Todd's Blog — patriotic


TODD BROWN patriotic


I'M NOT SURE IF CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS... but I am sure if we expect to uncork our full god-given powers on race day we better have clean, race-ready equipment.

I'm not sure if having a clean bikes guarantees victory... but a dirty bike can lead to a helluva lot of problems.

I'm not sure if a clean bike is virtuous... but meticulously going over each part can expose future trouble.

I'm not sure of a lot in life... but I'm sure glad my drivetrain ready to shred. 

... don't for get to wash behind your gears.


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TODD BROWN patriotic


THE ROAD TO LEADVILLE IS COLORED WITH WELCOME SIGNS.  Welcome to Dinosaur is a real thing.  But, the We <3 Leadville mural with it's Great Living @ 10,200' stood out.  Long and low, the white sign stretched 200 feet. 

Pulling into town I realized it was gone.  Replaced with houses.  I wondered how welcome I'd be, and how much I'd love this trip... little superstitions are real.

We ambled around the lower roads at set on riding Hagerman's to Power Line.  This is my favorite part of the course.  From the summit, it is a very fast Jeep road.  

As I was geeking and gearing up, I heard Susie chatting to a solo rider outside the van.  He said he used to live in California.  Susie asked if he knew me.

Todd Brown?!

I jumped out.

Nate Whitman!

Oh man... my fears or riding alone at sunset were blown away with memories from Nate's first Leadville, which was also my PR year. 

Nate has finished top 10 and sub-7 hours multiple times, over 18 go's.  That's world class.

But, he didn't start that way... in fact, I gave him a 25% chance of finishing at all.

Somehow we'd met on AOL or something pre-social media.  He lived in Venice.  He was a semi-pro soccer player.  He wanted to see what he'd gotten himself into.  I'd done the race once, which made me the local expert back then.  He drove to meet me and Peter Vidmar at the bottom of Harding on a sweltering July afternoon - weeks before the event. 

I'll never forget it.


In a heavy black soccer jersey.

Uh, you sure about that jersey?

Oh definitely.  Soccer guys know this is best.


It was a long day for all of us.  Pete and I cruising, Nate nowhere in site.  The afternoon heat scorching our backs.  

Two of us howled with laughter about the black jersey.

I could tell Nate was discouraged at the top.  

At the bottom, he asked Do you think I'll be okay?

My response, which he remembers to this day... You're fit right?

There is no other place like Leadville to find out if you're fit.  It's an obviously infectious quest... one that Nate has answered and mastered.

Seeing my friend Nate was a great sign of being welcome, which would get added to at dinner.


How things have changed up here!  There is finally, really good food.  We sat at Treeline.  Out of town owners who brought their out of town talents and out of town prices.  Well worth it.

Clearly, the locals love it... as in walks the legends themselves.  Founders.  Creators. The spirt of Leadville... Ken and Merilee.  

I popped off my chair.

Gave them a big hug.

They welcomed me like an old friend... I wondered how could they remember so many people, imagined it was impossible and didn't care as Merilee embraced Susie and whispered...

Welcome home.


The legend, Nate Whitman

Side story... we met a real life Leadville Trail runner.  Mark.  64.  1 artificial hip.  He's in for his first LT100 running race.  Got in via lottery.  Has no idea what he's in for... and I mean that in a good way.  Good Luck!


TODD BROWN patriotic


THEY WERE NORDIC, HANDSOME AND LOVELY, WITH HEAVY ACCENTS.  I admired their beauty, right up until I didn't.  There was this moment when the lady ruined it all.

How you ask?  What was this repulsive sin?

Well... it was kinda like when you see someone unload a brand new, glamorous carbon rig. They mount it wearing their elegant super euro kit.  With that first pedal stroke you know... this is gonna be ugly.

Shaky on the straight lines.
Horrendous cornering.
Bowleggedness that begs for a Wide Load sign.
Arms locked straight.
... ah, it's an inexhaustible list.

Where is that person's friend?
Silent, no doubt.
Maybe aghast!

Just like I was this morning as the adorableness of said Nordic offended all in site with a bite of croissant.  Bite is not the right word... it was more a rip of a hunk, mouth open wide in the approach... staying wide, chomping a few times with a colossal gulp.

Ruined it.

Friends don't let your friends ride ugly.

Be light on the hoods.
Cut the apex on the turns.
Tuck those knees in.
Bend those arms.
... this is a good start.


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TODD BROWN patriotic


MASSIVE GROUP RIDES, WEEKDAY AND WEEKEND RACING, PERFECT WEATHER... around here you can pin it 24-7.  Worse, it's Tour time and everybody just wants to race! 


Everyday is a new opportunity for Zone 5.

Put it in the big ring, and leave it there.

That's all we want to do.

Ride 'em all...

...soon you won't be able ride at all.

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TODD BROWN patriotic


TONIGHT, AFTER A RATHER LARGE SNACK, I TORE INTO ONE OF MY OAT ROOTS.  Man, I love these things.  Can't have 'em everyday or I build up a tolerance.  You're probably the same.

Oat roots are after all...

... Haute Routes.

Haute Routes are super cool events, that I used to pronounce hot route... thinking it meant super cool cycling route, then I met the crew over there on a work project.

But, that's not my point.

My point is I work Hot Routes into my weekly regimen.  

A hot route to me, is a loop that brings me pleasure and that I can really rip around on.  I might go out and just spin it a few times, then jump on it for a smokin' fast lap... or I might start our slow and go faster each lap... or I might rip the first lap and go slower and slower as I exhaust myself.

Typically, Tuesdays are the same Hot Route - The TMWC.
Wednesdays, I like to rip a loops off on the MTB
Fridays... I think of new ways to end up at the same old spot for a cup and some journal time.

Fun + Fast = Hot Route


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TODD BROWN patriotic


MY DAD HAD THIS JOKE ABOUT THE 3 STAGES OF LIFE.  It made no sense to me when I was in my 20s.  Now that he's gone, it's just more evidence he was a genius... so, let me try and screw it up while applying it to me 'n Jefe.

Stage 1
Young guns, falling in love with girls and bikes.  Dude, I pooled all my shekels and I'm pulling the trigger on a Gios with Campy Super Record. 

Stage 2
Young families, and we reconnect the friendship and epic endurance mancations.  Dude, have you heard of the 24 hours of Moab?... let's do it!

Stage 3
The sprocket of life showing some serious wear.  Hey, is there a bathroom on the route?

Jefe, aka Dr. Sumsion, was one of the first cats to get a road bike in the college days.  I think it was to help his ski racing.  He had this cool Italian rig.  I had a Cannondale touring bike, because surely 3 rings in front must be better than 2!  All I knew then, or know now, is that he's always on the forefront of what's cool... proof:  he's been begging me for 10+ years to do a gravel race.

We lost touch after college, but somehow reconnected.  It was over the 24 hours of Moab.  We grabbed PViddy and McKay and trotted out to see what we could do.  I'd never had so much fun suffering through cramps, dark and snow.  So began my re-entry to racing and the world of heinously hard endurance events.

These days, he pops down to SoCal a couple of time a year and if I'm lucky he carves out time to go for a ride... usually spending the night at my place and hitting TMWC.  The rest of the time I'm longing for, and occasionally pulling off, the amazing riding in Park City.

What came first, the friendship or the bike?  Who cares!

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TODD BROWN patriotic


I WAS SUPPOSED TO TAKE IT EASY SATURDAY.  And I did, on the bike.  But, it was Family Weekend and the team wanted to do the old hike.

I was never winded.

Barely broke a sweat.

5 miles later my legs were wrecked.  They were still wrecked today when I went for an easy lunch spin.


1.  Off the bike I don't wear shoes, ever.  I'm a flipflop kinda guy.  Sand got in my shoes and ground the balls of my feet raw.

2.  I walk a lot on the sandy beach.  That is not the same as over rocky, uneven terrain.  I've got shin splints.

3.  I didn't to any recovery stretching or rolling because it wasn't a strenuous.  Rookie move... ain't I too old for that?

Life Lessons:

1.  Shoulda just hiked in my Rainbows, but it also wouldn't kill me to wear shoes occasionally.

2.  Nor would it kill me to go back to hiking the many trails nearby.

3.  Always do the stretching and rolling... always.

It was worth it to spend time with these two, and think back 19 years.

166.6 (food and family, a lethal combo)
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TODD BROWN patriotic


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. 
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.

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