Chad "the boss" Nordwall loves a solid 40-mile bike ride. He's not known for his monster miles. He prefers to dream about hitting it hard and getting it done, but mostly just going for a ride. "That's not completely true," said Nordwall. "I like 100-mile rides; I just don't feel I have the time for them."
Which brings us to his annual year-end dilemma: Chad's friend Anthony Palicci has once again invited him to participate in his Coast Ride, a new year leg-wakener departing from the Golden Gate Bridge, and ending five days, 500 miles and 50k of climbing later, in Malibu. And this year, like every year, Nordwall desperately wants to say yes. "I love the idea of it," said Nordwall." Anthony always makes it sounds so amazing, and it's such a great group of riders. I have just never gotten myself prepared enough."
This year is different.
This year he's committed.
This year he's going.
This is the year.
"I would give it a 40% chance right now," said Brennan Wertz, former Above Category employee, Sausalito resident and now AC-sponsored gravel pro. "If he does join, I see him bringing stoke and excitement, many stories, and his Chad attitude."
"I've invited Chad every year, for years and years," said Palacci. "Chad is the consummate road-riding partner. He grew up in the era of style, panache, and tact. He lauded riders like Vandenbroucke and Museeuw and emulated their style. He's one of those guys you can ride side-by-side with for 100 miles and never worry about how they will react to things on the road. He taught me a lot, actually, and I miss riding with him. We used to ride together almost every day."
"I don't think he's done anything big like this in a while," said Wertz. "But he's a hell of a storyteller and brings a lot to the table."
So to prove his friends wrong and get prepared, Nordwall has re-engaged with his coach, and things have gotten serious. "As long as my coach doesn't tell me I'm out of my mind and am nowhere near ready for the ride, I'm going."
We reached out to his coach to find out what working with Nordwall is like from a training perspective and to get a couple of tips for the road.
"Working with Chad is easy," said Craig Upton, who is an assistant with Quick Step and has a racing resume. "I've known him for 15-20 years, so I know his habits, what makes him tick and things to watch for. He is good in that he follows the program and just checks each day off."
It turns out the hard part is keeping an eye on Chad's training, so he doesn't fall into bad habits that have derailed his training in the past. "The key is consistency, don't think you have to hammer out lots and lots of massive rides," said Upton. "If you are not fit enough to digest those rides, they just make you tired. So work on gradually building duration, but more importantly, be consistent with training."
According to Upton, The Coast Ride is not super hard; you just need to take each of those long days in the saddle as they come. "The key then becomes post-riding each day, getting enough food to replenish glycogen stores and getting enough sleep," said Upton." Then tomorrow is a brand new day." And if Upton has 100 percent confidence Chad can get it done, we do, too.
"I'm hoping he decides to come along," concludes Palacci. "If nothing else, then to see which one of his many bikes he decides to ride!"
If the idea of The Coast Ride appeals to you, but you need help figuring out where to start, you should check out the official The Coast Ride, which takes place every year on Martin Luther King weekend. (https://www.thecoastride.org/)