THERE I WAS, SHAKING DOWN HVY MTL BEFORE SATURDAYS ROCK COBBLER. It had all gone so well.
Chain was quiet.
Paint was sparkly.
Had to go all terrain to do it right. Hit some pavement, hit some gravel, hit some chunky asphalt, hit some dirt.
But, the dirt was sticky. Not too sticky, just sticky enough to give my treads a light glaze of brown.
As I climbed along the final dirt pitch, I could see in my mind the other side. It was steep, the rain for sure would have dug some deep grooves. I'd have to bunny hop a bit. The big question was the 50' of flat from the bottom of the hill to the pavement.
How bad could it be?
The grooves turned out to be more trench-like. I worked my way jumping and sliding quickly. I could see the flat section. Smooth as can be.
I pinned it... full speed... I got it, I got it, I... the pinning turned to spinning... harder, faster became deeper... and stuck.
New shoes ankle deep in California clay... almost lost 'em.
Turns out this was a good thing... I double checked the weather for Saturday: rain from mid-night so sunrise. I called Super Dave, who's raced it many times...
Bro, will road shoes work at The Cobbler.
No, way... BWR yes... but, Cobbler has a solid hike-a-bike.
He gave me three more solid tips to make it through this crazy course Sam has cooked up.
... I can smell the mud from here... mmmmmmmmmm
THIS MUST BE WHAT MONTY HALL FELT LIKE... her shock, way back on Christmas Day; then her joy today, when it was finally ready for a ride.
It'd been years since her last new road bike... which was preceded by the arrival of Trevor, making us a party of 3.
Oh, there had been plenty of mountain bikes and motorcycles and surfboards during that time... as well as our party growing to 5 with Shane and Shelby.
But, no road bikes.
It was probably my doing... we lived in a mountain bike mecca and that's all I rode for years.
Then, I got into the road scene via Trevor's passion for it.
He got out of it, I stayed fully immersed... loving it.
She didn't seem to care.
Did she mind being a road widow?
Didn't seem like it... but, I'm a dude... and dudes can be sooooo clueless.
The last month has been like watering a dry plant.
I may not be the be the quickest of riders,
but, I got this one right.
IN THE MIDST OF ALL THE CHAOS LIFE SERVES UP, there waits our humble bike.
Through launching a career or business, starting a family or raising teenagers, caring for each other or an elderly parent, in good times and bad times... it waits.
Sometimes, too long.
Tires get splashy, or flat.
Chain gets stiff, or rusty.
The helmet and shoes dusty, or lost.
The gear buried, or given away.
But that bike, it waits.
Like an old dog, we can't give it away. Not while it longingly looks up and hoping today's the day we get back outside... escape the garage... and put a great big giant smile on my master's face.
In the midst of it all, when it's all a little too much...
... go ride your bike.
I DON'T ALWAYS BONK, BUT WHEN I DO... sometimes it's a work.
I just get jamming, and in the zone, and "lunch time" passes by... and then it's mid-afternoon or later... and I'm hungry like a wolf!
More of the time I've got a bar or two stashed in my desk or glove compartment.
Just another reason to be grateful to be a bike rider.
Am I weird?
Will it be an adventure?
Will we be tested?
Will we meet some cool people?
Will it require our best?
Will we make a difference in someone's life?
Will we learn a ton?
Will it be fun?
Will we go fast?
Will it be dangerous?
Will we need new skills?
Will it be unpredictable?
Will it change us?
THEY SAY EVERY RIDER SHOULD HAVE ALL THE BIKES HE OR SHE NEEDS, plus one more. Or something like that.
But, what if we had N - 1.
What if there was always a need for one more bike?
Oh... right... that's exactly how it is.
Right now my "- 1" is a full suspension XC racer. I'm feeling a need to get back to the dirt, back to my roots.
How 'bout you?
COVER YOUR EYES KIDS... sometimes mommy and daddy aren't getting along, and then someone eventually tosses an olive branch, and soon enough sparks are flying like never before... but, that's not how it works in a pace line.
Look, I know you've been skipping pulls. Everybody in the pace line does, and nobody is happy about it.
Don't make it worse!
Don't wander up to the front and think, Well I feel pretty good now that I've rested I better make up for it by doing a monster pull. Doing a big, long, fast pull will not ingratiate yourself. It's not make up sex... it's more like, well... I don't know exactly... but, I do know you're going to tick everybody off with these shenanigans.
Roll through like the gentlemen or lady you think you are... take a normal pull... slot back in... and do it again and again and again...
Eventually, we'll forget and forgive your previous misdeeds. That's how to kiss and make up in a pace line.
PS... no, this isn't about you... 'cause I know you, you think it's you, but it's not you... it's someone else : )
HEY MAN, YOU GOING IN LATE TODAY OR TAKING THE DAY OFF?
Going in late.
Cool. We never get you on this ride.
He neglected to mention it was his birthday! Somebody who knew happybirthdayed him.
Yeah, Happy Birthday man! You really going into work?
Well, can't think of a better way to start the day off!
WE MAKE NEARLY ALL OUR GEAR IN THE U.S. of A 'MERICA! It's freakin' awesome. We have so much more flexibility as a manufacturer of custom products than we did when were offshoring.
Which for me, personally, is hellavalotta fun!
And, for our customers, hellavalotta convenient.
It's more fun because it's so much easier to create new products, control quality. There's nothing like hands on. Plus, we're employing Americans.
It's more convenient because our design team is here. Customer's team stores never close now. They can order 1 thing or a 100. And get their orders in less than 4 weeks.
WHEN I'M RACING I LOVE WORTHLESS DATA. I don't use a power meter, but I do use h.r.. But, I don't... when I'm racing any way. I used to.
Now, I prefer nonsense.
Before nonsense, I would toss the Garmin into my back pocket.
Now... give me the weather.
Whether or not...
if I can't keep up, what's the point of knowing?
Do or do not...
Rather than think of all the pain, or how intense the effort is...
In a road race, nothing matters...
Except being the last guy to lead.
OVER THE YEARS, I'VE BEEN TO A LOT OF RACES. I've always wanted to do what I did today, but had never done it.
It's always been...
Go to my race, go home.
Go to my race, hang out for a bit, go home.
But, today it was...
Be the first one at the venue... because I spent the night there. Watch a few races. Do my race. Watch the rest of the races. Catch up with a lot of my friends I don't see often enough.
It was fun to see so many people having fun racing bicycles. More than just my peers. From what I could tell all got their money's worth. They were challenged. Some won. Most didn't. But, it didn't seem to matter.
One of the winners was my friend Doug. He took off on the last lap, the same exact spot he took off on 2 years ago. That time we caught him about 30' before the finish line. Today when he jumped ahead of the group, I was hoping he'd make it... granted, we raced in a combined race today and we weren't in the same group otherwise I met have felt different... but, to his credit, he went for it. Did a massive solo attack with about 5 miles to go and made it stick.
Personally, I had a great day. After being sick last week, and not being able to ride much I was not sure how I'd do. My strategy was pretty simple... wait until the last possible second, then go. It worked pretty darn good.
My buddy Dave Letttieri, finished right behind me. Woulda been even cooler if he'd been able to stick around for the photo.
TOMORROW WE RACE.
It'll be a gun fight for sure.
A few will draw early, only to miss wildly.
A few more will shoot out the back due to simple physics.
Then the rest will draw and fire.
One will hit the mark.
It's 1/3 to 1/2 a mile to the finish, depending on where the line is... up a hill that hits 11% mid-way, then backs off to nearly flat.
Lap 3, it's probably all back together.
Lap 2, multiple breakaways will be attempted.
Lap 1, most likely feeling things out.
Neutral roll out down the hill we finish on.
For me it'll be 3 laps - 42 miles. About 2 hours.
Preceded by a solid night of sleep.
On a belly full of tacos.
IT HAPPENED TO EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US. We got on a bike. Liked it. Rode the next day... a little faster, a little further. For the next 50 or so rides we were better every single time.
We were going pro!
Eventually things leveled off.
These are the things that keep us hooked.
I GUESS WE HAVE 3 LOOPS ON OUR TUESDAY RIDE NOW: A, B AND F.
The B loop is our original, amazing 20.67 mile course that has 2000' feet of elevation gain.
The A loop, has a little extra credit that adds about a mile with a couple of stiff little pitches.
The F loop.
Today was very windy, pretty cold and definitely dark.
We had 3 riders on the B loop, down about 90%. 12 riders on the A loop, down about 15%. And, about 35 riders on the F loop, up about 1,000,000%.
The F loop is that loop you do when you get out of bed realize it's windy, cold and dark and Fall back in bed... because Fair weather will be back soon.
How would you grade your loop today?
TWO THINGS YOU CAN BANK ON WITH AGE: some will continue to dream and hope, some will give up.
Over here we keep dreaming, and making dreams come true.
Rolling into 2019 a big part of our dream has been put into place... we can now manufacture all our cycling gear in under 4 weeks, with no minimum, in the USA. Something we've worked on for a solid year.
We keep putting the pieces in place, and I'm more excited than ever about what's going on at PEDALindustries. So much more to do.
On the fitness side, I dreamt last year I could roll into '19 at my college weight on 162. 10 lbs shed and holding very steady.
Every day I pray our family will be close and continue growing and learning and loving. Every day is like a dream.
What does 2019 hold? In years past, I've crafted it all on MLK Day... my favorite holiday!... but, this year I'm going deeper and clearer... should be done in about a week.
Are you a dreamer?
WE GOT THIS SATURDAY RIDE THAT KICKS @$$... we don't always ride it, but when we do... damn I'm happy. Happy to see the boys. Happy to see the beautiful coast. Happy to know it's gonna hurt.
It's got everything
A 3.5 mile, 1000' climb up NPC
Skimming the Back Bay.
Hooking up with the Food Park hammers.
Shattering speed on Hwy 133.
Punishing power climbs through Aliso.
Soft pedaling PID, just for fun.
But, the best part is it's got the boys. Our band of brothers. Slaying dragons for our families, batting life's twists and turns together... letting loose for a few hours together as the sunrises.
It's the boys ride: https://www.strava.com/routes/16848778 ... join us some time.
SOMETIMES I'M JRA, MAKING AN EFFORT TO KEEP THE HR LOW AND MY MIND WANDERS... I start thinking of the next race or next time I'll be in over my head on a group ride or maybe even reliving an unpleasant experience and bam!
...my heart rate shoots up 10-20 beats a minute...
way out of my zone
But, nothing is like the start line of an actual race. Road isn't too bad, a crit is a little worse, but an honest XC race is unbelievable. My heart rate will be 120+ bpm, and I'm doing nothing. Trying to act cool, like no big deal.
... Just in my head?
taking me out of the zone...
IF YOU COULD BE GOOD AT ONE THING ON A BIKE WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Valverdeing? You know, that thing where you don't do any work then out of nowhere you snag the V.
Saganing? You know, otherworldly bike handling skills.
Frooming? You know, looking like a praying mantis while actually preying on the lessor ectomorphs.
Schurtering? You know, dominating MTB for years.
Youing? You know, just being your awesome best self.
STRAPPED INTO MY SWIVEL CHAIR EARLY. Plan was to grind hard and be done by 3 because that's when the mostlytrusty weather app said it'd be clear.
But, sometimes the grind goes a little long.
We, you and me, we aren't afraid of long hours or riding in the dark - bring it.
But me, and maybe you, call it quits when the socks are soaked and the crack is squishy... which happened 30 minutes in.
Actually, if it's gotta rain 4 days in a row... this is a perfect time to have a cold. Congratulations to me and all the others snuffling at the moment.
There's always Zwift. I know the bandwagon is going strong... so many friends are on it and loving it. If it's good enough for Bahati, maybe it's good enough for Brownie too... in the meantime, I'll pray for sun.
WHEELS ARE EVERYTHING. Save your money, get great wheels... before you get a great gruppo or great frame - get the wheels.
Had a chance to drop in on Wheelbuilder today. It'd been a few years. No particular reason for the gap in time.
But, I had a very particular issue with my race wheels.
Last time I was there, well it wasn't there. It was a tiny, dingy building. Today, it's a beautiful new building.
How'd they grow like that?
Probably like this... I walk in, Benny greets me. Assesses my situation. Gets stuck... brings in Rich - the owner. Rich gets right on it and fixes me up in no time... taking time to explain to me how and why they do the things they do.
It's not too tricky... be great at what you do, take care of your customers.