Todd's Blog — Bike Life


LONG SHADOW RIDERS

TODD BROWN Bike Life

LONG SHADOW RIDERS

I'M A LONG SHADOW RIDER.
leaving early while others sleep.
I'm a long shadow rider,
waitin' till my work is done.

The bigger the goals,
the longer the shadows get.
Creeping into and out of the dark,
Is how races are won.

The long shadow riders,
know who they are.
The long shadow riders,
know how to get it done.

 


CODE WORDS

TODD BROWN Bike Life

CODE WORDS

MY BUDDY MIKE ASKED HOW MY BLOG WAS GOING.  Before I could answer, he said he wanted to do that LaJa ride. 

My look kept him trying...  

LaRa

And trying... 

LaTa, it's a ride from Wyoming to Colorado.

Oh, LoToJa... It's Logan, UT to Jackson Hole.  200 miles.

Yeah, I want to do that.

Well, you better start riding.

But, what do I do?

Read my blog (he asked).  Start with Base Miles.  Do you have a bike?

Yes, I do.

I could tell he was doing and mental inventory of his vast collection of bike gear.  He mumbled... bike, attach cleats to shoes, helmet, shorts... not shirt with long zipper...

I don't have one of those shirts with the long zipper.

We sell those (he asked, again).  So we went to our site on his iPad.  I showed him the blog.  He subscribed, which reminded me I need to start emailing posts to subscribers.

He clicked on the dropdown menu and then I realized...
How guilty I am of using code words instead of English.

Here's his interpretation of our shiny new website:

Kits... what are those bike parts?  No Mike, that's what we call the jerseys and bibs.  (Jeez, that was a huge miss on my part).

Bibs, the suspender thingies?  I'm not wearing those.  You will, once start riding and want maximum comfort.  (Another miss, not explaining how nice bibs are... and also not having shorts without braces as an option to get guys like Mike started.)

RaceDay Bags... I won't need that.  You will, if you to be organized and make your life really simple.  (Another miss?... should we re-name the bag, or just the category?)

Canopies... what are those?  He clicked and said,  Oh EZUPs.

Should I ditch the code words?... I don't think so.  I think it's cool when people like Mike figure out the code words.  They feel in the know, part of something special...

The coolest code word is the one we'll work on first,
because Lo-To-Ja is code for I'm a badass,
and to be a badass on a bike,
You need to start with,
Let's go for a spin.

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Save the dates:  HUNKR 3/17, 6/9, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10
169.8


THANKFUL FOR HUBS

Todd Brown Bike Life

TODAY I’M THANKFUL FOR HUBS.  Hubs are the center of the wheel.  They are the things that connect all the spokes and actually makes a wheel a wheel.  Without hubs, we wouldn’t get anywhere on a bike.

There are 3 hubs I’m particularly grateful for:

Our family… the five in our little tribe, my 7 siblings, 3 parents, 4 grandparents, gazillion cousins, and the awesome in-laws.  It’s always a party, even when it’s just two of us.

Our company… we all get along great, work very hard, inspire each other, and in the process make products we love to share with our amazing cycling community.

My friends… my friends make me smile.

What hubs are you thankful for?

_____

Do you recognize the hub above?

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Save the dates:  HUNKR 3/17, 6/9, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10

170.8

 


WHAT A FINISH

Todd Brown Bike Life

THE LAST 10 DAYS HAVE BEEN A LITTLE ROUGH.  My dad’s hospitalization being the roughest part, and things being a little too quite at the shop.  Heading towards Thanksgiving Week I was having a bit of a pitty party… wo is T.

Today it all turned around.

It started with a video from my sister of my dad playing catch with my brother!  Granted, he’s in a wheelchair, and only a few feet apart… but there he was, being dad.

At the shop – and I don’t know why I feel like calling the office the shop today… I guess because we are always making stuff – the email started ringing.  It was kinda like my world stopped mourning and was ready to get back to work… and that made two of us.

Then we got notice that we’d secured a primo spot at Sea Otter, next to our Red Monkey friends.

I hit the road at this point… stopped by our bag factory and made a few final adjustments for the prototypes that I’m really happy with.

My friend/customer Espen, who’s turned into a great source of referrals, met up with me to try on some new gear… he showed me an app he’s working on that gamifies fitness in a new and exciting way that I think will be so helpful to increasing heathy lifestyles across the US, and beyond.

The final stop was with Chad and Geno at Baghouse.  There’s never a dull moment with these guys… and I always love to feel their unfiltered energy.  I love it.

On the way home, the phone rang.  My oldest, Trevor, was on his way to our place with his bike.

For a ride.

With me.

I’m really grateful for days like these because they give me confidence and remind me how blessed I have been and continue to be.

Dad playing catch with Matt and our niece Ryan looking on.

 


REST

Todd Brown Bike Life

I LOVE TAKING SUNDAYS OFF FROM RIDING MY BIKE.  Because I definitely have an addictive relationship with my bike, knowing I’m not riding on Sunday has been restful in and of itself.  I don’t ever wonder if I’m riding on the 7th day.

On Monday, I’m rested and ready to start another great with week some weight lifting and an easy spin.

On Tuesday, it’s the Tuesday Morning World Championships.

On Wednesday, more weights and MTB riding.

On Thursday, I surf.

On Friday, an easy spin is the order.

On Saturday, a big ride or a race of some sort.

On Sunday, I rest.


I MISS THE DARK

Todd Brown Bike Life Uncategorized

TODAY WAS THE FIRST TMWC SINCE THE TIME CHANGE.  It was  lot lighter, which meant more cars on the road early… but that quiet pre-time change dark is not what I’m missing.  I’m missing the dark side of me.

Last night I went to bed ticked off.

No reason, really.

Tossed and turned all night, and was comatose when the alarm banged and banged and banged.

I stumbled through the rituals.

Weighed myself, was happy to be 2 pounds lighter than yesterday and mad that yesterday was the heaviest I’ve been in 3 years.  177!

Got rolling right on time.

Threw it in the big ring to get up to speed and the chain went right over and off the ring.  It jammed so bad I had to stop.

Normally, this is not a big deal.

But, since I’d had the shop work on my bottom bracket last night only to screw up the shifting in the process… well, dang it fellas… can ya just stick with fixing what’s broken and leave out the breaking what’s working?  I was doubly mad, because I asked if they’d need to adjust the derailleur… my spider sense was telling me to test it, but I trusted them.  Shame on T.

Then, I round the corner and see the guys at the meet up to ride to TMWC.  Right on time they leave, 5:54AM.  Which is cool, because I’m only about a minute behind and should be able to catch them before the super sketchy 1 lane road… sketchy because the cars are a little nuts in the morning and there’s K-rail on each side with no bike lane.  It’s a lot safer in a group.

I carefully throw it in the big ring and I can hear the crank clicking on the derailleur each pedal stroke… which reminds me how ticked I am at poor service, AGAIN.  Which means I get to do the entire ride in the small ring.  Yeah’nt.

Back to the small ring.

I’m going really fast, way faster than I want to go this early into the ride.  My “friends” are getting further ahead.  Thanks guys.

It was nice to have a car right on my back wheel all the way down the super sketchy one lane section (what if I’d flatted?… I’d be flattened).  And even nicer to see the light at Antonio turn green just in time for my friends to make it and me to miss it.  The nicest part of all is that this is a 5 minute light, an extra-crazy-busy intersection with everybody up so early.  Which meant I got to go the rest of the way  by myself and remember how ticked I was at the world… isn’t that nice?

I got to the ride in time, easily.

Everybody was happy it was light already.

But, I was dark.

And, I remained that way most of the ride.  I’d brighten up, then be spinning so fast in my small ring (put on that darn 34T for LoToJa) things would get dim.

Good thing though, if I ride long enough eventually the dark will pedal away.  Sure I was still ticked at whatever it was last night, at the ballast I’ve added, at the shop, at myself for not listening to Spider sense, at “friends” for going all out at the start just to prove a point about leaving on time…

… but this darkness has woken me out of my post-LoToJa slump…

… no more skipping rides, no more backing off when it hurts, no more eating crap, no more blaming others for my bikes’ performance…

… where there is darkness, there is fire…

… and where there’s fire, there’s smoke…

…  and someone’s getting smoked…

Which reminds me how great it was to be forced to spin really fast, how useful that kind of training can be and how it keeps your legs from loading up, keeping them fresh for the final efforts…

… like the KOM I snagged on the way home by giving in to my dark side…


PULL YOUR HEAD OUTTA YOUR GLASS!

Todd Brown Bike Life

I TELL MYSELF TO PULL MY HEAD OUTTA MY GLASS ALL THE TIME.  So much of my day is spent looking at glass:  the computer monitor, the “smart” phone, the TV screen, the tablet.  Some of it is for work, too much of it is utter nonsense.

And, I’m not alone.

Addiction is weird, when I’m on my glass trip I don’t notice the rest of the addicts as much.  How could I?  I’m tripping the glass fantastic.

Bike riding is such a great antidote to the glass addiction.

There’s no way to ride fast and do glass.  Well, there is, but it doesn’t take much for it all to go horribly wrong.  That’s why you don’t see bike riders staring at glass.  The only glass on my bike is the tiny bike computer, but I don’t pay much attention to it these days.

Riding my bike today was like a scary movie, the one where the protagonist goes into the dark and dingy hall of a drug house.  You know, where people are sticking needles in their arms and their eyes are glassed over.  The druggies are like zombies, not talking to each other, not contributing to society.  They are oblivious to the sober hero.

On the way to the beach trail, I peered into cars at stoplights.  Many drivers not looking at the road or stoplight, just glazed… getting a brief hit of glass.

Along the trail, people walked; many with their heads down staring at glass.  Nearly all of the trail users had headphones in crammed in their ears.

Imagine that, a stunning afternoon with an amazing low tide.  The waves rolling ashore.  The birds swooping and chirping.  Lots of other humans sucked into their glass instead of into life itself.

The bike frees me from glass,

So does playing chess with my son Shane.

As does a really great book,

Anything to get rid of that glazed look.


STOPPING TO HELP

Todd Brown Bike Life

A HOMELESS MAN LAY STREWN ACROSS THE DIRT, the sun was beating down on him.  I pretended not to see him, and rode by on my expensive bike.

My friend stopped.

I could see him talking to the man and offering him something.  As they got smaller, I could only guess.

Soon, my friend had caught up.

He told me a story.

About a year ago, he was riding along.  Things were rough.  He was going through a difficult legal problem and it was eating at his soul.  He was so focused on all his own problems.  On a ride, he saw a homeless man and had the thought to ask his wife for her bagel and he turned his bike  around.

He said he just had to go back.

He talked to the man.  He asked if he was hungry?  Yes.  He gave him the bagel.  As he quickly ate, the two talked.  My friend asked if there as any family around.  No, they’re all gone.  What about friends?  None that could help him.  The man was touched that anybody would care enough to stop and to ask about his life.  My friend gave the man his “emergency $20”.

Instantly, this friend’s burdens seemed to melt away.

His legal problem was soon resolved and his business was back on track.

Can he prove there’s a connection between his good deed and his good fortune?

No.

But, he’s given away $1000 – $20 at a time – in the last year.

Every Saturday when he rides, he counts himself lucky to find someone in need.


NOSCO ’17

Todd Brown Bike Life RIDE/RACE REPORT

(Me, Todd and Tod)

JACK NOSCO HAS CREATED A PHENOMENOM.  Each year, on November 3rd, 800+ bike riders take the day off from work and ride.  They ride to remember Jack’s brother, Mike, who was killed riding his bike.  They ride to raise funds to help people in the community, real people that Jack knows…

… and they ride 80 miles, climbing 9000′ …

Last year was my first NOSCO and it was terrible… my worst day on the bike of ’16.

Brutal heat.

I think it was a million degrees on the climbs.

This year was different.

I was different, too.

I just wanted to PR the climbs.  There was a 50/50 chance of that.  I’d only ridden them once.  I planned to not ride like a lunatic to the first climb, and stop at all the aid stations.

My Freddar was on high alert as we rolled out.  Warning pings were going off and sure ‘nuf a wave of riders tumble over each other.  I made sure my pals were not caught up in it, and shot ahead to get clear of the freddom… but the Freddar was pinging again soon and one guy took himself out.  This time I didn’t even look for the fellas, no need.

Now, I could put the Freddar away.

Deer Creek is a terrible climb.

It starts out awful, then gets steeper than Everest… like a 44% grade.  My new lower gearing didn’t seem to be helping at all.  All my surfing balancing skills were need to ride my pathetic pace.  Big sprinters, little climbers, guys on beach cruisers were flying by.  My wheels were like velcro.

At the top.

Watermelon, sweet watermelon.  Coke. More watermelon.

Encinal is the toboggan run to the ocean.  I went brakeless, slicing the turns, using my blubber to blow past the “climbers”.

Mullholland was soothing.

We had a nice little group.

Me, Todd Darley and Tod Turley had a Toddfest.  Chatting it up.  Matt was trying really hard drop us.  It was futile.  The ToddTodTodd TeamTimeTrial was firing… not really.  Peter rode across Matt’s 3′ gap, I was heartbroken.  Crushed.  The Tod(d)s cheered me up.

At the top.

Watermelon, coke, watermelon.

Latigo, the last climb.  Latigo means whip in espanish.  It’s the longest climb on NOSCO.  9 miles, 2000’.  Last year it whipped my @$$.  Total punishment.  It took me 66 minutes.  66 minutes of hell.  Phil did it in 31 minutes.

We hit the bottom together.  Latigo punched back.  I ducked, kicked it hard.  I bit, I scratched. I screamed.  Matt n Pete gapped me off.  I was on my own.  Me and Latigo. Pedal a pedal.

Once you clear Latigo, it’s all “downhill”.

Except where it’s not.

It’s pretty easy to see why the ride is bigger every year.

But it’s still not as big as Jack’s heart.

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172

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the truck smells like 3 Guys Chamois set up shop  it’s ripe