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So far it’s a solo ride.

Shop Talk: Coastless Chad

Chad Nordwall |

I've had a bunch of folks ask me if I ended up doing the Coast Ride after seeing our post about it back in early January. Since my guys (thanks, Jim) made a big deal about me getting off my ass and making it a big goal to start the year, there was a bit more interest in my riding the event than normal. Short answer: nope, it didn't happen. Longer answer: did you see the big news at the start of the year about all the rain and storms in California? When it comes to riding my bike, rain and storms are not particularly daunting for me, as I'm from Seattle. I mean, there was a ton of rain, flooding (and homes in low lying areas were affected) and road closures, and yes, it sucked, but coming from where I grew up, nothing that would keep me from being on my bike. So then, why didn't I do the Coast Ride? 

Number one, I was just not fit. In theory, I can get off the couch and ride 500 miles in five days with no problem. The issue is how fast I can do those 500 miles. Easy answer, not very fast. And I won't shy away from telling you that I was pretty stressed out by the company I would be in for this ride. I'm not sure how many were slated to do the ride, but it was under twenty for sure, and at least two of them are professional riders, if not more. And a few of the others are just hammers, with the rest of the crew being filled out with very competent cyclists. I want to think that I am in that latter group, but with two years of declining training and form, I was a bit stressed. My good buddy kept telling me I could just sit on it, no problem! They'll be cruising along at 270-300 watts at the front, and I'll be coasting at the bike. Sure. I also forgot to explain that this was not the regular Coast Ride route. We'd be throwing in as many climbs as possible on the way, with each day getting close to, if not over, 10,000 feet of vert. It's hard to coast at the back of the group when going uphill. 

Number two reason? They did close the roads. That should have been that, ride over. I am not too embarrassed to say that I was pretty freaking stoked to hear this. The easy way out! They even cancelled the official Coast Ride, which had over 500 folks in it (I think that was the number). Our ride was officially cancelled for about 12 hours. Then, of course, a few of the hard chargers said, "hey, let's just change the route and go around all the closures!" Oh, fuck no. I was out. Have you ever decided to do something, even if stressed about doing it and then it gets called off, at which point relief sets in, only to have the event come back at you like a boomerang? Well, that was where I was, and I grasped the relief and didn't let go. At this point, it was not going to happen for me, at least in January.


The third reason was, well, the rain. Even though I said it was not a huge deal, it would be hard enough at my current fitness level to finish a flat Coast Ride with a tailwind and stay within shouting distance of the front group. In the hills and cold, torrential, constant rain and wind (and downed trees, mudslides, washed-out roads, etc.)? No, thank you. I had a good excuse for this, though, and it's pretty legit. Even if it was nice weather, there is only so long the front group will wait at the top of the longer climbs, but if it's pouring and cold, you don't want to wait for even a minute as that is when you can get really cold and even have hypothermia set in. So I'd be looking at a good long week of mainly riding solo in that weather. Excuses aside, it seemed like there were better ways to start the year. 

The fourth and last reason is based on group dynamics. When I talked to some of the riders on the roster for this ride, most were not super stoked to spend five days riding in the weather we were looking at, but I don't think anyone wanted to be the one that voiced it out loud. I think I made up for most of them though. But finally, one of the main protagonists of the group (of which I was a rookie member) got on the group chat and made the bold statement, "F this, we're not spending valuable vacation time riding in shit weather for five days, we're going to Hawaii!" That was the one smart thing I heard in all of January!

Sorry for the long thought this week, but I needed to get that out. So now you all know I didn't do what I promised. 

Anyway, check back here soon. I'll be doing this regularly (writing, not making excuses) and will get into a lot of things that bounce around my head, mainly during rides, sometimes sitting around the store and hoping I can put out some interesting content. At the very least, it will be interesting to me! :-) See you in the next week or so!

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