Todd's Blog


THE ONE HOUR RULE

TODD BROWN racerness

THE ONE HOUR RULE

I HAVE A NEW RULE.  Well, it's not really new but I just realized I practice it so I might as well share it with you.  There are some great pros with this rule, as well as a potential major con.

Here's the rule:  If I can ride my bike to "the ride" within 1 hour, I'm riding.

Why?  Because by the time I load the van/car/truck, battle the traffic to get there, and unload and prep... well,  probably could have ridden there nearly as fast.  Right?  5-10 minutes to load up, 15-30 minute drive, 5-10 minutes to unload.  

Might as well ride.

I'll get there warmed up, ready to rip.

I'll save money on gas and wear and tear.

I might meet some of the posse on the way, always good.

What's the con?

Well, for example, after today's pretty heavy 4 hour MTB ride, which it took me an hour to get to...

... I still had to ride home.

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165.4 lbs
0/0
6 hrs

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I DON'T SCARE EASY

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

I DON'T SCARE EASY

I'M THE BRAVEST, TOUGHEST PERSON I KNOW until I'm faced with a threat.  Then, I'm much for flight than fight.  Tonight, long after the shadows took over, I leaped up a steep single track leaving the comfort of asphalt and street lights behind.  It seemed like a good way to get back home.

My light was shining steady and bright, and I zoned out lost in my thoughts as my legs spun an easy tune.  It felt so good to get away from the bustle of my daily hustle.

City behind.

Cars long gone.

Just me, my light and a dried mustard weed forest.

The moon was yet to rise.  It would beam bright, eventually.  But, at the moment things were quite dark.

I heard a yelp up ahead, to the left.  Not a big deal. 

Coyotes are shy.  I see them often... in fact, I've been seeing them a lot lately. Usually alone.  Occasionally, two or three.  They are aren't starving, they are big and healthy.

Another yelp.  This time  ahead, and off to the right a bit.

At that moment, I was reminded of Justin's encounter with a coyote on the way to TMWC.  It ran along side him.  Unafraid.  It flanked him.  It should Justin up for weeks.

The next yelp was off to my left.  

Were they surrounding me?  I was alone.  Going up hill.  Breathing rather hard.

I stopped.

Whipped my rig around.

Flipped the beam to highest strength and got the heck outta dodge.

... real brave, real tough... ha!, not tonight.

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164.4 lbs
20/60
8 hrs

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YEP, I'M A TOOL.

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

YEP, I'M A TOOL.

I'M PROBABLY NOT LIKE YOU.  My day job is largely spent with 20 year olds.  I also put in a fair chunk of time volunteering my time serving teenagers.  

When it comes to my riding posse, I usually out old most of 'em.

I'm lucky, I guess.

All this youth, constantly sharing with me how they see the world.  In obvious and subtle ways the teach me.  

Yesterday, I received two great lessons.

Young Luke, 13 years old/100 lbs, kept attacking and attacking on a flat and windy course.  He had no business even trying against a bunch of strong adults.  That's the lesson, train hard and your races are easy.

The other was from AC.  Airpods firmly drilled in, attention clearly zoned out. 

I asked what he was listening to.  
Music.

I like music too, so I asked what.  
60s-80s-90s.

I like that too. I asked top band of each decade.  
Grateful Dead-Dead Kennedys-Tool.

Only knowing a fair amount about the Dead, we got down to talking.

When I got home I pulled up the Essential Tool playlist on Apple Music.

 

... I may be old, but at least I'm a Tool (fan).

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163.6 lbs
Gym
7 hrs

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THE MID-OCTOBER FOOLERY

TODD BROWN racerness

THE MID-OCTOBER FOOLERY

INVARIABLY EACH OCTOBER I FIND MYSELF DELUDED.  I'm just sure I'll wrap up the day's work early.  I'm positive the sun will set later than advertised.  I'm banking on the shadows to creep ever so slow.

And there I am, 20 minutes from home.

In the dark.

This particular delusion is amusing, because the consequences or riding lightless could be life-changing.  But, there's a certain adrenaline associated with it, It keeps me alert.  More alive. 

And when I make it back and open the door...
I listen...
After all these years of cheating the night successfully,
there's still a little bit of relief within the walls...
... I'm home.
And that's a buzz that never gets old.

_____

164.8 lbs
0/0
7 hrs

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DON'T COUNT THE CALORIES

TODD BROWN racerness

DON'T COUNT THE CALORIES

I'M CURED.  I'LL NEVER EAT ANOTHER DONUT.  I'm always amused at the interactions when people find out we're spending the morning riding 100k, stopping at 10 incredible donut shops along the way.

How much weight will you gain?

Why would you eat all that junk?

... questions those who do the tour know are irrelevant.  But, I'll answer them for your via my anecdotal experiences:

No weight will be gained because the appeal of sugary goodness has diminishing powers.  Plus, while 100k was the quest... I rode more like 150k (80 miles 'mericans).

You eat that junk first because we skip it all season long, you eat "all" that junk because as I mentioned my sweet tooth lies 6' under at the moment.

What other benefits are gained on such a ride?

Well, the pace is tranquil and long and we all know LSD is the way to grow capillaries, right?

We end up actually learning where the best shops are and what their specials are.  For example, someone told me South Swell was awful.  However, I found their chocolate cronut to be amazing... always ask the server for recommendations

But, the best is the people you meet along the way.  The interwebs spread the gospel of TdD and beguiled new faces.  At a minimum we enjoy the novel company, and more likely we'll ride together again.

My top 3 donuts

3.  Chocolate Cronut at South Swell, Laguna Beach

2.  Bacon In The Sun at Duck Donuts, Irvine (these are made to order)

1.  The Smoked Apple Fritter at JD Flannels, San Juan Capistrano.

6:15... and we're rolling from Kelly's Donuts

 

Keep your helmet and glasses on... that sugar is gonna build and make you unstable.

Flirt of the day

The ferry to Seaside Donuts was a nice touch... what a morning!

At this point we're buying communal donuts and just breaking off pieces.

Rob's glove covered in powdered sugar from his french toast donut at Duck.

We're down to 4

I thought Sidecar donuts would be the most expensive... but no

But no, the most expensive and the best was the $4.75 Smoked Apple Fritter created by this guy and his team.  A-Ma-Zing.

 

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163.4 lbs
0/0
6 hrs

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OFF THE BIKE IS GOOD TOO

TODD BROWN PEDAL Posee Life

OFF THE BIKE IS GOOD TOO

ONE OF THE WEIRDER ASPECTS OF BIKE FRIENDS IS HOW UNNEIGHBORLY  WE CAN BE.  After hours and hours and hours riding side by side, fueling up mid-ride and helping out when things are broke... we know everything about each other.  You'd think we'd get together off the bike as well.

But we don't.

I have some ideas about that:

7.  We're sick of each other.

6.  We don't want our worlds to collide.

5.  The sig others might not gel and who could risk that?

4.  It's conflicts with an unsaid cycling norm.

3.  Netflix bro

2.  We're not as social as we think.

1.  It's just me. I'm the weird one and the rest of ya are just leaving me out.

Not always!... MikeG pinged me for lunch today.

We should do that more.

... at least I should.

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163.4 lbs
0/0
7.4 hrs

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HEY MAN, CAN'T YOU READ?

TODD BROWN racerness

HEY MAN, CAN'T YOU READ?

NEW RIDERS CAN'T READ.  They get more flats, crash more, and so on.  They can't see what you and I can.

It takes time.

I've been reminded of this the past couple of months by my own experience.

As I've ridden more and more technically challenging trails on my mountain bike, I've noticed my ability to judge what the bike can and can't do improving.

Each experience gets catalogued and as I see a similar challenge approach the successful solution gets burned further into my brain.  The more this repeats the easier it gets.

Soon, I'm seeing the trail and quickly interpreting what to do.

It's easy.

Automatic.

I'm riding.

Not thinking.

I've learned to read, by riding.

PS. Tour d' Donut is this Saturday.

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164.2 lbs
30/60
7 hrs

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THE BIKE MAKES THE MAN

TODD BROWN racerness

THE BIKE MAKES THE MAN

YOUR BIKE DECIDES WHO YOU ARE, NOT YOU.  Oh, you think you're in charge, but you're not.  Not in a meaningful way.

Track racers don't have suspension.

MTBr's don't bring skinnys to the dirt.

Roadies have lots of gears.

Gravel... well, forget gravel for now...

The point is, your bike decides what kind of ride you're going on.

Choose your tools wisely.

PS. Tour d' Donut is this Saturday.

_____

163.6 lbs
gym work
8 hrs

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RESISTANCE IS(N'T) FUTILE

TODD BROWN racerness

RESISTANCE IS(N'T) FUTILE

THERE ARE TWO REALLY HARD ASPECTS OF A FLAT TRAINING RIDE.  

I was able to overcome them because...

Gritters shamed me when I slid over after a 2 second pull.

Edwards kept attacking and giving us something to chase.

Robot bailed at the I.D. check... I love getting more hard miles in than him.

Tonight was fast... 32 miles in 1:20.  

That's 23.6mph., and includes a lot of loliygagging. 

We were on it, when we were on it.

Which brings up the 2 big challenges I face when using this flat ride for training:

First, the overwhelming temptation to sit 15+ riders back and sightsee.  It's so nice back there.  Often tame enough to chit chat.  No wind in the face.  Just riding hard enough to hang on.

Second, the inmyface recognition that hammering for allimworth is going to get me  nowhere.  That knowledge just hallows out my soul.

But, I am who I am.

I came with a plan.

To ride fast.

No matter.

... my legs hurt, and my mind is hardened.

PS. Tour d' Donut is this Saturday.

_____

164. lbs
20/60
8 hrs

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LAY(ER) IT ON ME!

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

LAY(ER) IT ON ME!

25 IN PARK CITY THIS MORNING, per Jeff. 

47 in San Clemente this morning, per Todd.

I tell him the humidity makes it colder than it is...

... he laughs at me.

We're both laying it on pretty thick because it's time to layer up.

My ride today when from 47 to 59 inside of 12 minutes.  Part of that is geographical, riding from the shaded river bed to the sun-warmed ridge tops.  Part of it is just the time of year.

Layer time.

Today was just my kit and a windbreaker.  That's what I like when I know the temp change is going to be rapid and drastic.

Other days I roll out with kit, vest and arm warmers.  Ditching the arm warmers as thing percolate.  Keeping the vest to warm my core.

Next is knee warmers with arm warmers and vest.

The most I typically need in these parts is arm and knee warmers with the windbreaker... 

...unless it's in the 30's, then I'll add the vest too... 'cause humidity!
(Jeff goes kit only until sub-45... 'cause stud)

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164.6 lbs
0/0
7 hrs

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TOUR DE DONUT 2019 - HUNKR

TODD BROWN racerness

TOUR DE DONUT 2019 - HUNKR

YES, TWO EVENTS IN ONE.  This year's Tour de Donut will be a HUNKR.  

10/12/19 - 615am

100k. route link

10 donut shops

1 ferry crossing.

No timing chips.

All fun n sugar.

We're rolling early because we don't want to get aced out of the good donuts.

615 Start at Kelly's Donuts in San Clemente... get there early, we're leaving there at 622.

With a finish 4-7 hours later at Rose Donuts & Cafe (they have "real food" too, which we might need... or not)

Only I can really guarantee is a nice pace, some good chats, and so many donuts you'll be sugar-proof for the upcoming holiday season.

Can't make the whole thing?  We'll try and post our check-ins on FB and Strava as we go.

Offiicial Gear 

https://pedalindustries.com/collections/tour-d-donut

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164.6 lbs
0/0
10 hrs

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EARLY RIDERS GET THE MIST

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

EARLY RIDERS GET THE MIST

A MISTY, BONE-CHILLING START.  Chicken skin.  Sixth day of an experimental, high-intensity week... Chris hits Cholla hard after squeaking I'm just gonna spin up it.

That's Chris for ya. 

Stair Steps can be a shin-busting descent, but today I cleaned the whole thing... feather in helmet for me!

Now it's 8:15am, the high tide for trail users.  Hikers, runners, riders.  Everywhere.  

Ripping Old Emerald, the rough trail scrambles my eyesight.  I see a dude,  TODDbrooown... (doppler effect).  It's Roby McGee.  I stop.  He's all about Enduro on Saturdays. 

Asks if we're going to Filthy 50....

 Yep. 

Good, let's ride together I'm sick of racing.

That sounds good.  

And, it does.  Today anyway.  Can't make promises once the gun goes.

There's a wonderful single track down Emerald Canyon.  The kind you don't really pedal and don't really brake.  It is emerald.  So lush.  Cooler, quieter.  Not lonelier.  An on purpose solitariness.

The climb back up is nice, requiring a touch of nimbleness to wiggle up a couple of pitches.

Rattle Snake, has no rattlers today.  No hikers.  No riders.  Weird.  The claws of rock at the bottom take a few swipes.  Knock me off, but no scratches.

Under 10 min on I Think I Can climb... new PRs, ouch.

Dropped down B.F.I knobbies clinging to pavement to gravel to dirt..... more PRs.

Smiling so hard on Lizard DH, I finally have it mostly memorized... more PRs for me...

... but not for Chris.

Chris rolled in with a dropper seat post... errr dropped seat post.  He musta hit something hard.  The seat tube collar split in half.

Do you want me to go back with you? 

I'd like to say this was an honest question.  I knew he'd say No, but would like the company.  He knew I'd say OK, and would miss his company.  A real friend would go back with comrade on wounded bike.  A real friend would also say No, I don't want to ruin your ride.

And... that's friendship.

The rest of my ride was less enjoyable than it could have and should have been,

I got to Nix Nature Center.

Sat down.

Got up.

Filled my bottles.

Sat down.

Took time to do nothing.

Geared back up, and rode back.

Better fitness, but feeling less friendly.  Kept telling myself I would have said same thing he said... knowing he would have ridden back with me.

Some days, I could do better.

_____

164.2 lbs
0/0
7 hrs

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WHY SO SERIOUS?

TODD BROWN racerness

WHY SO SERIOUS?

I'M NOT SURE IF IT WAS WATCHING THE WORLD'S DH at MounSainAnn (sic) as the speediest guys luged for the line, or if I's just 'maginin' dropping super steep single track... but fur-sure Ashley caught me takin' the bike fit a little too serious.

Or, was I?

I was.  

I'm weird that way.

Way too serious, way too often.

_____

163.6 lbs
0/0
6.5 hrs

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COACHING 101

TODD BROWN racerness

COACHING 101

SHOULD YOU HAVE A CYCLING COACH?  Only if you want to improve quicker, and avoid the potholes along the path to enlightenment.

How do you know a good coach from a wannabe?

Imagine a huge event, the gran fondo of a lifetime or even a national championship.  Racer X is huffing and puffing, giving all there is to give...

Wannabe coach says, Try harder.

Good coach says, Drink more.

The good coach knows you and knows you're already doing all you can do... but, can see things you can't see and can give tools and advice you can implement.

Where to find a good coach?

Good coaching can be found...

In books.

On podcasts.

By riding with the local experts.

And of course you can pay for a personal coach.  

In most cases, you get what you pay for.

Just remember Try harder! is not coaching.

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163 lbs
20/60
7.5 hrs

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MAGIC PILLS

TODD BROWN racerness

MAGIC PILLS

SOME THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT ASPIRIN... but are relevant to your bike riding habit and by understanding them may lead to increased performance.

We'll put the obvious aside.  It's cheap to manufacture, about 2 cents a tablet, and largely indistinguishable from one brand to another.

But, did you know...

Well-known brands command a higher price?... and work better?

Give a person a choice between red tablets and white and they'll pick red every time... and get better results?

A person with a backache will pay a premium for aspirin with BackAche Relief on the packaging.  The formulation is no different... and they'll get better results?

The placebo effect is real, so how do we harness it?

Do we pay for the big brand?

Shall we hold out for the perfect paint scheme?

Do we drink the company's marketing kool-aid?

Some will say it's a waste; some, money well spent.

Whether you think it works or you think it doesn't - your right.
- Henry Ford (I took a few liberties).

So, what do you think?

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162.6
Gym
6.5

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IT'S SO OBVIOUS

TODD BROWN racerness

IT'S SO OBVIOUS

ON THE MARKET RIDE TONIGHT, I noticed a new guy in a local team kit.  Things got heated up pretty quick and new guy put in some stinging attacks.  This is why I do the ride, to get stung.

But who was this new bee?

Time and again he hit us with blistering one minute efforts, stretching the group to a long thin line.  Eventually, I figured he was using the ride to do intervals... probs for the upcoming 'cross season.

But, I couldn't figure who he was.  Not that I know everybody, but I know a lotta guys.

... and this guy had nats stripes on his sleeve.

I shuffled through my cards of known badass locals with nats stripes.  Found a suspect.  Worked my mental photoshop, removing his muy excellente mustache and shaving off about 25 lbs...

... and it hit me...

Hey, you look just like Mike McMahon except you're a lot faster!

Yeah, I'm getting back to my old self.

It's so obvious when we're in top shape, and when we're not.  Bike racing shows no mercy, there's no hiding and there are no lucky days.

Put in the work.

______

163.6
0/0
7.5

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YOU'LL NEVER SEE IT

TODD BROWN Bike Life

YOU'LL NEVER SEE IT

THERE ARE A WHOLE LOT PLACES most people will never see.  We, you and I, we see 'em all the time.  To say You don't know what you missing is pointless because they don't.  They think they do.

From their cars, they think they know their town.  But, they don't.  Not like we do.

We feel the sounds.

We hear the colors.

We see the beat.

We ride.

______

164.2
Gym work
7.5

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I HAD ONE TOO

TODD BROWN racerness

I HAD ONE TOO

TYSON FAMOUSLY CHIRPED, Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.

I had a plan today.

Then, on the second climb... after an adventurous warm up... well, a funny thing happened.

Got a shot of endorphins.

Tossed out my plan to lay low.

Dropped a few gears.

Stood up.

Cut loose.

Couldn't help it.

Felt too good.

Temps were perfect.

Pre-dawn sprinkles left hero dirt.

Scared the crap out of a trail runner.  He jumped. Fell backwards.  I felt bad... but bro, seriously, take the headphone out.   Nature sings a better song... and maybe next time you'll hear the first, second and third friendly hellos from the old diesel.  He probably had a plan, too.

I guess there was a triathlon at Chrystal Cove.  One of the things I really dig about the tri scene is the newbs who show up on 20 year old road bikes to dip their toes into the sport.  Saw more than one of those in the parking lot.  One dude had a giant medal around his neck, and a bigger smile... atop a two-wheeled relic.

The hiking population was down about 50%, 'cause sprinkles.  So was the biking population.  Better shredding for me.

2ish hours in I remembered why I was gonna lay low.  Sore throat, body fighting something.  And I had to shut 'er down.

Worth it?

Totally. 

Now... I can burn through some overdue work projects... and rest manana.

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164.2
0/0
7.5

 


HOW MANY HOURS?

TODD BROWN racerness

HOW MANY HOURS?

IN A TWEET THIS, JOE FRIEL PASSED ALONG SOME SAGE ADVICE FROM A COLLEAGUE OF HIS:  We train 168 hours a week.

7 days X 24 hrs = 168

Right?...

There's bike time.

Eating time.

Sleeping time.

You get it.

I guess the only question is... how's the quality of our training?

Or, how's the quality of our living?

I read it after the pizza.

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163.2
20/60
7.5

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ONE MAN'S GRAVEL

TODD BROWN

ONE MAN'S GRAVEL

STUTTERING ALONG THE TRAIN TRACKS, it occurred to me that this might be more than gravel.  How exactly did the cycling world settle on "gravel bike" anyway?

If you think about it, we already had "cross bikes" for cyclo-cross.  And what is a gravel bike but a cross bike with slacker geometry, room for slightly wider tires and a few other comfy features?

Don't we already call cars that are part sedan and part SUV crossovers?

Why didn't we just go with comfy-cross?

Because these so-called gravel bikes were invented to race on gravel roads outside the big cities?

Duh, road bikes are called road bikes.  

All that proves is a supreme lack of creativity.

It just bugs me.

One, we don't have any gravel roads 'round here.

Two, it's awesome for fire roads.

Three, and single track.

Four, and curb jumping.

We could have called them adventure bikes, because you just throw a leg over and go where ever the spirits will you.

But, again, boring.

Too obvious.

If I had to pick a feeling my "gravel" bike gives me it would be freedom.

Free to ride wherever I want.

Across a field
Through town
Up the sidewalk
Along the train tracks
Bike trails
Horse trails
Hiking trails
Down stairways
On my shoulder
Over the sand
Spraying water
Bunny hopping
Skidding

But, that's not even it... the going anywhere part of freedom... it's the freedom to be creative in my route.

That's it.

Which occasionally includes a forlorn gravel road.

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164.2
20/0
8 hrs 
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