NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP? Implored Sir Winston. So does Gladwell when he says it takes 10,000 hours to be great at something.
If I rode 10 hours a week 50 weeks a year, it would take 20 years to be a great bike rider.
But, it's not just riding.
I think the time spent working on my bike counts.
As does the time watching a race unfold.
Throw in the core work and stretching and yoga too.
It all adds up.
Every day, a little better. A little closer.
After 20 years, I'm not great... but,
I'm pretty damn close
to the best I can be
and that's the point of any endeavor.
I GOT A LATE START YESTERDAY. I chose to get some pressing work done.... and, I chose to postpone the ride from morning till evening which always leaves an opening for things to go sideways.
The sun quickly set. I chose to ride on.
I raced half up Harding at 9 tenths. I chose to shut 'er down and take it easy after that.
The moon rose. I chose to stop on the deserted fire road and snap a pic.
60 minutes in, I chose to stop and admire the view of my city.
It dawned on me, as the temperature quickly dropped, that being 6 miles up a rugged fire road with one light and no jacket was not my best choice. I chose to head down.
But that feeling of being all alone, in the wild.. that sound, of nothing but a distant hum... that sight of my fellow citizens far away... me, choosing to live like this... nothing like it.
Who else made a choice to be risky today
to do what their heart called them to do,
to venture out and bet on themselves?
... it's just a choice,
MY COACH HAS TOLD ME FOR YEARS THAT TRAINING BY POWER IS DANGEROUS. Frankly, I was too cheap to buy a power meter and didn't want to hassle with one more device. Her warning was that training by power would disconnect me from how my body was actually doing. I like simplicity so this was easy to heed.
Understand, I only get "coached" a few months out of the year... if at all. I just can't handle the structure, it takes too much fun out of riding for me. But, when I'm really serious about an event (none in '18) I need her guidance and feedback.
Word has it, the reason the pros took to power meters early on was because with all the chemical enhancement that was occurring during the same time period training by heart rate became useless. Their heart rate data was no longer relevant. It was not giving them accurate feedback on what was achievable with their new found "unbelievable" powers.
Anyway, I found this article by VeloNews really useful in helping me understand the differences and advantages of training by heart rate and/or by power. It's a good read, very clearly written.
... thought you might like it.
THE HACKING COUGH STARTLED MY LITTLE MAMA. (She's visiting for a few months.)
Boy, you sound terrible.
It's not a real cough madre. It's a smoker's cough.
You don't smoke.
We did today... we smoked all kinds of KOM's.
You smoked what?
Don't worry mama, I'm okay.
That's the price of putting down smoking times when the Santa Ana winds are blowing and the temps dip into the high 40s: smoker's cough.
It's a bad habit I plan on keeping till the wheels don't spin no more.
I LIVE ON A STREET OF BIKE RIDERS, but we don't ride together. We're all at different stages of life, with very different abilities and interests. Still, you'd think we'd ride together, occasionally.
One time I ran into Matt out on the local single-track. He's a young firefighter with a crazy schedule, and he prefers the very steep stuff with big air.
The guys at then end of the street regularly ride their ancient mountain bikes, just on the road. They've long since retired, just out to stretch their legs.
Tom is my next-door neighbor. His son just bought him an electric assist bicycle. He gets up and hits the road at 630 three times a week and rides to 24hr Fitness.
All that bike riding stuff in common, but we never hang out.
So... last week I invited Tom to invite me over for Monday Night Football - I could see the flicker of the games from our backyard and since we cut the cord a long time ago, and we're both empty-nesters... tonight we did some bike talk in between pulling for the 49rs.
Can't just always be riding and never hanging out,
One day we just might need each other.
RAIN, LIGHTENING AND THUNDER... TIME FOR A NORMAL SATURDAY. It was refreshing to go to bed knowing I'd be rained out in the morning. I was sure I'd sleep in. But, I didn't.
It was still refreshing to rise before the sun. I had nothing to do.
Grabbed the two books I'm reading.
Made a tall glass of ice water.
Settled into the couch.
Everybody else slept. We have guests and I was silent, not for their sakes... for mine, I wanted to get lost for an hour or two since I wouldn't be out riding.
Soon I made a run to SC Donuts - for them, not me... I'm an athlete.
Then a few errands around town I should have done earlier.
Lastly, some tweaks to our website.
At 2 the roads were dry. Matt called. Let's go! We tempo'd a steady 90 minute wander.
It was a normal Saturday, normal for most.
But, I prefer my Saturdays to include a good dose of lung-hucking.
ASTHON LAMBIE SHATTERS INDIVIDUAL PURSUIT RECORD WORLD RECORD AND THE OLD DIESEL SHAVES A WHOLE SECOND OFF A 5-YEAR OLD PR.
First off, what little-known gravel racer Ashton Lambie accomplished is absolutely unheard of in track cycling and worth a read: https://www.usacycling.org/article/ashton-lambie-shatters-world-record
Second off, I've been wondering all week how I managed to go 14 seconds faster up Live Oak than I had over the previous 200+ attempts, besting my old PR by 1 second.
Maybe there is something to riding heavy road bikes (aka gravel bikes <- worst name ever) around then getting on racing bikes and charging hard? The surface resistance, the weight, the unaeroness, the miles riding alone, the LSD pace...
Is there a connection?
I dunno and I do' care.
Because I suspect it's more to do with balancing the pain when racing
having a whole lotta fun adventures on two wheels.
I THINK THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF RACE PROMOTERS: guys that used to race looking to give back and possibly make a buck, and guys that wanna promote and race the kind of race they want to do.
Who is the better promoter?
Well, so far, the largest race in the world is put on by a Not Racer... so far.
But, HUNKR is different in so many ways... why not have the race creator racing? It's the race I want to race, and it will give me a much better perspective of how to continuously improve the HUNKR experience.
Plus... just being honest... I freakin' love racing. I love training for months, prepping gear the week of, waking up knowing I'm ready, seeing my friends on the start line, the focus required, the way all my cares disappear and it's just me and my bike doing our best, forgetting the rest.
Let's do it!
Oh, and whoever finishes one spot behind me races free at the next HUNKR - incentive to let me beat you? Nah, that would be crazy!
With a great team in place.
The Old Diesel,
(Why do we put on this race? Like we don't have enough to do... because, we think you'll love racing for a PR with a bunch of other really fun, talented riders.)
LIFE CAN CERTAINLY GET BUSY, GET AWAY FROM YA, AND PRETTY SOON THE LIGHT IS DIMMING. You've run out of time. The sun no longer shines.
For some, if the ride didn't happen yet it's not going to.
Others make their own light,
They venture out,
In need of cleansing their souls,
For tomorrow always comes and there's always more to do.
WHILE THERE'S NO I IN TEAM, THERE WAS DEFINITELY A BEE IN SOMEONE'S BIBS THIS MORNING. Who was the guilty son-of-a-gun?
Was it Mark who yelled Roll 'em promptly at 630... creating a huge gap to himself?
Was it Young Kevin who yanked the group up Antonio at 22+?
Was it Mike G who kept attacking anytime a hint of respite presented itself?
Was it one the guys with red Winner sleeves?
Whoever it was, THANK YOU!
The group was finally riding a sensible pace when we got to the bike trail. Conversational. And no one had a hankering for hammering. Which was just perfect for a number of us...
... to PR Live Oak!...
Which reminds me of something I read many, many years ago in Velo News. It was an interview with Kent Bostick regarding his making the '96 Olympic team at the age of 40 something. He said, no matter what I always have one hard day week... regardless of the time of year. That's how I've managed to stay fast.
Which reminds me to remind you that the Master's World Championships is going on at our local Velodrome this week. My friend Dave Prechtl sent me a link featuring Bostick racing the 65+... Dave and his team are going for a repeat World's gold on Friday.
But, back to the bee in the bibs.
Thanks for stinging us all,
it was a good 'un!
TODAY, OCTOBER 8TH, REALLY BIT. Well, not really, but it was the first day of Fall that had some bite to it. My non-SoCal friends will scoff and mock, but I grabbed the vest and warmers before heading out.
Jeff, in Park City, will get a good laugh out of this. As will Bob in Heber, and Matt in Highland.
Mike, in Orinda, he'll understand but won't respect it.
Bart, up in Idaho, forget about it... he'll call me all kinds of names.
It's all deserved.
I admit it.
I'm a lightweight with no winter coat... only a fine mane, which I'll need to be keeping.
A FEW OF MY PEERS AND I TOOK A HEALTHY CRACK AT FOOD PARK THIS MORNING. Along the way we snapped off some PRs, then pretty much destroyed the smalle-than-usual group.
By the end of the first loop, there were 5 of us. 3 in our 50's. 2 punks.
We rode hard for another hour, slugging it out with the kids... at the coast they raced North, we drifted South.
Sometimes, I get really into watching my average speed for the ride. Last year, training for LoToJa, I'd go out and try to stay above 20mph no matter what.
Today, that average speed dropped with every mile we pedaled towards home... down to 18.2... really, I'm shocked it was that high... it was one of those rides that the closer you get to home the farther away it seems, Twilight Zoneish.
I doubt the guys are doing much tonight, but the kids... the kids I'm sure will be out late, 'cause it's Saturday night!
THERE'S A FINE LINE BETWEEN HUMBLING AND HUMILIATING. As I kid I became a confident, proficient surfer. As an adult, I've done the same on the bike. There's a ton of joy to be had with good skills and confidence.
Tonight I realized I've probably been a bit of a jerk at times.
While I gulped water and flailed, Jake glided on by with a big smile. He didn't mean anything by it, he was having a blast. But, when he said I needed to be patient I just about lost it. While he was being encouraging, I was going from humbled to humiliated.
It's my own doing, and intellectually I know better...
But, right now my skills on a short stand up paddle board are appalling.
That's why I'm doing it... unlearning "normal" surfing and starting at the bottom. Mastering stand up paddle surfing is going to take a dedicated effort, and I'm always down for a challenge.
The other reason why, it's a really good idea to have a cross-over sport. Stand up paddling alone builds tremendous core strength and requires some balance. Surfing, on a stand up short board, is like going from training wheels to a Cat 1-2-3 crit.
I'll get there. It's worth it.
It's up to me whether or not to consider the process humbling or humiliating. Humiliating... and I might quit. Humbling... humbling brings hope, and I can do anything with hope.
This is a long way of saying... next time I bring a friend out on a ride that is way above their level, rather than glide by and emitting platitudes I'll do my best just to be there and appreciate their 100% effort... maybe answer a few questions when asked.
GENERALLY, I SHY AWAY FROM TOO MUCH DATA AND STRUCTURE. But, somehow I got convinced I should test myself before heading out for a brutal ride. So, I bought a fancy shmancy monitor and downloaded the Elite HRV app.
Monday was the first measurement, no baseline established.
Tuesday, the indicators said Ride it like you stole it. Well, yeah, I took Sunday off and rode very easy Monday. We pounded TMWC.
Wednesday, I was still cleared to ride hard. This surprised me. I thought yesterday's effort might play a factor. I did my normal Wednesday hard tempo with lots of vert and managed to bang out 2000' of elevation off-road on the gravel bike. It hurt.
Thursday, the monitor said Not today, loco. The app's prescription was to take the day off or do active recovery. I surfed (SUP) for about an hour. One nice thing was how easy it was to pass on going with the guys to the Market Ride tonight.
4 days into measuring I'm pretty sure I'm only going to confirm what I already knew: ez Monday, hard Tuesday, Tempo Wednesday, rest Thursday, spin Friday and hammer Saturday is a pretty good formula.
I'm curious about tomorrow's reading. Time to hit some light weights and stretch before bed.
FIRST OFF, WHO KNEW I'D BE SNATCHING KOMs ON THE DIRT RIDING THE "GRAVEL" BIKE.
Second, I think gravel bike is a terrible name. But, that's another story.
Third, the sunset tonight was pure fire to my soul.
Fourth, right after this pic I crashed pressing the limits of the skinny tires.
Fifth, shortly thereafter I tapped the button for my headlight and got nothing.
Sixth, 2000' in 90 minutes is a pretty sweet work out.
Seventh, both of my sons called on their commutes home and that makes a dad feel alright.
Eighth, we had very productive meetings with CHP, Sheriff, Forest Service and the fine folks at Castaic regarding HUNKR - LA earlier today.
Ninth, stopped by the factory on my back and picked up the Monster Energy kits - so sweet.
Tenth, well... I'd have to call today a 10.
(from trail rider to braille rider)
THIS WEEK "YOUNG KEVIN" SHOWED UP FOR THE TMWC. We used to have an Old Kevin, but he got too old. Anyway, Young Kevin came out for the TMWC. The TMWC, if ya don't know, is our tongue in cheek Tuesday Morning World Championships. Kevin was our unOFFICIAL TMWC Champ in '16, when he was even younger.
Five days earlier Young Kevin was racing the real World Championships in Austria!... where he finished 8th in the entire world of hot shot boy racers under 18 years old. 8th, out of the hundred plus that were invited and the thousands who tried to get there. Our Young Kevin is among the very best in the world.
And yes, he beat us all...
STEVE, COME WITH ME TO RIDE CV TOMORROW. No thanks, too many stops. I'm going to ride Food Park.
Frank, let's do Food Park tomorrow. Nah, too many lights. I'm going to do CV.
STRAVA SAYS I PRd EVERY SEGMENT OF THE DOWNHILL, but at the time I was just in the zone chasing Paul. It's a twisty one, shadows flooding the asphalt. When I'm in the zone it all seems slow and normal, and it was...
until a chunk of road reflector sliced my sidewall,
tire pressure dropped to zero...
I had to come out of my lean to get off the rim, changing my trajectory from safe to heading straight for a tiny roundabout with a huge rock.
Things were still slow, my gaze lasered beyond the rock across the road to the dirt... I was still hauling @$$ with no steering. The dirt shoulder allowed me to lock up the rear wheel and slightly change direction.
Then I clipped a brick hard and shattered the wheel I'd borrowed from Mike.
It could have been a lot more expensive. The $300 or so it'll take to fix it seems awfully cheap.
I hailed a LYFT. We killed 18 minutes inspecting the cause, retracing my line and Paul kept me company.
Which brings up my awesome local bike shop, Rock N Road... LYFT dropped me off and clunked in to find Jeff. Can ya halp a brother out? In no time, I had a loaner wheel and tire.
Serenity accompanied me as I rolled back to the coast. I had survived near disaster, been swooped up by LYFT, patched up by Jeff.
Someone's looking out for The Old Diesel,
and I'm not sure I'm worthy,
I'm just sure glad
to be home.
There were quite a few rocks, but I think it was this very sharp reflector shrapnel.
Poor tire never had a chance
The final skid
What a great time to be alive
(support your local bike shop!)
IT'S EARLY, OVERCAST AND QUIET. I'm on HVY MTL, soft pedaling a remote single track. Trying to shake some darkness and bring a little light into the day.
All of the sudden it's a party in my back pocket. Haptic touches and synthesized chirps begging for my attention.
Forgot to turn my phone onto silent mode. Doh!
More pings and zings. Ugh.
I hesitate, stop, check it... just friends and family prepping for the weekend plans. Nothing wrong with that.
A flick to silent mode,
AFTER MONTHS OF DELIBERATION, I KNOW I WANT A VAN FOR MY BIKE RIDIN' AND WORKIN' LIFE. The choices and experiences of my friends hasn't helped me one bit. Each one of them has reasoned out their decision and for the most part are completely satisfied.
Pros are easy to park, great mileage, high quality Japanese offerings.
Con are it's a mini-van and limited space - bikes would end up outside if more than me traveling.
A full-size van
Pros are carrying everything, being able to keep bikes inside, sleep inside, carry large quantities of our products.
Cons are they are huge, quality is not going to be on par, worse gas mileage.
Go full-size, get a motorcycle for running around town.
Now if I can just get used to the idea of having a vehicle payment again, ugh!