Todd's Blog


THE WHEELBUILDER

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THE WHEELBUILDER

WHEELS ARE EVERYTHING.  Save your money, get great wheels... before you get a great gruppo or great frame - get the wheels.

Had a chance to drop in on Wheelbuilder today.  It'd been a few years.  No particular reason for the gap in time.

But, I had a very particular issue with my race wheels.

Last time I was there, well it wasn't there.  It was a tiny, dingy building.  Today, it's a beautiful new building.

How'd they grow like that?  

Probably like this... I walk in, Benny greets me.  Assesses my situation.  Gets stuck... brings in Rich - the owner.  Rich gets right on it and fixes me up in no time... taking time to explain to me how and why they do the things they do.

It's not too tricky... be great at what you do, take care of your customers.

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163.2
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HOW ARE YOU STILL TALKING?

TODD BROWN Bike Life

HOW ARE YOU STILL TALKING?

ON THE RIDE SATURDAY,  we talked about taking the ladies out for dinner.  It's the least we could do after spending the morning on our bikes.

The ladies were in.

We all went out.

Socially, this was a first for the 6 of us.  It was great.  The food was amazing.  The conversation rich and fast.

Plates were cleared... I started selling 31 flavors and walking it off down to the pier... we kept talking.  Good company.

Then, one of the ladies asked How are you still talking?  Didn't you talk all morning on the ride?

So we talked about what we talked about on the ride.


A CLOUD TOO FAR

TODD BROWN Bike Life

A CLOUD TOO FAR

TODAY'S RIDE PLANS SHIFTED FROM MORNING TO AFTERNOON AND BACK TO MORNING... from Friday to 5am today.  The Weather Channel was in control, and their nifty little radar map would chart our course.

First, I had to roust the posse.  A few responded, most dreamt on... of drier days.

Second, pick the meeting points and ride.  We opted to catch up with Canyon Velo.

Nothing went according to plan.

First, nobody showed for Canyon Velo... NOBODY!  What is the world coming to???  This ride is powered by some of the gnarliest cats in town.  But, cats don't like water.

Second, we rode over to the Start/Finish of the '84 Olympic road course.  Mike and Eric had never done it, so we did it.  Decent time, too... big cup top 10s... shout out to Peter Aquino for owning the KOM.  No way could I sustain that pace for the 118 miles they road 35 years ago.  (I need to write about how that race got it all started for me.)

Third, we scrapped the plan to pound Robinson Ranch because when we got close it was covered in clouds and raining.

Fourth, I put in a call to C.Hill.  Bro, is it raining over there?  No.  Think we loop through Coto.  Yes, I think so... come by and get a cinnamon roll and cookies... I forgave him for opting to ride later in the day.

Fifth, our plan to skirt the rain was perfect except for about 5 minutes when a rogue, black cloud broke loose.  Shoes full of water wet.

Some times the best laid plans are nothing compared to a good adventure.

Looking for CV

This loop is awesome

A cloud to far

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163.2
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SLOW DOWN, YOU MOVE TO FAST

TODD BROWN Bike Life

SLOW DOWN, YOU MOVE TO FAST

ONE OF THE BENEFITS OF OWNING A SLOW BIKE is getting the heart rate up while going slower.

It's perfect for riding with a slower rider, when you still want to get a decent workout in.

It's great for riding along the bike trails where low speed is encouraged.

It's reminds you how fast your race bike really is.

Speaking of race bike, Sagan is slated to race an aluminum, disc bike at Down Under... I'm sure it's to sell more aluminum bikes, but why not?  I love mine.


WILL. POWER.

TODD BROWN Bike Life

WILL.  POWER.

WILL POWER IS LIMITED... It's a lot like a sprint.  Everybody can go all out for 2 seconds, some for 10 seconds, others for 30 seconds, a handful for a minute.  But eventually, that will power is gone and so are all our plans for victory.

Finding the peanut butter cups in the cupboard today was a sign.  A sign that I know my weakness, and Surfergirl's hiding skills need sharpening.

Hiding my kryptonite isn't the only thing I do.

I prep my clothes and bottles and lights and bike the night before, knowing this will eliminate the magnetic pull of my blanky when it's dark and cold and early.

I commit to the crew that I'll be on the corner at 5:50am, knowing how fun it is to ride with them... and the shame of sleeping in.

I put the pull up bar in the bathroom door jam instead of out in the garage - she's not thrilled with this.

The weights and Bosu ball are in the family room where calling to me - also not popular.

Going to the front of the group ride repeatedly until I blow ain't fun, but it's the only way I can do intervals... I have zero interest in doing them alone.

What are your tricks?

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164
10/30
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FOR GRAVEL, IT'S ROAD

TODD BROWN Bike Life

FOR GRAVEL, IT'S ROAD

AFTER MUCH DEBATE WITH MYSELF, I've determined road pedals and shoes are better than MTB for my gravel bike.  Having previously determined gravel is a terrible name for a bike that will zip you quickly down the pavement or easily handle smooth single track it's not surprising this debate lasted a while.

If we referred to the gravel bike as a do-anything road bike, the choice would be obvious.

But, it wasn't.

A funny thing happened on the way to answering my question of which set up was better.

I was reminded of how much better the road solution is:  the shoes are lighter, the connection is much stronger. 

The real debate is when, if ever, should we run MTB shoes and pedals?  Unless we're hiking up Columbine at Leadville or some other terrible thing we've signed up for the answer should always be road.

Anyone want to debate that?


ALL IT TAKES

TODD BROWN Bike Life

ALL IT TAKES

FOR ME, IT'S MORE THAN JUST REGISTERING FOR AN EVENT.  Nothing really happens in terms of focus or energy totally geeking out until I look at the course.  Then it's on!

Everything changes.

I start thinking about my equipment choice.
Counting the days for tuning up the bike.
Making sure the shoes/cleats are ready.
Thinking about race specific training.
How much will my weight matter?
Dialing in my food for the day.
Fretting on where I'll sleep.
Which kit will feel fastest?
Are my lenses perfect?

It's so energizing once I commit.
I LOVE IT!

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163.6
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THAT'S ENOUGH

TODD BROWN Bike Life

HOLIDAY ARE OVER.  The college football championship is over.  My weight is well over what it should be.

That's enough.

Time to get serious.

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164
10/30
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SOMETIMES IT IS BETTER TO EMBRACE THAN RESIST.

TODD BROWN Bike Life

SOMETIMES IT IS BETTER TO EMBRACE THAN RESIST.

THREE OF US DROVE DOWN TO DO SWAMI'S LONG.  2 made it, 1 was dropped.  With Cav out again, along with Cal, and some cat from Bora Hansgrohe the energy was high and the group was large.  Those 3 pros looked around at us commoners and drilled it up Levante, all the way through Elfin Forest.

It was over early for many.

I checked my phone at the church regroup.  Nothing.

Friends as we are, we left him and hit the long course.

The sad, lonely text finally came in.  I felt bad him.  It's no fun getting left behind.

The only question that remained was if he'd wait for us at the car... he was our driver.  If he left us, it would be a long 20+ miles into a stiff headwind... or, a quick LYFT ride.

He embraced his doom.  Rode with the Short group.  Pulled into Starbucks.  Sucked down a hot drink and a toasty bagel.  Pulled out 40 minutes later and graciously drove us home.

It's not always easy, just better.

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161.6
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TIME KEEPS ON SLIPPIN'

TODD BROWN Bike Life

TIME KEEPS ON SLIPPIN'

THE BEST RACERS ARE THE BEST TIME MANAGERS.  Sure there's the race itself... and the best racer is spending the least amount of energy until just the right time.  That's the surface, but there's so much more.

The best racers, show up early with plenty of time to warm up and get to the start... wasting little to no emotional energy while they're at it.

The best racers, make time to stretch and work on their core.  They make time to prepare healthy meals.  The little stuff matters and gets the time deserved.

The best racers, schedule their work and work their schedule so there's time to ride.  No excuses.  Most of them, that I know, get up early and get it done.

And the very, very best make time for the most important people in their lives.

We've only got one shot, make time.

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162.4
10/30
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NICE RACK...

TODD BROWN

NICE RACK...

WHETHER YOU RIDE ROAD OR MOUNTAIN OR BMX OR CROSS, whether your weekends are filled with races or beach cruises, whether your car is worth more than your bike or your bike worth more than your car...

If you've got a bike rack I know we're part of the same tribe.  Our interests in bikes might be on opposite ends of the spectrum, but it won't matter at the company barbecue or giant family reunion.  We'll eventually find each other and we'll connect and hang out.

We'll talk about things nobody else will understand or care about...

We're bike riders.
We've got racks.
You're not.
You don't.

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163.2
10/30
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WHEN YOU'RE IN TOWN

TODD BROWN Bike Life

WHEN YOU'RE IN TOWN

IT'S HARD.  You're in town for a handful of days, and you want to sneak in a few rides.  But, the whole family came and they wanna go to Disneyland.  What's a boy/girl to do?

One, call a friend.  Preferably one who won't sympathize with you, but will ridicule you.  This is to balance out the pull to Disneyland.

Second, remember this isn't home.  You're someplace either new or rarely visited.  Think about all the rides you love at home, but are now kind of routine and realize you are very likely to go find a fantastic ride that is all new.

Third, be honest.  You and the rest of the team know you'll be a whole lot more fun and engaged knowing you'll get in your own Disneyland bike ride or two.

So do it.
Come to sunny CA.
With the whole team.
And go on ALL the rides.

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162.2
10/30
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OLDLY COMMITTED VS NEWLY COMMITTED.

TODD BROWN Bike Life

OLDLY COMMITTED VS NEWLY COMMITTED.

NEW YEARS DAY, 'round here people get out... regardless of what happened the night before.  So out we went, I took HVY MTL she took her MTB. 

As expected, there were two kinds of people enjoying the trials:  us, the oldly committed; and them, the newly committed.   

For us, the question isn't should we get some exercise... it's where shall we ride?  There were lots of us out there.   We saw lots of friends.  Some running, most riding.  Some alone, some with the whole family.

They were out there, too.  New bikes and new shoes having a brand new experience.  A beautiful site.

For us, it never gets old...

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163.6
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HOW OLD WILL YOU BE NEXT YEAR?

TODD BROWN

HOW OLD WILL YOU BE NEXT YEAR?

GOT A TEXT FROM ONE OF MY "HIGH SCHOOL" FRIENDS TODAY... kids are so refreshing.

Adults usually want the latest and greatest.   Every advantage they can buy, and maybe a little look at me...

Kids wanna have fun.   Kids don't have much cash.  

They say the sport needs more kids... I couldn't agree more, starting with me.

Let's have some fun!


LET'S JUST PUT THIS TO REST, SHALL WE?

TODD BROWN Bike Life

LET'S JUST PUT THIS TO REST, SHALL WE?

IF YOU'VE EVER WONDERED IF YOU COULD KEEP UP WITH THE SPRINTERS WHO DANGLE OFF THE BACK AT THE TDF... If you've ever thought, Hell, even I could hang on the flat stuff... If you've been foolish enough to think professional sprinters can't climb... 

This post is for you.

Rumor had it... well Cal (worth clicking) basically promised it - My mate from the Isle of Man, where real men ride all bikes real fast, will be here for a few weeks...

In other words... CAV (the winningest rider in TDF history) would be on our little ol' group ride this morning.

Cav's done it in years past.  My son Trevor rode with him and came home all smiles and story tellin' a few years back.  How could we pass it up?

Back to that wondering thing...

If you've ever wondered if the pros are cool, the answer is YES for Mark.  Super nice and thoughtful and gracious.  Took pictures with us.  Chatted as we rode.  Even yelled Hold up, we've got a puncture! when Chris' tire caboomed at the store we stop at.

If you've ever wondered how strong a sprinter is I can tell you resting my arm on his shoulder for the picture it was like touching The David incarnate.  But it wasn't just that... here's something you'll never see on TV.  We pull up to a light and we all unclip right?  Well, yeah.  But when Mark unclips the entire bike wobbles and shifts and whimpers... such is the tension in his pedal/cleat connection.

I know you'd never be stupid enough to wonder if you could to all those things in the intro.  I would, you are much too smart.  

But, you may have wondered Could our Goliath hang on the climbs and flats?.. well, we can put that to rest too.  We hit Wolhford pass - 2 miles and 10 minutes of pain - and I'm thinking I gotta chance.  Then Steve, our Tuesday morning hero, our pro mountain biker, our best climber makes it clear I don't have any chance.  He moves to the front and drills it.  Guys peeling off left and right.

They were gone.

When I pulled in at the store, he had a big grin.  That was the best ride of my life. 

Did you drop Cav?

No.

Really?

Not even, he rode up to me like it was a Sunday cruise with his wife.

Wow.

Yeah, but you know what?... when we got to the kicker before the store, I told him how fun it was for me to ride with him.

And...

He smiled.

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Cav left, Cal right

The usual suspects and a few more.

Poor Chris... I don't think I've ever seen a more self-conscious tire changer.  (You're only holding up the fastest man in the world buddy!)

We have a new post-ride favorite stop.

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164.6
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RIGHT DAY, WRONG BIKE.

TODD BROWN Bike Life

RIGHT DAY, WRONG BIKE.

THERE I WAS SOFT PEDALING, HEART RATE 115 BPM, 27 MILES AN HOUR... a regular ho hum day.  Hahaha... I wish that was my norm.

The wind was blowing strong and steady from the northeast and I was all by myself on the bike trail heading southwest.  If only I was on The Marvel instead of HVY MTL.  Today was a day to smash the KOM.

The Marvel is my aero road racing machine.  HVY MTL is my heavy, slow, un-aero, giant-tired, adventure bike.  

Right day, wrong bike.

I was movin'.
Still havin' a blast.

Maybe it was the right bike... sure seemed right when I left home, in search of a mostly car-free route.  I'd already put in 8 hours this week, and I could feel a touch of burnout approaching. 

Riding HVY MTL is always fun, always different. 
Far fewer constraints.
See a curb, jump it.  
See a trail, take it. 
Feel the wind... 

162
10/33
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STRAVA CUTE. ANALOG REAL.

TODD BROWN Bike Life

STRAVA CUTE.  ANALOG REAL.

STRAVA, CUTE.  ANALOG, REAL. 

MOST OF US GOT A STRAVA EMAIL THIS WEEK TO WATCH OUR YEAR IN REVIEW.  It’s a cute little video of the top moments according to STRAVA.  They, the app, the AI have no clue what really happened this year and what motivates us. 

Take our friend Ryan, on the day he separated from his wife he planned to meet us for a fun showdown ride and wound up breaking his neck… a freak crash that altered his life forever.

His road to recovery, posted on SoCal Cyclist, is a riveting tale we can all learn from. (I highly recommend reading this.)

We all had moments on the bike this year that we will never forget.  It’s about the getting out, the living.  These moments are the glue that hold our community together.  I can't imagine life without them.

Like the time we took Justin out for his first mountain bike ride on the San Juan Trail, known for its ability to draw blood nearly every ride from even the most experience mountain bikers.  He’ll never forget it, nor will I.

Or, more personally, the Santa Barbara Road Race where I forced a break when the wind shifted and went on to podium.  I’d wanted to do a move like that for years… successfully.

STRAVA is cute.  Analog is real.

What’s your top analog moment?

162.4
10/32
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BIKE SHOWROOMING

Buddha Apps Collaborator

BIKE SHOWROOMING

WE WENT TO BUY A BIKE FOR SURFERGIRL TODAY, and I realized bike shops aren't really bike shops anymore.  They are showrooms.  Mostly gone are the days of driving down and picking up a bike.

Is this a good thing?  

It's not good if you want something quick and cheep and mostly adequate.

But, we - you and me - we don't want that anymore, and neither does she... thank God Adam Smith's 'Invisible Hand' knows this...

We want something beautiful,
in just the right color,
with just the right components,
at just the right price.

So, "the hand" delivers us just what we are looking for once we scope out the basics at the bike showroom.

Takes a little longer, and we like it that way.

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... I'm willing to bet this video will be the best 2 or so minutes you'll spend today. 

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164.4
10/33
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NONE OF US

TODD BROWN Bike Life

NONE OF US

NONE OF US WILL EVER RIDE LIKE OUR HEROES.

They'll inspire us,
make us a little better.

We watch them,
read about them,
visualize us on their wheels.

They're out there,
we're over here.

Doin' it our way,
the more we do it our way,
the better we are.

(check out these cats from Brazil below!)

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In other news... Santa brought Surfergirl a new bike.  She got teary-eyed... Santa happiest, #winning.

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And finally... woke up before the sun did some solid core work, took family for a walk on the beach, snuck in an easy spin, will do some light weights tonight... all that while nobody is looking, but it's no match for the amazing food we ate today... Santa fattest, #itsokay.

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162.4
10/30
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MMWC

TODD BROWN Bike Life

MMWC

TODAY'S TMWC TOOK PLACE ON MONDAY, but that's not what the M is for... it's for the Many sporty Mama's that joined their husbands dark and misty and early today.  

They hopped right into the B group.

Lots a smiles.

Merry Christmas!

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161.4
0/0
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