I often hear young people – including my own kids – and also some of my friends say: “I wish so and so would like to do the same things I like doing”, mostly referring to close ones.

I can’t relate to that. I don’t need my wife to understand my passion for climbing steep hill just as I don’t need my business partners to share my passion for big families.

My wife likes Oprah, I like Limbaugh. I like cycling, she likes reading. I like double black ski runs, she likes green and blue runs. What we share are values and common aspirations for our six kids. We are very respectful of each other’s priorities.

And, as long as my business partners and I continue share a passion for making money and ethical business practices we will continue to get along just fine no matter how they feel about cycling.

So then, who do I share my passion for cycling with? Guys who share my passion. And I just got back from ten days doing the “amateur” version of the Tour of California, basically living with the same group of guys 18 to 19 hours a day. A lot gets said and done when you are this close for this long.

And what follows are thoughts, one liners and jokes to bring it all together before memories fade.

Video here.

Our story, as told by Outside magazine here.

Chris:

You’re never too old to act like a kid. The riders who comprised the CTS ATOC Race Experience Team were all mature, responsible, successful adults. In their private and professional lives they have accomplished some tremendous feats. But they still sprint for city limit signs, pull pranks on fellow riders, and grin from ear to ear on twisty descents. They rode with pure joy, not because the riding was going to lead to something else, but because on the bike they let go of everything else and just focused on the road ahead of them. The lesson for everyone is: All the stresses in your life are going to be waiting for you when you get off the bike; don’t bring them along for the ride too.

John:

Best moments:

Chasing back on Justin’s wheel and realizing I was going 46.9 MPH.

Screaming down all the descents especially Mt Hamilton.

How I felt riding the Individual Time Trial

Suffering for so long to not get dropped on the 26 mile climb of Stage 7 and realizing I could suffer that long.

Best moment of all:

Watching all my new friends each have their own best moments and feeling so blessed to be able to here to witness it all.

Most embarrassing moment:

Sprinting way up front so I could take a leak and have time to get on again, practically falling on my ass trying to get off the bike and looking up to see Chris coming down the road on the front laughing.

Then having to chase back just  because I wasted so much time.

Jeff:

Pavel showing up in white, regardless of the weather

Pace-lining feverishly through the wind challenged rollers, each of us digging deep within, to push while purely hanging on

Alain dancing on his bike anytime he saw the KOM signs, naive to the eyes of the 10 pound rat & co watching his attack

I’m gonna get rid of this hammy cramp and go do some brain surgery!

I am very appreciative of the PB&J that Kimmi handed me through the van window while I was pushing through my own limits with Rob and Mike on GMR

I now have the need for post ride “Grubs and rubs”, thanks Alex and Karen

The race-changing descending instructions provided to me by Mike, Rob, Bob, Jason, Jim, and Vince. I owe you guys big-time

Without question, the most memorable part of the  ToC Epic Endurance event was doing it with my new friends. Every one of you!  The event could be interchanged with any of Chris’s crazy endurance tests, the people, however, made last week one of the best that I have had!

Thank you Bill and Justin for showing the art of riding in a peloton

 The Domestiques, eh?

Dan and co.  I am now spoiled.

Michelle and co.  I may need assistance explaining to my administrator why there needs to be a soigneur on the payroll

JF:

The stories are impressive and, to summarize it quite simply, they are those of individuals who are fit and accomplished at once. These are individuals who truly commit to being young in body and spirit and who, by nature, either love or need to push themselves at or beyond their limits. We had world-record-setting 40 year old athletes to busy and highly committed executives, brain and cardiac surgeons, 3 people in their 60s and an inspiring 71 year old retired MD. How young do YOU want to be?… These individuals working together is what makes or breaks this sort of challenge and, with everybody finishing the Tour together, it made it.

Renee:

“Epic.”

Rick:

Epic rides, scenery, teammates, & support. It qas a privilege to live the dream with a fantastic group.

Absolute best moment: finishing on Mt. Baldy after an incredible day.

Epic riding, epic efforts & challenges (particularly stage 5 to Paso Robles for me), epic scenery (stage 7), epic teammates & new friends, epic organization & support team, and even some epic weather; all of which & who contributed more than you will ever know to making the ToC experience easily the most challenging and satisfying cycling week I’ve ever experienced.

I had my doubts about whether I could do this when Chris first proposed it to me and there’s no question it wouldn’t have happened without every one of you. Thanks for helping me live the dream for the last 10 days, body blast and all. Honorable mention goes to CTS coach Patrick Valentine for being up to the task of getting me prepared. 

Jason:

A real race experience. The transfers sapped any energy I had left from the rides.

Rob:

The trip was awesome and I got out of it exactly what I wanted – and that was to see if I could hammer my body for 6 to 7 days straight and it would recover and come out the other end stronger.  My body continues to impress me and I’m looking forward to testing in on my next really big race which is the Leadville 100 MTB race

I enjoyed getting to meet & ride with all of you guys and to build the relationships I did.  Chris Carmichael is a top quality guy and it shows with the team he assembled! Cant wait until ATOC 2012

Bill:

At the Spidertech Team  Reception at the end of the Tour, the Spidertech Pro riders said they were watching us. Before Stage 1, they were impressed that we were so enthusiastic and optimistic while they were concerned about 8 tough stages and the weather forecast of snow.

Later, they would look for us at the team dinner each night. They knew that we got up at 4 or 4:30 each morning and we were a peleton of 20 while they rode in a pack of 120. They thought we had the tougher assignment and they would not want to be on our program. They were impressed by our accomplishment and we were impressed by the accomplishments of the pros we got to live with and to see up close.

I’m glad I’m back at my regular job

Aaron:

My thanks go to the CTS team for tremendous organisation, coaching and support, to the athletes for a tremendous shared experience and accomplishment and to Jeff for introducing the idea and insisting it had to be done!

Dean:

Just amazed, how well we all did, it was no joke! It was a pleasure to have accomplished this with each and every one of you! The CTS ATOC athletes and coaches are one tough group!

 Kimmi:

New and old friends having a once-in-a-lifetime experience, beautiful country, fun times, new personal bests and challenges met and big plans for a 2012 reunion already in the works so it seems!

Jim:

A trip that will stay with all of us for a lifetime.

Others

“Thanks to my wife for letting me go, happily.”

“Steer with your core!!!!”

“Stay on my wheel.”

“Shoulder to shoulder.” 

“Is your mind wandering?”

“Another Cab?”

“Where are the Canucks?”

“Why am I doing this?”

“He didn’t make it but someone got his kidneys.”

Alain (same as Jeff and John):

Without question, the most memorable part of the ToC Epic Endurance event was doing it with my new friends. Every one of you! The event could be interchanged with any of Chris’s crazy endurance tests, the people, however, made last week one of the best that I have had!

Watching all my new friends each have their own best moments and feeling so blessed to be able to here to witness it all.

 

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