TOMORROW WE RACE.
It'll be a gun fight for sure.
A few will draw early, only to miss wildly.
A few more will shoot out the back due to simple physics.
Then the rest will draw and fire.
One will hit the mark.
It's 1/3 to 1/2 a mile to the finish, depending on where the line is... up a hill that hits 11% mid-way, then backs off to nearly flat.
Lap 3, it's probably all back together.
Lap 2, multiple breakaways will be attempted.
Lap 1, most likely feeling things out.
Neutral roll out down the hill we finish on.
For me it'll be 3 laps - 42 miles. About 2 hours.
Preceded by a solid night of sleep.
On a belly full of tacos.
IT HAPPENED TO EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US. We got on a bike. Liked it. Rode the next day... a little faster, a little further. For the next 50 or so rides we were better every single time.
We were going pro!
Eventually things leveled off.
These are the things that keep us hooked.
I GUESS WE HAVE 3 LOOPS ON OUR TUESDAY RIDE NOW: A, B AND F.
The B loop is our original, amazing 20.67 mile course that has 2000' feet of elevation gain.
The A loop, has a little extra credit that adds about a mile with a couple of stiff little pitches.
The F loop.
Today was very windy, pretty cold and definitely dark.
We had 3 riders on the B loop, down about 90%. 12 riders on the A loop, down about 15%. And, about 35 riders on the F loop, up about 1,000,000%.
The F loop is that loop you do when you get out of bed realize it's windy, cold and dark and Fall back in bed... because Fair weather will be back soon.
How would you grade your loop today?
TWO THINGS YOU CAN BANK ON WITH AGE: some will continue to dream and hope, some will give up.
Over here we keep dreaming, and making dreams come true.
Rolling into 2019 a big part of our dream has been put into place... we can now manufacture all our cycling gear in under 4 weeks, with no minimum, in the USA. Something we've worked on for a solid year.
We keep putting the pieces in place, and I'm more excited than ever about what's going on at PEDALindustries. So much more to do.
On the fitness side, I dreamt last year I could roll into '19 at my college weight on 162. 10 lbs shed and holding very steady.
Every day I pray our family will be close and continue growing and learning and loving. Every day is like a dream.
What does 2019 hold? In years past, I've crafted it all on MLK Day... my favorite holiday!... but, this year I'm going deeper and clearer... should be done in about a week.
Are you a dreamer?
WE GOT THIS SATURDAY RIDE THAT KICKS @$$... we don't always ride it, but when we do... damn I'm happy. Happy to see the boys. Happy to see the beautiful coast. Happy to know it's gonna hurt.
It's got everything
A 3.5 mile, 1000' climb up NPC
Skimming the Back Bay.
Hooking up with the Food Park hammers.
Shattering speed on Hwy 133.
Punishing power climbs through Aliso.
Soft pedaling PID, just for fun.
But, the best part is it's got the boys. Our band of brothers. Slaying dragons for our families, batting life's twists and turns together... letting loose for a few hours together as the sunrises.
It's the boys ride: https://www.strava.com/routes/16848778 ... join us some time.
SOMETIMES I'M JRA, MAKING AN EFFORT TO KEEP THE HR LOW AND MY MIND WANDERS... I start thinking of the next race or next time I'll be in over my head on a group ride or maybe even reliving an unpleasant experience and bam!
...my heart rate shoots up 10-20 beats a minute...
way out of my zone
But, nothing is like the start line of an actual race. Road isn't too bad, a crit is a little worse, but an honest XC race is unbelievable. My heart rate will be 120+ bpm, and I'm doing nothing. Trying to act cool, like no big deal.
... Just in my head?
taking me out of the zone...
STRAPPED INTO MY SWIVEL CHAIR EARLY. Plan was to grind hard and be done by 3 because that's when the mostlytrusty weather app said it'd be clear.
But, sometimes the grind goes a little long.
We, you and me, we aren't afraid of long hours or riding in the dark - bring it.
But me, and maybe you, call it quits when the socks are soaked and the crack is squishy... which happened 30 minutes in.
Actually, if it's gotta rain 4 days in a row... this is a perfect time to have a cold. Congratulations to me and all the others snuffling at the moment.
There's always Zwift. I know the bandwagon is going strong... so many friends are on it and loving it. If it's good enough for Bahati, maybe it's good enough for Brownie too... in the meantime, I'll pray for sun.
WHEELS ARE EVERYTHING. Save your money, get great wheels... before you get a great gruppo or great frame - get the wheels.
Had a chance to drop in on Wheelbuilder today. It'd been a few years. No particular reason for the gap in time.
But, I had a very particular issue with my race wheels.
Last time I was there, well it wasn't there. It was a tiny, dingy building. Today, it's a beautiful new building.
How'd they grow like that?
Probably like this... I walk in, Benny greets me. Assesses my situation. Gets stuck... brings in Rich - the owner. Rich gets right on it and fixes me up in no time... taking time to explain to me how and why they do the things they do.
It's not too tricky... be great at what you do, take care of your customers.
ON THE RIDE SATURDAY, we talked about taking the ladies out for dinner. It's the least we could do after spending the morning on our bikes.
The ladies were in.
We all went out.
Socially, this was a first for the 6 of us. It was great. The food was amazing. The conversation rich and fast.
Plates were cleared... I started selling 31 flavors and walking it off down to the pier... we kept talking. Good company.
Then, one of the ladies asked How are you still talking? Didn't you talk all morning on the ride?
So we talked about what we talked about on the ride.
TODAY'S RIDE PLANS SHIFTED FROM MORNING TO AFTERNOON AND BACK TO MORNING... from Friday to 5am today. The Weather Channel was in control, and their nifty little radar map would chart our course.
First, I had to roust the posse. A few responded, most dreamt on... of drier days.
Second, pick the meeting points and ride. We opted to catch up with Canyon Velo.
Nothing went according to plan.
First, nobody showed for Canyon Velo... NOBODY! What is the world coming to??? This ride is powered by some of the gnarliest cats in town. But, cats don't like water.
Second, we rode over to the Start/Finish of the '84 Olympic road course. Mike and Eric had never done it, so we did it. Decent time, too... big cup top 10s... shout out to Peter Aquino for owning the KOM. No way could I sustain that pace for the 118 miles they road 35 years ago. (I need to write about how that race got it all started for me.)
Third, we scrapped the plan to pound Robinson Ranch because when we got close it was covered in clouds and raining.
Fourth, I put in a call to C.Hill. Bro, is it raining over there? No. Think we loop through Coto. Yes, I think so... come by and get a cinnamon roll and cookies... I forgave him for opting to ride later in the day.
Fifth, our plan to skirt the rain was perfect except for about 5 minutes when a rogue, black cloud broke loose. Shoes full of water wet.
Some times the best laid plans are nothing compared to a good adventure.
Looking for CV
This loop is awesome
A cloud to far
ONE OF THE BENEFITS OF OWNING A SLOW BIKE is getting the heart rate up while going slower.
It's perfect for riding with a slower rider, when you still want to get a decent workout in.
It's great for riding along the bike trails where low speed is encouraged.
It's reminds you how fast your race bike really is.
Speaking of race bike, Sagan is slated to race an aluminum, disc bike at Down Under... I'm sure it's to sell more aluminum bikes, but why not? I love mine.
WILL POWER IS LIMITED... It's a lot like a sprint. Everybody can go all out for 2 seconds, some for 10 seconds, others for 30 seconds, a handful for a minute. But eventually, that will power is gone and so are all our plans for victory.
Finding the peanut butter cups in the cupboard today was a sign. A sign that I know my weakness, and Surfergirl's hiding skills need sharpening.
Hiding my kryptonite isn't the only thing I do.
I prep my clothes and bottles and lights and bike the night before, knowing this will eliminate the magnetic pull of my blanky when it's dark and cold and early.
I commit to the crew that I'll be on the corner at 5:50am, knowing how fun it is to ride with them... and the shame of sleeping in.
I put the pull up bar in the bathroom door jam instead of out in the garage - she's not thrilled with this.
The weights and Bosu ball are in the family room where calling to me - also not popular.
Going to the front of the group ride repeatedly until I blow ain't fun, but it's the only way I can do intervals... I have zero interest in doing them alone.
What are your tricks?
AFTER MUCH DEBATE WITH MYSELF, I've determined road pedals and shoes are better than MTB for my gravel bike. Having previously determined gravel is a terrible name for a bike that will zip you quickly down the pavement or easily handle smooth single track it's not surprising this debate lasted a while.
If we referred to the gravel bike as a do-anything road bike, the choice would be obvious.
But, it wasn't.
A funny thing happened on the way to answering my question of which set up was better.
I was reminded of how much better the road solution is: the shoes are lighter, the connection is much stronger.
The real debate is when, if ever, should we run MTB shoes and pedals? Unless we're hiking up Columbine at Leadville or some other terrible thing we've signed up for the answer should always be road.
Anyone want to debate that?
FOR ME, IT'S MORE THAN JUST REGISTERING FOR AN EVENT. Nothing really happens in terms of focus or energy totally geeking out until I look at the course. Then it's on!
I start thinking about my equipment choice.
Counting the days for tuning up the bike.
Making sure the shoes/cleats are ready.
Thinking about race specific training.
How much will my weight matter?
Dialing in my food for the day.
Fretting on where I'll sleep.
Which kit will feel fastest?
Are my lenses perfect?
It's so energizing once I commit.
I LOVE IT!
HOLIDAY ARE OVER. The college football championship is over. My weight is well over what it should be.
Time to get serious.
Ride with us: click for info.
THREE OF US DROVE DOWN TO DO SWAMI'S LONG. 2 made it, 1 was dropped. With Cav out again, along with Cal, and some cat from Bora Hansgrohe the energy was high and the group was large. Those 3 pros looked around at us commoners and drilled it up Levante, all the way through Elfin Forest.
It was over early for many.
I checked my phone at the church regroup. Nothing.
Friends as we are, we left him and hit the long course.
The sad, lonely text finally came in. I felt bad him. It's no fun getting left behind.
The only question that remained was if he'd wait for us at the car... he was our driver. If he left us, it would be a long 20+ miles into a stiff headwind... or, a quick LYFT ride.
He embraced his doom. Rode with the Short group. Pulled into Starbucks. Sucked down a hot drink and a toasty bagel. Pulled out 40 minutes later and graciously drove us home.
It's not always easy, just better.
THE BEST RACERS ARE THE BEST TIME MANAGERS. Sure there's the race itself... and the best racer is spending the least amount of energy until just the right time. That's the surface, but there's so much more.
The best racers, show up early with plenty of time to warm up and get to the start... wasting little to no emotional energy while they're at it.
The best racers, make time to stretch and work on their core. They make time to prepare healthy meals. The little stuff matters and gets the time deserved.
The best racers, schedule their work and work their schedule so there's time to ride. No excuses. Most of them, that I know, get up early and get it done.
And the very, very best make time for the most important people in their lives.
We've only got one shot, make time.
IT'S HARD. You're in town for a handful of days, and you want to sneak in a few rides. But, the whole family came and they wanna go to Disneyland. What's a boy/girl to do?
One, call a friend. Preferably one who won't sympathize with you, but will ridicule you. This is to balance out the pull to Disneyland.
Second, remember this isn't home. You're someplace either new or rarely visited. Think about all the rides you love at home, but are now kind of routine and realize you are very likely to go find a fantastic ride that is all new.
Third, be honest. You and the rest of the team know you'll be a whole lot more fun and engaged knowing you'll get in your own Disneyland bike ride or two.
So do it.
Come to sunny CA.
With the whole team.
And go on ALL the rides.
NEW YEARS DAY, 'round here people get out... regardless of what happened the night before. So out we went, I took HVY MTL she took her MTB.
As expected, there were two kinds of people enjoying the trials: us, the oldly committed; and them, the newly committed.
For us, the question isn't should we get some exercise... it's where shall we ride? There were lots of us out there. We saw lots of friends. Some running, most riding. Some alone, some with the whole family.
They were out there, too. New bikes and new shoes having a brand new experience. A beautiful site.
For us, it never gets old...
IF YOU'VE EVER WONDERED IF YOU COULD KEEP UP WITH THE SPRINTERS WHO DANGLE OFF THE BACK AT THE TDF... If you've ever thought, Hell, even I could hang on the flat stuff... If you've been foolish enough to think professional sprinters can't climb...
This post is for you.
Rumor had it... well Cal (worth clicking) basically promised it - My mate from the Isle of Man, where real men ride all bikes real fast, will be here for a few weeks...
In other words... CAV (the winningest rider in TDF history) would be on our little ol' group ride this morning.
Cav's done it in years past. My son Trevor rode with him and came home all smiles and story tellin' a few years back. How could we pass it up?
Back to that wondering thing...
If you've ever wondered if the pros are cool, the answer is YES for Mark. Super nice and thoughtful and gracious. Took pictures with us. Chatted as we rode. Even yelled Hold up, we've got a puncture! when Chris' tire caboomed at the store we stop at.
If you've ever wondered how strong a sprinter is I can tell you resting my arm on his shoulder for the picture it was like touching The David incarnate. But it wasn't just that... here's something you'll never see on TV. We pull up to a light and we all unclip right? Well, yeah. But when Mark unclips the entire bike wobbles and shifts and whimpers... such is the tension in his pedal/cleat connection.
I know you'd never be stupid enough to wonder if you could to all those things in the intro. I would, you are much too smart.
But, you may have wondered Could our Goliath hang on the climbs and flats?.. well, we can put that to rest too. We hit Wolhford pass - 2 miles and 10 minutes of pain - and I'm thinking I gotta chance. Then Steve, our Tuesday morning hero, our pro mountain biker, our best climber makes it clear I don't have any chance. He moves to the front and drills it. Guys peeling off left and right.
They were gone.
When I pulled in at the store, he had a big grin. That was the best ride of my life.
Did you drop Cav?
Not even, he rode up to me like it was a Sunday cruise with his wife.
Yeah, but you know what?... when we got to the kicker before the store, I told him how fun it was for me to ride with him.
Cav left, Cal right
The usual suspects and a few more.
Poor Chris... I don't think I've ever seen a more self-conscious tire changer. (You're only holding up the fastest man in the world buddy!)
We have a new post-ride favorite stop.