Todd's Blog


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.

 _____

164.4

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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.

 _____

164.4

0/0
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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.

_____

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)

_____

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.

_____

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.


A DESTINATION

TODD BROWN Bike Life

A DESTINATION

TWO WEEKS IN A ROW, and two outta town visitors spent the night and joined the craziness.

Our kinda craycray.

Up at 5am.

Out the door at 538.

Lights on.  Bottles loaded.  Into the dark and cold.

Why?

Because how else are we going to find the time required to be fast?  Where else are we going to link up with riders of such high caliber?  What else would we rather do?

Stay in our cozy beds?
Heck no.

Get our beauty sleep?
Negative.

It's not for everybody.
It's for us.

Who else would plan such a destination vacation?

_____

164

20/60

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LEADVILLE OR BUST

TODD BROWN Bike Life

LEADVILLE OR BUST

IT WASN’T MUCH OF A START.  In fact, I missed the start altogether.  At least, the trail was clear.  Soon, I started passing people.

I could see my buddies way ahead of me.

Then I couldn’t.

I’d taken a wrong turn.  Ugh.

The first of 7 laps, and I’d already given up 5 minutes.

But I started to settle in… to find my endurance pace.  And that was the point:  to see if I had the kind of endurance I once did… the endurance I’d need to qualify for Leadville, and then set a PR there.

As of today, I have 16 weeks to prep for the Tahoe 100... where I plan to qualify for Leadville... and 4 weeks later it'll be on f'reals.

What did I learn from today?

  1. My MTB handling skills are rusteeeeee. I was on the brakes too much, fighting the bike too much.  Good news is my upper body is actually pretty strong from all the push ups and pull ups.
  2. I have the endurance, but my speed needs some work. I kept my heart-rate at a steady 160ish bpm.  Never cramped.  More speed will come with dropping a few pounds, and riding off road a lot more.  My food strategy of 2 scoops of GQ6 and dried figs to snack on was perfect.
  3. Black Magic, my hardtail, needs to move out to make room for a full-suspension XC racer. My back was KILLING me when I was done.  Could be partly the 175mm cranks vs the 172.5s on my road and gravel bikes, but I think it was mainly due to the pounding.

How’d I wind up today?  Pretty dang great... passing almost everybody and winning my age group.  That was nice, but I was more impressed with my steady lap times which were all around 28 minutes.

Oh, and remember the 7 laps?… well, I did do 7 but my age group only did 6.  So, I guess there’s a 4th thing I learned:

  1. Be prepared. Ready to start on time.  Know the course.

Here we go!

_____

Got a chance to meet the Stonehaus crew in person and deliver the team's RaceDay bags. 

Specialized raffled off a sweet hardtail for the Juniors

I don't know the answer... but it would be great to do the podiums right when the race ends for everybody to be there.

This tri-tip was amazing!

... after the grillin' it was great to be chillin'... what a spectacular day!


THE PLANK OF BIKE RIDES

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THE PLANK OF BIKE RIDES

TODAY'S RIDE WAS A LOT LIKE PLANKING.  It didn't start out that way.  I thought I'd be home early with the rest of the crew.  But, it was the first warm day in months and I had no need to get back.

Plus, when I thought of my boys hiking 24 miles up to the top of Saddleback and back today...  I knew I had to go big.

So, after slaying the Saturday Hour of Power with my local posse I headed on up to catch CV (another fast group ride).  There's nothing better than surfing from group ride to group ride and seeing all my pals.  

Sooner than I'd have liked I was popped and knew it was time to start the long journey home.

The miles clicked by.  Did a mental calculation that it'd be my usual 85sh.  Thought, why not push on through to a 100.

That last 15... sheesh... it was like planking and watching the clock. 

I've built my planking up to 3 minutes this year, but the only way I can do it is to turn on a movie and set an alarm for 3 minutes and try and forget about it.  When I started planking, I'd watch the timer... I'd be all shaky and quivery and quit after about 30 seconds.

There I was, one mile from home and 15 miles to go.  What to do?

First, I was bonking as I hadn't planned to ride more than 50 today, and I hit Surfin' Donuts.  3 miles done.

Second, rode the scenic route back towards home.  9 miles done.

Third, did meaningless laps through the local church parking lots and neighborhoods.

Those miles slowly clicked over.

Garmin and Training Peaks affirmed the effort.  Strava says I need more.

I don't.

 


FIRST MARKET RIDE OF THE YEAR

TODD BROWN Bike Life

ONE OF THE FEW THINGS I LIKE ABOUT DAYLIGHT SAVINGS is that we take a little break from some rides which go dormant with the dark afternoons.  Around here, where it's summer 90% of the time it's good to change up the monotony.

But, the break is over and tonight was the first ride of the year for The Market Ride.

The Market Ride has a long, long history of going very, very hard every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon during Daylight savings time.

It was great to see a lot a crew I hadn't seen for 5 months.

One of the guys fell off his bike, which sucked... and I'm/we're all hoping he's okay.  After a few minutes of bone-checking an unprofessional assessment most of us got back at it.

Spring is coming!

_____

162.8

10/30

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OTDITM!

TODD BROWN Bike Life

OTDITM!

WONDERING HOW YOU'RE GONNA FIT THE NEXT RIDE IN?

Try this:  OTDITM

You know what time you need to be on life's clock, so work backwards and set your clock.

I knew I needed to be strapped to my desk at 8am today.  I reversed out my short commute, breakfast, shower, reading, ride and settled on 6am.

Then, I practiced the art of OTDIT (Out The Door In Ten Minutes).  To do it, I had to do some prepping. 

Before bed:

Bike was ready, next to the front door; same for the helmet, shoes and glasses.

Clothes were laid out in the bathroom.

Bottle was in the cage.

I used to do this all the time, but I've gotten soft and lazy.  It was a convo with my son last night that reminded me of how I did it all when the kids were still around.  When time with them was so precious.

At 610 I was riding.  Went through the elementary school, over the bridge, not a soul around at the start... like zombies they slowly joined the rising sun.

But, by then, I was done.

Nailed it.

Gonna keep on nailing.

_____

164.8
10/30
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WHAT A DIFFERENCE FRESH MAKES

TODD BROWN Bike Life

WHAT A DIFFERENCE FRESH MAKES

3 10 MINUTE CLIMBS, 3 PRs... SHOULD I BE SURPRISED?  Maybe, but I was hoping for results like that.

Why?

Because normally I hit these climbs after doing a lot more work before I get there.  

Alta Vista is typically on the menu after scorching Food Park.

Newport Coast we usually hit after an hour of pretty decent tempo, and then we go another 7ish minutes to the top... but, today's assignment was 10 minute climbs.

And PID... we'll I don't think I've ever hit with less than 50 miles and poop load of Zone 5 in my legs.

Being fresh for those climbs made a huge difference today.  But, it wasn't just the easy riding between each effort.  Training Peaks had my Form at 8 - not the highest, but certainly indicating a good results were possible.

Do I want to go back and do it again?

Heck no.

Bring on new challenges!

_____

0/0
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KNOWN BEST FOR

TODD BROWN Bike Life

KNOWN BEST FOR

THE MOST INFLUENTIAL MOVIE OF MY TEENAGE YEARS WAS BIG WEDNESDAY.  Released in '78, the same summer I could finally drive myself to San Clemente to surf... cool was never cooler than played by Jan Michael Vincent.

So, when I learned JMV had passed away I dove into the interwebs to see what'd be said.  Lots of movies and parts to his credit, but not a whisper about Matt Johnson, Big Wednesday's surf legend.

And it got me wonderin'... what will we be known for?

All the Strava cups and real medals earned are nice, but in the end it's the impact we make on each other riding through life that matters.

Ride on Matt, Ride on JMV, Ride on.

You gave me courage and desire to ride big waves... and later to ride big mountains on wheels.  

Forever grateful. 


#PEDALPOSSE

TODD BROWN Bike Life

#PEDALPOSSE

WE DON'T HAVE CUSTOMERS.

Yes, we do.

No, we don't.  We have a posse.

We aren't into one-time transactions. 

We are planning to ride together forever.

When things go sideways and when things are great, the posse lets us know.

We got each other's backs.

Do you want to be a customer, or do you want to be part of a posse?

_____

161.8
8/30
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