Todd's Blog — RIDE/RACE REPORT


THINKING INSIDE THE BOX

TODD BROWN Bike Life RIDE/RACE REPORT

THINKING INSIDE THE BOX

THE BOX DOESN'T CLOSE ANY MORE.  The last time this happened I chucked the box and everything in it.  Kinda regret that.  Not as much as I regret not writing notes on the back of the race numbers, like little journal entries. 

That would be pretty cool.
Right?
Just a sentence or two....
especially on the plates that last a season.

Heck, I'd probably keep all of them.  Writing about something seems to drive it a little deeper into the memory.  And if I do take a moment to dig them out, the reliving should be a little richer.

Takes no time at all.
Like this.

What's in your box?
On your number?

_____
Ride with us: click for info.
Upcoming Events:  HUNKR 9/29, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10
Use "SAVE20" to save 20% on in-stock gear.
172.4


NOW WHAT IS IT YOU DO?... AND WHY?

TODD BROWN RIDE/RACE REPORT

NOW WHAT IS IT YOU DO?... AND WHY?

HOLLYWOOD MIKE MIRANDA PULLED ME ASIDE AT THE FIRST OVERTHEHUMP THIS SEASON.  Can ya help me out?  I have no art, and a tight deadline for the Aids/LifeCycle event... we need 50 hoodies.

What do you have?

He whips out a picture of the Macho Man, Randy Savage.

Plus, this sweet sketch...

Let's do it!

That's the What of what we do. 

The Why is this... we love it!  We love helping people bring their ideas to life.  Usually these projects are for something really cool, too:  a charity or crazy event or in this case a charity that is a crazy event.

What could be crazier than 5500 people riding together from San Francisco to LA?  Here's Mike cheering on the the riders.

What's your crazy?
Why?

_____
Ride with us: click for info.
Upcoming Events:  HUNKR 9/29, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10
Use "SAVE20" to save 20% on in-stock gear.
171.2


DON'T SWEAT IT

TODD BROWN HUNKR RIDE/RACE REPORT

DON'T SWEAT IT

DON'T SWEAT IT, WE'LL JUST CRUISE was Eric's promise to me.  A promise I made him commit to before I ventured out to his famous Black Friday course.  His other promise was that if we used part of or all of this course it would be the toughest HUNKR ever.  One those promises would be broken... and as my head dipped forward, my body and bike searching for traction, the Garmin registered a 26% incline and my top tube was covered in sweat!

You liar!
You no good son of a biscuit...
... damn I love this stuff.

A ride like today is so lovable because:  the weather was perfect, overcast mid-50s; good people who are good riders; a route of stunning views absent cars; and my virginity... it was all new to me.  That's the perfect combination.  Oh, oh, oh... and tasty Mexican food after.

What defines good people... mainly attitude I think.  Not just a "good" attitude, but a similar attitude - one that says Let's go ride some challenging terrain and enjoy each other's company.  Good riders, in this case, means people of similar ability with good handling skills and bikes in good working order.

There was a life size Easter Island statue, a miniature polo rider statue, countless avocado groves, beautiful estates, gorgeous horses, all of it accessed by tiny country roads.  For the most part, they were smooth.  I rolled with 100 lbs of tire pressure which seemed just perfect.

But, there were those terrible pitches, the worst being about 900' in 9/10's of a mile.  While Eric was grabbing PRs and KOMs I reverted to back a more innocent time.  My magazine route, delivering Sports Illustrated and National Geographic through the hills of Fullerton where I mastered the "paper boy".  No shame here, if ya got a skill use it.  If you don't know the paperboy... LMK.

Check out the ride: https://www.strava.com/activities/1567906221

Will I ever trust Bierman again?
Of course.
I knew what I was getting into
and packed my RaceDay Bag accordingly.
Is it HUNKR worthy?
Hell yeah.
#it'sjustasocialride
_____
Support the blog -->  Use "SAVE20" to save 20% on in-stock gear.
Save the dates:  HUNKR 9/29, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10
170

 

 


TWO A DAY TUESDAY, IT'S TEMPTING

TODD BROWN Bike Life RIDE/RACE REPORT

TWO A DAY TUESDAY, IT'S TEMPTING

THIS TIME OF YEAR, IN THESE PARTS, TUESDAYS CAN KILL YOU.  There are a variety of group rides every morning and evening.  The quality of the morning rides can be every bit as good as a top race.  Which means we're fit year round.  When the time changes a few more rides come online plus two race series:  OverTheHump and Eldo (the Eldorado Park Crit series).

How does it kill you?  By tempting you into thinking you can do it all.  Like it did me today.

At 4:50AM the Cabazon earthquake shook me outta my slumber ten minutes earlier than I'd like.

The plan was to drive to Bob Frosty's to get my canopy then do TMWC easy.  Which worked, except for the easy part... I couldn't resist and hit the A loop hard.  Then my cleat broke on the way to Live Oak allowing me to get a good 1.5 leg workout in.

Which left me thinking I might as well grab my MTB just in case I decided to do 1 lap of OverTheHump tonight. 

Of course, I missed the last minute route edit from 3 laps to 2.  This shouldn't have mattered as my intention was to do just 1 lap... but, well, there I was huffinandpuffin with my buddies in the top 5... so, of course I did the second lap.  On the way up the big hill I decided to let them go so I could save some for the 3rd lap... the 3rd lap no one else in my category was doing.

And that's how you get killed.
You dig so far into your reserves you're not thinking clear,
not riding fast,
you're just out there pedaling.
And I was...
I rode that last lap by myself,
Enjoying the cool evening air and setting sun,
Not caring nobody else was out on the course.
We all had a good laugh when I finally rolled in,
But, the jokes on them...
I'll be back.
Rested.
Ready.
There's no way I'll be foolish enough
to be seduced by another beautiful Tuesday morning
... is there?
_____

Support the blog -->  Use "SAVE20" to save 20% on in-stock gear.

Save the dates:  HUNKR 9/29, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10

172


OVER THE HUMP #99

TODD BROWN RIDE/RACE REPORT

OVER THE HUMP #99

CAN YOU IMAGINE THE EFFORT IT TAKES TO PUT ON A BIKE RACE?  Think of a wedding with 300 brides and 300 grooms and they all want to be recognized as the most-bestest couple ever.  Plus, half of these couples have brought their friends and family to witness their commitment and dedication.  Because that's what racers and lovers are:  committed and dedicated.  

Now imagine you're doing it for the 99th time.

Tomorrow, May 8th, will be the 99th time Matt Wenger and his crew have put an Over The Hump MTB race.  It's a race they've built into the largest mid-week mountain bike race in the country... maybe the world.

How'd they do it?  By having fun.

Don't let the word Race scare ya, it's first and foremost a party. Most folks are in the I'm-a-beginner-and-just-wanna-have-fun category.  Sure there's racing and timing, but there's also a race just for kids... which will give you hope for the future.

Should you do it?  Yes, definitely... first-timer or grizzlednadchizzled pro.

While your at it... give this guy a high-five.  He's earned it.

 _____

Support the blog -->  Use "SAVE20" to save 20% on in-stock gear.

Save the dates:  HUNKR 9/29, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10

171.4

 


RIDE 4 RWANDA = RIDE OF THE YEAR

TODD BROWN RIDE/RACE REPORT

RIDE 4 RWANDA = RIDE OF THE YEAR

IT'S BEEN ABOUT TWO YEARS SINCE I RACED MY MOUNTAIN BIKE SERIOUSLY.  Today, I wonder why I ever left.  It was just perfect, and it wasn't a "race" - but it was.  As a sponsor of the Ride 4 Rwanda, my plan was to show up early and raise the canopy then putt around and make it a social ride.  But, when I rolled up to the start all that changed.

Surrounded by lions, I was ready to go hunting.
The police escort to the trail head just made the urge to kill it that much stronger.

Some get antsy in a tight pack of mountain bikers racing hard for the double track, and clean trail lines.  I don't.  I find top level XC racers to be far better bike handlers with far greater spacial awareness than roadies and crit specialists. Relatively relaxed, I slipped up to the top 10.

Staying up front and out of the dust is worth the effort.

Did I peak a week late? I asked.  Last weekend's Sea Otter Classic was my target race of the year.  I was somewhat disappointed.  This was a "ride".  I felt great and was right with some of the fastest guys around..  Rested.  Smooth.  Easy.

You know what else was smooth and easy?... that new drive train.  The XX Eagle 10-50 cassette and 32 up front, the new chain and the new GripShifter was buttah.  That upgrade along with the dropper-post I added a few weeks made for some very fast riding.

How fast?
This fast.
 
For me, that's amazing.  So yeah, probably peaked a week late.  Can't really say I'm sad about that because I'm so happy to be back in love with the dirt.
Looking back, I should have expected a good day:  I had put in back to back days of racing last weekend; taken it easy all week on the bike; Surfergirl is outta town and it's a been a few days of all about me, and... AND... I had zero expectations.  That's a pretty solid formula for a good day on the bike.
What am I going to do with my renewed love of dirt?  I think I'll flip-flop between road and dirt on Saturdays. 
I had forgotten how great it is to be so close to nature,
to climb so high and see so far,
to be dirty,
with friends.
Set your sights on next year's Ride 4 Rwanda...
it's a magical event,
raising hundreds of thousands of dollars so kids can ride their bikes to school and work...
maybe the magic will visit you like it did me.

 _____

Save the dates:  HUNKR 9/29, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10
172.4
(Update on the kooky intermittent fasting diet.  If anything, I've gained weight.  I'm not sure it matters.  One thing I've noticed is I can get up and easily go till Noon without food.  On the bike, that means I can go the first hour without any kind of nutrition.  It made this morning very simple:  get up, get to event, start riding.  My second bottle bounced out as I ripped the first single track.  I didn't even think of stopping.  My energy was great.  Shred on! Made it no problem through the first 90 minutes on 1/2 a bottle, topped it off and made it another hour, filled it one more time and felt strong the entire 3 hours.)


THIS IS WHY

TODD BROWN Bike Life RIDE/RACE REPORT

THIS IS WHY

THE TICKING SOUND OF THE OFFICIAL'S MOTORBIKE NEXT TO ME WAS SEASONED WITH RACE RADIO... and I ate it up.
The road was ours,
closed to cars. 
Race numbers on backs faced me,
nobody watched me,
I clung on.
Lord, I love this feeling...
Getting all I can out of this old body
It's a high,
You can't buy,
even if you try.
But, if you tried
if you put in the time,
you just might find
another you,
something new.
_____

11th today

_____

Save the dates:  HUNKR 9/29, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10
no scale on the trip


SAN LUIS REY RR

TODD BROWN RIDE/RACE REPORT

SAN LUIS REY RR

BY THE WAY, I'M RACING SATURDAY.  It's a great course, just not a great finish for me anymore.

Hill?  was all she said.

I'd like to be disgusted at her quick conclusion.  But, she's right.

Pre-her, SLRRR was a great course for me.  The climb was still there, but it went higher then did a harrowing plummet back to sea level.  My Avenir computer reported 61mph. 

That's fast.  Great for me.  The skinny dudes may have left me behind but after that romping descent was followed by about 5 miles of -1% downhill.  Which means the Young Diesel was back on, rested and ready to bring home the hardware.

It's also dangerous, and someone eventually had a very bad day.

So they re-routed while I was away doing my dad/mtb years.

The new course is still awesome, still beautiful.  The crazy drop is gone and rather than a loop we race an out and back, starting and finishing on the lower slopes of the climb.  That -1% false flat is now proceeded by the +1% to get to the turnaround.  The laps are 14 miles long.

I'm going not to win, but to have a good day.
The last 2 years I've cramped on that final climb.
I just wanna hang on and finish strong.
And, that's okay.
_____
Save the dates:  HUNKR 6/9, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10
171.6 (not where I wanted to be)


SAN LUIS REY RR

TODD BROWN RIDE/RACE REPORT

SAN LUIS REY RR

BY THE WAY, I'M RACING SATURDAY.  It's a great course, just not a great finish for me anymore.

Hill?  was all she said.

I'd like to be disgusted at her quick conclusion.  But, she's right.

Pre-her, SLRRR was a great course for me.  The climb was still there, but it went higher then did a harrowing plummet back to sea level.  My Avenir computer reported 61mph. 

That's fast.  Great for me.  The skinny dudes may have left me behind but after that romping descent was about 5 miles of -1% downhill.  Which means the Young Diesel was back on, rested and ready to bring home the hardware.

It's also dangerous, and someone eventually had a very bad day.

So they re-routed while I was away doing my dad/mtb years.

The new course is still awesome, still beautiful.  The crazy drop is gone and rather than a loop we race an out and back, starting and finishing on the lower slopes of the climb.  That -1% false flat is now proceeded by the +1% to get to the turnaround.  The laps are 14 miles long.

I'm going not to win, but to have a good day.
The last 2 years I've cramped on that final climb.
I just wanna hang on and finish strong.
And, that's okay.
_____
Save the dates:  HUNKR 6/9, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10
171.6 (not where I wanted to be)


WELL, THAT WAS CLOSE

TODD BROWN RIDE/RACE REPORT

WELL, THAT WAS CLOSE

IN 28 SECONDS MATT'S CHAIN WOULD SKIP SENDING HIS REAR WHEEL 6" INTO THE AIR.  We were in the final wind up for the Market Ride sprint.  We'd come roaring down the train overpass on to the very long, very straight finish.

There's always a prevailing wind coming off the ocean to the left.  The sprint train lines up on the white line and the winner often gambles with life itself blasting up the fence line to the right.  It can get ugly real fast.

The charge was on and Matt and I were winding it up from about 10 guys back.  Up front, legs were seizing.  They were going 20mph, we were closing in on 35+.  Matt was behind green guy, I was behind Matt.  A perfect spot.  One of us should get the V.

Big Reyes blows and I have to go around his left and end up windy side of Matt.  I know he likes to swing left, so I'm planning to launch right and accelerate in his and green guys' wake on the leeward side.

---> I hate talk about crashes.  Hate watching the videos.  Hate any talk of danger.  What you think about you bring about.  Two nights ago on this same ride Jim and his chain skip.  He lost control of his bike.  Went down on his face.  Mike ran him over and crashed too.  The picture above shows the goriness.  It was the talk when we started out. <---

So there I am.
Unleashing my once-mighty fury.
His chain skips.
His wheel jumps up 6" and sideways.
I shut it down.
He stays upright.
I roll across the line,
ahead of him and smile...
just like I saw it in my mind.

_____
Save the dates: HUNKR 6/9, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10
171.8


HUNKR #2 - OC '18

TODD BROWN HUNKR RIDE/RACE REPORT

HUNKR #2 - OC '18

(REPOSTED FROM HUNKR.COM)

SATURDAY, 3/17/18, WAS HUNKR #2.  Could our second edition be better than the first?  Months out confidence was high, but as the day approached we were all apprehensive  regarding the weather.  If it rained it would be an epic day, if not it would be awesome.

Either way, it would be a who’s who of Southern California cycling:  Olympians and World Champions Amber Neben and Thurlo Rogers, national champions Rahsaan Bahati and Charon Smith, ex-Continental  Pro Jon Hornbeck… I’m sure I’m missing names… let me just say their participation is humbling and gratifying and a tiny bit nerve-racking – we want to deliver a professional product for them.

The idea that “normal” people… really, what’s normal about racing your bike 100k?… nothing!… it’s so outrageous truly normal people don’t get it… yes, the idea that normal people get a chance to line up right behind the talented riders at the front is what makes HUNKR special.

The FUNKR team competitions were even more popular this year.  We had more teams in more categories going for top level prizes like Shimano Durace pedals (for the entire team).

With some creative thinking we managed to simplify the start from last year while still using the private roads only available to HUNKR.  This was a huge improvement.

Mother Nature didn’t seem to care that we had so many stars ready to race, so many improvements. 50% greater participation – over 22% of whom were female (that’s huge).

Each day showed rain.

Each day didn’t actually rain much at all.

Packet pick up at Shimano headquarters was dry.  A beautiful Mazda signaled where to go.  Many competitors were so excited they were arriving hours early.

By 4pm we were ready to get them checked in.  The line was long, but quickly got up to speed.  It was fun chatter as racers met up… a lot friends saying high to friends.  After they were checked in they were able to see historic Shimano product as well as all the new shiny gear we drool over.

We went to bed hopeful.  We woke up around 4:30 to get an early start.  A 4 hour squall moved through and flooded our parking lot in the wee hours of Saturday morning.  Ugh.

We had a contingency plan, and put it into action.  The backup parking was a mile down the ride.  It would prove to be a nice warm up for the racers, and a chance to see part of the private roads they’d soon be racing on.  Part of the contingency was pushing the start back 15 minutes.

By 8:30 the racers were in their respective corrals – they lined up based on projected finishing time, fastest up front.  8:35 final instructions were being given.  Passion poured through the group.  8:40 we all sang the Star Spangled Banner a cappella.  8:44:55 the 5 second count down and final instruction…

HAVE FUN!

What could be more fun than racing with over 300 of your closest friends?

Because we are always racing for 100 kilomters, there is a race within the race which is “How fast can I do this?” TJ Eller posted:

I went 26 minutes faster than last year: a substantial improvement that I’m very proud of!

How did he do this?  No doubt he trained, set goals, etc… but somewhere out on that course he made some friends.  Together they were all working hard.  For sure, chasing the riders ahead, and desperately fending off the riders from behind played big parts.

Those riders ahead included the main bunch.  Over 50 riders came through lap 1 together.  On lap 2 it became 40ish.  Andy Schmidt reported, “It was the fastest race I’ve ever done.  Guys would attack and we’d bring them back.  The pace was tremendous and never let up.  It was so fun! ” 

The drama is in the details… heading out for that last lap in the lead group were the best of the best, many flanked by teammates:  Methods to Winning, Cannondale, Davis Phinney, Freakshow, Red Monkey with a hungry pack of lone wolves ready to tear up the final kilometers.

Just before the turnaround 4 riders went clear and blasted out of the tunnel.  They had 15 seconds on the bunch by Cook’s Corner.  Present were pro/ex-pro racers Coulton Hartrich, Stefano Barberi, Marco Arrocha and 17 year old local Andrew Vollmer.

This is Andrew’s home climb.  Nobody knows it better.

Stefano knows what it’s like to launch a long range attack.  Last year, he was off the front the final two laps only to be caught and passed in the final meters.

By the top, Marco had lost the group.

They were now 3 against 30 with 10 miles to go.  Most of it was downhill, favoring the group.  But, there was a tail wind… negates much of the big group’s advantage.

At the finish line we saw 3, then 1, then the bunch.  They roared onto the private roads out of our sight.

We could only wonder.

It seemed impossible to stay away.

But, it’s a technical finish with rises that would seem easy at the start and now had to be stinging their legs.

Who would win HUNKR #2?

1st Place Coulton Hartrich
2nd Place Stefano Barberi
3rd Place Andrew Vollmer

15 seconds later Marco came in for 4th.

15 seconds after that teenager Ama Nsek won the bunch sprint for 5th.

The top women were able to finish with men in the main bunch – we don’t have a good photo of that, as they came through in a swarm.

1st Place Chrystal Anthony
2nd Place Amber Neben
3rd Place Larissa Conners
4th Place Esther Walker
5th Place Rhonda Quick

How fast are these racers?  They covered 100k, 62 miles, with 4000′ of climbing in 2 hours 35 minutes, an average speed of 24.5 miles an hour.  That’s blazing speed.

But, HUNKR isn’t just about the fastest or the equal cash pay out for men and women.  It’ s about racers like the father and son duo of Eric and Vincent Ngheim, who battled the course together in 4 hours 23 minutes and teenage brother and sister Luke and Sarah Swan.  It’s about 22% of our riders being female… we aren’t to our goal yet, but we are far closer than I had imagined we would be.

In the end, it’s about friendly competition.  We are so happy with the HUNKR Nation… as a whole, you are a classy bunch we are thrilled to be part of.

There are lots more pictures for you to check out and download free from MSD Photography here.

We look forward to seeing ya at HUNKR 3 on June 9th.

_____

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

170.2


THE EARLY BIRD

TODD BROWN Bike Life HUNKR RIDE/RACE REPORT

THE EARLY BIRD

(Reposted from an article I wrote on HUNKR.com)

I'VE NEVER NEEDED AN ALARM ON RACE DAY.  I always set it, but sleep is evasive the night before.   The bigger the event the more alarms and the less likely I'll sleep deeply or need them.  Nothing is bigger for me than HUNKR.

 There is nothing I want more than to have HUNKR go off without a hitch.  Months go into the preparation, and the daily percentage of time devoted to HUNKR goes up as until the final day of 100%.

Yesterday was an awesome day for HUNKR - 50% more racers - 22% of whom were women (that's huge), a who's who of Southern California bicycle racing, and a dude on an elliptical bike.

We had to fall back on a few contingencies... the main one being our parking lot turned to mud by a late night squall.  We had planned for them and things worked out well.  I'm very proud of our production team.  We all worked so hard.

Our volunteers were amazing.  Some drove down from LA just to help out.  They were all so proactive and caught up in the energy of the day.  When promoters say they couldn't do it without volunteers that's true, because volunteers bring their time AND their energy AND their experience.  They aren't punching a clock, they are there to serve.  It's humbling.

As I pulled up the corral flags,
the wind was blowing and the sun was setting.
It was just me.
Alone at the starting line. 
Reflecting on how this concept began. 
Grateful for those who caught and supported the original concept.
It felt like we have some momentum now.
I drove home,
and slept
and slept
and slept

_____

 

 

Save the dates: 6/9, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10 - 
170.2


IT WAS A DRY RAIN

TODD BROWN Bike Life RIDE/RACE REPORT

IT WAS A DRY RAIN

I'VE TRIED TO WRITE FOR AN HOUR... BUT THERE ARE NO WORDS FOR THE EXQUISITE EUPHORIA THIS RIDE PRODUCED.

I knew it was going to be good because the texts were coming early and fast.  The only question was, Would we break the hour?

Starting about 9pm:

CH:  Potential to be a wet one. We still on?  7AM in the harbor?

TB:  Yep!

JA:  Hope I can keep up with you animals

MS:  Does any one have an extra tube, please bring one. Just had to change a flat and I'm out

KM:  I do and will bring it. I owe you.

JM:  Looks like we will be riding in the rain by 9 FYI based on radar.  What time are we back?

TB:  930 if we hustle.

Then 5am more:

CH:  I forgot my vest. can you bring out an extra one for me?

TTB:  Any chance you could make me two bottles?... I'm getting off freeway.

Races had been cancelled today.
Guys were tapered.
 

 The promised rain came early.  Just about 7am.  But, it was a dry rain.  Not enough to drench us.  It would keep us cool.  And no wind.  Few cars were out, we made all the lights... ALL of them.  All we had to do was take the corners easy.

At 730 the hour of power/pain/torture begins.  In Laguna. 

For 30 minutes we'd been pulling the bow back.  The group shot up the 133 at record pace.  A pace line of 14.  All in.  By El Toro we'd lost at least 4. 

The Bull and Frosty taking long meaty pulls.  The rest of us off the front as quick as possible.

Gaps started to open... I'd schemed this in my dreams... those two go, then Big Kev.  Now or never.

10 became 4
...
4 became 3.

We were on pace to shatter the hour. 

It reminded me of the first time we cracked an hour on TMWC.  5 of us just slaying it, watching the clock with 1 eye and the butt ahead with the other.

We turned right on Tesla, and I was on my own.  Adrift.  With reinforcements coming up from behind.

Up Church hill I prayed, begged for a red light... it was too much.  The Diesel was going to blow.  No luck.  I chugged on over the top and hit 52mph on the down hill.

About 5 guys had cut through at the church and united with the crew ahead of me.

But I've got girth, and I'm aero.

I connected on Aliso Creek.

Then, ejected.

I spun and spun.

There is a point in rides like this where if you hesitate for one moment you'll loose the endorphins you're mainlining.  Half the crew went straight at Westwing.  I didn't even consider it, turned right.  The endorphins were flowing, I was spinning.  Keeping the gap manageable for another bombing descent.

Unbelievably, we made the light below Soka University.  Also unbelievably, Matt tore up the climb and left us wondering... then they all sped up and left me, again.  But, this ride is like a roller coaster and my ballast like a magnet.  

We were all back together at the bottom of Highlands, the final climb.  As we rounded the turn I could see Trevor - my son, a retired Cat 2.  This is humbling and motivating for him.  He's getting passed and dropped, he knows he's done less than 10 rides in '18.  It's just a matter of time, the desire is returning.  I enjoy every pedal stroke as I pass him.

One by one we cross the "finish line". 

I collapse.

58:27.

We were tapered.
We made all the lights.
It was a dry rain.

_____
One week 'til HUNKR OC
Save the dates:  HUNKR 3/17, 6/9, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10
171.8 (Cheescake Factory at 9pm... dumb, I know)
This probably won't happen again


CAN YOU FLY?

TODD BROWN Bike Life RIDE/RACE REPORT

CAN YOU FLY?

THE WHOLE CAT 5 THING OF USA CYCLING IS JUST PLAIN WHACK.  Putting a guy like the Bull who's been laying waste to local group rides and is an excellent bike handler in with the 5's for 10 races just makes no sense.  He's raced 3 times and won all 3 going away.  Not even close.  

The Bull reminds me a lot of Inspector Harry Callahan.
He knew when he was lucky and when he wasn't.
Harry was a man of supreme talent.
He knew his limitations.

Surely there is someone in the USAC Kingdom that is able to recognize when a rider is more than ready to move up. 

Is the 10 races requirement to make sure the bulls get bored before moving on and gunning down the 4s, 3s, 2s and maybe 1s? The higher categories deserve it, and The Bull deserves a worthy opponent.

Or, maybe the purpose of the 10 races is to get all the money out of The Bull possible?  But, that doesn't make any sense either... because you've got that boredom factor.

I dunno... If I were Inspector for a day, I'm pretty sure I could tell who was ready to take flight and who needs a little more practice time.

But, I'm not.
I'm just a dude with an opinion,
and a bull for a friend.

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One week 'til HUNKR OC
Save the dates:  HUNKR 3/17, 6/9, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10
169.8

 


I NEVER SEEN THIS KIND OF POWER

TODD BROWN Bike Life RIDE/RACE REPORT

I NEVER SEEN THIS KIND OF POWER

WE HAVE THIS LITTLE RIDE GOING ON SATURDAYS NOW, and we keep getting new guys showing up.  They don't all come back.  I'm not sure why, well I am, but let's pretend I'm not.

The name that seems to be sticking for this ride is The SHOP Ride.  SHOP is an acronym for Saturday Hour of Power.  It's actually just over an hour, and it requires crazy amounts of power.  

That's the profile above.

The start of the hour is at the bottom of Laguna Canyon where Forest intersects.  We leave there at 730am, sharp.  But, none of us live in Laguna.  Most of us have been riding a fair number of miles when we get there.  Which means, at 730, it's full gas.  We average over 24mph, up a 3-4% grade and typically with a headwind.

Those strong enough to hang on up the canyon are then faced with multiple 2-6 minute climbs, back to back to back to back.... the pace is relentless, and oh so sweet - if you like the taste of blood.

Today was particularly hard for me.  I'd had the flu for about 3 days.  But, when I woke up after 8 hours and no alarm clock... I figured that was as good a sign as any.  Time to either kill this bug, or have a big relapse.  I managed to make up the canyon, and was able to take every single short cut possible to not finish too far behind the gang.

The virgins were aghast.
Mouths hanging open.
Eyes crossed.
Collapsed on their top tubes.
Jorge threw up these words:
I never seen power like that.

Is this ride for you?

Maybe.  

It's for anybody that wants to give it a try.  It's only an hour.

____

Jorge's power numbers... I'm not sure what it means, but I see red.

Does this look the face of a man who's ready for more?... Jay apparently has recovered.

C-Hill, looks chill.

Matt having a meal.

Charlie smiling.

Sean cool as a cucumber

Bret licking his chops

I need a nap

_____
HEADS UP... HUNKR-OC PRICE INCREASE 3/1/18
Is your FUNKR team ready?
Save the dates:  HUNKR 3/17, 6/9, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10
168


MY PEOPLE CALL IT FUN

TODD BROWN Bike Life RIDE/RACE REPORT TRIBES

MY PEOPLE CALL IT FUN

THE STATE OF BICYCLE RACING IN ORANGE COUNTY, CA IS BETTER THAN EVER - on all levels.  I think it's because our community is tighter and more appreciative of each other's efforts as athletes and as race directors.   As a result, we have more robust events to participate in and a fuller calendar.  This is a virtual cycle of improvement in all areas.

For example, Replay Timing company, operated by my friend Chris Williams, is homegrown.  Chris is local.  He knows all our events and the promoters and the athletes and what we expect from a timing company.  Over the years, he has been building his company's capabilities and expertise and technology.  Through Chris's persistence we are all able to enjoy a richer experience racing. 

Accurate timing makes the events more fun for beginners and pros.  It's another element to see where we rank among our peers, and those who are faster and/or slower.  Sure it's nice to see how you placed, it's nicer to compare the times as well.

The results are more people having more fun.  So the word spreads. 

Hey, come and do a race with me... it'll be fun
Timing adds cost,
It also adds more value to the racers. 
Which brings more racers. 
Which allows the race directors to add more value.
Which brings more racers.
Which brings in bigger and better sponsors,
Which adds more value
Which leads to events selling out,
Which allows race directors to control costs,
and add more value,
and more racers.

Next time you race at NonDot, OverTheHump, Rwanda Ride, HUNKR, unOFFICIAL TMWC, CBR(soon), and more... introduce yourself to Chris, it's a thankless job we all need done well.

Sold out NONDOT Whiting TT

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Save the dates:  HUNKR 3/17, 6/9, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10
170.8


PUSH IT REAL GOOD

TODD BROWN RIDE/RACE REPORT

PUSH IT REAL GOOD

MY PLAN WAS PRETTY SIMPLE THIS MORNING... push it, push it, push it.  I was tapered from last week, other than Saturday's leg busting effort at SBRR.  I have 3 weeks till the next big race, this week's gotta be a humdinger.

It's a selfish plan.

I say that because we get to the start warmed up and ready to broil - it's 45 minutes with 1000' of elevation on the way over.  We made really good time today, which surprised me because it seemed easy.  As soon as 6:30 hit, it was haulin' A', like DK.  We had 4 guys off for the first 10 minutes.  The remnants caught us.  It slowed, and we pushed it again.  About 1/3 of the group was bye-bye.

Sorry.

The A-Loop was somewhat tame.  Still, the ponies were jumpy and anxious.  They eased just a little on the pinnacle, so I pushed it.  Pushed it good enough to crest first (Sean mighta let up?).  

Thank you.

We kept it together down the DMZ to the bike trail.  As soon as we hit the trail, I pushed it.  OTF for about 10ish minutes.  Got the gap up to 23 seconds, per MikeyG.  The herd of ponies galloped right on by on The Wall.  But, I kept pushing.

Almost.

We almost caught the remnants of the leaders, only because we kept pushing it.  Pushed down the canyon, and kept on pushing up the Corkscrew.  Mission accomplished.  I'm smoked.

Pushed it!

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THIS TOP SECRET CODE  --> peda350  <-- WILL SAVE YOU 10% OFF HUNKR
IT EXPIRES 1/31/18, USE IT.
_____
Save the dates:  HUNKR 3/17, 6/9, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10


BIG CV & HUNKR TRAINING

TODD BROWN RIDE/RACE REPORT

BIG CV & HUNKR TRAINING

I DON'T ALWAYS POST 2X A DAY, but sometimes when you are a man AND you wear stretchy pants... 

10 of us met at the corner.
7am, Golden Lantern and Dana Harbor.
It was warmer than it has been, fog had rolled in.
Our mission was to try out a newish route, something to get us ready for HUNKR OC.  

We picked up 3 more riders in Laguna Canyon... I say "riders" to hide the fact that we're all dudes.  C'mon ladies we need more of you on the road.

The talent level of these 13 riders is exceptionally high, but our fitness levels are quite varied:  from a current pro MTB racer in his prime to an athlete coming back after an achilles tear and 18 months off the bike, with a couple of old diesels in between.  That said, the ride up the coast and up the canyon was full gas for some of us and a nice warm up for others. 

What were we warming up for?  C.V.  Canyon Velo. 

CV is a ride that has turned so nasty most of the original guys don't even do it.  Not nasty in a bad way, nasty in a good way.  Nasty fast.  Nasty hard.  Of the 2 main Saturday group rides in South OC, CV features more hills and longer climbs.  

Our plan was to make it even nastier.

When we got to Sand Canyon and Trabuco we had a 8 minutes to spare.  This was due to my Nervous Nellyness which kept the pace a tad erratic... and probably was the cause of us shedding some of our posse a little early in the ride.  Whoops.

From this point, the hills start hitting then clobbering with unrepentant velocity.  One by one, the weak are knocked off.  The final hill of the first section is La Paz.  La Paz was the featured climb of the '84 Olympics.  It's not steep, it's the speed that kills.  1 mile, 5%... all out.  Peter Stetina holds the KOM at 3:22.  You won't be close to that... too judgmental?

The good news is the original CVrs put in a still-respected rest stop at the top of La Paz, at the ball park.   This is the 2 hour mark for us, which is a perfect time to re-load the bottles and unload _____.

Now for the nastiness.

The next 50 minutes the group covers 17 miles and 1300' of elevation gain... 20.4 mph, pretty darn good.  

We go all out up the final 4 miles of climbing including The Wall a heinous, 1/4 mile at 9%.  At the top of Santiago everybody cruises down to the big oak tree to re-group...

...but we don't!

We turn right, and go up Old Mojeska.  1/2 a mile, average gradient of 9% and the steepest section is 20%.  

That's nasty!
but that's what some do
when it's HUNKR time,
and you wear stretchy pants.

__________
Save the dates:  HUNKR 3/17, 6/9, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10
169.8
Previously posted on HUNKR.com

3 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN TRAINING FOR HUNKRS


3 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN TRAINING FOR HUNKRS

by Todd Brown

1.  First off, remember HUNKR is about your personal best over 100K.  Sure, we all want to win and we’ll have cool awards for the category winners and cash for the top finishers.   But, even the winners will be looking at their finishing times and comparing it to what they thought they could do, what they did at the last HUNKR, how they compare to their friends.

This means…

You should try and get some good group rides in.  Group rides will help you with bike handling, cooperation and riding in a pace line.  With a good group, you’ll go much faster than on your own.  It’s quite common for HUNKR riders to find themselves in great groups of guys and gals of similar ability.  The result is a lot of fun and friendship.  You can find groups on TribeFindr, Strava and other platforms… or start your own.

2.  Remember a HUNKR course is about equal in distance to most longish weekend road rides.  If you can ride your bike easily 30 miles, you’ll do great at a HUNKR.  You don’t need to do a bunch of crazy miles.

This means…

You should look at your HUNKR course and work in some similar terrain.  If it’s a flat HUNKR, work on your flat speed, if it’s a climbing HUNKR work on your climbing.  Get as specific as you can in the weeks leading up to your event.

3.  Remember to test out your food.  For the faster riders, they’ll be fine with 2 bottles.  Some of you will need to make a stop, and we’ll have aid stations for you.

This means…

If you think you’ll be needing to refill your bottle, be sure to check out our drink sponsor and try their product in advance.  We’ll also have quick snacks for you to munch on.

4. Remember to get your FUNKR team of 5 together and registered.

5. Have fun!  You’re going to do great out there.


WHY YOU SHOULD RACE NOW #1

Todd Brown RIDE/RACE REPORT TRAINING

RACING MAKES YOU A BETTER RIDER, ALWAYS.  Let me show you just one simple way.  Tonight I picked up my spanking new frame – more on that later… it’s so purty.  The shop put my parts back on, but I still needed to mount a few things:  the Garmin, the RaceRepair Bag, and the lights.  Once pedaling, I realized my rookie mistake.

My headlight was pointed down at too sharp of an angle.

I see this mistake all the time this time of year.  Guys are riding with the beam of the light pointed about 5′ in front of the front wheel.  It looks great in the garage, it’s terrible when you’re up to speed.  How terrible?… Well, check it out what Kyle calculates:

At 20 miles an hour you travel 29.33 feet per second.

20mph is nothing on a road bike.  Most days I come back with a max speed approaching 50 miles an hour.  If your beam is pointing straight down you have no time to react to any road garbage you’re likely to find.

But, there’s another huge advantage to pointing your beam down the road.

A beam that is pointed down will not show you any shadows.  Shadows are what give you depth perception when it’s dark.  So, if you point that beam farther ahead you’ll get a much better feel of the terrain.  On a road bike you’re good with one solid light.

I learned all this racing mountain bikes through the night.

On a mountain bike, you much better off with two lights.

My preference is a very powerful wide beam, mounted as low as possible on the bike.  This will light up the terrain and cast all kinds of shadows.  The second beam is a helmet light.  I want this light to be more of a spot light, with a weaker beam than the light on the bike.  This spot light allows me to see around corners on single track sooner by turning my head quicker than the handle bars which typically lag.  Keeping the beam power down and concentrated on the helmet light allows me to keep seeing all those shadows which so I can quickly adjust to fast changing terrain.

You’ve been enlightened… now go ride your bike Grasshopper.


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