This is Bruno

I started bike racing 6 years ago as a category 5 bike racer, the lowest level of competitive cycling in the US. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was okay since everyone else around me was just as clueless. I had been riding my bike a couple times a week for about 6 months leading up to that first race, and that got me less than 10 minutes of racing before I was too far behind the leaders to continue. 

Later that day, I watched my fellow UC Davis Cycling teammates race in the Pro/1/2 event, the biggest race of the day, and all I thought about was how cool it would be to say you were a “Cat 1” racer and to race with professional cyclists. Of course I would never get to that level - I only lasted 10 out of 45min in an entry level race.  Racing as a Pro/1/2 would always just be a dream to me – those guys were too fit and fast.

Fast forward to 12 months ago. I had spent more time riding my bike than I did studying at UC Davis, didn’t have a social life because I was always traveling or too tired to stay up past 10pm, but in my head it was all worth it. I had no real goals with cycling, but I was 110% fully committed to being the best bike racer I could be.  

Now I have my Cat 1 license - something I had only ever dreamed about while spending 5 hours at a time pedaling all over Davis and Napa. I had completely surpassed any expectations myself or anyone else had of me at the Collegiate National Championships the year before.  I was regularly racing against the top teams and riders in the country, and I bumped elbows with guys who have raced in the WorldTour. 

All last year I was the fittest and strongest I’d ever been on a bike. I only trained by myself, staring at my power meter, and doing my coach’s prescribed workout exactly as he said. I had accomplished all of my dreams. 

But what was I left with? Well to start off, I was pretty set on not being a professional bike racer (the craziest thought I had), and hadn't done anything that mattered to anyone else except myself.  All I knew was that I just liked riding my bike.

Then last Fall, I sent off with a bunch of jaded competitive cyclists on my full-suspension mountain bike wearing Jeans and flannels.  Even though we had to stop every 10 minutes and I had to ride 30 minutes in the dark to pick up some unnamed, slightly out of shape riders, IT WAS TOP 5 GREATEST MOMENTS IN BRUNO’S LIFE!

So lets not all be super jaded and stop listening to our coaches all the time and come ride the Flannel Grinder next month to find some balance!

Shameless plug: Bike racing got me a super awesome job in the bike industry with IRC Tire! So, if you are looking for new tire options, I know a guy.

-Bruno Suttles

Chris Stastny