Todd's Blog


LESS THAN I COULD CHEW

TODD BROWN Bike Life

LESS THAN I COULD CHEW

BECAUSE IT WEIGHS A TON, IS DEEP FRIED AND COVERED IN GLAZE... the Apple Fritter was the only thing that was going to save me from my glycogen depletion.  I had to have it, had to make it to SC Donuts, prayed they have one left for me - they usually sell out by Noon.

I blame it on getting all geeked up last night about the 2019 season.  I couldn't wait to get out today and start a massive block of zone 2 riding.  4 hrs was my goal.  Only problem was I left with 3 hours of food, and... I was sporting the Tour D' Donut jersey. 

Who needs a GU when a 1000 calorie fritter can more than top things off?!

The ride turned out to be just what I needed.  It hadn't been easy turning down Mike and Eric's offer to do Swami's Long, Chris and Brian's plan to attack Saddleback, or Tim's mixed-surface mayhem on Blackstar. They all sounded so fun.  But, what I really needed today was an adventure, some play time... just cruising and going wherever the wheels would take me.

Matt and I rode road, gravel, dirt, single track at a solid zone 2... then he peeled off, leaving me with 90 minutes of more of the same. 

Not in a hurry
Smelling the wind.
Feeling the flowers.
Conjuring the fritters.

____

160.4
10/40
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CAN'T REMEMBER THE LAST TIME I DID THIS.

TODD BROWN Bike Life

CAN'T REMEMBER THE LAST TIME I DID THIS.

A FEW OF US GOT TOGETHER FOR DINNER TONIGHT - the local crew that rides together a couple of times a week.  We don't race much.  The idea was to find some events we could all do together.   

We weren't looking to have some grandmasterflash plan of race domination.  It's unlikely we'll be in the same categories.  More... we wanted to find a destination race or two plus some local stuff we could make a day of.  A comrade kinda thing.

Gotta be honest... I've been a little burned out.  Mike says I still haven't recovered from LoToJa '17... and he may be right.

But, there's nothing like hanging out with the fellas... geeking out over races... thinking of what's involved - logistics, training, equipment... to get pumped up.

We picked out a few good ones.
Things start early 'round here.
It's time to get focused.

____

161.2
10/35
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WE MAKE IT HERE

TODD BROWN Bike Life

WE MAKE IT HERE

WE MOVED NEARLY ALL OUR PRODUCTION TO THE U.S. THIS YEAR.  The main reasons were better product development, quality control and faster turnaround.  What used to take 2 months, takes a few weeks.  We right from the ride or race to the design studio.  If there's an issue we can fix it in a day or two.  Building the team here has been the most rewarding, and challenging, business experience in my lifetime.

There are just a few more days left for our American elves to make Christmas morning magic, and we're cranking long into the night.

Then, we'll take some time off for family and reflection and L.S.D. rides... hopefully, we'll see you on a new bike or in a new kit or enjoying some time off... or all 3.

____

161.2
10/35
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WE DON'T HAVE TO...

TODD BROWN Bike Life

WE DON'T HAVE TO...

HOW COOL IS IT GET A GREAT PICTURE OF YOURSELF?!! 

Some hotshot photographers set up on remote sections of a race course, with thousands of dollars of equipment and at least as many hours in honed and practiced skill.  The sun beats down on them or the rain drenches them or the cold gets into their bones... and we, you and I, whiz on by... while they work all day, then all night prepping and uploading photos... and then they pray.

They pray we will pay,
just a couple a bucks,
for a beautiful image...
to foreveremember,
an epic day.
We don't have to buy one,
but if we do we'll really burn in that memory,
all the emotion the gifted photographer caught...
for just a couple a bucks.

____

159
10/38
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BREAKTHROUGHS

TODD BROWN Bike Life

BREAKTHROUGHS

BREAKTHROUGHS ARE WEIRD.  We work and work and work to get better and seemingly get nowhere.  Then, as if touched by the gods, we are magically better.  The leap in improvement seems overnight.

But, that's not really how it works.  

The effort, the probing, the trying new things, etc... like the straw that broke the camel's back... eventually breaks us through to... better.

Works every time.  Persistence pays.

Just not how we think.

For instance... somehow my chess rating has jumped about 150 points in the last month... this is after a year of playing, and months stuck at the lower rating.  Can't really place my finger on when it happened, but one day I took a different approach and it worked.

Or... my quest to drop 10 lbs.  Been on that for a couple of years.  Trying all kinds of kooky stuff... then last summer I stumbled upon my fruit 'till noon.  Bam, I'm down 10.

Next up... it's not settled 100%, but I'm thinking of going for my PR on Harding.  

____

160.2
0/0
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STANDARDS

TODD BROWN Bike Life

STANDARDS

JUST IN:  WEIGHT OF A KILOGRAM UPDATED IN 2018.  K, it's not just Just In... it happened a month or so ago and you can bore yourself here.  But, let's just consider the ramifications for us racers who cut our bike weight to the legal limit set by the UCI - if you buy an off the shelf superawesome bike it'll be lower than "legal".

I don't really care if you bike is below legal, that's for you to have sleep with each night... but, it is interesting to note the role standards play.

It's almost impossible to believe that all countries didn't have the same kilogram standard, but it was true for many years.  Or that we are adjusting it ever so slightly in the 21st Century.  It's been around since 1889.  All fine and all true.

Will that happen to the Kilometer as well?  Will a HUNKR, no longer be a the same distance?  Ever so slightly longer or shorter?

Without agreed upon standards of measurement, science, reliable science, would proceed much slower... if at all.  It would be chaos and constantly starting over.  With standards, the big-brained can collaborate and quickly build on each other's work.

As the scientists rush to refine their standards... what about ours?

____

161.8
10/35
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WE START TO FINISH

TODD BROWN Bike Life

WE START TO FINISH

I HAD EVERY INTENTION OF STARTING TODAY'S DIRTY 30, and no intention of racing it.  But, then I pulled in and saw the Start banners and the Finish arch.  Well... once you throw your I'm just gonna have fun plan out the window all kinds of things can happen.

For me, the best was meeting Paul from Velofix.  I asked if he planned on working much, he said Racers come prepared, should be a light day. And just like that I remembered how awful my cranks have felt all summer. 

He brought in Adam who said, Dude, that's 200 watts easy.

What?

The drag.

What's causing it?

You're missing a washer which is causing the seal to bind.  This is terrible.

Being that I haven't focused much on mountain bike racing I'm not surprised I neglected my rig's maintenance.  That also goes a long way to explaining my truly disheartening performance on TMWC Gravel this week, and last Saturday's slog to Cocktail Rock.

The best racers are always good mechanics... and boy, have I ever failed at this.

Which brings me back to the title.  We start to finish. 

We start every race/ride to finish it. 

Nobody starts with the intention of quitting.  Quitters never finish. 

But, it's not just finishing. 

I could have finished today, even giving up all those watts.  But, by default it would have been less than my best.  My best would have seen to it that the rocket was ready to shoot skyward vs a sputter and flame out. 

If I'm gonna start something, the goal is to finish as best as possible.  That's it. 

_____

What a beautiful day ahead.

Among the first to set up

Adam, gettin' 'er dialed in

Chris comes through with the Mexican Coke!

Plenty a peeps

Not too shabby... I started with the wrong wave, but Timing said gaps wouldn't have made a difference.  Just happy to be here...

 

____

160.8
9/36
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ONE OF THESE DAYS

TODD BROWN Bike Life

ONE OF THESE DAYS

JUST AS I WAS CERTAIN I COULD SELL HVY MTL (my accidentally wrong "gravel" bike that's a touring bike)... along comes Haruto.  I could see him from 200 meters away.  Bright green vest swinging easily from side to side, kinda doing a wind dance.

I pulled up.

Hey, where did you stay last night?

A friend.  Couchsurfing.com.  Too much rain.  All this bubbles out of this kid with a smile to brighten any day and a constant giggle.  Not so much talking as singing his song.

Where did you start?

Canada.

Where are you going? ... I'm thinking TJ...

Argentina.

What?  Really?

Yes.  Buenos Aires.  Then Europe.

How long will that take?

I hope 6 months.  Some say a year.  

Are you going down Baja?

Oh yes!  It's very pretty. ... and dangerous, I keep to myself ...

Tijuana not so good.

Yes, be careful.

Do you speak Spanish?

No... yo soy Japon.  (I'm Japan).

Yo so Japones...

Yes, yes... yo so Japones!

The entire exchange is just smiles and laughing. It makes me happy, just riding along side him for a few minutes made all the difference in my day.

I think he'll be fine.
But, wouldn't hurt to pray for him.
And us...
That we'd have the guts to do any of it...
Yo so gringo!

____
159.8
10/37
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PROTEIN

TODD BROWN Bike Life

PROTEIN

PRETTY SURE I LOST A LOT OF MUSCLE FRUIT TILL NOON.  Not enough protein.  The Ask A Cycling Coach podcast covered protein a bit last week.  Just in time for The Old Diesel to get some guidelines.

Quick takeaways:

1.  Protein aids recovery.
2.  High intensity, LSD, weightlifting all demand protein right after.
3.  Master athletes need even more protein.
4.  Per FDA 1 gram protein/kg of body weight.  Endurance and Masters athlete 2 grams/kg of bw.
5.  Types of protein:  Whey and Casein both milk proteins.  Whey is most absorbable.  Casein longer to absorb.  Both have Lucine. If you're lactose intolerant  there are options with whey and plant based.
6.  Chocolate milk is great.  Protein, and sugar.  Available at gas stations after a ride.
7.  Masters should take protein just prior to bed.  Helps with recovery and helps with sounder sleep.

The biggest is weight loss while neglecting protein is a fail.  I think that's where I am right now.  Wonder how long it will take to get back... had a protein shake in the morning, carne asada for lunch, taco soup for dinner.

Here's the podcast... protein talk starts Min 36:38.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nose-breathing-recovery-drinks-double-days-more-ask/id1035433041?i=1000424759191&mt=2

... remember, you get what you pay for and this cost you exactly zero... : )

 ____

160.6
9/36
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HANDY DANDY VANDY

TODD BROWN Bike Life

HANDY DANDY VANDY

MOST OF MY WRENCHING IS SELF-TAUGHT.  My tools, a mishmash collection in what looks like an old school doctor's bag.  When bikes were less awesome I did a lot my own work for the simple sake of I was faster and usually better than the shop.

But, now the bikes are so much better... and so much more complicated.

What does break or need adjustin' usually requires special tools I might only use once... assuming I even know what to do.  So I don't buy the tools and a let a pro do what I can't.

Lack of practice = skills lost.

I put what's left of the ol' skills and tools to use today.

Not on the bike.  The car.

Battree was dead.  Alternator good.  AAA wanted $125 + installation and tax.

Hmmmmm, me thought.  Costco.com.  72 bones.

Busted out the 10mm socket wrench, which you would only have if you worked on fancy international bike parts... well, that's my excuse.  Hauled the old battree over and picked up the new one.

Plopped it in.  Cinched 'er down.  Fired up real dandy.  Like a champ.

Time to sell it.

Even though this car has carried me to numerous podiums and excellent rides, I don't expect you to want it.  I'm mean who'd want mojo like that?

'12 Acura TSX Wagon - comes with bike rack, surf rack and PEDALindustries stickers.  100k miles - just turned over.  $12k

I'm living the life a van man now... finally got that van I've been threatening for so long.

 ____

159.6
9/35
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A RIDER'S LIFE AIN'T NO GOOD LIFE

TODD BROWN Bike Life

A RIDER'S LIFE AIN'T NO GOOD LIFE

The sky light cracks at dawn
I'm out the door long gone
Listen to them wheels
That chain
I'm gone riding
Again

Lunch time comes sneaking past Noon
I'm promisin' 'be back soon
Listen to them wheels
That chain
I'm gone riding
Again

Shadows stretchin' and yellin' end of day
I'm changin' and gettin' on my way
Listen to them wheels
That chain
I'm gone riding
Again

A RIDER'S LIFE AIN'T NO GOOD LIFE, but it's my life... 

 ____

161.2
8/34
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TOO LITE?

TODD BROWN Bike Life

TOO LITE?

MIGHTA OVER DONE IT... my fruit-till-noon body hack might be too successful.  I've dropped about 13 pounds since August.  Just eating fruit till Noon.

Too much.  Too fast?

I dunno.

I do know that I don't feel awesome and powerful.

There was a cross over about a month ago where I PR'd The Wall - local 4-5 minute power climb.  It's been down scale and down hill since.

Could also be I'm just burned after a month of heavy weekend races.

Time to bring it back up to the original goal of 160-162.  Still 10 lbs. lighter.

Why does the fruit-till-noon work?  Well, I'm not scientist but I can tell you this.  If you start off your day eating pure, good food that's all you want to eat the rest of the day.  The cravings for crap disappear.  Then, all of the sudden you're just eating good stuff and poof you drop 13lbs.

____
161.8
8/33 (pull ups/push ups to failure before I jump in shower)
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THE FIRST CUT

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THE FIRST CUT

I HEARD A BOXER SAY HE NEEDS TO GET HIT A FEW TIMES TO GET INTO IT.  Then, again Mike Tyson said everybody has a plan until they get punched in the nose.  I'm a lover not a fighter... but, I can tell you this...

On the way up San Juan Trail this morning, I was a little out of it.  Just wasn't on my A game.  Especially on the rocky, rooty downhill section past Cocktail Rock.  Was riding like a baby.  Coulda been the cold.  Coulda been the moisture and sliminess.  Whatever it was, I was riding terrible.

Then, I got that first cut.
Followed by a sweet crank to the shin.
Just like that,
I snapped out of it,
cranked up Foo Fighters in my mind,
and started haulin' @$$.  
The rest of the ride was ace.
Hero dirt.
Carving turns.
Wheeling up and jumping off rocks.
Soaking in that amazing view.
Soaring like a diesel.
That shin.
that shin
New bike day for Chris
new bike day for Chris
Steven's first time to Cocktail Rock
Steven's first time to Cocktail Rock
Join us next time.
Join us!

 

____
159
7/4 - 30/10
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THIS TIME IT WON'T HURT

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THIS TIME IT WON'T HURT

LAST TIME I TOOK THE CREW UP ON SAN JUAN TRAIL, we shed a lot of blood.  It was summer.  And so dry. The DG (decomposed granite) was like ice.  The sides of the trail like a Makita grinder.  The thick brush wasn't much better.  But, that's how a I like it.

Everybody returned with scrapes and gashes.

I warned 'em the first time that they'd come back with a tale to tell, with proof they're alive, lingering memories.  The trail delivered.

Shocking few wanted to go tomorrow.

This time I promised it wouldn't hurt.  Not because we've improved orr skills, not because we've seen the trail before... because it actually rained in California!

Rain on most trails means things are gonna be worse.
Rain on SJT means hero dirt,
lots of gripping and ripping,
... like a powder day,
or glassy 6' surf...
Oh well,
I tried.

____

If you repent... 8am at the trail head!

____
158.8
Ride with us: click for info.


THE ART OF TAILORED WHEELS

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THE ART OF TAILORED WHEELS

THAT'S A BOLD STATEMENT UP THERE.  You better believe it you're gonna put that on your website.

Ryan does.

We met at a bike race.  <-- Note: one reason to go to a bike race is to meet some cool people that believe in what they do.

He had his Spark Wheel Works canopy up and his hands ready to help anybody that needed assistance, regardless of what they were running.  

We got to chatting and he confidently explained what a tailored wheel was and what it could do for me.  I told him about a new set fo wheels I'd purchased from ENVE that were giving me problems.  He told me how to get them warranted.  Went out of his way to explain it even though I didn't buy the wheels from him.  

See what I did there... just cut him off and told him about my problem.

See what he did there... listened and solved my problem.

So, what is a tailored wheel?  That's where you find a guy like Ryan who will listen to you, really listen to you.  Then, after he's listened to you, he'll show you exactly the wheelset you need for your next race or ride or new bike or...  wheels tailored just for you.

After I got me wheels back from ENVE, they had a bit of a hop and so I took them to him for an expert retentioning.  

Can't wait to throw 'em back on The Marvel and shred at TMWC.

____
159.8
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FIRST AID

TODD BROWN Bike Life

FIRST AID

MY DAUGHTER ASKED HOW I WAS DOING?  

Great, I think.  Why?

Seems like you've had a rough year.

'Guess I hadn't noticed.

She pointed out a few low lights, like losing my dad.  It's not a massive list, but there are a few sizable changes.  I agreed, then listed off all the wonderful things I'm thankful for... which turned out to be a longer, stronger list.

Life is a lot like racing.
There's the pain of the race.
The setbacks.
Unforeseen challenges and disappointment.
Yet, when it's all done.
When the season is over.
What do we remember?
What stands out?
Why go back?

There's not much a little time and a bike ride can't heal.

____
161
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CONNECTION

TODD BROWN Bike Life

CONNECTION

THE RECENT RAIN TURNED THE MOON DUST INTO HERO DIRT.  

With a larger tire, lower pressure and wider rim the connection to the road is like velcro.

I like tight, tacky gloves when I sprint and climb.

The snap of my cleat assures me I can go all out.

When I pull and push the skewers I'm confident in their ability to hold things together.

Like so many links in a chain, the entire bike should be tightly connected and working as one.

But that's nothing compared to the connections we make with the people we ride with.  


WHEN I'M DONE

TODD BROWN Bike Life

WHEN I'M DONE

If I'm not riding my bike,
I'm thinking about riding.
If I'm not thinking about riding,
I'm asleep and dreaming about riding.
If I'm not sleeping and dreaming about riding,
I'm....
____
159.2
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THE QUICKY

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THE QUICKY

AFTER YESTERDAY'S GIANT BLACK FRIDAY RIDE, I just wanted to sleep in.  I got up early anyway.  Habit.  I didn't want to ride.  Not a habit.

We loaded up the van.  Drooled over at Cars and Coffee.  Hiked along the skyline above town.  Got ice cream at Handel's.  Did Nordstrom rack.  Ate leftovers.

An entire Saturday without a bike ride?... almost.

Finally at 4, the team was tuckered and distracted.

I'll be right back.  Just a quick spin.

38 minutes later, balance had been restored.

____
160.8
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TIMES LIKE THESE

TODD BROWN Bike Life

TIMES LIKE THESE

AFTER YESTERDAY'S GIANT BLACK FRIDAY RIDE, I just wanted to sleep in.  But, I got up early anyway.  I didn't want to ride, yet.

We loaded up the van.  Drooled over at Cars and Coffee.  Hiked along the skyline above town.  Got ice cream at Handel's.  Did Nordstrom rack.  Ate leftovers.

An entire Saturday without a bike ride?... almost.

Finally at 4, the team was tuckered and distracted.

I'll be right back.  Just a quick spin.

38 minutes later, balance had been restored.

____
160.8
Ride with us: click for info.