Todd's Blog


WHAT THE CALENDAR DON'T KNOW WON'T HURT IT

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

WHAT THE CALENDAR DON'T KNOW WON'T HURT IT

9 DAYS OUT, and I'm fairly pooped.

Calendar says I be racing in 9 days.

Calendar doesn't know I'm gonna sneak in a race on Monday too.

What will that form be then... -1,000,000?

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164.4
30/90
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R IS FOR REGISTRATION

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

R IS FOR REGISTRATION

REGISTRATION.  The moment of truth.  Before you register the race is just an idea, an I might do.  Which means it's nothing.  It also means if you're talking about it, it's just talk.  Some might even call it BS.

I know this first hand.

This year I had planned to do the Whiskey50.  But, and you might think this is weird, the closer the event got the less sure me going seemed to be.  Right up until the week of the race, when I went to register and it was sold out.

Yep, I was that guy.  A big, fat loser.

You can't win if you're not there.  You can't PR if you're not there.  If you aren't in the race, you're out... you're that guy, too!

Conversely, also on my radar was the Santa Barbara Road Race.  I signed up 2 months in advance.  In this case, the closer the event got the better I got.  My diet was stricter.  My training was better.  It all fell into place and I had a great weekend of racing.

When you register magic happens.  The sooner you register the sooner it starts.  Your focus changes.  It's easier to say no to distractions and yes to what moves you closer to your goal.

To make your registration more powerful, share it with the world.  Post it on social media.  In 2016, I blogged every week about a 200 mile bike race called LoToJa and how I was prepping for it.  Trust me, when you put it out there it is like having a super power.  It takes that initial registration and multiplies the goodness by a million.

But, the real pros... the ones who really know how to harness their ambitions, build a posse.  My posse is my group of friends who I train with.  Not all of the posse race the same races, but that doesn't matter.  What matters is that the posse knows my plans, and I know theirs.  The posse becomes like a board of directors.  We share ideas and secrets.  We plan rides to do.  It's a whole other level of accountability and motivation and fun!

Yes, fun!  In the end, the registration and the sharing and the posse are meant to bring a whole lot more fun to the racing.  The racing is hard.  It takes everything we've got.  Keeping it fun carries us through the challenges and disappointments bound to come our way.

If we weren't challenging ourselves, if we weren't going for it, there wouldn't be any disappointment and there wouldn't be any growth.  We'd be static at best, most likely going backwards in terms our physical abilities.

That is what Registration is all about.  Finding out what we're made of and how far we can go.

What are you registered for?


INTRO - THE RACER'S Life

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

INTRO - THE RACER'S Life

I'M NOT A GIFTED ATHLETE, AND YOU PROBABLY AREN'T EITHER.  Few are.  The rest of us compete knowing our weaknesses, and sometimes we win.  We beat the blessed, we pummel our PRs... because we have to, it’s who we are. 

We are racers.

We are passionate.

We are determined to improve.

The RACER’s Life is the approach I have used to win 2 National Championships, finish Leadville sub-9 on all 5 attempts, and rest my head at the end of the day battered, beaten and satisfied that there was nothing left to give.

What more can we ask of ourselves than everything?

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165.6
0/0
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MOUNTAIN BIKING FOR DUMMIES

TODD BROWN raceday life

MOUNTAIN BIKING FOR DUMMIES

DON'T TRY THIS ON THE ROAD. 

It's for off-road riding.

When you're solo.

And wanna learn.

Podcasts.

Expand your mind.

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166.4

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CARETAKERS AND THE UNDERTAKER

TODD BROWN raceday life

CARETAKERS AND THE UNDERTAKER

5 YEARS AGO I STARTED GROOVING THIS LITTLE TRAIL.  Riding it over and over, to get from one side of the road, under a bridge.  Might not a been the first to ride it, just the first to name it on Strava.

The Undertaker.

Time flies.
People care.
Shazam!

The Undertaker is now a legit trail.  It's wide, with berms and bridges.  A super groovy way to get from there to here. 

Here is rad.  A whole new trail system has been developed.  Lots of options:  easy rollers, gnarly doubles.

Long live the caretakers, may they never meet the undertaker.

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164.6

30/90
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BOTTLE THE FURY

TODD BROWN raceday life

BOTTLE THE FURY



SOME DAYS WE TOTALLY BLOW IT.  For instance, today I thought first place was long gone and I thought I had second sewn up.

I finished third.

It’s such a potent pot of emotion.  It should be stirred and savored.

Yesterday I’d have been thrilled to be on the podium, within two minutes of JJ and right behind Ty.

Today I’m ticked.

JJ was out of sight on the first long climb. So, I gave up on him.

Ty and I battled all race long and he sat on my wheel the last two miles. I didn’t care because I have so much confidence in my sprint.  I hit it hard into the left hander and had it lined up with 40 yards to go... then pulled so hard my cleat released from my pedal and Ty pedaled right on by beating me by .1 seconds.

Had we known JJ was so close we might have gone harder the last few miles vs waiting to sprint.

I could cry Wo is me, but I’d rather take this angst and put it to use for next race:

-I’m digging the borrowed pedals. I need to buy my own pair and set the release point harder. I knew this was an issue in testing and should have listened to my spider-sense.

-I need to remember mountain bike racing is really just a long tine trial and it’s critical to stay focused on going all out till the end because people do fade and they do have mechanicals.

It’s critical to review what went well too:

I’m getting more and more in touch with the bike.  I PRd a bunch of downhill sections as well as setting top 5 times among all racers.

My pre-race food and rituals are spot on.

My taper into the race was great. I felt strong from the start on... there is nothing like the start of an MTB race, nothing comes close to the all out effort to get to the single track first.

I know I’ll go faster as I get more time on the new bike and when I put the race wheels on her (her name is Sparky).

My daily push-ups and pull-ups and core work paid off as my upper body felt great the whole time.

Could it have ended better... maybe, maybe not... the results show how it should have ended.  

End of story.

Stopped by the Trabuco General Store for one of my go to post ride snacks.

Hmmmmmmm

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163.6

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2 RIDES 2DAY

TODD BROWN Bike Life

2 RIDES 2DAY

MY FRIEND KEN BOUGHT THE FASTEST BIKE I'VE EVEN OWNED FROM ME ABOUT 4 YEARS AGO.  I sold it because I needed the cash.  He bought it because... well, maybe just to help me out... but he said he wanted to get in shape.

I promised to ride with him.
Which I never did until today.

There are a million reasons why...none of them good.

Life is busy... yes, and that's the lamest reason.

It was good to see him.  He lives about 45 minutes away.  We met at Santiago Oaks.  

The ride was very short - 4 miles, 30 minutes.  But, it was fun.  It's always fun to catch up with a friend.

It was a short ride because he hadn't ridden for 18 months.  Can ya believe that?  He hasn't ridden the fastest bike I ever owned?

Having a little more in my tank, I decided to head over to the place that bike of Ken's had proved to be so fast.

Harding Truck Trail is a 9 mile, 3000' climb up a rocky fire road.  It's a great place to train for Leadville.  It's where I come to check my fitness.  Where was I today?  

I was way behind where I was 5 years ago.  Specifically, 10 minutes behind the PR I set on 2/22/14 at the annual Harding TT.  Ouch!  Was I all out racing?  No.   But I wasn't dogging it either.  Was I as light as possible?  No.  But I do weight about 7 lbs less, and I am in great shape... however, carrying 2 full bottles and riding heavy training wheels and knowing I was going to ride a lot more isn't ideal.  Was the temp perfect?  No, it was hottish.

Ideal or not, I have a long way to go to get ready for Leadville.  This may be my biggest challenge in years... changing my riding from explosive road racing to endurance mountain biking.

The positive side?... was anything positive?... well yeah!  The new bike is very fast downhill, and my skills don't seem to have diminished too much... that is only going to improve in the coming months.

Going fast at Leadville this year... heck qualifying at Tahoe... is going to take a high level of dedication.

I'm down for that.

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164.6

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IF IT WAS EASY

TODD BROWN

IF IT WAS EASY

I DUMPED A LOAD OF GEARS, STOMPED ON THE PEDALS, CHAIN SKIPPED, KNEE SMASHED INTO STEM.  As the blood filled the deep impression just to the side of my kneecap, it occurred to me:  

This is hard...
and I love it!

That's the difference between us and them. 

If it's easy, we pass. 
If anybody can do it, we skip it.

We're down for the hard stuff, the demanding stuff and the stuff that scares the crap out of us:

Shooting gaps while sprinting at 38mph
Launching off 4' drops into a rut-lined trail
Committing to 200 mile races
Posting our weight vs goal weight
Lining up with A's knowing a pistol whipping will ensue
These are the things we do...

We aren't into easy...

We're into growing, challenging, learning... we know that hard things make us better.

#Nietzsche

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163.6

20/60
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CRACKING THE CODE

TODD BROWN Bike Life

CRACKING THE CODE

I'M NOT SURE HOW MANY TIMES I'VE WATCHED ROBERT LANGDON CRACK THE DA VINCI CODE, but I do know this:  last night when I started to watch it I realized how much more we see and hear the 2nd and 3rd and 4th... times through.  It's true of anything, really.

The more we race, the more we see opportunities and hear weaknesses.

The more we train, the more we learn about ourselves.

Do more.
See more.
Hear more.

More really is better.

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164.4

0/0
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FREE CHEYNE PARROTT

TODD BROWN Bike Life

FREE CHEYNE PARROTT

I GET THE IDEA BEHIND CAT 5:  Make people do 10 races with other novices before they move up.  But... in some cases it's just plain silly.

Take my buddy Cheyne.

He has won nearly every single race he's entered, including overall at last year's unOFFICIAL TMWC.  Most of the time he's riding alone off the front.  Saturday he went off the front, got a mechanical, chased back on and back off the front for an easy solo victory. 

So much for the let him learn how to ride in a pack first idea.  It's not much fun for him nor the rest of the 5s.

Surely there must be a better way?  Do we have a thoughtful official witnessing these guys and gals that can take a look and say Yeah, you're ready, move on up?

I can see where there could be gray areas that officials want to avoid.  I don't know what the bar would be, but winning every race you enter by a lot can't be too hard to distinguish.

Racers like Cheyne have often been riding in a group for a couple of years anyway and someone finally got them to do a "real race".  

Let's get them on their way to bigger challenges.


OUR POSSE CRUSHED THE DAY.

TODD BROWN Bike Life

OUR POSSE CRUSHED THE DAY.

THE TMWC RIDERS PEPPERED THE PODIUMS TODAY.  Cheynne won.  Emilio won.  Charlie finished 2nd, so did I.  Paul and Mike snagged a 4th.  Kevin, George and Lori climbed to 5th place finishes.  And, those are the ones I know of.

I’m so happy for our crew.  I know how hard everybody works.  We ride for various teams, but we all cheer each other on because we see the work that’s put in week after week.

Personally, I put a demon to bed today.  The past four attempts have finished with the pedal of shame… head hanging low, eyes down, body destroyed.  This year was the finishing touches of a dedicated effort… mainly losing the weight and committing to my strength and core regimen.

Yes, it is worth it.  It’s worth it to know what you’re capable of.

My Garmin said I hit 192 bpm on the final climb, something I haven’t seen for years. 

When I looked down and saw I was in zone 6 (didn’t even know that was possible) I had just passed Emilio with about a mile to go.  I didn’t want to go around him, but once the old diesel is revving I gotta keep chugging.  He countered me and Fenton was closing fast.  I had to make a choice, chase Emilio and risk blowing up or let Greg catch and bank on out sprinting him.  Now, rested I see it differently… but I shouldn’t.  Greg came through and he could see Mike Frias was starting to close on us.  He wanted me to help so we could stay away, but again I was sure my sprint would take me home to 2nd

It was no time to get greedy chasing Emilio.  I had finally made the last climb with the leaders vs off the back.  It was time to secure the podium. 

I’m so grateful for my health, the ability to have a great bike, and so many friends inspiring each other to search for the best.


12 WEEKS UNTIL THE unOFFICIAL TMWC - 7/9/19

TODD BROWN tmwc

12 WEEKS UNTIL THE unOFFICIAL TMWC - 7/9/19

I HAVE ONE QUESTION FOR YOU… are you going to PR the course or a segment of this year’s unOFFICIAL TMWC?

Are you going to take the next 12 weeks to plan out your assault?

Who’s wheel(s) will you be on?

How much will you weigh?

But the real question is, Will you be within 6 degrees of separation of the winners?

This year is invite only.

  1. You’ll get an invite from a friend with their Order Number.
  2. You will register and enter their Order Number.
  3. You’ll get a confirmation email with your Order Number.
  4. You can then invite up to 6 people and have them enter your Order Number.

We’ll have all the usual categories and trophies…

PLUS, if you are within 6 degrees of separation from the Men’s or Women’s Overall Winner or the unOFFICIAL Lottery Winner (or all 3), then you’ll be splitting the cash and/or prizes with them.

You're automatically entered in the lottery when you sign up.

You’ll also get:  chip timing, a sweet t-shirt and fed some yumminess.

Will you be within 6 degrees of separation?

There are only 110 slots available.


THAT FINE LINE

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THAT FINE LINE

I'M RIDING THAT FINE LINE.  Prepping for the last road race of the year and looking further out to the endurance MTB races.  They are nothing in the course of life, but they aren't nothing.

They are goals that keep me motivated.  They demand me to remember I'm an athlete.  Only my best will do.

The road race, San Luis Rey, is a tough code to crack. 

The old course was much better for me because after the hideous climb was a harrowing descent which allowed me to catch back on and recover for the fast, slight downhill finish.

The new course, so far, has had my number.  I have yet to cross the line with leaders.  Each year I have cracked.  Exploded.  Detonated.  Evaporated... limping shamefully to the finish while my pals are celebrating and smiling.  This year may be the same.  

The final climb is just a tad too long, a touch too steep, a lot too fast for T.O.D.

But, TBH, this is the finest I've been in the last 4 years of attempts.  5 or 6 pounds lighter, on a bike I love.  Today's final hard ride felt just dandy.  I almost let myself dream of a fast finish... 

... but, I couldn't.  Didn't dare.  Too risky.  Might let my guard down...

So, rather than call it quits after smoking a 54 minute segment I opted for the long way home.  

Maybe too long.

But, that's the fine line.

The longer route let me settle in and ride the pace I'll be needing at Whisky 50, Marathon Nats, Tahoe 100... which will all lead up to Leadville.

Did I need to do it?

Not even.

I just wanted to.

I felt good.

Kept my effort in check and enjoyed the prettiest day of the year.

It's a fine line that over training.  But, if it feels good it's probs okay.

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164.4

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ARE YOU RIDING LIKE THIS?

TODD BROWN Bike Life

ARE YOU RIDING LIKE THIS?

I'M AT HIDDEN HOUSE COFFEE. San Juan Capistrano.  CA.  I live nearby.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm really living.  Is it living if I have anxt bubbling just below my bubbly exterior?

I'm not sure.

I am sure this is a new Friday tradition.

Get up.
Review my goals.
Ride over here.
Reflect.

Listen to the doves.  Watch the people.  Feel the air.

Today is an exceptional day.  Sunny and 60s.

There are others here.
Some writing.
Others reading.
Some locals.
Many passing through.

Maybe I'll come every Friday at 8.  Just to see who's who.

Maybe this is the start of a new path?  It so hard to change directions.  Life's inertia is strong.  More years make it like cement.  Drying.  Curing into place.

This place.

This hidden coffee house could serve as a starting point for a new adventure.  A change of environment.  Not greener pastures.  Different pastures.  Who knows what might be hidden here?  In this little slice of town.  I might write a new story for TWB.

Maybe I should spend this sacred time listing the wonderful things that happened this week?  The things I'm grateful for?  That's the popular thing to do.

So I won't.
I'll write.

See what surfaces.  Mull it over.  Swill it around.  Enjoy my thoughts.

Thoughts.
Surroundings.
Me.
Silence.

Who am I not to glory in the morning sun's rays?
Lighting the table.
Warming the trees.
Blooming our minds.

I will not miss another ride like this.
Toss the phone, the digital world.
Go analog, remain physical.

... time to pedal. 
Never settle.


WANTED

TODD BROWN

WANTED

WE NEED A GRAPHIC DESIGNER.  
If you are...
Ambitious.
Creative.
Inspiring.
Optimistic.
Fun to be around.
... and good with Illustrator.

 


SHARING

Buddha Apps Collaborator

SHARING

EVERY MONTH OR SO I GET A MESSAGE FROM A FRIEND.  Sometimes, after a scary health issue... sometimes to avoid one.

I wish I got them every week.
That all my pals were as healthy as possible.
So, here's to sharing on the interwebs all the rides we do and plan to do!  

Maybe we'll get even more peeps joining
In the fun. 
On bikes.
Smiling
Today.


MORE THAN BIKES

TODD BROWN Bike Life

MORE THAN BIKES

THE TEAM HAD SOME GREAT WINS OVER THE WEEKEND... and it wasn't just bikes.

Jasmine crushed the Oceanside Half-Ironman, and qualified for the World Championships in France.  It had been years since she'd suited up for real.

Steven won first place with his insane car and will be one of the featured Young Builders at SEMA this year in Las Vegas.

These two are two of my favorite reasons to come to work.  Every day they bring their best.  It shows here at PEDAL Industries and in everything they do.

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165

20/60
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PLANNING FOR THE BEST AND THE WORST.

TODD BROWN Bike Life

PLANNING FOR THE BEST AND THE WORST.

IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO PLAN FOR THE BEST PART OF A RACE.  I plan for the bad parts too.  It's easy to plan for the fun single track or the wide fast finishing straight.  Planning for the worst is critical to success.

For Leadville, I know I'm going to be pushing my bike on foot uphill for about a mile.  Starting right now, I've got to get my shoes sorted out and I've got to start pushing my bike up steep sections.  Being able to ride steep terrain when I'm fresh, at sea level, is totally different than 47 miles (the first push) and 80 (the second push) into a 104 mile event at 12,500'.

Ignoring those realities, failing to prep for them, is spirit crushing.  Nobody wants that.  

What else can go wrong?

The weather.  At 12,000' anything can happen... even in August:  rain, hail, snow, freezing temps... I've seen 'em all.

Flat tires.  Tire technology has evolved to incredible reliability.  But, people get flats.  And, because they are so rare most of us are terrible at quick repairs.  I'm going to start using and testing plugs as my first defense... to make sure I can do it quickly.

Nutrition.  Just as important as figuring out what will work on race day is knowing where your nutrition is going to be.  Often that means going over in detail how the support crew is going to get from place to place, where they'll be, what they'll wear... how the heck you'll find them and they'll see you.

Other mechanical problems.  Number one, get the entire bike run through by the best mechanic possible... weeks before the event.  Two, get proficient at the basics.

Clothing.  The clothing has got to be tested months prior and new clothing ideally ready to go 2 weeks out... in other words, not worn out pads and shabby fitting.  Be prepared to layer it.  At Leadville I typically roll with arm warmers and a vest and a beanie... possibly more.  Bring it all.

The unforeseen.  It's out there, it's coming for us.  Be prepared to react calmy and not freak out.  5 years ago, my last and 5th time, my chain jammed in between the small cog and the frame.  1000's of us were a whole 3 miles into the race and speeding downhill on pavement.  My hard fought starting position was being erased.   It was so tempting to first pedal harder and permanently jam it in there or ruin the chain.  It was tempting to whine and moan as hundreds sailed on by me.  I pulled over, slammed on the brakes, quickly freed it up and got after it.

All the prep for the worst makes the best so much better... 
the summiting and plummeting!

(that pic above is my Surfergirl given me the handup at Leadville 2014)

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163.

20/60
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20/60

TODD BROWN Bike Life

20/60

 

TWO DAYS AFTER BEING RUN INTO THE FINISHING BARRIER AT SAN DIMAS, going 25mph, the deep bruising is starting to surface on the arm that took the punishment.

It could have been a lot worse.

Dude, came over on me and closed the door even though he knew I was there.  It happened so fast, that it went to slow motion... that kinda thing.  I leaned my tires away from the base, twisted my torso and clipped the top of first barrier hard bouncing into him and back towards the barriers.

Clang!

Packthink moved our galloping herd back to the center of the wide road.

I bit my tongue, which is pretty easy when you sponsor yourself.

Couple a guys praised my skills.
Another chewed the lugheaded rider out.

We rode on.

At the bottom of my posts is something like this:   20/60.  It started out as 10/30, but then that became easy.

So, now it's 20/60.

20 pull ups.
60 push ups.
EVERY DAY.

...I was damn glad I've been doing pull ups and push ups, figure that alone saved me.

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163.4

20/60

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LET'S GET AMNESIA

TODD BROWN Bike Life

LET'S GET AMNESIA

WHEN I GOT  CARELESSLY/PURPOSELY RUN INTO THE FINISHING BARRIER GOING 28 MILES AN HOUR TODAY... 

When my calves were cramping so I stood up only to have my quads cramp so I sat down only to have my hamstrings cramp...

When I rode the last lap alone...

Woulda been so easy to retaliate, quit, sulk.

But, it's just a lot better to forget about it. 
'made my afternoon hanging with the fellas a lot more fun.
'and the surprise birthday dinner with some a the kids much more enjoyable.