All posts by Mike

A really long week

On Sunday I discovered something I’ve kinda known all along. If you miss a Tuesday ride, it’s no big deal. If you miss a Thursday ride, as I did because I was in Wisconsin (at a Trek gig), it’s a big deal.

Sunday’s ride was the usual, Old LaHonda/Pescadero/Tunitas. We actually got out earlier than usual, since Kevin had a date with his girlfriend later that afternoon. But the biggest difference between this and other rides was that, once we hit Old LaHonda, Kevin was gone off the front while I was struggling, badly, up the hill. About four minutes difference by the time we got to the top. Doesn’t seem to matter so much if Kevin skips a ride (or two, or three). Me?

Haskins, well, I thought I was doing OK as I was seeing decent numbers on the power meter, but those numbers had more to do with a bit of extra weight I was carrying (Wisconsin food) than being stronger. A couple weeks ago the Strava segment had me at 270 watts average, 9:49 time. Sunday it was 280 watts average, 9:59 time.

A bit different scene than normal in Pescadero. Maybe because we were “early” (arriving about noon). Not too many bikes, not too many people in general. No line for sandwiches! And somehow I managed to pick up a broken cookie.

We braved the gravel on Stage Road (not bad, really) and marveled at a fairly decent-sized group of cyclists at San Gregorio General Store. Didn’t know any cyclists still went there; it’s not exactly cyclist-friendly and I’m not a fan of a place serving Bloody Mary’s before noon. It was about that time we got passed by an older guy in old-style cycling shoes with toe clips. I asked Kevin if he wanted to show the guy how to *really* climb a hill, but not today. OK, as it turned out, it was more like “not yet.” We took the first part of Tunitas easy, but not long after the real climb began, he took off. At least until I yelled something to him, don’t remember what, so he eased off a bit, then got angry about completely losing his rhythm, acting like I’d destroyed the climb for him. That lasted for about… two minutes. Then he too off again and I didn’t see him until the top. I finished the climb in 55 minutes, a good 8 minutes slower than my solo effort just a week prior.

The lesson? You just can’t take time off the bike when you get older. Thankfully, I love riding, so there’s never a motivation issue. Just the occasional business trip or vacation.

This morning’s ride- well, had to get the rain bikes out some time, right? Just barely enough drizzle overnight, not even overnight, just for a few hours, to make the roads a bit too messy for the nice bikes. Surprisingly, there were four of us today, despite the muck. Myself, both Kevins, and JR, back from France with some stories to tell. We had a civilized ride up Kings, about 33 minutes, but because we were running behind schedule, considered shortening the ride, skipping the West Old LaHonda loop. That decision was made for us when we came across a large male deer struggling with a broken leg, obviously having recently been hit by a car. That added quite a few minutes as we had to track someone down at the nearby fire station to call it in.

The surprise today was my ride home. At 13 minutes, 4 seconds (yes, wondering where those 5 seconds went that would have made it seem really fast!), it was my best time heading home, up the hill, in a very long time. I’d felt pretty tired and uncomfortable most of the day (high humidity kills me) but something clicked riding home. Hopefully more of that to come!

Drinking the Kool Aid at TREKWorld

TREKWorld in Madison, Wisconsin. Home of Brats, Beer & the World’s Best Bicycles!
First things first; Kevin and I did ride on Tuesday. Nobody else showed up; pilot was in Shanghai, JR we noticed rode later (we were looking forward to hearing his stories about his recent France trip). A bit foggy but another nice day to ride.

Now on to TREKWorld. Flew here Tuesday right after our ride, getting to our hotel not much earlier than midnight. Hey, no biggie right, just have the event starting the next morning at 5am West Coast time. Who needs sleep? I was worried a bit about Kevin (Becky stayed home this trip, nursing her torn ACL and helping to hold down the shop while the two of us were away), but he managed to stay awake through the first day of really excellent speakers. It probably helped that he slept on the plane on the way here; he was actually asleep before the wheels even left the ground. How does he do that?

TREKWorld agenda
So what is TREKWorld all about? Here’s the big reveal- It’s not about product. At all. This is all about how to run our businesses better and have happier customers, because happier customers keep coming back, buying more stuff, and that’s what keeps our doors open. Trek has taken a leadership position in helping bicycle retailers both survive and thrive, and it’s greatly appreciated. Brick & Mortar retail is not easy these days (just ask us- we’re now in negotiations with our landlord, and looking to add staff in an environment where that’s a very tough thing to do, with apartment rents now at $2k for a non-very-nice place). There are no secrets; I’ve posted the agenda here.

It’s not totally without product information though; we hear about trends and there’s little question that the biggest current trend, and one that is changing the game, is disc brake road bikes. It doesn’t matter that there are darned good reasons they won’t find their way onto my next “light & fast” road bike. What matters is that they’re here, they’re the future, and it’s going to be tough selling someone a road bike without disc brakes. Old dogs, new tricks. Also an emphasis on the e-bike’s future, which is looking very bright. The interesting thing not expected is the influx of the enthusiast, serious mountain biker embracing the e-bike. Real athletic people, not someone who needs help keeping up. But the product info is just one tiny part of the overall agenda. And lastly, Trek is working to move away from the emphasis on black. That’s a great thing to hear, since it seems like every bike on our floor is black with some minor color trim.

Definitely some re-connecting going on for me here; people I’ve known for over 25 years still running the company. Many of these people were praying for Kevin 25 years ago when he was going through his first kidney surgery at 6 months old. Trek is a far more successful company now than it was then. A lot of shared history between my family and Trek.

So what do we think of the Koolaid? Well, it’s Wisconsin, so the reality is that it’s Bacon & Beer. But yes, we’re with the program.

Tonight we fly back; tomorrow we take some of the load off Becky, Steve & Karen, who have been holding things together while we’re away. –MikeJ