IT AINT EASY BUYING A NEW BIKE. So much to consider:
But is budget really a consideration? When you figure out everything on that list, and trust me that's the short version, does budget really matter? On a purchase that will give you years of bliss, health and adventure?
Is your bike gonna fit your budget,
or is your budget gonna fit your bike?
Make it happ'n Cap'n
RIDING ALONE, WITH NO AGENDA, I DROPPED IN ON AN UNKNOWN SINGLE TRACK. Traversing along a steep slope the trail gently twisted downward.
Each turn revealed a slightly steeper section. Nearing the bottom things got so steep I disgracefully dismounted from a controlled skid.
A 50' walk of shame followed... one I'll ride next time.
The trail never taken
might never be forsaken.
RACERS WOULD BE NOTHING WITHOUT RACE PROMOTERS. Race promoters would be nothing without racers AND sponsors. Sponsors hold the key to a promoter's long-term success.
Want your sport to grow? Meet and thank your sponsors. Meet your promoter and thank her for making it happen. Meet your fellow racers... sponsors want and need a vibrant community.
LITTLE KIDS REMIND US THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO RIDE YOUR BIKE. You can have faith all will end well. Or, you can fear all will end badly. Most of the time you'll be right.
Just listen to the way people talk, the things they dwell on, the words their loved ones use as they head out for a ride.
Don't believe me?
MORE THAN ONE COMMENTED ON MY SVELTNESS THIS MORNING. I'm trying another kooky diet, slight inspired by MikeyG and a Tim Ferriss podcast: only fruit till Noon every day... I add a few handfuls of nuts if I'm not satiated.
That's in addition to my other whacky breakthrough for lunch: El Pollo Loco Leg Lovers - 3 legs, salad and broccoli... this takes a while to eat, and leaves me feeling full for about 30 minutes. Weird. So I supplement that largely with carrots and celery with peanut butter.
Then there's dinner: lots of vegetables.
Oh, and sardines are in there 3-5 days a week for added protein.
You might think the same as my brother when I told him of my latest adventures in food:
Bro, sounds like you're just hungry all the time...
... and that's partly true, but I've found it easy to do now that I'm about a month into it.
You do get what you pay for... I pay for a lot of fruits and vegetables at Costco. As empty nesters this was previous folly, but now I can mow through most of the food before it goes bad. (I know #firstworldproblems).
Is nothing compared to the joy of a scrappy day with the crew.
MY KNEE HAS BEEN BUGGING ME. Coach looks at me and my feet and says Todd I've been telling you for years to get orthotics. What are you waiting for?...
Heck if I know... to be crippled? So dumb.
Who should I see?
Dr Chin, in Irvine.
Skipping past the issue of seeing a "Dr Chin" for my foot I hop on over to see him.
Instantly, I get why she recommends him. His demeanor, intellect and experience are what we all hope for any time we need medical attention. Even better, HE'S A BIKE RIDER TOO!
He gets me, totally.
We talk about how feet work, the intelligent design of the human body. It's no accident Todd.
I ask how he got into the foot business and he tells me he started out as an engineer for a defense contractor... got involved in a side hustle helping deaf kids hear... realized he'd be happier healing people than killing them.
All the while he makes casts of my feet from plaster. He explains why plaster is so much better than standing on pressure points or laser scanning for the impressions. He shows me what the finished product will look like in 10 days.
There's a story of man who became a World Champion simply by taking care of any injury right away.
Over time, his competitors all trained themselves through pain and out of the sport.
Eventually his long-term plan paid off.
I hope I'm not too late...
to ride in his shoes.
EVERY NOW AND THEN I GET A CHANCE BEHIND THE COUNTER AT THE LOCAL BIKE SHOP. I don't try and get there, but in the course of conversation I'll hear Come over and take a look... such a sweet sound.
The reason for the invitation is I've asked a million questions and it just becomes easier to show me what they're looking at on their computer screen. I'm not trying to wear the person down, I'm just curious as heck as to what's available to me and my conservative budget.
I really should resist the invitation because it nearly always ends up with me wanting something either they can't get or I don't want to spring for.
Tonight it was a beautiful aluminum "gravel" frameset.
He said, Sold out.
I said, Only on the West Coast.
He said, with a hesitant hiss, I'll call in the morning.
To be nice, he made that offer knowing that it's most likely sold out on the East Coast too but they just haven't updated the internal inventory.
Though I know the outcome is almost always the same, It's still a sweet feeling to be on that side of the counter. Every now and then we find a gem. So I'll keep asking, they'll keep inviting, I'll keep going.
WOULD IT MAKE SENSE TO CREATE A SPEC BIKE CATEGORY? A racing category where everybody raced on the same limited spec bikes? Something like this: 18lbs or more: metal frames, handle bars, seat rails, rims; 1 X drive train; a mixed surface bike good for road and gravel... something you could purchase for a couple a grand or less.
What if your bike race wasn't an arms race?
More of a Pinewood Derby race?
THERE'S A LOT OF TALK LATELY ABOUT SOMEBODY TAKING CHARGE OF XYZ GROUP RIDE AND LAYING DOWN THE LAW. It sounds a little harsh, so few people step up to do it. I started having a chat before our weekly Tuesday morning ride, and now I invite someone each week to have the chat for me.
Passing the baton shares the responsibility and keeps us all engaged for the day we might be called upon.
I'm printing this out so I remember what to say, what's important. Who knows, you might read it one day... for that, I thank you in advance.
It was not easy the first time,
it was embarrassing,
it's easy now,
because our ride is a lot better...
for me, and everybody else.
THE COLD, HARD GAZE NEVER CEASES. It's not intimidating anymore, just menacing. Always judging me: frail and weak, knowing I have no interest in our daily duel.
It's of my own doing. I jammed her in the bathroom door so I couldn't get away, couldn't weasel out. Any other place and... outta sight, outta mind.
She stands and waits, and I usually obey by hauling myself up and down 'till exhaustion sets in.
There are rewards. I can do 1-2 more when my body weight is lighter; I feel strong when I sprint; I can still bunny hop when I need to; and I reckon it helps with the surfing.
Most mornings she's evil and cold,
that's why I love her.
THERE ARE THINGS YOU LEARN ALONG THE WAY, MAXIMS TO RIDE BY. Eric quipped this nugget about 60 miles into an 80 mile ride, as the heat of the day peaked:
You can do anything with Dr. Pepper and a Snicker's bar.
I'd been thinking that very thing for at least an hour as I suffered trying to hang on to CV... just a little longer and you'll be to AM/PM in no time...
A blast of cold air hit me as I walked in. Straight to the soda station. 42ounce cup full of ice and smothered in Doctor P. Open wide. Pour it down. Fill it again. Repeat.
The cold and sugar and caffeine
coursing through my limbs and core,
like spinach in PopEye's arms...
I can do anything.
WHAT HAS TO BE THE LONGEST STANDING RACE SERIES IN CALIFORNIA IS RIGHT HERE ON THE OC/LA COUNTY LINE. I could be wrong, but I think it's been going uninterrupted for at lest 30 years, maybe 40. I ventured on out there this week, about 28 years after my last run on the classic 4ish turn layout.
Imagine this: a 2 mile loop, through a beautiful park, set aside just for bike racing on Tuesday nights. No cars, no other park goers. No lights. No stop signs. Just you and your bike and other fellow racers.
It was better than I remembered, because I distinctly recall these surly geese all over the place wandering onto the course just as we'd be winding up for the final sprint. They've either moved on or been lassoed and sequestered.
Rebecca and the rest of the crew start things timely and run a proper race. The road is in good enough shape - a few cracks, but swept clean of any glass or debris.
I'd like to say the packs have grown over the years, but they've shrunk. That might be a good thing. I remember 200-300 per week in the early part of the year as racers jockeyed for series honors. The two lane road was wide enough, barely.
No geese + smaller fields = good place to test out racing
Tuesday we had plenty of room to maneuver. I tried out the 40+ - SuperDave recommended that vs 1-2-3s after our unOFFICIAL TMWC that morning. It was great to see a few familiar faces: Mario, Charon and Kenny.
The USAC official that used to help out at the Great Park series was on hand to make sure it was all legit... these guys are so generous with their time.
Someone had given me a heads up that Monster would get a winning break at the end. About 25 minutes in... did I mention you get to race for an entire hour!... AWESOMESAUCE... Mario and another guy got it going. Right up until 2 laps to go they stayed 20-40 seconds ahead of us. It was so fun to measure the distance, make the calculations, and wonder if they'd ever come back.
Afterwards, as the shadows lengthened and the breezed cooled I took a long easy spin around the course. Mainly I thought of Andy and Marty Schmidt and how much fun we had back then as newlywed knuckleheads.
Who knew ELDO would still be going,
and so would we OLDOs?
Bags we are making for the Series winners and anybody who wants to purchase one.
THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT A GOOD PANCAKE. At just the right temperature just the right amount of crispiness, real melted butter and real maple syrup... well, is there anything better?
The pancake flat ride around the Back Bay of Newport Beach was pretty darn awesome this afternoon. While points inland seared, the coast was a moist 77 tempered by an easy breeze.
The route, if ya haven't done it, is a mostly car free, buttery smooth bike trail along a beautiful wildlife refuge my grampa tried to dredge for waterskiing way back when...
On a weekday, things are quite.
Many birds, few people.
A place to glide and think and savor.
Which I did.
I rode by Grampa's place,
thought about our bike rides together,
Facetimed Mom, his little girl...
told her I love her.
MY BUDDY IS A RACE PROMOTER. He doesn't always see eye-to-eye with the highest level competitors. I get it. The top racers are tops because their committed and driven to win... that angst winners often have can spell trouble for a race promoters and the "regular folks" racing and riding at a lower level.
to have fun, ride hard, be respectful...
and be the sheriff when needed.
(It aint easy, it's necessary)
unOFFICIALLY, WE MIGHT BE ONTO SOMETHING. When 20 somethings text each other, Hey, my favorite skate company Welcome just posted this picture... Isn't that your dad's event? And when kids as cool as these two cats ride with us each week I gotta think...
nah, we totally are.
Getting together each Tuesday for our little social ride keeps most of us mostly sane and mostly fit year round. We depend on each other to be there, and we are.
But, making it special once a year with an unOFFICIAL timed ride and unOFFICIAL prizes and unOFFICIAL raffle and unOFFICIAL gear gives a lot riders who otherwise don't officially race a goal for the summer.
And that's really what it's all about... giving ourselves permission to have some fun and celebrate each other's talents and friendship.
This year was the first time a true "regular" has won the unOFFICIAL. We've had pros drop in and win and we've had up and coming high schoolers join us off and on and win the day. But, today Cheyne, with some help from his good friend Kevin in the finishing straight, got the win like he does most weeks.
It's been fun for me to see these two growing up, getting their careers going, buying houses... being men... and being very humble about their talents.
Yeah, we're onto something...
I don't know what it is,
but it is,
and I dig that.
Results for today: https://replaytiming.com/results/2018-tmwc/#1_83769B
Special shout out to Kevin Wayt for getting up early and handling the timing chips, and for Steven and Shelby for handing the swag. Bowl of Heaven was super tasty, Replay Timing got the results up in real time... and we had some great gifts from Monster Energy, a local sunglasses company, Rock N Road, Two Hubs, G2... and cash for the top ladies from PureRide.
The final mile is awesome, can't way to see Jim's entire video.
Big Mike's Video
SUPER DAVE, THE HARDEST WORKING MAN AT THE BIG "S" SLOTTED IN NEXT TO ME.
Todd, I'm taking Tuesday off next week.
Because next Tuesday is the silliest, easiest, socialest ride of the year: The unOFFICIAL Tuesday Morning World Championships. It's just a bunch of clowns, clowning around who want a free t-shirt.
So, of course Dave's taking the day off.
Which is probably what we both should have done vs shattering speed records up Laguna Canyon this morning.
Wind-aided? A touch.
Pack-aided? If you call the few that made it a pack.
Did we KOM? Did a group of men, aided by wind go fast enough to snatch the KOM from...
Even though the research on pack dynamics (that's a very worthy link from Frank there) show the peloton is much more efficient than perviously thought? MUCH! Did we beat Brandon's time?
We are not worthy.
But we are worthy of some fun...
so we're taking Tuesday off.
I'd be the last to help you understand
Don't let me be alone tomorrow
'Cause you can't change the way I ride
MAN, THAT DUDE IS TALL! Wait. No way. That's Reggie Miller. On a mountain bike. Racing!
I was star struck. Here was a guy I loved to watch play basketball. A guy my dad and I cheered for at UCLA. Here he was tonight at Pedal Fest.
Hey Greg, that's Reggie Miller right?
Is he cool about meeting people?
Totally. Super nice guy.
So I strolled over, put my hand out and introduced myself... and we talked about bikes and racing.
Me and Reggie.
Something in common.
I thought about telling Reggie how much we loved to watch him play, especially the greatest 9 seconds I've ever seen... and watching him taunt Spike Lee. But, it's pretty clear he'd rather talk about bikes.
Some days I miss my dad more than others. Today is one of them. He would love this story.
Side Notes: We spent the day in Santa Clarita meeting with city council and facility managers about our next HUNKR and Revolution Bike Fest... I think it's going to be very special. Pedal Fest, Greg Flanagan's weekly MTB race, was our last stop... Greg has been a great help up there. His race course looked really fun... I wish I'd been prepared to race with Reggie.
BEHIND EVERY SUCCESSFUL, LONG-RUNNING GROUP RIDE IS A CORE GROUP OF FRIENDS. There's joy in riding together, in the meet up.
No one asks what they can do for the group, they just do it.
They figure out where they can make their contribution, and make it.
Whether on or off the bike if there's a need, they fill it.
Through life's ups and downs,
week after week,
ride upon ride,
ANYTIME YOU RIDE OVER 100'/MILE YOU'VE HAD A HILL OF A DAY. That's my barometer. 60 miles, 6,000' of elevation gain... that's a heck of a day.
Lots of guys are training right now for Leadville... 100 miles, 12,000' of elevation... 120'/mile. That's tough.
But, tomorrow's stage of the Tour is going to be insane.
I can't wait.
Look at that course. Straight up, straight down, little flat, straight up, straight down, straight up.
That's 3 hours of hell for all but one rider tomorrow.
The winner will have had a hill of a day.
Who will it be?