Todd's Blog — Bike Life


HAVE SOME HEART

TODD BROWN Bike Life

HAVE SOME HEART

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.

https://www.velonews.com/2018/10/training/training-center-why-heart-rate-shouldnt-be-ignored_480208

... thought you might like it.

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161.2
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THE PRICE OF SMOKING

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THE PRICE OF SMOKING

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.

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160.6
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SINCE WE'RE NEVER GOING TO RIDE TOGETHER

TODD BROWN Bike Life

SINCE WE'RE NEVER GOING TO RIDE TOGETHER

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.

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162.4
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A DIFFERENT KIND OF SATURDAY

TODD BROWN Bike Life

A DIFFERENT KIND OF SATURDAY

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. 

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159.6
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IS THERE A CONNECTION?

TODD BROWN Bike Life

IS THERE A CONNECTION?

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
with
having a whole lotta fun adventures on two wheels.

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161
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THE OLD DIESEL IS RACING HUNKR?

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THE OLD DIESEL IS RACING HUNKR?

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,
must race!

(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.)

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160.6
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CHASING THE LIGHT

TODD BROWN Bike Life

CHASING THE LIGHT

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,
Often alone,
Fearless,
Committed,
In need of cleansing their souls,
For tomorrow always comes and there's always more to do.

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161
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THERE IS A B IN BIBS

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THERE IS A B IN BIBS

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!

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161.4
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TODAY BIT

TODD BROWN Bike Life

TODAY BIT

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.

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161.4
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I'LL BET THE KIDS ARE PARTYING

TODD BROWN Bike Life

I'LL BET THE KIDS ARE PARTYING

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!

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

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161
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SO HUMBLING

TODD BROWN Bike Life

SO HUMBLING

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.

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162.4
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I'M NO SCIENTIST

TODD BROWN Bike Life

I'M NO SCIENTIST

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.

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159.8
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FROM TRAIL TO BRAILLE

TODD BROWN Bike Life

FROM TRAIL TO BRAILLE

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)

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161.6
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YOUNG KEVIN

TODD BROWN Bike Life

YOUNG KEVIN

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.

Which made today really cool.
And yes, he beat us all...
again.
Welcome back Champ!

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161
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IN THE RIDE OF THE BEHOLDER

TODD BROWN Bike Life

IN THE RIDE OF THE BEHOLDER

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.

...hmmmmm...

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160.8
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THAT WAS CLOSE

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THAT WAS CLOSE

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

Thanks Jefe!
(support your local bike shop!)

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160.4
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IT'S A PARTY BACK THERE

TODD BROWN Bike Life

IT'S A PARTY BACK THERE

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,
peace restored,
gotta work,
then party.

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161.8
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THAT VAN

TODD BROWN Bike Life

THAT VAN

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.

A mini-van

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.

Solution

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!

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162
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LOADED AND HIGH - TRAINING SECRETS

TODD BROWN Bike Life

LOADED AND HIGH - TRAINING SECRETS

GETTING LOADED AND RIDING HIGH, THAT'S SOME OF MY BEST TRAINING.  And why not, I live in a state where that's a great thing to do... and totally legal!

Wednesday are my preferred days, kind of a destresser mid-week... leaving around 4:20 if possible - wink, wink, nod, nod.

Most of the time, it involves dirt.

For this training to pay off...

I LOAD up my bike with very full water bottles and LOAD up my pockets.  I don't need all that water and gear but the point is to weigh myself and my bike down.  The idea is make my steed feel like a pig.

Then I GET HIGH.  Ideally, it's one long steady climb.  The second best option is to do a bunch of shorter climbs in succession.  My goal here is to keep my heart rate just under 160bmp, the top end of my zone 3.

This is a great weekly work out,
building power and endurance.
What did you think it was?

Only needed 1 of these bottles.

Ran into Craig on his sweet hardtail turned gravel bike.

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163.2
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A POOR (SMART) MAN'S GRAVEL BIKE

TODD BROWN Bike Life

A POOR (SMART) MAN'S GRAVEL BIKE

THERE WAS A TIME I GOT SO INTO MTB RACING that I sold my road bike.  It was back in the days of massive NORBA races and all I wanted to do was "train the position".  I rode that MTB everywhere.  I put skinny tires on it to hit the big group rides and was mercilessly heckled on Coffee Crew.

I was reminded of that today because Paul took my bait to do a dirt version of The TMWC and showed up on his MTB... with skinny tires.  Not road, but "gravel" tires.  He had a 50 with tiny knobbies on the front and a slick 38 on the back.

It looked so wrong, but it worked great.
(that's Craig's hardtail with drop bars and pretty skinny tires above)

We started with the crew then connected a bunch of dirt trails, criss-crossing the B group and popping back on the road at the bottom of the corkscrew just as the A's caught us.

How great is Paul's set up? 

Well, I couldn't shake him on the dirt and when the A's caught us he left me for dead and sprinted up the final climb with the big boys.

Wanna test the gravel waters... you can buy an entry level bike like I did or just get some skinny tires on your hardtail.  Either way will open up your mind to a new way to look at riding and help you decide whether or not to pull the trigger on a real gravel racer.

**********

HUNKR – LA is just around the corner.  I’ve arranged for VIP parking for you and your team… It’s a $20 value and it will get you a primo spot… while everybody else will be paying $11 to park further away.

This will be a “gravel” event:  the first 20ish miles are on abandoned Highway 99, the next 30ish are on a rarely traveled country roads, and the final 12ish are dirt.

Personally, I didn’t get the mixed-surface craze until I threw down a few bucks on a modest rig.  I get it now, it’s super fun to ride in the drops and have all kinds of options.  If you’ve got a nice mountain bike, just pop on some skinny tires and you’ll be set.

Use Coupon Code : "PedalParkVIP" when you register. 

*Code expires October 10, 2018 - or the first 100 people to use it*

HUNKR-LA is being hosted by Revolution Bike Fest out at Castaic.  There are going to be a ton of vendors and demo fleets out there – think mini Sea Otter, close to home.

A sample of what we'll be riding.

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163.4
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