Todd's Blog

Spring Classics

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The Spring Classics are here.

Men becoming monsters on bikes, racing the Hell of the North, and more.

Frankenstein will be my reading preparation, finally letting this classic loose on my mind.

A few pages in I find this: “for nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose—a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye”.

Let the monsters free, the winter fades and with it the lonely miles of preparation, prodding, and poking.

The Classics overwhelm mere mortals.

Master Lee

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“You can do it.”

Master Lee teaches Tae Kwon Do. He teaches children, and some adults, that they can in deed break a board with their bare hands, feet and heads.

“You can do it” comes from his gut, deep inside the man.  It is bellowed with power and confidence.

“You can do it” moves along the scale from encouragement to perceived anger.

He is Master Lee.

Quivering little tikes earn great confidence. He teaches with patience, allowing his wealth of experience to wash over and prepare the uninitiated to do the unthinkable.

Master Lee’s approach lives in contrast to the cheap entertainment of throwing a newby into the fire of a gnarly downhill or group ride.

The few that survive go on to a lifetime of riding, the rest…

Is STRAVA perfection?

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Two riders ride headed out for a ride.

At a designated spot, one stopped and the other rode ahead.


The rider behind waited for the one ahead to clear the trail, then the rider behind gave it his all to KOM the segment.

They checked times, swapped duties, and repeated until they had either PRd or KOMd.

STRAVA has so many of us striving (that’s the root Norwegian word).

Its all about feedback and measurement and seeing what is possible then going for perfection in the form of a PR… Even a KOM.

Which is better a PR or a KOM? Neither?

Vision & Speed

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I’m getting slower.

My 20-10 vision is gone.

No longer do I see the rocks and lay of the land far in advance. So I focus even more on what’s directly in front of me.  Rocks become boulders, grooves-canyons, bumps-ski jumps Slow, slow, slow.

Good vision equals riding much faster AND much safer.  On the trail, in business, in our families… Lose your vision and you go slower and crash more, there is little to no flow.

So fix it, admit it, and get some glasses – physical glasses or a mentor or something inspirational.

Get back to flow.


Just what is your intention?

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Downhill mountain biking, crit racing and surfing are spiritually connected.

Act like you can make it and you will.

Single-track on the side of the cliff.

Shooting the gap in a sprint finish.

Making a huge drop.

Hesitate… And you die.


Broken bones, what are friends for?

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My daughter’s friends tracked us down at 9pm Saturday night. We were just starting dinner, she had just finished a poorly executed trampoline-powered back flip.

“We don’t want to alert you, but Shelby might have a broken arm.”

It’s a brave call to make, especially when I know if it wasn’t broken she would be making that call herself.

Susie, Trevor and I rescued our red-eyed little girl and sister from Big Air. At Mission Hospital, we confirmed the humorous was cracked all the way through. The staff was awesome.

Friends can push us beyond our limits. That can be good and bad, and it takes a while to know which one.

Having a trampoline in the back yard for 15 years didn’t prepare her for going beyond her limits. She’s a gifted dancer, and no doubt with thorough instruction she will go back and master the back flip.

Eastwood said it best, “a man has got to know his limitations.”

Sunday those same friends visited in droves, expressing sympathy and sharing cakes and candy and hugs.

Real friends challenge us, and help us pick up the broken pieces.

Begging to differ, Amazon great rep?

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Amazon has the top corporate reputation. Yep

… Among consumers.

I know a few businesses who feel and think otherwise. These folks cover the bar codes on products in their stores because their customers try product, then buy at amazon.

What is the D-factor for all parties in this equation? Amazon for winning on price war? Manufacturer for jumping in bed with Amazon to their own dealers detriment? Customers who save a few bones only to find one day their shop is gone?

Who really wins long term and short term?

Does it matter? (to you?)

Where is Amazon vulnerable?

Tribe creation.

Custom products.

Warranty issues.

Service after the sale.

The rules keep changing, but the game remains the same.  Hit ’em where it hurts.

10 speed thinking

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My first real bike was a Schwinn Sting Ray.

On a Saturday ride to the jumps in La Habra, a rumor spread about the two-speed Kick Back.

What?! Two speeds on a bike, and no shifters. Mythical.

When I “got mine”, the thrill of kicking it back and nearly doubling my speed was like spiked cool aid and James Bond. We couldn’t get enough, and we went about it as sly as possible so the other cats we rode with couldn’t figure out how we smoked ’em.

Schwinn, was a big dreamer and drove our industry far beyond where we could see… Beyond where anybody was looking, or so it seems now.

Where is the big thinking now?

Most of my thinking is done on my bike, riding alone and pondering how to apply other people’s ideas to cycling.  For example, Google’s 10x.

The jump from 7-speed, to 8 to 9 to 10 to 11 is incremental.  It got us from the Kick Back to 2×10 and 1×11.  It’s good, but it took 40 years.

I think we can and should go bigger and faster.

(Addendum:  I had somebody point out to me today that Stan’s has brilliantly revolutionized the way we think about wheels in a very short time.)

It’s better to beat me than to beat you

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Lots of solo dirt miles have left me peaceful, skilled, and totally lacking snap.

The road, specifically the group ride, has always been the method of choice for bringing back snap, power, and will. Getting left behind hurts, and the fear of it allows me to suffer like I never would by myself.

On the Canyon Velo ride I was pushed to my limit and finally dropped. Low in spirit I pedaled in squares to home, got on the MTB and reviewed my death in slo-mo.

When it all uploaded and processed on Strava a warming of my heart occurred.

12 PRs!

Y’all may have killed me on the ride, but me killing the old Todd was the best.

Are you using your hub?

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With the growth of cycling among people that wear big boy pants to work, what are you doing to use your expanding hub?

Golf gets a pass when the boys head out for 5 hours of 18.  In between the swings, there is chatter and banter that often leads to ka-ching!

Jim Bishop video tapes the TMWC, he also gets my real estate transactions.  David Frank met Craig Runnals on a ride and now Craig gets David’s real estate appraisals.  David and Jim met through cycling, and now David gets a crack at offering financing to Jim’s home buyers/sellers.

“Brace yourself my love, I just have to go do this ride.  I’ve never done it, and who knows what path it might take us down?”


I Just Wanna Weeeeeen

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Humiliated, crushed and tossed aside Nacho Libre declares “I just wanna weeeeen!

Me too.




Mounting a ridiculous moto on a quixotic quest for greatness in the wrestling ring and true love, Nacho leaves the sanctuary of the monastery. Self-imposed, self-driven, lonely and pitiful.

The drive.

Like Nacho, we cyclists eventually realize “sometimes when you are a man you wear stretchy pants.”

The proper tools.

Looking back on a minor win, Nacho bursts “remember when I ripped my blouse and attacked?”.  Sidekick and partner Esteven checks back “and then he knocked you out”.

The honest celebrations.

Wistfully singing about his true love, Incarnacion, Nacho realizes he has reincarnated himself and is ready to weeeeeen.

The revelation that we are ready.

How much for that bike in the window?

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So many bikes to choose from.

So many prices for the same bike.

Call me a sheep, but I take my car to the dealer for service. I know he charges more. But, I get more. When the car service is complete I know it’s up to spec, any potential warranty issues are taken care of, it’s done on time, I get a free loaner if needed, it’s washed…

Oh, and my experience has been that when $&@% happens the dealer finds away to take care of it and bill the manufacturer as much as possible.

I pay more, and I get more.

Is it worth it? A question all buyers ask.

How many sellers ask that question and make the compelling case?

Stay Well My Friends

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I have had a nice little string of weeks where I feel healthy.

With so many of my friends battling sinus infections, hacking cold coughs, gnarly flu, and overall feeling lousy I thought I’d share what’s working for me.

Alka-Seltzer nighttime got me sleeping much longer hours, 8+. I’m off it now, but I highly recommend it if you need to kickstart better sleeping… and I’m still rocking an hour more than my norm.

Flooding my cells with Emergen-C 2-3 times a day at my sickest, and I’m still drinking it at least once a day.  You can’t drink too much, drown that flu!

Side note:  drinking and sleeping a ton will lead to weight loss.

The Journey Is Better Than The Race

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The race is good and usually fun and sometimes provides a stroke to to the ego.

The journey involves dedication, commitment, persistence, vision, huge goals, friendship, experience. More preparation or a longer journey nearly always equals a better race.

For me it all comes together the night before the race. My gear is before me. At this point, I know each piece intimately. We have journeyed together and though we be many parts we are now one great whole.

Done right, one can lay down and sleep in peace knowing all that could be done was done.

On race day, when the nerves are nuts, when doubt leaks all over life, when check lists turn into crosswords, those who have traveled a great journey may, no MUST, immerse themselves in trusting their preparation.

Full immersion in a great journey will sweep away the grime of doubt.

I’m sorry.

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To all my wonderful clients and friends I want to apologize for biting off more than I could chew.

In October, the company I worked for chopped my pay in half.

Panicked, I quickly added jobs and hopefully income:

– resurrecting my old promo business;

– independent repping Serfas, Scott, Bonk Breaker, and others;

– putting on Joe Friel LIVE;

– creating Damion Hickman Designs tshirt business;

– and finally, adding a new sales rep

– … wondering when the other shoe might drop.

“The best laid plans”… my plan was work my buns off, bank some money, and be able to afford an assistant.

It would have been dandy except; I didn’t take good care of myself.

I got super sick in December and a lot of my work got away from me.   Things just started piling up, until yesterday I collapsed in bed with a smoking migraine.  Along the way, I have dropped the ball on a few of you.  Yep, stuff is arriving late.

That really pains me.  It’s not like me to miss a deadline, ever.

Kari starts Friday.  She’s very well qualified, smart, and hard working.  She has a passion for cycling, has worked in the business many years, and has a strong graphic arts back ground.

For those that weather this storm with me, I promise I’ll never forget it.  For those that move on, I totally understand and wish you only the best.

It Takes Guts To Be A Giver

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The gumption required to break away from the pack.

The will to be on the tip of the group.

The passion to get the gang together and train hard.

The fire to build a following.

… For the truly successful it’s a gift to the rest of us, one always I’m grateful for.

Remember that when the gift isn’t exactly what you wanted, the lead out wanes early, the price is a shade higher than Amazilla, the ride route changes, etc.

Bonus:  First person to tell me their favorite giver gets a gift from me.

Who do you love?

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I haven’t walked “47 miles of barbed wire”, but I can wail that question with some of the tension George Thorogood explodes in his classic song, Who do you love?.

The people we ride with are often a reflection of how we see the world.

Are all your rides hard core, all business?

Do you ride with some folks because you share more than a need to ride with someone?

Some rides leave the flatted rider behind, others stop.  It largely depends on the agenda of the group and our own personal agendas.

There are rides we all love because the terrain is great and the company is better.  There are others where the personalities clash and we avoid them.  Fortunately, most of us live in places where it’s easy to find a ride and group we connect with on many levels.

Who do you love?

A good lesson

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One of awesome customers called me up and said…

“The gear looks great.  Thank for the good service.”

I’m sure lots of customers think of doing that, I know I do.  He actually did it.

So, I got on the horn and thanked my vendors that helped me deliver on the order.

Short.  Sweet. 30 second phone call.

Please don’t hate me for loving

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Entertainment… that’s all professional sports are.

Lance was/still is? the greatest entertainer ever in cycling. The only upset people should be those who weren’t entertained. ALL his sponsors got/still get huge bang for the buck.

Now for all the amateurs that dope – Hang ’em high!

Oh, and all those that really care and are really, really, really torn up about the “cheating” among pros… go help someone in need to day, it eases the pain and puts it in check.


Not So Sure

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When I go for a ride and the average temperature is 37 degrees… in Califorina… well, I am forced to remember how sure my high school teachers were that we’d all freeze in an Ice Age by now and that the food supplies would be exhausted.

It doesn’t mean they were wrong, it could still happen.  But, there is tremendous value in reviewing the passionate pleas of our leaders from time to time.

They clearly aren’t always right.  What if we could identify who’s got it right and who’s rarely right?