The Plan, Revised: Obed Rider Brad Schilit
Without question, the last 365 days has been an odd one for us all, if not downright challenging. But a year into the Covid 19 pandemic, spring is nearly here, weather is warming and (fingers crossed), there is light at the end of the tunnel.
One year ago, Brad Schilit was one among us. Granted, for the 28-year old data analyst from Greensboro, North Carolina, his was a work-from-home job, but in mid-March, everything just… shuttered. From business storefronts to group rides, the world went underground, unsure of what would come next. Schilit’s network of friends, like all of us, went from group rides and coffee stops to video calls.
So like millions, Schilit joined a multitude of others with the new normal becoming work days in pajamas. But he wasn’t inured to the lack of communication from the outside world. The local rides ceased, and with it did his chance to shepherd the younger riders on the Saturday ride. He became a solo act.
Minus the impetus of a group ride or race to stoke his fire, his riding took a back seat. “Training was about to start, but when the pandemic hit, it all went out the window,” Schilit said. “Training was up and down, and I’ll be honest, it got to me. I lost the motivation to ride.”
Burying himself in his work, he did make one move toward soothing his soul: buying a bike that he could take anywhere on a solo mission, an outlet from the solitude: an Obed Boundary gravel bike.
Despite a quiet pandemic life at home with his fiancee, Avonlea, it was his Obed Boundary that got him out the door when the pull was irresistible. “I got the Boundary right at the start of the pandemic and it’s been the tool I used to clear my head,” he said. “Looking back, it was the right choice; I’d get up Jeep trail climbs, some really gnarly stuff out here, and then I’d have it out on the roads as my main road bike. I could just do anything I wanted.” It was his one connection with the outdoors amid a constant reminder to “stay at home.”
Then, finally… hope.
When news of a vaccine came out, a light flickered on. Then, as states began to slowly open dining opportunities, and events. Schilit went into overdrive with The Plan.
"The Plan" was really his re-immersion back into cycling. And it he would do so with gusto. With a plan to race road, TT and on the track in 2021, plus a little gravel-specific racing on his Obed Boundary, he’s got a shotgun approach to cycling. He’s simply up for all of it.
“Racing aside, I wanted to set goals. I had all these things taken off the table last year, I’m now putting them back on the table. I finally had an opportunity to set goals for myself—to rejoin my friends, but also do community outreach within the cycling community, working with junior riders,” Schilit said. “I’ve been looking forward to the group rides, where there’s A, B and C groups, and just rolling with the C-group, interacting with the kids that are just looking for a bit of motivation.”
With that, it was time to add to the fleet. Having already offloaded his old road bike pre-pandemic, he decided to get onto a disc-brake Quintana Roo SRfive aero road bike for outdoor group rides, and recommission his Obed Boundary into a do-it-all trainer and gravel ride machine.
“Training is still super easy, but feeling good,” Schilit said. “These last few weeks on the trainer, getting fitted to my new bike, while riding my Obed, by the time it’s time to ride outside, I’ll be dialed. We’ll see where it all goes.”
For Schilit, it’s been a challenge, but finally, The Plan is finally rolling forward.
“It’s exciting to see everything opening up again,” Schilit said. “I imagine it’s the same for a lot of people, but man, it’s been a few focused weeks inside on the trainer. Things are opening up, I’ve got the right bikes, the right training environment, and am putting in 200 miles a week again. I’m excited to see where it all goes.”