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So far it’s a solo ride.

New Year's Resolutions Are Tough

Brennan Wertz |

The start of the year makes me happy. It's the time when I get the details for the coming season sorted, my gear dialed and my fitness back on track. But, for many people, it's a period of wall-to-wall resolutions, something I've always found hindered rather than helped me achieve my goals. So I got to wondering how other riders feel about New Year's resolutions. Are my friends really into this tradition, or are they like me and find it all a little too made for television? I spoke to a few of them to get their New Year's perspective.

As it turns out, they are not Hallmark people.

Salifu

Salifu (Sali) Mohammed

I started my research by reaching out to one of my favorite riding partners, Salifu Mohammed. If you didn't get a chance to read the Above Category profile on Sali, I highly recommend you go check it out here. I've spent many hours in the saddle with him, and I can attest he is genuinely a year-round holiday gift. From the early season Grasshopper events to accompanying him on his epic Megahopper ride to exploring the high mountains in Colorado, we shared unforgettable moments on and off our bikes in 2022. I can't wait for many more adventures with Sali in 2023!

Hey Sali! Did you make a New Year's resolution for 2022, and how did it work out for you?

I started the new year with the excitement of riding my new (link) AC Mosaic GT-1, but I didn't make any resolutions. The year went beyond expectations for me when I got to visit Colorado for the first time with you and Alyssa, where we rode some of the famous, fun and highest elevation routes Colorado has to offer. On top of that, I visited the Mosaic factory and met the crew. 

Are you planning on making a New Year's resolution for 2023?

This past year will be my guide going into next year, which has taught me not to have expectations but to cherish and enjoy every moment that takes my breath away. So, I am going into 2023 with an open mind and heart - and no resolutions! 

Can you share one bicycle-related highlight from the previous year? 

The Colorado visit, for sure! The whole experience completely changed my view and approach to cycling. My respect for the sport increased, as did my admiration for those who ride at the highest level. Since then, I have wholly applied myself whenever I ride my bike. It was a pilgrimage to a cycling holy ground for me.

What is the one piece of bike kit that brought a smile to your face in 2022, and is there anything new and shiny you lust after going into 2023? 

My new and shiny kit is still sitting somewhere in my mind. But it will be a shade of green when it finally becomes a reality. I will be open to anything cycling offers me in 2023!

Brennan Wertz and Bradyn Lange

Bradyn Lange

Next up on my list is my 2022 Pinarello Scuderia teammate Braydn Lange who I spent hours and hours pushing pedals this year. I am flattered that my name figures into his responses, and I can admit my life is better for having him in it. If you have not met Bradyn, seek him out at the next AC Shop Ride or gravel event and say hello. He's a great guy and can wheelie like a god. To my mind, he is the most talented technical rider in the US off-road scene, and I feel very fortunate to ride with him so much. With my planned participation in the Lifetime Grand Prix in 2023, I'll surely be spending many hours on mountain bikes with Bradyn, as I try to figure out how to ride and race this relatively new-to-me style. So stay tuned for many more wheelies with this guy in '23!

Did you make a New Year's resolution for 2022, and how did it work out for you?

Sometimes the hype around the New Year feels more like a trend than a time for meaningful change. How many people do you know commit to their resolution throughout the year? I keep my goals so close to me that I don't consider them New Year's resolutions. They change as I grow, and I look back each year to see what I can improve. Every day is a chance to create goals and execute them. At this point in the season, motivation is high because I took three weeks completely off the bike and am now preparing for my 2023 goals. I have high ambitions and goals in place for 2023, which keeps me motivated. 

Can you share one bicycle-related highlight from the previous year? 

Making it through the Life Time Grand Prix as an underdog and winning one of the six races in the series.

What is the one piece of bike kit that brought a smile to your face in 2022, and is there anything new and shiny you lust after going into 2023? 

Many shiny things made me smile in 2022, but one of the shiniest was joining forces with Brennan as a teammate. And for this year, I'm looking forward to seeing what Shimano innovates. 

Sarah and Skyler

Sarah and Skyler

And then there's Sarah and Skyler, my fellow AC family members. I've been riding with both of them in Marin for many years. We all share a love of the bike, friends, fun events, and awesome community rides. I look forward to many more rides, events, and races with both of them in 2023. So be sure to look out for them and say hello at the next AC Shop Ride.

Did you make a New Year's resolution for 2022, and if so, how did it work out for you?

Sarah: I'm not usually a big resolution person, but I did make it a goal to train and race for an entire season of gravel races. I found it helpful to use the gravel races dotted throughout the calendar to stay focused on riding while developing my technical ability as a relative newcomer to cycling.

Skyler: I can't remember exactly, but probably to ride my bike more!

Are you planning on making a New Year's resolution for 2023? Can you tell us about it?

Sarah: A common theme for me over the past couple of years has been leaning into what's scary and trying to gain expertise in those areas. Next year, I'd love to dip my toe into mountain bike racing and track improvements in my technical riding abilities.

Skyler: Same as last year :)

Can you share one bicycle-related highlight from the previous year?

Sarah: One of my favorite race experiences this past year was Rooted Vermont. I was proud to see my training pay off in my best personal performance so far and genuinely thrilled to be riding with so many women! For those who don't know, Rooted is one of those rare races that aims for gender parity. 

Skyler: Unbound. While I was a little bummed to have so much bad luck, it was probably the most epic day I've ever had on a bike. The energy there is unlike any other event I've been to. I had a post-race high for a few weeks afterwards, and I can't wait to go back. 

What is the one piece of bike kit that brought a smile to your face in 2022, and is there anything new and shiny you lust after going into 2023?

Sarah: Hands down, my favorite piece of kit from this past year had to be the Pinstripe Longsleeve from (link) Q36.5 in Cobalto. Paired with the Dottore bibs in navy, it is the antidote to a gloomy day. For 2023, I'm excited to try out some of the new winter options, like the Woolf Long Sleeve. 

Skyler: It's hard to pick just one, but I'd have to go with the (link) Hybrid Que Long Sleeve. It's so versatile! I found myself wearing it all year round. I'm also excited to try the Woolf bibs. They will be a great option for the wet and muddy days on Mt Tam.

Jonathan “Jono” Bernbaum

Jonathan “Jono” Bernbaum

I first got to know Jono through the shop in 2021 and quickly became much better acquainted with him when (then) AC's Derek Yarra and I began hosting more regular shop rides. Jono soon evolved into a regular on the AC Shop Ride, always keen to push himself, encourage those around him, ask meaningful questions, and learn as much as possible from the other riders. He's a pleasure to ride with and is always up for a big day on the bike.

Did you make a New Year's resolution for 2022, and if so, how did it work out for you?

I didn't have any specific goals set for 2022, only to be more consistent with my training and to push myself to do more challenging events like the Grasshopper series, BWR CA & SBT GRVL. 

Did you achieve it? 

While my mileage wasn't my biggest yet, my consistency within specific training blocks was hugely helpful. I also challenged myself to do bigger & harder events, which boosted my fitness and enjoyment on the bike. Having major events on the calendar has been the easiest way for me to stay motivated, but frankly, the pleasure of digging in on a climb next to a suffering friend is pretty motivating too :-)

And for 2023?

For 2023 I'd like to improve my technical skills and find more enjoyment in my gravel riding with another round of BWR and SBT GRVL. 

One bike highlight from 2022? 

Finishing SBT GRVL after crashing out at BWR. 

Favorite piece of bike kit? 

My Whoop has helped me understand how well I'm recovering, but I'd have to say my Zipp 353 NSWs. These wheels have been a game changer as they feel super fast regardless of terrain and at much more comfortable pressures. 

Any item lusting after for 2023? 

A white AC Jersey and a 55" Dogma F frameset ;-)

Chad Nordwall

Chad Nordwall

Chad is the boss, the man in charge. He's worked tirelessly for years to make Above Category what it is today. His passion for beautiful, high-performance bikes and cycling culture knows no boundaries. He has an incredible eye for custom bikes, but he's also a serious rider, logging thousands of miles each year and working closely with his coach and friend, Craig Upton. Chad is always a pleasure to ride with, offering one of the steadiest wheels around to those who can keep up.

Did you make a New Year's resolution for 2022?

Honestly, I didn't make a resolution and to be honest I never really make resolutions. I can't give you an exact reason, but I think it is because the bigger things I've done or the greatest achievements never really started on January 1st. When I grew up in Seattle and started cycling, January was when you started thinking about the season. January 1st was always significant, but not in a resolution way. Winter training is still my favorite. It's huge because everyone rides slower, and you get to hang out with your friends. "If it ain't rainin', you ain't training." 

Are you planning on making a New Year's resolution for 2023? Can you tell us about it?

I have more of an ongoing resolution for 2023. The last couple of years, I've just gotten so busy. I've been slacking and not riding as much as I want. I didn't realize how much I had been slipping. So for this year, I'm training for The Coast Ride (more on that or read the story). What my friend Tony Palacci did by inviting me was to get me off my ass, and now I'm looking forward to what the rest of the year will bring. 

One bike highlight from 2022?

I rode with my friends Tony, Brennan, Skylar, Josh and myself and did the Point Reyes Lighthouse. It was a cold Winter, crisp day that turned beautiful. Just beautiful. It's great when you ride with fast riders, current pros and former pros. I never hit the front once. It was just amazing.  

Favorite piece of bike kit? 

You're talking to somebody who has owned 200-plus bikes! I love all my bikes, and I honestly don't feel like one bike is better than another (if you're talking about nice bikes). I do love my Prova. It makes me want to go ride. I've had bad issues with shoes since I started riding. I got a pair of DMT KR0s a year ago, and it is probably the best piece of cycling gear I've ever received. I'm not saying they are for everybody, but these have been the best piece of kit this year. I've had zero, zero, zero issues. I love them.

Anthony (Tony) Little

Anthony (Tony) Little

At this point, Tony (@palicci) needs no introduction. He is a local legend, the most 'pro' looking cyclist in the Bay Area, and always sneaky quick on the bike. He trains rigorously and is a force to be reckoned with in all of the Grasshopper Adventure Series races in NorCal and just about any other race or ride he enters. Tony is also the brave and organized character who lovingly takes on the task of organizing our Coast Ride every year. He's a great friend, a stalwart in the local cycling community, and regularly introduces me to wonderful new words thanks to his profound vocabulary.

Did you make a New Year's resolution for 2022?

No.

Are you planning on making a New Year's resolution for 2023? Can you tell us about it? 

No. FWIW, I don't believe in New Year's resolutions. I had a ski coach that used to tell me if I fucked up a gate, my run started on the next gate, not my next run. Waiting until the new year, at least in my eyes, is a waste of our incredibly short, valuable time on this planet. If a change needs to happen, make it happen sooner than later. 

Can you share one bicycle-related highlight from the previous year? 

Honestly, Coast Ride 2022 was just incredible. Beautiful roads shared with my best friends is very much my happy place. 

What is the one piece of bike kit that brought a smile to your face in 2022, and is there anything new and shiny you lust after going into 2023?

Sounds dumb, but after all my COVID-related health issues and battling through that mess, my Fourth Frontier ECG monitor ended up being my North Star when it came to riding. Being able to monitor my heart while riding culled a tremendous amount of stress and aided in making sound health decisions. And for 2023, a Prova gravel bike.

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And as for me, I am still not making any official New Year's Resolutions, but I am plotting, planning, and pondering my second year on the professional gravel scene. I am stoked to have been selected for the Life Time Grand Prix (link), and I am days away from announcing the fantastic sponsors who will be helping me make 2023 a year to remember. Stay tuned to this channel for those announcements and to see what we get up to in the coming year. 

Happy New Year, one and all!

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