Call it “vintage”, call it “throwback,” just don’t call it “old.” These previously unworn winner’s jerseys are in pristine condition and Chamois Butt’r Ambassador and Specialized athlete Charon Smith is taking them out of the closet the first time during COVID-19 to reminisce on his epic road racing career and inspire us to kick up our riding to pre-lockdown levels.
We asked “Mr. 200 Meters” to share how he’s maintaining his positivity during the Coronavirus pandemic and the Method to Winning coach shared his personal training notes, some great advice for maintaining balance for your schedule and your mental health, as well as a few of his favorite memories from past tours.
What inspired you to start riding in your throwback kits? CS: Well the jerseys I had won over the years were special to me because I felt like they were well earned wins with the help of the teammates I have had. So sometimes it is good and healthy to look back on your success to serve as a reminder that you can and will continue to do good things simply because you have done it before. Far too often we tend to forget about our success when we face sad times which leads to us staying there longer than needed. So, it was more of a reminder for myself while trying to inspire someone else along the way. My messages always have a message within the message if one pays attention closely to the details.
After riding in these kits, were there any favorite race moments that came back that you enjoyed reliving? CS: Yes, all these jerseys offer something unique. For example, the blue one from Intelligentsia Cup which I won in Chicago for a race series me and my friend Rahsaan Bahati and Steven Salazar went out to do in 2018. We had come in 2nd and 3rd but had yet to get a win. So that race was fun and special because it was the biggest race of the series and the crowds were out and we came out on top. [Get a play-by-play of Charon’s epic finish at the race thanks to an assist from Rahsaan in the caption below]
How are you handling training during coronavirus? CS: I am actually doing pretty well; I have been fortunate to still be able to work my Monday to Friday job. My family and friends are in good spirits so there’s not too much to complain about.
Do you have a set routine or any advice for setting a schedule and sticking to it during this time? CS: When I wasn’t working during the first outbreak my goal was to get out for a ride for a few hours to break up my day. I also limited the amount of news I was watching and tried to do a little more reading. I personally felt it helped a lot, it can be pretty draining sitting in the house every day for hours at a time and loading yourself down with all the sadness we all are facing. My advice is to find a routine that works for you and stick to it, you will find yourself in a much better place mentally and physically.
How do you stay motivated when events and races have been cancelled or postponed? CS: I love working out so it is easy for me, if one only rides for racing it can be tough because nobody knows the future of this current situation. So I am one of the lucky ones where my life is not center around racing, but centered around staying healthy and enjoying the freedom the bike continues to give me.
Looking back, what advice would you give to your younger self? CS: I really am happy with my younger self in the sport although I started later in life. But I would tell any younger person, always go with your heart and what feels right to you, don’t let anyone dictate your direction for your life, nobody knows your true heart desires better than you. Listen to people wiser than you, but at the end of the day remember you are the author of the book for yourself.
Favorite kind of Chamois Butt’r? CS: Hands down my favorite is the Eurostyle version, not sure if it is the coolness or tingle it gives lol. Funny thing I was not a Euro Chamois guy before, I had start using it by chance because they were out of the regular. Now many years later I only use the Eurostyle.
What’s your “Chamois Butt’r” story? Everyone has one! CS: When I was new to cycling I heard of people not using Chamois cream and I was like how can you go miles and miles without anything protecting your junk 😊. I would never take that risk!!
You can find the 6x California State Criterium Champ aka Mr. 200 Meters cranking hills from home in Signal Hill, California. Follow Charon on Instagram to keep up with all his SoCal riding and if you like the fit, head to Eliel Cycling to grab one of Charon’s regular riding kits.