TWO WEEKS IN A ROW, and two outta town visitors spent the night and joined the craziness.
Our kinda craycray.
Up at 5am.
Out the door at 538.
Lights on. Bottles loaded. Into the dark and cold.
Because how else are we going to find the time required to be fast? Where else are we going to link up with riders of such high caliber? What else would we rather do?
Stay in our cozy beds?
Get our beauty sleep?
It's not for everybody.
It's for us.
Who else would plan such a destination vacation?
IT WASN’T MUCH OF A START. In fact, I missed the start altogether. At least, the trail was clear. Soon, I started passing people.
I could see my buddies way ahead of me.
Then I couldn’t.
I’d taken a wrong turn. Ugh.
The first of 7 laps, and I’d already given up 5 minutes.
But I started to settle in… to find my endurance pace. And that was the point: to see if I had the kind of endurance I once did… the endurance I’d need to qualify for Leadville, and then set a PR there.
As of today, I have 16 weeks to prep for the Tahoe 100... where I plan to qualify for Leadville... and 4 weeks later it'll be on f'reals.
What did I learn from today?
- My MTB handling skills are rusteeeeee. I was on the brakes too much, fighting the bike too much. Good news is my upper body is actually pretty strong from all the push ups and pull ups.
- I have the endurance, but my speed needs some work. I kept my heart-rate at a steady 160ish bpm. Never cramped. More speed will come with dropping a few pounds, and riding off road a lot more. My food strategy of 2 scoops of GQ6 and dried figs to snack on was perfect.
- Black Magic, my hardtail, needs to move out to make room for a full-suspension XC racer. My back was KILLING me when I was done. Could be partly the 175mm cranks vs the 172.5s on my road and gravel bikes, but I think it was mainly due to the pounding.
How’d I wind up today? Pretty dang great... passing almost everybody and winning my age group. That was nice, but I was more impressed with my steady lap times which were all around 28 minutes.
Oh, and remember the 7 laps?… well, I did do 7 but my age group only did 6. So, I guess there’s a 4th thing I learned:
- Be prepared. Ready to start on time. Know the course.
Here we go!
Got a chance to meet the Stonehaus crew in person and deliver the team's RaceDay bags.
Specialized raffled off a sweet hardtail for the Juniors
I don't know the answer... but it would be great to do the podiums right when the race ends for everybody to be there.
This tri-tip was amazing!
... after the grillin' it was great to be chillin'... what a spectacular day!
TODAY'S RIDE WAS A LOT LIKE PLANKING. It didn't start out that way. I thought I'd be home early with the rest of the crew. But, it was the first warm day in months and I had no need to get back.
Plus, when I thought of my boys hiking 24 miles up to the top of Saddleback and back today... I knew I had to go big.
So, after slaying the Saturday Hour of Power with my local posse I headed on up to catch CV (another fast group ride). There's nothing better than surfing from group ride to group ride and seeing all my pals.
Sooner than I'd have liked I was popped and knew it was time to start the long journey home.
The miles clicked by. Did a mental calculation that it'd be my usual 85sh. Thought, why not push on through to a 100.
That last 15... sheesh... it was like planking and watching the clock.
I've built my planking up to 3 minutes this year, but the only way I can do it is to turn on a movie and set an alarm for 3 minutes and try and forget about it. When I started planking, I'd watch the timer... I'd be all shaky and quivery and quit after about 30 seconds.
There I was, one mile from home and 15 miles to go. What to do?
First, I was bonking as I hadn't planned to ride more than 50 today, and I hit Surfin' Donuts. 3 miles done.
Second, rode the scenic route back towards home. 9 miles done.
Third, did meaningless laps through the local church parking lots and neighborhoods.
Those miles slowly clicked over.
Garmin and Training Peaks affirmed the effort. Strava says I need more.
ONE OF THE FEW THINGS I LIKE ABOUT DAYLIGHT SAVINGS is that we take a little break from some rides which go dormant with the dark afternoons. Around here, where it's summer 90% of the time it's good to change up the monotony.
But, the break is over and tonight was the first ride of the year for The Market Ride.
The Market Ride has a long, long history of going very, very hard every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon during Daylight savings time.
It was great to see a lot a crew I hadn't seen for 5 months.
One of the guys fell off his bike, which sucked... and I'm/we're all hoping he's okay. After a few minutes of bone-checking an unprofessional assessment most of us got back at it.
Spring is coming!
WONDERING HOW YOU'RE GONNA FIT THE NEXT RIDE IN?
Try this: OTDITM
You know what time you need to be on life's clock, so work backwards and set your clock.
I knew I needed to be strapped to my desk at 8am today. I reversed out my short commute, breakfast, shower, reading, ride and settled on 6am.
Then, I practiced the art of OTDIT (Out The Door In Ten Minutes). To do it, I had to do some prepping.
Bike was ready, next to the front door; same for the helmet, shoes and glasses.
Clothes were laid out in the bathroom.
Bottle was in the cage.
I used to do this all the time, but I've gotten soft and lazy. It was a convo with my son last night that reminded me of how I did it all when the kids were still around. When time with them was so precious.
At 610 I was riding. Went through the elementary school, over the bridge, not a soul around at the start... like zombies they slowly joined the rising sun.
But, by then, I was done.
Gonna keep on nailing.
3 10 MINUTE CLIMBS, 3 PRs... SHOULD I BE SURPRISED? Maybe, but I was hoping for results like that.
Because normally I hit these climbs after doing a lot more work before I get there.
Alta Vista is typically on the menu after scorching Food Park.
Newport Coast we usually hit after an hour of pretty decent tempo, and then we go another 7ish minutes to the top... but, today's assignment was 10 minute climbs.
And PID... we'll I don't think I've ever hit with less than 50 miles and poop load of Zone 5 in my legs.
Being fresh for those climbs made a huge difference today. But, it wasn't just the easy riding between each effort. Training Peaks had my Form at 8 - not the highest, but certainly indicating a good results were possible.
Do I want to go back and do it again?
Bring on new challenges!
THE MOST INFLUENTIAL MOVIE OF MY TEENAGE YEARS WAS BIG WEDNESDAY. Released in '78, the same summer I could finally drive myself to San Clemente to surf... cool was never cooler than played by Jan Michael Vincent.
So, when I learned JMV had passed away I dove into the interwebs to see what'd be said. Lots of movies and parts to his credit, but not a whisper about Matt Johnson, Big Wednesday's surf legend.
And it got me wonderin'... what will we be known for?
All the Strava cups and real medals earned are nice, but in the end it's the impact we make on each other riding through life that matters.
Ride on Matt, Ride on JMV, Ride on.
You gave me courage and desire to ride big waves... and later to ride big mountains on wheels.
WE DON'T HAVE CUSTOMERS.
Yes, we do.
No, we don't. We have a posse.
We aren't into one-time transactions.
We are planning to ride together forever.
When things go sideways and when things are great, the posse lets us know.
We got each other's backs.
Do you want to be a customer, or do you want to be part of a posse?
THE SKILLS NEEDED TO GO FAST ON A BIKE MAY NOT BE WHAT YOU THINK THEY ARE.
The number one skill is time management. Putting in the time, means finding the time. If you need to get up early, do it. If you need to ride the trainer at night, do it.
Number 2 is commitment. Commit to riding no matter what. It's cold, go ride. It's dark, go ride. Nobody else is going, go ride.
Number 3 is friendship. Find your posse. Inspire each other. It's a heck of a lot easier to get out there if you know the rest of the kids are gonna meet ya at the corner.
Number 4 is keep it fun. No matter what. Ride a wheelie. Stop for a Coke.
IF YOU'RE TRAVELING TO A RACE THERE ARE A FEW THINGS YOU CAN DO TO SPIKE YOUR CONFIDENCE. My favorite, was actually shocking today. In fact, my heart skipped a beat. Such was my concern.
Exiting the shower I turned to face a full body mirror... only it wasn't my body.
I know I've dropped about 8 lbs since last year, but the stick creature staring back at me looked more like a resident of Pandora.
So yeah... stay at a foofoo hotel with skinny mirrors to get your climbing on!
THERE SHE WAS, ALL OF 4 1/2 FEET TALL, MOM BACKING HER UP. Would you like some Girl Scout cookies?
I'd been prepping for this day. After many near misses at the grocery store, here I was face to face with the most powerful sales force in America.
Who would win?
I almost choked trying to spit our my prepared speech.
Oh darling, I'm allergic to cookies.
The beaming smile flattened. Mom frowned, she knew. I could hear her inner thoughts: scumbag!
But, it's true... I am allergic to cookies.
Every time I eat one, I get fat.
And the Thin Mints... forget eating one, I eat 'em by the sleeve.
And I'm racing this weekend.
And the season is on.
And I worked so hard to shed 8 lbs this winter.
THERE'S JUST A HINT OF SUMMER IN THE AIR. I know it's early, but it's there.
How long until the summer scorchers have us longing for winter?
We're excited to be working with the Aevolo Cycling team while they compete at the Tour Colombia. They are competing alongside six WorldTour teams, seven Pro Continental teams, 12 Continental teams, and three national teams.
Before and after the races, they use one of our custom designed RaceDay Bags to prep and organize their cycling gear. Shop and learn for yourself why we're trusted by pros: bit.ly/RaceDayBags
Pictures were taken by Tosh Clements
WHAT YA READ IS NOT A TEST...
I was geeked up, pumped up, ready to rip.
Bikes loaded, boys loaded, on a trip.
Truck bouncin', phone bouncin', hit the road.
Turn around?, say what?!
We ridin', not callin'.
NOTHING SAYS LOVE LIKE A VALENTINE'S DONUT... and the fact that she didn't get one for me says even more. It says she gets me.
WE WANT TO CHANGE YOUR WORLD WITH MOD. MOD is Made On Demand. For you, that means no more minimum orders and no more long lead times. Just go into the store we create for you and order gear as you need it.
Where do you manufacture? We make almost everything right here in the USA, most of it in sunny CA.
How long does it take? Generally, production requires 3-4 weeks. Sometimes faster, rarely slower.
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How is pricing determined? Together, we'll forecast with you the volume of products your team will purchase throughout the year then we'll set your pricing. If you go beyond the forecast, we'll refund the difference to the early purchasers.
What is the minimum quantity needed to get going? Just one item. Need 1 jersey, order it.
What kind of materials do you use in your kits? We use the finest Italian fabrics and pads, and the best YKK zippers.
If you're ready or have questions, click here.
REMEMBER WAY BACK TO YESTERDAY WHEN I BRAGGED ABOUT HOW GRITTY WE (YOU AND ME) ARE? Well, check out my morning.
1. Still super exhausted from Saturday's Rock Cobbler.
2. Leave house 4 minutes late.
3. Get 5 minutes down the road and cleats will not engage... Tell me why??????... oh, yeah, Thursday I crammed them full of muddy clay and it hardened in there.
4. Back home for 20 minutes of surgery.
5. Leave again... now 30 minutes late.
6. Hustle, and start making all the short cut calculations... cut through golf course, skip Melinda, make light at Marguerite...
7. As I'm rolling past Rock N Road I see a group turn the corner. It's just the right size I can't tell if it's the A group or the B... but, I miss the light and have to wait.
8. Catch Dan on bike trail. A or B, I gasp. A. Ugh (A's are chasing B's... and I'm escrewed).
You may be wondering why didn't I stay in bed to begin with... it was 39 and dark and I was tired?
Because of that previous post.
Why didn't I go back to bed when I came home vs shoe surgery?
Because of that darn post.
Why didn't I just do my own ride vs chasing all morning?
Because of that post.
Why do we do what we do?
Because we've got grit!
... and hope. I was hoping I'd make up the 4 minutes, I was hoping the cleat fix would be quick, I was hoping I'd make all the lights, I was hoping I'd catch... and eventually I did catch Dan and then my neighbor Mike who'd flatted... and so, Mike and I and Isaac finished it up strong, and then Mike and I rolled home and caught up on life.
... another great ride!
(yes, this is worth your time)
I KEEP HEARING ABOUT GRIT, that it's grit that makes the difference between success and failure.
Looking at tomorrow's once again dark and cold start, I know I'll be among the few with the grit to do it.
Habit. For sure, that's a big part.
Results. I prefer the result of riding vs not riding.
The sunrise... is there anything better?
10 MINUTES BEFORE THE START OF THE ROCK COBBLER IT STARTED TO SPRINKLE. In unison, the temperature began dropping. I ripped off my jersey threw on a base layer.
The sprinkle turned to drizzle. Back to the van. Off with the jersey and base layer, on with the vest.
I rode 100 yards to the Start area.
Now it was raining. Dark, full clouds lie ahead. I'm freezing.
Back to the van, again. Off with the vest, off with the jersey, on with the base layer and jersey and vest.
It's all of got...
... and I can hear the singer giving it all she's got...
... and the hommmmmmme, of theeeeeeee, BRAAAAAAAAVE!
A yank the van door shut, hide the key, jump on HVY MTL, and catch the group as it leaves Lengthwise Brewery.
It's 42 degrees, raining, I'm basically wearing underwear, the group is barely moving during our 14 mile neutral roll out. I start to shiver. The bars shimmer.
Is this brave or stupid? It's the Rock Cobbler 6.0... and it's exactly what we all signed up for: an adventure, a test, a tour... through beautiful open country, accessible only because Sam Ames makes it happen.
We finally survived the neutral, got up to speed, and hit the first long climb. The day before, when I test rode it, it was dry and hard and slippery. I thought a light rain would help. Ha!... it was slop. While I cleaned it many were already walking.
... and I was warm, finally!
I was about 30 guys back. Little groups of 3-5 guys slicing fast gravel and single track for the next hour. We could all see each other, and where to go.
(NOTE: when gravel racing, part of being prepared... of being "pro"... is downloading the map onto your Garmin. I did not do this. I will never skip this step again.)
About this point we took a narrow, shallow tunnel under a highway. Into the daylight, the guy ahead of me turned left. Just like the guy ahead of him, and the guy head of him... I have a maxim: the closer we get to the finish line, the dumber we get... and the left turn was a perfect example.
We raced on... up a hike-a-bike so steep I locked my brakes then pulled myself up a few steps. It was brutal. My calves burned. Lots of guys were collapsed at the top, a number of others scraping mud off their bikes so their wheels would spin.. the aid station guys didn't seem surprised to see us. They should have been. I refilled a bottle and got going.
There probably isn't a funner section of racing anywhere than down the slot canyon with huge banked turns that led us to the pavement.
We got a train of 4 guys, started swooping more guys, and barreling back towards Bakersfield. Full gas!... when some hill billy in a pick up rips past us, slams on his brakes, jumps out and starts yelling. I'm thinking, great a kook that wants off the road... but he's yelling, you're going the wrong way, turn around. We didn't hear that though and kept riding. He speeds past us and does it again. We can't believe it. Crest fallen, we turn the train around. We chug, neither speeding up nor slowing down.
We yell at the other groups still heading the wrong way... eventually we get back on course and just deal with it. We're about a half hour behind schedule.
It's a cow trail, above the mighty Kern river... a known killer in the spring and summer, a timid friend today. It's green and lush and slippery. In some places the trail is a foot wide, and 15' straight down into the drink.
I love it. This is my kind of riding. I forget about the extra miles and get back to racing. My buddies from home, Tim and Jeff, and I are up to full speed. The mud is real: thick and slow; then, sandy and gritty; fast and splashy. So fun!
The next aid station we are begging for lube. None. But, plenty of food. Tim whips out a teency, tiny lube sampler and saves us. Many people at this point bail out. Their bikes a barely working, the legs are gone.
We get on with it, and I'm so glad. Sure, we had a hideous 20 minute brutal climb. Many pitches to steep to ride. Mud sticky enough to pull your shoes off. But sooooo worth it.
Beautiful green pastures. Cows. Streams. Earth at it's best!
And it's getting warmer and dryer. It hasn't rained for 2 hours. This is the desert, and it's going to get faster every single minute.
I summit by myself. Blow through the aid station the bottom of a Dolomiti-like road descent, start up the next climb where I see a group of 10 about 2 minutes up the road.
It's Diesel time!
15 minutes later, after surfing through their shelled riders I catch.
There's still a lot of road and gravel and single track and whoops to go, but I'm able to recover a bit and eat. My buddy Q is here. It's a good group riding at a fast clip.
I know what's ahead. They don't. I've done it. They haven't. They're going to. I'm not.
It's the terrible hike-a-bike us rookies already did.
They head for it, I head for the finish. It's still 20 miles away, and the 84 mile ride I signed up for is going to wind up being 96.
Would I do the Rock Cobbler again? For sure... with the map on my Garmin.
A few tips: download the course so you have it - can't say this enough; bring extra lube; spray non-stick spray on your pedals, shoes and parts of your frame the collect mud... I'm sure next year will be totally different and I'll have all new mistakes to learn from.
I'VE BEEN WANTING TO DO THE ROCK COBBLER FOR YEARS... Sam is known turning the fun up to 11.
Wade suggested I reset my expectations to entertainment... be prepared to be bombed by beach balls.
Dave said to spray my shoes and pedals and down tube with non-stick spray... that mud and those hikes are real.
Tim and Chris said they're just here for the miles... its Tim's 5th and Chris' 1st.
I checked out the first miles today... straight up!
What have I gotten myself into?