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So far it’s a solo ride.

Random Thoughts: Edition 02/23

Chad Nordwall |

An occasional series dedicated to going behind the scenes at Above Category, including some of our random and not so random thoughts about all things cycling.


I was thinking the other day about why I've been unable, over my lifetime, to stay really motivated and consistent about and with my training on the bike. If I had been able to, I'd be reaping the rewards of all of that good riding right now. For some, this is not a problem, but for me it's been on and off when it comes to putting the work in on the bike. Many will say that we're not pros and life just gets in the way, yet we still talk about how much we love riding and how important the bike is to us. Well, I got some advice the other day that I wish I had known years ago. It may be obvious to a lot of you, but it really sunk in for me. My coach told me I needed to prioritize my daily training above all else. That sounded weird at first as, like I said, I'm not a pro or anything even closely resembling that, so why would that be a priority over things like work, chores, hanging out with my awesome wife, and more? Well, if you look at it through a holistic lens, it makes sense as a training session sets the tone for the rest of your day or caps the day off in the best way, depending on when you can get the work in.

If I don't train each morning, I am a bit of a pain in the ass to be around the rest of the day, and for sure am not my best self. Too often, I let things get in the way of that training because I didn't feel I could or even deserved to prioritize it. Now, my coach's advice is still a work in progress and I have definitely missed a day or two in the month or so since he told me that, but so far, the new mindset I've developed has been a major improvement for me - and not just on the bike. So, if you were in the same boat as me, hopefully, this advice helps you, too.

If I needed more proof about how strong Lightweight wheels (the brand, not the category - I know, can be confusing) are, this week provided it. My friend Tony had landed in Mallorca and sent me a text with this picture of his wheels. Ouch. It happened somewhere between SF and Spain and didn't look good. He asked if I thought he could ride them as they were still true. I was a little skeptical, but then I'm here, and he's there, so he can gauge it a bit better than I can, but it looked pretty sketch. Well, I just received another text saying that he was 110k into his ride, and everything is great. And, Lightweight was nice enough to overnight him a new wheel so that he only has to do that for one day. Obviously, I don't recommend anyone riding a wheel that looks like this, but when you are on a big trip, and you don't want to miss a day, it's nice to know that when push comes to shove, you can.

I’m mainly riding two bikes (well, three, actually, but I’ll get to the new one in a week or two) right now: my Sarto Seta Plus and my old but recently re-painted Mosaic RT-1. The Sarto is a disc-brake road bike, while the Mosaic is a rim-brake road machine. Both have SRAM Red AXS electronic shifting. I love both, but I wanted to make this observation: nice rim brake bikes are freaking awesome! I don’t descend any slower and may even be a bit quicker descending on my rim brake bike due to how I use them, and the power is pretty darn close as well between the two. I have gone back and forth and have done a bunch of incredibly non-scientific tests to prove this to myself. If you are a rider looking for a new bike and planning on running 30c tires and narrower, I strongly recommend not discounting the rim brake. We still build a lot of them for that reason. I’m going to go way deeper into this in the near future, so keep an eye out!

We got the new ENVE MOG gravel frame last week, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the look of it. Not that I didn't think ENVE would come out with something very nice. It's just that I have not seen anything recently in the stock bike world that stood out or impressed me. The build quality looks fantastic, the look is fresh, and I like the color. I'm not usually into things like storage spaces built into my frames, but Enve's engineering looks well thought out and executed - a great first impression. Unfortunately, I think our first batch is mostly sold out, so I may not get to build one until we get our second batch, but looking forward to it!

Lastly, and a bit off topic here, but if you watch TV, check out 'The Offer'. Amazing show. If I had the time, I'd write a review for you, but I promise you will not be disappointed. Worth whatever it costs. Send me a note and let me know how you like it.

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