MY BROTHER RECOMMENDED THE PODCAST BUSINESS WARS. At the end of the saga between Nike and Addidas the narrator concluded with how much better each company has become because of the other.
The are hardly friendly.
In fact, they're ruthless.
The same kind of ruthless my son Trevor was yesterday playing chess. I've practiced for a month. He hasn't looked at a board. It's tax time, and he's a CPA.
I planned to kill him. How better to spend his carefully carved out play time?
I was dead in 60 seconds.
But he was such a graceful killer I didn't care. I could only be proud of his actions and happy for his instincts. Indeed, I was grateful for his taking time out to teach me a lesson.
And yes... I look forward to laying waste to him on our next bike ride.
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THE STORY OF I.M. SMOKED IS A SHORT ONE. It begins on a beguiling Saturday in December, 2017.
Why was it beguiling?
Because, December in Southern California is a beautiful time of year to go for a bike ride: the air is clear and crisp, the sunrise is a little later and the roads are tourist-free. The short days mean there’s pent up energy and fitness for the weekend.
Because, I.M. had a particularly rough week. There was work stress and family stress that needed to be released… and what could be better than a spin with the posse?
And so it began.
The weekly Big Loop, 80 miles and 4000′ of vert.
It started with the fellas riding to meet the Food Park group ride, I.M. and the others moved along at a good clip up the coast. The ocean on the left, the mountains on the right. Normally I.M. would wheel suck all the way up, but not today. Today I.M. was feeling frisky and leading the charge.
The 19 minute majestic ascent to the top of the world was chopped to 17 minutes… PRs for I.M.
Now the Food Park group ride isn’t just any group ride: it’s the most nastiest, the most adrenalinist, the most elbowrubbingist group ride in the county… maybe the state. It started out tame enough this fine morning until the group hit the new Tesla To Tesla Loop.
Previously, Tesla to Church was the most terrible 3 mile segment known to man. It’s not steady, it’s pitchy and will pop a rider off the back quicker than a finger-tweezing teenager in front of a mirror. Terrible, terrible, terrible…
Tesla To Tesla is a whole other kinda terrible: 11 miles with 500′ of gain and a surgey group averaging 25mph.
But, I.M. was still chugging… and truth be told, this is the perfect loop to fit I.M.’s weak super-powers. The runaway train up the canyon was shedding cabooses over every bump, pitch and turn… until it was just the big engine from CBS Cycling and a couple of little engines that could, including I.M. Steam was shooting straight up and bolts were flying off, but they were clear… long gone.
It was the kind of glory only a cyclist in need can appreciate,
Just a few moments at the front of the train,
With the lead cars,
MY SON STOPPED BY TONIGHT ON HIS WAY HOME FROM SANTA MONICA TO HIS IN-LAWS IN TEMECULA FOR A GAME OF CHESS. I said Bring it on, I’ve been playing the best players in the world on Chess.com since you moved and I’m ready to whack you.
That’s the kind of love we share… he drives out of his way to console me and I want to give him a beat down.
There are a number of weaknesses in my BeatMySonAtChess Training Program:
1. I’m playing 10 minute chess, so my moves aren’t too well thought out because we are rushing.
2. In 10 minute chess you can win just be having more men left when time runs out.
3. I rarely win. Mostly I get annihilated by faceless players in the ether, learning nothing in the process.
And that’s why virtual playing is virtually worthless… because my son is a very strategic thinker, with lots of patience, and he can read me like a book when I think I’ve got him cornered.
Tonight he won 2 out of 3 games… which sounds better than he won the two games we played. He told me to take solace in having a smart kid… I never get that kind of wisdom on the app.
If you’re going to be good at racing your bicycle, get out and race.
Zwift is convenient.
Strava is social.
Racing is real.
TO GET FAST, you have to ride slow.
Let your legs spin smooth and free.
Beach-cruisers cruise by.
Skaters skate by.
Walkers walk by.
… and then you’re free to soar,
WANT TO SEE SOMETHING REALLY COOL?… Go shave your legs.
The lower leg is easy, peasy. Just go crazy, whipping that blade quickly up and down.
The upper leg is pretty simple to. You can see 80% of it, and what you can’t see is smooth with no sharp points – like the shin or achilles.
But those knees… oh boy!
Shaving the knees is so revealing. Here you can kinda get a grasp at how marvelous our bodies are: there’s the knee cap that seems to sink as you straighten your leg and rise as you bend it… trying to shave this area is tricky, yet I’ve never nicked myself there. The skin in this area is so pliable and wonderful.
I prefer the shower shave, but when I was a newb I was a bath shaver.
I don’t always shave my legs, but when I do…
… I shave in awe.
IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO PLAN A GREAT RIDE. This year I really wanted to ride Eric’s BLACK FRIDAY ride – 97k of country roads. But, it just wasn’t in the cards.
And, it may happen again.
But, what I’ve found is if it gets on the calendar it’s likely to happen… and epic rides like Eric’s Black Friday need to be on the calendar as early as possible.
So, there… I’ve planned my last big ride for 2018, Black Friday.
The first big ride will most likely be the Santa Barbara Road Race.
Then, HUNKR OC in March.
April is gonna be big: Sea Otter, San Luis Rey Road Race, and possibly Whiskey 50.
May will be CBR.
June will be HUNKR GMR.
July is always the unOFFICIAL TMWC.
Maybe, just maybe, September will be LoToJa.
November the final HUNKR of the 2018 series.
I love having big stuff on the calendar. It keeps me looking forward and keeps me taking care of my body.
Basically, the big stuff makes the small stuff easy…
… and the small stuff makes success at the big stuff more likely…
… like burning off the stuffing and pie.
I HEARD A FUNNY TERM ON THE ASK A CYCLING COACH PODCAST: DAD SPEED.
Dad Speed is what happens to racers when the kids come along. Your slower because cycling is suddenly a lot lower on the priority list.
Single Speed, was in the 20’s for me… and I won a lot of races.
Newlywed Speed was fast, too.
1 Kid Speed, I was still riding with the crew and racing occasionally.
2 and 3 Kid Speed, I still rode socially and tried to stay fit… but I gained weight with every pregnancy.
Teenage Kid Speed, I put that blubber to use and snagged a couple of stars and bars jerseys racing Super-D.
Empty-Nester Speed, has been really fun… there’s so much cycling information to read and listen and learn from, the schedule is mostly wide open, and the CoCo Puffs are gone from the pantry.
Whatever the speed, enjoy the ride.
THERE’S A LOT OF ANGST ABOUT THE INTERWEBS RUINING THE PHYSICAL WORLD, but it aint all bad.
Check it out. We’ve been building two amazing group rides: one for about a year (Big Food Park), and one for 15 years (TheTMWC). Both have them have grown because of the digital connections we can make. Both Facebook and Strava make it easy to share what’s happening in a group, who’s part of the group, and encourage us to join groups.
For us cyclists, this is really cool. We can find rides and be included in groups of like-minded bike addicts. We can easily give each other digital high-fives, share pictures and videos, and include news and comments germane to us.
Are Facebook and Strava altruistic? Not really. They are making money off the service they provide. But, I’m down with that because we are making lasting real-world friendships and connections.
This morning Brennan joined us for the first time..
Hey, I’m Todd.
Nice to meet ya. How’d you hear about our ride?
… and that’s pretty cool.
I GOT WAXED TODAY, NOT THAT KIND… my bike got a brand new, waxed chain from WEND. I picked up the chain when I ran into Ryan Dahl at the Swami’s team meeting. He had a handful of his newest creation and I had to have it. Why, because waxed is faster… watts faster.
He only had a few chains.
They aren’t even available on the website, so I can’t even tell you how to get one.
What I can tell you is this… my chain is a top of the line SRAM chain, professionally stripped and waxed at the WEND factory then shrink-wrapped and sealed.
With some assistance from my friend Jon, we cut the chain to the proper length… It had been a while since I cut a chain and I was a little hesitant, but I’ve decided it’s time to start being more self-sufficient with my wrenching and asked for some help.
Ryan told me it takes a good ride to break in the chain, so I spun 25 miles around town.
One thing I noticed right off is how quiet the chain runs. It’s nearly silent.
What does a waxed chain promise… 2-5 watts in power saved, or 15 seconds in a 40k TT.
Do I need it?… I need every advantage I can find… Don’t you?
HOW THANKFUL WILL YOU BE ON FRIDAY? I know you’ll be grateful tomorrow, you’ll probably post some cool pics with the family out playing or around the table. Lots of us will head to someone kind soul’s home who is willing to host the feast. The rest of us will bring all kinds of goodies… I’m holding out for the trophy wife’s scalloped potatoes.
In the morning, we will get out and ride our bikes… sometimes really far. A good portion of my family will do a Turkey Trot, or go for hike, or a surf session. When we get together, it’s likely there will be some sort of Turkey Bowl where it’s also likely there will be some over stretched hamstrings… we’ve even had an achilles tendon burst.
Then we’ll eat, and talk, and eat, and talk, and eat, and talk… such good and wonderful feelings will be flowing and sharing.
BUT, there’s a good chance that when I jump on the scale Friday morning I’ll be 5 pounds heavier…
… and, I’ll be really grateful Thanksgiving only comes around once a year…
… I hope you’ll join me in a belt-bursting manner, too…
… we’ll all be so grateful!
IT WASN’T REALLY THAT COLD THIS MORNING, BUT IT WAS COLD ENOUGH TO SLUR WORDS.
Brett asked, Where’s Bob Frosty?
Who’s Bob Frosty?
(It’s kinda early for Christmas… well not really… but still, who or what is Bob Frosty?)
Is that the Snowman’s name?
No, you know who I’m talking about… the guy in the red.
In the red?… that’s Santa Claus, not Bob Frosty.
What are you talking about Santa Claus… are we doing a Christmas ride?
No, it’s Thanksgiving this week… and we might do the Harding Turkey Climb.
Yeah, he’s the guy that can climb super fast.
No, Steve Bobrofsky. Where is he?
PETER AND SEAN SPLIT OFF FROM OUR GROUP AT DIFFERENT TIMES THIS MORNING. Each had the same sentiment upon parting, it’s one I share… often, not just on bike rides.
Which way are you heading?
Wherever my bike wants to go.
Peter explained that having no plan is a great way to get to know a city. He’s totally right about that. He also shared that sometimes you find something cool… a view or shop of some sort… only to realized you can’t get there the same way by car.
Roads are awesome and efficient, but they also determine the only way you’re going to see the city or the country side. The paths our ancestors laid down, have become wagon trails and then dirt roads and then paved roads and in some cases highways.
And so, we go on seeing the world as they saw it.
We climb Palomar from the South side or the East side, but we’ll never climb it on a bike from the Southeast because there is no road or trail. Sometimes that’s a great thing, sometimes it’s quite stale.
It is what it is… just remember that it is because someone did it that way first.
I’m reminded of this as I’m guided through the history of science in Bill Bryson’s book, The Short History of Nearly Everything. Standout thinkers, such as Newton, ruled thought for generations until a better thinker came along and gave us a new way to understand just what’s going on here.
It is what it is… just remember that it is because someone figured it out that way first.
Which is why it is so fun to go wherever your bike goes… down a sidewalk and through an alley, on a bike trail to secret beach, and so on… you’re guaranteed to find something most of your friends will never know.
It is what it is… because you figured it out, and now it’s all yours.
One of the things I figured out once was what a pleasant place Kaylani’s is to hang out after a bike ride. The ocean breeze is fresh. An occasional train rolls through picking up and dropping off people so different from me in my lycra. Inside, you’ll find a very non-corporate, non-cookie-cutter experience: coffee and pastries and weird “energy” bars and shave-ice.
It is what it is… because a local family figured out just the things people like me and beachgoers are searching for.
If you don’t go wherever the bike wants to go you risk only see the world through a cars eyes. And sometimes, these treasures like Kaylani’s disappear forever.
It is what it is… let’s just hope Starbucks doesn’t move in.
EVERY NOW AND THEN I COME UP WITH SOME KOOKY BODY HACK TO LOSE WEIGHT. Sometimes it’s something I’ve read or heard about, sometimes it’s just the mad scientist in me. The inspirations generally come in the Fall, when the riding is down and the waistline is widening. It’s this time of year when the weirdness pops up and strikes.
Previous hacks include:
The Excedrin PM Diet – eat normally* and take a few PMs around 9 to knock yourself out and not be getting up to eat in the middle of the night.
The Drink A Lot of Water Diet – drink enough water and you end up eating less because sometimes you think you’re hungry when your actually thirsty.
The Yogurtland Diet – eat normally during day, have a tiny dinner with a trip to Yogurtland as a reward.
The Sardines and Beans Diet – start the day off with a can of sardines and 1/2 a can of black beans… the key is to go big protein to get the day started.
The King-Queen-Prince Diet – this is a giant breakfast, decent lunch and puny dinner before 7… this is probably the healthiest and the one I fail at most easily.
The Salad For Dinner Diet – eat normally and have a giant salad for dinner… I like this one the most, but I’m lazy and don’t always want to make a giant vegetable salad.
New for 2017… The Haagen Dazs Diet – giant bowl of oatmeal with nuts and fruit for breakfast, mid-day snack, El Pollo Loco Leg Lovers around 3pm, and a pint of Haagen Dazs just before bed.
*eat normally means eating non-processed food as much as possible.
Don’t laugh, they all work.
They may not be healthy,
But they sure are fun.
YA GOTTA BE A REAL SICKO TO RIDE AT NIGHT, RIGHT? I’m not talking about commuting home after a long day working for the man, but rushing home from work – or even stopping on the way home – to throw on the kit and head out into the dark. On your bike. With lights.
Who else would do that but a deranged person? You’ve got to be von-whack.
Until you give it try, then you know what crazy really is.
Crazy is skipping a ride because your tired.
Crazy is what you get if you don’t ride that work stress away.
And so, The Bee Gees NIGHT FEVER played in my head tonight… not that I could remember any of the lyrics besides the most important ones:
Here I am,
prayin’ for this moment to last,
livin’ on the riding so fine,
borne on the wind,
makin’ it mine.
I HAVE TOES, AND I HAVE A NOSE. You probably do, too. Are yours like mine?
If my toes are cold, my nose is cold.
If my nose is cold, it runs.
It’s my body part’s way of saying… Get warm ya big goof, we’re freezing! And, if you’re not careful we’re all gonna be sidelined with a cold.
Southern California cold, like down in the 40’s, is when my toes start to hurt and ache and burn and complain and whine… That’s when I bust out the toe warmers. (This, of course, will be an outrage to my Northern friends… and hopefully a subtle invite to get your toes down here.)
Toe warmers might be a misnomer, because they are really shoe covers that protect the leading edge the hammers at the end of my legs (aka my shoes). They don’t actually warm each toe individually with a tiny electric blanket. But, because I have these awesome racing shoes with incredible ventilation…
I don said warmers,
to do said warming,
which is just what said toes,
said they needed this morning.
Save the dates: HUNKR 3/17, 6/9, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10
IT’S JUST HARD WORK, that’s all Bro.
A super-bike will help, but not without hard work.
Good genes are important, but not without hard work.
A coach can assess and advise, but it’s worthless without hard work.
A book can teach you what to do, but it’s a paperweight without hard work.
Getting out and riding is fun, but winning – however you define that – is more fun…
… because you finally see the inevitable result of all that hard work…
a hard climb made easy
a spot at the front
Save the dates: HUNKR 3/17, 6/9, 11/10 – TMWC 7/10
HOW YA BEEN? SAME OLD, SAME OLD. On my ride today, I asked that, and got that, multiple times: with young Nico, French Steve, fast Chris and a few others. It’s cross-generational and cross-continental… but, what does it mean?
Is it… I have so much going on I don’t even know where to start… and we are going way too fast to even start.?
Or… the truth? You can’t handle the truth!?
I hope it’s… same old amazing life as our last chat.
Because today was amazing in our parts. Warm, clear, sunny. And… y’all seemed real happy, too. From catching up with Mike and Chris on PCH to the Food Park “social ride” to the happening scene at Kaylani’s.
Lots of smiles, everywhere.
Smiles I needed, and hoped to find.
Same old smiles as last time,
I LIKE RIDING MY BIKE ACROSS BRIDGES, getting from one side to the other. Little wood bridges, ladder bridges, walking bridges, bridges with cars, I like them all.
On the bridge, the sound of the bike changes.
The bigger the bridge, the better view of where you’ve been and where you’re going.
And then you’re there.
On the other side.
WITH NUMBERS LIKE THESE AN EARTHLING SHOULD BE FLYING ON A BICYCLE: 6′ 2″, 130 lbs, and his Hematocrit (Hct) level is 58.6.
But, he’s not.
He’s not 25.
He’s 82, and he’s laying in a hospital bed, worn out from a 7 year battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Because his muscles are constantly moving he can’t keep weight on. He’s so weak, he can’t swallow on his own. My heart ached as he struggled and cried when the feeding tube was put in place. He’s not a lean, mean machine… he’s skin and bones.
His Hct is super high because his bones are over producing red blood cells. Rather than bounding up hills endlessly, he’s slowly coming to the end.
He’s actually not 6′ 2″ anymore, and I’m not thrilled to be taller than him now.
He’s my dad.
He’ll never ride a bike again,
he may never walk again…
on planet Earth.
SHANE AND I HAVE BEEN HAVING EPIC BATTLES ON THE CHESS BOARD. It’s tense. Dead silent. Massive amounts of sugar burning between our ears. If there’s one thing I’ve learned lately, it’s to focus less on my next move and more on his.
Of all the the bicycle racing I’ve done – road, cross county MTB and Super-D – road is definitely the most like chess. It’s much more strategic, and rarely does the fastest guy win.
You’ve got to be lucky.
But more than lucky,
you’ve got to be wily.
And all wily’s synonyms:
You’ve got to fake tired when fresh, fake strong when weak. You’ve to pull your unfair share. My friend Fritz would never race with a clear bottle because he didn’t want anybody to know how much fluid he had left. There are a million little tricks a wily rider will use to beat you.
The most wily of riders have an uncanny ability to be in just the right spot when it counts. You maybe be a better climber, but they’ll somehow breakaway before the climb and beat you. You may be the best sprinter, but somehow they’ll be on your wheel and come around you right on the line. You may be the best _____, but somehow you’re going to get out maneuvered.
I had Shane backed into a corner tonight. I could see the one move I needed to make with my queen to finally beat him. I moved in for the kill… but somehow he knew what I was going to do and killed my queen with his horse. Game over.
Tonight I missed his horse,
In a few weeks, I’ll be missing him and Abbey when they move out.
What are you missing?