Todd's Blog


PREP

TODD BROWN Bike Life

PREP

I USED TO THINK I WAS PREPARED.  Now I know what a rank amateur I've been when it comes to racing.

Sure, I'd check out the course profile.

If I could, I'd pre-ride it.

Talk to a few friends.

Hash it out.

But, what if my life depended on it?  Of course, it doesn't.  But, what if it did?

How would I prepare?

When would the preparation start?

Who would I consult?

Where would I train?

Why would I do it?

Actually, my most successful accomplishments have all entailed pre-riding the course many times.  Steady consultation with a coach.  Support from Surfergirl.  I haven't been totally winging it.

But, I've never done anything remotely close the preparation Alex Honnold put into climbing El Capitan without any ropes.

What if I did?

And it wasn't just a bike race,
but, life itself...
like my life depends on it.

 Watch this, it's worth it if you're looking for some deep inspiration.

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162.8
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BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

TODD BROWN HUNKR

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

Previously posted on HUNKR.com

SURE THE RIDE IS DONE, but we’re not.  We’re hoping you all made it home safely and are resting up on this fine Veteran’s day.  You earned it!

We’re working on a couple of things for you:

Robert Plumb is busy touching up photos and uploading them.  Like you, he has immense talent on the bike… and behind the lens.

Podium finishers returned throughout the afternoon and a number of you missed out on your photos and awards.  This week we’ll mailing out to awards to those who missed the podium ceremony.

Here’s the link to all the results: https://revolutionbikefest.com/results/2018-hunkr-la/

The men’s and women’s podium earned $550 each.  That’s real money, and it was earned by some of the fastest racers in Southern California:  Brian McCulloch, Brian Scarbrough and Tinker Juarez finished in that order; and Rhonda Quick, Kirsten Darley and Tina Burch took home the Women’s honors in that order.

That’s a tough, tough crew of racers right there.  No shame in finishing behind them.

The only thing we are feeling is inspired.  Inspired by your warrior spirits.  The course was not a casual ride.  It required a 100% effort the whole way.  Inspired by the beauty of Castaic and the surrounding mountains.  Inspired by each other, the team pulled off a great event.

Why are you still reading this?… shouldn’t you be out for a recovery ride or a massage or an ice-cream cone? training for HUNKR OC in March ’19?

Y’all Are Awesome!

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162
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THE MORNING AFTER

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THE MORNING AFTER

IT'S NOT THE WALK OF SHAME... but, a slow roll out of bed and and ginger steps  downstairs reminds me yesterday's bike race was real.  Real hard, real far and real fun.  The idea of putting fingertips to keyboard last night was impossible.

What can I tell you about HUNKR-LA?

To start, this is the first HUNKR I've experienced from the rider's side... while my expectations for doing well were low, I was giddy with the prospect of lining up.  And it was better than I expected.  The HUNKR Nation is full of amazing people.  

New and untried was our neutral roll out.  A beautiful Mazda MX-5 lead us out for about 30 minutes.  We rode along chatting and meeting new people.  The pace was such that more than one, pulled aside for a nature break and easily caught back.  It was the perfect warm up and really set the tone that we were all in this together.

Once we hit the flag indicating the start, it was on... but not really.  Bierman took off on his road bike and tires set up.  Then a group of 3, including women's winner Rhonda Quick, eased off the front.  The rest of us, rode a reasonable tempo.  The eventual men's podium - McCulloch, Scarbrough, and Tinker - barely lifted the pace.  

No doubt, I wasn't the only one surprised to still be with the true talents.  

For the next 20 minutes the situation went from warm to simmer.  The moment it went to a true boil it was bye-bye.  

Too rich for me, I muttered to my buddy Jim.  It's a long day, he replied. 

In the next 20 minutes the main group of riders was reduced to packs of 5-10.  After all, we were on a 27 mile rolling climb.  It's hard to describe how beautiful this abandoned highway is to ride on.  No cars. An expansive vista well above the horizon.  And, the weather was perfect.

Towards the top I was politicking for our group of 8 to stay together if at all possible for the upcoming road section.  We refueled with Hammer and bananas at the first aid station.

A few other riders joined us out of Aid Station 1.  We were about 10 strong.  26 miles of desolate, well maintained, country road lay ahead of us.

The first 10ish miles were twisty, rolling and fast.  The punchy climbs popped a few riders.  We weren't drilling it, but we weren't waiting around either.  That was followed by the Lake Elizabeth climb, a true leg grinder.  Along the way we caught a few riders who'd been out alone for a long time.  Some clung on, others dropped off.

At the top of that climb 14 miles of false flat downhill found us in a beautiful well functioning pace line.  For sure we were making up lots of time.  But, the steady effort was revealing an upcoming battle with cramps.  The familiar twinges were rippling from calves to hips.  It didn't matter, there was no way I was going to get left behind as a solo battle would have been much more difficult.

Finally, we pulled into the aid station at Warm Springs.  Luckily the pace line rotation had me lead in and I was first out and back riding. 

There was no point in waiting or trying to stick together.  Ahead was a 2 mile climb with power-sucking sand sections.  In the recon, I'd struggled mightily here. 

Then, it was 102 degrees. 
Now a nice 80 burned down upon me. 
Then, I was riding HVY MTL with Sawtooth 42s. 
Now, I was riding Robot's CRUX with Maxxis Rambler 38s. 
Then, I had to dismount multiple times and limp across the sand sections. 
Now, I rode the entire climb.

Was it the lighter bike?  The beefier tread?  The better weather?  Probs all 3.  I was shocked and stoked to ride it all.  I really blew my mind.

Now it was time for the 7 mile mostly down hill.  It's a lot rougher than the climb.  Plenty of deeper sand, but with the speed pretty easy to rip across.  Plenty of chunky jagged rock.  I chose to take it easy, figuring nothing is slower than a shredded tire.  The straight up canyon rock with wall to wall concrete at the bottom was as fascinating as ever.

It felt great to hit the gravel road at the bottom, and awful to realize the hideous climb waiting for me.  I took a final 1/2 bottle of Hammer and turned the cranks and fought the cramps.  

Nick didn't stop and rode by.
I could see Paul's white sleeves up ahead.
All three of us battled our individual demons.  

After about 10 minutes I caught Paul.  We gave each other our respective blow-by-blow ride details.  Then Troy rode by... and Paul left me.

It gave me time to think about how I got here.  Alone.  On a devilish climb.  Riding HUNKR.  A dream come true.

https://revolutionbikefest.com/results/2018-hunkr-la/

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161
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AND I HAVE CHOSEN THE GOOD PART

TODD BROWN Bike Life

AND I HAVE CHOSEN THE GOOD PART

A BIKE RACE IS LIKE A MICROCOSM OF LIFE.  We make good choices and bad choices.  There are consequences.  Making good choices... the equipment, training, pacing, the lines we hold and wheels we trust makes all the difference between a successful day and a regretful day.

An old man on his deathbed reviewing his life with satisfaction said, And I have chosen the good part.

May we all make good choices tomorrow.


I KNOW, IT'S DARK.

TODD BROWN Bike Life

I KNOW, IT'S DARK.

FIRST CAME THE BITE IN THE AIR.  Then, the time change.  But, will that change you?
All the hard earned fitness,
All the lost pounds,
The skills gained
... could all be lost...
Grab a friend,
Mount some lights,
Head out into the night.
It's cold and dark, and we don't care!
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162
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EQUAL PAY FOR ALL!

TODD BROWN Bike Life

EQUAL PAY FOR ALL!

previously posted on HUNKR.com

HUNKR HAS A CASH PURSE.  Yes boys and girls there’s a couple of bucks on the line Saturday… we’re proud of that.  Plus, it’s equal pay for Men and Women… more proud of that!

Most of us will be racing in our prospective age groups – 5 year increments.  Each of the top 3 finishers in each age group will get a framed mini-jersey.

Will you be in the money?

Will you get a jersey?


MY LIFE IS ONE BIG F

TODD BROWN Bike Life

MY LIFE IS ONE BIG F

IT'S TRUE, MY LIFE IS ONE BIG F.  There are so many things I could do better if I could just focus some time and energy on them.  But, that ain't about to happen because of who I am.  Far from perfect.  

But, let me lay it out for you... 

I say my life is one big F for these four reasons:

Family.  Most solo rides my thoughts center on our family's well-being.  Where are they?  How are they?  What can I do or teach or share?

Finances.  Every single day I wake up to slay the dragon.  I'm not sure that will ever end, and I'm not sure it should.  It's actually riding and racing where I come up new product ideas

Fitness.  Early on, through the examples of my health nut maternal grandparents, I learned we are nothing without our health.  Grampa always had a few extra bikes around for us to play on.

Faith.  Spending 30 minutes contemplating a bigger picture before I go for a spin has been a treasured and life-long habit.

There it is,
not always in that order,
always the focus.

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162.8
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HUNKR-LA Recovery Week

TODD BROWN Bike Life

HUNKR-LA Recovery Week

RECOVER AIN'T EASY.  Especially after a terrible ride like Saturday's.  So many rides and races, so little time to recover... what's a man to do?

1.  Sleep a ton.
2.  Ride super easy.  No intensity until Friday.
3.  Stretch and roll every night.
4.  Eat clean... and don't put on weight... Surfergirl is back in town, this is going to be near impossible.
5.  Don't put on weight by doing a bunch of core and upper body stuff... pray for surf.

What's a bike to do?

1.  Get cleaned up.
2.  Rent some race wheels... found a shop that will rent ENVE G23s.
3.  Double check EVERYTHING.

What's a camper to do?

1.  The camping at HUNKR-LA is beautiful.  I begged my buddy to rent his sprinter for the weekend... and he said OK!
2.  Gonna have to do some shopping on Thursday.
3.  Pack it all up.

It's almost party time!

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162.8
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IT'S EVERYTHING

TODD BROWN

IT'S EVERYTHING

ON AN INDIVIDUAL LEVEL IT WAS NOTHING.  Hundreds of us got up early and gathered for the Mike Nosco Memorial Bike Ride.  While we came from as far away as Belgium and as close as Agoura Hills, and while many of us would truly struggle to finish the challenging course, It was nothing...

Nothing compared to coordinated effort so many volunteers put into a first class bike ride.

Nothing compared to the battles this year's 8 recipients are fighting.

Nothing for any of us to donate a few dollars to participate.

Yet, it was everything for Jack. 

At 610 PM, after all but a few had returned home, Jack shared what inspired him 10 years ago to make a difference in the lives of specific people who were suffering.  He wanted to honor the spirit of his brother.

I never knew Mike, but I'm grateful to his legacy.  I was reminded that the little time we give to others can make a huge impact in their lives. 

Perhaps this sums it up best:  Samantha introduced herself to me about 745AM.  Here was a beautiful, healthy lady walking around and personally thanking each sponsor for showing up.  She'd been a beneficiary in '16.  Back then, few expected her to be riding a bicycle out of the parking lot in '18.

... was it the funds?
the community?
the hope?
you?


THE NIGHT BEFORE

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THE NIGHT BEFORE

IT'S THE NIGHT BEFORE A BIG RIDE OR RACE, and I'm excited... which isn't really a good thing, because I should be calm... conserving my energy... winding down for an early bedtime and solid rest.

But, I'm excited.

My bike has been detailed.

My RaceDay bag loaded.

My drinks mixed.

My car is backed into the driveway; all packed, except for my bike.

My keys and wallet are in the fridge, next to my bottles.

A bath and razor await, followed by some stretching and rolling out the legs.

Then a heavy duty book on theology will hopefully knock me out.

But, I'm excited.

It's Nosco tomorrow.  Can't wait to see my LA friends.  More than a few of us from south OC are going.  Some with plans to smash it, others cruise it. 

My plan is to cruise over to each of the 3 climbs and see what I can do... hoping for a combined climb time under 100 minutes.  My body weight is a solid 10 lbs lighter than last year.  I know, I track it.  I know... that's weird.  Every other time I've done this ride I've blown it before we even hit the first climb.  So... lighter Diesel, more rested... that's the plan.

There's always a plan,
put in place.
That's the best part,
ride or race.
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161.2
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PERFECT ENDING, REALLY!

TODD BROWN Bike Life

PERFECT ENDING, REALLY!

WORK HAD BEEN BUSY, and we were in a groove at the end of the day.  Really cranking.  Nobody wanted to leave.

But, I'd promised Zanio I'd make it to the last Market Ride of the year.  It's a fun, flat, fast group ride that ends when we move our clocks forward 23 hrs on Sunday.

I suited up and scooted out.  The sun set and my lights lit.

Managed to get there just as they were finishing and heading to pizza at one of the guy's homes.

Then, pffffffft!, pffff, pffff, pffff, pfffffffffff...... ssssssss.  Front flat.

Good thing I got a flat now.  Who know's what kind of disaster I averted by getting off the road at that moment.  What a great time to practice my shade tree mechanics and be sure my MINI-RACEDAY is ready for Saturday's Nosco ride.

Perfect.

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162
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ARE YOU A DOCTOR?

Dev Acct

ARE YOU A DOCTOR?

SHE WAS JUST A TEENAGER WHEN SHE TOLD HER TALE.  200 years later we continue to read it, watch it, and act it out.  Where do these thoughts originate, and why do they haunt us still?  Why do we risk creating our own monsters?

For instance, my mountain bike.

Trek Pro Caliber Frame, RockShox RS-1
Normal enough, then the horror...
NEXT seat post
Bontrager stem
S-Works bars
XTR brakes
SRAM Eagle Derailleur
Grip shift and Red Monkey Grips

Yes, the graveyard of discarded parts has been robbed and bolted together to form one of my many Frankenbikes.

Ugly, maybe.

Crude, perhaps.

Criminal, that's a bit much.

Thankfully, it does not haunt my thoughts nor is it trying to kill me. But, it does get some queer looks.  Even some snobbery.  I care not. For it's my mine, built by me, for me.

Have you done the same?

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163.6
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THIS YEAR'S WINNER

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THIS YEAR'S WINNER

 IT'S FITTING THAT WE HAVE AN unOFFICIAL WINNER FOR THE BEST COSTUME at the unOFFICIAL Tuesday Morning World Championships.  While too few competed it was still a pretty tough battle.

Zanio as the HUNKR Monkey From Hell

Gould's Jack-o-lantern bib outfit

Brett's Unitard

Joe's glow sticks

Aside from having an all-in costume, Zanio passed out candy.  And that my friends, is a winning move!

Next year... next year, I'm dressing up too! 

 

 


I'LL BE BACK

TODD BROWN Bike Life

I'LL BE BACK

LIKE EVERYONE ELSE WHO HAS MOVED AWAY, HE PROMISED:  I'll be back!

Some I have doubted, correctly so.  Others have surprised me.  

Some I have wished well.  Others I have hoped they'd break their promise.

But, this guy in pink.  Bret the Bull!!!....

Social Diesel can't wait to see him tomorrow.
Physical Diesel will have nightmares tonight.

That's what makes our little social ride so unique.  We're like family and we return:
from as far away as Jakarta or as close as Santa Ana, within a few months, or after many years.
We long for the brotherhood,
the loving beatdowns,
the fun of it all!
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163.4
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WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU STOP RIDING YOUR BIKE?

TODD BROWN Bike Life

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU STOP RIDING YOUR BIKE?

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU STOP RIDING YOUR BIKE AND PARK IT?  Well, take a look at my tennis racket hand.  It'd been 10 years or so since we last played.

The grips were destroyed.  What was left stuck to our palms.

Similarly, our skills, though once admirable, were dreadful.

The kids beat us 6-1.  It felt so awkward and foreign... I used to live for this.

Now I live to ride...
seeing the result of neglect...
... inspiring.

 

(pretty sure I whiffed this one) 

(still had fun with these kids)


THANKS FOR THAT

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THANKS FOR THAT

THANKS TO SOME GOOD PEOPLE, I nearly ruined my new Dominator speed suit.  It wouldn't have happened without them.

First, the really fine folks that built the new 25 Days trail, connecting Draino to the far fire road.  It's a great addition and will be supreme once we get a little rain.

Second, a huge shout out to Bobfrosty for letting me know about all the recent mountain lion sitings.  With the latest fires the lion's territories are much smaller.

Third, thanks to Surfergirl for understanding that The Old Diesel needs a quick ride at the end of a long day.

The sun was settling into a deep amber haze.  I had about 45 minutes to get spin with a few openers for tomorrow's SHoP ride.  I took HVY MTL so I could mix it up on road and dirt.

Halfway down Draino I nailed a beautiful sliding transition onto 25 days.

It was a lot darker.

And very quiet.

I was a little lost in my head, end-of-daydreaming about how much we'd accomplished and how much more we have to do.

Not paying attention to the surroundings at all.

THHHHHHRUUUMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!

... a flock of about 66 crows a few feet away launched through the shoots and into the sky...

The Birds!

Heart beats... SKIPPED!

2/3s of the trail lay ahead of me, and Bobfrosty's comment was loud and clear. Now I was really moving.

Off to my left something large and dark mowed through the brush.  I stormed on.

A Happy Halloween dry run!

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162.4
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ARE THERE GOING TO BE AID STATIONS AT HUNKR-LA?

TODD BROWN Bike Life

ARE THERE GOING TO BE AID STATIONS AT HUNKR-LA?

reposted from HUNKR.com

ARE THERE GOING TO BE AID STATIONS?!!

Heck yes!

Time-wise, this is going to be the longest and toughest HUNKR yet... and we want you to crush it.  So we're setting you up for success. Whether you come out for the adventurous grind or have intentions of winning the cash purse.

What's at an Aid / Refueling Station: Aid stations will be fully stocked with Hammer Heed and Gels, along with Water, fruit and some packaged snacks (fig bars etc).

The first station will be at the end of old 99, right before you start the lonely country road.  About mile 22 (not including the 4 mile neutral roll out).

Station number 2 is at 34.

You'll find station number 3 as you exit the pavement and get down to some serious dirt.  Mile 50.

Number 4 is at the bottom of the long dirt descent, before the final 3 mile, paved climb.  Is it necessary? On paper No.  In reality, we're thinking a number of riders will welcome a rest and re-fuel.

That's it, 4 stations.  All dedicated to your success.

Me, Todd, my strategy is stop twice:  #1 and #3.  If all goes well.

It's time to HUNKR down!

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162.4
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THE 3 KINDS OF RIDERS

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THE 3 KINDS OF RIDERS

THERE ARE 3 KINDS OF RIDERS.  They all went around the block.

One, loved his block and kept going round and round... cursing anybody who suggested a different route.

Another, she rode some laps then found another block... sure it was the better.

And the third, took a few turns then ventured off... a never-ending, ever-expanding block.

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165
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I NEED YOUR HELP

TODD BROWN Bike Life

I NEED YOUR HELP

MY FRIENDS, I HAVE A QUICK ASK.  Some of you know I'm on a quest to get a RaceDay bag in the hands of anybody that drives to a ride or a race.

The bag makes loading up so easy, for some it's life changing.

If you would take a minute to check out a new landing page I've been working on and let me know your thoughts it would mean so much to me.  I value your insights.

Here's the link: https://pedalindustries.com/pages/get-raceday-bags

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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164.6
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THIS MAY COME IN HANDY

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THIS MAY COME IN HANDY

WHAT I'M ABOUT TO SHARE WITH YOU IS TRUE INSIDER KNOWLEDGE.

Steve passed me heading North while I was heading South.  He spun around, I eased up.  Little did I know he was about to dump something so juicy on me.  We pulled into the Outlets to take the long route so my OCD could be satisfied with an hour of riding vs 56 minutes.

Todd, have you seen the bathrooms back here?

I think so.

Not the ones in the breezeway.  I'm talking about the giant ones you can ride your bike right into.

Show me!

Sure enough, Steve had found the best bikin' bathrooms on the planet.  On the backside of the San Clemente Outlets are giant "family" bathrooms... and who better to take in their than your trusty steed.

This is the kind of secret knowledge you get by being a regular reader.
Which can come in handy if you're running irregular,
now if only there was an app for that.

162.4
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