Todd's Blog


A GAP IN NINE = HOPE

TODD BROWN patriotic

A GAP IN NINE = HOPE

EVERY SINGLE TEAM IN THE TOUR DE FRANCE IS AT LEAST 11.2% WEAKER THAN PREVIOUS YEARS, and I'm digging it!  Some even more.  When it was announced there would be 8-man teams vs 9-man teams I figured it would open up the racing, and WOW! this the most fun I've had watching the Tour de France in decades.

30 years ago American Greg LeMond electrified the world with his stunning come from behind victory on the last day of the Tour.  It was a short time trial, and he trailed Fignon by 50 seconds.  There was little hope, yet he won by the narrowest victory every: 8 seconds.

Sometimes all we need as competitors is a little hope.

It's weird, isn't it?

We've seen it in ourselves, the tiny bit of hope flourishes into a towering tree of confidence. 
It happens one pedal stroke at a time. 
And they build. 
And we change. 
We become new again. 
Fresh. 
Ready to take on much more than we'd thought possible.

We're seeing it in this tour with the super stylish racing of Julian Alaphillipe, with the attacking climbing of Thibaut Pinot, with the metronome pace of Steven Krusijswijk... and I believe it's building in the slow starting defending champion Geraint Thomas.

A mere 2 minutes separate the top 6 racers after 2 weeks of climbing.  The evenness of their talents is unreal, hard to comprehend.  On a typical group ride or race, I can lose that much time on one climb.  

Who will win?
The man who's hope continues to grow.

Who is that?
Thomas or Pinot, I don't know...
but my heart goes with Julian.

164
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SCREEN TIME

TODD BROWN

SCREEN TIME

I HAVE 3 SCREENS I LOOK AT ON MY GARMIN.

First is always the screen I'll need at my next "A" event.  Right now it's set up for Leadville 100 MTB race. 

I'll be watching my h.r./power to try and hold reigns on the way out, and to kick the spurs on the way back... if all goes well, it should be a negative split - less time for the last 52 as the big summit is midway.

Cadence is not an issue early on, but can be when I get tired.

Elapsed Time... this is crucial because the clock doesn't stop until we finish, but I will stop 3 times to refuel... maybe 4.

Distance will help me stay oriented as things can get a little funky at 10000' above my home.

Second, is my screen for road/gravel riding.  

No power on the those bikes.  Power doesn't really matter in a race.  Either you're in it, or not.  So, I just watch my h.r.

Speed and Grade help me gauge the effort as well.

I track actual time here, because I generally have time in the saddle as my goal for a particular ride.

Third is my mtb screen.

Here I track power first, since mtb races and rides are more like mass start time trials.  

H.R. still counts.

Cadence counts more, the longer the effort.

Ride time, not elapsed.

What are you tracking?

_____

Road/Gravel screen

MTB screen

163.6
10/30
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IMAGINE THINGS WERE DIFFERENT

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

IMAGINE THINGS WERE DIFFERENT

HE WAS A BEAR OF A MAN.  The kind of guy you wouldn't want to play flag football against... an accidental swat might fling you and me to ambulanceland. 

I blew by him, just on a nice tempo.

He was panting hard.
His lithe lady like a butterfly ahead.

I've seen it before.  I'll see it again.

I popped up a nifty climb, snagging a PR.  Dropped down a daring single track that had me walking, hoping no kids with big travel bikes mowed me down.  Soon I was riding back up the the main dirt access road.

I'd forgotten about him.
But, there he was.
Stopped.
Sweaty.

For a moment I imagined what it would be like to push a massive 300ish pound body up that road. 
Lady barely breathing. 
Skinny, endurance dorks like me flying by.

Not only is that an amazing physical effort, but possibly quite humbling.

I wanted to high-five him... then I realized he might snap my skinny twig of an arm in the process.

164
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NEVER, EVER SAY...

TODD BROWN Bike Life

NEVER, EVER SAY...

I WOULDN'T SAY HE FOUND ME ON THE TRASH HEAP OF LIFE, but my trajectory at the time wasn't the best.  Back then, he was an internationally famous '84 Olympian with 2 gold medals.  I was a retired high school varsity tennis player on a bad team, trying to learn how to race my bike.

We started riding together.  Him, to nudge me along the right path.  Me, enjoying being a voyeur on his giant life.

We became the best of friends.
The wives became friends.
The kids became friends.

We kept riding together.  I dragged him down to the original Coffee Crew.  He dragged me to higher places.  Along the rides, we shared the trials of raising a family, losing parents, career choices, finding faith etc.

We were neighbors in Irvine, riding a lot of road.
He moved to Foothill Ranch, we followed and we all got really into mountain biking - eventually doing Vision Quest. 
He moved to Coto, suddenly we were there too and with no good group ride we started The TMWC
Then off to San Clemente, ... but didn't follow them to Australia for 3 years.

This week, freshly back in the States, he jumped into The TMWC with his characteristic I'm in terrible shape... and did just fine.  Which is proof, that I finally taught PViddy something after nearly 30 years...

... never, ever say I feel great when heading out for a ride... even to your best friend.

166
25/45
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KOM's ARE FOR LOSERS

TODD BROWN Bike Life

KOM's ARE FOR LOSERS

I RECKON SOME OF YA ARE GONNA BE PISSED, but I really do think KOMs are for losers - PRs are everything.

Who cares if I get a KOM?  I mean, it's cool... for sure.  But, stay with me.

If it's a bunch of 10 year olds I stole the KOM from?  If the wind was howling from behind?  If I started at the back of a big group and surfed my way to the front? If, if, if...

If it's my KOM, it just means I'm the fastest guy who's been recorded.  That's it.  

If you've got the KOM?  If you're a pro, any kind of pro? if you used any of the above mentioned tactics?  If you're just a hell of a lot faster? If, if, if...

I honor that effort and I use it to inspire myself to dig deeper.  But... that's all.

Because I can't control you.  I can control - delusion or not - myself.  Therefore, I think PRs are always better than KOMs.

I know the conditions when my effort is recorded.  I know the work I've put in.  I know whether or not it's a legit PR.  I know whether or not to celebrate.

Comparing myself to others weak.
Comparing myself to yesterday is all that matters... starting with Am I having fun?

166.2
20/60
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ABOUT 5 GUYS THOUGHT THEY WOULD WIN TODAY.

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

ABOUT 5 GUYS THOUGHT THEY WOULD WIN TODAY.

WHEN 700 PEOPLE LINE UP AT A 100K MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE, only a few think they will actually win.  The rest of us have our own metrics to ride by.  We start in mass.  Other than our number plates there are no indicators of racing category.  

We collaborate with older and younger and opposite sex.

We ask ourselves, How old is that cat?  

Less than 90 seconds separated 1st-3rd in my race.  Here's how it went down:

At 4am, I got up and enjoyed my race-proven, possibly superstitious, sardines and beans breakfast.  That's 3 hours prior to the start.  Failed at more sleep.

530am, warmed up my engines in a hot bath.

615, drove to start with one awesome trophy wife for support.

650, line up in 3rd row.

7, we're off.

705, I'm at least 50 guys back.  Do I like it?  Hell no,  I love it!  I tell myself it's all according to plan.

8ish, no more people are passing me.  I'm settled in, and I ask myself...

Can you ride this pace 2.5 hours from now?... that's about how long it's going to take me to do a lap and be right back here.

I'm also asking myself, Why do I do this?  Why didn't I sign up for the 50 instead of the hundred?  Why am I so slow?  How come that lady, who's my age, on a single-speed passed me? ... because these are the kinds of questions we ask ourselves at this point.

And the answer is always the same: to find out what I'm made of.  Specifically today, I want to see if I can get into Leadville.  That's the same thing at least 100 of the racers want to know. 

90 minutes in and I think I'm on pace, but I'm not sure.  We are starting to shred the amazing single track, and The Old Diesel is in the zone.  All the fools who started fast - too harsh?, no because I've been there many times and will be there again - are starting to come back to papa.  I'm not sure if I'm on track because a fast section I relished has been replaced with a snappy, zigzaggy section.  It adds time, but how much?

2 hours in and a silver fox eases on by on the final climb of each of 2 laps.  He looks awesome, and I'm pretty sure he's around my age.

At about 2 hours 34 min I complete lap 1.  Surfergirl, aka Trophy Wife, is resplendent in her Tour de Donut jersey.  We swap bottles, she jams food in my pocket, I lube my chain - lots of dust and water crossings take a toll up here.

Typical of this style of racing is to form alliances with people about the same speed, trading pulls and chatting a bit.  I rolled with Singlespeedguy from Utah and Mike from Edmonton enough to chat.  The rest either passed me or I passed them too fast.  These alliances break up the mind battle, and really make it fun.

Lap 2, and the answer is YES! I can go as fast as I went the first lap.  In fact, I go about 3 minutes faster.  Some of this is due to holding tight to the reigns on lap 1 and some is that the course is just wide open... nobody to slow me down. So fun!

330 in.  I've got 90 minutes left, and I'm daring to cut loose.  Outta the saddle jamming up the little stuff, and steadily grinding the bigger climbs.  This allows me to use different muscles in my legs. 

Cramps threaten - forgot to mention I pounded a good amount of real pickle juice when I stopped to reload - but yes, cramps threaten and I'm downing Salt Stick chewable tablets.  They abide, and ride like hell.  It's on.

430 in.  I see silver fox... and damn!... another silver fox.  We've got the final, hideous climb... the one I fell over on 6 years ago because both my legs cramped simultaneously - took me 37 minutes that day, the same climb I went hellalot slower on the 2nd lap 3 years ago.  There's no mailing it in today, these two racers are the real deal and I can only hope I don't crack.   

This is what it's all about.  Amir attacked hard, got a decent gap.  I ground on.  It's an undulating climb, and each steep ramp I stood.  We battled, then I slowly opened up my own gap.  There is no way I would have ever ridden that climb that fast, that hard if awesome athletes like these two weren't pushing me.  

I took just over a minute off my PR, 21:26.

Here's the point dear rider:  As a dude, I need these silly contests in my life... cause when all the shiz goes down at work, or things aren't copacetic at home, I can look back at today and remember I can do hard stuff.

_____

All these guys and gals hope they can lottery in to Leadville.

 

These 3 got in

Time to rest, recover, reload


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TOP 10 THINGS I DO TO FEEL FAST, RIDE FAST.

TODD BROWN feel fast

TOP 10 THINGS I DO TO FEEL FAST,  RIDE FAST.

IN LESS THAN 72 HOURS THE GUN WILL GO OFF AT THE TAHOE 100 MTB RACE.  Everything I do between now and then is designed to make me feel fast.  There's no heavy duty training to be done.

Time to ride fast.

... and riding fast, starts with feeling fast.  Here's my Top 10:

1.  My bike will be detailed, lubed and ready.
2.  I'll get a ton of sleep the next few nights.
3.  I be super strict on my diet to keep lean while not exercising much.
4.  My bottles will be marked, and filled with goodness.
5.  My food will for the day prepped for easy access.
6.  My helmet washed and all the sweat salt removed.
7.  Glasses super clean.
8.  The Racing playlist will be rocking on the drive.
9.  The race kit, the special one that says I'm here to kick ass!, lovingly folded.
10.  My special RaceDay bag with the winged wolf, packed and double checked.

Do I do more?... yeah, but stick with the top 10 rook.

164.4
10/30
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ACTUALLY I DID IT...

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

ACTUALLY I DID IT...

NO, SUSIE DIDN'T MAKE ME DO IT, nor the kids dissing. 

Not my moms' (both of 'em) subtle cuts.

Not my boring friends blunt hints hoping to restore my conformity.

That's the kinda stuff that makes me rebel on.  'Cause that's what I am. If I wasn't, I'd be...

golfing
donutting
driving a sedan
riding an electric bike, if ridin' at all

But, that ain't me.
     I did it because I'd done it. 
Same reason I do anything.
     To do it!

What's next!

... just going all freakin' out at Tahoe this weekend.

165.2
10/30
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TIME TO FIND OUT

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

TIME TO FIND OUT

IT'S TIME TO FIND OUT IF I'M FAST ENOUGH FOR LEADVILLE.  I mean, I think I'm fast enough, but they don't.  Why would they?  They don't follow me around, they don't know the work I've put in.  But, I do.

Today I realized, it's time.  It happened on Harding.  I put down my fastest time this year, and finished it off very strong vs limping in.  I knew right then, it's as good as it's gonna get and I oughta just get it done.

Change of plans.  

I'm going to go back to Tahoe next weekend vs doing the stage race qualifier at the end of the month.  It'll be my 3rd time racing that course.  

My first Tahoe race was terrible.  I cramped so hard I fell over and couldn't get back on my bike.  The second time was magical... I just looked at my splits from that day:  2:26 on the first lap, 2:27 on the second lap.  

I'm banking on magical again... then on to Leadville.

... felt so confident I ate the last donut...

... hope I'm right.

164.6
0/0
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YOUR 5 BEST FRIENDS

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

YOUR 5 BEST FRIENDS

A LOT OF SMART PEOPLE HAVE NOTED, we are the average of our 5 best friends.  But, due to a bolt falling off my bike today I had a little deeper insight on that subject.

Here it is... 

We are only as good as our network.  In other words, our ability to get things done is determined by how good our network of friends is.

For example, today I'm riding along and a bolt on my spider falls off.  I instantly stopped riding, knowing from previous experience how easy it is to destroy the chainring when a bolt is missing.  I search for the bolt.  No luck.

Call my wife.  No answer.

Call my buddy Justin.  Answer.  Explain.  He'll meet me at bottom of the trail.  He gives me a ride home.

Call power meter dealer I purchased the bolt from.  They're closing early.

Call John at Velofix.  He'll be in the neighborhood.  Stops by and fixes it within 2 hours.

I'd say my network is freakin' awesome.

It's something to think about, right? 
Is my network at work top notch?
Am I cognizant of my kids' (when they were at home) network?
Is my social network uplifting?
etc...

How good are my networks? is worth asking, so is how much value do I bring to my network?

As I write this a massive earthquake, 7.1, hits Ridgecrest CA and rocks us hard in San Clemente.
I hope my network is okay.
I wonder if our 72 hour prep is in place?  Food, yes.  Water, I'm not so sure.

Maybe that's what was meant when He said, Love they neighbor as thyself.

 _____

164.6
10/30
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THE MOST FRIENDLY RACE I'VE EVER DONE

TODD BROWN tmwc 2019

THE MOST FRIENDLY RACE I'VE EVER DONE

AS A PROMOTER I GET A LOT OF FEEDBACK... it's expected, it's the things I don't see and probably don't appreciate.  The result:  we get a little better every year.

Yesterday's unOFFICIAL TMWC was my favorite to date.  It wasn't my fastest day.  It wasn't the biggest turnout.  But...

We had the results in real-time.

We had plenty of interlopers, the folks who show up once a year and really blow it out... dragging our posse to new PRs.

We had donuts!

We had PVidmar, one of the OGs, back after 3 years down under.

We had our first timed KOM from the bike trail to the top of Live Oak.

We had our largest turn out of ladies.

We had an abundance of happy people.

We had a rider take an early flyer that would probably have stuck had he known the course... doh!

We had guys from Utah and Arizona in town just because... and a cat from New Zealand!

We had great sponsors:  TwoHubs, Stage21, Sariol Legal, Monster EnergySejuicedbar and PEDALindustries.

We had on bike video and a drone - check 'em below... they're awesome!

We had the best volunteers ever:  Susie, Shelby and Dawn.

We crowned John Janneck unOFFICIAL Tuesday Morning World Champion of 2019!

But for me it was extra special because I got a chance to ride with my son Trevor from the Wall to the Dragstrip.  We reminisced about his first TMWC 10 years ago, when he was in high school... and all the fun racing he did while in college.  Honestly, there was nothing better than being with my best riding buddy on my favorite course on an absolutely beautiful morning surrounded by my posse.  He's moving out of state in August, and I'll miss him... but every Tuesday when we hit the final miles I'll think back on this day and smile.

As the day wound down, nice messages came in thanking me for putting on another unOFFICIAL, but I think Jorge's text summed it up best:

The most friendly race I've ever done. 

#itsjustasocialride




unOFFICIAL TMWC TOMORROW - 7/2

TODD BROWN tmwc 2019

unOFFICIAL TMWC TOMORROW - 7/2

FRIENDS... tomorrow is the annual unOFFICIAL Tuesday Morning World Championships.

3 things you need to know for tomorrow:

1.  You need a timing chip, so get to the start early.  We'll be ready for you by 6:10am.  We start at the park off of Antonio and Oaktree.  Parking is limited.  If you're driving, there's plenty of parking at the church on Oso and Antonio.

2.  We have a KOM from the start of El Toro Bike Trail to the top of Live Oak.  This will be chip timed, which means the fastest person on that segment wins - not necessarily the first person over the top... why?, because we want to keep things together as much as possible until we hit the bike trail.  There's $50 to the top male and female riders sponsored by our friends at Sariol Legal.

3.  We have a code, and EVERYBODY is expected to abide by it:

Have fun.
Obey the law.
Make new friends.

A few things you'll want to remember:
1.  We always start on time!
2.  After you cross the line, quickly and safely get to the other side of the road so traffic can get through.
3.  Awards will be back at the park. (gifts from 2Hubs, Monster Energy and Sejuiced)... you must be present to win the cash for the lottery.
Still reading?  I'm impressed... I'm truly impressed by you.  You make a difference in my life, and in the lives of the rest of the crew.  Without you our lives wouldn't be the same.  I'm looking forward to seeing y'all tomorrow.
PS  yes, you can still sign up:   https://replaytiming.com/register/2019-tmwc/


GRUELING?

TODD BROWN leadville tmwc 2019

GRUELING?

IS IT FAIR TO CALL TODAY'S MTB RIDE GRUELING?  It was 97 miles.  Nearly 10,000 feet of climbing.  Just over 7 hours.  Strava called it an Historic Effort... which began at 440am.  

But is it grueling if we choose to do it?  Nobody forced me.  Quite the opposite, I was invited.  And I leapt at the chance to ride with my kindred soul from AZ, Markell, on the old Blackstar Racing Leadville training ride. 

We live to find out what we've got physically.  How far can we push?  Just what exactly What is in the tank? is more important than what's left... because when we do it right, nothing is left.

But, there's something else.  There's this thing where we tell ourselves I'm going to do X, X being something crazy, and our bodies usually perform to expectation.  Could be a spritely 90 minute circuit with a pack of animals or an unfathomable endurance metric.  Most of the time, the body is game to play.

Right up to the end, I felt great today. 

Sure, there were moments of severe distress but I backed it down a bit and the power came right back.

Then, I got home.

Dismounted.

Truly struggled to open the front door.

Nearly collapsed on the floor.

Covered in sweat.  Panting.  In desperate need of something, but failing to form the commands to myself necessary to regain my bearings.

I made my way to the kitchen.  Grabbed blender.  Poured in fruit, protein, water.  Stabbed at the Smoothie setting.

Drank it.

The cold.  The sugar.  The feeling of coming back to life.

Made another.

Chased it  with 44oz of ice water.

Showered.

Napped.

Groggily blogged.

Was it grueling or satisfying?

_____ 

Bonus surprise, Markell's OG brother Mike joined us for the most savory portion from Whiting Ranch to the top of Harding.  He is an out of shape legend, who's ridden scant miles this year... and still clobbered me on Harding.

_____
164.6

0/0
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DO YOU REALLY HAVE TO SAY IT?

TODD BROWN tmwc 2019

DO YOU REALLY HAVE TO SAY IT?

THE CULTURE OF OUR RIDE:

Have fun.
Obey the law.
Make new friends.

While the ride itself is an eyeball-gouging, hair-pulling affair... it's all in jest, an effort to push and applaud each other.

But, what happens when someone breaks one of the the pillars of our culture?  Once, or every now and then... hey, we all mistakes.  I'm taking about a consistent offender.

We can say, do nothing.

But, at what cost?

The cost of saying, doing nothing is losing the culture of the ride.  Lose the culture, lose the ride.  The cost of saying something is an unknown... so remember, a spoonful of sugar hopes the medicine go down.

What are you going to do?

It's your ride...
or team,
or family,
or business,
or community,
or _______

_____
166

20/60
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WE BELIEVE

TODD BROWN tmwc

WE BELIEVE

We believe racing is the best way to find out how good we are.
The goal is not to win, but to develop a system that brings out our best on and off the bike.
Success is in the friendships with whom we share this glorious ride.

_____
166.4

20/60
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BEAST BEATS

TODD BROWN tmwc

BEAST BEATS

MY FRIEND CHRIS BEATS ME MOST OF THE TIME.  Beats me on training rides.  Beats me at the races.  But, what I really like is the way he beats me.

He goes beast.

Like today. . (actually yesterday, no service at resort) 

Gun goes, he goes… and I’m thinking… will the beast make it to the finish?, because every now and then he blows and I catch and pass him.

Off he goes with the lead pack… which included Tinker Juarez.

Through the dust I could see ‘em, but they were getting smaller and smaller.

I wasn’t dogging it… Strava shows I PR’d the opening climb. (yeah Todd)

After a very fast descent, I was a handful of seconds behind.  The next long climb, I had to settle in… we still had 3 and a half hours of racing ahead of us and there was no way for me to continue that pace.

Fast forward to the second 24-mile loop.  It’s hot.  We’re at 9000’.  Not a cloud in the sky.  I’m in my groove and I’m thinking Chris will be suffering.  I’m gonna roll up on him.  The beast will blow.

Riders from the shorter events appear on the trail ahead of me.  So many black jerseys – just like Chris’s.  I keep thinking there he is and uncorking  short efforts.  But, it’s never him.

Trail starts to run out.  The long 10-minute enduro course to the bottom is peppered with riders in black.  I blow by.

Then I finish.

There he is.

The remnants of beast slowly receding,

Dust filled lungs hack out Todd, got a Coke in van?

Yep.

... and I think to myself beast and beats, same letters different order... if only I could've summoned my beast maybe we'd have finished in a different order?  Someday he'll have to teach that to go beast, maybe over a Coke.

_____
164.6

0/0
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IT'S JUST A BIG FAT LIE

TODD BROWN tmwc

IT'S JUST A BIG FAT LIE

AS I SLOWLY BEND MY BODY AND TOUCH MY NOSE TO MY LEG, I realize what a big fat lie is told.  And then, believed!

You can't get better after a certain age is just a steaming load of...

But, people believe it.

And give up.

Don't.

That's all I can tell you... wait, I can tell you more.

After 3 months of stretching every night, I'm more limber than I have ever been in my entire life.  

That's just one example of many, from my own personal experiences.

Are there things I can't do that I could?  For sure.  But, letting that be my guide for what is possible is a huge mistake... one that I will no longer make.

Instead, I grind.  I work.  I practice.  I improve. Every.  Single.  Day.

How 'bout you?

_____
164.6

20/60
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https://www.pedalindustries.com/pages/fantasy-raceday-bag-giveaway


RUMOR HAS IT

TODD BROWN tmwc 2019

RUMOR HAS IT

SOME IDEAS DON'T WORK.  Like my idea to make The unOFFICIAL TMWC Invite Only.  What a FAIL! 

It wasn't to exclude anybody, but to make sure the crew got a personal invite before it sold out.

My thinking was it would sell out super fast.

It didn't.

And... a bunch of people think they aren't invited.  The opposite of what I'd hoped.

Ay carumba!

Registration is now open to ALL, no invite needed.

Here's the link: https://replaytiming.com/register/2019-tmwc/

So fellas... pass the word along por favor... or Toddy's gonna take this one in the chorts.


IT'S A MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF YEAR

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

IT'S A MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF YEAR

YES, YES, YES... it's that time of the year.  No matter what, there's no way to skip rides now.  The season is on us.  The big events just around the corner.  Now is when PRs are set, podiums are climbed and the victory we are after makes us do things we wouldn't do 6 months ago.

If it's raining, we're going any way.

If we're busy, we're going early.

If it's hot, we deal with it.

If everybody bails on us, we don't care.

Because we know the competition, be it ourselves or our mortal enemy (so dramatic, I know, but for some that's how it is), might skip it... and just knowing we got it done...

GIVES.  US.  SO.  MUCH.  POWER!

... and confidence and fire...

Today, is when our minds get so much stronger.  Sure the body will be a little better from the workout, but the mind... oh, the mind... that's what counts today.

I don't mind, if you skip it... if it's too hard... too early... too time consuming... it's okay.  You rest up.

I'll be riding.


LEADVILLE TRAINING: THE CRAZY TRAIN

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

LEADVILLE TRAINING: THE CRAZY TRAIN

THERE'S A KINDA PACE WHEN YOU RACE LEADVILLE THAT YOU'VE GOT TO FEEL, because your heart and brain are going to lie to you.  It takes more than a few outings to feel it, but when you do... hot damn!

To me it feels like I'm a tank or a loaded semi or a bulldozer or an outta control train... yes a crazy train!

Un.  Flipping.  Stoppable.

 It doesn't happen on the road, because road racing is much more about 1-5 minutes of pain.  It doesn't happen in XC because that's about holding your breath until you heart explodes.  Not gravel because... is that racing? : )

Only at a truly long mountain bike race do I have to become that crazy train.  The training for it goes like this:  Figure out that pace I can hold for hours and hours.  Then train it every Saturday.  That's it.

If I listen to my heart in August, I could completely blow it on the first climb by going out way too fast. I'll be so fresh and antsy.  If I listen to my brain on Powerline I might just pull over and quit.  At Leadville your heart and your brain are your enemy. 

Your friend is that feeling of unstoppable.  Let the kids go hard early, laugh at them when they pull over and puke or quit or cry 6 hours later.

So, when my assignment today was to hammer Harding this morning, I decided to hammer it at Leadville pace.  I wasn't super stoked on my time, 1:10.  It was a minute slower than a few weeks back.  But... here's the kicker.  I took a full 5 minutes off last week's time up Maple Springs, 1 hour flat.. which came after Harding.  Then, I proceeded to keep putting out solid power for the entire 6 hour ride.

62 miles, 10,000' of elevation gain.

Nothing wrong with that.

Every week I'm laying that track, stoking that fire.  The big choo-choo is coming together.  Soon it'll be... 

ALL ABOARD! 

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