Todd's Blog — The RACER's Life


TRAVELIN' FOOL

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

TRAVELIN' FOOL

SATURDAY WAS THE LAST BIG RIDE, and it was way bigger than I'd planned.  That's the problem with an epic event that requires travel.  On the way, I always manage to wind up on an amazing trail or road and just can't resist going longer than planned...

... and I'd say returning 4 hours after I'd planned to return shows an incredible lack of self-restraint.

But, who cares?

When the posse is solid, the temperatures pleasant, and the dirt loamy, I'm gonna ride.

Bryson put this together, and Jeff and I joined.  20 of us rolled up and away from PCMR (Park City Mountain Resort).  Normally, this would be a terrible decision.  But, this wasn't your average group.  These were all riders who'd planned and qualified for Leadville.  Utahns, used to altitude.  Committed MTBr's with the skills to carve any trail.

The only person they had to wait for was The Old Diesel.  

By the end of the day, my 4 hour ride had expanded to 8 hours (6 riding).  .  50 miles, 5000' of vert.  All of it sweet, sweet single track.  The group dwindled to 3 of us.

Then it was me.

At The Canyons.

Double patty cheeseburger did nothing to curb my hunger.

It was a big day, possibly too big.  But, I didn't care.  The trails, the air, the beauty, the friends.  Worth it.

Takeaways... my chain fell off and wedged impossibly hard into my frame.  Shouldn't have taken my chain catcher off months ago... now I have to hope my daughter can find it and overnight it to me - plus get a new chain and cassette.  My lube didn't not make it through the day - not sure what to do on that front for PbVille.  Everything else, perfect!

_____

Gettin' ready

And we're off

Dream-like

Best burger ever?

Post-burger, this did the trick

163
0/0
Ride with us: click for info. 


WE HAVE THIS SAYING

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

WE HAVE THIS SAYING

'ROUND THESE PARTS, IF SOMEONE SAYS IT'S JUST A SOCIAL RIDE most of the time it really means you're about to get slaughtered... have limbs slowly yanked off one at a time.  This slow dismemberment starts out nice enough, and terminates apologetically enough that we keep coming back for more.

But, a funny thing happens over time.

We get to know each other... not just our weaknesses and strengths on the bike, but in life as well.  We learn to recognize more than slobbering suffering, but internal suffering.  

We become friends.

For life.

And we celebrate our victories and our birthdays.

Shout out to Johnny B for the party hats for Ursula's bday.

And, another to Chris Hill who picked me up some sardines in Barcelona.

Yeah... we know each other, and we know you wanna be part of this... whether in person or in spirit.  If you don't have a local social ride, build it... your peeps are counting on you.

(Chris knows I love sardines and black beans before every big endurance event.)

? lbs forgot to bring my scale
0 pull ups (gotta find a park with a bar)/30 push ups
Ride with us: click for info. 

 


SYNCHRONICITY

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

SYNCHRONICITY

HOW DO WE END UP ON THE SAME PATH, AT THE SAME TIME?  I entered the bike path at just the wrong time to miss Jim heading inland.  I could see him, but I wasn't going to catch him. Then I passed a man who is most likely mentally ill, only to round a corner and have my buddy Patrick - who's visiting from Vegas - yell my name.

We stopped.

Said ill man joined us.
Track bike.
Ancient.
Shirtless.
Jeans.
Tennies.
Heavy metal cross hanging about his neck.
Explaining his tough decision to choose from his quiver of 20+ bikes.
Through the sweet breath of what I guessed was a rough night - or woulda been rough for me.

He was different.
I was uncomfortable.

Our paths had crossed and joined for a moment.  I doubted we were going the same direction.

But, we were on bikes.  Talking about gears.  Our divergent paths one, for a brief moment.

To my shame, my discomfort didn't wane.  It grew.  Kinda like a dinner party among strangers when the conversation turns to the weather... but, rougher.

We rode away.
Patrick and I on the same path.

Me thinking, There but for the grace of God go I.
Me wondering, should I have acted differently?  More accepting?  More loving?  More concern?  More empathy?

Later, I went to the office.
To fight my own battles.
The ones I'm comfortable with, whether I know it or not.

166.2 lbs
10 pull ups/30 push ups
Ride with us: click for info.


IMAGINE THINGS WERE DIFFERENT

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

IMAGINE THINGS WERE DIFFERENT

HE WAS A BEAR OF A MAN.  The kind of guy you wouldn't want to play flag football against... an accidental swat might fling you and me to ambulanceland. 

I blew by him, just on a nice tempo.

He was panting hard.
His lithe lady like a butterfly ahead.

I've seen it before.  I'll see it again.

I popped up a nifty climb, snagging a PR.  Dropped down a daring single track that had me walking, hoping no kids with big travel bikes mowed me down.  Soon I was riding back up the the main dirt access road.

I'd forgotten about him.
But, there he was.
Stopped.
Sweaty.

For a moment I imagined what it would be like to push a massive 300ish pound body up that road. 
Lady barely breathing. 
Skinny, endurance dorks like me flying by.

Not only is that an amazing physical effort, but possibly quite humbling.

I wanted to high-five him... then I realized he might snap my skinny twig of an arm in the process.

164
20/60
Ride with us: click for info.


ABOUT 5 GUYS THOUGHT THEY WOULD WIN TODAY.

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

ABOUT 5 GUYS THOUGHT THEY WOULD WIN TODAY.

WHEN 700 PEOPLE LINE UP AT A 100K MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE, only a few think they will actually win.  The rest of us have our own metrics to ride by.  We start in mass.  Other than our number plates there are no indicators of racing category.  

We collaborate with older and younger and opposite sex.

We ask ourselves, How old is that cat?  

Less than 90 seconds separated 1st-3rd in my race.  Here's how it went down:

At 4am, I got up and enjoyed my race-proven, possibly superstitious, sardines and beans breakfast.  That's 3 hours prior to the start.  Failed at more sleep.

530am, warmed up my engines in a hot bath.

615, drove to start with one awesome trophy wife for support.

650, line up in 3rd row.

7, we're off.

705, I'm at least 50 guys back.  Do I like it?  Hell no,  I love it!  I tell myself it's all according to plan.

8ish, no more people are passing me.  I'm settled in, and I ask myself...

Can you ride this pace 2.5 hours from now?... that's about how long it's going to take me to do a lap and be right back here.

I'm also asking myself, Why do I do this?  Why didn't I sign up for the 50 instead of the hundred?  Why am I so slow?  How come that lady, who's my age, on a single-speed passed me? ... because these are the kinds of questions we ask ourselves at this point.

And the answer is always the same: to find out what I'm made of.  Specifically today, I want to see if I can get into Leadville.  That's the same thing at least 100 of the racers want to know. 

90 minutes in and I think I'm on pace, but I'm not sure.  We are starting to shred the amazing single track, and The Old Diesel is in the zone.  All the fools who started fast - too harsh?, no because I've been there many times and will be there again - are starting to come back to papa.  I'm not sure if I'm on track because a fast section I relished has been replaced with a snappy, zigzaggy section.  It adds time, but how much?

2 hours in and a silver fox eases on by on the final climb of each of 2 laps.  He looks awesome, and I'm pretty sure he's around my age.

At about 2 hours 34 min I complete lap 1.  Surfergirl, aka Trophy Wife, is resplendent in her Tour de Donut jersey.  We swap bottles, she jams food in my pocket, I lube my chain - lots of dust and water crossings take a toll up here.

Typical of this style of racing is to form alliances with people about the same speed, trading pulls and chatting a bit.  I rolled with Singlespeedguy from Utah and Mike from Edmonton enough to chat.  The rest either passed me or I passed them too fast.  These alliances break up the mind battle, and really make it fun.

Lap 2, and the answer is YES! I can go as fast as I went the first lap.  In fact, I go about 3 minutes faster.  Some of this is due to holding tight to the reigns on lap 1 and some is that the course is just wide open... nobody to slow me down. So fun!

330 in.  I've got 90 minutes left, and I'm daring to cut loose.  Outta the saddle jamming up the little stuff, and steadily grinding the bigger climbs.  This allows me to use different muscles in my legs. 

Cramps threaten - forgot to mention I pounded a good amount of real pickle juice when I stopped to reload - but yes, cramps threaten and I'm downing Salt Stick chewable tablets.  They abide, and ride like hell.  It's on.

430 in.  I see silver fox... and damn!... another silver fox.  We've got the final, hideous climb... the one I fell over on 6 years ago because both my legs cramped simultaneously - took me 37 minutes that day, the same climb I went hellalot slower on the 2nd lap 3 years ago.  There's no mailing it in today, these two racers are the real deal and I can only hope I don't crack.   

This is what it's all about.  Amir attacked hard, got a decent gap.  I ground on.  It's an undulating climb, and each steep ramp I stood.  We battled, then I slowly opened up my own gap.  There is no way I would have ever ridden that climb that fast, that hard if awesome athletes like these two weren't pushing me.  

I took just over a minute off my PR, 21:26.

Here's the point dear rider:  As a dude, I need these silly contests in my life... cause when all the shiz goes down at work, or things aren't copacetic at home, I can look back at today and remember I can do hard stuff.

_____

All these guys and gals hope they can lottery in to Leadville.

 

These 3 got in

Time to rest, recover, reload


Ride with us: click for info.


ACTUALLY I DID IT...

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

ACTUALLY I DID IT...

NO, SUSIE DIDN'T MAKE ME DO IT, nor the kids dissing. 

Not my moms' (both of 'em) subtle cuts.

Not my boring friends blunt hints hoping to restore my conformity.

That's the kinda stuff that makes me rebel on.  'Cause that's what I am. If I wasn't, I'd be...

golfing
donutting
driving a sedan
riding an electric bike, if ridin' at all

But, that ain't me.
     I did it because I'd done it. 
Same reason I do anything.
     To do it!

What's next!

... just going all freakin' out at Tahoe this weekend.

165.2
10/30
Ride with us: click for info.


TIME TO FIND OUT

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

TIME TO FIND OUT

IT'S TIME TO FIND OUT IF I'M FAST ENOUGH FOR LEADVILLE.  I mean, I think I'm fast enough, but they don't.  Why would they?  They don't follow me around, they don't know the work I've put in.  But, I do.

Today I realized, it's time.  It happened on Harding.  I put down my fastest time this year, and finished it off very strong vs limping in.  I knew right then, it's as good as it's gonna get and I oughta just get it done.

Change of plans.  

I'm going to go back to Tahoe next weekend vs doing the stage race qualifier at the end of the month.  It'll be my 3rd time racing that course.  

My first Tahoe race was terrible.  I cramped so hard I fell over and couldn't get back on my bike.  The second time was magical... I just looked at my splits from that day:  2:26 on the first lap, 2:27 on the second lap.  

I'm banking on magical again... then on to Leadville.

... felt so confident I ate the last donut...

... hope I'm right.

164.6
0/0
Ride with us: click for info.


YOUR 5 BEST FRIENDS

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

YOUR 5 BEST FRIENDS

A LOT OF SMART PEOPLE HAVE NOTED, we are the average of our 5 best friends.  But, due to a bolt falling off my bike today I had a little deeper insight on that subject.

Here it is... 

We are only as good as our network.  In other words, our ability to get things done is determined by how good our network of friends is.

For example, today I'm riding along and a bolt on my spider falls off.  I instantly stopped riding, knowing from previous experience how easy it is to destroy the chainring when a bolt is missing.  I search for the bolt.  No luck.

Call my wife.  No answer.

Call my buddy Justin.  Answer.  Explain.  He'll meet me at bottom of the trail.  He gives me a ride home.

Call power meter dealer I purchased the bolt from.  They're closing early.

Call John at Velofix.  He'll be in the neighborhood.  Stops by and fixes it within 2 hours.

I'd say my network is freakin' awesome.

It's something to think about, right? 
Is my network at work top notch?
Am I cognizant of my kids' (when they were at home) network?
Is my social network uplifting?
etc...

How good are my networks? is worth asking, so is how much value do I bring to my network?

As I write this a massive earthquake, 7.1, hits Ridgecrest CA and rocks us hard in San Clemente.
I hope my network is okay.
I wonder if our 72 hour prep is in place?  Food, yes.  Water, I'm not so sure.

Maybe that's what was meant when He said, Love they neighbor as thyself.

 _____

164.6
10/30
Ride with us: click for info.


IT'S A MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF YEAR

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

IT'S A MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF YEAR

YES, YES, YES... it's that time of the year.  No matter what, there's no way to skip rides now.  The season is on us.  The big events just around the corner.  Now is when PRs are set, podiums are climbed and the victory we are after makes us do things we wouldn't do 6 months ago.

If it's raining, we're going any way.

If we're busy, we're going early.

If it's hot, we deal with it.

If everybody bails on us, we don't care.

Because we know the competition, be it ourselves or our mortal enemy (so dramatic, I know, but for some that's how it is), might skip it... and just knowing we got it done...

GIVES.  US.  SO.  MUCH.  POWER!

... and confidence and fire...

Today, is when our minds get so much stronger.  Sure the body will be a little better from the workout, but the mind... oh, the mind... that's what counts today.

I don't mind, if you skip it... if it's too hard... too early... too time consuming... it's okay.  You rest up.

I'll be riding.


LEADVILLE TRAINING: THE CRAZY TRAIN

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

LEADVILLE TRAINING: THE CRAZY TRAIN

THERE'S A KINDA PACE WHEN YOU RACE LEADVILLE THAT YOU'VE GOT TO FEEL, because your heart and brain are going to lie to you.  It takes more than a few outings to feel it, but when you do... hot damn!

To me it feels like I'm a tank or a loaded semi or a bulldozer or an outta control train... yes a crazy train!

Un.  Flipping.  Stoppable.

 It doesn't happen on the road, because road racing is much more about 1-5 minutes of pain.  It doesn't happen in XC because that's about holding your breath until you heart explodes.  Not gravel because... is that racing? : )

Only at a truly long mountain bike race do I have to become that crazy train.  The training for it goes like this:  Figure out that pace I can hold for hours and hours.  Then train it every Saturday.  That's it.

If I listen to my heart in August, I could completely blow it on the first climb by going out way too fast. I'll be so fresh and antsy.  If I listen to my brain on Powerline I might just pull over and quit.  At Leadville your heart and your brain are your enemy. 

Your friend is that feeling of unstoppable.  Let the kids go hard early, laugh at them when they pull over and puke or quit or cry 6 hours later.

So, when my assignment today was to hammer Harding this morning, I decided to hammer it at Leadville pace.  I wasn't super stoked on my time, 1:10.  It was a minute slower than a few weeks back.  But... here's the kicker.  I took a full 5 minutes off last week's time up Maple Springs, 1 hour flat.. which came after Harding.  Then, I proceeded to keep putting out solid power for the entire 6 hour ride.

62 miles, 10,000' of elevation gain.

Nothing wrong with that.

Every week I'm laying that track, stoking that fire.  The big choo-choo is coming together.  Soon it'll be... 

ALL ABOARD! 

_____
164.2

0/0
Ride with us: click for info.


YEAH BUT YOU'RE NOT

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

YEAH BUT YOU'RE NOT

EVER HAD THIS HAPPEN?

Me:  Hey, I saw So-n-so is doing X.  I'm going to do it.

Them:  Yeah, but you're not So-n-so.

Me in my headDamn right!

Naysayers... what are ya gonna do?  Listen to 'em?  Agree with 'em?  Let 'em bring ya down?

Not me.

The real question is, should they even be part of our future?  It could mean death by a thousand cuts.

Which brings me to that pic above.  I plowed down a local single track . It's overgrown with thistle bushes.  I persisted and pushed until it became impossible, impassable.  

It was a long ways.  
I should have turned back sooner.
But, I hoped it would get better.

Ever hear of old man power?  That's where young guys quit and old guys ride on after riding the youngsters into the ground.  It's not really an age thing, it's an experience thing.  Like me in the thistles.  I rode on.  Way too far.  Because I have old man power.

Is it really for old men?

No.

Old men can do it because they have experience.  Kids don't.  Old men know there's life after pain.  There's strength.  There's confidence.  That pain, makes power.

Which brings me back to the naysayers... the moment you realize they are mental thistles and there's no getting through, turn around... never go back down that trail. 

Only a fool would do that.

_____
165.4

0/0
Ride with us: click for info.


MY MONEY TALKS

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

MY MONEY TALKS

WHEN I TRULY COMMIT TO SOMETHING, I put it on paper.  I write about it every morning.  Then I post it where I can see it.

Advertising works.

I advertise to my mind.  Brainwash myself.  Remind myself.

It's the only way I can get it done, stay the course... keep from freaking out when it actually starts to happen... hope turns to expectation.

So, I made myself a custom RaceDay Wallet.  Because I'm committed to busting a PR at Leadville this year.

Want one for yourself?  Click here.

_____
166.4

20/60
Ride with us: click for info.


THE BEST

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

THE BEST

THE BEST WORKOUT I DID TODAY?  The pullups and pushups... because I hate doing pullups and pushups.  But doing them... 

... when I don't want to makes me stronger, mentally.
... to failure makes me stronger, physically.

The best food I ate last night?  It was not eating the 2nd cookie, skipping the ice cream and still thoroughly enjoying dessert with my family... because I hate skipping the social sweets.  But skipping them...

... when I want to indulge makes me stronger, mentally.
... and that second and third round I skipped makes me strong, physically.

Riding the bike is easy.

Being my best requires more than pedaling.

166.2
20/60
Ride with us: click for info.


THIS AWESOME APP

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

THIS AWESOME APP

THERE'S THIS REALLY COOL APP ON MY CELL.  It's almost as good as a ride with the posse.

It's limited to audio, but it rocks.

Just like when we ride, we can talk.  Actually converse and share stories.  Learn from each other.  Get inspired. Or, just listen when listening is what's needed.  

Better than iMessage, WhatsApp, Messenger, and way better than email.  

The icon is a green square with a tilted C thingy... it's great for the times we can't ride together, I'm trying to use it a lot more.

163.4
11/33
Ride with us: click for info.


WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE BIKE?

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE BIKE?

WHEN SOMEONE ASKS WHAT'S MY FAVORITE BIKE, it's on the heels of do you ride street or dirt.  Yes, of course, before they get to that question I gently correct them and say You mean road or mountain?

My answer?
The short one... always the same.

The bike I'm riding.

My long answer?

It's still the bike I'm riding, but then I'll go deeper.  The last couple of years it's been much more about the road.  My oldest got into road riding and brought me along.  He's out now.  I'm still very in... until lately.  

Looking for a new challenge, I decided to take another run at Leadville - the 100 mile bike race at over 10,000' in Colorado.  I just had to get a new bike.  Oh man, the new MTBs are amazing: faster, lighter, better suspension, better shifting, better, better, better.

I'd forgotten how much better mountain biking is compared to road riding.  The solitude.  The oneness with nature.  The lack of cars and congestion and noise.  The long, long climbs.  The feeling of flying once the bike is pointed downhill.

Yep, mountain biking is my favorite... unless I'm on my road bike, or my gravel bike, or my unicycle, or my motorcycle.

So... what's your favorite bike?

164.4
10/30
Ride with us: click for info.


FEELING IT

TODD BROWN feel fast The RACER's Life

FEELING IT

UGH... IT'S SO DANG EARLY.
I'm staying here.
Under the covers.

It's too cold.
I'm too tired.
I've ridden a lot already this week.

I should have left earlier.
I don't have time to do it all.
I forgot to get my gear ready last night.

Get your sorry butt outta bed.
Right now.
You can rest after the race.

Then you'll...
Feel fast and ride fast
on race day.

... how most mornings start for me.  How 'bout you?

_____
165.4

10/30
Ride with us: click for info.


TRAIN WITH RACE WITH

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

TRAIN WITH RACE WITH

FIVE US HEADED UP TO THE RACES  SATURDAY.  We train together most Tuesday mornings.  All of us managed to climb atop the podium.

Which got me thinking...

We're all on different teams.
We're friends.

Are we weird?

Or, have we figured out some sort of secret sauce?

And what came first?

Do we race together because we train together or do we train together because we race together?

Join us sometime or every time... together we're better... thetmwc.com

_____
166.4
20/60
Ride with us: click for info.


THE BEST TUESDAY OF THE YEAR

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

THE BEST TUESDAY OF THE YEAR

4 MORE WEEKS TO THE BEST TUESDAY OF THE YEAR

You can register here https://replaytiming.com/register/2019-tmwc/  

New for 2019

  1. ​We'll have a KOM from the Start of the El Toro Bike Trail to the Top of Live Oak. We'll time you based on the Winner's Time and based on your Chip Time.
  2. Everybody gets a T-Shirt! If you register by June 10th.
  3. The first 10 U23 Registrants are free!!
  4. The Lottery. You don't have to be fast or slow, you could win The $500 Lottery, or invite someone who wins The Lottery. If you invite The Lottery Winner, you'll be splitting the pot with them. But it doesn't end there...if you are within 5 generation of invites, you'll be sharing the pot.* For example, if I invite Tim, who invites Lori, who invites Pete, who invites Kim, who invites Cheyne, and Cheyne wins The Lottery...we ALL share in the pot.*

    *Note: if multiple people invite the same person, the person the Invitee enters will get the credit.

Any questions can be directed to todd@pedalindustries.com.

We look forward to seeing you!

The PEDAL Industries Team


WHAT THE CALENDAR DON'T KNOW WON'T HURT IT

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

WHAT THE CALENDAR DON'T KNOW WON'T HURT IT

9 DAYS OUT, and I'm fairly pooped.

Calendar says I be racing in 9 days.

Calendar doesn't know I'm gonna sneak in a race on Monday too.

What will that form be then... -1,000,000?

_____
164.4
30/90
Ride with us: click for info.


R IS FOR REGISTRATION

TODD BROWN The RACER's Life

R IS FOR REGISTRATION

REGISTRATION.  The moment of truth.  Before you register the race is just an idea, an I might do.  Which means it's nothing.  It also means if you're talking about it, it's just talk.  Some might even call it BS.

I know this first hand.

This year I had planned to do the Whiskey50.  But, and you might think this is weird, the closer the event got the less sure me going seemed to be.  Right up until the week of the race, when I went to register and it was sold out.

Yep, I was that guy.  A big, fat loser.

You can't win if you're not there.  You can't PR if you're not there.  If you aren't in the race, you're out... you're that guy, too!

Conversely, also on my radar was the Santa Barbara Road Race.  I signed up 2 months in advance.  In this case, the closer the event got the better I got.  My diet was stricter.  My training was better.  It all fell into place and I had a great weekend of racing.

When you register magic happens.  The sooner you register the sooner it starts.  Your focus changes.  It's easier to say no to distractions and yes to what moves you closer to your goal.

To make your registration more powerful, share it with the world.  Post it on social media.  In 2016, I blogged every week about a 200 mile bike race called LoToJa and how I was prepping for it.  Trust me, when you put it out there it is like having a super power.  It takes that initial registration and multiplies the goodness by a million.

But, the real pros... the ones who really know how to harness their ambitions, build a posse.  My posse is my group of friends who I train with.  Not all of the posse race the same races, but that doesn't matter.  What matters is that the posse knows my plans, and I know theirs.  The posse becomes like a board of directors.  We share ideas and secrets.  We plan rides to do.  It's a whole other level of accountability and motivation and fun!

Yes, fun!  In the end, the registration and the sharing and the posse are meant to bring a whole lot more fun to the racing.  The racing is hard.  It takes everything we've got.  Keeping it fun carries us through the challenges and disappointments bound to come our way.

If we weren't challenging ourselves, if we weren't going for it, there wouldn't be any disappointment and there wouldn't be any growth.  We'd be static at best, most likely going backwards in terms our physical abilities.

That is what Registration is all about.  Finding out what we're made of and how far we can go.

What are you registered for?