Todd's Blog


IT'S A MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF YEAR

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

IT'S A MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF YEAR

YES, YES, YES... it's that time of the year.  No matter what, there's no way to skip rides now.  The season is on us.  The big events just around the corner.  Now is when PRs are set, podiums are climbed and the victory we are after makes us do things we wouldn't do 6 months ago.

If it's raining, we're going any way.

If we're busy, we're going early.

If it's hot, we deal with it.

If everybody bails on us, we don't care.

Because we know the competition, be it ourselves or our mortal enemy (so dramatic, I know, but for some that's how it is), might skip it... and just knowing we got it done...

GIVES.  US.  SO.  MUCH.  POWER!

... and confidence and fire...

Today, is when our minds get so much stronger.  Sure the body will be a little better from the workout, but the mind... oh, the mind... that's what counts today.

I don't mind, if you skip it... if it's too hard... too early... too time consuming... it's okay.  You rest up.

I'll be riding.


LEADVILLE TRAINING: THE CRAZY TRAIN

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

LEADVILLE TRAINING: THE CRAZY TRAIN

THERE'S A KINDA PACE WHEN YOU RACE LEADVILLE THAT YOU'VE GOT TO FEEL, because your heart and brain are going to lie to you.  It takes more than a few outings to feel it, but when you do... hot damn!

To me it feels like I'm a tank or a loaded semi or a bulldozer or an outta control train... yes a crazy train!

Un.  Flipping.  Stoppable.

 It doesn't happen on the road, because road racing is much more about 1-5 minutes of pain.  It doesn't happen in XC because that's about holding your breath until you heart explodes.  Not gravel because... is that racing? : )

Only at a truly long mountain bike race do I have to become that crazy train.  The training for it goes like this:  Figure out that pace I can hold for hours and hours.  Then train it every Saturday.  That's it.

If I listen to my heart in August, I could completely blow it on the first climb by going out way too fast. I'll be so fresh and antsy.  If I listen to my brain on Powerline I might just pull over and quit.  At Leadville your heart and your brain are your enemy. 

Your friend is that feeling of unstoppable.  Let the kids go hard early, laugh at them when they pull over and puke or quit or cry 6 hours later.

So, when my assignment today was to hammer Harding this morning, I decided to hammer it at Leadville pace.  I wasn't super stoked on my time, 1:10.  It was a minute slower than a few weeks back.  But... here's the kicker.  I took a full 5 minutes off last week's time up Maple Springs, 1 hour flat.. which came after Harding.  Then, I proceeded to keep putting out solid power for the entire 6 hour ride.

62 miles, 10,000' of elevation gain.

Nothing wrong with that.

Every week I'm laying that track, stoking that fire.  The big choo-choo is coming together.  Soon it'll be... 

ALL ABOARD! 

_____
164.2

0/0
Ride with us: click for info.


YEAH BUT YOU'RE NOT

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

YEAH BUT YOU'RE NOT

EVER HAD THIS HAPPEN?

Me:  Hey, I saw So-n-so is doing X.  I'm going to do it.

Them:  Yeah, but you're not So-n-so.

Me in my headDamn right!

Naysayers... what are ya gonna do?  Listen to 'em?  Agree with 'em?  Let 'em bring ya down?

Not me.

The real question is, should they even be part of our future?  It could mean death by a thousand cuts.

Which brings me to that pic above.  I plowed down a local single track . It's overgrown with thistle bushes.  I persisted and pushed until it became impossible, impassable.  

It was a long ways.  
I should have turned back sooner.
But, I hoped it would get better.

Ever hear of old man power?  That's where young guys quit and old guys ride on after riding the youngsters into the ground.  It's not really an age thing, it's an experience thing.  Like me in the thistles.  I rode on.  Way too far.  Because I have old man power.

Is it really for old men?

No.

Old men can do it because they have experience.  Kids don't.  Old men know there's life after pain.  There's strength.  There's confidence.  That pain, makes power.

Which brings me back to the naysayers... the moment you realize they are mental thistles and there's no getting through, turn around... never go back down that trail. 

Only a fool would do that.

_____
165.4

0/0
Ride with us: click for info.


MY MONEY TALKS

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

MY MONEY TALKS

WHEN I TRULY COMMIT TO SOMETHING, I put it on paper.  I write about it every morning.  Then I post it where I can see it.

Advertising works.

I advertise to my mind.  Brainwash myself.  Remind myself.

It's the only way I can get it done, stay the course... keep from freaking out when it actually starts to happen... hope turns to expectation.

So, I made myself a custom RaceDay Wallet.  Because I'm committed to busting a PR at Leadville this year.

Want one for yourself?  Click here.

_____
166.4

20/60
Ride with us: click for info.


THE BEST

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

THE BEST

THE BEST WORKOUT I DID TODAY?  The pullups and pushups... because I hate doing pullups and pushups.  But doing them... 

... when I don't want to makes me stronger, mentally.
... to failure makes me stronger, physically.

The best food I ate last night?  It was not eating the 2nd cookie, skipping the ice cream and still thoroughly enjoying dessert with my family... because I hate skipping the social sweets.  But skipping them...

... when I want to indulge makes me stronger, mentally.
... and that second and third round I skipped makes me strong, physically.

Riding the bike is easy.

Being my best requires more than pedaling.

166.2
20/60
Ride with us: click for info.


OMG I'M NOT RDY

TODD BROWN Bike Life

OMG I'M NOT RDY

IF TODAY IS ANY INDICATION OF MY READINESS FOR LEADVILLE... we in big trouble mister. 

Let me count the ways:

1.  My sleep patterns have been stinky.  Stenchy actually.  Like a child I've been binge watching a ridiculous show every night this week... staying up late only to rise with the birds every day at 530.  That aint gonna cut it bro.  Sleep = speed.

2.  My pacing, ugh.  Rookie at best.  We had 4 major climbs today.  I set PRs on the first.  Dangled off the back on the second.  The third... I was pedaling squares while vultures circled. 

3.  My food.  Well, I wasn't hungry.  But dawgawn if that VMO didn't cramp so hard I nearly fell off my rig.   The climbs were large, the sun was burning.  I knew this yesterday... no salt tabs?... c'mon man get, it, togetha!

Was there anything good?  Only a fool doesn't find the goodness to go with the badness.

1.  I rode with a Camelbak for the first time in years.  And, it was great!  So easy to sip while the terrain is rough.  And... and!... I parceled it out perfectly.

2.  The new Maxxis Ikons:  rad.   Great traction, super cornering.

3.  My spider-sense-MTB-oneness is coming back.  Yep, faster downhill every ride.

4... that 4th climb.  Only Chris and I did it. It was after I cramped.  After Charlie threw me 2 Salt Stick tabs.  And I felt great.  There's a lot of confidence to gain by continuing to ride and work through the challenges.

Leadville will present a lot of problems.  I found 3 today.  Easy to address.

I got 8 weeks to find 'em all.

Start to Finish


THIS AWESOME APP

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

THIS AWESOME APP

THERE'S THIS REALLY COOL APP ON MY CELL.  It's almost as good as a ride with the posse.

It's limited to audio, but it rocks.

Just like when we ride, we can talk.  Actually converse and share stories.  Learn from each other.  Get inspired. Or, just listen when listening is what's needed.  

Better than iMessage, WhatsApp, Messenger, and way better than email.  

The icon is a green square with a tilted C thingy... it's great for the times we can't ride together, I'm trying to use it a lot more.

163.4
11/33
Ride with us: click for info.


WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE BIKE?

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE BIKE?

WHEN SOMEONE ASKS WHAT'S MY FAVORITE BIKE, it's on the heels of do you ride street or dirt.  Yes, of course, before they get to that question I gently correct them and say You mean road or mountain?

My answer?
The short one... always the same.

The bike I'm riding.

My long answer?

It's still the bike I'm riding, but then I'll go deeper.  The last couple of years it's been much more about the road.  My oldest got into road riding and brought me along.  He's out now.  I'm still very in... until lately.  

Looking for a new challenge, I decided to take another run at Leadville - the 100 mile bike race at over 10,000' in Colorado.  I just had to get a new bike.  Oh man, the new MTBs are amazing: faster, lighter, better suspension, better shifting, better, better, better.

I'd forgotten how much better mountain biking is compared to road riding.  The solitude.  The oneness with nature.  The lack of cars and congestion and noise.  The long, long climbs.  The feeling of flying once the bike is pointed downhill.

Yep, mountain biking is my favorite... unless I'm on my road bike, or my gravel bike, or my unicycle, or my motorcycle.

So... what's your favorite bike?

164.4
10/30
Ride with us: click for info.


FEELING IT

TODD BROWN feel fast The RACER's Life

FEELING IT

UGH... IT'S SO DANG EARLY.
I'm staying here.
Under the covers.

It's too cold.
I'm too tired.
I've ridden a lot already this week.

I should have left earlier.
I don't have time to do it all.
I forgot to get my gear ready last night.

Get your sorry butt outta bed.
Right now.
You can rest after the race.

Then you'll...
Feel fast and ride fast
on race day.

... how most mornings start for me.  How 'bout you?

_____
165.4

10/30
Ride with us: click for info.


TRAIN WITH RACE WITH

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

TRAIN WITH RACE WITH

FIVE US HEADED UP TO THE RACES  SATURDAY.  We train together most Tuesday mornings.  All of us managed to climb atop the podium.

Which got me thinking...

We're all on different teams.
We're friends.

Are we weird?

Or, have we figured out some sort of secret sauce?

And what came first?

Do we race together because we train together or do we train together because we race together?

Join us sometime or every time... together we're better... thetmwc.com

_____
166.4
20/60
Ride with us: click for info.


THE BEST TUESDAY OF THE YEAR

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

THE BEST TUESDAY OF THE YEAR

4 MORE WEEKS TO THE BEST TUESDAY OF THE YEAR

You can register here https://replaytiming.com/register/2019-tmwc/  

New for 2019

  1. ​We'll have a KOM from the Start of the El Toro Bike Trail to the Top of Live Oak. We'll time you based on the Winner's Time and based on your Chip Time.
  2. Everybody gets a T-Shirt! If you register by June 10th.
  3. The first 10 U23 Registrants are free!!
  4. The Lottery. You don't have to be fast or slow, you could win The $500 Lottery, or invite someone who wins The Lottery. If you invite The Lottery Winner, you'll be splitting the pot with them. But it doesn't end there...if you are within 5 generation of invites, you'll be sharing the pot.* For example, if I invite Tim, who invites Lori, who invites Pete, who invites Kim, who invites Cheyne, and Cheyne wins The Lottery...we ALL share in the pot.*

    *Note: if multiple people invite the same person, the person the Invitee enters will get the credit.

Any questions can be directed to todd@pedalindustries.com.

We look forward to seeing you!

The PEDAL Industries Team


YOU CAN HIDE BUT YOU CAN'T RUN

TODD BROWN raceday life

YOU CAN HIDE BUT YOU CAN'T RUN

SOME OF MY PREDICTIONS COME TRUE, they just take a while.  Like today's winning break.  The actual break was hoped for, the makeup of the break was predicted.

Post race, I got a chance to chat with Chris.

I've raced with Chris a number of times the last few years.  As I'd been away from the road scene, he and many other new faces filled the ranks.  Today was the first time I really got a chance to hear his story.

First, let me describe his race style.  He attacks, gets brought back, and attacks, gets brought back, rides on the front, attacks, rides on front.  He's relentless.  And I love it.  He keeps the pace up, and keeps everybody honest.  Some might call it fool hardy, but from time to time it works and he scores the big V.

And, that's how it went down today.  On his 200th attack, Jon and I shot across.  The three of us then got a smooth rotation going and opened up a really nice gap on the field.  Chris, so far, has no interest in the sprint.  He works hard and makes the break stick.  

Jon taught me a lesson in patience.  I had visions of soloing in for the V.  Then, I had just a vision of his back wheel.  Doh!

Chris snagged 3rd and moved up on the overall as well.

Cooling down, we spun around the alternate course and here's what I learned.

Chris used to be a runner.  Not a jogger.  A certified badass runner.  Sub-15 min 5k, 31 min 10k.  Now he's been racing bikes for a handful of years.

10ish years ago I predicted the masters racing ranks would start to swell with ex-runners and triathletes.  Eventually, they would have to quit and move to riding and racing bikes.

That hasn't exactly been born out.  

I suspect part of the reason is the vicious nature of bike racing, particularly the road.  A lot of athletes can't wrap the mind around the tactics of the road.  The drafting.  The sitting in.  The decisive nature of one well-timed attack.  The runners that move to MTB racing fare better, usually.  

That's what's cool about Chris.  He has succeeded in spite of his nature being to work hard all the time.  This year he won at least one road race using that tactic, and many podiums.

If he ever figures out how to hide... I hope we can run him down.

_____
164.4
0/0
Ride with us: click for info.

 


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?

_____
164.4
30/90
Ride with us: click for info.


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?

_____
165.6
0/0
Ride with us: click for info.


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.

 _____

166.4

0/0
Ride with us: click for info.


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.

 _____

164.6

30/90
Ride with us: click for info.


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

 _____

163.6

0/0
Ride with us: click for info.


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.

 _____

164.6

0/0
Ride with us: click for info.

 


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

 _____

163.6

20/60
Ride with us: click for info.