This is me. And my my Uncle Gene. Likely dipping my finger into some cheap-ass Irish whisky he and my dad and all the male adults partook in, in the 70's. And before that, the 40's, 50's and 60's. And after that, in the 80's 90's through to their ultimate demises shortly thereafter.
I don't regret my choices. And I don't scorn them for theirs.
When we are old enough to understand reason and decision, it's up to us. I don't see any other path. Mommy and daddy won't be there. Can't be there. It's up to you and me to make wise decisions. To push forward in the best way possible that your reality can create.
It's tremendously hard to eat healthy and combat stress in ways that don't require medication, booze, cigarettes and dope. It's infinitely harder to contain that mindset without those things.
And this is what I'm learning. And teaching. I want to be 65 and in some way, shape and form ride cobbles with my boys and their brood.
This can't happen unless I reason with my self for its long term.
YES!! The fat lady has sung! That's it...the end of the 2013/14 racing season. Smiles abound as it has been an absolutely incredible and so fulfilling season for the Keller boys. Let's digest the last two weeks, shall we, as we led in to the US National Cyclocross Championships here in our home town of Boulder, CO. It's been an amazing build up the last few months with a nervous excitement in our town preparing for the nation to come and...as we hoped...would be blown away. And the last two weeks blew the top off....
Altitude Adjustment CX - Longmont CO
The weeks leading up to the Nationals were spotty in terms of precip, and for the true cross nerds here in town, we stood outside, craned our necks and asked the weather gods to let loose. But it was capital C cold...and so, a lot of das trainings were relegated to the basement...
The weekend before Nationals, at a prep race weekend put on by Cross Vegas maestro Brook Watts, Altitude Adjustment Cross brought the good white stuff from the skies above. My weeks leading up had been good. As good as I could have them in three-part-teeter-totter land. I put in the early morning trainings to try and find tune whatever I could possibly fine tune especially given the bad weather. I felt great, was healthy, and knew that if it stayed crappy and cold, no one could touch me in the 40-44's. I raced well at the 5 degree Rez race and felt markedly better since then.
From the gun I tore off like a banshee
Patience. That is a virtue I have to fight to achieve. Interesting struggle there, huh? But alas, breathing, closing the eyes and believing in what I can do actually...worked. I had a string of good ones in this ending chapter of the 2013 cross season. No victories, but plenty of confidence building and fun.
Green Mountain Sports Cross - Littleton CO
Photo by Yann Ropers.
We'd waited and waited for precip. And it never came. And I mean the WHOLE season! The course in Littleton was truly fun and fast. Cornering for days which was good for me but by most definitions a crit. Not my favorite kind of race. This was an unusual day too as our best friends and my old team mate, Joe Ball and family, were there. Our kids raced together and it was amazing to see given we'd raised our kids at the edge of course tape up and down California together. Now they were racing together!
My race was the last of the day. Sun in the eyes yet still gorgeous out. From the gun a phenomenal group formed which I stayed part of, battling all the way until the end. We had some minor separations in the final lap but I was super satisfied with my driving and my fitness. Joe was there and that ballistic cheering at me was deeply motivating. He knows my highs and lows with this sport and knew exactly where to be, lap after lap, and exactly what to say in those moments. Thanks man. Kudos to my boy Scott Upton who took a well deserved 'W'. Taking one for the dads against the young "35" masters. I took 6th and it was a well earned place.
Cyclo-X - Boulder Reservoir
Photo by Terri Irsik Smith
Within a week the real winter decided to show up. From 55 and sunny a week prior, we dropped to 2-5 degrees and snowy. Indeed I salivated for the conditions. Again, the 35's raced last race of the day with the open men. We were staged 2 min behind their start and from the gun, Michael Robson and I decided to take a flier. Lap after lap we flowed like school boys in the ice rink, rapidly catching most of the open field even with the 2 min gap. Lots of fun chicanes on this course but mainly it was the ability to tolerate the cold (e.g. good equipment and clothing) and stay upright. We pushed hard for the 50 minutes and I only conceded two spots, taking 4th on the day. Again, super happy with the results but moreso happy to have survived that epic day comfortably.
Colorado State CX Championships - Castle Rock, CO
Photo by Bo Bickerstaff.
Love. Hate. Love. Hate. That is my relationship with this course in Castle Rock. But when I pull back, it's always my head, not the course that is to blame! It's an intimidating course with massive elevation change but I will say unconditionally, it's one of the finest courses put together for us by John Haley and a great crew down south. I was hungry for a good results and my placing (16th) was a function of me absolutely screwing with a course that I should not have screwed with. What I mean is that the plan I had which was to peel off a group early and stay out of the melee worked initially, but the fitness and endurance I needed to maintain that was totally vacant. So the radical fade came in to play with no real depth in the engine to help me sustain that. So be it. I tried and left every possible thing out there that day.
Now it's the Christmas Period. No, not the one in Belgium, I mean the one here at home...avoiding all the snacks and holding on tight to the motivation to train and keep believing I'll open up a can of something here in Boulder for the 40-44 event on Saturday. We're incredibly excited for the nation to come in and see this great town of ours...filled with the most passionate crossers on earth. More to come on this here blog so watch this space!
Really looking forward to seeing everyone here!
So, lately, I’ve see this flurry of posts on Facebook and elsewhere asking for the "8 or 10 things you didn't know about me". They’re all funny and enlightening but as we pull into this 2013 Thanksgiving period, I’m having, or pehaps wishing us all for, a mental shift. Maybe it’s just me but the centricity of all of us needs to reverse course…and directed towards thanks for all and to all of what you have in this life. We all need to reflect, and now. And so (and I recommend the exercise) my thoughts on where I am putting my thankful energy and practicing myself as it is nowhere near perfected…but inspires me:
1) This life. We're luckier than any generation before us and we still aren't satisfied. Nothing’s good enough. Why? Change it. Stop sucking. Stop deflecting and blaming. Fix your shit.
2) Your friends: You select 'accept friend' on your twitters and your facebooks every day. But what do you know about them? Ever hugged them? When recently have you reached out to your college bud or teammate or co-worker and said “you're rad” and “I love you”? “How's YOUR world?” The time for narcissism must shift. It’s all the same shit anyway in the facebook feed. Selfies, new cars and bikes. I do it to. First world stuff. Fun, yes, but the reality is we get sucked into feeling doubt about ourselves with the repetition of the imagery. Don’t say you don’t know what I mean. Shoot pics of random shit you and your friends have done in blissful moments and show those off.
3) Kids. They need you. Even if you did not create them. Help them. Coach them. Tutor them in math or HTML. Don't complain your generation was better. Inspire them to crush the reality we’ve made into something way more inspired. Shape their mental toughness to sustain what will be a tough go in the next 50 years. Because it is getting very very fragile.
4) Your job. I’m not saying ‘be thankful for your job per se. What I am saying is: “every single nanosecond counts.” Are you doing what makes your mind hum? I’d probably have said “are you doing what you love,” but love is a tough adjective for this and reserved for the brave who have cracked the code of turning passions into paychecks. But if what you do and who you do it with sucks, move on. The economy has never been better. Just grab it. Be thankful for what you know and believe in and apply that to an industry that needs you.
5) Patience. I am thankful for this…or the promise of it. Do not think you are the only one whose day completely sucked. The guy in the SUV probably had a shitty day too. Don’t block his path egotistically because you can on your commute home. Be kind, show patience and wave hi to him. Let him pass. Get home to those that love and need you. The moment will pass.
6) Health. Be thankful for it…or the many many paths you can take to achieve it. It’s never too late. You are not too fat or too wimpy or too feeble. Science and great medicine can help solve deeper problems if you face those too. But you need to absolutely believe you can start. Cork the wine when you know it is extremely hard to do and you think you need another glass. You don’t need another. Breathe to exhale the stress that’s binding your heart. Drink water, and tons of it, to cleanse and cleanse. Moderate it all with balance.
7) Mentors. Find one and be thankful for the time they can and willingly share with you. Your ego can get checked for a bit and you may not know everything, smart guy. Reach out and learn more. Ask for help. And return that favor. Tech start ups, kids coaching, whatever. Either find a great mentor to help you learn where the land mines are or be one to the next generation. Be thankful for those people.
8 ) Your home. Walk in to it and I hope you smile. It should be your absolute sanctity. Your safe place. The place where toxicity gets cleaned from you. If it’s not, ask yourself why and then ask those you live with how they feel. Make it the one place where you absolutely are you.
9) Church. If you go to the Catholic church down the street, the Mosque or the Synagogue, awesome. Your church may also be your trail, your favorite stretch of road, your garden. In any of these cases, be present. Not looking around at the neighbors in the pew and how much more holy you are or perhaps trying to climb the hill faster on a Sunday than the dude in a kit you’ve never seen before on 'your' climb. Respect your moment in the peace you probably deserve and need. Remember what you’re chosen church was meant for and practice that.
10) You. When is the last time, if ever, you said: “I TOTALLY believe in myself.” It’s the hardest thing to do. Be thankful for what you have achieved and the plans you’re making. I need to tell myself this every day because I often let the demons in that signal to me it isn’t true. That I shouldn’t trust myself because I’m not smart enough, or fit enough or engaged enough. But I fight, every day, for it. The balance, the belief and the security in the knowledge that the worse option is to give up.
Be thankful for your radness.
Have a look at this great video to learn more and get your stoke on for the kids at Nationals. If you are on the fence about this being the year to bring your kid to a national-level event, THIS IS THE YEAR! We're pouring as much as we can community-wise into making teh event most especially awesome for the kids. The sport is growing by leaps and bounds with their participation. They deserve to be supported with extra care and stoke in January. C'MON AND HUP UP PARENTS AND KIDS!!!
More information and registration info can be found here on the USA Cycling Nationals Event Page.
Like clockwork every year around this time (late October, early November) I start to get that feeling of slipping. The legs get mushy, the motivation wanes a bit and what should be a normal upward trajectory starts to slip. This year, the pattern is back but there's a slight irony....I feel really pretty good!
The last few weekends (week 6, 7 and 8 of racing for me) had some fantastic races and classic venues: Cross of the North, Without Limits Xilinx, Schoolyard Cross, Feedback Cup, Interlocken and Blue Sky Cup Xilinx. Also, the 35 Open men this part of the schedule are racing combined with the Elite men for 60 min which has been interesting (in a good way).
My pattern over these races was like Agon Interruptus:
Cross of the North: Felt great top 10
Xilinx 1: DNF slashed sidewall
Schoolyard: DNF slashed sidewall
Feedback: Felt great top 10
Interlocken: Taken out at start DNF
Blue Sky: Took myself out at start DNF
The monkey has its claws deeply dug in my back. My tendency is to get heady, depressed, unfulfilled, pissed and questioning everything. I'm pretty good at not casting blame, but still get overly emotional and bitter that I could not represent. And so, maybe it's a function of me finally maturing as I'm seeing some grey hairs: I fight those instincts and if I can grab another bike and stay in the race, I stay in...and train, represent myself as best as I possibly can and show my Boulder Junior Cycling kids I coach that the sport is bigger than me and us...
So, to this hard re-boot. I consider it like a mental enema. I am going to take the time to purge the bad thoughts and go enjoy this crazy good weather we have here. My early mornings now that the sun is up at 5:45 are spectacular. Peaceful. Battery-recharging. We have November and December to push, show results and prepare for Nationals. Something I am incredibly excited about as I'm playing a role helping the committee here in town dial in all the preparations. We want this to be like the '99 Nationals (combined with a Super Cup that year!) in San Francisco which if you were there, was an all time favorite. This will be better!
On to my Juniors. What to say???! They are true students of the sport. Hungry for more info on what goes down in Belgium every weekend. Who the riders are, the bikes they ride the courses they ride on. Having the internet is an amazing thing at this time period of our sport. In the 80's and 90's, we had to wait for our magazine subscriptions to show up to look at the still pictures of our (then) helmet-less heroes. By the late 90's we could get VCR tapes, in the 00's bootlegged DVDs of cross races and now, absolutely clear, HD images LIVE of the races in Belgium as they're happening. Insane. Real-time education for our kids.
Aiden and Seamus have been rock solid. Loving the game. Great results for their little growing selves. They love their teammates and it's like seeing a tribe grow and gel together. They love it and it's extremely satisfying to see. Tempering ALL of this though...results, training, racing, competition, is very hard. We all play a role in helping the kids STEP BACK and away from the variables that can cause them to start to become disheartened or, even worse, regretting they are in the sport. Their bodies are changing fast. We're seeing kids...and I mean VISUALLY seeing kids...grow and go through these radical growth spurts. Shin-bones, hands, arms, feet all growing. Moodiness, etc. It all can effect their minds, performance and moods. We as coaches need to keep them focused on the prize. No, not Nationals, no not racing...it's their fun, flow and individual 'success'.
Re-set, re-focus. On to the rest of November.
The Boulder Cycle Sport Ambassadors are back! We're having a blast this season evangelizing, teaching, racing and being true...ambassadors...to the sport we love. Our sport is growing and it's incredible to see this viral passion explode. So many juniors and women in particular flooding in to the game, all having fun, challenging themselves and coming back for more week after week.
This year the roster has lost one ride but gained another. Our great friend and teammate, Russ Stevenson, has gone back to Seattle with his growing family to tackle some new opportunities. Can't wait to see him back i January for Nats! Coming in to the squad is our old friend (and teammate actually!) Chris Case, VeloNews editor and all around fast guy.
Watch and read below to learn more about our 2013/14 program, goals and the amazing sponsors that love this sport as much as we do.
YOGAGLO BECOMES TITLE SPONSOR OF THE BOULDER CYCLE SPORT CYCLOCROSS AMBASSADORS TEAM
Team celebrates its 3rd anniversary with new members, sponsors and focus on 2014 Cyclocross Nationals in Boulder
BOULDER, CO – October 21, 2013 –YogaGlo, the largest provider of online yoga classes, has become the title sponsor of the Boulder Cycle Sport Cyclocross Ambassadors Team. The company, based in Santa Monica, California has recently launched a “Yoga For Cyclists” section on its highly popular website and will work closely with the team to help all riders learn about yoga’s benefits for cycling performance. YogaGlo is a subscription-based website that provides its members with hundreds of on-demand yoga classes taught by the world’s best instructors. The “Yoga For Cyclists” center focuses on key areas of the rider’s body and will assist with warm-up, on-the-bike performance and power output, as well as total body recovery.
“Cyclocross is such a demanding sport and can really take a toll on the body. And, as I have gotten older I’ve come to realize it’s extremely important to take care of yourself off the bike.” said Brandon Dwight, owner, Boulder Cycle Sport and 3-time U.S. National Cyclocross Champion. “I’ve been using YogaGlo for several months now and it’s so convenient to have the classes ready to go when and where you need them.”
The Ambassador Team will continue it’s longstanding relationships with Ridley, Sram, Zipp, Clement and Bell. The team will be competing aboard the all-new 2014 Ridley X-Night bikes outfitted with Sram Red Hydro 22 drivetrains and hydraulic disc brakes, Zipp wheels and Clement tires.
The Boulder Cycle Sport Ambassadors team has amassed significant results-oriented statistics since the team’s formation in 2010 including 7 National, 2 Master’s World and 2 Colorado State Championships. However, the BCSCX Ambassadors are most proud of their participation in the sport’s growth, which include leading junior coaching sessions, free skills clinics, volunteer trail/ park projects, articles and instructional videos, and community fundraisers.
The Ambassador team will be leading more than 100 Boulder Cycle Sport cyclocross club team members, providing skills instruction, racing guidance and strategy, body and equipment preparation advice and more.
“This is a special year for Boulder and for the cyclocross community here in our town,” said team member Pete Webber. “We’ve seen the sport grow dramatically here in Boulder on all levels, from juniors to masters to professionals. The fun has been incredibly contagious. Now, we are honored to host the 2014 National Cyclocross Championships and demonstrate our region’s passion for our sport.”
Departing the BCSCX Ambassador’s squad is 2013 National and Master’s World Champion Russ Stevenson. Russ will be returning to his family’s native Washington state, where he’ll continue his relationship with Ridley and Clement tires.
The Boulder Cycle Sport Ambassadors Team is also proud to announce its association with a syndicate of passionate sponsors, equally as committed to the sport’s growth as the Ambassadors themselves.
• YogaGlo: the world’s premiere source for online yoga classes.
• SRAM – Official drivetrain and brake supplier. The team will utilize the new Red 22 11-speed group with hydraulic disc brakes.
• Ridley Bicycles – Official supplier of the teams all new and ultra light 2014 X-Night cyclocross frame and fork.
• Clement Cycling – Official supplier of tubular and clincher tires such as the PDX and MXP
• Zipp– Official supplier of wheels, handlebars, stems and seat posts.
• Bell Sports – Official helmet supplier. The team will utilize the lightweight Bell Gage helmet
Race Clothing Sponsors
• Castelli Cycling – Official supplier of the BCS team’s race day apparel ranging from skinsuits, cold-weather gloves, arm and leg warmers, thermal and wind resistant jackets.
Casual Clothing Sponsors
• Anthem Branding – Official supplier of the team’s custom off-the-bike team apparel including jackets, sweatshirts and headgear.
• Feedback Sports – Complete line of work stands and storage racks.
The 2013/14 Ambassadors include:
• Brandon Dwight – Owner of Boulder Cycle Sport, 17 years of pro-level racing; 2-time National Cyclocross Champion – @bldrcyclesport
• Pete Webber – 20 year veteran of professional mountain biking and cyclocross racing; National Cyclocross and MTB Marathon Champion, Master’s World Champion – @webber_pete
• Kristin Weber – 10 year veteran of mountain bike and cyclocross, cross instructor, Master’s Worlds Silver medalist, LunaChix womens MTB Ambassador- @sugardesigninc
• Greg Keller – Elite Masters racer with 16 years of cyclocross racing experience, junior cycling coach and nearly a decade of ‘cross-specific skills instruction – @mudandcowbells
• Chris Case – 7-year veteran of elite road, mountain and cyclocross racing. Silver medalist, Master’s National and World Championships, Colorado Cross Cup champion, managing editor of Velo magazine – @leicacase
Starting in early September and running through October, The BCS Ambassadors will provide free weekly clinics from 5:30 – 7PM, every Wednesday open to any age group in addition to early, pre-work sessions. The skills-sessions will progress over the course of the season to teach core skills such as mounting, dismounting, race-day preparations and racing tactics. For more information on the Ambassadors Team, the skills clinics and other helpful cyclocross resources, visit www.bouldercyclesport.com. Any questions or inquiries on the team can be directed to Brandon@bouldercyclesport.com
So after the horse poop race last Sunday, it all started to come undone. The viruses...they came and got me. I woke up Monday AM and felt super bad. So did Amy and we sulked. Great fall weather in the air, and the body felt like death. No playing outside.
I didn't touch my bike all week in any intentional way to train. I threw a leg over once on Thursday because the weather was so epic outside. I couldn't stand staring out the window. And I felt you guessed it: like poop.
The biggest weekend was approaching in a matter of days, the Colorado Cross Cup at The Boulder Reservoir and Boulder Cup at Valmont Bike Park. Sigh. Just have patience and breathe. Rest the body in the best way you can was what Amy preached to me...and so I did.
The Colorado Cross Cup | October 12th
Saturday came. The beach sand was waiting. I opened my eyes early and I felt...better. I was super motivated to go and ride my bike fast. I have a love affair with this version of the Rez course, one that needs a lot of finesse to corner well on gravel and maintain steady power. It's dead flat...the complete opposite of Valmont.
I sat and meditated on what I wanted today, Saturday, as I sit and drank coffee and pinned up numbers for me and my boys. Quietly before anyone was up...
I arrived early....happy...and began the warm up. The legs felt springy. Heart rate would jump well. Hmm. Looks like I am just going to let it all out today. See what comes of it.
We lined up and from the gun it was a crit.
Some much to say...so little time to say it! Life is on overdrive these days. We are 'that family'...but in a good way I hope: work setting a huge Jens-like tempo, our kids needing to go to 10 different practices all over town, all of us exhausted when we flop in to bed. The Keller family wouldn't have it any other way. But, as I talk about the 'luxury' of living at our frenetic pace, my mind drifts back to Amy D...and it level-sets me. Grounds me into being satisfied and happy with the frenzy we live in...because we can.
I can ride my bike with my friends on weekends in awesome parks. And drink beer afterwards. And laugh and hug. I never forget that. Neither should you.
The racing the last few weeks has really been fun. New courses and premature snows! It's crazy to think we've still got 12 weeks to go! I wrapped up the last few weekends into one mega-post. Text minimal, pictures maximal....
Cyclo-X Flat Irons Mall | Sept 29th
The last time this event came to town, the clavicle was in pieces. Never got to participate. I was more than pleasantly surprised to race this course. One that was as 'bike driver' favored as could be. Chicanes, high speed sweepers...it had it all. Including treacherously wet early morning grass...
I wrote this to my fellow employees last night, and wanted to share it with you. I, like every one of you, are simply trying to process this incomprehensible loss of our friend and comrad, Amy Dombroski. Perhaps in some small way this will help you.
"Five years ago, I sat in the tall grass at Elks Lodge here in Boulder...known to us bike nerds as "The worlds shittiest cyclocross course." Crappy, flat and littered with dog poop, we loved it. Now, it's been demolished by flood and the Parks Dept who are digging it up to make it look like any other park. We've graduated 7 National Champions and 2 world champions in that park. It means something. At least to us.
So, I sat in the grass five years ago with a 21 year old gal who I admired and could see was stepping to the next level in her bike racing career. "Career" in that these things never really last long as the sport typically chews up young souls and spits them out. It rarely works out.
We talked a ton in that field that night, and a lot more over the years. She'd just finished a clinic that night Brandon Dwight and I had given and she had questions galore. Hungry for knowledge. Extra credit.
Year after year she progressed. This 4'11 micro midget with a never-say-die spirit. What did she need to know? Who did she need to talk to for sponsorship? What was the path to make this her career? It was exactly what she wanted.
Great friends, great family and great mentoring propelled her. Got her on the rails.
She leaned in to exactly what she wanted. Went for it.
In the cooking world, you go to Paris or Milan to get shit on by the great chefs to try and make it.
You go to Hollywood to bury yourself to make it on the silver screen.
If you bleed software engineering, you are a moth to Silicon Valley's flame.
And if you are a bike racer, you go to Belgium.
Amy Dombroski went to Belgium. To face the best. And she got respect. And a contract. She'd 'made it'. She'd executed on her dream in 5 years. She was in the system now. A pro cyclocross racer at the top most level on earth. This was her job. 5 years of making ends meet to simply: get a job.
She leaned in to where it was toughest because it's where the best were. That was Amy D. Frankly, it's not even where the most money could have been made. Simply, it was where the best were. She wanted to take them on. Belgium: where she new she had to be challenged. She told me this in that field. That she knew they were fast, but she could hang. She asked me about what it was like racing overseas and I told her: "It's hard as fuck. But I had to go and race against these myths, even if at my age they were master old myths."
My friend Amy passed away today. Tragic, and I thank you for your well wishes. It means a lot. But, it's not the point of this email.
It's about you. And taking on a bit of 'Amy Dombroski' in your spirit and in your lives.
Ask yourselves: Are you challenged? Is this your Belgium? Is this where you can face the stuff that makes you better? Makes you more incentivized to learn more...do more...dig deeper? You all are amazing. Look at the progress, but your lives should be enriched. And part of that is what you do to earn your livings and more specifically be absolutely...
And while we know it's hard to carry stoke every day, your foundation at work is the belief in what you're doing and with those you're doing it with. What we're doing to change the publishing industry and to enrich the lives of the employees that we call LinkSmarties. We have something very very special. It's time for us to reflect and close collective eyes and meditate on that fact. Just for a moment.
Lean in. Hard. Make this place that memory in your bright futures where you can say looking back: "I held nothing back." "I went as hard as I could." "My teammates bled from their eye balls too." "We...fucking...crushed...it."
And you are.
I truly love you all. As silent as I may seem to you some days as I too am learning brand new things. Challenged by what it's like to make a smooth environment for you...for us...to succeed. My Belgium.