Professional cyclists, without fail, will ask how’s the weather been, as long as enough time has passed since last seeing friends. Weather is related to training and training is basically a barometer of how well the time has passed since last seeing each other, so it’s an applicable question.
Pecking away at this computer from an island in Maine, the standard go-to question here is “How long are you up?” meaning up, on island, meaning how long are you ’round these parts?
I’ve come here for some portion of every summer my entire life, so everyone knows everyone and it’s an amazing way to see lifelong friends. It’s a very social place, so as we catch up with each other and see what’s been going on in each others’ lives the previous year. I’m only here for four days but in catching up this week, it’s given me an iota of time to recount the number of places I’ve been lately. I tend do a terrific job of staying apprised of what trips I have in the near future, but once something has happened, it’s easily in the rearview mirror and given that my memory is sometimes like that of a seive, I tend to lose track. Which is actually quite silly because these trips are really quite awesome and I want to keep them every present in the front of my mind.
So here in the midst of my second one-month trip to the east coast this summer alone, it’s time to take stock of what’s been going on since the summer started. Here’s the unofficial TedTracker, covering all things since, ooooh let’s say since March because that’s when the winter stopping drenching California in rain and it basically felt like summer started.
Can you guess where I was in early March? Yup, SRAM and I went to SXSW in Austin and we helped Open The Road. It goes without saying that we succeeded.
From there it was back to California and then a speedy trip to Los Angeles for the first ever HUNKR race followed by the inCycle supported, UnTapped fueled Ted King of the Mountain Challenge.
The world is good. The world is better with maple.
Here’s the turnout for the KoM challenge. It behooved me to have my last name King. Good work mom and dad.
From there to Calabasas where the Thursday Night Ride and Pint did not disappoint. March effectively marked the beginning of the end of the most ridiculously wet winter in California history. And if not history, than recent history. The ol’ rivers runneth through streets was a thing. Conveniently, after such ridiculousness, the state shown the the vibrant green you could ever imagine.
And a Velocio photoshoot ensued, complete with fortuitous sportscars matching the wildflowers.
Then back up north to Sonoma where SoNoMas mountain bike race was a total blast and I stepped atop the top step of the podium. Yes, there was a second place finisher, and in fact he races in the ProTour but he was only allotted morning bike time and had to go on date-afternoon with his wife. Fair.
More emerald green up on Mount Tam.
It was in California training about four years ago that I was told about the incredible Steph Curry. At that point no one had heard of him, but a little kiddo about ten years old then told me that he was great. He turned out to be correct. I decided it time to see this Steph Curry in action in yee olde Oakland.
Must be time for April to start and what better way to leave the Californian Bay Area than to visit the… Portuguese Bay Area!
Here’s the flight into Lisbon with it’s twin bridge.
The beautiful Laura and I spent a week with our friends at inGamba. João, Jim, Eros, Manuel, Raul, and the whole gang took incredible care of us. Eros, in the background below, never misses an opportunity to ham up the camera.
It was hot and we rode a zesty 100 miles or so every day and it was glorious.
Then we took in Lisbon in all her spectacular history with the most local of all local tour guide, João himself.
Zipping back we went straight to Sea Otter in Monterey, CA. A normal person might have drive a car the 2-3 hours to Monterey. My friend Chris collected some friends and we decided that a 130 mile bike ride would be the wiser choice. Which was fantastic because then upon arrival our buddy Justin served us fresh Maine lobster. Lobster in California — now I’ve seen eveeeeeerything!
Sea Otter is such a cool show. It’s tangible for the casual fan, full of races for the racers, and is a great insight into the industry. I don’t know how it took more than a dozen years in professional cycling before I went to my first Sea Otter in 2016, but it’s great.
I did some more fun riding with SRAM as we Open(ed) The Road at Sea Otter. Then we turned it up a notch by bringing in the likes of Chris Cosantino to cook up an enormous feast to sate our languishing appetites after riding all day.
Cannondale was stoked to get me out on their Moterra in the industry e-MTB race. My attire is fantastic. The bike is even better (…I know, I know, I found it hard to believe too, but it turned out to be true).
That was a total hoot, although somewhere around the second lap as sealant was spewing out of my tires thanks to an enormous gash and my tire pressure was hovering around 0psi, we probably should have changed my tires beforehand. In any event, I can’t recommend ebikes enough. One more bike? I’m a fan.
From there, back to Marin for a video shoot for my friends at World Bicycle Relief. We generated a video that’ll be featured on the Outside Channel explaining just how awesome the bicycle is. After all, 2017 marks the 200th birthday of everyone’s favorite two-wheeled contraption(!) and what better way to ring in the festivities than by celebrating the Buffalo Bike.
From there I reunited with all sorts of friends, Bob, Chris, Lucas, Chris, and… myself, to kick off the first ever CampoVelo. inGamba was once again involved and to ride for the sake of scrumptious food, tasty beverages, among great friends all for a wonderful cause — that’s my idea of a great weekend.
Topped up with our new Coffee Waffle, which uses real coffee instead of that bastardized “natural flavor” coffee alternative, I lead the UnTapped Espresso Ride at a very zesty pace.
Next up, May.
If you’re ever in Arizona, I recommend a trip to Scottsdale. And once in Scottsdale, go to Old Scottsdale. And whilst in Old Scottsdale, be sure to visit Bicycle Haus because they’re as fun as it comes. From selection to friendly staff to just a beautiful layout, they do it right. Plus their coffee machine alone is worth the visit just to look at.
We lead some rides to show off the latest wares from Velocio and then ended up in Chino, AZ for the Chino Gravel Grinder — 100 (or 107) miles of baking Arizonan heat and upon which I got to test out my diesel and ride home for the victory.
The handsome Cannondale SuperX upon which watts were emitted.
It was at the beginning of this trip to Arizona that I caught the very disheartening wind of one of New Hampshire’s finest, Chad Young, being caught up in a crash at the Tour of the Gila. There aren’t a lot of professional cyclists coming out of New Hampshire, so Chad and I shared a strong bond from the beginning. I remember this spindly little kid with an ear to ear smile coming to the Exeter Cycles Wednesday Night Worlds and from a very young age, already hacking it, taking enormous turns with the big boys. His talents on the bike were enormous and his talents off the bike were even more prodigious. Balancing professional riding at the age of 19 and 20 with the course load at Colorado School of Mines is generally unheard of — most people go to college or ride professionally, but Chad was rapidly making his way through Mines in under three years. It’s a heartbreaking story that Chad passed away so young, and this was not a service I was going to miss. May his memory and legacy live on. #belikeChad
It was a somber time to be home, but uplifting to be amongst community. I’ve been involved with the Portsmouth High School cycling team for a few years now, so it was fun to hang out with them on one of their weekly practices.
From one coast to the other, back to California I flew — jet lag be damned! João invited a few hundred of his best friends to the João and Friends Ride to benefit World Bicycle Relief. This also kicks off the middle of May and therefore the Tour of California.
Recognize that arm on the poster? This is the inside of the ToCA VIP tent. The lineup in that peloton is Majeic Bodnar (2017 stage 20 TdF winner), someone on Sky, I’ll just say Boswell, the one and only Ted King, then this up and coming rider from Slovakia named Peter Sagan. Keep his name in your memory bank cause he’s going to be special. Oh, then some in yellow behind him.
Yup, another SRAM Open the Road/Tour of California edition. For SURE, if you haven’t checked out the Tour of California Roadbook by the great folks at SRAM, be sure to do so. It’s a fascinating look behind the scenes at the stories that comprise America’s biggest race.
Plus it lets us ride roads like this beauty which is the backside of Camino Cielo, high atop Santa Barbara.
The other side of Cielo. I think this is Cookie Corner, if I’m not mistaken. Although at this particular moment, I call it Maple Alley.
Ripping east to west towards 154 on Camino Cielo.
“Oooooh Saaaaay Can You Seeeeeeee…!” After Tour of California, it was down to San Diego we plodded for my first stab at the Belgian Waffle Ride. They’ve grown hand over fist and are at something like 1200 people showing up for this instant one day classic.
Some 130-odd miles of frighteningly high southern Californian heat, my day was going magnificently well as I found myself in the final selection of three. We were taking great turns, working well together, and it was about fifteen minutes before this photo was taken that I bashed my wheel on a rock and suffered the first of three terribly timed flats. Goshdarnit! It was magnificently fun, however, and so long as the cards line up right, I’ll be back.
How do you decompress from being wicked hot in SoCal? Hang out with your buddy Tony and go skiing in NorCal. Hellloooooo Tahooooooe.
Next up, Memorial Day to cap off the month of May and a trip to Shaver Lake. Just west of the middle of nowhere, it was a terrific locale for a handful of bike-loving amigos to get together and spin a yarn. Plus it was our friend, and leader of this adventure, Nate’s birthday. Here we are on the first day of a five day escape and we’re on a dead end road unless we pass through the waterfall that’s pummeling millions of gallons of water across the bridge every second (I just estimated that figure). The sheer look of terror on Pia’s face is priceless.
But on the other side, it looks like this, so with a heightened heart rate and maybe just a little bit soaked, we made it through. Alive.
Worth the drenching.
April showers bring may flowers and May flowers bring a trip to Dirty Kanza in June. Chatting up the crowd at Sunflower Bike in Lawrence, the one and only Queen of Pain Rebecca Rusch and I are staring at legions of fans answering a riveting QnA. Legions means dozens, anyway.
These are the legions of fans. It’s amazing what a simple bicycle race can do to people. “Hey all, let’s show up in Emporia, Kansas around 6am and race 200 miles across the barren, hilly, remarkably sharp countryside. Oh heck, let’s make it 206 miles.” And somewhere north of 2000 people do show up and we have a blast!
I’ve been told the best way to spin out 200 miles of Kansas junk from your legs is to call Tony and go both mountain biking and skiing at Tahoe! (Only to find out that the skiing is closed except for weekends, so call it a very good thing we packed right and brought our mountain bikes.)
Another quick swing through California and this time oysters and another WBR celebration was unshelled.
Which was just the right amount of California time, because from there it was off to Lake Como, Italy. The first part of the trip was once again the pleasure of hanging with the inGamba family.
And then we went deep into the Dolomites.
And then back to Lake Como we went and debuted the Cannondale Synapse. I’ve spent the better part of nearly a decade racing on iterations of the Synapse and the 2018 edition is just plain dreamy. Ridiculously fast yet incredibly accommodating with the ability to take knobby 32c tires, the thing is a dream. And we got to debut this dream with a cadre of international journalists assaulting the legendary climb up the Ghisallo and around Lake Como.
Nearly missing my flight, I then traveled from Italy to New England, which was very timely since the very next day I had a wedding to attend in Maine. Some people remain close with their high school friends and others for one reason or another don’t stay so much in touch. I’m proud of our high school crew and how tight knit we’ve remained. This wedding was basically a high school reunion (so 10x the number you see below).
Justin Walker raised the bar at last year’s King Challenge. We’ve always enjoyed an incredible section of terrific food and drink on the tail end of my year’s favorite ride. But when you’re basically a Michelin starred chef, you up the game even more. Laura and I stayed at his hitherto most current restaurant and will definitely make our way to Cape Neddick to see his fine work there. In related news, here’s what Laura and I decided was our best pizza of 2017. Perhaps ever. Clam, pistachio, burrata.
Maine being Maine.
Next up was a trip to Vermont for our annual UnTapped board meeting. These aren’t your run of the mill board meetings. We’re so pumped for the next round of what’s coming down the pike. Here’s a sliver of an idea.
Vermont being Vermont.
And then off to the second annual #tourXnewengland. Now in year two, we took on western New England from the mighty Pioneer Valley up through northern Vermont. Day one didn’t disappoint and that was the spirit of the trip from start to finish.
Vermont has bridges that don’t like to see snow.
The unveiling of the Synapse, via artistic barn shot.
This also marked the first time I got to hang out with Afghani Middlebury student, Farid Noori, with whom I’ve shared a bunch of conversations and emails, but never a bike ride.
And zoom zoom zoom, back to California we went! Conveniently through this trip, I had the foresight to call up Beeline Bikes so they could tend to my now well worn steeds. I had a bike race coming up and my bikes needed a little TLC, to which Andrew and the crew were happy to oblige.
Leading out another ride from Lake Tahoe the next day, we’re showing the high altitude lay of the land for the Tahoe 100(km) on Saturday.
After nearly calling it quits at mile three because I felt absolutely TERRIBLE, I soldiered through and came away with a respectable 4th place. No lie, I was going to quit, so this was a nice result given how awful/hot/wrecked/jet-lagged I felt.
And the to the Wednesday Roasters Ride out of Fairfax. Being able to check back in with rides like these is very centering. I travel a lot, as you might have discovered, so being able to come back to something that’s consistent is very meaningful.
Aaaaand that Californian trip was short lived, so it’s back to the east coast! I don’t go more than about two days before visiting Lil’s in Kittery. If you want a donut, then go to your favorite local donut shop. If you want the best thing you’ve ever tried, then be sure to have a Lil’s cruller. They’re amazing. (I’ve already eaten the cruller in this picture, so now I’m enjoying my maple syrup, waffle, and coffee in the muggy New England summer.)
From there to Massachusetts for the JAM FUNdo. Seriously an awesome ride that I can’t really suggest highly enough.
Which was conveniently placed smack between my parents’ place in New Hampshire and Mountain Creek, NJ where Cannondale was hosting their sales meeting. Sales meeting is code for go shred bikes and see what’s new and awesome for 2018.
New Jersey, you’re asking? Yeah, New Jersey. And it was incredible.
A quick drive north on the way home gave me a day with Robbie, which was awesome. I rarely get to ride with my big bro so that’s always a treat.
And from there, to Beverly, MA and once we discovered that with a little paperwork I could enter the Beverly Gran Prix — my first real road race in two years and my first real criterium in probably four years — it was enough time to discover that it’s been a long long time since I’ve done a criterium. But it was sweet all the same.
And with that, I now find myself in Maine. Hard to believe, that’s a recap of everything since March. And to be perfectly honest, I’m sure there’s another 20% of things that didn’t make it into this post that have also transpired since then.
Bring on August!