike  before the terrible final press up La Pata... which blew us apart and we tricked in - Dan, me and Mike.

Mustard!

I've never seen Strava rate a ride as Historic,
nor have I had my Garmin suggest 63 hours to recover.
It was hard, man.
A proper start with the National Anthem.
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164
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LEFT, RIGHT OR STRAIGHT

TODD BROWN Bike Life

LEFT, RIGHT OR STRAIGHT

THE HARDEST THING TO TEACH A MOUNTAIN BIKER IS VISION:  You're gonna go where your looking.  Look left, you're going left.  Right, right.  Straight...

See the rock, hit the rock.

It's so easy to be careless with what we look at, what we watch, what we read.

Tomorrow I'll be all in on finishing The Hardman with a big smile.


THE UPGRADE OF THE YEAR

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THE UPGRADE OF THE YEAR

FINALLY ACCOMPLISHED MY GOAL OF THE ULTIMATE UPGRADE.  It's made me a much better climber, and it's actually super cheap.  But like most things, if it easy everyone would do it.

I hit my college weight.

With a simple adjustment of my morning food routine the pounds melted off.  All I've changed, is I eat fresh fruit until Noon.  As much as I want.  I'll add a handful of nuts.  But mainly it's about 6 pieces of fruit:  apple, banana, orange, peach, assorted berries.  Mix and match.

I have no idea why it works, but it's been the body hack of the year.

The last time I got this lean was 2002 - using diet pills : (
The time before that was 16 years prior - a poor college kid.

After college, I put on 30 lbs... gaining weight with each pregnancy.  Then, I started riding again and taking those diet pills.  They made me feel terrible.  Quitting the pills and eating donuts with my kids had me pack on 20.  I dropped 10 pretty easy once I started competing again.  But his last 10 seemed impossible to shed.

Fruit, fruit magical fruit
the more I eat, the more I lose.
The more I lose, the faster I climb,
so pound the fruit its morning time.

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162.6
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READY FOR AN ADVENTURE?

TODD BROWN HUNKR

READY FOR AN ADVENTURE?

Re-Post from HUNKR.com

GRAVEL, MIXED-SURFACE, ADVENTURE RACE... WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT, it's the fact there's no right name (yet) that is so perfect.  Because there's no right bike either!

They all work:  MTBs with skinny tires - road bikes with fattish tires - CX bikes - "gravel" bikes.  They're all great on most surfaces, not as good on some.

That's the fun, trying to figure out which rig will be the best.  Which tires and pressures.  Which gearing.  Which foods.  Which shoes - road or MTB.  Which helmet - vented or aero...

The unknown of what lies ahead is refreshing.

Every ride is an open invitation to explore.  See some fresh smooth tarmac, enjoy it.  See a dirt trail, carve it.  See an abandoned road, raid it.

That's how we're creating our courses too.

For HUNKR - LA we're going to be starting on a highway that hasn't seen cars in 50+ years, then we'll be on a beautiful country road through a tiny town, followed by our last segment of rugged fire road.

What's the right bike?
Only the adventurous will know.


FROM INDO WITH LOVE

TODD BROWN Bike Life

FROM INDO WITH LOVE

IS THIS THE LIFE?  My buddy and his posse get a police escort on all their group rides followed by 2 sag vehicles and an ambulance.  He said we can join him any time we want.  Do you want in?

The reach of our group ride is international... and the invitation is real.

Here it is:

TMWC-ers. It’s been a year now since I left SoCal. Definitely missed riding the Tuesday Morning World Championship. Missed every bit of it....the burns punching the A route stinger...the hurt up the wall...the desperation trying to latch on Chris and Todd wheels on the descent...the sinking feeling seeing Peter catapulting the corkscrew...and ohhh did I mention the muscles aching on Tuesday afternoon! It’s never been the same for me. In case you were wondering, I think I have finally adjusted to the new way of life here. Although at times I still wonder how I am finally able to manage tolerating 30 minutes commute for 4 miles. After all Jakarta is the world’s third most populated metro (For comparison NYC and LA were 16th and 30th!) So the group ride here starts early....5.30am including weekend and public holiday. There was a period of time when I thought I was going to give up cycling simply ‘cuz it wasn’t worth waking up that early...that thought quickly ended after seeing my scale went up 15lbs in two months. So I’m back at it (or at least trying). More cyclists here than I had expected. Many fancy bikes and kits. Wide varieties...from culinary cyclists (eat way more calories during a ride than burning it) to pros wanna-be. As for me, I ride much more leisurely now...there’s a group ride I regularly join about three times a week....and i’m spoilt by the escorts (three cops, a couple support vehicles and an ambulance plus cameramen). Here’s a video of one recent weekend ride and I’m still sporting the HUNKR kits! Cheers and hope to ride again with you soon.

We've been blessed to meet a lot of great people on our weekly social ride.  I miss Hartono's kindness, enthusiasm and honest appreciation for life.

Maybe there's a HUNKR Jakarta in the future?

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166
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PUT IT ON THE LINE

TODD BROWN Bike Life

PUT IT ON THE LINE

DON'T MESS WITH MY TAN LINE.
In a group, be sure to hold your line.
Single track is all about picking a good line.
Winning a sprint often means getting your team in line.

This past Saturday a bunch of my friends put their seasons on the line.  For months they rose before the sun and rode a 100+ miles every Saturday so they could have their best day ever at LoToJa - the 200 mile race from Logan UT to Jackson Hole WY.

For many, this was their only race of the year.

An entire year of prep.  For one day.  Like traveling to Everest and hoping the weather is favorable when you get there.

It wasn't just the saddle time.  There were serious food choices made.  Weights lifted.  Equipment... oh the equipment... purchased, maintained and finely tuned.  Support crews coordinated along the route.  Travel to Logan.  Hotels.  It's an never-ending, exhausting list.

All so you can put it on the line,
and see what you can do when you put your mind to it.

... how'd they do?  Podiums and smiles all around.
Nothing better.

 


OUT OF ORDER

TODD BROWN Bike Life

OUT OF ORDER

IT'S 92 DEGREES, I'VE RIDDEN 92 MILES.  I'm a long way from home.  How did I get here?

It didn't seem too ambitious.  The plan was to do the usual 7am start, ride up to Irvine for Food Park.  

Then... do all of FP and meet Trevor in Newport.  He's just getting back on the bike.  We planned a very easy spin around Back Bay, a dad and his boy catching up.

And then... I'd head home.  After all, Surfergirl is outta town so might as well get a few more miles in.

That's how I got here - by myself, racing through Irvine, foolishly trying to get my average speed up to 20mph.

I see Sasha is still out riding hard, but our paths are different... as are our speeds.
I see the Dr. Pepper I'd been dreaming of is out of order.
I see the Mexican popsicles are well represented.
I see my giant carne asada burrito disappear.
I see the iPad is ready to show La Vuelta
I see my bed.
I see...
zzzz

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https://www.strava.com/activities/because-i-couldn-t-make-mammoth-1828389612

nice, cool, foggy start

nice cool, foggy start

my favorite rider

salvation

real food

i feel a lot like this cat... and I bet he's sleeping too

 

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163.8
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IT'S DANGEROUS WORK.

TODD BROWN Bike Life

IT'S DANGEROUS WORK.

POCO A POCO - little by little - is how a 23 year-old Spaniard described riding with the big boys to the top of a ridiculous climb today at La Vuelta.  The favorites had pulled away, but he noticed he was pulling them back, little by little.  Then he caught them, passed them... and won his professional race one pedal stroke at a time!

Such a lesson.

Everyday we get up and go for it.  We do our best.  We give our best.  And at the end of some very long days we try and rest.

The danger is in not seeing the progress,
not noticing the incremental improvements,
giving up on the ideas, products and services we love,
because we failed to see things were improving...
poco a poco.


THE DREAM RIDER

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THE DREAM RIDER

OH HOW I WANTED TO RIDE TONIGHT. 
Beautiful late summer evening on the heels of a hellastressful day. 
But, the day bled into the night shifting the ride to a dream. 
I closed my eyes, and sucked a giant breath of office air. 
The pressure built and built...

I let that breath slowly seep out and carry my soul
to another place with roads smooth as glass
and trails dressed with spring grass.  

The wind blowing through my locks whisking the day away,
freeing my mind back to flow,
my body easily letting go.

Dream riding.

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163.8
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BREAKING THE ICE

TODD BROWN Bike Life

BREAKING THE ICE

TONIGHT I SHOWED UP FOR THE DOCENT MTB RIDE.  My first time, didn't know a soul.  Always weird.  On my gravel bike.  Which make me extra weird, and super self-conscious.

Everybody seems to know each other, know their spot in the group and know I don't belong.  It's not that cyclists are unfriendly or cliquey it's just human nature.  I get it.

But, if there's one thing I know about group rides and newbs it's that sooner or later there will be a separation and I'd be riding with a handful or just one rider. 

Bingo... I've found my spot.  Atop a breathless climb we stop.

Heckuva climb.

Yep.

That first steep pitch had me concerned.

That small talk turns into... You going down Centipede?

I guess.  How steep is it?

He looks at my bike, I can tell he's hoping from some cheap entertainment.

I look at him and think Let's go friend.

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165.4
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BECAUSE I KNOW YOU

TODD BROWN Bike Life

BECAUSE I KNOW YOU

BECAUSE I KNOW YOU WON'T GET UP EARLY, I will
Because I know you won't maintain your bike, I will.
Because I know you won't work your core, I will.
Because I know you won't get properly fit, I will.
Because I know you won't sleep alot, I will.
Because I know you won't eat right, I will.
Because I know you, I will...
Eat right,
Sleep alot,
Get a bike fit,
Work my core,
Maintain my bike,
Rise early every day,
To be the very best I can be...
I will do the work,
and I hope you
will join me.

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165.4
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I WANDER WHY

TODD BROWN Bike Life

I WANDER WHY

I WANDERED DOWN TO DOHENY,
Checked out my bro's Airstream.
I wandered over to San Juan,
Found Charlie's back trail.
I wandered onto campus,
It felt new and young.
I wondered why don't I wander more...
There's something about Ryan Bingham's music that makes me just want to wander... to break free of the routine and the common.  I found him while streaming an "outlaw" playlist.  Just wandered into it, now I can't get enough of it.
It's like the new "adventure bike" has made opened up a new way to ride, a way to wander about town.  Previously I rode mixed surface on my hardtail, but I like the road position a lot better for this style of adventuring.
An hour and half of today's ride wasn't even riding, just hanging around.  That's part of the wandering. 
Being time-less... like this cat.


TUBED BE DETERMINED

TODD BROWN Bike Life

TUBED BE DETERMINED

IT'S JUST DAWGAWN AMAZING HOW A SIMPLE RECON RIDE CAN TURN INTO A SLOG WITH A FEW ILL-TIMED FLATS.  Yes, I was that guy that pulled the rookie move and showed up on a gravel ride with tubes and no sealant (it's only my 3rd gravel ride). Then, I was that guy who's replacement tube exploded as soon as it was inflated... some said it was an ancient tube.  And then... yes... I was that guy who didn't find the wire that caused the first flat and needed to fix yet another flat and bum yet another tube and CO2. 

Guessing when we'll be back from a recon ride is hard enough.  If we knew the course we wouldn't be reconning.  With a few rookies, or old hands riding like rookies, the return is TBD.

Which begs the question... what to do when the ride is tubed be determined?

Do we wait for the rookies?
Forgive them?
Teach them?
Ditch them?

Fortunately for me, my pals are stoked to have me riding gravel and are willing and kind enough to help a rookie out.

Oh my rookiness!
No sealant.
Bad/old tube.
Not finding the cause, 2nd flat.
Not bringing enough spare tubes and CO2.
(how about that weird tube up above?...
... and trying to hang on early on?...
rookies have all the luck,
it's amazing they ever return,
but, if they do they're probably gonna be lifers)

 


THE PROFESSIONAL EATERS

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THE PROFESSIONAL EATERS

BLESSED ARE THE EATERS, FOR THEY SHALL FINISH STRONG.  The best riders and racers are professional eaters.  Not the dieting kind, not the clean kind, not the vegans... we're talking about the pros who know what and when to eat during the event.

If it's a 30 minute crit... shoot, leave your bottles and gu's in the car.
But, if you're going big you gotta eat.  

The pros know well before the big day what their food strategy will be.  They've tested it multiple times and their confident in it.  The other thing they do is follow the strategy, the eat and eat and eat as the miles go by.

Rookies typically wing it, then get lost in the energy of the moment and forget to eat all together. 

Rookies finish weak,
if they finish at all.
Pros finish strong,
because they it all.

Be pro.

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163.8
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FOR A GOOD TIME... ROLL GRAVEL

TODD BROWN Bike Life

FOR A GOOD TIME... ROLL GRAVEL

FINALLY GOT A CHANCE TO ROLL THE NEW MERZ "GRAVEL" BIKE.  I thought I'd go out for about an hour... start out with the Market Ride and peel off to hit some dirt.  That turned into a 3 hour ride... it's safe to say I have a new addiction.

After one ride, there's a ton I like and a few things I'm gonna change.

I used to say if I could only have one bike it would be a hardtail MTB.  Not any more, it would definitely be a gravel bike... a bike that you can ride on the road or on the dirt.  The road position on a bike is just great, and shredding dirt in that position is a hoot.

If you want to improve your road skills riding in the road position on dirt is awesome.  The fat-for-road-skinny-for-dirt tires require a smooth pedal stroke, specially when climbing out of the saddle.  Same goes ripping single track, it's just an absolute blast in the road bike position.  

How's it on the road?  Well, it's nowhere near as fast as my aero rocket.  But, I don't think that's the point of this bike for me.  It's just fine.  Plus, it's super comfy with the giant tire.  It's fun to get up on the sidewalk and jump off, to poach a little patch of dirt.  On, and the disc brakes are ace.

First thing I'm gonna change is the bars and tape.  The tubing is way to small and the tape is very slick.  I could see upgrading the wheels... but I'm gonna do my best to destroy these first.  

My friends promised a gravel bike would change my life,
based on a huge sample of one ride,
I agree.

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165
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IT'S NOT A TOUR

TODD BROWN Bike Life

IT'S NOT A TOUR

I DON'T KNOW ANY FRENCH, BUT I DO KNOW MUCHO ESPANOL.  So, let me let you in on a couple of secrets.

First, La Vuelta de Espana is the most entertaining of the three Grand Tours - 3 week bike race.  If you're not watching it, check it out... Stage 5 was today.

Second, La Vuelta does not mean it's a bike tour.  It literally means The Turn.

Third, El Giro (de Italia) does not mean it's a bike tour.  It literally means The Lap

Finally, Le Tour (de France) does not mean it's a bike tour.  It literally means The Round.

La Vuelta takes a real whack at turning 3 week racing on it's head,
It gets me geeked up for another lap of daily racing,
To see what they'll do this time round.

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165.2
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OH SAY CAN YOU tmwC?

TODD BROWN Bike Life

OH SAY CAN YOU tmwC?

DUE TO OUR TMWC "SOCIAL" RIDE GETTING FASTER AND FASTER, videographer and speedster Pete started up a C ride:  leaving 10 minutes early, at more of a Conversational pace.

If you're offended by words like Casual, Cruising, Chummy, inClusive etc this is not your ride.  You'd be better off starting at 630 where those words are used by total liars.

The tmwC ride is full of Chaps - Chicks too, I hope - who like to Chat and aren't afraid to Coast oCCasionally.

Another reason to Choose the C is to use it as an opener for a Competition later in the day.  That's what I did today prepping for the ELDO Crit.

I don't always ride C
but when I do,
it's tmwC.

 

Juniors Series Champs at Eldo

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167.4
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GRA-vul

TODD BROWN Bike Life

GRA-vul

WELL, I DID IT.  Pulled the trigger on a gravel bike.  Broke all my rules of not getting a bike the same color as the one it's replacing, etc... because, I've never had a gravel bike.  My friends all tell me this is going to change my life, but they won't be explaining it to Surfergirl.

I had to... right?!

First, it's going to change my life.

Second, we sponsor The Hardman Invitational and this year I'm doing it.

Third, the next HUNKR, in November, will be a gravel event + 3 more in Twenty19.

But, it's not really "gravel". 

Technically, I believe, it's mixed surface:  some pavement, some dirt trails, some gravel roads.  Being a somewhat mixed up person, this should be right my alley.  

Evidence:  I picked up my orthotics today.  Doc, should I get a second pair for my MTB shoes?  What do most people do?  Todd, most people just ride road.

Will this bike change my life?
I dunno,
Some bikes are powerful talisman.
Is yours?

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167.8
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