Posted on

Joe Christiansen: In Tandem

Joe Christiansen - Tandem

Episode 37

“I’ve gotten to the point now that we’re so in sync and everything’s good and we know the sounds of the bike. We know when something’s broken. We know the sensations.”

Have you ever put so much torque on your handle bars that the next thing you know, they’re flying off the bike and over your head? Joe knows. Join Joan this week as she sits down with Joe Christiansen, multi time national champion, tandem pilot and Star Track athlete, as they discuss everything from piloting tandems, Japanese Keirin, racing crits, how Joe got into track cycling, and how a Colorado boy came to be a part of a New York based track program.

Joe Christiansen – USA Keirin Champion, Star Track Athlete

Instagram: @joe_christiansen Michael Stephens @freelancepirate

Star Track Cycling: http://www.startrackcycling.org/


Thanks to B Braun Medical Inc. for sponsoring the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. BBraun is a global leader in infusion therapy and pain management, B Braun develops, manufactures and markets innovative medical products to the healthcare community. They are also strong believers in supporting the quality of life in the communities where their employees work and live.

Transcript

 

Joan Hanscom:

Welcome to The Talk of the T-Town podcast, where we discuss all things track cycling. Broadcasting from the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, I’m your host and executive director, Joan Hanscom.

Joan Hanscom:

Welcome to The Talk of the T-Town podcast. I’m your host, Joan Hanscom, executive director here at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center. And I’m excited to welcome this week’s guest, Joe Christiansen. Joe is a Star Track athlete, he is a tandem pilot, he’s a multi-time national champion, and he is an aspiring Keirin racer, a story we’ll get into a little bit more in the pod. But we’re thrilled to have him here. He’s been here all summer at T-Town tearing up the track, and we thought it’d be excellent to have him in and shoot the shit with us a little bit about his summer here in T-Town. So Joe, welcome to the pod.

Joe Christiansen:

Hi, thanks for having me.

Joan Hanscom:

So, it’s been a long summer here at T-Town, and you were here for nationals. You’ve been here racing a whole bunch. How’s your summer been?

Joe Christiansen:

It’s been really good. I always come out to T-Town and spend like I think this is probably my sixth year, and this year I didn’t think I was going to be here. I was hoping to be at the Paralympic Games as a tandem pilot, but things didn’t work out and plan B is good. It’s like being a T-Town is always fun, so it’s been a good alternate.

Joan Hanscom:

If you can’t go to the games, you might as well be at T-Town, right? So talk to us about that. Talk about what’s going on with the para-cycling and with your tandem piloting, and talk about that because I think that’s something that might be unknown or interesting to our listeners. Talk about that a bit.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, even a lot of people that know me or I’m friends with, it’s kind of like the last two years I’ve had a hiatus from the elite cycling side just to be a tandem pilot. And it’s something that me and my tandem pilot, Michael Stephens, we were just grinding super hard these last two years, so we weren’t really putting it out there much. I guess we should have more shared that story. But yeah, basically two years ago, I was offered to pilot a tandem for Michael Stephens. He’s a visually impaired para-athlete. And at the Olympics, there’s the Paralympics right after and there’s tandem is one of the events, Tandem Kilo. So we were trying to make the game, and just some weird circumstances happened where he initially didn’t get classified. The USA challenged it and it got overturned, but we weren’t able to race World Championships when we were supposed to qualify and some other factors. And we just didn’t qualify basically, but we gave it a good go. We were both living in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center and kind of doing that the last while.

Joan Hanscom:

You talk about that, the classification, because I think that that’s something, there are different types of classifications and there are different levels of para-athlete competition. So, can you explain that a little bit to our listeners?

Joe Christiansen:

Totally, yeah. So in para-cycling, there’s depending on your I guess disablement, there’s a bunch of different categories, C1 being the most impaired and then C5 being the least impaired. You’ll have somebody with one arm, and then another person will have one leg, and then other people have cerebral palsy. Some people have neurological disorders of some kind. So they fall into a category and basically you have to go and you get classified. You go in front of this panel. They are doctors and they see all the different, just all your paperwork and stuff and read through it all. And then you’d go through these tests and stuff.

Joe Christiansen:

Well, for blind, there’s the same thing. There’s three different categories. They all compete together and it’s not factored or anything. It’s just like B1, B2, B3. I don’t even know why they do it because there’s no difference between … In competition, they don’t make a difference. But yeah, you have to get classified as visually impaired. Yeah, basically, the event we went to, we qualified for World Championships. We were there, just the panel was only two, and one of the people said it was fine, the other lady said it wasn’t. So yeah, they kind of like just … It was neutral, can’t compete at this event until he sees another panel. And then, yeah, basically, COVID happened shortly thereafter, so we were in limbo for like a year and a half. We were training like it’s no problem. He’s going to gt classified, because everybody’s saying it shouldn’t be a problem, all the doctors and everything. So yeah, it was kind of insulting for him to be like he can’t see it.

Joan Hanscom:

Right, right. Yeah, that’s definitely got to be sort of a tough pill to swallow, right, when you’re like, “No, I definitely can’t see.”

Joe Christiansen:

No, I live with it every day, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Pretty sure I can’t see. So, yeah, that’s got to be a tough one, especially when you put in all that much work. So how was the living in Colorado Springs at the center? Was that a-

Joe Christiansen:

It was really cool. It was interesting. I mean, being there during COVID time, I think everything was definitely way more restricted than usual. The dining hall wasn’t quite the same, like not serving meals.

Joan Hanscom:

I was going to say the dining hall is the highlight of the training center. We would go there for lunch. I used to work at USA Cycling, so we would go in and like, ooh, lunch at the center was always good.

Joe Christiansen:

Oh, totally. For a while, like the first part of it, I was living off-campus still and they were just giving you pre-packaged meals, and it’s just not the same when it’s not hot and fresh right there.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I can’t imagine.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, there was definitely some unique challenges. Track time initially was getting like-

Joan Hanscom:

It was pretty limited, right?

Joe Christiansen:

Super limited, and we couldn’t train with the people that were living at the center. It was separated, like people off-campus and then on-campus. And then eventually, I moved on campus. They got on top of it pretty early on. We were starting to get tested every day. They had like a PCR machine there.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, wow.

Joe Christiansen:

So we were getting tested all the time. Yeah, it was quite the experience. I lived in Colorado Springs for like, oh, I guess six years now. So I was training there for awhile, but yeah, to be involved in the para stuff was definitely a completely different experience.

Joan Hanscom:

Interesting. And so now, are you guys hoping for Paris instead?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah. We’re definitely going to give-

Joan Hanscom:

It’s short.

Joe Christiansen:

We’re going to give it a go, at least we’re going to try World Championships this year. [crosstalk 00:06:54] I really want to get him to World Championships. He deserves it. He’s one of the fastest riders in the world and we haven’t been able to prove ourself on that world stage yet, but in training and smaller events we have. So, I’d really like to get him to the World Championships. And like you said, it’s only three years away, so we’re just going to have to see from there.

Joan Hanscom:

Right, right. Yeah, it’s a strange thing with the quad is not a quad anymore.

Joe Christiansen:

I know, yeah. It’s going to fly by so quick.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s like, woo, it’s right there.

Joe Christiansen:

It’s amazing.

Joan Hanscom:

Right, look how close we are already, right? It’s just like, oh wait.

Joe Christiansen:

I mean, qualification, at least for able-body Olympic stuff will start next spring.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, all the points start mattering right away.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, exactly. It’s always two years out kind of the battle starts. So yeah, not a huge turnaround time, which I guess can be good and bad. If you need more time to get into that shape, then it’s a little rough, but if you’re already there, right back on it.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it seems like you guys were closed. And then everything is all good now with the certification, so you don’t have a problem?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, he’s been classified. Everything’s fine there. It just came down to we have an amazing team here in the USA. We qualified eight spots, so there’s eight athletes between all disciplines. There’s trike, there’s hand cycles, and then there’s all the C1 through 5 categories as well as the tandem. And that’s all together. There’s eight spots for the entire game.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, wow.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, I mean, it was one of those things. There’s like probably 10 people that could win a medal at the games and only eight that can go.

Joan Hanscom:

Right, only eight can go. Yeah, it’s super interesting because it was really hot. For the Olympic games, Tokyo was really hot. Heat was a factor. And I know we when I lived in the Springs, it was like the Wounded Warrior maybe was at, they had the Wounded Warrior Games at the Air Force Academy, and we worked the cycling events. The overheating for the para-athletes was a huge concern.

Joe Christiansen:

Oh, definitely, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Because the folks who are at the far end of the injury spectrum, they were all wounded from the military.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, there’s a lot of-

Joan Hanscom:

The heat impacted them very differently than a normal, not normal, normal is the wrong word, an able-bodied person like just the heat impacts. So it was something that we had to be hype-cognizant of on the race course, was like, how do we keep people cool? How do we keep bodies regulating core temperature correctly? So it’s got to be a big concern going into Tokyo of the heat like it was two weeks ago for the games-

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, I think it still is.

Joan Hanscom:

… where it was a real issue in the road race at the games. It was definitely a factor, so it’s got to be a huge thing to think about for everybody going now.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, I think it’s still super humid and hot there, and that’s definitely a thing. People that have TBIs and other neurological things just can’t regulate, like their system doesn’t regulate right. You’ll see some para-athletes, they’re just drenched in sweat, just they sweat profusely, just yeah, from traumatic brain injuries and stuff. So, that definitely I’m sure is a factor there for the road race especially. it’s hot in the track in Tokyo, too. It’s one of the fastest C-level tracks in the world-

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, it was crazy fast time.

Joe Christiansen:

… if not the fastest C-level track in the world.

Joan Hanscom:

Interesting, interesting.

Joe Christiansen:

It’s definitely going to be a factor in the road race, keeping everybody cool. It was really cool last night to see, I don’t know if you caught it, the first track session of the Paralympics.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, we had racing here last night, so we were a little occupied. No, that’s cool though. It’s cool that it started and, yeah, hopefully everybody that did get one of those eight spots does well.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, absolutely.

Joan Hanscom:

I’ll have to follow along.

Joe Christiansen:

Last night, Shawn Morelli won or, sorry, she got second in the women’s team pursuit for C4 and C5.

Joan Hanscom:

She kicked my ass a lot in races in Colorado.

Joe Christiansen:

She’s fast. She’s pretty incredible, yeah, so that was super cool to see. And then a newer rider, Clara Brown.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh yeah, yeah, we had her on one of our Instagram Lives.

Joe Christiansen:

Oh, okay, awesome, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, she’s awesome.

Joe Christiansen:

She ended up fourth last night-

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, nice.

Joe Christiansen:

… in the pursuit, so yeah. I mean, it was an awesome first showing.

Joan Hanscom:

Cool, very cool. Yeah, Shawn, I remember the first road race I did in Colorado, I remember walking onto the line and she just looked strong, and I was like, “Oh, dang, like she’s going to kick my ass.”

Joe Christiansen:

Oh, yeah, she’s incredible, yeah. Exactly, she gets into some elite races and messes people up.

Joan Hanscom:

She was fast, so that’s super cool.

Joe Christiansen:

She’s a multi-time gold medalist at the games and the World Championships.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, yeah, she’s super strong. So it’s cool to hear that she’s still doing it, because I lived in the Springs in ’16, so it was a while ago.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, absolutely.

Joan Hanscom:

So the fact that she’s still competing is pretty rad.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, I think this is her third games.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that’s awesome.

Joe Christiansen:

Maybe even fourth, it might be. It’s been a lot.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, she’s cool. That’s awesome. So you didn’t go to Tokyo, so you’re here T-Town. But you guys put on a pretty rad sprint tournament exhibition for us at Tandemonium, which was also sort of a weird victim of COVID in its way. Tandemonium had been inscribed as a para category for UCI, and then it turns out that a lot of the para-athletes who were going to Tokyo were told not to compete or race before going to Tokyo.

Joe Christiansen:

Totally, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So that definitely cut down on our number of athletes available to compete in the inscribed UCI events. So you guys came out and did a pretty rad sprint tournament exhibition, and that was fun. I think the crowd was into it, man.

Joe Christiansen:

I’m glad. I was trying to make it entertaining and have some really good sprint races.

Joan Hanscom:

It was really good, and the crowd was like ooh-ing and ah-ing over you guys, because the tandems go so fast. They go so fast. Is it terrifying?

Joe Christiansen:

Oh, it’s honestly pretty scary.

Joan Hanscom:

I believe it.

Joe Christiansen:

There’s a couple of things, is like bikes aren’t meant for two people. Bike parts break. It’s not meant for that much power. So you’re constantly like you’re going faster than a regular bike. You’re going like 70K an hour everywhere. And then you’re snapping chains.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s got to be terrifying.

Joe Christiansen:

You’re bending chainery. It’s just ridiculous. I’d hear some of these tandem pilots kind of bragging about the stuff they break, and I was like, “Ah, these guys, they just are bragging about it.” No, it’s so real. You just absolutely demolish everything. That’s honestly the biggest struggle, is like the amount of days we lose training just to like-

Joan Hanscom:

Mechanicals?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, mechanicals. One time, probably a month and a half into doing the tandem, just getting used to it, we’re just getting pretty fast, we were doing an excel. So we were rolling in at 30K an hour and then we do a hit, and I probably got a couple of pedal strokes in, and during those kind of standing or slower excels, you’re really putting a lot of torque on the bars. The steer tube just fully snapped. Bar were just gone. We’re going like 45K an hour, and literally just bars fly over my head. And I’m like-

Joan Hanscom:

What do I do?

Joe Christiansen:

I was like, “Mike, we are going,” you know, you just like absolutely yell at him.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, shit.

Joe Christiansen:

We were going down and we were kind of like sitting there, like there’s nothing I could do. I went to go grab the steer tube, but it’s carbon fiber. It’s just completely-

Joan Hanscom:

Shattered., right?

Joe Christiansen:

… destroyed. But we’re still moving forward and I’m just like trying to fall with the track, to the right so we don’t fall down track, but that’s kind of like pointing us up. So we’re eventually, we’re probably like 50 meters riding like this, and I’m like, “All right, we’re going to make it to the rail. We’re leaning enough that we’re going to make it to the rail.”

Joan Hanscom:

Oh my god.

Joe Christiansen:

And eventually, yeah, like still at speed, it would be like just lunge for the rail. And we both lunge, we grabbed the railing and we didn’t crash. But that was a good awakening of just-

Joan Hanscom:

Holy crap.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, you get off and you’re just shaking, all the adrenaline.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, I can’t imagine.

Joe Christiansen:

Once a week, there’s something like that, you have a chain break, or it’s just ridiculous.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, man. Well, I can see it though, like just in the exhibition, you guys were putting out some major torque on those bikes. And you can’t steer them quickly, right? It’s not agile handling.

Joe Christiansen:

No, no, no.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s like steering a giant, lumbering-

Joe Christiansen:

Totally, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… tractor-trailer truck versus driving in a little Porsche, right?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, exactly. Everything is slower. The speeds are high.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s slower, but the speeds are higher, right?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, exactly. Your reaction should be quicker, but it’s not. It’s the opposite. Yeah, it’s interesting, compared to most para events, you basically, physically you have two able-body elite athletes. They can’t see, but he’s lifting more weight than I am. He’s stronger than I am in some regards. So I mean, yeah, the speeds you get up to are pretty crazy, and yeah, being able to hold it in the corners just with that much more weight and you’re going similar speed, just like the G-force you’re hitting, it’s really hard to hold down and be able to keep in the corner.

Joan Hanscom:

We had Matt Rotherham on the pod earlier, and he was talking about, I mean, obviously, Matt makes his tandem go pretty fast.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, absolutely, the best in the world.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, Matt’s no slouch on the tandem. And he was talking about essentially that, that pulling Gs, of how crazy it is the speed that they’re at, and there’s moments of like, oh boy.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, you definitely feel it like, yeah, entering the corner, even if you’re going the same speed as you would as a sprinter on the individual bike. It’s not the same. It’s a very different rush. Every corner you go through, you’re like, okay, thank God.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, whew!

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, I’ve gotten to the point now that we’re so in sync and everything’s good and we know the sounds of the bike. We know when something’s broken. We know the sensations. We’ve got it really dialed, but still every now and then something-

Joan Hanscom:

Something terrifying happens.

Joe Christiansen:

Something breaks. Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Like the handlebars disappear.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, totally.

Joan Hanscom:

Wow, that’s nuts. So yeah, okay, that’s scary. We’ll keep that in mind now when we watch these events unfold over the next week or so on TV, because that’s terrifying.

Joe Christiansen:

Totally.

Joan Hanscom:

Vaguely terrifying. So last week, you came out and you raced the B crit and you beat up on poor [Mora 00:17:21] here.

Joe Christiansen:

I know that was my first crit ever.

Joan Hanscom:

Was that your first?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, that’s why I was in the B category. I was telling them, I was like, “Okay, I was just here a national champion and I’m still one of the better racers.” And they’re like, “Well, you never raced a crit.” Okay, I’ll race cap 4, cap 5.

Joan Hanscom:

So, poor Mora. You beat up on poor Mora.

Joe Christiansen:

Oh, I’m stoked on it. It was points race, too.

Joan Hanscom:

So it was your first crit.

Joe Christiansen:

First crit.

Joan Hanscom:

Ever.

Joe Christiansen:

Don’t do a lot of endurance stuff in general, but yeah, I was like, okay, I’m going to.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s fun though, isn’t it?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, totally.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s super fun.

Joe Christiansen:

I mean, I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. That’s every sprinter’s retirement plan. Like okay, once I can’t get any faster as a sprinter, I’m going to go race crits.

Joan Hanscom:

Crits are fun.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, I guess I’m at that point, I’m going to go race credits for a little bit.

Joan Hanscom:

Crits are fun. Crits are fun.

Joe Christiansen:

No, it was so fun. Definitely, I’m trying to get like catted up so I can race some of this fall stuff, you know?

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, because there’s stuff coming up, right. This weekend there’s racing on Sunday.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, next week’s like Tour of Somerville. There’s all kinds of stuff. But yeah, I’m going to try to race again on Sunday, yeah, the crit over there and just like, yeah, have fun with it for a little bit here.

Joan Hanscom:

There’s still like right now there’s some good racing still to be had here on the road. So this is our last week of the track, right?

Joe Christiansen:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joan Hanscom:

We finish up. This weekend is the end of the track season. And then there is still crits though, because we have the crit on Sunday here and then there’s the Somerville weekend, so that’s three days of crits, maybe.

Joe Christiansen:

One of the bigger ones, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Maybe don’t do the Eastern crit, because I hear it’s a little technical, a little bit. So you might want to skip that one. But Somerville, you’d smash. And then the week after that, there’s Lower Providence. You can come out and crit that. And then there’s Buck County Classic, so you could come out and crit that. Look at all the racing you can do.

Joe Christiansen:

I know a lot of the spring stuff ended up getting delayed to this time of year.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, got pushed, right, all the Somerville weekend.

Joe Christiansen:

Like Speed Week, for instance, was like that. It happened last week. It’s usually in May or something like that.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, April.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, there’s definitely some more. Exactly, track seasons kind of coming to a close, and this is the time of year that I’d usually put in some base miles, just like that fitness work even as a sprinter. So yeah, good to get on the road a little bit and have some fun with it.

Joan Hanscom:

Fun, fun, fun, fun. Come out and crit with us. That will be a good time. Just don’t beat up poor Mora. First crit and she has to race against you.

Joe Christiansen:

First crit.

Joan Hanscom:

That seems not fair to me.

Joe Christiansen:

It seemed not fair across the board. I am sorry to everyone. I felt like the biggest sandbagger ever, but, hey, that’s how it is. I got to get catted up. I texted USA cycling, was like, okay.”

Joan Hanscom:

That’s funny.

Joe Christiansen:

Got to go through the motions just like everybody else.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s funny. Well, it’ll be fun. I’m looking forward to this Thursday, going out there again and getting my teeth kicked in. So, you know, that’s how it goes. Good times.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, totally.

Joan Hanscom:

So yeah, so you are shooting for World Championships on the tandem.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, we don’t know when they are yet.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I was going to say that.

Joe Christiansen:

They always announce it like three months before. I feel like, you know, para sometimes it seems like a little bit of an afterthought to the UCI, like all that stuff. It’s just like last second they announce whether they’re doing an event, But usually it’s-

Joan Hanscom:

And it’s so hard now with COVID anyway. [crosstalk 00:20:27] What countries can you go to? Where can we travel? Who’s having events?

Joe Christiansen:

Totally, yeah. Like this year, World Championships got canceled.

Joan Hanscom:

Moved, yeah.

Joe Christiansen:

That could have been the deal breaker for us, being able to race in a World Championships.

Joan Hanscom:

Right. And now, what did I just see? Worlds went from Turkmenistan to Roubaix? To the Roubaix Velodrome?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, exactly.

Joan Hanscom:

I think everything is still, as much as we all hoped that 2021 would be, it was behind us, it’s definitely not behind us. So, we’ve got all that weird juggling of stuff still happening in the COVID thing.

Joe Christiansen:

Definitely like we were talking about, about going to Japan and racing Keirins, I mean, depending on where you are in the world, all these different events are getting canceled [crosstalk 00:21:12].

Joan Hanscom:

So this is a good story. This is an excellent transition. Thank you for that. You had been, along with one of your Star Track teammates, Josh Hartman-

Joe Christiansen:

Josh, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… been hoping to go to Japan to do a mini version of Keirin school and then race some Keirin’s in Japan, which I believe there’s Keirin, the UCI version of Keirin. And then there’s Kiron, the betting version of the sport in Japan. I just listened to a great podcast about this. Maybe on Rouleur they talked about, yeah, the Rouleur podcast had a really interesting show devoted to the Japanese-

Joe Christiansen:

All that.

Joan Hanscom:

… betting culture around the Kiron.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, I know there’s some new book coming out about it, too, from back in the day.

Joan Hanscom:

It was super cool to hear them talk about it and how the athletes who are part of that industry, because it is an industry, they go to Keirin school and then they do it as a profession. And they said that there was people still racing in their 50s-

Joe Christiansen:

Oh, totally, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… as part of this. And it’s just they grow up and it is a career path.

Joe Christiansen:

It’s kind of an honorable path. You go through a school. It’s like any other like martial art or sport there. I mean, all the sports are kind of like that. You go through this school.

Joan Hanscom:

The academy.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, you’re going like literally through an academy. You’re on the bike, but a lot of is like in the classroom, you’re going through stuff. And I believe this school’s like two years and then you can be a Keirin racer. And there’s all these different categories that starts low. As you get faster, you get catted up, and I mean, obviously the money gets bigger and bigger. But yeah, it’s a big part of their betting culture. Their culture I think has a lot of gambling, but Keirin is definitely one of the favorites. So it was after World War II, they had to bring money into the country to rebuild it, and so yeah, they started the Keirin leagues.

Joan Hanscom:

My very, very rudimentary knowledge of this is that in those leagues, right, everybody races on the same equipment, like the bikes are very specific, sort of like the great leveler, right?

Joe Christiansen:

Totally, yeah, it’s all steel.

Joan Hanscom:

Right, it’s all one very specific type of bike that everybody races essentially the same equipment, maybe different colors, but it’s essentially the same.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, you have to be on the same gear. You’re all running the same gear inches. You’re all on steel frames. You’re all on the same wheels.

Joan Hanscom:

Really, you’re just betting on your pony, right?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, exactly.

Joan Hanscom:

You’re betting on which person has the best engine, not the best technology.

Joe Christiansen:

Totally, and I think it’s really cool. I’ve been to an event in London that was replicating that. It was at Herne Hill Velodrome and everybody was on the same exact steel bike, same equipment, same gear inches, same everything. It made a difference. The field was definitely like, it definitely leveled out. You don’t have any of these super bikes. Some people have them, some people don’t.

Joan Hanscom:

Personally, I would love to see that happen for junior racing here in the U.S.

Joe Christiansen:

I think so, too. I think its-

Joan Hanscom:

Because I think our sport broadly speaking, not just track, but all of it, all of bike racing, it becomes an arms race, right?

Joe Christiansen:

Totally.

Joan Hanscom:

I saw it a lot when I was working in cyclo-cross. You’d have the kid who had one bike, who had just like a normal bike, one normal cross bike, regular clincher tires, whatever. And then you have the kid who had a pit bike, carbon pit bike, zip 303s, the tubular everything, the top of lines ram. And then you had the kid who had just one bike with his clinchers. And it became an arms race. And I think that that can sometimes be a limiter in our sport. And I think track in particular has the opportunity to not be an arms race. If we could just get this-

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, it’s something that you could totally make neutral. You could have everybody’s on this aluminum bike. We have a couple of manufacturers here in the U.S. that everybody gets that bike.

Joan Hanscom:

Up to a certain age group, right?

Joe Christiansen:

I think 16 and under. You could do 14 and under for the younger, but 16 and under, it would make sense, because it is interesting. It changes, I think you become a better racer, like everybody’s on the same exact stuff. And so juniors are limited gear-wise, which definitely helps with that. But yeah, nobody needs the fancy wheels at that age and just get used to really tactical racing. I mean, everybody-

Joan Hanscom:

And have fun. It’s about fun then, it’s not about-

Joe Christiansen:

Not just money, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Which disc wheel do I need and which carbon fiber rocket ship do I need? Yeah, there’s a point for that when you get into the elite pathway, but man, wouldn’t it be cool if we had all the juniors racing on the same equipment?

Joe Christiansen:

Definitely, it’s not a bad idea. And like you said, track is that pathway. I grew up mountain bike racing. That’s my whole background. I think it would be a lot harder to do it there, just because of the reach, but tracks a small enough community, A, and B-

Joan Hanscom:

And the bikes lend itself to it, right?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, it’s a simple enough thing.

Joan Hanscom:

Right, and so I think it would be … Gosh, I would love to see that happen for junior racing. I’m going to be very unpopular. People are going to be sending hate mail into the podcast about that. But I do think it would help grow the sport at the very beginning levels, right?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It would make it easier for people to come into the sport if there was not an arms race to begin with. I think we see it here in our programs where a lot of the kids in the programs here start on our loaner bikes at the track and it’s all sort of a very level playing field. And again, it’s just up unto a certain point. I’m not saying that people who are going for elite junior 17/18 racing UCI categories shouldn’t have all the best tools because you should.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, because you’re just having to start competing against the best in the world.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, but up until a certain point, at that entry pathway or entry categories, like maybe up until a certain category for juniors, it would be great to see where it’s just kept at level. So, that was a sidebar.

Joe Christiansen:

Well, it was a good sidebar.

Joan Hanscom:

A Keirin sidebar.

Joe Christiansen:

I mean, it is related, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

But the Keirin sidebar, whenever I go down these rabbit holes, like, but you were going to go to Japan, and you got COVIDed.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, same thing. All visas got canceled. Last week, we got the email that pulled the plug. We were going to do the fall league. They’re kind of doing this new league there. I think they’re calling it Peace to Six. I don’t know why. But instead of being on steel bikes and stuff, they were trying to make it more entertaining and faster for younger gamblers. The betting population is aging up, basically, and Keirin revenues are down every single year. You look at it even compared to like 2010 to now, it’s like way down.

Joe Christiansen:

So, yeah, they’re trying to make it more entertaining. It was going to be on a 250-meter velodrome and they were going to start using carbon bikes as well as it was going to be more of like a six-day atmosphere, like flashy lights and stuff. But betting integrity was similar. You quarantine in a hotel for three days. You have no outside contact. They don’t want the entirety of the bets to go away, like people to be talking on their phones, like, “Oh yeah, this guy’s going to win this week,” telling their friends and stuff. So they literally, they put you on, like, I think it’s Wednesday, they put you into a hotel.

Joan Hanscom:

You’re in isolation.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, you’re in isolation. You have no wifi, you have no cellphone. They take your phone from you.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, wow.

Joe Christiansen:

All you have is you just have books.

Joan Hanscom:

Ooh, books, wow.

Joe Christiansen:

Then [inaudible 00:29:03] a hotel, like everybody’s sleeping on cots together.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, wow.

Joe Christiansen:

Everybody’s kind of together and sense that camaraderie.

Joan Hanscom:

Like a dormitory style.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, dormitory style, and then there’s a little shop where you can buy little snacks and stuff, but then they feed you a certain amount of food each day.

Joan Hanscom:

Wow.

Joe Christiansen:

And so it’s that for the whole week in the racing, There’s usually two or three days of racing. So it was going to be similar to that. Everything just got postponed to January, so hopefully it ends up working out.

Joan Hanscom:

Fingers crossed.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, hopefully.

Joan Hanscom:

Fingers crossed then.

Joe Christiansen:

Just a super cool opportunity. I’ve been out here grinding super hard on the track to get back into individual shape. It’s different than the tandem.

Joan Hanscom:

Right, that’s a shift.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, a major shift.

Joan Hanscom:

Super cool. I hope it happens.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, me, too.

Joan Hanscom:

So you were going to do an abbreviated version of Keirin school before that.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, so every year they invite Europeans. Usually they only invite like maybe six to eight outside of Japan, like six to eight riders. This time around, they’re inviting a lot more for this new league. So, that’s the reason we got the chance because I’m certainly not in the top six to eight Keirin riders in the world. But they’re taking people from kind of like every country.

Joan Hanscom:

All over?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, that’s so cool.

Joe Christiansen:

Getting them in there. The other thing about that besides trying to attract younger gamblers is there they have all these Keirin racers, but internationally, they’re not that competitive. Part of it’s these racers don’t even want to go out and race UCI stuff because there’s no money in it besides there. There they can make an amazing living, and going and traveling the world racing is not going to make them any money. They’re just losing money. So, that’s part of it. But part of it, too, is everything’s usually on an outdoor velodrome that’s like 333 meters. It’s just not the same kind of racing. And on the steel bikes, there’s a different rhythm to it.

Joan Hanscom:

That podcast that I listened to was definitely drawing the distinction between the UCI version of this sport and the Japanese Kiron betting.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, totally, a little more contact, more team tactics. You have eight writers and each person kind of pairs up with somebody and they’re kind of working together a little bit. You have your line.

Joan Hanscom:

I think they were saying how like sometimes the younger riders had to work for the older riders-

Joe Christiansen:

Oh, totally.

Joan Hanscom:

…. because that’s part of their initiation, right?

Joe Christiansen:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joan Hanscom:

They have to learn the art of the Keirin and then they work for the older, more experienced rider and there’s a whole-

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, you’re kind of like protecting your man, because it’s full contact, that stuff, whereas UCI, I mean, now it’s so restricted, which makes sense because now the speeds you’re going are so fast that it’s like-

Joan Hanscom:

It’s so fast.

Joe Christiansen:

It is very dangerous if you crash. You end up crashing at like 75 or 70K an hour. It’s like crashing on a motorcycle. You slide. You lose all your skin. just like the speed you’re crashing at is crazy. So there’s a reason the UCI stuff isn’t like that, but nonetheless, yeah, it is a very different sport. So, I think they’re trying to develop more Japanese riders for the UCI track. After the Olympics, they want to win a medal in their sport. They invented the Keirin. That’s definitely part of it is they’re trying to make their Olympic program a little more successful, and by getting all these Japanese riders international experience, bringing in international riders.

Joan Hanscom:

So cool. That’s so cool. Well, I hope you get to go.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, I hope it all works out, too. We’ll see.

Joan Hanscom:

Well for so many reasons, right? We want you to get to go, but if you get to go, it probably means things are improving with the COVID situation. So, that’s good for all of us.

Joe Christiansen:

Totally, yeah. I really hope so.

Joan Hanscom:

So if you get to do that, that’s January, and then you can see we have Para Worlds. And then what’s the rest of your trajectory of your … How long are you going to be in Pennsylvania? What’s the rest of your trajectory here? Will you go back to Colorado?

Joe Christiansen:

Right now, I am in Pennsylvania for the time being. I moved out of Colorado Springs and I came out here. We were going to go to Japan, like I said, for a while, and then I was going to probably go back to Colorado Springs and do the para stuff again. So right now, it’s kind of up in there. I’m going to be in Pennsylvania for the next couple of months training here while the weather is good.

Joan Hanscom:

You can’t beat the roads here.

Joe Christiansen:

No, exactly. It’s one of the tracks that’s open and, yeah, the road training is amazing.

Joan Hanscom:

The road training here is like, I mean, having lived in the Springs myself, right?

Joe Christiansen:

Oh yeah, it’s terrible.

Joan Hanscom:

The road training here is so much better than what you have in the Springs. I mean, the Springs was awesome in many, many ways, but their road cycling not one of them.

Joe Christiansen:

It’s honestly the saddest part. The rest of Colorado is pretty amazing. You have Boulder, Golden, Evergreen. And then you get in the mountains, it’s incredible. But like Colorado Springs, there’s like one loop and it’s awesome. It’s a cool-

Joan Hanscom:

Right, we’re going to go Gold Camp Road [inaudible 00:33:46].

Joe Christiansen:

Exactly, you have Woodman, Gold Camp. I mean, there’s actually some really good gravel now, like there’s Rampart and all these other tracks.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh my god, Rampart Rager was such a fun race. Oh god, I loved that race.

Joe Christiansen:

Oh, yeah, that stuff’s awesome. Those are my favorite routes. Honestly, I road bike on all those gravel roads. But yeah, the road riding there is not the same. Like, honestly, Ive-

Joan Hanscom:

It’s not good for training. Well, Woodman, right, you can just do the hill over and over again. That’s good for training.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, nothing’s super sustained.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s definitely not.

Joe Christiansen:

And it’s a busy city. I mean Colorado, the whole West is just like-

Joan Hanscom:

Awesome, lots of mule deer.

Joe Christiansen:

Oh, yeah, everywhere.

Joan Hanscom:

Also lots of deer.

Joe Christiansen:

The West is just booming, so everybody’s moving to Colorado and it’s getting like traffic-wise on the roads is getting way busier. I mean, out here, that’s like one of the reasons I always love coming here is like even as a sprinter, just the roads are amazing. I’m going on just the greatest rides out here.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, the road riding here, you cannot beat. I will say. I did vacation in April in California and it was essentially a bike trip, go ride bikes with friends, and I was like the weather was amazing, right. It was you can’t beat the weather in Redlands in April was pretty stellar. But the riding itself was like, oh, I kind of like the riding better back home. We don’t have mountains here, but the riding itself is just like, oh, clippity-clop.

Joe Christiansen:

You’re on all these back roads always.

Joan Hanscom:

But the back roads.

Joe Christiansen:

Here, I mean, specifically in the valley, you have incredible farm roads, flat stuff, and then you have awesome hills. You have these awesome forested little mountain roads.

Joan Hanscom:

And lots of gravel, too, lots of gravel.

Joe Christiansen:

Gravel, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, the riding here is stellar. So yeah, glad you’re sticking around.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, definitely get in, like I said, all that base work here, all that fitness work.

Joan Hanscom:

We’ll drag you out for some rides.

Joe Christiansen:

I know.

Joan Hanscom:

So poor Mora sitting over here, I took her out for her four-plus hour ride the other week.

Mora:

Last Sunday.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, last Sunday. So Mora had not done a road ride longer than two hours, right, Mora?

Mora:

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Joan Hanscom:

So two hours is her longest.

Joe Christiansen:

Maybe later.

Joan Hanscom:

She just got her bike. So two hours is respectable when you’re just starting out, right?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So I was like, “Well, yeah, I’m going to ride on Sunday, but I’m doing four hours.” And she’s like, “Okay, I’m game.” We’re going to go do a fondo in October, so she’s got to start getting her mileage up. And then I did terribly in the crit across the street, and so my coach was like, “Yeah, we got to throw a little of zone four into your workout for Sunday.” So, I was like, “Yeah, I’m still going to ride on Sunday, but, oh, the first hour and a half, we’re going to do a lot of sub-threshold work.” And she was like, “okay.” And so very gamely sat on my wheel while I did my 15 minute blocks of sub-threshold work for an hour and a half. And then I was like, “Cool, we can ride four hours now, right?” And she was like, “I hate you.” [crosstalk 00:36:39]

Joan Hanscom:

She stayed on my wheel. That was amazing. So then we have, so poor Mora, she got dragged through all of my stupid interval workout and then very gamely hung on for the entire duration of the four hours and 20 minutes of our ride.

Mora:

It was the Pop-Tarts.

Joan Hanscom:

It was the Pop-Tarts.

Joe Christiansen:

I would absolutely be hanging on as well. I have a great hour, 45 in me maybe. Right before two hours, I’m starting to balk. I can go good, like really solid for a bit, but, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

I introduced Mora to the joy of the mid ride Pop-Tart.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, you definitely need like a whole meal.

Joan Hanscom:

I was like, “Mora, we’ll get you some sugar. It’ll be fine.” But yeah, so you can come ride with us.

Joe Christiansen:

Okay, sweet.

Joan Hanscom:

We’ll take you on some different roads from what you’re probably used to. What on earth? So, that’s cool that you’re sticking around for awhile like that.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, I’m excited. I mean, this weekend, the Keirin race too this weekend, like super stoked on that. Like I was saying, just like-

Joan Hanscom:

Keirin cup.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, Keirin Cup, I mean, I’m really excited. The money, money, money, money at the Keirin Cup.

Joan Hanscom:

[inaudible 00:37:45] bills, you all.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, for the UCI stuff, I was not in great shape just because of the tandem stuff, like I said. I can hold power really good. You have all this strength from the tandem. You’re doing a standing start. You’re doing similar times to somebody individually, but you have two people, like the amount of weight. So it’s just like crazy strength and ability to hold the power, but like acceleration and quickness is just like non-existent. These Keirin events, I was just like, people would excel and I’ll catch them eventually, but the move is not there. So just getting back into shape, doing that, and the last five weeks, like big block here. So yeah, excited to do Keirin.

Joan Hanscom:

Like you said earlier, the speed is crazy though, right? So, Pete Taylor who runs the program you’re in-

Joe Christiansen:

Star Track, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Star Track, he and I, whenever there’s Keirin on the program, we both are kind of like, “Oh, I don’t want to look, I want to look, I don’t want to look.”Because as the event director, it’s terrifying, right, because I don’t want to see anybody get hurt at my races, right?

Joe Christiansen:

Totally.

Joan Hanscom:

This matters to me. I want everybody to be safe and have fun. I don’t like having to call the ambulance. And then I’m like, oh, Kierin’s really scary. I don’t want to watch it.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, Keirin and Madison, and you have both this week, the two events that you’re pretty much guaranteed to crash in.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, the Madison was good last night though. We had Madison last night and people were looking good. Like Madison exchanges were happening nicely last night. So yeah, so I’m feeling okay about that. But the Kierin’s are so fast. It’s so scary, just like you said. Something goes sideways at those speeds and it’s like-

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, that last UCI that in the 7 through 12, the Canadians both did their collarbones and ribs. [crosstalk 00:39:30]

Joan Hanscom:

That was sad and scary. But happily, they’re both fine.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, definitely.

Joan Hanscom:

But it always looks gnarly, man, and the sound is not happy. So hopefully, we all get through happily now this last one.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, definitely fingers crossed. Let’s knock on wood.

Joan Hanscom:

Knocking on all the wood in the office here.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, really, final weekend, let’s just make it through it.

Joan Hanscom:

Exactly.

Joe Christiansen:

Have fun.

Joan Hanscom:

Have fun.

Joe Christiansen:

I’m sure it’s going to be some of the most brutal race of the summer with it being a good prize purse.

Joan Hanscom:

Let’s hope. Let’s hope it’s exciting for the fans and everybody has a good time. And by the time this podcast airs, we’ll know, but right now we don’t. Right now, who knows? Hopefully, you’re going home with a big fat check in your pocket.

Joe Christiansen:

Sure hope so.

Joan Hanscom:

What else? What else should we talk about? What else is on your mind?

Joe Christiansen:

I guess, for most sprinters in general, everything’s a little up in the air with there’s a new sprint coach, Erin Hartwell. So I guess that’s probably definitely part of the talk of the town here. Everybody’s excited to see where the program goes. He’s definitely the man for the job and has a great track record.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, did great things in Canada, did great things in Trinidad.

Joe Christiansen:

Trinidad, I mean, yeah, he’s always been an awesome coach and just like one of those, probably one of the harder coaches out there.

Joan Hanscom:

Are you going to contemplate switching from para and tandem to individual?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, there’s definitely, I mean, Michael knows, we talk about it. If I need to end up going individually again, totally can do that. So it’s kind of on me. Like I said, I really want to make sure we get him in the World Championships and the World Tandem. And also the tandem is honestly more, I feel like I’m doing something with that individually, eventually, you’re like, okay, cool like another nationals. I don’t know. It’s nice to have teammates.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, for sure.

Joe Christiansen:

I mean, when I’m doing team sprint, it feels more like I’m willing to sacrifice because you’re helping your teammates out [crosstalk 00:41:29] and that’s how it is on the tandem every day. You have somebody behind you that’s relying on you. So that’s pretty cool, So I definitely enjoy doing that. But yeah, super up in the air. My plans are changing by the day here.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, right, well, you’ll have to come back and update us then. You’ll definitely have to come back on after you go to Japan.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, totally.

Joan Hanscom:

Because we’re going to want to hear about all that and how that went.

Joe Christiansen:

Absolutely. I’m really excited to share that with everybody. It’s been a long time.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s just something that people don’t know about, right?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, totally.

Joan Hanscom:

Maddie was the first, right?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, Maddie’s the first female. Back in the day, there was a couple of U.S. males that did it, but probably not since like ’98 or something like that there’s been a U.S. male.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it’s been a while. So it’d be super cool.

Joe Christiansen:

I think it’s awesome, and Maddie, you’ve had her on.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Joe Christiansen:

I mean, just such a cool experience. Maddie’s such a legend this last couple of years just killing it.

Joan Hanscom:

So we’ll have to have you back on and talk about your experience there and what it was like after you’ve been through it.

Joe Christiansen:

Totally.

Joan Hanscom:

And sort of pull the curtain back on that, get us a little backstage view of what that was all like for you. It’ll be super cool. Right on.

Joe Christiansen:

Another thing, this is my story of how I got into track cycling started here.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, really? Okay.

Joe Christiansen:

Even though I’m a Colorado boy and I was a mountain bike racer, so I grew up racing mountain bikes, I don’t know, most of my teenage years I was racing mountain bikes and I was pretty decent. And in 2017 they had Mountain Bike nationals-

Joan Hanscom:

Oh yeah, right up the street.

Joe Christiansen:

At Bear Creek here. So yeah, I was racing there. That year I went through a growth spurt. I went from, I don’t know, like being 5’11” to 6’4″, and suddenly like you weigh way more. I was climbing, just like so good at climbing. And suddenly you’re like, whoa, not so good at that anymore.

Joan Hanscom:

Wait a second.

Joe Christiansen:

And everybody, a couple of my coaches through the years, like “You should try track, man.” And especially at the short track and I mean even like probably the cross-country race, I’m always taking the whole shot off the line.

Joan Hanscom:

A good pound, right.

Joe Christiansen:

I’m the dude at the front for a little bit, and then, yeah, I just had that power. And I recognize T-Town. That’s definitely, even if you’re any kind of cyclist, you know the name, but I didn’t know where it was, and somebody was like, “Oh yeah, T-Town’s just down the road here.”

Joan Hanscom:

You should check it out.

Joe Christiansen:

Okay, cool. So yeah, I came over and checked it out. I think Don was out there and he gave me a tour, of course, because I was out there. Yeah, we came out, watched Friday night racing, my dad and me. I was 16 or 17 at the time.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, that’s super cool.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, I just remember seeing some of the Trinidad guys, just some of these big dudes, and I was like, “Whoa, okay, there’s a lot of tall guys out here, a lot of big cats out here.” So yeah, pretty much immediately just, yeah, I was like, “I’m going to do track.” After watching racing here-

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, that’s so cool.

Joe Christiansen:

And it was like one of those just perfect Friday nights, huge crowd out here. I was like, “This looks so fun.” So yeah, definitely that was a huge part of the reason I ended up doing track period.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, that’s so cool. That is a very good story because I sort of do love that about track cycling. We were just having this conversation with John Croom that cycling is, in other disciplines perhaps more than track, but there’s an emphasis on at the elite level a certain body type of you have to be a skinny, little climber or whatever.

Joe Christiansen:

Right, just a sack full of sticks.

Joan Hanscom:

And I sort of love that track cycling is the opposite of that. Well, it’s not the opposite, but I mean, you definitely can accommodate more body types on the track. And I think it just it comes without some of that baggage or body typing that happens in other aspects of our sport that I would so desperately like to see change, broadly speaking.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, it is interesting. There’s definitely a lot of huge dudes and then there’s like short guys. They’re just compact and quick, even in the sprinting. It’s interesting.

Joan Hanscom:

Right, you could be tall and succeed. You can be small and succeed. It’s different. It’s a different-

Joe Christiansen:

On the road, honestly, it is in necessity. You can’t succeed unless it’s all about watts per kilo, and especially like Grand Tour races. Traits are different, but for these tour races, yeah, it kind of is. But track, there’s so much to offer in terms of the range of events you can choose from. I mean, 1K time trial is like a middle distance running event, and then you have like the Flag 200 and standing starts and Keirin, which are all like even from standing starts to Keirin, a completely different body type is going to be good at that. Somebody that’s super quick and truly fast twitch versus like Keirin and kilo, it can be somebody that’s more like a middle distance, mixed. Then you have pursuit and then Madison. You just kind of have it all. So I think that that’s why it appeals to just like a wide range of bodies and a wide range of people. Diversity-wise, track is hands down in the U.S. like the ticket.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, agreed.

Joe Christiansen:

Out here at nationals, you would just have all these kids from Detroit, you have all the New York kids. You just have such a range of athletes.

Joan Hanscom:

Definitely, the vibe is very different. The participant base is very different, which is super cool. That’s what makes it very cool.

Joe Christiansen:

Totally, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

That diversity is super cool about track, and you really don’t see it in a lot of the other disciplines [crosstalk 00:47:06].

Joe Christiansen:

And you especially see it here, like on the East Coast.

Joan Hanscom:

Definitely.

Joe Christiansen:

You’re so close to these major urban centers.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, which makes it super cool, and it’s one of the things that I think is really attractive. And again, that’s where I think you look at track just does have this potential to be the right gateway into the sport for so many people. The more track can take down those barriers to entry, I think the better. And barriers to entry can be economic. They can be you feel physical, like “I’m too tall to do this thing on the bike,” well, no, you’re not. There’s so many ways that track can be the gateway into the sport.

Joe Christiansen:

Oh, totally agree. I think that it creates a lot of good habits as a rider.

Joan Hanscom:

Absolutely.

Joe Christiansen:

I mean, just from a pure athletic standpoint, you’re creating people that have really good cadence, that have really good pedal efficiency, really good positioning on a bike, and they know how to handle their bike. They know how to ride among other riders. But beyond that, just like you’re saying, like the program I’m a part of, Star Track, it’s all about these inner city kids. So, tons of them with like Asian background from Flushing, Queens, and just other urban kids, and they’re out there on the track, and it’s like so-

Joan Hanscom:

And that’s amazing though, because if you’re from an urban area, the roads may not be the best option.

Joe Christiansen:

Oh, exactly, there’s no option there, no.

Joan Hanscom:

But then the track provides a place where, yeah, you can enjoy bikes and it’s safe, right, because it’s you’re on a track. You don’t have cars. You don’t have urban traffic. You don’t have all of those issues that you face with living in a city area. I know, I live downtown Allentown. I don’t ride my bike downtown Allentown. The roads don’t lend itself to that.

Joe Christiansen:

Totally. In the cities, and I mean, that’s where at the end of the day, that’s our population. That’s where you’re going to get the biggest chance of having good athletes and just having a lot of athletes. It’s going to come from the cities.

Joan Hanscom:

A lot of athletes, volume, yup.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, a lot of cities, they have good bike paths and stuff, but it’s just not the same. Definitely having a track is huge. Like in New York, Kissena Velodrome, it’s not even a great velodrome. It’s got some jumps in there, some big bumps, but it’s so awesome that it’s there.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s there.

Joe Christiansen:

And it gets used like crazy. I mean, there’s so many people out there, like Star Track, I think there’s like 180 kids.

Joan Hanscom:

I know, that program is incredible. What they do in that program is so incredible.

Joe Christiansen:

It’s amazing.

Joan Hanscom:

I love Pete’s point that we’ve never advertised for kids because we have so much demand for the program.

Joe Christiansen:

No, you want more, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

I just think everything that Star Track does is amazing.

Joe Christiansen:

Absolutely. It’s a great, like we were talking about, every-

Joan Hanscom:

So you’re a Colorado person. How’d you end up at Star Track?

Joe Christiansen:

When I was 18, my first nationals, after being at a Mountain Bike Nationals here in Pennsylvania, it was in Los Angeles. There was track nationals the next year and I was given my first go, and I flew there by myself. My mom was coming in later and I was commuting from the hotel, like on my fixie, from hotel to the track. And Pete one day saw me kind of and was like, “Yo, you need a ride or anything?”

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, amazing.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, we were just chatting, Pete and me, and he was helping me out a bit when I was there because I was brand new, had no clue what’s going on, didn’t have a skin suit. So many people helped me out at that time. I remember somebody gave me one of Justin Williams skin suits. That was my first skin suit.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, wow.

Joe Christiansen:

They were like, “You ride like you’re the quick man, like Justin. Here, have this skin suit.” But yeah, Pete reached out and, yeah, we just kind of became friends. And then another teammate of mine, Dominic Suozzi, and then like Josh, a couple other guys were part of the program and they needed somebody for Team Sprint.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, all right.

Joe Christiansen:

So, I did Team Sprint with them once, and then we just became such good friends, and I started helping out a little bit with the kid stuff. And Pete wanted and Star Track wanted to make more of an elite program. They saw the potential in us.

Joan Hanscom:

Cool.

Joe Christiansen:

So yeah, they’ve been just huge supporters.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s awesome.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah. I mean, connecting me with my best friends, like Josh, I didn’t know Josh before Star Track. He kind of grew up in that program. He was out here racing with them and we became good friends. He moved out to Colorado Springs with me and, yeah, stuff like that.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, right. That’s so cool. Yeah, I was curious, like how did he end up on Star Track?

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, it’s definitely a weird one.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, it’s cool.

Joe Christiansen:

Definitely like the other side of the country.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s definitely cool though. All right, we covered a lot of ground.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

We covered a lot of ground. It was good.

Joe Christiansen:

I think so. Yeah, it was good.

Joan Hanscom:

I’m excited to have you back on though, to hear the next thing, because you got a lot in the hopper.

Joe Christiansen:

Yeah, definitely talk more about para and the Japanese Keirin stuff. But yeah, everybody definitely go watch the Paralympics right now that’s going on.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, tune in.

Joe Christiansen:

It’s pretty awesome to watch, very inspiring.

Joan Hanscom:

Right on.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, thank you for joining us this week. It’s good. I can’t wait to have you back. And on that note, we’ll say goodbye and say that this has been the Talk of the T-Town podcast. If you like what you hear, please leave a positive review or share with your friends so that we can continue to grow our audience. Thanks so much and tune in next week.

Joan Hanscom:

Thank you for listening. This has been the Talk of the T-Town podcast. I’m your host, Joan Hanscom. Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. Head over to our website at thevelodrome.com where you can check out the show notes and subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode.

 

 

 

 

Posted on

Kim Zubris: Go After It

Kim Zubris

Episode 36

“I think I still got a lot to put out there and I think there’s room for me to grow and keep improving and racing.”

Curious as to how our 2021 Female Rider of the Year got into track cycling? Listen in to this week’s episode with Joan and Kim as they discuss women’s programming, how Kim got into cycling, her racing strategy for this summer, and where she gets her super stylish kits.

Kim Zubris

Instagram: @kimberly.zubris

Facebook: @kimberly.zubris

Chaise Cycliste Couture https://chaisecycliste.com/


Thanks to B Braun Medical Inc. for sponsoring the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. BBraun is a global leader in infusion therapy and pain management, B Braun develops, manufactures and markets innovative medical products to the healthcare community. They are also strong believers in supporting the quality of life in the communities where their employees work and live.

Transcript

Joan Hanscom:

Welcome to The talk of The T-Town podcast, where we discuss all things track cycling broadcasting from the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, I’m your host and executive director, Joan Hanscom. Welcome to The Talk of The T-Town podcast, I’m your host, Joan Hanscom executive director at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center. And this week I am thrilled to have joining us Kim Zubris. Kim Zubris is hot off a very successful elite national championships campaign here at T-Town and we thought this would be a great time to get her on the pod and introduce our listeners to Kim and talk about a wide range of fun topics. So Kim, welcome to the pod.

Kim Zubris:

Great. Thanks for having me.

Joan Hanscom:

So you’re interesting in that, well, all of our guests are interesting, but you’re interesting in that well A, you and I both went to Boston University. So I liked that when I was doing my research, I was like, no way, she’s a Terrier too. So Kim, you went to Boston University. You are a biomedical engineer. So we say check out the big brain on Kim and this is a really great jumping off point for our conversation. And I’ve warned you it’s stream of consciousness. A lot of women in our sport have amazing educations and very interesting real life jobs in addition to racing bikes. And talk to me about that. What is it like to have a job like you have and race bikes at a high level? Because you’ve been doing it for a while.

Kim Zubris:

Yeah. And like you said, I’ve a background in biomedical engineering. And I think that also comes through in a lot of women riders having really something else grand like that, that they’ve pursued. And I think part of it’s just being really driven. I was really driven to study something that was really challenging and go after a higher degree. And that also leads into what drives me to be out there on the bike and competing.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it’s definitely… I don’t want to say type A personality, but it is sort of-

Kim Zubris:

Yeah, that’s fair.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s fair, right? It’s people who have a compulsion to perform at a high level regardless of what they do. But I think, and our male listeners can get mad at me and send nasty emails. But I think you see it more on the women’s side where we probably because of the economics of our sport, women don’t make what men make in our sport. And so we don’t really have an option, right? This is part of one of the things that I’m so happy to be focusing on here at the track is developing the women’s side of the sport, because I would like to see more of this equity so that not that I don’t want people to be my biomedical engineers because that’s rad. But you would like to see women who want to have the opportunity to do this for a living, be able to make a living. So I wonder, how many of the women that we know who are dentists or doctors, but who also race bikes? How much of that is necessity? How much of it is the driven personality and how much of it is just our sport?

Kim Zubris:

Yeah it definitely plays into it. I think for me, it’s a large part. That’s what allows me to stay in it. And I think that’s the same with a lot of other women is you’re supporting yourself in whatever work you’re doing, just so that yeah, you can get out there and train and race as well on top of that-

Joan Hanscom:

Right keep playing bikes.

Kim Zubris:

Exactly.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. I was going through a list of people and I was thinking about how many women I knew in cyclocross because of course I came from cyclocross originally. How many women I knew in cyclocross had advanced degrees who had master’s degrees before they even picked up the bike? And they came from other sports perhaps. So before bikes for you, was there a different sport before you started on bikes or what’s your story to becoming a medalist at the elite national championships this year besides training hard?

Kim Zubris:

Yeah. In sport, I really did a little bit of everything when I was younger. The one that I eventually really fell for was running. I was on a high school cross country team, and that was really it for me. I learned really how to compete there and how to make the training payoff and really get to the level that you wanted to. Had a really awesome coach there that really made that experience worth it. So I was a runner, went to college, went to grad school, grad school got back into running, had some really awesome friends in a running club in Boston. And from there misled the team part of a sport. So that led me to pick up a bike and join the collegiate team at Boston University.

Kim Zubris:

And that’s what got me into cycling. And then moving here back to Pennsylvania, I did my undergrad in this area at Lehigh University and my husband had bought a house here. So that brought me back here and I was really worried like, oh no, I’m going to leave all of this cycling scene that I know in New England and the collegiate racing and cyclocross, I jumped into that at that point too. I moved here and found the track and I was like-

Joan Hanscom:

There you go.

Kim Zubris:

So yeah that was it for me, fell in love with the track. And that’s what got me here.

Joan Hanscom:

You know it’s crazy when I was at BU they didn’t have a women’s cycling program, just boys.

Kim Zubris:

Really?

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Kim Zubris:

Yeah. And it was awesome because that was the one sport that they let grad students participate in as well. So it’s not NCAA. It was a club sport and that was really my entry into that and getting to race low key it collegiate. There’s so many other new writers that the entry into the sports a lot easier, I think coming that pathway.

Joan Hanscom:

So, that’s an interesting segue. You mentioned having good coaching and now you work with Kim Geist who is a tremendously good coach and you help coach here for women’s Wednesdays, which I am very thankful for, because I think you guys are giving more women entry into the sport. Maybe it’s not a club social thing like it is in college, but it is giving women here a great thorough introduction to how to do the thing on the track. Right. And I think that’s really important that that same thing that you valued in the club scene. We need to recreate that here. I think on getting people into the sport and onto the bike and onto the track. And so we’re thankful that you’re coaching in women’s Wednesdays, but how’s that been for you? Is that been rewarding? Has it been terrifying?

Kim Zubris:

It’s all of the above. I think a big part of it is exposure. And so letting women realize that they can come here, they can try the track. There’s no pressure. We have groups that have never been on a track bike or on the track at all, really starting from the very basics. And it just from that we see some of them get so into it and they really want to take it a little further. And that’s the most rewarding part is seeing that they’re really benefiting from that. They’re doing something that, on your own you might’ve been too, I guess, limited in how you can get out there and try that. So the program is great and it aligns with how I started at the track. I took the adult fitness class that Kim Geist was coaching.

Kim Zubris:

I didn’t have a bike. I had to loan a bike from the site here and that gave me the chance to try it and realize how much I loved it and then actually getting into the racing. And that’s what we hope some of the women that come through women’s Wednesdays will also want to come out on Saturdays and try racing or make it to Tuesdays and Fridays and racing. But if not, at least they got a chance to try something new. And maybe they’ll just use the track as a means of fitness or…

Joan Hanscom:

It seems to me like we’ve gotten a lot of energy this year around. I think we found some people who’ve been in the program, who’ve out into the community and now they’re starting to evangelize on it right, they’re out recruiting more women. And it feels like the snowball is starting to roll down the hill a little bit here, which is really exciting for me. One of the things we set as a goal for ourselves is 50, 50 and 50, right? This notion that we’re going to have 50% female participation by the 50th anniversary of the track. And this year we’re 60, 40. And that’s amazing. And if you look at the elite women’s fields on Friday, they are so close to being the same size as the elite men’s field now. And this is so exciting to me, right? Because it means it’s working.

Joan Hanscom:

And I feel blessed because the board gave me permission to do this, right? It doesn’t have to be a money-making program. This is an investment in the right thing. This is an investment in the right direction. And I don’t know if you’re feeling that same energy, but I feel like it’s starting to actually bubble up that we’ve got momentum now with this women’s program after three years. And I’ve always said, you have to give everything three years to succeed. And it feels like the energy is there now. So I don’t know if you’re feeling that or am I just being overly optimistic.

Kim Zubris:

No. It’s really accurate. And the programming, I mean, kudos to Kim Geist, she’s really put together a nice series throughout this whole summer where we have the introduction classes, where again, if you hadn’t ridden it on the track before, that’s a great place to start, but it’s also building into more advanced classes. So some of those women that already went through the intro program can come back and learn more advanced skills, learn racing tactics and try something new, ride behind the motor, try Madison exchange, something that’s all a little bit more advanced.

Joan Hanscom:

How excited were the home sisters on the night that they got to do their first motor pay pacing? They were like glowing, those two, they were so excited. I thought it was amazing that they were like, oh my gosh, it’s our first motor pacing. It was amazing to me to see them behind it.

Kim Zubris:

I love that piece of it too, is that you have women of all ages out there. So you have mom, sisters, there are teenagers and they get to see that there’s a lifetime of this sport. It’s not just a junior sport you’re done. You can really grow into it, into the elites, into the masters.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, we have a bunch of very diverse women participating, which is also super cool. Right. It’s like all bodies, all ages. I think it’s super cool how two coaches who are, let’s be honest, very elite athletes have made a program that’s so all inclusive and welcoming. I think is super cool if I were to have my head chopped off tomorrow and that’s it, I couldn’t do anything else for the track. I would be so proud of this program because it feels like it’s just the right thing at the right time. And I love what you guys are doing with it. And it makes me so happy. I don’t get the way, but I sit back and I think, oh my God, this is amazing. Just let it roll because it’s pretty incredible what you all are doing.

Kim Zubris:

Yeah. I can’t wait to see where it continues. I think we’ve got something really special in that sense.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. I’d love to start a regular cadence maybe of women’s only race days just to help them get over the hump. Right. Because when we did women’s weekend way back now, like holy moly, back in months of beginning of May, right? It feels like a decade ago. There’s a whole bunch of people who came out to do their first track races. And I think that that setting of mentored racing and having their first race in a really non-intimidating setting was great. Yeah. Eventually you’ve got to line up and do the big girl things and line up at a regular race. But if we can start to just break down those barriers of like, this is scary, then maybe we can get more women doing it and it will hit that 50, 50. It’s super cool.

Kim Zubris:

Yeah. And the track is, especially there’s all these little nuances and learning that and learning how to go through that weekend and just jump in your first race. Once you get over that barrier makes showing up the next time that much easier. And you’re meeting other people who are also just starting the same time as you. I think that was… I take away from when I started here meeting other riders in the adult fitness class and then showing up on a Saturday and there’s a familiar face there, you’ve got somebody that you know and trust and have ridden with before.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Kim Zubris:

It makes that racing more of a social event as well. You’ve somebody to chat with in between races, figure out what gear to ride in the next race, it’s less, I guess, isolating that way and having that opportunity to meet other people who are also just starting out like you are.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. I think it’s super cool. More of this. So let’s pivot away from Kim Zubris coach to Kim Zubris coached because you’ve had a great summer here after a weird 2020 where we didn’t have racing. You seem to have made good use of the weird off year, the year that wasn’t and you came out firing this year. And what were your goals and what are you hoping to achieve? And what did you do in the off season to prepare and how did you get ready to come in and kick butt like you did?

Kim Zubris:

Yeah. It’s one of those years that no idea what to expect coming into it. I wanted to race, I wanted to be back out there really performing at the level I felt I was a couple of years ago. 2017 through 2019 I had some pretty rough times with illness and injury, just chronic. And couldn’t really get to the level I needed to be at and wanting to be at. So that break of 2020 to just reset and spend some time on the bike alone really helped in my sense. I think I really benefited from just getting to be able to ride and train.

Kim Zubris:

And so coming into the season, I hadn’t raced in a year and a half and no idea what to expect again at the beginning of the year. And I think everyone was also really excited to be out there racing. So there’s this energy in the races this year that we may have been missing in the past year or two. And that really motivated me to get out there and perform well too and I feel like I came into the season strong and I was just trying to build from there really.

Joan Hanscom:

And did you do anything different over the winter, lift more weights, change your diet, or just do the thing?

Kim Zubris:

Just ride bikes.

Joan Hanscom:

Just ride bikes, ride on. Well, it paid off because you were second in the omnium at elite nationals. You were third in the team pursuit and third in the elimination. So we got to give you a lot of hardware that week. You were busy and then you’ve just kept on going. And you’re leading in the rider of the year competition right now, which is fun and exciting.

Joan Hanscom:

And one thing that I’ve noticed is that you are racing very aggressively, which is fun to watch. Well, again, this is where I get the hate mail, right? I think women’s racing… Like if you look at women’s racing on the road, because it’s shorter because it’s not like 230K it’s more aggressive by nature, right? Because it’s shorter. And sometimes because I’m not a track person, I sit back and I’m like, oh, this scratch race is not aggressive at all. But you are aggressive racer, which is super fun. Like you are not afraid to just go smash off the front and go for it, which is super cool. It’s made it fun to watch. Is that how you’ve always raced? Is that a new mindset? Is that just fuck all, I’m going to crush it this year. What is it?

Kim Zubris:

It’s how I like to race. I think I find excitement in that and really going for it and really racing like you mean it. I like action in the races. So I try to spark that when I can and try to race my race and that’s really what it always comes down to for me is getting out there, how do I approach a race where I’m going to go for the win.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Kim Zubris:

I don’t really like to settle for anything beyond that. So if that means being a little more aggressive or making some more moves, I really try and put it all out there and go for it.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it’s been super fun to watch. It’s been noticeable, right? Like if you watch… I mean, I’m here watching a lot of bike racing, right? But it’s noticeable that you race a very aggressive style of racing which makes it very fun as a spectator to watch. So I thought is this something you’ve worked on or is this how you’ve always been? Did this stem back to how you raced when you were a runner? Is that just always how you’ve raced or has that evolved?

Kim Zubris:

Yeah, I think that just speaks to how I approach it really.

Joan Hanscom:

Cool. As a road racer, that is where I have lacked. I don’t have that same like I’m just going to… I’m conservative as a racer and so I think that also was why it speaks to me right? Like I watch, I’m like, oh, I want to be aggressive like that. I need to not care if I lose. Right. You have to be willing to lose to win. So that seems like how you race. It’s pretty cool.

Kim Zubris:

Yeah. And also finding the right time to do it as important too. And I think that’s what I’ve built on through the years is that you can’t just go out there from lap one and attack and hope that it’s going to stay away every time, it’s learning where to apply that-

Joan Hanscom:

Right. Aggressive with your brain.

Kim Zubris:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. For sure. So how’s Kim as a coach? You coach with her, but she also coaches you, is that a strange balancing act or is that easy?

Kim Zubris:

Oh, we’ve worked it out pretty well.

Joan Hanscom:

And you used to be Madison partners.

Kim Zubris:

Yeah. That’s right.

Joan Hanscom:

So…

Kim Zubris:

Yeah. So I’ve worked with Kim for quite a few years now and I think it’s a good fit. We really work well together in that sense. And that really also helped build this relationship where I can step in and help in her coaching or in coaching the women’s Wednesdays with her. We’ve really just built through time, the sense of understanding of each other and the approach she takes to coaching her athletes and how I can step in there and help.

Joan Hanscom:

One of the things that one of the mothers of some of the juniors she coach said about Kim, that she loves it. Kim doesn’t set her kids up to fail. She doesn’t allow herself to be pushed into doing something sooner than she thinks it should be done with the kids. Right. Oh, my mother thinks she should be in the age group now. And she really appreciated Kim’s philosophy on everything is in its order and readiness and very methodical and she was very complimentary about that. Do you share that philosophy with Kim about there’s a timeline, there’s a pattern. There’s a path.

Kim Zubris:

Yeah. And I’m not one of those athletes that came out and your first year I’m going to win every UCI race on a Friday night, I think it’s really been a slow gradual progression for me. And that’s having the mindset of sticking with it and having Kim backing that and seeing big picture, there’s a longer plan. You’ve got to have the right program for that. You’ve got to have right planning for that type of approach. And then she really does bring that to the table.

Joan Hanscom:

Super cool. So changing from the very serious topic of training, you have been the most stylish bike racer on the track this year, right? Everybody’s always like, oh, I love Kim’s kit this week. So what sparked the flamboyant kits this year?

Kim Zubris:

It’s amusing story in that I’m racing unattached for the year. And I was just looking to come in the season, enjoy myself, have a lot of fun out there. And so my initial plan was really still to go all black, plane kit [crosstalk 00:21:38] that was my initial plan. And then I went online and did a little shopping and I came across these kits and it was just amazing, everything about it appealed to me, just the patterning, the colors, it was too awesome to pass up.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. It’s been like everybody talks about it. It’s so noticeable, how well turned out you are. We’re all like, oh, that’s a cool kit.

Kim Zubris:

So that’s huge piece of it. It’s fun, it makes racing fun showing up and just get to be myself and a little bit of brightness to the track and switching things up week to week. Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

If it makes you feel good, right? You race well, if you feel good.

Kim Zubris:

Yeah. That’s exactly it.

Joan Hanscom:

Interesting. Yeah. I’ll have to explore the kit shopping in the off-season. So who’s your favorite kit brand then? What is the brand of the very fancy yellow, the concoction?

Kim Zubris:

All the kits that I’ve been wearing to race this year are called chase.

Joan Hanscom:

Okay.

Kim Zubris:

So take a look.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. So for our listeners, we’ll put a link in the show notes with pictures of you in the fabulous kits. And then we’ll link to where people can find them because they’re great. They’re so eye catching and so much fun, and everybody should feel good on the bike and not just wear somber black all the time.

Kim Zubris:

Yeah. That’s exactly it.

Joan Hanscom:

So we’re running down towards the end of this season. There’s three weekends to go left I think, three or four? Three weekends left. You’re in the hunt for rider of the year, which is exciting and fun. Do you have goals after that? Or is it just the season’s over, we go back to off-season training, what are you thinking for after Madison cup? Are you going to race the Madison cup since you know how to race the Madison?

Kim Zubris:

Yes. Madison cup is always fun. So I think you’ll see me out there racing that cup weekend. Yeah. Foremost is getting through right at the year. I think it’s been great. We’ve had some really strong fields and it’s been close the whole time, it’s just exciting. It’s nice to see that play out that way. And a couple more weeks to try and hold the lead to the end. And then from there, it’s reset and see what the next big goal is. I think I still got a lot to put out there and I think there’s room for me to grow and keep improving and racing. And that’s it. We’ll just keep building.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah ride on. I heard the rider of the year stuff is fun because it’s close. And I have to say that I love that people are going for it. Right. Like you all been racing keirins. It was fun to see you guys, I loved… Elsbeth made a post about I’m a keirin rider now, which was very funny, but you all are serious about getting those points where you could get them. And I love to see that. It means something and that’s super fun and the competition is fierce and it’s super cool.

Kim Zubris:

Yeah. It’s hard to turn down any racing keirin. I feel like any chance you get to be out there and a keirin or the match sprints or jumping in the Madison you’re going to learn something and it’s just fun.

Joan Hanscom:

You all need to teach them how to do the Madison at women’s Wednesday now. So we can have more people racing Madison’s next year. We’re like where’s all the Madison people on? So we need you guys to inspire the women on women’s Wednesday to become Madison athletes.

Kim Zubris:

That would be great to have more Madison action. I think that’s been one of the most exciting races that I’ve been doing. And like you mentioned earlier, Kim and I partnered up with that the end of 2016 and really went for it. And there’s so much that goes on that race. And it’s so exciting. And I think you have riders who want to jump in there and try it. They’re just a little intimidated by it.

Joan Hanscom:

Because it looks like chaos.

Kim Zubris:

It does.

Joan Hanscom:

It looks like absolute madness if you’re not in it. So it does, I can see where it’d be intimidating. Speaking of did you watch the Olympics for the Madison? For the women first time?

Kim Zubris:

I did.

Joan Hanscom:

Like [inaudible 00:26:03], holy moly.

Kim Zubris:

They taught a lesson in how to ride a Madison. Quite impressive.

Joan Hanscom:

[inaudible 00:26:08]. I was like but it was funny because we did in 2019 during UCI, we had Madison here during UCI and there was some real scary stuff happening in those races, like exchanges happening underneath. And Casey and I covered our eyes and were like, oh no, don’t do that. And so it was fun to see some of those same women who were here for UCI in 2019 then racing at the games. And it was less terrifying though still some terrifying moments if you were watching.

Kim Zubris:

It’s still pretty terrifying. I think part of it that’s another race. It’s pretty new for women to participate in, especially outside of Europe. So the progression, even from the first season of world cup racing in I guess, 2016 into 2017 until now the women’s fields really stepped it up and it’s exciting to see how much that’s grown and the room for even further growth is there, it’s going to be exciting to see it progress.

Joan Hanscom:

How about that [inaudible 00:27:12] too, right? Like, wow, that was quite an omnium, right? That was something.

Kim Zubris:

And to have no woman win the gold medal on a track, it’s pretty motivating. And I think, well, I hope it brings out even more women to our races here and really gets people to realize there’s a future in this sport and there’s somewhere to go.

Joan Hanscom:

Do you ever listen [inaudible 00:27:38]. I’m a podcast nerd, which is why I’m doing a podcast. A podcast nerd, and there’s one called Freewheeling and it’s Abby Mickey, and then and other Loren [inaudible 00:27:50], and a bunch of other former pro women do this podcast called Freewheeling. And I was listening to the one they did today, which was about the track racing at the Olympics. And they were all like, I don’t know anything about track, but man, it’s wicked cool. And so it was so fun to hear this podcast that is normally focused on the women’s European Peloton on the road, talking about how rad track was.

Joan Hanscom:

And I just hope, like you said that if women roadies are listening to this podcast, that then they decide, oh, I’m going to go try this out because that omnium race was bananas. All of them, all of the different events were bananas. And yeah there’s a gold medal at the end for us. And what a redeeming factor that gold medal was because otherwise, I think USA cycling had expressed goal of many more medals than they brought home. And so it was nice to see Jen bring one home in the end of the color they were shooting for. So hopefully that means they invest in the women’s program more. They invest in development more hopefully.

Kim Zubris:

Yeah, I hope so. I hope that’s the start of something bigger.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Because it would be nice to see and generally speaking for the US it was the women that brought home all the medals, which was super cool. We made our medal count on the female athletes at this game, which was super cool. So we all, yeah. Girl power there we are. Girl power.

Kim Zubris:

It was cool to see too in that women’s field so many of the riders that had been here in T-Town over the years, racing and training, it speaks to the quality of what we’ve got going on here too.

Joan Hanscom:

It was really fun to be sitting there watching and going, oh wait, she was here. Oh, he was here [inaudible 00:29:38] 2019. Let’s be honest. It was a little insane here. It was bonkers, but it was so fun then to see all of those folks that were here for a month all of a sudden on the biggest stage in the world, it was super cool. But before we stopped talking about the Olympics, how about those German women in the team pursuit? Right? Was it six seconds they improved the world record by? Six seconds is a lot of seconds.

Kim Zubris:

And they looked good doing it. They were so smooth and really just… I think that’s another one to watch too if you’re a team pursuit rider, how nice of a ride they had.

Joan Hanscom:

But they lowered the world record three times in those games because that technology is that training, like in your opinion, what lowers it was a really fast track, obviously. What do you think? What was your expert opinion on why they were able to beat that world record so dramatically?

Kim Zubris:

I think it’s all of the above and just the four person women’s team pursuit at 4k this is the second quad that event has been with four riders. And so it’s also relatively new in that. Add on top of that, all of the technology on the bikes and the skin suits and the aerodynamics of other riders and then just really strong women.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. And what’s interesting about the German is they’re all roadies. Those women all rode a full spring classics campaign. They weren’t just like GB, it’s like they’re in the track box hard, right. They’re just track riders. And one could argue that our team pursuit team is… They’re pretty focused on just the team pursuit too. I mean, they have obviously Megan and Lily race on the road too, but they really are focused. And I wonder if those German and they’re on different teams too, they’re not on the same trade team even. If the German women racing on the road, was that a factor who knows? But it was super cool to see like they were…

Kim Zubris:

Yeah, there’s a good depth on the team as well. Having four really strong riders out there makes a difference and yeah exciting to see.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, that was thrilling to watch. You’re just like mouth open, like whoa.

Kim Zubris:

Are they going to do it again? And then they do it again.

Joan Hanscom:

Holy moly, they’re going to go. They’re going to lower it again. Yeah. That was nuts. I don’t know. I just remember when I worked at USA cycling Derek Bouchard-Hall because he race the team pursuit, I think in Sydney. Right. 2002 Sydney, I think. Right. 2000, 2002. I can’t remember. But he was on the team pursuit squad for those games. And he was talking about how the women’s times now are faster than what they rode and that’s just nuts. Like, yes. That’s amazing like progress in a short span of time. Right. It’s super cool.

Joan Hanscom:

So yeah. Interesting to hear your thoughts on all of that. Yeah. It was fun watching. We had a little after party here on Saturday after the last night of UCI, we had the commissaries and we had Andrew and my boss and Moura, we were all glued to the TV. We all… We stole beer from the beer stand and ran over and sat in the office and watch the women’s omnium. And that alone is cool that folks were sprinting out of our UCI night here to go watch them as omnium and that was pretty fun too.

Kim Zubris:

[inaudible 00:33:20].

Joan Hanscom:

You’re right. Well, I know you’ve got to go coach women’s Wednesday. Is there anything else that you want to tell our listeners, anything exciting that you want to share? Words of wisdom you want to leave our listeners with? Motivational thought just do it. Don’t be afraid of the track.

Kim Zubris:

Yeah. That’s, really it. I think just…

Joan Hanscom:

Race aggressive.

Kim Zubris:

Yeah. Get out there and own it. And it’s exciting to have more people racing. And I guess that I started in the class and then I raced on Saturdays and then I moved up to Tuesdays and really just that whole progression to… I saw what I wanted to do, which was be out there racing the pro races Friday nights and just… You might not get there immediately, but build to that. And if you want it go after it and that’s how I ended up racing. If you want it go after it.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. I love that. So that’s where we’ll end today’s pod. We’ll end it if you want it go after it, which is I think a pretty awesome way to end. So thank you Kim, for being on our pod this week, and this has been The Talk of The T-Town podcast. If you liked what you hear, if you would be so kind, please leave a positive review or hit the hearts or the likes or positive comments, and that will help us grow the podcast and we will be back next week.

Joan Hanscom:

Thank you for listening. This has been The Talk of The T-Town podcast. I’m your host, Joan Hanscom. Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. Head over to our website@thevelodrome.com where you can check out the show notes and subscribe. So you’ll never miss an episode.

 

 

 

 

Posted on

Neal Stansbury: Savvy and Strength

Dr. Neal A. Stansbury, Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Sports Medicine - Lehigh Valley Health Network

Episode 35

“Even to this day, cycling is a huge passion of mine. I still love it.”

Have you ever crashed here at T-Town? Chances are this week’s guest was the one evaluating you on the sidelines or the one who put your collarbone back together. Join Joan this week as she sits down with Dr. Neal Stansbury of Lehigh Valley Health Network as they discuss everything from Neal’s racing days, heart transplants, sports medicine, and the Tour de France.

Dr. Neal A. Stansbury, Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Sports Medicine - Lehigh Valley Health Network
Dr. Neal A. Stansbury – Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Sports Medicine – Lehigh Valley Health Network

Dr. Neal A. Stansbury, Lehigh Valley Health Network: https://www.lvhn.org/doctors/neal-stansbury

Gift of Life Donor Program: donorsone.org


Thanks to B Braun Medical Inc. for sponsoring the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. BBraun is a global leader in infusion therapy and pain management, B Braun develops, manufactures and markets innovative medical products to the healthcare community. They are also strong believers in supporting the quality of life in the communities where their employees work and live.

Transcript

Joan Hanscom:

Welcome to The Talk of the T-Town podcast where we discuss all things track cycling, broadcasting live from The Valley Preferred Cycling Center. I’m your host and executive director, Joan Hanscom.

Joan Hanscom:

Welcome to The Talk of the T-Town podcast. I’m your host Joan Hanscom, executive director here at The Valley Preferred Cycling Center. This week I’m joined by our guest, Dr. Neil Stansbury from the Lehigh Valley Health Network. Any athlete who has raced bikes here on a Friday night will have seen Neil Stansbury as part of our medical team and many of our bike racers have in fact been patients of Dr. Stansbury, myself included.

Joan Hanscom:

So, welcome to the show, Neil. We’re delighted to have you here and delighted to get to pick your brain a little bit about why you come here, and why you love bikes, and how you ended up here.

Neil Stansbury:

Well, thanks. It’s great to be here, Joan, and thank you for asking me to come on board. So, my story is, is that I started out in California. I was a road racer for years. I started when I was 16, and started racing in Northern California. I got accepted to med school out in Philadelphia, and that’s what brought me out to the East Coast. Ended up doing both my medical school and residency and fellowship in Pennsylvania and ended up getting a sports medicine fellowship in orthopedic surgery.

Neil Stansbury:

My wife is from this area and that’s what basically planted me here for the most part. But I love this area. It’s one of the best areas in the country to ride a bike. I’m perfectly content, so I shouldn’t say that I’m here because of my wife. I’m here because of joint decision.

Joan Hanscom:

All good things.

Neil Stansbury:

All good things. Exactly.

Joan Hanscom:

All good things. But you glossed over, like it was very modest, right? “Oh, I started racing when I was 16,” but you were a state national champion. You’re record holder. You weren’t just a bike racer, you raced bikes for real. So, for everybody who’s been tended to by Dr. Stansbury, he wasn’t just junior in a crit down the road like he made it sound like, he actually really raced bikes, traveled all over the country racing bikes. You were actually doing the thing.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah, I had a lot of fun with it. I did race around the country. I’ve won some national championships. I have multiple state championships. I went over to Europe and raced world championships on the track actually. And in my age group, set an hour record, world record. And also took third in the pursuit in Manchester.

Neil Stansbury:

And then I’ve also raced on the road in world championships, but didn’t see a hit coming. And in the sprint, got knocked off by an Italian into a ditch at 40 miles an hour, so I ended up not in the top 10.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, but you know. So, the very modest, oh, I started racing bikes when I was in my teens, yeah, it was a little bit more than that.

Neil Stansbury:

I’ve had a very good time. Actually, at the time I went to med school, I was contemplating whether I wanted to go pro or whether I wanted to go to med school and had a long talk with my parents and decided that going to med school and becoming a doctor was obviously economically more feasible than becoming a struggling bike racer and traveling around the country.

Joan Hanscom:

It has a bit more longevity as well.

Neil Stansbury:

Exactly, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

A wise choice, I would say, for a career path.

Neil Stansbury:

In retrospect, yeah. I’m also very glad I did it just because the guys that I was riding with on my team that went pro, if you go pro, cycling becomes more of a job than a passion. And for me, even to this day, cycling is a huge passion of mine. I still love it. Every time I get on a bike, I’m just excited and happy that I’m there. And most of my friends that went into the pro ranks saw it as a job. And it does, it gets burned out.

Joan Hanscom:

For sure.

Neil Stansbury:

If I was racing, and I raced all through med school, and residency afterwards, and if it was a rainy day or is miserable, I don’t have to go to that race. I can just stay at home and work on my trainer or do something else. And these guys, if it was 41 degrees and raining and they were having hypothermia after 120 mile race, they had to do it. They didn’t have a choice.

Neil Stansbury:

So, I think, in retrospect, when I was in med school studying at 12:00 at night in the library and I’m getting calls from these guys, “Yeah. We’re in such and such, and doing this, and doing that, and we’re going on this race and wherever they were,” I was very jealous and very feeling sorry for myself. But at the same time, I still keep in contact with these guys, and when I talk to them now, it’s like they don’t even want to look at a bike or get on a bike. And I still, on the weekends, can’t wait to get out on a ride.

Neil Stansbury:

So, I’m very happy with my choices because cycling is still a major passion of mine where it might not have been if I had chosen the other road. Plus, I would have been broke at this point.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Also that.

Neil Stansbury:

Also that.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, also that. So, which leads me to one of the things that I really wanted to talk to you about, because it’s a fascinating story, right? You’re a lifelong cyclist, you love cycling, you’re a very fit individual but you are a heart transplant recipient.

Neil Stansbury:

Correct.

Joan Hanscom:

And so, that’s got to be, heart disease unusual in a person who’s active, cyclist, fit. So, you had a diagnosis that was not promising and you are now the recipient of a new heart and you’re back on your bike, but for a while there you weren’t. Talk about that. I mean, that’s a huge part of your story at this point.

Neil Stansbury:

Well, it’s a very interesting story in that I started developing arrhythmias right about the time I was 40. I had won the National Crit Championship for my age group one year. I think I was 39 or something like that and I was just training the next year. And all of a sudden, I started on a regular basis when I would increase my, I would do anaerobic thresholds or do efforts.

Neil Stansbury:

I would go into ventricular fibrillations, which thankfully would last about 30 seconds or so, because the ones that lasts forever are the sudden death ones that you suddenly hear about athletes dying from. So, I went through a long period of time where I was misdiagnosed. And I remember asking doctors on multiple occasions, is it still okay if I go out and ride my bike and go hard? And the answer was, “Of course, yeah. That’s not a problem. You’re in shape. So, keep doing that.”

Neil Stansbury:

In retrospect, this is now 15 years later or so, we’re finding that long endurance athletes that have done this for a lifetime do actually damage their heart if they push it far enough. And if you think about cycling, it’s different than any other sport in that there’s no other sport out there where you can go out for four or five hours and push yourself and push yourself to your max and continue to do that day after day.

Neil Stansbury:

If you look at running, for example, first of all, you’re not out there for three or four hours. And if you are a marathon runner, most people that run a marathon have to rest for a couple of months afterwards before they do their next one. Swimming, same thing. Maybe an hour or two, but you’re done.

Neil Stansbury:

So, cycling is one of the few sports where you can push your heart and not damage your body because it’s a low impact sport. So, your muscles and your hips and your knees don’t get trashed like in other sports, but at the same time your heart does.

Joan Hanscom:

So, this is interesting though, because I’m curious about this. Because medical profession, medical industry, doesn’t do the same research on women athletes as they do on male athletes. Right? So, usually when you have these discussions, all the science and the research has been done on male athletes. And I wonder, do you know? Just out of curiosity. Does it have the same impact on female athletes?

Neil Stansbury:

That’s a very good question. And I don’t have the answer for that. And I agree with you that most of the studies I’ve seen are on male athletes. And the interesting thing is, is that 99.9% of the studies out there in the medical literature is not based on athletes, it’s based on sick people in the first place.

Neil Stansbury:

So, our cardiologists are really, really good at taking care of somebody that’s morbidly obese that smokes and drinks and doesn’t take care of himself, and they know how to try to help improve their lives. But when it comes to the athlete, that was my frustration.

Neil Stansbury:

When I first had this incident, I would walk in and I would just see this blank look on cardiologists faces. And they would be like, “Well, we don’t know why this is happening to you. We have no idea.” So, I had to do my own research. I actually came up with my own diagnosis and saved my own life, basically, because I kept being told that, “Don’t worry about it, just go and do whatever you want to do.” And I found myself getting sicker and sicker. I never forget that one season I won 50% of the races I entered. And two years later, I couldn’t climb a flight of stairs.

Joan Hanscom:

Wow.

Neil Stansbury:

My doctor, my cardiologist was telling me, “Well, you’re just getting old.” And I said, “Well, you don’t understand. The guys that I could beat without a problem two years ago, I can’t even go out on a casual ride with now. So this isn’t getting old. This is badness. This is something wrong.”

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. And I think that that’s something that everybody who’s athletic or active faces, right? We know our bodies so well, right? We know there’s something wrong. We know when there’s a problem because we’re so used to using our bodies. And in my experience, a lot of times, unless you find the right doctor who understands that mentality and that just deep knowledge that we have of our own bodies, like you said, they’re used to treating seven-year-olds with heart disease, you don’t present that way.

Joan Hanscom:

So, it is really challenging when you say, “But no, I know there’s something wrong.” I mean, I obviously went through that with my iliac artery stuff. Right? Like, “You have the aorta of a 17 year old, you don’t have a problem.” I’m like, “But I do have a problem. I know I do.”

Joan Hanscom:

And so, it’s an interesting thing. And so, how did you research it? How did you figure it out? And how did you get then somebody to say, “Oh yeah, you do have this thing?”

Neil Stansbury:

Well, I was, again, I think you fast forward to 2021, it’s much more prevalent now. In medicine, it’s the old saying, I’ve never seen that before, but it’s probably seen me. And orthopedics is the same. There’s probably things where patients have come in and I’ve looked at it and I said, “I don’t really know what’s wrong with you.” And then five years later down the line, there’s some studies that come out and I think back to myself, I’m like, “Oh my God, that’s what that person had.”

Neil Stansbury:

And the same thing with heart. We’re getting more and more knowledge as time goes on. When I first had this problem, I believe in 19, I want to say 19, well, 2000. Right around 2000, I guess, is when I first developed this. They didn’t have any of these studies out. So nobody even diagnosed the diagnosis I have, which is ARVC, which stands for arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.

Neil Stansbury:

The first papers came out on that in the late ’90s. So, most cardiologists, and even to this day, if I say I have ARVC, I’ve had several cardiologists look at me and go, “What is that?” And so, it’s not a well-known diagnosis. And if it’s something that has just come out recently, not every doctor on the block has seen it or read about it, especially if that’s not their particular area of specialty.

Neil Stansbury:

So, it’s getting more known, but if you’re an athlete, you need to go to a athlete-specific cardiologist. You can’t go to your general run-of-the-mill guy, because chances are they’re not going to have any idea what to treat you.

Neil Stansbury:

And the same with orthopedics. We have sports medicine guys just like we have guys that do total joints. I mean, if you send a sports medicine person to one of my partners that does total joints, he’s going to scratch his head and just look at him and say, “I have no idea what’s going on with you.” But of course they’re very, very good in their sub-specialties.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, absolutely.

Neil Stansbury:

So, I’m not trying to degrade them by any stretch, but at the same time, that’s not their area of expertise. So, you need to cherry pick and figure out the exact person that you need to go to.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. So, it’s cool that you went into sports medicine, right?

Neil Stansbury:

Right.

Joan Hanscom:

Because obviously you’re an athlete. The thing that I always love about going to sports medicine people as opposed to going to your regular doctor is they get you, right? Sports medicine doctors understand you want to be back in the game. They understand that you want to… What’s the best way, fastest way for me to get back in the game?

Joan Hanscom:

And I love going to medical professionals that understand that mindset instead of saying, “Well, just don’t do it anymore.” Well, no, that’s not an acceptable answer. I want to do the thing, so how do I get there? And so, that’s the coolest thing about sports med, right?

Neil Stansbury:

And that’s exactly what makes my job fun and exciting is you want to push the edge so that you get people back as fast as possible, but the game is you can’t do harm. So, you want to make sure that they’re in good shape and they’re able to tolerate it, so you have to know which maladies can go back quickly and which ones can’t. And there’s many times that I’ll sit there and I’ll say, “I’m sorry, this is something we can’t push you back quickly because if we do, we’re going to hurt you.”

Joan Hanscom:

You did that this week. Right? So, for our listeners, we’re recording this right on the tail end of the USA Cycling National Track Championships here at T-Town. And Neil was our doctor most nights here. And as happens with bike racing, there were crashes. And that was your job that night to do the concussion protocol and tell a few little girls that their nationals were over.

Joan Hanscom:

And that’s a hard job, but we valued having you here doing that, but that’s got to be hard for you as an athlete to tell another athlete, “Sorry, your national championships are over,” but that’s the do no harm part of the program. Right?

Neil Stansbury:

Correct. And it’s something you have to decide very quickly because if there are nights going on and then a lot of these kids will jump right back up and say, “Well, I’ve got a couple of scrapes, but I want to do the next race in 10 minutes.” So, you have to look at these people, evaluate them quickly and say, “Okay. This one can go. This one’s got to sit.”

Neil Stansbury:

So, you have to do these quick evaluations on the sidelines, or on the side of the track, or take them back to their little tent and look at them there. So, it makes it fun. At the same time though, as you said, it’s heartbreaking to see these people wherever they’ve traveled from and come all the way out and do national championships and it’s like you have to tell them that if you go out with a bad concussion, you run the risk of the second impact syndrome type thing, which can cause serious, permanent damage. So, obviously it’s something you have to decide quickly and accurately. So, it makes it interesting.

Joan Hanscom:

So, you like spending your Friday nights with us then, which is cool. Neil, you’re also on our board. I neglected to mention that. So, Neil has been on our board for a long time, which is nice. You contribute to the sport you love. We appreciate having you as part of the board and sharing your perspective and wisdom with us as a board member. But how did you start coming here on Friday nights, I guess, is the real question? Because you’ve been coming here Friday nights far longer than I’ve been here.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah, I think I’ve been coming here as a doctor Friday nights, probably since the early two thousands, if not late 1990s. That’s a good question. How did I come here? Let me think about that for a second. Well, I was very active in the cycling community around here, and I basically knew all the people.

Neil Stansbury:

I think at the time they were looking for somebody to fill the position of medical director. And the guy before was a guy named Tom Dickson and he was retiring and they said, “Hey, we need somebody to step up to the plate.” And for me, it was a perfect marriage because it’s a combination of orthopedics, which is a passion that I love or sports medicine, and also cycling. So I said, “Why not?” And I’ve been coming ever since.

Joan Hanscom:

Coming ever since. Yeah. We were laughing when we were walking around this past week and you’re like, “I think I’ve done his collarbone. And I think I’ve done his collarbone.” And I knew who you were before I even moved here and took this job because you had repaired the collarbone of my coach who was very anxious to race my National Cyclocross Series and he housed himself at a local cross race here and then he was planning to race my entire national series.

Joan Hanscom:

And I remember you put him back together and I remember him coming out and racing and being like, “Oh, not sure that that’s a good idea.” And he was like, “No, no. Dr. Stansbury said it’s fine.” And so, I knew who you were long ago just because he said Dr. Stansbury gave me the okay to race bikes.

Neil Stansbury:

That’s funny.

Joan Hanscom:

And I was like, “Okay.” But yeah, so you’ve put a lot of bike racers back together is the moral of the story.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah. I’m rather busy during the summer with bike racer, so I probably see at least a couple of cyclists a week, if not more.

Joan Hanscom:

We have forbidden you to ride Hawk mountain on Saturdays. So, Hawk Mountain is a local climb for those of you listening from far away. And on Saturdays this year, we’ve had several incidents where we’ve needed Dr. Stansbury’s services. And both times, I think, that we’ve called you, you were either about to start climbing Hawk Mountain or descending Hawk Mountain. And so you’re not allowed on Saturdays. No more Hawk Mountain. It’s a bad thing now. We’ve got like, “Oh no, he’s got to be on Hawk Mountain. There’s another crash.” So, it’s our internal joke now that-

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah, that does seem to be a curse, doesn’t it?

Joan Hanscom:

No more of that. Find a new route. Only valley on Saturdays, Hawk mountain later.

Neil Stansbury:

That’s right, yeah. No, it’s funny because I’ll be going down Hawk Mountain, and it’s a rather steep climb at the top. I think it’s 13% or 14%. So, you can get going between 50 and 55 miles an hour down it. And obviously, you want to make sure you’re paying attention when you’re negotiating the corners at that speed.

Neil Stansbury:

I think twice now I’ve been going down the hill and on my cycle computer, it’s Bluetooth to my phone. And instead of looking down to see what speed I’m doing, instead I’ll see this message from-

Joan Hanscom:

The velodrome.

Neil Stansbury:

… the velodrome and it’s saying, “I need to talk to you.”

Joan Hanscom:

We promise we’ll try not to interrupt your rides anymore.

Neil Stansbury:

No problem.

Joan Hanscom:

So, tell us then about getting back on the bike now, after the heart transplant. We had a long conversation one Friday night. We were just watching racing and you were saying how great you’re finally feeling, and it’s great to be back on the bike. Talk about that because that’s cool.

Neil Stansbury:

That’s predicated by a lot of feeling sorry for myself. I guess I kept it to myself. For quite a few years, I wasn’t able to ride because when my heart went downhill, and once I finally had my diagnosis, one of the rules was you can’t do any kind of aerobic exercise because that will precipitate your problem further. I was already on a heart transplant list and I knew that I was going downhill rather quickly. So I wanted to try to do everything I could to preserve my heart as long as possible while I was waiting for another heart because basically 30% of people waiting for a heart transplant die. And with my size and with my blood type, they told me I had a 50/50 chance of getting one in the first place.

Neil Stansbury:

So, obviously I didn’t want to push the issue any more than I had to. So, it killed me to watch everybody else going out on rides and just having to sit there and do nothing. It was rather frustrating, so after I got my heart transplant, which is three years ago now, I started out almost like a new writer because I had lost so much muscle mass and everything else that I had to just basically start from the beginning and start out with real easy rise and then gradually work up and go from there.

Neil Stansbury:

And the interesting thing about riding with a heart transplant is they cannot hook the nerves up. So, any response that your heart get is very delayed. So, if you climb up a flight of stairs, for example, you’re going to get totally winded. However, if you do a lot of walking lunges or something like that, you wait a minute, then go climb a flight of stairs, you’re absolutely fine. And you’re not out of breath.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, interesting.

Neil Stansbury:

So, cycling is the same way. That first summer, I had my heart transplant on July 18th, three years ago. And I remember going out for my first ride in about August or so. I don’t think my doctors really were thrilled with that idea. So I went out and I can remember going up somewhere just the local hills around my house. And literally I was in my smallest gear, standing up and trying to just go without falling over. I was going so slow. I was probably at two and a half, three miles an hour that I was climbing these hills on. And now I can jam up those hills that, 12, 14 miles an hour or so.

Neil Stansbury:

I’m not back to where I want to be yet, but it’s a process. So, my heart is becoming more and more responsive as time goes on, as are my legs and everything else. It’s exciting because I’m rebuilding. I spent years watching myself decline further and further, and just not being able to do anything. And now every few months I look back at my records and find that I’m a little bit faster. I’m putting out a little bit more average wattage on my bike and that kind of stuff.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. It’s so cool. I mean, it’s so cool that you can do that. You can remake yourself, right?

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah. I don’t know if I’ll be able to race again. I would like to, but just the fact that I can get out and go for-

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, yeah. That’s it. You can go do the thing you love.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah, exactly.

Joan Hanscom:

You could ride your bike and can get out on a Saturday and get the wind in your hair. And that whole thing is like-

Neil Stansbury:

Absolutely, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Racing isn’t the only way to love a bike. Right?

Neil Stansbury:

Right. It is a fun way to love a bike though.

Joan Hanscom:

Absolutely. Absolutely. I know. I’m supposed to race my bike on Sunday and I’m just like, how am I going to race after the week we just had? I’m a glutton for punishment. That’s what it is.

Neil Stansbury:

We have to use savvy instead of strength.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. That’s savvy. Savvy doesn’t help you when you’re off the back, but we’ll see. We’ll see. When I first started here, you were very active with the transplant organization and educating about transplants and you had some plans to be involved with them. What are you doing with the transplant folks these days?

Neil Stansbury:

We’re starting back up again.

Joan Hanscom:

Nice. COVID of course.

Neil Stansbury:

Obviously with COVID, the last thing a heart transplant or a transplant person wants to do is get around a whole bunch of people and inside and talk about things. So, I think all those programs have been put on hold. I’ve done a couple Zoom-type presentations and things like that. But basically what we do is we just try to raise awareness for the importance of being a donor. Of people that die in the hospital, only 1% of those are capable of being donors. And so yeah, there’s-

Joan Hanscom:

Is that true?

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

That is a staggeringly low number.

Neil Stansbury:

It’s a very, very low number. And it’s basically people that have a traumatic brain injury is the most common type. So that’s either from trauma, like a car accident or something like that, or falling and hitting your head and having what they call an unsurvivable brain injury versus drug addicts or overdoses.

Neil Stansbury:

So, those are the two big groups right now. And so, it’s important that if there is somebody that is a potential for a donor, if we can get them to commit, then you save eight lives versus eight lives that would have been lost. Because if you count the two kidneys, and the lungs, and the liver, the heart, they can even use pancreas now, all sorts of things.

Joan Hanscom:

Really?

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah. So, it saves a lot of people.

Joan Hanscom:

I think that’s an amazing thing. I’ve never put it in that perspective. You think of a heart donor, you don’t think about that’s eight lives. Not just one.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah. And every time somebody dies that could have been a donor, you’re probably going to lose those people because the list is long. If you ever look at, I think the stat is that if you look at the number of people in the United States waiting right now for organs, it would fill two football stadiums.

Joan Hanscom:

Holy moly.

Neil Stansbury:

And like I said, I’m not sure of the stats with the other groups, but I know that with heart, it’s 30% of people waiting don’t survive waiting for a heart. So, it’s rather sobering to be honest. There’s a lot of misconceptions out there about donors. They think, well, if I put that donor thing on my license, they’re not going to try to save me and that kind of stuff, which is actually completely reverse.

Neil Stansbury:

I mean, if you think that this person has a serious traumatic brain injury, and if you can keep them alive long enough to harvest the organs, then you’re actually going to be able to use them. If you just let somebody die, then you can’t use the organs because you’re taking them from a dead body type thing.

Neil Stansbury:

So, once they find out it’s a possible organ donor, they do everything they possibly can to keep them alive. And they don’t just go and jump in and take your organs. They talk with the family. Even if you have a organ donation thing on your license and the family says, “We don’t want that,” they’ll honor those wishes.

Neil Stansbury:

So, the whole conception that they’re out there trying to grab organs from peoples is just actually reverse. They want to make sure everybody’s very satisfied with the process before it happens. So, they have very, very well-trained people to come in and talk to these families in crisis. It’s not me. It’s not a nurse. They actually have people, God bless them, that are working 24 hours a day that if they hear that there’s somebody in a hospital, that’s a potential donor, they will go there at 2:30 in the morning and talk with them and just talk with the family and try to make sure that that’s the family’s wishes and that that’s okay-

Joan Hanscom:

Right. That they’re comfortable with what they do.

Neil Stansbury:

That they’re comfortable. Exactly.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Neil Stansbury:

And if they’re not, and they walk away from it.

Joan Hanscom:

So if you had to tell our listeners something about becoming a donor, what would it be?

Neil Stansbury:

Please become one.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Nothing to be afraid of. Do it on your license. It’s easy. Right? We can all do it on our driver’s license and it’s-

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah. You can even do it on, I actually tested it, there’s a number you can call is donor’s one. I tested it myself just to do it. And it takes literally about four and a half minutes to do it. So, if you go to donorsone.org and then /register, or just go to donorsone.org, and you can find it. And there’s a thing you can fill out. And it’ll automatically register you as an organ donor.

Neil Stansbury:

And it’s not absolutely necessary that you do that. I mean, if you are in an accident and you let your family members know that those are your wishes, that’s the other way to do it so that when the family comes in and says, “Well, we knew that this is what he wanted anyways. So, let’s go ahead and do it,” type thing.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. That’s one of those things where I think people, not just for organ donation, but in terms of their medical care in general, you need to let your family know what your wishes are and you need to communicate that.

Neil Stansbury:

It’s also very extremely important because if you make those wishes known prior, that’s one less thing your family has to think about.

Joan Hanscom:

Right. Well, that’s it.

Neil Stansbury:

At that point, I mean, this is…

Joan Hanscom:

And it’s easier for them.

Neil Stansbury:

They come into the hospital and suddenly they’re told, “Hey, I’m sorry, but he had a non survivable or she had a non survivable brain injury and we have them on life support right now, but they’re brain dead.” The last thing you want to do is start a conversation about organ donation. However, if you’ve already had that implanted in your family’s head that this is what I want if this ever happens-

Joan Hanscom:

Right. They’re clear.

Neil Stansbury:

… they don’t have to process that because they’re already processing the worst experience of their lives. So, that’s the last thing you want them to have to think about.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. And my mother was very clear on all of these things with us as kids, right? You just make everything known so that when it is hard, you don’t have to do hard things. That that decision has already been made for you if you understand it. Yeah. It’s an interesting and hard discussion to have with people at home, I think, but worth doing.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. So, we’ll let our listeners know. Make sure, we’ll put in the show notes, how to become a donor if you are not. Because we are happy to be talking to Dr. Stansbury here and he is here with us because somebody made that decision. And so, I would say this is a somber topic for our podcast.

Neil Stansbury:

A little bit yeah. By the time I got my heart, I was on the list for, I think two years or so, two and a half years. When I was getting sicker and sicker and they kept checking me every couple of weeks or so, and I finally got to the point that they said, “You’re not going to live if we let you go home.”

Joan Hanscom:

Were you still working through all of this?

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Wow.

Neil Stansbury:

So, I was basically just trying to get through every day. My routine is I couldn’t eat any salt whatsoever. It threw me into cardiac failure. I had to sleep at least eight to nine hours a day. I could only eat about a 12 to 1500 calorie diet. So, I was extremely strict. I mean, it basically was a protein bar in the morning, protein bar in the afternoon, and a small piece of meat and a vegetable with no seasoning on it for about two years.

Joan Hanscom:

Wow.

Neil Stansbury:

Just to stay alive. So, it was very difficult. And by the time I got my heart, when they pulled out my old heart and they looked at it with pathology, they said I had at most two weeks to live.

Joan Hanscom:

Wow.

Neil Stansbury:

So I got it just in the nick of time. So, if that particular person had decided not to be a donor, I wouldn’t be here today.

Joan Hanscom:

Wow. That is astonishing. But let’s turn it to the positive, because yeah ooh, got dark place, but that’s because we’ve had a long week here of bike racing. Don’t you think that all of your discipline for training as a cyclist and all of your discipline as an athlete probably helped you survive those two years of really regimented food and control of your diet and discipline about sleep, your athletic ability and just how we all are? Right? We’re so-

Neil Stansbury:

Driven.

Joan Hanscom:

… driven. And that had to help you. Right? You have to fit.

Neil Stansbury:

It did and it didn’t.

Joan Hanscom:

Really?

Neil Stansbury:

The reason why it did was because it kept me alive. The reason why it didn’t is because, any cyclists out there, I’m sure they know this mantra is don’t show pain, don’t show weakness type thing. And so, I kept working, I kept doing all the normal things and the people down at Penn saw me working and they said, “Well, we were looking at these studies and we must be wrong because we don’t understand-“

Joan Hanscom:

How you’re still going.

Neil Stansbury:

“… how you can possibly be working because you should be laying in a bed someplace.” And my response was, “Well, if I have a 50/50 chance of living then I don’t want to spend it laying in a bed and feeling sorry for myself, I want to do what I love doing.” So, I kept working and I actually more or less got yelled at after they looked at my heart and said, “Why didn’t you tell us you were so bad?”

Neil Stansbury:

And I said, “Well, you had the studies. You knew what was going on.” But if I had played it up a little bit more, I probably would have gotten put up on the list a little higher and gotten the heart a little bit earlier.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, that’s interesting. Yeah. That high pain threshold though. Right? You can push through a lot.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Interesting.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah, because obviously with the heart transplant list, it goes by both seniority. Who’s been on it the longest, but also who is the sickest?

Joan Hanscom:

Need.

Neil Stansbury:

So, several times in the last six months before I got my heart, I was bumped three or four times because they looked at two candidates and they said, “Well, we have this heart, this guy looks sicker than this guy. So let’s pick him because he’s the one that’s going to die first.” And so, I was glossed over a couple of times. And I think if I had laid in bed at home and-

Joan Hanscom:

Been a little bit more ill.

Neil Stansbury:

… been a little bit more whiny, then maybe I would have gotten earlier.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, so you told me the other day that you’ve got a racing license now.

Neil Stansbury:

Yes. So, I just want to see how I can do it. So I went from Cat 1 and now I’m a Cat 4 again, starting all over, so it’s kind of fun.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. It is fun.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

New heart, new license category.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah. So, I don’t know how I’ll do. I just literally just got it last week. So, I figured, it’s been three years, I’ve been training, so let me go out and see what happens. And I think I’ll just try to see if I can’t hang in the pack for a while and just be pack fill for a while and just see what happens.

Joan Hanscom:

So, you’re going to do road first or track first?

Neil Stansbury:

I may do track first and just do, because Saturday mornings are the masters and I won’t do the sprints obviously, but I’ll try to do some of the longer races and just see if I can just hang in the pack and hang there. And it’s just to give me a gauge on whether I’m anywhere close to where I need to be or whether I need to wait another year and just train harder.

Joan Hanscom:

So, you know that Chip’s doing his crit across the street on Thursdays now, crit across street back, and Sunday. He’s got a Sunday race.

Neil Stansbury:

Oh, is he? Okay. So, I’ll have to do the B race on Chips-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, there you go.

Neil Stansbury:

… and see how I do.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, yeah. Because you’re Cat 4 now.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s going to be you out with the juniors.

Neil Stansbury:

I’ve been demoted.

Joan Hanscom:

I don’t think you’ll stay there long. I suspect. Because what we were saying before race, those use your savvy, not your strengths.

Neil Stansbury:

It’s combination of both obviously.

Joan Hanscom:

So, that’s fun. It’s fun that you’re going to come back to racing though.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah, I’m excited. It’ll be a good time.

Joan Hanscom:

So, what else do you want to tell us? Anything else interesting happening here in your summer? What’s going on? You’re going to be back here Friday night with us in the trenches for UCI?

Neil Stansbury:

Oh, yeah. No, I love it. It’s a lot of fun for a couple of reasons. One is it’s, like I said, it’s a marriage of my two passions. The other thing I like about it is that it’s a great chance to catch up with old friends. You run into people all the time that you haven’t seen for quite a while and everything. Cycle racing and cycling is very much a fraternity, if you will.

Neil Stansbury:

When I stopped racing, I lost contact with a lot of my friends, and I think that was the worst part about it is that these guys that you see every single weekend and after the races, you sit around and have a beer and talk about things and get together and go for rides and stuff.

Neil Stansbury:

You don’t just lose the racing aspect, you lose the whole community. And cycling is, I think, a very tight-knit community. So, it’s for both good and bad. But it’s a lot of fun and I enjoy being part of that community.

Joan Hanscom:

Our international racing starts this weekend. Let’s see. We’ve got most of Canada here. No, I’m joking. We had a whole bunch of Canadians arrive today, which we are thrilled to have here. In COVID, it’s strange that we’re able to get the international athletes here. So, racing should be good this weekend for you. It’s going to be spicy on Friday.

Joan Hanscom:

We have some, let’s see, Guatemala, Mexico, we have Colombia, we have what else? Trinidad, we have Barbados. So, we’re going to have a good international contingent here starting right from U.S National Championships where it’s been from all over the U.S now we’re heading into our UCI dates and internationals, and the pace will get a little faster.

Neil Stansbury:

You only get good in racing by racing people that are better than you. So, I love to see the local guys go head to head with these guys. It’s a lot of fun and you see their game is raised significantly when these guys come as well.

Joan Hanscom:

A hundred percent.

Neil Stansbury:

Instead of just going against each other locally, it’s also, “Hm, I got to take on this guy from Canada or Mexico or wherever they’re from.”

Joan Hanscom:

And the speeds get higher.

Neil Stansbury:

Oh, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And what’s really exciting too is we have some real depth in the women’s fields here now. So the women’s racing has been terrific all summer, but now with the internationals coming in, the level’s going to go up even more. And so, we’re excited for the next three weeks of racing and hopefully a little less eventful on your side than this week was.

Neil Stansbury:

I think it’s funny. If you look at most of the races, the nationals was a little bit different for two reasons. One is people are going for gold instead of just, oh, if I don’t win this race, it’s another Friday night.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, there’s a lot on the line.

Neil Stansbury:

Instead of making 20 bucks tonight, I make 10 bucks tonight type thing. Whereas when you’re going for medals, it tends to be a lot more aggressive. And the other thing is we had a lot of juniors here, and I think most of the crashes were in the junior ranks because a lot of these kids, cycling is not a huge sport. So these kids come from other parts of the country where they’re racing against four or five, six kids. And then all of a sudden, they’re thrown into this big field with a whole bunch of kids. And you could tell there were kids that were very experienced and very comfortable and kids that were a little skid-ish because they-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, first time in a big field. Yeah.

Neil Stansbury:

They weren’t used to, yeah, being thrown into a situation like that. And so, you get somebody that’s not used to that situation and the speeds are obviously a lot more intense than they were before. They’re trying to race their game and maintain control, so it’s, I think, the combination led to more crashes than normal.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. The sprinting was good this week though, huh?

Neil Stansbury:

Oh, it was awesome.

Joan Hanscom:

The sprinting was on, it was great in the men’s elite in particular, the sprints were-

Neil Stansbury:

No crashes either, so that was good.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, no crashes either. That was great. We like that.

Neil Stansbury:

A couple of bumps, but nothing major.

Joan Hanscom:

That made the racing good though. It was super exciting racing. And I think yeah, we’re going to see some interesting speed this weekend. So, we’ll be happy to have you on the sidelines just in case, but I think the racing is going to be real good this weekend.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah. I like being a spectator instead of working.

Joan Hanscom:

I will say, you went over the boards real quick though, with one of the crashes. You were over the boards fast. I was like, that’s a…

Neil Stansbury:

Well, when you watch, you know when somebody’s going to crash, because you see the way they’re going is like, “Yeah, I just better start moving now. [inaudible 00:36:29].”

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. I was like, “You went over those boards faster than I was.” I was like, “Wow, damn. He was moving.” So, I think you had some new colleagues here, so we were very lucky that we had LVHN on-site all week. And we had your sports trainers in, in addition to the doctors on site.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah, that was neat for us because a lot of the trainers at Lehigh Valley Hospital had never seen a bike race. So, it was, they came in and they were able to experience it for the first time. So it was kind of a teaching. And it’s like, “What am I going to expect here? There are a lot of trainers.”

Joan Hanscom:

You had not just a trainer, you had a fellow with you this week.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah. So, Lehigh Valley Hospital also has non-operative sports medicine fellows. So, it’s basically people that have done three years in a family practice residency, and then they want to specialize in sports medicine. So, they spend a year with us and they spend part of the year with the family practice, sports medicine doctors at Lehigh Valley, and they also spend time with the orthopedic surgeons so they can get a flavor of both perspectives.

Neil Stansbury:

And so, it was a lot of fun because every year we have two guys. So, I have two guys with me on Friday nights and during the nationals. So, one of them is a cycling enthusiast that rides all the time as well.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, that was cool. I didn’t know that.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah. So he was really excited about this. He said, “This is really cool. I need to do this.”

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, that’s awesome.

Neil Stansbury:

I think then he went home and told his wife that and had other ideas after that.

Joan Hanscom:

Perhaps not. And then the other fellow, was he also-

Neil Stansbury:

He was very intrigued by it.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. I can’t remember his name, but he seemed like, “Huh, this is interesting.” Not like I want to do this thing, but I find myself in an interesting place.

Neil Stansbury:

Well, I think everybody, the trainers, the sports medicine fellows, and even there were a couple of other doctors that have not been that were here helping cover and spending time with them. And they, all of them just had the same comment was, is, “I’ve always thought of cycling is just this easy, leisurely, let’s go out and ride.”

Neil Stansbury:

And he goes, “This is hard. This is really hard. These people are really pushing it.” Because they would see the exhaustion on their faces and they would see the aftermath as they were coming off the track of these guys, just basically rolling over and just, oh my God, just trying to get their breath back and trying to stop their legs from burning. So, it was a fun experience for them for multiple reasons of both from a medical side as well as just the intensity of the sport as well.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it goes back to that piece, having a doctor that appreciates what you do. And so, they understand why you want to go back and do the thing or what you need to be to do the thing. I think to me, that’s the most important thing as a patient. I want a doctor that understands that it isn’t just I need to be able to walk to the mailbox, I need to be able to do more than that. Right?

Joan Hanscom:

And having doctors like the doctors LVHN that were here this week who were like, “Oh, now I get it. It isn’t just the ride down the bike path.

Neil Stansbury:

And injuries are very sports-specific. So, cycling is no exclusion to that obviously. You have overuse injuries and you have traumatic injuries and the overuse injuries in cycling are going to be a little bit different than your overuse injuries in football, or baseball, or basketball, or things like that. So, you have to understand why those overuse injuries occur and be able to treat them.

Neil Stansbury:

Whether it’s bike fit or whether it’s over-training or whatever you have. As well as the traumatic injuries. When you break a collarbone, how quick can you get him back on the bike type thing? Because cycling is mainly a lower extremity sport, but you do need some arms to do different things. So, my comment with them is, “Well, you can go back and go for a ride, but don’t try to practice your starts on the track where you’re pulling up as hard as you possibly can on your arms because you’re going to not let that then heal.”

Joan Hanscom:

Pop that thing.

Neil Stansbury:

“You’re going to pop that thing wide open.”

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that’s where having the doctor that understands your sport is so important. When I did my collarbone, my doctor was like, “What do you mean you want to get back on your bike?” I’m like, “Well, because I want to get back on my bike.” And he’s like, “Gee, I don’t know if that’s a good idea.”

Joan Hanscom:

And I’m like, “Well, I’m going to do it. Am I ready?” He was a football guy and he had been a water polo player, so he was athletic. He understood the sports, but he was like, “Are you sure you want to get back in the bike?” I’m like, “Well, my legs aren’t broken. My legs work.”

Neil Stansbury:

I had a discussion with our non-operative sports medicine doctor that I work with at the office, I think it was six or eight weeks ago now I was mountain biking. I lost it on the trail and came down with my chest right on the edge on the end of the bar and it broke a couple of ribs and it was actually a little bit displaced and everything. And so, I gave it a little bit. I was back on the bike the next day, actually. It hurt, but I was back on the bike.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, you said you did an experiment on-

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah, I wanted to see if I could do it. So, the bottom line is that the whole reason I’m finding this-

Joan Hanscom:

Did our listeners just hear this, he broke his ribs and the next day he’s back on the bike because he wanted to see if he could do it? I want them to make sure we made that point loud and clear on the pod because that’s awesome. Because I wanted to see if I could.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah. Well, it’s because you always hear about these guys in the Tour de France and they’re trying to ride with broken ribs and everything. I’m like, “Well, how painful is that?” So I said, “Well, let me try it out.”

Joan Hanscom:

Pretty painful.

Neil Stansbury:

So, first 10 miles hurt like hell, but I ended up doing 80 miles that by the 30 or 40th mile, it was like, it hurt, but I could hold onto the bar finally and I could jam on it, but I could do it. And I think the point to that is that I realized that going out and riding a bike, as long as I wasn’t using my upper body extremely, that’s something you can probably get by with. As long as you didn’t puncture your lung.

Joan Hanscom:

As long as you have the right pain threshold.

Neil Stansbury:

But the point of that is that I wanted to do it so the next time a cyclist comes in and says, “Hey, I broke my rib. When can I get back and ride?” And so my answer will be, “When you can tolerate it, basically, because you’re not… If it’s a broken leg and the bone is shifting in and out of place every time you take a pedal, obviously you can’t do that.

Neil Stansbury:

But with ribs, ribs is what’s called a stable fracture, which means they’re not going anywhere. It’s not like you’re moving it all over the place. So, it’s something that will heal whether you move or not. And that was the same as after I had my heart transplant, obviously they split your sternum over.

Neil Stansbury:

I could only walk at that point, but I started walking and I got up to 15 miles within three or four weeks, after my heart transplant, per day. And it hurt, but it’s more or less stable and I wasn’t trying to do pushups. So, that’s something I could get away with and still exercise to try to recover.

Joan Hanscom:

So, this Tour de France, poor Grant Thomas, my favorite grade crashed on day one. Right?

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Dislocated the shoulder. In your opinion, how painful was that for the rest of the, I mean, that guy’s hard as nails, right? He’s ridden a tour with a broken pelvis. Clearly he’s got the pain threshold that we all wish we had.

Neil Stansbury:

When your shoulder is out, it hurts, like all get out. I mean, it’s a very, very painful thing. When you reduce it, the pain goes down dramatically, but you’ve still dislocated, you still stretched out all those muscles and you still have some damage to your joint.

Neil Stansbury:

So, bottom line is it’s going to hurt. And the nice thing about cycling is you’re in one place, so you’re not putting as much strain on it as if you were doing something else. Having said that, the Tour de France is a whole different animal. You have to get up and just to finish every single day is extremely difficult.

Neil Stansbury:

So, to add on to that, my shoulder’s killing me and throbbing me and I can feel my heartbeat in my shoulder every time I try to go to bed at night and I can’t roll over on that side and I can’t sleep right. And I’ve got to sleep in this one position all night long just to be able to get some sleep.

Neil Stansbury:

So, you’ve got this guy that’s trying to go really, really hard six hours a day that has this problem that’s keeping him exhausted and not allowing him to sleep and hurts on the bike. So, something like the Tour de France and having an injury like that, it’s amazing that he could keep going as long that he was able to keep going.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. He said it was the hardest tour he’s ever done.

Neil Stansbury:

Oh, I’m sure.

Joan Hanscom:

And, again, this is a guy that did the tour with a broken pelvis, and he said this one was the hardest. And I was just thinking, I don’t know how you do it, right?

Neil Stansbury:

Think about it. Every time he went over a bump on the road-

Joan Hanscom:

Every time.

Neil Stansbury:

… he’s got that jump and that hurts like crazy type thing and can you imagine doing that-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. And trying to stand up in the Alps and pull on the bars.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah, that’s ridiculous.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. The whole time of the tour I thought, “Oh boy, I don’t know how you’re doing that.”

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah. I was watching him very closely and I was like, “Man, this guy is tough as nails even to be able to stay with it.”

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. He’s my favorite, but what a disappointment for that poor guy who-

Neil Stansbury:

But he helped. He helped a [inaudible 00:45:08] he like was already dead and stuff like that. I mean, some of his climbs, he was-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, he was coming back to life at the end. For sure.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah. He was climbing up the hills and getting in front and helping with the pace.

Joan Hanscom:

The poor guy can’t catch a break. Right?

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

The Giro last year hit the bottle out, broken pelvis.

Neil Stansbury:

Was the same as [crosstalk 00:45:24].

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Oh, [inaudible 00:45:24] was sad this year.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah. He got just tortured.

Joan Hanscom:

You got to wonder, that much road rash. How long does it take to heal from that?

Neil Stansbury:

And the same thing is it’s not even so much when you’re on the bike, road rash doesn’t hurt that much.

Joan Hanscom:

No, it’s sleeping.

Neil Stansbury:

It’s the trying to sleep and things like that. So, if you’re up all night tossing and turning because every time you move something wakes you up, can you imagine trying to get up and race 120 miles the next day?

Joan Hanscom:

At the speeds they race-

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah, it’s crazy.

Joan Hanscom:

… and compete no less. Yeah. It was a tough tour to watch this year. It was fun, but it’s tough.

Neil Stansbury:

It was frustrating, especially when that fan jumped out in front of him and took 50 of them down.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that’s was awful. And then you see somebody like Chris Froome who could have died in his crash couple of years ago and see what the toll of those injuries took on him as a professional is super… Our sport’s brutal.

Neil Stansbury:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

I think I say it all the time that this sport will break your heart 10 different ways every day. And it’s true, but yet we-

Neil Stansbury:

That’s what makes it fun.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, exactly. That’s what we love about it, exactly, is that whole thing. Well, Neil, it’s been delightful to have you on the pod. I just want people to know this doctor that’s standing on the sidelines is one of us, and understands us, and wants to do the best for us, get us back on our bikes.

Joan Hanscom:

And so, I just wanted to take this opportunity to get people get to know you who don’t know you and who know that if you crash and the doctor runs over to you, this is who’s helping you. And he’s one of us and he understands you, which is cool.

Neil Stansbury:

Thanks. I really appreciate you having me on the show.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Right on. All right. Well, this has been The Talk of the T-Town podcast with Dr. Neil Stansbury from the LVHN sports medicine department orthopedics. And we hope you liked the show and we hope you tune in again. Find us on Spotify or iTunes and give us a listen to the past pods. Thanks so much.

Joan Hanscom:

Thank you for listening. This has been The Talk of the T-Town podcast. I’m your host, Joan Hanscom. Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. Head over to our website at thevelodrome.com where you can check out the show notes and subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode.

 

 

 

Posted on

Jesse Shotland: Philosopher Kilo Racer

Jesse Shotland

Episode 34

“What is my connection here? My connection to T-Town first started it all, before I had even touched a track.”

Why is the number 2 a 2 and how do you fly with a penny-farthing? Join Joan this week as she talks with Jesse Shotland– they have a delightfully stream of consciousness conversation about track racing, Zwift racing, Strava, philosophy, and much more.

Jesse Shotland
Jesse Shotland

Instagram: @jesseshotland @affinitycyles

YouTube: @JesseShotland

Twitter: @JesseShotland


Thanks to B Braun Medical Inc. for sponsoring the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. BBraun is a global leader in infusion therapy and pain management, B Braun develops, manufactures and markets innovative medical products to the healthcare community. They are also strong believers in supporting the quality of life in the communities where their employees work and live.

Transcript

Joan Hanscom:

Welcome to the Talk of the T-Town podcast, where we discuss all things track cycling, broadcasting live from the Valley Preferred Cycling Center. I’m your host and executive director, Joan Hanscom. All right, welcome to the Talk of the T-Town podcast. I’m your host, Joan Hanscom, executive director here at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center. It’s an exciting week for us here, because we’re about to kick off national championships for juniors, elites, and para-athletes. It was a surprise, but we are, as a result, very lucky to have today’s guest, Jesse Shotland, who is here for nationals, and who has graciously agreed to join us on the podcast. Jesse, welcome.

Jesse Shotland:

Cool. Thanks. Thanks so much, I’m really excited to be here. Truly.

Joan Hanscom:

How you feeling, getting ready for Nat’s?

Jesse Shotland:

A little underwhelmed with my power numbers, but excited to be here, nonetheless.

Joan Hanscom:

They say, you shouldn’t worry about that.

Jesse Shotland:

Right.

Joan Hanscom:

You have to race your bike.

Jesse Shotland:

But the thing is-

Joan Hanscom:

I know, though.

Jesse Shotland:

I’m only doing the kilo.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, okay.

Jesse Shotland:

It’s really just about power.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, okay.

Jesse Shotland:

And aero, I guess. I’ll focus on the aero part.

Joan Hanscom:

How you go on the day, right?

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

You just got to bring your head to the game, that’s all.

Jesse Shotland:

Totally.

Joan Hanscom:

Your down from Massachusetts.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

You live in Western Massachusetts.

Jesse Shotland:

I do.

Joan Hanscom:

Where in Western Massachusetts?

Jesse Shotland:

It’s a little town called Northampton, it’s near UMass.

Joan Hanscom:

Little known fact, I lived in Williamstown. Or-

Jesse Shotland:

No kidding?

Joan Hanscom:

It wasn’t technically Williamstown. I’m essentially across the mountain from Jiminy Peak.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh. Oh, cool. How long were you there?

Joan Hanscom:

2008, 2009.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, cool.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it was fun. I loved Western Massachusetts, I’d move back in a heartbeat.

Jesse Shotland:

It’s beautiful.

Joan Hanscom:

Had terrible internet, but otherwise, it was a great place to live. Most fun in the winter I’ve ever had-

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, cool.

Joan Hanscom:

… was living there.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, a little known fact.

Jesse Shotland:

Are you a skier?

Joan Hanscom:

I was when I lived there.

Jesse Shotland:

Okay, cool.

Joan Hanscom:

Yes, because I lived across the street from Jiminy Peak.

Jesse Shotland:

Right.

Joan Hanscom:

I was running Cycle Cross at the time, so I was running the US Grand Prix of cycle cross. I had a seasons pass to Jiminy. I would get up every morning, be at the lift at 8:30, or whenever they opened. I would ski five or six runs, and then go back across the street and work for the rest of the day.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, great.

Joan Hanscom:

It was super fun.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow.

Joan Hanscom:

I had a friend named Young Dan, thus named because he was very young. He was the rowing coach at Williams, or a rowing coach at Williams. Young Dan and I would cross country ski a fair bit.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, cool. That’s awesome.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, Western Mass. was quite the most fun for winter, I’ve ever had.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

How about you?

Jesse Shotland:

Cross country skiing is huge in Western Mass., I’ve come to find.

Joan Hanscom:

Do you?

Jesse Shotland:

I haven’t done it. I did it once when I was much younger, but it’s something that I’ve always been tempted by.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s super fun. I grew up in New Hampshire, and I distinctly recall gym class in the seventh grade, we had to go across the street and cross country ski in the park across the street from school.

Jesse Shotland:

For gym class?

Joan Hanscom:

For gym class.

Jesse Shotland:

Huh.

Joan Hanscom:

It was fucking horrible. I remember thinking, “This is the worst thing ever. I hate this. I don’t ever want to do this again.” It was so hard. It’s hard.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. It’s work.

Joan Hanscom:

As a grown up I’m like, “Oh, this is awesome.” It’s funny how your perspective changes-

Jesse Shotland:

Funny.

Joan Hanscom:

… as a seventh grader I was like, “This is the most miserable thing I’ve ever done in my life.” Now I’m like, “Yeah, cross country skiing.” Now you like the hard.

Jesse Shotland:

That’s too funny. I feel like it’s like that with vegetables, too.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Jesse Shotland:

Hate them as a kid, love them as an adult.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s a very good point. What vegetables do you like? Give me your vegetable of choice. These are the weird, wacky questions-

Jesse Shotland:

Vegetable of choice? Definitely broccoli.

Joan Hanscom:

Really?

Jesse Shotland:

Definitely. No question.

Joan Hanscom:

Fascinating.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Maura? Maura’s giving me the eye, but she’s not on the microphone, but I’m going to swing it over towards her face.

Maura:

All right, well it’s not a vegetable that I detested as a child, but I’m a big potato gal.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh.

Joan Hanscom:

Potatoes? Fourth of July, I was at Maura’s family’s house for Fourth of July, and we had the most-

Maura:

400 clams.

Joan Hanscom:

We had 400 clams.

Jesse Shotland:

Clams?

Joan Hanscom:

It was amazing, but there was corn on the cob, which was delicious.

Maura:

It was so good.

Joan Hanscom:

Also, little potatoes. Maura made the little potatoes, and Maura’s mom was like, “Who wants potatoes?” We were all like, “We all do.” All of us, “Yeah, we want the potatoes.” They were so good, too.

Jesse Shotland:

The little tiny ones?

Joan Hanscom:

Little tiny ones, yeah.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, those are my favorite.

Maura:

Dipped them in butter.

Joan Hanscom:

Because you have butter… with clams, you have to have the drawn butter, so we were just dipping potatoes in butter. It was so good. Yes, we’re talking about the healthy vegetables, but potatoes dipped in butter, that’s our favorite. Maura’s mom grew yellow zucchini, and I had it for dinner last night, sauteed in garlic. It was quite delicious.

Jesse Shotland:

Zucchini’s great.

Joan Hanscom:

Zucchini, very yummy. What else for vegetables? Broccoli, really?

Jesse Shotland:

Broccoli. My girlfriend is a farmer.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, okay.

Jesse Shotland:

A little shout out to my girlfriend, Hannah.

Joan Hanscom:

Right on.

Jesse Shotland:

She’s a farmer, and so she’ll come home with… it must be 10 pounds of vegetables, every day.

Joan Hanscom:

Okay.

Jesse Shotland:

She’ll come home with it, and we’ll cook it up, and it’s great. It’s so enjoyable.

Joan Hanscom:

I like beets, and I like spinach. Not a broccoli gal, though.

Jesse Shotland:

You’re not into broccoli?

Joan Hanscom:

Not into broccoli. Yeah, not into broccoli. Nope, can’t say that I… I like to tomatoes, tomatoes are good.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, don’t get me started on tomatoes.

Joan Hanscom:

Get started on tomatoes.

Jesse Shotland:

They’re my favorite.

Joan Hanscom:

Have you had… All right, here’s a question. Maura had never heard of it. Bread salad.

Jesse Shotland:

No, I don’t know about this.

Joan Hanscom:

Bread salad is amazing. You take a baguette, stale.

Jesse Shotland:

Stale baguette.

Joan Hanscom:

Chop it up into cubes. Soak it in olive oil.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh.

Joan Hanscom:

So it’s nice… and then you… it’s essentially tossed with cheese, and herbs, and tomatoes.

Jesse Shotland:

Bread salad?

Joan Hanscom:

Bread salad. Google it. It’s amazing.

Jesse Shotland:

Interesting.

Joan Hanscom:

Super good, bread salad. Yeah, because it absorbs all the juice from the olive oil and the tomatoes.

Jesse Shotland:

Fascinating.

Joan Hanscom:

Super yummy.

Jesse Shotland:

I can see that. But it has to be stale first?

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, because if it’s fresh, then it’ll get super soggy.

Jesse Shotland:

Right. Oh, interesting.

Joan Hanscom:

The staleness of it helps. Yeah.

Jesse Shotland:

Fascinating. Huh, I would try it.

Joan Hanscom:

But I don’t recommend bread salad before you race [inaudible 00:06:59].

Jesse Shotland:

Okay, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

You’re just doing one event?

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Right on.

Jesse Shotland:

It’s a longer story, and it starts with everyone else’s story about COVID ruining their racing.

Joan Hanscom:

Okay.

Jesse Shotland:

I came out of… Let’s see. I came out of the winter, before COVID, feeling really strong. I was doing a bunch of Zwift racing, to try to bring up my FTP.

Joan Hanscom:

Does that work? Does Zwift bring your FTP up?

Jesse Shotland:

It worked for me, marginally.

Joan Hanscom:

Okay.

Jesse Shotland:

Which is enough for me to be happy. Maybe 20 watts, after the winter, which is actually not marginal, that’s pretty substantial.

Joan Hanscom:

I was going to say, I’d kill for 20 watts.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s pretty major.

Jesse Shotland:

Then I was really aching to put my new FTP on the track, and it didn’t quite happen. I did what everybody else did, and I went to Strava, I went for all the segments. Then I burned out.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh.

Jesse Shotland:

Then I stopped training. I didn’t stop riding, but I stopped training for five months. FTP went way down.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, you don’t hold FTP for five months.

Jesse Shotland:

No.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s not a thing.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. Then when T-Town was announced to do Nat’s, I decided, “Okay, I’ve never done Nat’s before, because it was always in LA and it was too expensive to go. Now’s my chance, but I’m never going to get the fitness in time, so I’ll just do the kilo.”

Joan Hanscom:

Gotcha.

Jesse Shotland:

And I’ll train for that.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s actually a smart strategy, though.

Jesse Shotland:

Thanks. Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I appreciate that strategy.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, thanks. Thanks.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, there’s method to the madness.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. I also have a fond love for the kilo, anyway.

Joan Hanscom:

Which makes you weird, but okay.

Jesse Shotland:

I know. Definitely.

Joan Hanscom:

Which makes you strange, but we won’t judge. That’s cool, all right. I get the method to the madness.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. I told my coach that I wanted to just do the kilo.

Joan Hanscom:

Just do the kilo.

Jesse Shotland:

He said, “All right, we don’t have much time, but we’ll see what we can do.”

Joan Hanscom:

Right on.

Jesse Shotland:

Here we are.

Joan Hanscom:

Here we are, race week.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Race week. Well, we’re delighted to see you. I wanted to talk to you about your other cool thing that you’ve been doing, which I thought was amazing. For everybody, Jesse has been doing videos with post-event voiceovers, for his track races. I highly recommend, because they’re entertaining, but they’re also… I don’t know, delightfully stream of consciousness.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, cool. I like that, delightfully stream of consciousness.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, I did find it delightfully stream of consciousness. He’s very like James Joyce, here I am on Ed Slaughter’s wheel, like you were like a piece of paper floating down the liffey. There’s my English major reference for the day. It was awesome, because you would do this little tangent about, “Oh, I’m on Vanessa’s wheel. She’s a really good study wheel.” It was a really good stream of consciousness, but it’s so what happens in your brain when you’re racing bikes-

Jesse Shotland:

Totally.

Joan Hanscom:

… that I really appreciated it. But it was delightful.

Jesse Shotland:

Cool, thanks.

Joan Hanscom:

What was the inspiration to start doing that?

Jesse Shotland:

I found this fella on YouTube, I can’t remember what his channel was. I think it was NorCal bike or NorCal cycling, and he does, basically the same thing, but for crits. I saw one or two other people doing that, and I realized no one’s really doing this for track. It looked fun, and I have a background in photo and video.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, interesting.

Jesse Shotland:

I lived in NYC and shot professionally for four years, and so I thought, “Oh, maybe I can put that to use with my bike racing,” because everyone’s always saying… excuse me. Everyone’s always asking if I ever shoot bike races, and I say, “No, I do them.”

Joan Hanscom:

Right. I race bike races.

Jesse Shotland:

But now I have a chance to shoot them, and I also wanted to offer, like you said, my stream of consciousness to the newer riders who are coming into the sport, and maybe are overwhelmed, and don’t know what the rules are or the etiquette, or how to read a race. All the things.

Joan Hanscom:

I will admit, that the first one that I watched, you’re so nice in it. You’re nice, you’re not a jerk, but there’s a moment where you’re like, “And now Ed’s let a massive gap open up, and I have to close it,” and I was crying, because I would’ve had every other expletive in the book. Like, “And then Ed opened up…”

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

You were so nice about it, and you were like, “And that’s quite a gap that Ed’s opened up, and I’m going to have to close it.” I was crying. It was so nice and polite, but still-

Jesse Shotland:

Thanks, that’s sweet.

Joan Hanscom:

… the thought of the bike racer was there, like, “Yeah, that’s a big gap, and I’m going to have to close it.”

Jesse Shotland:

Now I have to do this. Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Then you got to the part where you’re like, “Yep, and here I am totally gassed.”

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s so real, I loved it.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

I loved it. I have been finding them delightful.

Jesse Shotland:

Cool. Thanks so much.

Joan Hanscom:

Keep doing them.

Jesse Shotland:

Thanks.

Joan Hanscom:

Are you going to do one from here, when you do the Kieran when it’s just you alone on the track? Here I am dying, on lap whatever. Lap two and a half, and I am dying.

Jesse Shotland:

I’m done.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Jesse Shotland:

I brought the GoPro to Nat’s.

Joan Hanscom:

Okay.

Jesse Shotland:

I mean not going to do it in the kilo, but I am going to give it to my new teammate Brad Green.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, cool.

Jesse Shotland:

He’s going to take it in the omnium, and-

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, fun.

Jesse Shotland:

I want to do a commentary with him, so both of us will be talking.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, I love that idea.

Jesse Shotland:

Maybe take a couple pauses, and get his take on this, and compare it to my take, and see why he’s right and I’m wrong, or whatever.

Joan Hanscom:

Or maybe why you’re right and-

Jesse Shotland:

Or right.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, maybe. Oh, fascinating, I love that.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, and I want to do more of that with juniors, and in the women’s field, and in masters fields.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, for sure.

Jesse Shotland:

I want to mix it up and get every perspective on the track.

Joan Hanscom:

I think that’s amazing.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, and then maybe even, I don’t know how this would work, but give the GoPro to an official and see what it’s like to officiate.

Joan Hanscom:

Give it to Sally.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, right, give it to Sally.

Joan Hanscom:

Whatever you do, don’t put it on the staff. Whatever you do, just don’t give it to the staff.

Jesse Shotland:

Okay. I’ll take note.

Joan Hanscom:

You never want to see how the sausage is made. All righty, so how’s school?

Jesse Shotland:

School is going well.

Joan Hanscom:

Tell everybody who’s listening, what your school is about.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. Okay, so I started going to school in, I think 2000… I should know this, 2019 or 2020. I think 2020.

Joan Hanscom:

Time is a false construct now.

Jesse Shotland:

Right, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Since the COVID times.

Jesse Shotland:

Times out the door.

Joan Hanscom:

Time is a false construct.

Jesse Shotland:

I started at a community college, and I’ve now transferred to the honors program at UMass.

Joan Hanscom:

Which is completely awesome.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, I’m really excited about it. I will say, my dream school was Amherst College, but they put me on the waiting list, and then they said they just didn’t have room. Now I’m at UMass, and I’m studying philosophy.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s pretty cool.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, I’m excited.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s awesome.

Jesse Shotland:

But I’m not excited for job hunting afterwards.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. It’s funny, I was an English major, so also not really great career prospects when you’re an English major. I remember talking to my favorite undergrad professor at BU, about wanting to get into a graduate program. Then it didn’t… I didn’t get into the program I wanted to get into, and he was on a fellowship in DC and I was living in DC at the time, and we were having lunch together.

Joan Hanscom:

I remember him distinctly saying, “It’s probably for the best.” He’s like, “English departments are not where you want to be anymore.” I was like, “When the English professor is telling you that you probably got lucky when you didn’t get into the program…” I was like, “Oh, okay.”

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, wow.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow.

Joan Hanscom:

But on the other side of that coin, not to be discouraging for you, in your philosophy major, I have never not had a job, since graduating from college. Weirdly enough, we arts majors are vastly employable. Everybody will ask you, “Can you write?”, and you’ll say, “Yes, I’m a philosophy major. I can write all kinds of things. Not only that, but I can analyze things from every angle possible.”

Jesse Shotland:

Right, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And perhaps put an ethical spin on things for business, as well.

Jesse Shotland:

Totally.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Jesse Shotland:

I hear that’s actually a big thing, is businesses are hiring philosophy majors, because of their ability to think, and think differently.

Joan Hanscom:

People don’t have that anymore.

Jesse Shotland:

Right.

Joan Hanscom:

I’m a big reader of the Harvard Business Review, and I feel like half the stuff that they talk about, in terms of best practices for corporations and how employees should approach work, would fall well under the study of philosophy.

Jesse Shotland:

Huh.

Joan Hanscom:

I think that there is actually more viability to a philosophy major than people with MBAs would think. Yeah, no, I think it’s cool that you’re doing it.

Jesse Shotland:

Thanks.

Joan Hanscom:

I think it’s super cool. Tell more, what philosophy are you focusing on?

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, not the most employable type. I’m still figuring it out, but the philosophy that gets my blood pumping the most is metaphysics and phenomenology, which I couldn’t even give you a great description of. But the description that I was given is, the study of… what was it? It was the study of the nature of things being things.

Joan Hanscom:

That-

Jesse Shotland:

Some classic philosophy, dense jargon.

Joan Hanscom:

That makes my head hurt. When I was a kid, and I still own this book. Out of all the books that I had since childhood, and I chucked a bunch of them, finally, when I moved to Allentown, because I didn’t have storage for them, but I kept… My father, every payday, bought me books.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, cool.

Joan Hanscom:

This was a thing, this is why I ended up an English major.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, that’s great.

Joan Hanscom:

Every two weeks, my father would bring home a stack of books, on his payday, and he would give me books.

Jesse Shotland:

I like that.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, me too. What a cool thing for a dad to do.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, totally.

Joan Hanscom:

But I had this book, and it was called Where Do Numbers Come From?

Jesse Shotland:

Huh. That sounds fascinating.

Joan Hanscom:

It fucking tormented me. Honest to God, and I still have it. The book is tattered, and cracked binding, everything. But Where Do Numbers Come From?, and when I was a little kid, which is why I hated math class, this notion of where did numbers come from, and why was a two a two-

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… tormented me as a child.

Jesse Shotland:

I love that stuff.

Joan Hanscom:

I’m going to find this book, and I’m going to-

Jesse Shotland:

Please, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Because this book ruined numbers for me, forever, because I was like, “Why is a two a two? I don’t understand.”

Jesse Shotland:

What was it called? Where Do Numbers Come From?

Joan Hanscom:

Where Do Numbers Come From?

Jesse Shotland:

Cool.

Joan Hanscom:

It tormented me, but it’s that sort of thing. To me, as a little kid, that was, why is a thing a thing?

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. Totally.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. Did it get into the number zero at all?

Joan Hanscom:

No, because it was a little kids’ book.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, okay, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

I think that would’ve been-

Jesse Shotland:

A little too much.

Joan Hanscom:

Honest to God, I probably would’ve never left the house again if that… because it literally paralyzed me, this book.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it was terribly-

Jesse Shotland:

Wow.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, terribly, terribly-

Jesse Shotland:

Fascinating.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Jesse Shotland:

You say it was a kids book. Were there photos?

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, yeah. It was a picture book.

Jesse Shotland:

Interesting.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, picture book.

Jesse Shotland:

I’m really curious about this.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I’ll have to find it, but it ruined me. Honest to God, math, after that, I over thought math from kindergarten onwards, because of this book.

Jesse Shotland:

Five plus five, but what is five really?

Joan Hanscom:

That was it. I was really tormented by why is five a five? Yeah, it was awful.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I appreciate your philosophy… except you’re not frozen by it and-

Jesse Shotland:

Not yet. I’m sure it’s coming. Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

You don’t have complete brain lock over it, which I had.

Jesse Shotland:

It’s funny, I just finished this book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which is kind of about what you were just talking about. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I’ll say that basically, the main character… My perception of it, was that the main character, at some point in his past, was so brilliant that he went crazy from his new understanding of the world. He actually went insane and had to recover, and it was a whole thing. That reminds me a lot of what you were just talking about.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I went through my insanity as a kindergartner, apparently. Yeah, I can’t wait. Now I have to find that book, because I can see it. It’s purple, it’s cracked binding, crackly pages, because it’s so old, but yes, I have it.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow. How many pages was it, about?

Joan Hanscom:

Thin, it’s a kids’ picture book.

Jesse Shotland:

It sounds like such dense material for a kids book.

Maura:

But why that number of pages?

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, right.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, right.

Joan Hanscom:

Who knows. If I looked at it today, I think I’ve been afraid to open it. Crack it open, like it’s going to unleash all the demons of my childhood. I probably would read it today, and I’d be like, “Why did this torment you so?”

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, I wonder.

Joan Hanscom:

Like, “Why was this book the catalyst for so much horror in your life?” I don’t know, it’s funny how books are like that, though, right?

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, definitely.

Joan Hanscom:

You’re the philosopher kilo racer.

Jesse Shotland:

Philosopher kilo racer, I like that.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s very unique, I like it.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. Actually, that reminds me a lot of… Some listeners may know this guy. Oh, I’m forgetting his last name. Michael Barkasi? Do you know that name? He used to live here, I feel bad for forgetting his last name, but he was a philosopher. He was actually a philosophy instructor, professionally, and he rode kilo.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, that’s funny. Who was the Tour de France rider who was also-

Jesse Shotland:

Is there?

Joan Hanscom:

Yes. Tour de France rider who is a philosopher.

Jesse Shotland:

I don’t know, I should know this.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, no, no, there’s a guy. All right listeners, we’re going to have to go to the Google, because it was all the rage last year.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, how did this snake by me?

Joan Hanscom:

I don’t know, you were too busy doing other things in COVID, chasing Strava segments.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Philosopher. Philosopher. He rode for AG2R. Oh, wait. Oh, yes. Guillaume Martin. Yeah, Guillaume Martin, he’s the Tour de France podium philosopher.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow. Oh, that’s so fascinating. What’s his-

Joan Hanscom:

A student of the 19th century German philosopher, Fredrick Nietzsche.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, funny.

Joan Hanscom:

He continues to reflect and write. During the Tour de France, he was an active contributor to the French daily Le Monde.

Jesse Shotland:

No kidding?

Joan Hanscom:

And has written a book of reflections of the modern day sport.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow, that’s-

Joan Hanscom:

Guillaume Martin.

Jesse Shotland:

That’s badass.

Joan Hanscom:

You got to go-

Jesse Shotland:

Well I’m definitely going to have to check that out.

Joan Hanscom:

You’re going to have to go read Guillaume Martin’s book.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Isn’t that crazy? So you’re not alone.

Jesse Shotland:

I guess not.

Joan Hanscom:

You are following in the… you’re in the footsteps of other philosopher cyclists before you.

Jesse Shotland:

I’m definitely going to check that book out.

Joan Hanscom:

Right on.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow.

Joan Hanscom:

When is your event? What day? Forgive me for not knowing the schedule, but this is-

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, no. I’m sure you’ve got your hands more than full.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s been a little crazy, I’m not going to lie.

Jesse Shotland:

The kilo is the first day, it’s the 15th.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, the 15th?

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Then you’re sticking around to record other peoples’ racing?

Jesse Shotland:

I’m actually not.

Joan Hanscom:

You’re not?

Jesse Shotland:

I’m just handing the GoPro off to [crosstalk 00:23:36].

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, okay.

Jesse Shotland:

I’m going to show him how to do it, if he doesn’t know how, and then I’m leaving the next day, the 16th.

Joan Hanscom:

To do what? Go back to school?

Jesse Shotland:

I’m probably going to do some camping, or hanging out with my girlfriend.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, nice.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Where you going to go camping?

Jesse Shotland:

I don’t know. We don’t have any set plans, but we’ll probably go up to Vermont, or something.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, nice.

Jesse Shotland:

That’s what we usually do. Then after that, we’re going to New Hampshire, where you’re from.

Joan Hanscom:

Where?

Jesse Shotland:

Where is it? Squam Lake.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, yes, very nice.

Jesse Shotland:

We’re going to Squam Lake, she has an uncle there.

Joan Hanscom:

Isn’t Squam Lake where they filmed that movie? Squam Lake?

Jesse Shotland:

I don’t know. Which movie?

Joan Hanscom:

That one On Golden Pond, or something. Am I wrong?

Jesse Shotland:

[crosstalk 00:24:11] movie.

Joan Hanscom:

I think so.

Jesse Shotland:

Is it a horror movie?

Joan Hanscom:

No, it was-

Jesse Shotland:

Okay, thank God.

Joan Hanscom:

It was one with Henry Fonda, it’s old.

Jesse Shotland:

Huh.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I think it was Squam Lake.

Jesse Shotland:

Whoa.

Joan Hanscom:

But yeah, that’s a lovely part of the world.

Jesse Shotland:

Cool. I’ve never been, I’m really looking forward to it.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s a lovely part of the world.

Jesse Shotland:

Cool.

Joan Hanscom:

In Vermont, what will you do? You have Heady Topper and eat Creamies?

Jesse Shotland:

Well, we usually just… we don’t really do the Vermont thing. Sometimes we’ll pull over and get some maple syrup, but-

Joan Hanscom:

Nothing wrong with that.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, we usually just go camping and enjoy nature.

Joan Hanscom:

Right on. I miss Vermont.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. It’s a beautiful state.

Joan Hanscom:

I’m doing Vermont Overland-

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, when is that?

Joan Hanscom:

On the 28th, 29th?

Jesse Shotland:

Okay.

Joan Hanscom:

We have racing here Saturday morning, it’s our last day of Saturday racing, and then I’m driving to Vermont, and the next day is Vermont Overland, that’s what I know.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, wow. Is it the Saturday after the last Friday?

Joan Hanscom:

Yes.

Jesse Shotland:

Okay. Cool. I think I’ll be here for that, by the way.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, right on.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, not going to do the Madison, but I might do the Kieran, maybe.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, yeah, one would-

Jesse Shotland:

If I still have sprint legs. We’ll see.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, you should do it. You should do it.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, it’d be fun.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, thank you, by the way, for coming down that day that I desperately needed you to come down and race.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, yeah. Totally.

Joan Hanscom:

Jesse, please come race.

Jesse Shotland:

It really warmed my heart to get that message.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that was very much appreciated. Tell us about your T-Town time. Tell us about… this is the talk of the T-Town-

Jesse Shotland:

This is, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

What’s your connection to T-Town, how long you been coming here?

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, what is my connection here? My connection to T-Town first started at all, before I had even touched a track, when I was living in Western Mass., which is back home, before I moved away. My mechanic told me… because I was into Fixies at the time, I was into the whole Fixie, Messenger scene. Mechanic was talking about this track that he went to a bike swap at.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh.

Jesse Shotland:

I said, “Oh, where’s that?” He said, “It’s in Pennsylvania. I can’t remember where, but it’s called T-Town.” Then ever since that day, T-Town had this lore and legend behind it for me. Then, maybe one or two years later, I moved to New York. That was when I saw my first track-

Joan Hanscom:

Kissena Velodrome.

Jesse Shotland:

Kissena Velodrome.

Joan Hanscom:

Okay.

Jesse Shotland:

I went there, and I happened to go on a Wednesday, when they had track racing going no, so I got to watch. It was love at first sight. It was truly like, “Okay, I’m supposed to do this.”

Joan Hanscom:

That’s so cool.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. I started racing at Kissena. Got my Cat 4, and then started going to Saturday morning masters and rookies races.

Joan Hanscom:

All right, and then-

Jesse Shotland:

The first time I was here, I was blown away, especially after being at Kissena, this is a whole nother ball game.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s such a cool thing, though, that’s how it all started.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

With a flea market, essentially.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s so cool, though.

Jesse Shotland:

A flea market that my mechanic went to.

Joan Hanscom:

Now you’re a Friday night racing kind of guy.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. When I was in New York, I moved to New York to be a photographer and videographer, and then I found bike racing, and that took over, pretty rapidly. Then I quit photography and decided, I want to be a pro bike racer. I left New York, quit photography, moved here. Figured I would just live here indefinitely. I think this was before you got here.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I didn’t know this part of the story.

Jesse Shotland:

Not long before, I think it was 2018.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, I had my first full season here, and I was living with my coaches, at the time, Colleen and Gil.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, okay.

Jesse Shotland:

I got much faster, really quick. Before I knew it, I was not getting dropped in the pro races, I was podiuming.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, competing.

Jesse Shotland:

Then I realized, “Wow, I can do this.” Then, from there, it was slowly downhill. I stopped being able to do this, but I still had fun, nonetheless, and then T-Town became my new home.

Joan Hanscom:

Which is delightful.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, I didn’t end up staying here like I thought I would. I thought I’d just move here indefinitely, but then once the season was over I thought, “I don’t know if I want to stick around.” Then I went to Detroit, and I did the Detroit thing.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Jesse Shotland:

For anyone who doesn’t know, they have a track that’s… I think it’s the steepest, or tied for the steepest track in the country.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I think when South Chicago had their 166, that was steeper.

Jesse Shotland:

Right.

Joan Hanscom:

I only went to that track once, and I was like, “Oh, hell no.”

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, that’s something else.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s the dizzy drone, but people loved it. Yeah, that was short and super steep, but yes, I think Detroit is now the-

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. It’s either Detroit or the one in… is it Ohio?

Joan Hanscom:

I was going to say Cleveland?

Jesse Shotland:

I can’t remember, but they’re the same length, I think.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Jesse Shotland:

Anyway, I spent the winter in Detroit, and had a lot of fun doing that. Learned that I shouldn’t have done that, training wise, but I still had a lot of fun, made a bunch of friends. I think that’s when I learned about Zwift racing.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, okay.

Jesse Shotland:

Because Zach Cabalchek was there, and he was like, “Yeah, you got to check it out. It’s fun and it’s good training.”

Joan Hanscom:

It’s insane. I did a fair bit of it over the winter, myself.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, cool. How did you find it?

Joan Hanscom:

Insane.

Jesse Shotland:

It’s hard. It’s fucking fast.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s super hard, and it’s super short.

Jesse Shotland:

Big, big watts. Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s like, “Hey, 25 minutes of,” oh, I don’t know-

Jesse Shotland:

Of sprinting the whole time.

Joan Hanscom:

… 200% of your FTP.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

I don’t know, it’s bonkers.

Jesse Shotland:

It’s brutal.

Joan Hanscom:

I think to myself… and I did fairly well in my races, but there’s not a lot of women in the races I was doing, so it wasn’t hard to do well, because I was one of two girls.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow. Was it that small?

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, the races, it seemed, to work with my schedule, it was really, truly-

Jesse Shotland:

Wow.

Joan Hanscom:

… four, five girls, at the most, in the races I was doing. I think there are, A, there are women’s races that are all women’s races, but most of the time my schedule didn’t align-

Jesse Shotland:

Line up with… yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… so I’d just do whatever was available.

Jesse Shotland:

All right, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Then I also realized that I deeply misunderstood how Zwift racing worked.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh.

Joan Hanscom:

I thought that when our race started, I would be with all the other Cs or whatever, and it turned out that was not always the case. Sometimes the races start and you’re just with the Cs.

Jesse Shotland:

Right. Sometimes it’s the whole As, Bs, Cs, Ds, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Right, sometimes it’s all the As, Bs, and Cs.

Jesse Shotland:

I still haven’t figured out how to differentiate between [crosstalk 00:31:21].

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, well you have to look at the thing on the side, sometimes it tells you which group they’re in.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh.

Joan Hanscom:

But I realize that I’m racing until my eyeballs are bleeding, because I’m trying to stay up with the As.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Then I was like, “Oh, that was dumb.”

Jesse Shotland:

A, A, A, C, A, A.

Joan Hanscom:

Then I was like, “Oh, wait a second.” Yeah, once I figured that out, it got a little less horrifying, because I’m definitely not an A, and I was like, “Why are all these people so fast? Why are they only doing whatever?” And I was like, “And I’m dying,” then I was like, “Oh, wait a second, that’s-“

Jesse Shotland:

I think, yeah, As… It’s funny, there’s also the element of not being able to see everybody suffering, which they are. They’re suffering.

Joan Hanscom:

Right, nobody’s avatar is suffering, though.

Jesse Shotland:

Right, they just look steady and solid.

Joan Hanscom:

And you’re bleeding out your eyeballs-

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, totally.

Joan Hanscom:

… and you’re like, “Why is this so awful?”

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

I don’t know. One of the things that was super nice about Zwift, though, over this winter was, I got to race with my friends in Chicago.

Jesse Shotland:

Right, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

I lived in Chicago for a long time, and so I found myself signing up for a bunch of rides with them. Then a friend of mine actually works for Zwift.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, cool.

Joan Hanscom:

She was doing this Thursday night time trial series, and another one of my friends was also doing the Thursday night time trial series, so I was riding with my friend in Colorado Springs, who works for Zwift, but then riding with my friend who lives in Seattle. It was super fun.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, that’s cool.

Joan Hanscom:

It was weirdly social. For the team time trials, we all got our headphones on, and we’re all talking to each other-

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, cool. Oh, cool. I’ve never done that.

Joan Hanscom:

… like, “Pull through.”

Jesse Shotland:

That’s cool.

Joan Hanscom:

It was really weird. I was like, “Oh, my God. We’re telling each other to pull through, and wait up, and pedal harder.” It was like… I don’t know, because I live by myself and I have a cat, so it was really nice to have other people to race bikes with during the COVID.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, right. No, that’s cool. I’ve always been curious about having the headphones and the mics. Do the noises from Zwift, or the fan, or anything get in the way?

Joan Hanscom:

Not that I noticed.

Jesse Shotland:

Okay, cool.

Joan Hanscom:

At all. I have cheap headphones. I have those Beats, whatever, headphones. I don’t think it was picking up any feedback from anybody else’s stuff.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, great. Cool.

Joan Hanscom:

You could definitely occasionally hear the (heavy breathing).

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, I’m sure.

Joan Hanscom:

That part you did get, occasionally. There was people from the team who were like, “Can you put on mute? You’re breathing a little heavy.” Yeah, but otherwise, it was good. It was really fun to do that whole ride with your friends, or old teammates, kind of thing. Or race with your old teammates.

Jesse Shotland:

No, that’s cool.

Joan Hanscom:

I did one with one of my friends from Chicago, and we coordinated what we were going to wear-

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, fun.

Joan Hanscom:

… beforehand, so we knew-

Jesse Shotland:

Look like a team.

Joan Hanscom:

No, so that I could pick out which… she made her bike outrageously ugly and yellow.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh.

Joan Hanscom:

So I was like, “Okay, you’re on the yellow bike, so I’ll make sure…”

Jesse Shotland:

I see.

Joan Hanscom:

But that made it fun.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, that’s cool.

Joan Hanscom:

We glued each other to each other’s wheels and made sure we went out of the pen together. It was fun, but I never thought I would like that stuff, and then it turned out I was actually super happy to do it in the middle of winter here, during COVID times.

Jesse Shotland:

Totally.

Joan Hanscom:

Like, “Oh, this is actually not bad.”

Jesse Shotland:

Zwift definitely saved my butt during that one winter. I was pretty worried that I would get burned out in the middle of the winter, but because it’s so video game-esque, I was able to really have fun with it, and borderline get obsessive. When I first started doing some races, I was doing mostly Bs, and I wasn’t winning, but I wasn’t getting dropped.

Jesse Shotland:

Then at some point, I started winning. I was like, “All right, I guess I’ll do the As. I don’t know.” I hopped on an A race, and I think I finished fifth or sixth.

Joan Hanscom:

Dang.

Jesse Shotland:

Before I knew it, I was winning all of my A races.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, dang.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, somewhere on my Zwift power, if you go back to-

Joan Hanscom:

Now I’m going to go look.

Jesse Shotland:

I think it was 2019. It’s Gold, Gold, Gold, Silver, Gold, Gold, Gold. Yeah, I became obsessive. Then I realized, there’s a world ranking system.

Joan Hanscom:

Yes.

Jesse Shotland:

I saw that I was in the top 100 for a little bit.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, wow.

Jesse Shotland:

Then I had one race that I didn’t even realize what the race was, or who was in it, until afterwards, but it had a bunch of people in the top 20, and some in the top 10, and I won it.

Joan Hanscom:

Dang.

Jesse Shotland:

Which was like, “What the hell?”

Joan Hanscom:

Have you beat-

Jesse Shotland:

Why can’t I do this on the track?

Joan Hanscom:

Have you beat Kevin Bouchard-Hall yet?

Jesse Shotland:

No, I don’t even know who that is.

Joan Hanscom:

Kevin Bouchard-Hall is Derek Bouchard-Hall’s brother. Derek was my boss at USA Cycling, and both Bouchard-Hall’s were professional bike racers at one point.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, cool.

Joan Hanscom:

But Kevin got real into Zwift, too.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, interesting.

Joan Hanscom:

If you followed him on Twitter, he was live streaming his Zwift races.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, he was doing that?

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, he was super into it.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, cool. Maybe I’ve gone against him, I don’t know.

Joan Hanscom:

Maybe. He’s all on that Velocio program.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

You should check out Kevin Bouchard-Hall, because-

Jesse Shotland:

I will, yeah. Oh, cool.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, he got super into the Zwift racing.

Jesse Shotland:

It’s funny how you can get super into that.

Joan Hanscom:

Dude was a legit bike racer to begin with. Yeah, interesting.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, cool.

Joan Hanscom:

Zwift racing, and then you started doing this thing that I did, chasing the Strava segments that everybody did.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, but for me, I was chasing specific segments.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, okay.

Jesse Shotland:

There was this guy who moved out of my hometown, his name is Scott, he was the manager of the bike shop.

Joan Hanscom:

So you went to take all Scott’s-

Jesse Shotland:

I went to take all of… but I only got seven or eight. I think I went after nine of them, before I burnt out, and I got seven or eight.

Joan Hanscom:

All right, nicely done.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, it felt really good. Felt really good.

Joan Hanscom:

I know Elle Smith was on the pod earlier, and she did the same thing. She got into a Strava QOM battle, a pitched QOM battle over the COVID times. I didn’t do that so much, is that I had picked out select ones that I really wanted, and then I was tied for one for the longest time. The longest time. We were tied, we were tied, we were tied, and I hadn’t even originally tried to get that QOM.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh.

Joan Hanscom:

It just happens to be the last hill on a ride I do very regularly-

Jesse Shotland:

I see.

Joan Hanscom:

… and so I always sprint that hill, just because it’s the last hill on the ride, and that’s how you finish a long endurance ride, you try to do a sprint at the end.

Jesse Shotland:

Punch it.

Joan Hanscom:

That was how I dumb luck happened onto that QOM.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, wow.

Joan Hanscom:

Then I got tied for it, and then I became obsessed with, “Well it’s stupid to be tied for it, so now I really want to get it.” It took me months, and months, and months, and months, and then one day I was like, “I’m going to Alaphilippe this thing,” because Julian Alaphilippe went over the top of, I don’t know, the Poggio in Milan-San Remo, or something, in the big ring, and it’s 53:11 going over the top of the Poggio, or the [crosstalk 00:38:44].

Jesse Shotland:

Ah, jeez.

Joan Hanscom:

One or the other. I was like, “I’m just going to Alaphilippe this thing,” and I went full big ring, and I was like, “Ah,” and I wasted myself, and I finally got it, and it was like, “Oh, okay.” Yeah, so I did that same thing.

Jesse Shotland:

There it is.

Joan Hanscom:

But it was just a dumb thing that I happened upon, doing randomly, so it was very focused QOMs for me.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, wow.

Joan Hanscom:

Like that one.

Jesse Shotland:

I’m always blown away when people accidentally get them. It’s like how do you-

Joan Hanscom:

Well I accidentally tied for it.

Jesse Shotland:

Right.

Joan Hanscom:

Then it tormented me. Like, “I don’t want to be tied.”

Jesse Shotland:

I got to just get it.

Joan Hanscom:

“That’s dumb, I just got to get it,” but then I couldn’t get it. Then I was like… Yeah, I don’t know.

Jesse Shotland:

How many seconds did you end up getting it by?

Joan Hanscom:

Five.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, that’s significant. Oh long was it?

Joan Hanscom:

We were tied at 49 seconds, so four. We were tied at 49 seconds, and I think now I have it at 45, I think.

Jesse Shotland:

That’s significant. That’s a marginal.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, but it was the difference of the big ring.

Jesse Shotland:

The big ring difference.

Joan Hanscom:

The big ring versus the small chain ring.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. Sometimes grinding is faster than spinning.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Every time I did it, like, “All right, this time I’m going to do it in the saddle. This time I’m going to do it all seated. This time I’m going to stand up.” I ultimately got it seated.

Jesse Shotland:

Huh.

Joan Hanscom:

Not standing.

Jesse Shotland:

In the big ring? Seated? Whoa. Fascinating.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, which was surprising, it was sort of an accident, but yeah.

Jesse Shotland:

Cool.

Joan Hanscom:

Good Alaphilippe.

Jesse Shotland:

Nice work.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, so that was funny, but yeah, the weird things in COVID. What else was weird for you in COVID, that we are emerging from? Any weird habits that stuck?

Jesse Shotland:

One of the bigger things, obviously, for any students, you can relate, switching to Zoom for classes, but I’m not going to pretend like it was all bad. It was really nice getting to go to class in bed, in my PJs. Or just turn my camera off and go eat food for 20 minutes, and then come back during the lecture, whatever. That was nice, there was definitely a big, fat silver lining, but I did miss socializing with my classmates, and talking about whatever the topics were.

Joan Hanscom:

The exchange of ideas is not the same on Zwift.

Jesse Shotland:

It’s really-

Joan Hanscom:

Brainstorming doesn’t really work.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. It’s really different. It just doesn’t work, and you talk over each other, and one person’s lagging.

Joan Hanscom:

Then somebody freezes.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, right.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that’s weird. Poor Maura here, it was her first year of working here, in COVID times, so she didn’t get that first year job experience of anything. We were doing the podcast wearing our masks.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It was definitely strange there for a while, for Maura’s first year in the office.

Jesse Shotland:

Funny times.

Joan Hanscom:

I think everybody has such a weird… I’m more productive working from home.

Jesse Shotland:

Are you?

Joan Hanscom:

I put my blinders on and I just-

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, you have tunnel-

Joan Hanscom:

Here, I’m like, “Oh, I can talk to everybody, and have snacks, and snack break,” which I don’t do at home. At home, I just…

Jesse Shotland:

Wow.

Joan Hanscom:

But here, I’m just like, “Maura, you got snacks?”

Jesse Shotland:

I feel like that’s all I do at home, is snack breaks.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, yeah. It’s different for me, and then the cat got happy that I was home. Maura’s dog hates people because he grew up in COVID. Maura’s got a dog, who’s-

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, wow.

Joan Hanscom:

… the cutest dog ever, but he doesn’t like people, because he only knows the people from COVID times.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow. Have you thought about-

Joan Hanscom:

But he’s super cute, right?

Maura:

Yeah, he’s pretty good. His name is George. He’s a Miniature Australian Shepherd. He was in the office yesterday, and he was Joan’s best friend, yesterday.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, cute. For the first time? Wow.

Maura:

Yeah, because we now have Andrew here, and Andrew is new, so Andrew was the new target, as opposed to Joan.

Joan Hanscom:

And Wendy.

Maura:

And Wendy. Wendy’s scared him. She walked up yesterday.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, so COVID was good for the pets, for sure. We need to get Maura her own microphone, because I always want Maura to join in the conversation, and then yes. Sorry, Janet. We’re apologizing right now to Janet, who is our fabulous podcast editor-

Jesse Shotland:

Ah, I was wondering.

Joan Hanscom:

… who’s going to hate the squeaking sound of the microphone arm swinging around.

Jesse Shotland:

For all the listeners, the arm is huge. It looks like a big eight-foot sweep.

Joan Hanscom:

But this is how we include Maura in the pod right now, so we’ll have to order a third microphone. Yes, Janet, if you’re listening, which you will be, because I know you’re editing this pod later-

Maura:

Sorry.

Joan Hanscom:

… we were thinking about you, and we’re sorry. But we love you. All right, what else? Where are you staying for nationals this week?

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, I’m staying at… Do you know the Carter family?

Joan Hanscom:

I do.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, Grant Carter, I’m staying with them.

Joan Hanscom:

Nice.

Jesse Shotland:

They are the most gracious, generous hosts. They hosted me for all of 2019.

Joan Hanscom:

Whoa.

Jesse Shotland:

Except for one week, or a week and a half, when they were overbooked with people that they were hosting.

Joan Hanscom:

I was going to say, you landed in a good place.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, totally. Totally. They’re the sweetest, and after that year-

Joan Hanscom:

Big week for Grant, coming up.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, seriously. He’s gotten so fast.

Joan Hanscom:

He’s very fast.

Jesse Shotland:

It’s incredible, and he’s a smart racer, and when you’re fast and smart, you’re unstoppable, and I’m excited to see what he does.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. No, I think he’s going to have a good week.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

He’s been looking good… he hasn’t raced a huge schedule here yet this summer.

Jesse Shotland:

He’s been doing mostly road.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, he’s been doing a lot of road, but the times he’s been here, he’s looked real good. Tuesday? I can’t remember, time is a false concept.

Jesse Shotland:

He said he’s being doing mostly Tuesdays.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, he’s looked good. He should have a good outing this week.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, right on.

Jesse Shotland:

Grant. Yeah, they’ve hosted me in the past, they’re very sweet, I’m very grateful to them. They feel like family, now, at this point.

Joan Hanscom:

Will you be coming back for UCI?

Jesse Shotland:

Probably not, honestly.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, boo.

Jesse Shotland:

Mostly because of fitness.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Jesse Shotland:

Now, my FTP is low, because I’ve been doing the kilo training.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Jesse Shotland:

Probably next year. I’ll be back once or twice, probably, this year. Definitely for the last Friday.

Joan Hanscom:

Okay, good.

Jesse Shotland:

And with my girlfriend.

Joan Hanscom:

Right on.

Jesse Shotland:

She got time off.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, I get to meet her.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, you get to meet her.

Joan Hanscom:

Okay, that’s nice.

Jesse Shotland:

I told her about the fireworks, that was the selling point.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s fireworks night, it is a good show.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Pray for nice, dry weather.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, seriously.

Joan Hanscom:

I’m looking outside right now. Looking a little grim out there. Cool, back for fireworks night, bringing the girlfriend.

Jesse Shotland:

Back for fireworks, yep.

Joan Hanscom:

Going camping in the interim.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Summer sounds nice.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, it’s been really enjoyable, this year. Last year was less enjoyable.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, less. Are you in school now, or does that start back up in September?

Jesse Shotland:

It starts September 1st, so I’ll have that Friday, and then it’s pretty much back to school.

Joan Hanscom:

Dang.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

How much longer do you have to go?

Jesse Shotland:

Great question. I’m rubbing my eyes, stressed, just thinking about it. I did two years at the community college, but not all of my credits were accepted.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, boo.

Jesse Shotland:

I’ll probably have three years at UMass., and then I’ll probably end up doing a graduate program. We’ll see.

Joan Hanscom:

As one does.

Jesse Shotland:

As one does. Originally, I was thinking about doing a PhD in philosophy, so that I could teach, but Michael, the philosopher, kilo guy, who I mentioned before, he actually reached out to me and said that the job market is really intense. He basically gave up on being a philosophy teacher, so he just offered a fair warning.

Joan Hanscom:

Interesting.

Jesse Shotland:

Now I’m not sure. I’ve always wanted to write. That was my… that’s what I really wanted to do, and then teaching would be the bill payer, but I don’t know. At this point, I don’t know.

Joan Hanscom:

Don’t write about where numbers come from. Whatever you do, don’t do that.

Jesse Shotland:

Okay.

Joan Hanscom:

Interesting, as that all progresses, are you going to keep racing bikes?

Jesse Shotland:

Definitely. Definitely, and I want to keep making the videos. I don’t know how serious my bike racing will be. It really feels like a pastime of mine, that I’m now just in it for fun, but I want to be able to be competitive in the pro field here, I do miss that.

Joan Hanscom:

Do you race on the other things? Road, mountain bike, gravel? Downhill, BMX?

Jesse Shotland:

Definitely not BMX, definitely not mountain bikes. I’m really bad at mountain bikes. I’m bad at anything where the ground is not predictable.

Joan Hanscom:

Gotcha.

Jesse Shotland:

I tried cycle cross once, like six years ago, and I got spooked and depressed.

Joan Hanscom:

Awe.

Jesse Shotland:

I guess, in retrospect, I could’ve tried harder, or given it more of an effort, but what it came down to for me, was just that I immediately enjoyed track racing, and I did not enjoy cycle cross.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. As a person who made her livelihood in cycle cross, for many long time, I did not enjoy cycle cross either, as a bike racer, because you’re cold, and wet, and muddy all the time. That’s no fun.

Jesse Shotland:

That’s the thing is, I hear so many cycle cross racers raving about that part of it.

Joan Hanscom:

Being cold, wet, and muddy? Yeah, no.

Jesse Shotland:

They say, “I love the misery.”

Joan Hanscom:

I want to be hot, and dry. Yeah. Hot and wearing just a jersey and bibs.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

I don’t want to have to wear a lot of neoprene in order to do my thing. I want to be wearing just a jersey, no arm warmers, no leg warmers, none of that. No embro required. I want it to be 95 degrees or above.

Jesse Shotland:

I’m with you. Although, that’s hot though, wow.

Joan Hanscom:

See, I like the hot.

Jesse Shotland:

I like the heat, but that’s a little too much for me.

Joan Hanscom:

I like the heat.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow.

Joan Hanscom:

When it’s hot, and I know everybody else hates it, I’m super happy. All those people who are like, “Oh, I love racing in the rain, because I know everybody else hates it.” Yeah, I’m that person with the heat.

Jesse Shotland:

That’s you with the heat.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s me. It’s like the only time I do well. I will do well in a 95 degree, plus, race. Unfortunately, we don’t have very many of those.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow. They do happen.

Joan Hanscom:

They do, but not very often, yeah.

Jesse Shotland:

I wonder if they have any races in Death Valley that you could do.

Joan Hanscom:

There’s a Death Valley Double Century.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, Double Century?

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that’s insane, isn’t it?

Jesse Shotland:

That sounds brutal.

Joan Hanscom:

No, I used to go down to Belize, and do this race in Belize, the Belize Cross Country, which they haven’t had for the last couple of years, because of the COVID times. But that race is awesome, because it’s essentially flat, and 95 degrees, and 95% humidity, and it’s like, “Yeah.”

Jesse Shotland:

Wow, right up your alley.

Joan Hanscom:

Right up my alley.

Jesse Shotland:

Ah, cool.

Joan Hanscom:

Flat, headwind, and hot, which is all good things for me.

Jesse Shotland:

Headwind and flat? Interesting.

Joan Hanscom:

And long, like 75 miles of into a headwind.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow.

Joan Hanscom:

But hot, and nice.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, hot. That’s so funny that you like that kind of heat.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow.

Joan Hanscom:

I think that’s because I grew up in New Hampshire, where you don’t get it, and you’re cold all the time.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, interesting, so you crave it.

Joan Hanscom:

And you’re just like, “God, the cold sucks.” Yeah, that’s why.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, so how do you do in cold races?

Joan Hanscom:

Terrible.

Jesse Shotland:

Terrible?

Joan Hanscom:

Terrible, terrible, terrible.

Jesse Shotland:

I’m the same way.

Joan Hanscom:

Terrible, which is why cycle cross was not for me. I’m like, “It’s cold. Why y’all doing this?” When I lived in Chicago, when I’d race cross there, I would, “October 10th, I’m out.” Early season races, when it’s hot, perfect.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow.

Joan Hanscom:

They would laugh at me, because I’d always wear my thermal skin suit, and they’d be like, “Aren’t you hot?” I’d be like, “Dude, it’s like 50 degrees out. No, I’m not hot.”

Jesse Shotland:

I’m freezing. Funny.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that’s funny. I’m with you on the cycle cross thing.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, anything with dirt, I always struggled with. Then, I do some road, but I just don’t enjoy it as much as I enjoy track.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s cool, you found your thing.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. It really feels like I found my thing. It’s funny, over COVID, I spent a lot of time thinking about racing and track racing. This one night, it really dawned on me how crazy it is, track racing. Racing a bike, so close with other people that you don’t have control over, you don’t have brakes, and you’re going 30 miles an hour. Then I started doubting, “Do I really want to keep doing this? I can’t believe I was doing this.” Then when I got back into racing, I was like, “Oh yeah, I don’t know what I was talking about. This is the best.”

Joan Hanscom:

Oh yeah, what was I thinking about? Yeah. That’s funny. It is funny when you contemplate bike racing.

Jesse Shotland:

Totally.

Joan Hanscom:

Even on the road. I did my first crit, after all of this, back in March. It was a practice crit, but it was me and 80 dudes.

Jesse Shotland:

Your first crit?

Joan Hanscom:

Well, not my first, my first one back.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, I see. Okay.

Joan Hanscom:

First one since it all-

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, went down.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. I was a nervous wreck. I was an absolute… like, “I don’t know. I haven’t done a crit since 2019,” and I had had all this surgery on my arteries, so I didn’t know if my legs were going to be good, plus I was like, “I don’t think I can keep up with 80 dudes.”

Jesse Shotland:

Was it the crit across the street?

Joan Hanscom:

No, it’s the one down in Great Valley, and I was wracked with doubt. Like, “I shouldn’t do this, it’s going to be scary, and it’s going to be dangerous.” I’m like, “It’s going to be-“

Jesse Shotland:

It’s crippling.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, and I cried on the way down, and then I was trying to text my coach, who was very patient with me, because I’m texting him, trying to get him to tell me I didn’t have to go. He was not giving me that answer that I was desperately seeking, as I texted him.

Jesse Shotland:

Sounds like a good coach.

Joan Hanscom:

He was like, “Yeah, no. You really should do it.” I was like, “Dammit!” But yeah, I had that same, “Why do we do this? It’s dangerous, and fast, and open roads, and cars.” I was in this spiral of crazy thinking. Then I did it and I was like, “Oh, that was quick and fun.” I was like, “Oh, now I remember.” Same thing, right?

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, sounds like my experience. Totally.

Joan Hanscom:

You come back and you’re like, “Oh, that was actually quite quick and fun.” We’re going to convince Maura to race bikes.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, I was talking about track racing with her earlier.

Joan Hanscom:

No, no, no. She’s going to race on the road. I’m turning her into a roadie.

Jesse Shotland:

Cool. That’ll be-

Joan Hanscom:

We need more roadies.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Maura likes brakes.

Jesse Shotland:

Brakes are nice. Brakes are nice.

Joan Hanscom:

Brakes and gears, they’re nice things, which is a blasphemy on a talking track podcast, but there is something to be said for brakes.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, brakes are nice.

Joan Hanscom:

Not on the track. I can’t imagine… can you imagine the chaos that would create? Holy hell.

Jesse Shotland:

It wouldn’t be safe.

Joan Hanscom:

Nope. No, no, no. It would be absolute mayhem.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. Whenever I tell people about what I do and track racing, of course I have to mention the bikes don’t have brakes, and they look at me like I’m from another planet. It’s like, “What do you mean? How do you stop?”

Joan Hanscom:

With my legs.

Jesse Shotland:

I’m like, “Believe me, it’s safer without the brakes. Trust me.”

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Do you know Ghee Nelson?

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, we’re not super… we don’t know each other that well, but if I saw him, I’d say hey.

Joan Hanscom:

You weren’t here for the night that they did the high wheel bike race?

Jesse Shotland:

No, but I saw it on YouTube.

Joan Hanscom:

Okay, did you see our TikTok of the high wheel bike race?

Jesse Shotland:

No, I did not.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s brilliant.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, I’ll have to check it out.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, you’ll have to check it out, because talk about the ultimate fix gear.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, seriously. It is the ultimate fix gear.

Joan Hanscom:

It is the ultimate fix gear, and the pedals are attached to the wheel.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. The wheel size is your gear, I guess.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it’s bonkers.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

If you could see how fast their little legs are tweedling over, when they’re coming in from turn four on the final sprint-

Jesse Shotland:

It’s wild.

Joan Hanscom:

… it’s bananas.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that’s the ultimate fix gear bike. He’s doing the hour record attempt on that bike.

Jesse Shotland:

That’s right. Oh, and I heard a rumor that you were doing the hour record, too?

Joan Hanscom:

Well-

Jesse Shotland:

Maybe?

Joan Hanscom:

There have been efforts to try to persuade me. Nobody has set the hour record for the women on the track here.

Jesse Shotland:

Right, so you were going to set it.

Joan Hanscom:

I said I would do it, just because I don’t have to beat anything.

Jesse Shotland:

Right.

Joan Hanscom:

I could go out on a tricycle and set the hour record, and just roll around on the black line for an hour. But yes, I’ve contemplated it.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah. What’s holding you back? If anything.

Joan Hanscom:

Work.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, fair enough.

Joan Hanscom:

Putting on three national championships, followed by six days of UCI racing, and then doing another national championship, just those things. Yeah, no, but I’ve thought about it, because it would be fun.

Jesse Shotland:

Totally.

Joan Hanscom:

It’d be miserable fun, but it would be fun, and then somebody could come and just smash it, who actually rides the track, and trained for an hour record, could come and do it, but I could at least-

Jesse Shotland:

I wonder if anyone would, because I feel like if they would, then they would have-

Joan Hanscom:

Would’ve done it already?

Jesse Shotland:

… already.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, sometimes I think people don’t want to do records until there’s one to break.

Jesse Shotland:

Right. I would love to set a record somewhere. I feel like all the records that I could set, have been set.

Joan Hanscom:

I think it would be fun to do it. I think it would be totally fun to do the hour record. I’m a big fan of Bradley Wiggins.

Jesse Shotland:

Sure.

Joan Hanscom:

Bradley Wiggins, he was rock and roll, and when he did the hour record, I thought it was absolutely fascinating. People have broken it since, or Victor Campenaerts has broken it since, but watching Wiggins do it… and I was there when Evelyn Stevens did it, too, and I find it to be-

Jesse Shotland:

You were there?

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I was in the Velodrome-

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, cool.

Joan Hanscom:

… in Colorado Springs when they did it. It’s absolutely fascinating to watch. People are like, “You watched it? Wasn’t it like watching paint dry?” I thought it was actually completely hypnotic and fascinating.

Jesse Shotland:

I’m with you. I’m so into that stuff.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, good. Okay, so I’m not the only one, because-

Jesse Shotland:

And everyone thinks I’m crazy.

Joan Hanscom:

I remember watching Wiggins do it, and was glued to the TV-

Jesse Shotland:

Totally.

Joan Hanscom:

… for an absolute hour, staring at him. I think he literally did not move, a twitch, move his head, move a muscle until 54 minutes into it.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

He dropped his head to look down for a second, and you were like, “Dang, that’s the first time he’s moved in 54 minutes.”

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It might not have been quite that long, but it was insane.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, it’s impressive.

Joan Hanscom:

To watch that is super impressive. When we watched Evelyn do it, in Colorado Springs, you could tell she was emptying every ounce of everything she had. The last few laps where she was going for it, hitting the sponges, because you just have nothing left. If I were to do it, I wouldn’t have to do that, because I would-

Jesse Shotland:

You wouldn’t. You could enjoy it.

Joan Hanscom:

I could enjoy it, because-

Jesse Shotland:

You could have fun, a dandy ole time.

Joan Hanscom:

… I wouldn’t have a marker to beat. I would have to ride the track for an hour, and then somebody else could come and have to do the super, super hard thing. Yes, I’ve contemplated it, just for fun.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

But Ghee on the high wheel bike is interesting, because it’s not a UCI record. It’s a Guinness Book of World Records type record

Jesse Shotland:

Interesting.

Joan Hanscom:

There’s a whole format that you have to do it team style.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, that’s right. That’s right.

Joan Hanscom:

I think they’re working on their strategy for how you do it team style.

Jesse Shotland:

Fascinating.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, and there’s a great documentary on GCN about the guys in the UK who went for the hour record.

Jesse Shotland:

I remember seeing that.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, super good.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Highly recommend.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, I’ll have to re-watch that.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Then we’ll have a finer appreciation for what Ghee and his crew are doing.

Jesse Shotland:

Do you know what the hour record is, for those bikes?

Joan Hanscom:

I don’t remember. Brian Boger from Doylestown Bike Works would have it front and center of his brain, but I do not recall.

Jesse Shotland:

I wonder.

Joan Hanscom:

What was weird was, when Brian was on the pod talking about it, they went fast back in the day.

Jesse Shotland:

Really?

Joan Hanscom:

Until this recent attempt, that record had lasted 100 years, or something.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, because the bikes back in the day, were weirdly fast. We were talking about the difference in weight. I figured, “Oh, well the bikes today must be so much lighter and faster,” and he’s like, “Yeah, actually-“

Jesse Shotland:

Aren’t they the same?

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, kind of.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It was sort of impressive.

Jesse Shotland:

I guess they’re still made of steel. Does anyone make carbon arrow tubing-

Joan Hanscom:

Penny-farthings?

Jesse Shotland:

Penny-farthings. Not yet.

Joan Hanscom:

Just more the process, too, of what they’re going through to get the parts, is sort of nuts. One of the guys-

Jesse Shotland:

Where do you get the wheels?

Joan Hanscom:

They made them, but they had to get the spokes from a guy who spent half the year-

Maura:

[crosstalk 00:59:24].

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Jesse Shotland:

No kidding?

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, and half the year, he goes above the Arctic Circle, so you can only get them when he’s in Norway, below the… and then they got-

Maura:

Rubber-

Joan Hanscom:

The rubber for the tires.

Jesse Shotland:

How does the tire work, do you know? I’ve always been curious.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s a piece of rubber stretched around the rim.

Jesse Shotland:

You don’t pump it up?

Joan Hanscom:

No.

Maura:

It’s a solid piece of rubber.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow. Do you glue it?

Joan Hanscom:

No.

Maura:

It suctions in there.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it’s crazy.

Jesse Shotland:

That’s wild.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s super crazy.

Jesse Shotland:

For the rear, too?

Joan Hanscom:

I don’t think we talked about the rear. We only talked about the front ones.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, I love how the rear is so small.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Jesse Shotland:

I feel like everyone focuses on how big the front wheel is, but the rear is also as funny, because it’s so small.

Joan Hanscom:

You’ve got to look at that. Pull up the TikTok, show Jesse the TikTok, because it’s amazing.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, please.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s amazing. The rear is so small, and they go so fast. They go fast on those things.

Jesse Shotland:

I’ve always wondered if someone who is 7’5″, with really long legs, would be able to go faster, because they could fit a bigger wheel.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, but because of where the pedals are on the-

Maura:

The wheel would have to be huge.

Joan Hanscom:

The wheel would have to be crazy.

Jesse Shotland:

You’re right.

Joan Hanscom:

You got to… now take a look.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, here it is.

Joan Hanscom:

I really hope the music picks up.

Jesse Shotland:

This is great. That’s great.

Joan Hanscom:

All right everybody, we have a TikTok, go find it-

Jesse Shotland:

I love it.

Joan Hanscom:

… and you, too, can see the high wheel bike. It’s brilliant. But right when the two of them come through at the end-

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, it’s great. It’s like a cartoon.

Joan Hanscom:

Put a person that’s seven foot tall on that bike, and imagine what their long legs would look like.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, I wonder.

Joan Hanscom:

Imagine Reggie Miller, who’s such an avid cyclist-

Jesse Shotland:

That’s right.

Joan Hanscom:

… but who’s all leg. Put Reggie Miller on a high wheel bike, and imagine what that would look like.

Jesse Shotland:

We should.

Joan Hanscom:

It would have to be a super big wheel.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

I don’t think they make them that big.

Jesse Shotland:

You’ll have to hit up the Norway guy.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, right. Dear guy in Norway, can you extend the spokes?

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, we need five foot long spokes.

Joan Hanscom:

Yikes. No, they’re longer than that anyway. Those wheels are huge.

Jesse Shotland:

This wild.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. There you go. We keep talking about penny-farthings on this podcast. It’s really ridiculous. We got an email from a woman who-

Maura:

Australia?

Joan Hanscom:

She’s from Australia, who heard the pod talking about the high wheel bike hour record-

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, cool.

Joan Hanscom:

… and she wants to come to T-Town and try to set it for the women next year.

Jesse Shotland:

Oh, cool. Does she have one?

Joan Hanscom:

Yes.

Jesse Shotland:

Sweet.

Joan Hanscom:

She was trying to figure out how to fly with her penny-farthing.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, how do you fly with that?

Joan Hanscom:

Right. We think, “Oh yeah, I got my bike bag.” How do you do that? What kind of bike bag do you put a penny-farthing in?

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, jeez.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, because flying with bikes is not easy.

Jesse Shotland:

Wow, I’ve never thought anybody that, flying with bikes.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, see, this is more for the philosophers’ brain to contemplate.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, right.

Joan Hanscom:

How does one fly with a penny-farthing?

Jesse Shotland:

Funny.

Joan Hanscom:

We’re going to leave you tormented. You’re going to think about why is the number two a number two, and how do you fly with a penny-farthing?

Jesse Shotland:

I’ll write books about those concepts.

Joan Hanscom:

There you go. Well, Jesse, we have to go back to getting ready for making national championships happen.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, that’s right.

Joan Hanscom:

You have to be ready to race national championships.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

At this point, we’ll say thank you for joining us on the podcast.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, thanks so much for having me, guys.

Joan Hanscom:

We would happily have you back anytime, because you are lovely to chat with, and we look forward to seeing more videos.

Jesse Shotland:

Yeah, thanks. I look forward to making them.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, we’re looking forward to it. This has been the Talk of the T-Town podcast, with our guest, Jesse Shotland. You can check out the show notes on our website, thevelodrome.com, and if you like what you’re hearing, please like, follow, subscribe, share with all your friends, so we can have more listeners, and do more fun pods. That’s all for now.

Joan Hanscom:

Thank you for listening, this has been the Talk of the T-Town podcast. I’m your host, Joan Hanscom. Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. Head over to our website at thevelodrome.com where you can check out the show notes and subscribe, so you’ll never miss an episode.

 

 

Posted on

John Croom: Showman Extraordinare

John Croome

Episode 33

“If you want to be racing, then be here, period.”

How does John Croom sum up this episode? “Exclamation point, a couple emojis, and yeah, maybe a Venmo dollar sign sound”. Tune into this week’s episode as Joan and John talk Tour de France, gravel racing, style, and favorite things to do in the Springs.

John Croome
John Croome

Instagram: @johccroom @contravans

Facebook: @johncroomcyclist

Twitter:@johnbikes11

Website: https://johncroomcycling.com


Thanks to B Braun Medical Inc. for sponsoring the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. BBraun is a global leader in infusion therapy and pain management, B Braun develops, manufactures and markets innovative medical products to the healthcare community. They are also strong believers in supporting the quality of life in the communities where their employees work and live.

Transcript

 

Joan Hanscom:

Welcome to the Talk of the T-Town Podcast, where we discuss all things track cycling. Broadcasting from the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, I’m your host and executive director, Joan Hanscom, along with my cohost, athletic director Andy Lakatosh. Welcome to the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. My guest this week is John Croom. John Croom, American bike racer, road racer, gravel racer, track racer, joining us here in T-Town for the summer, from Colorado Springs, I believe, is your most recent destination of home.

John Croome:

Yep, yep. That’s where I live right now. That’s where the wife and the two dogs are. And yeah, I’m not going to lie, I do like T-Town, but I’m excited to eventually go back to Colorado Springs.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, right on. So, you are a fellow podcaster, so I love it when fellow podcasters are on the podcast, because it’s kind of fun to take you out of the driver’s seat and put you in the passenger’s seat.

John Croome:

Yeah, it’s always a fun thing to do with … I always wanted to be on a podcast, so I was like, “Oh, well, I’ll just start my own podcast to be on a podcast.” And then in turn, I then started getting invited to other people’s podcasts. But yeah, I love just jumping on and just chatting.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s the most fun part, right-

John Croome:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… when it’s just chat. All right, but here, I listen to almost exclusively British podcasts. I don’t know why. I just do. It worked out that way. So they always call them pods, so I call them pods, just because the British call them pods. What do you call it?

John Croome:

I’d probably just call it a podcast, I think. I don’t know. I think I have called them pods, as well. I listen to The High Performance Podcast-

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, I love that one.

John Croome:

… which is a British podcast.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s one of my favorites.

John Croome:

Yeah, so that’s one of my favorites, as well. I got into that over quarantine. But yeah, probably just podcasts, yeah, I think. We always just got to be extra here in America, I think, so we just-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, got to include the cast.

John Croome:

… Yeah, just the cast.

Joan Hanscom:

Because I am a big fan of the Geraint Thomas, Luke Rowe, Watts Occurring? Podcast. And they always refer to it, “Welcome to the pod.” And so, I’ve adopted my pod from Geraint, which you know, poor Geraint. Let’s divert into the Tour de France. That poor guy. Have you been following? It’s super sad.

John Croome:

Yeah, so I’m the kind of guy, when it comes to the Tour, at least, I value all grand tours. I value all bike racing, really. But I’m not the kind of guy that gets upset or pissed when somebody on Facebook just decides to post who won that day. That doesn’t bother me.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, no.

John Croome:

It’s not going to change the outcome. It’s not a movie. It’s not like that’s the ending. Because at this point, it’s on every news outlet. And I mean, just like anything in this sport, everything’s subscription-based now, so you have to have 10 different subscriptions to just watch one bike race. And if you don’t have a VPN, you have to have NBC Sports. So what I do is actually I do have all those subscriptions, but at this point, I have a routine, and I’m a big man of routine. And that is I wake up in the morning, I watch the day’s previous stage highlights.

Joan Hanscom:

Interesting.

John Croome:

I already know what happened, but I actually like the middle, like the people that are fighting in the breakaways and the people that are fighting for King of the Mountains in the sprint stuff, that, to me, is really interesting. I like that part of the tour. And then everything past that … And the crashes, like seeing where [Primož 00:03:50] has gone. And some of that stuff, to me, is really comical because people are just like, “Oh, yeah, Primož is hurting.” But by stage two, he was wrapped up like a mummy.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, he looked awful.

John Croome:

So, what do you expect?

Joan Hanscom:

Well, I love that this year, right, because this year … And I love watching bike racing. Since I got my GCN race TV app, whenever it was back when they first launched it, the best $29 I’ve ever spent in my life, I have literally not watched anything else on TV since I got the GCN app. It’s all I watch, which is making me rather one-dimensional. But this year, with the Tour, they’re showing it from the neutral start. So never before were we able to watch that fight for the first breakaway and how long-

John Croome:

But see, can you watch it on GCN?

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, well because I have a VPN, so don’t listen, GCN.

John Croome:

Yeah, and that’s the thing. And they’re going to do that with the Olympics, too. So honestly, and I can say it, I don’t care, get a VPN, first off, because I think for the Olympics-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, the coverage is really good.

John Croome:

… especially with track cycling, they really fluff the coverage, and you’ll see like 10 laps of the points race, and that’s about it, and so to me-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I watch on GCN, but I also have Peacock at home, so that’s how you do the streaming on American TV. But you don’t have to watch the NBC sports coverage then, if you have Peacock. You can watch the Simon Gerrans coverage so you don’t have to listen to the American broadcast. You can listen to the other broadcast, which is super cool. But I love watching it from the start. So what I’ve been doing is either watching it sort of on my phone while I’m working, but not really watching it, just sort of listening. But then when I get home at night, I watch it, because like you, I like to see all of it, like the interesting parts of the bike race where the bike race happens, before, “Hey, look, there’s five guys up the road.” I want to see how that happened that they got there.

John Croome:

Well, I’ve never been a huge fan of NBC sports, but I will say this, they did nail the highlights on YouTube. It’s like 47 minutes long.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, that’s pretty rad. That’s a good highlights package.

John Croome:

Yeah, it’s like watching an episode of This Is Us. It’s perfect.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, right on.

John Croome:

And you’re ready to go.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, so this is the fun new thing that we do. So yes, I, too, have all the … I don’t have FloBikes.

John Croome:

See, I have all of it.

Joan Hanscom:

I don’t have Flo, but I-

John Croome:

I have Flo, GCN. There’s one more.

Joan Hanscom:

And GCN’s showing women’s racing like bananas, too, which makes them incredibly desirable.

John Croome:

It’s about time somebody does that, so yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, so that’s kind of awesome that they have it, because that’s a thing for me. I like watching women’s racing. So yeah, all right, well, now we’ve discussed watching the Tour, I still, going back to the original point, I feel really bad for Geraint Thomas. That sucks.

John Croome:

Yeah, I feel … Well-

Joan Hanscom:

It makes me super sad that he busted his shoulder the first day.

John Croome:

Yeah. I mean, I feel bad for a lot of them. Tony Martin was out yesterday. There’s just-

Joan Hanscom:

Sagan’s out today.

John Croome:

Yeah, I think-

Joan Hanscom:

It’s a tough sport.

John Croome:

Well, and I was thinking about that. It’s like with track racing, it’s so controllable. As long as you’re fit and it’s not long, there’s no real elements. Well, here in T-Town, there can be elements, depending on how we want to do weather delays, but-

Joan Hanscom:

And wind.

John Croome:

Yeah. Well, the wind is wind. I mean, that’s an outdoor track, right?

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

John Croome:

But I’ve been out here where our race was supposed to start at 7:00 and we ended up starting at 10:30 for a points race because of rain, and they have to get it in then.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

John Croome:

So when it comes down to it, though, there’s so many more elements. There’s so many road obstructions and people. You can be the fittest in the world and your day is ended just because somebody decided to hold up a sign, which is kind of what happened, in some ways, or just somebody’s cross-eyed and they make a dumb move and crash out half the field. And that can happen here, but I think there’s not a lot of respect for what goes into winning a grand tour on that front. It’s one thing to be fit, it’s another thing to be lucky, and then-

Joan Hanscom:

You’ve got to be both, right?

John Croome:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

You’ve got to be super fit, you’ve got to be super lucky, and you’ve got to have a super fit and super lucky team, too, right?

John Croome:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s not-

John Croome:

And so, there’s a lot of elements that go into it. And so-

Joan Hanscom:

And those dudes have been racing in super cold weather, too.

John Croome:

Yeah, in crazy conditions. And I think, especially a guy like Geraint Thomas, it’s like you know he’s fit. You know he’s probably running well right now. But he separated his shoulder on day two.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, right. And that’ll jam you up every time.

John Croome:

Yeah, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Every time. Meanwhile, Cavendish, love it.

John Croome:

Yeah. And that’s the other thing, too, right? You get caught up in some of these sad crashes, but then there’s a lot of glory stories. You have, what was it, Ben O’Connor, I think is his name?

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that was amazing. His stage win was so cool.

John Croome:

Yeah, first time at the Tour, and then you win in the mountains. That’s a big deal. Or Wout Van Aert yesterday, and-

Joan Hanscom:

Right? Okay, side bar, because I used to work in cyclocross, right, that was my thing. And I remember little [Wouty 00:09:10] Wout when he was a junior, getting his teeth kicked in by Mathieu van der Poel. I ran the World Championships in Louisville, right?

John Croome:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joan Hanscom:

So, they were little. And now, to see him come second to Cavendish in a sprint one day and then win Mont Ventoux the next, that’s bonkers.

John Croome:

Yeah, it’s insane.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s bonkers, but it’s great TV.

John Croome:

Well, it’s great for the sport of cycling. I think even with track cycling, I do think there’s a lot of specialty coming. And so, for somebody like that to break up the specialty side of things is really cool.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, I think him and van der Poel both, it’s not formulaic racing anymore, right? It’s almost like throwback old-timey racing, where it’s like, “I’m just going to race on instinct.” And it makes it more fun to watch, for sure. It’s not controlled. It’s like, “Oh crap, van der Poel just attacked with 80K to go. What? Nobody does that. How did he do that?” So it’s become much more entertaining. In some regards, it’s become more like women’s racing, which is hyper-aggressive because the races are shorter. There’s that younger breed of racer now is injecting a whole lot of aggression into the racing, that’s been missing for a few years, so it’s super fun to watch, I think.

John Croome:

Yeah. No, sure.

Joan Hanscom:

As a nerdy fan of the sport, it’s super fun to watch. But yeah, I guess we’ve spent a fair bit of time on the Tour de France now.

John Croome:

Yes, sorry. And that’s another thing, I can talk on a topic all day.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, me, too. But so, you’re here.

John Croome:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And you’re racing in T-Town. And going back to the whole show of making it entertaining, you’ve been putting on a show here so far, thus far.

John Croome:

Oh, thanks.

Joan Hanscom:

I know you’re rapidly becoming fan favorite this year-

John Croome:

That’s cool.

Joan Hanscom:

… because you’ve got the big, “Whoa,” going on when you win, and cleaning up in the primes and putting on a good show. Some biker racers think that’s part of the job, and others don’t. What do you think?

John Croome:

Oh, it’s 100% part of the job. There’s no questions asked. I think-

Joan Hanscom:

Are you listening, juniors?

John Croome:

I think with me, when I got started working with … or even when I came out here, one thing that I used to get really excited about was seeing the Maloja Pushbikers or the sprinters. They put on this big show of … they would even bump bars, or they would just … It was a very classy way to race, and then at the end of it, you take pride in that win and take pride in that victory. And yeah, it’s an envious feeling. And so, when you’re crossing the line on a Friday night with all these people who are excited that you won, and then you’re not even a glimpse excited, then why are they even there? And then-

Joan Hanscom:

I think that’s the amazing thing about our audience, though, here too, right? The audience here, I think, in my experience, really appreciates the bike racing, right?

John Croome:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joan Hanscom:

And it doesn’t matter if it’s the junior girls racing against the junior girls-

John Croome:

For sure.

Joan Hanscom:

… or if it’s guys racing at your level, if it’s a good race, the fans here appreciate a good race, and it doesn’t matter … They just appreciate the racing. So I sort of love that about the fans here, is that if you put on a good race, it doesn’t matter what level of a racer you are. It matters that you put on a good race. And then define good racing as a good show, but also a close race, a well-contested race, a hardly contested race. And I love that about here, that the fans here appreciate what you do. And they’re not afraid to let you know it. So it’s cool that you repay that.

John Croome:

And that’s the thing. It’s taking advantage of capitalizing on your win, in the sense of the kids who want high-fives at the rails, the people that have now learned your name because they hear it over the intercom, and now they’ve picked, that’s their favorite rider that they want to cheer on. And so when their rider does win, bask in the glory with them. And I think that’s what makes track so intimate, is that you do one or two laps before you come off after a win like that. And I mean, everybody else is making it a big deal around you, and then you win, and you just get off the track, it’s kind of like, “What?”

Joan Hanscom:

Well, the other nice thing is you get to see the same people week after week here, right?

John Croome:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

If you race crits, all right, you race a crit in this town one week and then you race a crit in another town the next week, the spectators, if there are any, don’t get to see you over and over again. But in track racing, you get to forge that relationship with the fans here. And it’s like live in-person because they see you every Friday night.

John Croome:

For sure.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s super cool.

John Croome:

And that might be the reason why people don’t post up or make a bigger deal about it in the moment, because they’re thinking to themselves, “Oh, it’s just the same old, same old people,” whereas in crits, people are posting up, people are making a big … I mean, the biggest-

Joan Hanscom:

In front of nobody, thought, right?

John Croome:

Yeah, in front of nobody, and people they don’t even know. And I mean, they’re wanting to post up so bad that they’re posting up early. I did that the first night I came here. I didn’t post up early. I thought I won, but I didn’t win. I lost by two points.

Joan Hanscom:

You almost Alaphilipped it.

John Croome:

It’s okay. I took it on the chin. I think every good bike racer’s done it once, at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, all right. Well, you’re in good company, right?

John Croome:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It was [Ed Zabbel 00:15:07] and Alaphilippe, so you’re in good company.

John Croome:

Yeah. So, it was a bit heartbreaking, but I’ve made up for it, I think, since then.

Joan Hanscom:

I think so. I think so. So, you were a football player before you were a bike racer?

John Croome:

Yeah, I was 300 pounds. I was actually talking to my wife on the way over here because she’s talked me into doing a marathon. And my roommate-

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, right on. Which one?

John Croome:

I don’t know. I just know it’s 26 miles. Is that what a marathon is, 26 [crosstalk 00:15:32]

Joan Hanscom:

26.2. The last .2, they matter.

John Croome:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So that, too.

Joan Hanscom:

Trust the one who’s run them. That last .2 is a bitch.

John Croome:

So yeah, and that’s the thing. I’ve been told that I’m doing a marathon.

Joan Hanscom:

Sweet.

John Croome:

But my roommate, who’s going to the Olympics, Adrian Hegyvary, was like, “Hey, I’m going to do a marathon.”

John Croome:

And I was giving him a hard time. I was like, “Dude, you won’t do it. You won’t complete it.”

John Croome:

And then everybody’s on his side, like, “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. He’ll complete it.” And so, I’m trying to get some hype up, but everybody’s like, “No. No, John, you’re not going to be able to do it.” So I mean, that’s kind of how-

Joan Hanscom:

Sure you can.

John Croome:

Yeah, that’s what I think. But that’s how I got into cycling. I used to work at a bike shop, and I was just like a little messenger guy. I didn’t even really messenge, but I was just a part of-

Joan Hanscom:

“Messenge,” I like that word.

John Croome:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sorry. I was-

Joan Hanscom:

No, that’s a good word, “Messenge.”

John Croome:

But I wasn’t a messenger or anything. I just was a part of that fixed-gear crew.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, yeah. Right.

John Croome:

And yeah, somebody was like, “Man, you’re too big to ride a bike,” which they weren’t wrong. I was 300 pounds, and I was a football player. And yeah, one thing led to another, and two years later, I actually found myself here for my first year in T-Town.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, right on.

John Croome:

And that is a story in its own self. It was hectic trying to get here, because that’s when they had the big national teams, and it was right before … The guy that was running the track previously, it was really difficult to get in here. And I was scavenging, I guess, more or less. But there’s a lot that you have to do to earn your route into the sport, and it was difficult. And to me, I want to change that.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Well, so do we.

John Croome:

I want to be a part of that change in the sport of cycling. In some way, I do think you have to work hard for it and I do think you have to fight for it, but I don’t think it has to be awkwardly difficult.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, I mean, the sport is hard, right?

John Croome:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

As discussed, the sport is hard, and it’ll break your heart 10 different ways. Pete Taylor and I were talking about this on Saturday, the sport just kicks you in the teeth over and over again, right?

John Croome:

For sure.

Joan Hanscom:

So, it’s hard to begin with, but that doesn’t mean that the people should make it hard, right?

John Croome:

For sure.

Joan Hanscom:

I think that if we want to grow the sport, if we want to see the sport continue to exist, you have to make being in it easier, because the doing it is so hard. Like you can’t go race a crit if you only ride your bike once a week. I mean, you can. You absolutely can. But if you’re not training for it, it’s not a fun experience when you’re racing your bike, right? And so I think that if we’re a more welcoming community, if we’re a more open community, if we’re less judgy, less elitist, more encouraging, more people will do the thing. And I think that’s what we all want, right? We all want to see our sport grow. We all want to see more people doing it. And so, that’s one of the big things here that we’ve done is this Women’s Wednesday has morphed into 50/50 in 50 because we understand, or I understand because I am a female in the sport, that it hasn’t always been the most welcoming place or the most welcoming discipline; of all the disciplines, it’s been sort of a harder one for women to get into, so we want to break that down. We want it to be more welcoming for the male athletes as well, obviously, but it’s definitely not a welcoming sport; some places more so than other, but yeah-

John Croome:

Well, I don’t necessarily think that me as a-

Joan Hanscom:

I mean, you even said about the body size, right?

John Croome:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Like, “Oh, you’re too big to” … No.

John Croome:

Too big to race? Well, and that’s the thing, it’s like I don’t even think it was mainly … One, I didn’t look the part. Two, nobody knew who I was. Three, I was probably a big goofy on a bike, from the get-go. And so you get here, nobody knows who you are. And it’s not the way it’s ran anymore. I mean, I think what’s going on over here is really great. It’s smooth. You sign up on BikeReg for your sessions. You can do your sessions. But there was sessions that I would go to … I remember one of the first sessions I ever went to was a motor-paced session. The guy’s not here anymore. But it was a motor-paced session and I was on the track. A guy rode up to me and he said, “Hey, man.” And you had to be a certain category at that time, and I think it was like one to three. He said, “What category are you?”

John Croome:

I was like, “Oh, I’m cat one.”

John Croome:

He said, “Well, not today. Get off the track.”

Joan Hanscom:

Wow.

John Croome:

And that was my first experience here.

Joan Hanscom:

Holy moly.

John Croome:

But it didn’t completely beat me down, it was just one of those things where it’s like, “Okay, this is going to be tough. You’ve got to fight for what you want.” And a lot of conversations with a lot of people, they turn into, “Well, back in my day,” or, “This is what I had to do to get” … It’s like that comment, “I used to have to walk to school in the snow with no shoes on.”

Joan Hanscom:

Right, backwards, uphill. Yeah.

John Croome:

And it’s like, “Well, that’s great, but why should I have to?”

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

John Croome:

Let’s try to change that so somebody else isn’t getting kicked off the track. And hey, maybe I was doing something wrong, and that’s why I got asked to get off the track, but to this day, I’ll never know what I did wrong, because nobody ever corrected it.

Joan Hanscom:

Right, right. Well, that’s it, right? Instead of just being a dick and kicking you off, how about we say, “Hey, what you just did was X, Y, Z. Can you do X, Y, Z instead?” There are ways to do that instead of just being an asshole.

John Croome:

100%, but that was … Yeah, when-

Joan Hanscom:

And not everybody will do what you did, right? Not everybody will have the philosophy you had. Somebody will be told, “I’m a cat one,” “Well, not today. Get off the track.” And they won’t come back, and-

John Croome:

For sure, or never come. They hear these stories-

Joan Hanscom:

Right, or-

John Croome:

I mean, I think it will break after this year, but I think there’s still a stigma in the sense of … and this is with any track, there’s a community and a thing, and it’s a bubble. And you can’t just get in.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

John Croome:

I mean, Atlanta is another great example. I mean, they’re a very welcoming community, but when I first started going there, I mean, I got relegated for all kinds of things. And yeah, in the beginning, it totally made sense. And then at other times, it was like, “All right, this is getting a bit ridiculous. Is this just not because I’m from here, or what’s going on?” And now I treat that track like it’s my hometown track.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

John Croome:

And that’s where I start to dive into the gravel side of things. And what my whole program is now is essentially, personally, I started as an overweight athlete. I still don’t look the part. And I don’t think I’m oppressed. I don’t think I’m limited. I think I’ve had amazing opportunities. But I do think other people, yeah, you’re right. They don’t handle that conversation well, and then they’re done with cycling, where they could be the next Olympian, is kind of my thought process.

Joan Hanscom:

Right, or they could just be the next person who really digs it, right?

John Croome:

For sure.

Joan Hanscom:

I mean, not to beat the dead horse, but I’m not from here either, and I’ve certainly felt the same thing. You don’t penetrate the community here easily. I know I certainly haven’t. It’s been a struggle for me to find inroads. And certainly, there have been people that have been more welcoming than others. But I’ve been racing for 20 years, and I’ve never had an occasion necessarily where I’ve wanted to quit before. And I’m pretty thick-skinned about that stuff, and I’m also ridiculously stubborn, so I’ve always just kept my head down and kept plowing.

John Croome:

Well, that makes a good bike racer, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, yeah. Well, it is, as my coach would say, my best and worst attribute, is that I just put my head down and work. But it’s also not a great attribute at times. But yeah, it’s definitely tough. It’s tough cracking the code. And I’d love to make that … I come from racing in Chicago, where they’re amazing, right?

John Croome:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

You can just rock up to a race, not know anybody, and the next thing you know, you’re invited to sleep at their house: “Oh, you’re here for Super Week. Would you like to stay at my house instead of the hotel?”

Joan Hanscom:

“Okay.”

Joan Hanscom:

“Well, would you like to line up with us tomorrow? You’re not racing with anybody. You can race with us.”

Joan Hanscom:

“Okay,” you know?

John Croome:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s a completely different experience, and it’s like I’d love to import that into every bike racing community in the U.S., a little bit of the Chicago magic, because the people there are amazing-

John Croome:

For sure.

Joan Hanscom:

… which is super cool.

John Croome:

No, that’s awesome. Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And you were starting to talk about gravel, and I think there’s a lot … or there was, at least. I don’t know. I haven’t done gravel since I got here. But there was a lot of that before, too. It’s just a lot of stoke, and, “Hey, have a beer. Let’s sit down and have snacks together.”

John Croome:

Yeah. And I think where I come into gravel, yeah, I mean, I’m not going to lie, I’m following a trend. So, it kind of all backs up to I had this opportunity when I was told that I’m probably not a good track cycling or I couldn’t do this, per se. That was in 2014, and then one thing led to another. I lost a lot of weight. And I get a phone call from the national team coach at the time, or an email. And it was like, “Hey, we’re trying to put together a team pursuit team” … or it was in 2016. “We’re trying to put together a team pursuit team. Your first camp is January 1. If you want to come, here’s what you have to pay for it, here’s what you have to do. Do you want to come?”

John Croome:

And I just said, “Yeah, sure.” And so, I came, I did well. I got invited to the next one. And then the next one was a smaller group. It got harder. I got invited to the next one. And one thing led to another, where I was always kind of like man six or seven, not even man five, so it was hard to fit into some of the world cup rosters until the end. And then, I started to find my place and my realm. And at that point, I was riding with Roadhouse. And I had the opportunity to ride with Roadhouse because one of the guys on the team, he wanted to bring all the national team guys to the team and create almost this super team that was chasing the Olympics.

John Croome:

And I mean, how cool would that have been to field a whole Roadhouse team in the Olympics, Madison, omnium and team pursuit? And it slowly started to crumble, nothing to do with the team, more or less just with the athletes trying to figure everything out and figure out who fits in where. And not everybody rode for Roadhouse. But, well, I had the opportunity to go to Pan Ams in 2019, and that’s where I was starting to ride really well. And yeah, I pretty much got a phone call that was like, “Hey, the sponsors are going in a different direction, and we just don’t know if we have space for you anymore on the team.” And there was no hard feelings. There was no-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that’s kind of the game [crosstalk 00:27:03]

John Croome:

Yeah, yeah. It’s a part of what it is. And I think he, Curtis … Curtis is a great guy, and super supportive.

Joan Hanscom:

And going to be here next week.

John Croome:

That’s awesome, yeah. And super supportive. And he helped me through a lot, a lot of stuff, through those, what, three years or whatever that I was on the team. But it was just like, “Hey, we’re running thin. You’re in Colorado. We’re in Kentucky. We can’t do it.”

John Croome:

And I said, “Okay.” And then it all hit me, and there was this … I was still trying to qualify for the Olympics. We were still trying to qualify. But I was trying to think, “Where do I go? Where does this look like for me?” And that’s where gravel had to come into the picture, because I was pitching this idea to all these sponsors. And long story short, these sponsors were just like, “Yeah, we don’t want an athlete that’s trying to go to the Olympics. We want an athlete that’s trying to do these gravel races.”

John Croome:

And so, I pitched this whole van life idea, and long story short, all the sponsors were onboard, and we went, and then the pandemic hit. And so, yeah, and that’s where it’s ended me up. But I was able to do my first gravel races. And the community at those gravel races is unreal. Everybody shows up, everybody does their best effort, has a beer, and then moves on. And so, it’s really cool.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it is fun. I’m doing Vermont Overland in August, the day after we close the season here, which is like, “Oh, sure. I’ll just get in the car and drive to Vermont. Why not?” Doing Overland, and then doing PA unPAved this year, which I’m excited about, because I think … Yeah, I can’t remember. I did what was then Dirty Kanza in 2017, and a bunch of others, but I haven’t done any gravel since then. And so I’m like, “Oh” [crosstalk 00:29:00]

John Croome:

Did you do the 200?

Joan Hanscom:

No, the 100. I went with a friend of mine who I give a shout-out every time, my friend Kelly Clark. She did the 200 on a single-speed.

John Croome:

That’s savage.

Joan Hanscom:

She’s savage. It was so baller of her, but I was like, “Nope, I’m happy with the 100. I’m sitting at the finish line, drinking beers with Rebecca Rusch, and you go out there on your single-speed”-

John Croome:

Do your thing.

Joan Hanscom:

… “and you get crazy, because I’ll cheer for you all the way in, but no way, man.”

John Croome:

Yeah, I had the opportunity to choose between the two, and I just stuck with the 100.

Joan Hanscom:

The 100’s a very nice different, very easy day.

John Croome:

It’s good enough for me, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, a good day, the 100. Yeah, the 200, I’m just like, “I like bikes, but I don’t like the dark.”

John Croome:

Yeah, it’s rough.

Joan Hanscom:

Riding in the dark’s not my jam, but it was fun. [crosstalk 00:29:48]

John Croome:

Yeah, yeah. No, it’s a lot of fun. I mean, the 100, especially, you can treat it like a bike race, you can treat it like a gran fondo. So it’s like it’s really nice, where I think if you’re stuck in the 200, it’s a race no matter how you treat it, just because you just got to get home.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, race against the sun, race against the clock. Yeah. No, that was not for me, but it was fun, though, and I had such a good vibe at that event. So I’m looking forward to doing some more, and I’m super stoked on unPAved, because they’ve got sort of a COVID-adapted format now, where you get to start any time between X and Y, so you don’t have to be at a mass start. You could roll out. And I’m like, “Yeah, this race is in October, and I don’t want to be out riding my bike at 6:00 AM in the cold.”

John Croome:

Yeah. No, for sure.

Joan Hanscom:

“I want to wait for it to warm up a little bit.” So I’m super stoked on their new format, so that should be a good time. And then Vermont Overland, I’m just so excited for the maple creemee at the end, like, “Will ride for ice cream.”

John Croome:

Yeah. No, that sounds rad.

Joan Hanscom:

“And if I’m lucky, a Heady Topper or two.”

John Croome:

Yeah [crosstalk 00:30:47]

Joan Hanscom:

So, yeah, I’m looking forward to that. Speaking of that, so you do your van chats, right?

John Croome:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s Coffee-

John Croome:

Coffee and Van Chats , yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Coffee and Van Chats. What kind of coffee?

John Croome:

It depends on the day for me. If I’m at home, I have an espresso machine. Here, I’m stuck to an AeroPress. But I’m about to go pick up Tristan Manderfeld, which is another American who’s going to be here for the U.S. UCI stuff. And he’s bringing a french press, because the wife comes into town next week.

Joan Hanscom:

Nice.

John Croome:

And so, trying to do an AeroPress between three people … Do you know what that is?

Joan Hanscom:

I do, because I have an AeroPress at home.

John Croome:

Yeah, okay. Yeah, that’s like a cyclist’s … It’s a staple in coffee, right?

Joan Hanscom:

So, I ask because all through COVID, I was like … Well, first, I started COVID and I have a subscription to La Colombe, which is my favorite brand of coffee. And I was doing the french press, but then I discovered that I was home with my french press and I was drinking way too much coffee. So I switched from the french press to the AeroPress, because the single serving cut back on the intense caffeine consumption. And then I brought my espresso maker home from the office because it used to be in my office. And then I brought it home, because I’m like, “Oh, COVID, not in the office.” And then I started making cortados like a crazy person. And then I was like, “Well, damn it, now I’m drinking way too many cortados,” so I’ve gone back to the french press and I’m making cold brew. So I was curious about your coffee consumption.

John Croome:

Yeah, so-

Joan Hanscom:

Are you just a pure black coffee, like pure-

John Croome:

100%, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, the cortado hole, I was just down the rabbit hole of deliciousness.

John Croome:

I’m a little bit of a routine guy still, too. So I’m the kind of guy that has the same coffee, has the same … I wake up at the same time, I eat the same breakfast.

Joan Hanscom:

Me, too.

John Croome:

And so, I have two AeroPress every morning, and it’s 18 grams of coffee per AeroPress.

Joan Hanscom:

So, funny sidebar. Work with a sports nutritionist, right?

John Croome:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And so, because I was trying to get fit for a race. And working with a sports nutritionist. And he’s like, “Well, tell me what you eat.”

Joan Hanscom:

And I was like, “Well, for breakfast, I have two eggs and toast.”

Joan Hanscom:

And he’s like, “For lunch?”

Joan Hanscom:

And I’m like, “Salmon salad.”

Joan Hanscom:

“For dinner?”

Joan Hanscom:

“Watermelon.”

Joan Hanscom:

“Okay, what do you have the next day?”

Joan Hanscom:

“Two eggs and toast, salmon salad, watermelon.”

Joan Hanscom:

And he’s like, “And the next day?”

Joan Hanscom:

“Two eggs and toast.” So I’m the same way.

Joan Hanscom:

And he’s like, “Yeah, you can’t do that anymore.”

John Croome:

Yeah, yeah. That’s-

Joan Hanscom:

He was like, “Yeah, no. You can’t do that anymore.” I-

John Croome:

Yeah, and I mean, I change it based on my training. But my breakfast pretty much stays the same. It’s pretty much the same every morning, just because it’s super easy, just a big bowl of oats and tons of fruit and yogurt, and maybe a little bit of peanut butter and some raw honey.

Joan Hanscom:

Peanut butter.

John Croome:

And that’s it.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, peanut butter is another terrible development of COVID for me.

John Croome:

I know, I was about to say, I might get shunned for not using almond butter, but it’s like-

Joan Hanscom:

I eat so much peanut butter, it’s insane. During COVID, I started just eating it out of the jar. It was like, “[inaudible 00:34:07].”

John Croome:

That’s a bit savage, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it was a little Homer Simpson of me, right? I was just like, “Peanut Butter.” Yeah, it was bad. But what can you do? Sometimes, you need a spoonful of peanut butter.

John Croome:

To each his own. You only live once.

Joan Hanscom:

There you go. If that’s as crazy as you got, that’s probably not that bad. All right, so we’ve talked on coffee. What about beer? Because you said on your thing, sometimes it’s podcast and beer.

John Croome:

It is podcast and beer sometimes. It hasn’t been much podcast and beer for me recently, but if I had to choose a beer … There’s two things. I’m a beer, and I do like whisky.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, me too, because I lived in Kentucky.

John Croome:

We have a local distillery in Colorado Springs.

Joan Hanscom:

291?

John Croome:

I like 291, but we have Axe and Oak, as well.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, yeah. Yeah.

John Croome:

So, Axe and Oak. I love a good old fashioned from Axe and Oak, but I also like … There used to be this brewery that would only make IPAs. And they don’t do it anymore, and I’m not 100% sure on that. They just told me when I was buying it over quarantine, “Yeah, this brewery only does IPAs. They specialize in that.”

Joan Hanscom:

What brewery was that?

John Croome:

Outer Range Brewery.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, I don’t know them.

John Croome:

And I think they do other things besides IPAs now, but they make the best IPA I’ve ever had, hands down.

Joan Hanscom:

Okay, hands down.

John Croome:

Period. I’d put it against anything.

Joan Hanscom:

Exclamation point.

John Croome:

Exclamation point, a couple emojis, and yeah, maybe a Venmo dollar sign sound. I don’t know.

Joan Hanscom:

Have you had 3 Floyds Brewing?

John Croome:

What’s that?

Joan Hanscom:

3 Floyds Brewing?

John Croome:

No. [crosstalk 00:35:44] Is it here?

Joan Hanscom:

Well, no. It’s in Indiana, technically, but you can buy it here. Our sponsor, Shangy’s: The Beer Authority, carries both their Gumballhead and Zombie Dust.

John Croome:

I’ll try it.

Joan Hanscom:

And go try Zombie Dust or Gumballhead.

John Croome:

Zombie Dust sounds like something I’d be into.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s amazing, so highly recommend Zombie Dust, Shangy’s: The Beer Authority. I think even Whole Foods carries it, too.

John Croome:

Sweet.

Joan Hanscom:

So strongly, strongly recommend, if you’re an IPA guy.

John Croome:

I’m being a complete weirdo right now and I’m not drinking much right now, but.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, then save it for a special day. Tuck it away in the van.

John Croome:

Hopefully after nationals will be a special day.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, there you go. I like that. That’s next week. That’s not a long wait. Okay, so now we know what kind of beer you like. We know what kind of coffee you drink. How’s the van?

John Croome:

The van is great, though, yeah, that came at the weirdest of times. But after I broke my collar bone, I didn’t have health insurance, and no money. And we decided to buy a van.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, sure. Why not?

John Croome:

Yeah, why not? You’re already broke. So we bought a van and started messaging companies and trying to work with companies on getting it outfitted. And we got it outfitted by Contravans. And it has a double bed, like twin beds. Me and the wife can sleep in their with the talk, and I have a fridge in there, a shower.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, shower’s good.

John Croome:

Yeah. And then a cabinet for all my foods and pans and stuff. And then, I’m trying to think what else I’ve got in there. I have solar panels.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, that’s nice.

John Croome:

A full-on battery system that I can run lights and stuff in there.

Joan Hanscom:

Cool.

John Croome:

And so, it’s insulated, so we’ve slept at like negative five degrees, and it’s been warm.

Joan Hanscom:

Dang. Dang, dang. All right, so van life doesn’t sound so bad.

John Croome:

No.

Joan Hanscom:

No.

John Croome:

Yeah, I did that for a week at Unbound, so I slept in the van in a parking lot.

Joan Hanscom:

Nice.

John Croome:

And it was hot, but yeah, it was fun.

Joan Hanscom:

Right on. Where are you going from here, after T-Town?

John Croome:

I haven’t decided yet. And so, I know I’m going to Leadville and doing Steamboat Gravel, so on August 7th, I’ll race-

Joan Hanscom:

Are you doing LeadBoat, or just-

John Croome:

I am doing LeadBoat.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, nice.

John Croome:

And so, I’ll do the last UCI race here, and then I’ll leave that Monday. And I haven’t decided if I’m going to fly or drive the van back, and here’s why: because I’ll do Leadville, and that’s that next weekend. And then on that Monday, I either come back here and race out the rest of your calendar.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, please do, because I think Madison Cup would be fun.

John Croome:

Yeah, well, I can still come to Madison Cup. So, here’s how I’m playing this out, because Madison Cup’s, what, the 28th?

Joan Hanscom:

The 27th.

John Croome:

The 27th.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

John Croome:

But in Indianapolis, there’s a $1,000 scratch race, winner takes all.

Joan Hanscom:

Right on.

John Croome:

And that’s on my birthday, the 22nd. And so, I’m trying to figure out housing and moneys and stuff like that. And so, it’s-

Joan Hanscom:

[inaudible 00:38:58] the [Homm 00:38:59] sisters to up their game.

John Croome:

Yeah. And so, hopefully, I can … My original plan was I would fly out on the 8th, out of Allentown, do Leadville Steamboat, fly back here, so leave all my stuff here.

Joan Hanscom:

That works.

John Croome:

And then just drive home on the 28th after Madison Cup.

Joan Hanscom:

I like that plan.

John Croome:

I knew you would like that plan.

Joan Hanscom:

I’m a-

John Croome:

You’re a little biased, but.

Joan Hanscom:

Some, but I’m pro that plan, so let’s go with that. Let’s work with that.

John Croome:

Yeah. And so as of right now, that’s what I’m doing.

Joan Hanscom:

All right.

John Croome:

I haven’t booked any flights or decided if I’m going to drive or what I’m going to do yet. But as of right now, the plan is to do that, and then from there, there’s a world cup in Cali, Colombia, so I’ll see if I can toss my hat in there. It’s going to be really difficult, just with COVID restrictions. And it depends on how nationals goes, even if I have a fighting argument of, “Hey, I’m good enough to go.”

Joan Hanscom:

Right, right.

John Croome:

But if I can’t do that, then I’ll probably just train for the month of September, and then there’s a lot of racing in October with gravel racing, and there’s some track racing in Atlanta.

Joan Hanscom:

Nice.

John Croome:

Yeah, there’s world. Track worlds is a whole nother thing I could technically apply to. So yeah, I honestly don’t know. It’s been a weird, weird time.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, the future can end at August for now.

John Croome:

Yeah. Honestly, I would like to thank T-Town for at least having a schedule that I can go, “Yes, I can go to that. I can do it. Boom, done.”

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Well, there you go. We try.

John Croome:

Whereas everything else is like, “Maybe I can get there.”

Joan Hanscom:

Yay. Yeah. Well, that’s cool. We’re glad you’re here. We’re glad you’re putting on a show for everybody.

John Croome:

Yeah, it’s fun.

Joan Hanscom:

All right, so fashion-

John Croome:

Fashion.

Joan Hanscom:

… because you seem to comment on fashion. Define fashion. Define style.

John Croome:

Well, I think this needs to be known, and this is not videoed.

Joan Hanscom:

Right, no.

John Croome:

But Joan has a sense of style, Moira has a sense of style. The whole track has this style vibe, and I think it’s pretty legit. I’m sitting here with Adidas flip-flops on and Adidas pants and a Monster Hydro shirt, and I just kind of look like a goofball. But you ladies, you’re legit. You’re legit. But it was super hot that one night, and you were in a full-on track suit, and it was like you weren’t breaking for the heat.

Joan Hanscom:

No, man.

John Croome:

You were not breaking for the heat. And I was like, “That is like a black jumpsuit and some super, super white shoes. That’s a fit. She had that planned and she looked at the weather and she goes, ‘Yeah, it’s 90% humidity. Yeah, it’s 90 degrees. I’m doing this.'” And you didn’t even look like you were hot. You-

Joan Hanscom:

I wasn’t hot. Well, that’s the thing that you should know about me, I’m always cold. So I do not suffer in the heat. I suffer in the cold. So you were not here for the Saturday of racing where all style points went out the window because I was like, “Moira, will you go to my car and get the sleeping bag out of the back?” Yes, so I suffer in the opposite direction. I was swathed in a down to 15-below sleeping bag that lives in my car since Colorado days, because I was so cold.

John Croome:

Yeah. So when it comes to fashion, honestly, I have no clue what I’m talking about.

Joan Hanscom:

All right. Then we don’t take your compliments anymore.

John Croome:

But here’s why I’m giving you compliments, is because you were not going to let your style suffer due to the weather that day.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, God. No.

John Croome:

It’s kind of like that person that goes out in the super, super nice shoes when it’s raining outside, and you’re like, “I can keep them clean.” And that’s when you know that person has style, because-

Joan Hanscom:

Those are very white shoes that you’re referring to. They’re very white.

John Croome:

Yeah. Yeah, they are very, very white. And so, that’s what … With me and my wife, if she even listens to this, she would laugh because I’ve tried to do that, where you buy a nice pair of just casual shoes, like Adidas or whatever, and they look new out of the box every time. And then I literally have them for three days and scuff them. And I’m just like, “Shit, well, there those go. I’m done. I can’t get that out.” Or last time, I dropped a smoothie on them.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, dear.

John Croome:

Yeah, that’s my life.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, some sort of berry smoothie, no doubt.

John Croome:

Yep, that’s my life.

Joan Hanscom:

So, now looking out the window here, it’s a bit overcast or cloudy. We don’t know what the weather holds for us this evening. Are you going to race the crit across the street tonight if it happens?

John Croome:

Absolutely not, but I will race-

Joan Hanscom:

“Absolutely not.” Okay, I love it.

John Croome:

I will race it eventually while I’m here. It’s just with nationals being so close-

Joan Hanscom:

I feel that.

John Croome:

… the controllables, and the one controllable I can control is staying upright if I don’t race.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, understood. I sort of had that same thing last Sunday. I can’t even remember. Time is a false construct for me at this point. There was a crit. And I rocked up to the crit with every intention of racing, and then I rode two laps of the course, and they controlled the one, two, three women with the four, five women. And there was a crosswind and some mud on the course. And I said, “No, because I can’t race direct with a broken collarbone.” So I just peaced out; right, control your controllables.

John Croome:

Yeah, and I think that’s the thing. It’s not-

Joan Hanscom:

You’re that way for being the athlete. We’re that way right now from the staff perspective, too, like you can’t get busted a week before.

John Croome:

Well, that’s my thing, and let me clarify this: I’m not racing the crit across the street because of … It’s not that I’m not racing it because I feel like everybody over there is sketchy and I’m going to hurt myself.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, yeah. No, no, no.

John Croome:

I’m route racing it because I add another element to where mistakes happen, accidents happen, and I just don’t want to be in an accident.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. No, no. Exactly.

John Croome:

Like Friday night, that could be the same thing, but am I racing? 100%.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. No, like I’ll go across the street and race tonight because it feels a little less dangerous to me than-

John Croome:

I’ve also never done it.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, it’s fun, by the way. [crosstalk 00:44:44] You’ll have fun. It’s a good time. No, tonight, I’ll go over and race, if it happens, if the rains don’t come. You measure where that line of [crosstalk 00:44:53]

John Croome:

Do they cancel it if it rains?

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Yeah, it doesn’t happen in the rain, because it’s slick.

John Croome:

It’s kind of slick, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s slick as snot over there if it’s wet. So yeah, no, we don’t run in the rain, which it’s too bad that this is even a question because it’s the first night back since COVID, because it didn’t happen all last summer, so we all want it to happen. But stay tuned for the next episode of the Talk of the T-Town, and find out if we raced. But yeah, it doesn’t go in the rain, so yeah, just curious, but-

John Croome:

Yeah, but it happens every Thursday, right, after this?

Joan Hanscom:

After this, hopefully, yeah. Yeah.

John Croome:

Sweet.

Joan Hanscom:

So it’ll be on the schedule, hopefully, through September-

John Croome:

Cool.

Joan Hanscom:

… so we get more of it in. All right, so going back to Colorado Springs, favorite things to do in the Springs?

John Croome:

Honestly, and it doesn’t have to do with bike riding?

Joan Hanscom:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Favorite things to do.

John Croome:

Yeah, probably just hanging out with my wife, whatever she wants to do.

Joan Hanscom:

What does she like to do?

John Croome:

It depends on the day, but it could be shopping at Ross or hiking a fourteener. So I’ve never hiked a fourteener-

Joan Hanscom:

Really?

John Croome:

… because I’ve gotten really lucky that every time that she wants to do that, I’m nowhere to be found. She did it today. She hiked one today. She was going to hike two today.

Joan Hanscom:

What did she hike today? Was she in Breckenridge, to do back-to-back?

John Croome:

Crap. It’s the one where it’s like it’s Torreys, and then there’s another one that’s only like a mile … if you did a mile more. She almost did two, but the clouds didn’t look good. And if you know anything about that area, if it looks like a rain cloud, it’s borderline storm chaser status hail, and craziness.

Joan Hanscom:

What’s the … Pike’s Peak, right?

John Croome:

Pike’s Peak, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

There’s two ways up, right?

John Croome:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

There’s the Barr Trail way up, and then there’s the other side.

John Croome:

I don’t know the other side, but yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So, I’ve done it on the other side, but I don’t remember what it’s called. It’s like Devil’s Playground or something at the top. And you know why it’s called that? Because it’s this giant boulder field where when there’s thunder and lightening at the top, the boulders get tossed around at the top.

John Croome:

Whoa.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it’s bonkers.

John Croome:

I didn’t know that.

Joan Hanscom:

So there’s that car race that goes up Pike’s Peak, right?

John Croome:

Yeah, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And I always thought … Oh, my doctor, when I lived in the Springs, my normal, regular doctor doctor, he was a big fan of car racing, so he would always be like the event medical for that car race. And he was telling me one day about the lightening strikes at the top of Pike’s Peak when it’s like-

John Croome:

I think they still race it, too, when it’s bad weather, which is nuts.

Joan Hanscom:

Holy hell. He said they were standing next to … I don’t remember the story exactly, but it involved the fire truck getting hit by lightening. Bonkers. And so, yes, don’t be on a fourteener in a storm because it’s bad news, and boulders get thrown around, like the Devil’s Playground, or something like that.

John Croome:

Yeah. No, I think that’s right. Yeah, so I have climbed Pike’s Peak, so I rode a bike up it.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that’s a mean bike ride.

John Croome:

That’s the only fourteener I guess I’ve done. But yeah, I think that’s what I’d like to do, just hang out with the dogs, hang out with the wife. I like to grill, and think I know what I’m doing, when I really don’t. But past that, yeah-

Joan Hanscom:

Well, that’s kind of the nice thing about the Springs, is you can just rock out your door and do something random.

John Croome:

I like skiing, too. That, I love to do, and that’s in Colorado, though, so that’s not Colorado Springs. But I really like to test out the food, ski, and just explore, period.

Joan Hanscom:

Right on.

John Croome:

Try new things.

Joan Hanscom:

Have you been to CityROCK to go climbing?

John Croome:

Yep.

Joan Hanscom:

I love that place. That was my favorite place.

John Croome:

Yeah, there’s CityROCK, and then there’s another one on 8th Street that I’m a huge fan of.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, the food there was super good, too.

John Croome:

I didn’t even know they had food.

Joan Hanscom:

At CityROCK?

John Croome:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, my God, yes.

John Croome:

It’s the one in downtown, right?

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, yeah. And there’s the place out front that you go through to go climbing, it has amazing food.

John Croome:

Oh, wow.

Joan Hanscom:

And good beers. But yeah, my favorite was the [Honnold 00:48:45] Bowl.

John Croome:

Oh, wow.

Joan Hanscom:

So yeah, good menu there.

John Croome:

Sweet, I’ll check that out.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, check it out, because it’s quite yummy. Cool.

John Croome:

But yeah, I like the Springs. I think it’s like a good mix of everything.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, it’s cool, you could like, “Oh, I don’t feel like riding today. I think I’ll just go do some rad hiking,” and it was kind of cool.

John Croome:

Yeah. Well, I’m from Rock Hill, originally, so Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

John Croome:

I think that’s how I got started. And it’s completely night and day from South Carolina.

Joan Hanscom:

I’d say that.

John Croome:

So that’s super nice.

Joan Hanscom:

The humidity level, alone.

John Croome:

The humidity, the weather; as shitty as this sounds, the people. I mean, the vibes are better in Colorado, in my opinion, but I’ll get some shit for that too, but I don’t care.

Joan Hanscom:

No, I like the Springs. The Springs was good. I liked it there. I mean, I had nice friends, too. That helps when you-

John Croome:

It makes a big difference, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

[crosstalk 00:49:32] a good little circle of friends, is cool. And yeah, okay, I like all these things. What else do you want to say about your time here in T-Town? What do you want people to know about your time here in T-Town?

John Croome:

I don’t know. I mean, if you’re not here, you should be here.

Joan Hanscom:

The state of the bike racing.

John Croome:

Well, that’s the thing. If you call yourself a track racer in American and you’re not here … and I might get some shit for this as well, but I don’t care, again, I think you should be here.

Joan Hanscom:

I agree. 100%.

John Croome:

And I think it all goes back to where we all started with being welcomed and whatever else. People get upset and talk about these opportunities that they don’t have or these things that they don’t have where it’s almost an email away or it’s an ask away, and within reason, right? We can all go, “Hey, can you give me X, Y, and Z,” and it’s like, “Somebody’s got to pay for that or somebody’s got to do that,” you know what I mean?

Joan Hanscom:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

John Croome:

And so, I totally understand that starts to become a little bit ridiculous. But if you want to be here and you want to be racing in America, instead of complaining about how there’s no bike racing, why don’t you come to the only place in the country right now that’s putting on bike racing?

Joan Hanscom:

One thing I think, a point you just made, too, is that there’s give and take here, right?

John Croome:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So, you’re coaching in our programs, which is awesome, right?

John Croome:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

You’ve worked in Madison Mondays. You’ve done the youth programming. There’s ways, if you’re willing to be part of the system and give a little bit, then it’s easier to get a little bit, right?

John Croome:

And I think-

Joan Hanscom:

I think that’s important for people to know.

John Croome:

For sure.

Joan Hanscom:

You play ball, we play ball, right?

John Croome:

Well, and that’s the other thing, it’s not like I’m here for free either, though.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

John Croome:

That needs to be known as well, too, because I think back in the day, I mean, especially with a lot of tracks … And this kind of goes all the way back to the subscription model, but I mean, there’s been tracks that have paid me to show up, like real good money. And there’ll be tracks that will still pay me to show up, real good money. And it’s just different. I mean, it happens. If you can make it work, you can make it work. But where’s the value, right? Here, I don’t care if I am getting paid to be here or not. The reason why I’m here is because there’s UCI races, there’s bike races. They’re fast bike races. I’m getting better. And they happen week after week after week after week after week, so there’s the value. So there’s my take.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

John Croome:

But now, what am I giving back into T-Town? And so yeah, I am working with the youth programs and with the Madison Mondays. Unfortunately, nobody has come out to the Madison Mondays. So everybody wants to race Madison, but nobody wants to learn how to do it right, so that’s always funny.

Joan Hanscom:

So everybody listening, go to the Madison Mondays, because we got it for you to go to.

John Croome:

And so, yeah, I think, yeah, that’s just my thing. It’s one thing I want people to know. It’s like if you want to be racing, then be here, period. I mean, it’s unfortunate in the way that it’s like this is the only place that has racing, but it has great racing. It’s some of the best bike racing that you’re going to get in the country, especially here after nationals.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it’s going to be good.

John Croome:

I mean, after nationals, it’s going to be good racing. I mean, you have well-respected countries and well-respected athletes coming to compete. And I think this is the opportunity for any American or anybody, really, to come and race.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Well, we’re glad you’re here.

John Croome:

Yeah, I’m glad to be here.

Joan Hanscom:

We’re glad you’re adding to the field. We’re glad you came on the pod today.

John Croome:

Yeah, I’m glad to be here and I’m glad to be on the pod. Thank you, guys, so much.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, you’re going to adopt that now, aren’t you?

John Croome:

Yeah, I’m going to adopt “the pod,” yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Now you’re going to start calling it “the pod.”

John Croome:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

But yeah, we’re super happy to have you. This has been our fun chat with John Croom, who’s here racing bikes this summer in T-Town. Come out and challenge him. Come out and see if you can beat him, because he’s been killing it, taking home a lot of prix money. And yeah, we’ll be cheering for you next week at nationals. Thanks for joining us.

John Croome:

Awesome. Look forward to it. Thanks for having me. Cheers.

Joan Hanscom:

This has been the Talk of the T-Town Podcast, with host Joan Hanscom and Andy Lakatosh. Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode, brought to you by B. Braun Medical Inc. Head on over to our website, thevelodrome.com, where you can check out the show notes and subscribe, so you’ll never miss an episode.

 

Posted on

Amber Joseph: A Bit of Everything.

Amber Joseph - Barbados National Cyclist

Episode 32

“I want to be an inspiration. That’s really what I want to do. I don’t care what happens to the end of this. I just want to inspire people.”

Have you ever had the pleasure of having a chat with Amber Joseph? Join Joan this week as she sits down with Amber Joseph of Barbados, as they discuss a little bit of everything. From riding in the pace car to summer racing schedules to being the newest member of Legion, Joan and Amber cover it all.

Amber Joseph - Barbados National Cyclist
Amber Joseph – Barbados National Cyclist

Instagram: @amby1999 @l39gion.la

Twitter: @ambyjoseph99 @l39ionla


Thanks to B Braun Medical Inc. for sponsoring the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. BBraun is a global leader in infusion therapy and pain management, B Braun develops, manufactures and markets innovative medical products to the healthcare community. They are also strong believers in supporting the quality of life in the communities where their employees work and live.

Transcript

 

Joan Hanscom:

Welcome to the Talk of the T-town Podcast where we discuss all things track cycling. Broadcasting from the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, I’m your host and Executive Director, Joan Hanscom along with my co-host, Athletic Director, Andy Lakatosh. Welcome to the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. I’m your host, Joan Hanscom, Executive Director here at the velodrome. And today our guest is Amber Joseph. Amber came to T-Town for the first time in 2018, race the 2019 season. We obviously didn’t get to see her last year in COVID and this year she’s back.

Joan Hanscom:

And we’re very excited to have her on the pod. For those of you who don’t yet know Amber, you will. But Amber, let’s see, Amber was born in Barbados. Her mother relocated them to the UK, but had spent the last two years in Aigle at the UCI Cycling Center, but primarily based in the UK, but based in T-Town for the summer. Amber is also this year racing on the road, a bit of a split program between track and road with Legion. And Amber and I got to race bikes together yesterday and I got to witness the power of the Legion Jersey in-person. So we’ll talk a little bit about that as well. But first, Amber, just welcome to the podcast.

Amber Joseph:

Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, thanks for getting up and getting in here early after a big race day yesterday. So yesterday, you had a great race?

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, I did.

Joan Hanscom:

You went flying by me at one point-

Amber Joseph:

I was like, come on, Joan. Come with me.

Joan Hanscom:

… like you were on a rocket ship, which was amazing to see. Finish on the podium.

Amber Joseph:

Yes.

Joan Hanscom:

Second-

Amber Joseph:

Yes.

Joan Hanscom:

… play strong, second place, which was awesome.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

But then you got to spend the rest of the afternoon not eating fried fattening food with me and the rest of the crew, but in the pace car taking photos. Talk to us about that.

Amber Joseph:

That was probably the highlight of my day. I mean, it was pretty cool getting second winning the bunch sprint. But I have to say going around that course in a BMW M3 was the best thing I’ve probably done in a very long time. The adrenaline I had was probably more in the car than it was on my bike and the race.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s amazing.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it was a great race though. So we were at the Historic Riverton Crit, which is a tremendous local event, really a local regional event, puts on a great show in a cute little town. Great audience vibe.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, I mean, it was amazing. Everyone was just so friendly and so inviting and happy. And it was like they were so happy to have a bike race after probably… 2020, they couldn’t.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

And this year, it was a good turnout and there was loads of people and they were just so, so happy to be there. And I just felt great being there.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, you’re going to Intelli Cup with Legion.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, I think so. That’s on the calendar.

Joan Hanscom:

And so I lived in Chicago for many years and I race Intelli Cup and Intelli Cup is 10 days in a row of Riverton.

Amber Joseph:

Oh, wow. That’s amazing.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s exactly like that with bunting on people’s porches and lawn party, just all the stoke like that coming from the community for you day after day after day.

Amber Joseph:

Oh, that’s amazing.

Joan Hanscom:

So I’m so jealous of you getting to go.

Amber Joseph:

Come with me.

Joan Hanscom:

We have the little thing happening here called Elite Track Nationals in July that keeps me-

Amber Joseph:

Oh yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

That’s small. [crosstalk 00:03:40].

Joan Hanscom:

That small thing. So sadly I don’t get to go play bikes at Intelli Cup, but you are going to have the best time. I’m so jealous. It’s the most fun of crit in the whole country I think daily-

Amber Joseph:

I’m looking forward to.

Joan Hanscom:

… Anytime.

Amber Joseph:

You’re beginner.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

I’m looking forward to it.

Joan Hanscom:

For sure. So you’ll have to say hi to all my friends out there.

Amber Joseph:

I will.

Joan Hanscom:

But yeah, I’m so jealous and you’re going to crush it based on how you were going yesterday which is awesome.

Amber Joseph:

We’ll see. We’ll see.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s cool though. So your first return to crit racing was the weekend prior at Armed Forces and Clarendon Cup.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, it was.

Joan Hanscom:

So you went from zero to 100 in-

Amber Joseph:

Real quick.

Joan Hanscom:

… So tell us a little bit about that.

Amber Joseph:

So yeah, I haven’t done crit racing for a really, really long time. I’ve just been focusing on the track and doing my road training like normal. But it was a shock to the system for sure. And the team, they really believed in me and I had a plan. I had something to do on the first day and that made me feel so important. And I know it didn’t go to plan, but it was just going into that race and thinking of the ways I can do that. I know by the end of the season, I will be able to pull that off because every crit that I do, every corner I go into, every straight we go into, I learn something. I’m like, oh, that’s how you do this and oh, that’s how you do that. So I’m really, really excited to have the team believe in me and see what happens for the rest of the season. So-

Joan Hanscom:

And you have two of the best crit racers in America-

Amber Joseph:

… Oh my God.

Joan Hanscom:

… to learn from, right?

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, they’re amazing. They inspire me. They all inspire me. The guys and the women, all of them. The way they come together and support each other, it’s amazing to watch and learning from Skylar and Kendall is going to be the best thing for me and make me as a bike rider I believe, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

I think I told you before, would… Intelli Cup-

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, [crosstalk 00:05:34].

Joan Hanscom:

… When Skylar was 13 years old, she was crushing all of us ladies in the… It was astonishing. So you have a great person to learn from-

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… there. I mean, yeah, she’s quite the impressive razor.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So-

Amber Joseph:

I’m really excited to see.

Joan Hanscom:

… very cool.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So you landed on Legion, which is really-

Amber Joseph:

An honor.

Joan Hanscom:

… It’s amazing though. I mean, I think they have the power to do something really big in American Bike Racing.

Amber Joseph:

They do. 100%.

Joan Hanscom:

And they have the power to… American Bike Racing has always been about crit racing. It’s always… At the core of it, it’s what we do here.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And they have the power and the potential to bring it back.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Which is amazing. And-

Amber Joseph:

And I think that’s what they’re doing. That’s really what they’re doing. We went… So at Armed Forces, it was amazing to see. And I didn’t know the scale of it until I was in it. And there were people there that had just come to watch Legion and were in their Legion shirts. And they were just cheering and cheering. Every lot we did, I just heard, go Legion, go Skylar, go Kendall, go Amber. I’m nothing big, but just to hear the impact of this jersey and what it means to other people and what this team is inspiring other people, it’s amazing to be a part of that and see it firsthand.

Joan Hanscom:

You kind of know, you follow along and you kind of get the vibe through your phone, through Instagram, whatever, but just seeing the people with you yesterday and in your Legion kit and how people are reacting and how they’re responding to that, it gives you hope for bike racing.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And so what an incredible opportunity for you-

Amber Joseph:

Really.

Joan Hanscom:

… and one that you’re obviously embracing. I mean, I will say the pros that I admire the most are the ones who make time for their fans, the ones who stop and take pictures-

Amber Joseph:

I mean-

Joan Hanscom:

… and that’s how you grow the sport.

Amber Joseph:

… Exactly. At the end of the day, they make our sport.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

They’re why we do what we do because we love inspiring and making an impact on the people that are watching us and admire us for what we do. For me, it’s gives me more energy to go to the next day and do my training because I know that I want to make the people that follow this team or follow me proud.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

That’s what it’s all about.

Joan Hanscom:

It was really… I haven’t seen anything like that in our sport for a while.

Amber Joseph:

Oh.

Joan Hanscom:

And I’ve been in our sport for a long time. And so it’s one of those things that as a person who’s seen the sport go really high and really low, seeing that type of energy around a team, you have to hope it’s contagious and you have to hope that it drives new people into the sport, that it inspires new people to come race bikes.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

But it also inspires people to come out watch.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, 100%.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it’s super cool to watch.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, it’s an honor and a dream to be a part of it really. Every time I’m with the team, when we were in DC, it was like I was pinching myself because it honestly, like I told Justin, I was like, this feels like a dream. It really does feel like a dream being in this Jersey and people looking up to me when I’m looking up to my teammates still, it’s an honor. It’s a dream I really can. It’s an… I can’t describe it what it feels.

Joan Hanscom:

Plus it gets in your head that sweet bike.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, it’s a crying baby. It’s my baby.

Joan Hanscom:

So Maura, our assistant here is Maura and she doesn’t have a microphone today, but she hasn’t witnessed yet-

Amber Joseph:

She can shout. Confess her.

Joan Hanscom:

She hasn’t witnessed the people just be like, oh my God, that bike is beautiful, yeah.

Amber Joseph:

And they just want to touch it. They just touch it.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I just-

Amber Joseph:

I had a few days, people were like, oh, I touched it. Bike you can’t buy, I touched it.

Joan Hanscom:

… Random people just walking up. A girl I know from riding was like, “That’s a beautiful bike.” And I was like, “It is just striking.”

Amber Joseph:

It is. It really catches your eye. I mean, it’s just so different. And actually Justin is the man that came up with it.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

He’s always been into graffiti and art. And he, I asked him like, “Who did this? Who came up with, is it you?” And he’s like, “Yeah, I made it all.”

Joan Hanscom:

We’re going to need a picture of your bike for the show notes.

Amber Joseph:

Oh yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So that people can see it.

Amber Joseph:

I will do some close up. [crosstalk 00:09:41].

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, you have to send more pictures of the bike because it is.

Amber Joseph:

I’ll show you my favorite little touch is on the top. It’s like they’ve got a little quote on the top tube and a little change legacy on the inside of the fork. Yeah, it’s beautiful.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, send pictures. We’ll put them in the show notes for y’all to see because this bike is a stunner.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So we’ve been talking about road, but you’re a track cyclist.

Amber Joseph:

Yes, I am.

Joan Hanscom:

And if I’m not mistaken, you started as a sprinter, which is why you crushed the fields per yesterday. But you have transitioned to being an endurance rider.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Why?

Amber Joseph:

I don’t know. The sprint, I always enjoyed sprint, but I never fully trained as a sprinter. I was just, I loved the gym and I like to go fast. So I like automatic and the guy that helped me in Barbados basically learn how to even get on a bike. I didn’t ride bikes beforehand. And he was the man, he was a sprinter before and he’s the man that got me on a bike. And he started as sprint. So I think that kind of was my first inspiration. Oh, I want to try that. And he would tell me about his race and I’m like, oh, that’s so cool. I want to do that. And then when I came to England, it’s kind of like what I just fell into because I think I hadn’t built up my endurance.

Amber Joseph:

So I didn’t really enjoy it. I was like, no, I don’t want to do that. I want to do the sprint. That was quite powerful. So I did the 500 Keirin Sprint. And then I kind of realized it was getting to… We went to nationals. And in England, this is before I changed my UCI number because you have to race, in England, you have to register. And when I registered for my race license, GB changed my UCI number to GBR. I didn’t even know about UCI number at that point. I didn’t even know that I was entitled to GB at that point.

Amber Joseph:

So we did nationals and I realized it was getting quite a serious level. And I found myself really, really stressing out because you only have three laps in a match sprint and so much can happen in three laps that it can all go wrong and you go travel to a race and you do a fine 200 and it turns out you can’t race. And I don’t like that. I like to prove myself if I make a mistake and I didn’t quite feel that in sprinting. And then I did a scratch race. I quite like this. If I’m at the right place at the end, you can do this thing called winning. It’s like, okay, I’ll try that.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

So-

Joan Hanscom:

This thing called winning.

Amber Joseph:

… So I did scratch races, points races and then the omnium at that point was made up of the old program. So it was the 500, the flying lap, the elimination, the points race, the scratch race and the IP. So there were three individual events that I could work on personally and execute them and get them really, really good that I’d be able to move up because I hadn’t quite mastered the bunch riding or my endurance yet. And then the program changed and I still stuck with endurance because I just felt I enjoyed it a lot more. But in 2016, I was asked to do patterns for Barbados. And I was like, what events do I do? And say, will you pick? So I picked the omnium, the 500 and the scratch race. And I think in the 500, I got fourth or fifth. And then in the scratch race, I got fourth. And then in the omnium, I got silver by one point. I missed the gold by one point. And that was my first international event. And I was like, okay, that’s what I want to do.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, found it.

Amber Joseph:

I really, really enjoyed it. And I was like, I’m kind of okay.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s amazing how you do better when you enjoy it.

Amber Joseph:

Exactly, and that’s-

Joan Hanscom:

Happy racers go faster.

Amber Joseph:

… That sticked with me forever because I went to Pan-Ams the next year and I put so much pressure on myself to get the gold in the omnium this time that I raced like crap. I really raced badly. And it’s because I had so much pressure on myself that I wasn’t thinking of how to win. It was, I need to win. And I wasn’t thinking of all the little things I have to do to win.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

I was just thinking on the end result rather than what I’m actually doing in that race at that point in time. And then I realized that the next day and then I… So that was the omnium, I got silver again. I was devastated. But then the next day, I was like, I don’t know if I want to do the pointS race. Mom was like, “Yeah, I know. I don’t want you to do it either.” And then my coach like, “No, do it and just enjoy it and see what you can do. Just try things.” I was like, “Okay.” And then this is how much I thought I wasn’t going to be on the podium.

Amber Joseph:

I was like, mom, because this point, we’d been in England for about three years and I hadn’t seen my sister spent any birthdays with her. So it was my coming up to my 18th birthday. I was 17. I said, “Mom, if I get on the podium, you have to buy me a ticket to Barbados for my birthday.” And then she’s like, “Yeah, whatever. Yeah. Right. Okay.” Because we just won. There was some good riders there and I was like, yeah, I’m not going to do anything. And I probably rode the best race of my life to this day and I got gold.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, there you go. Pressure is off.

Amber Joseph:

And that’s because I was just enjoying it and riding my bike and having fun. And that’s what happened. So from that moment, I’ve realized that I cannot perform under pressure and I just have to enjoy it. And it will come not to say naturally, but I’ll be able to think better and it will come naturally.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

So-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Yeah, it’s much more organic and-

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, exactly.

Joan Hanscom:

… you’re relaxed.

Amber Joseph:

It just comes to you, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And you’re not wasting mental energy which-

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… is also physical energy. So-

Amber Joseph:

Exactly, a weakness of mine that I do.

Joan Hanscom:

… So do you work with a sports psychologist or no?

Amber Joseph:

No, I mean, I did for a little bit. And then I started reading the book that he was a part of and I found that it turned into a Bible and it’s called The Chimp Paradox.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh yes, yes.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, so I’ve got probably every page with 10 things circled that I just go to open up when I’m starting to go into a little thing and I’ll go to the part that I know is going to help me. And I just look at those key things. I’m like, okay, that’s what you have to do, chill. This is that. That’s why this is happening. This is that. Your chimp’s telling you this and you’re not going through your computer of course.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

So yeah, I’m kind of figuring myself out.

Joan Hanscom:

That whole, The Chimp thing was really big in the UK.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, really, really was.

Joan Hanscom:

I think Grant Thomas works with them.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah. Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And he was a-

Amber Joseph:

[inaudible 00:15:48].

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, and it’s super interesting because I don’t know that it ever quite made it over here to the same extent, but it seems like something that has been tremendously impactful.

Amber Joseph:

It really has. Especially I think it’s a thing in Europe because I was on the WCC, the women’s consensual team institution and one of the other girls had it and I was like, oh wow. It’s made it outside-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

… But yeah, there was a guy called [Tim Buckle 00:16:14] and that’s the guy I was working with. And he’s an amazing guy. He’s so, so good. He’s just so enthusiastic. And I really connect with people that are really, really enthusiastic. And he was a part of this book and he’s like, I would get it and read it and I’ve never really needed outside help since I’ve had this book.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s amazing.

Amber Joseph:

So yeah, but I know when it gets to the high level and a lot, lot, lot higher when I have to deal with a lot more stuff that I’ve… Yeah, I’m that person that overthinks everything. So I know that I will need some black number.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

It’s not how it is.

Joan Hanscom:

Just for you.

Amber Joseph:

But for now, it’s my mom. So it’s fine.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, well, that’s interesting. You say it’s your mom because you bring her up often in conversation.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So she seems very impactful in your life.

Amber Joseph:

She is. She is the star in my life. I love my mom to pieces. If it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t be riding bikes right now. She has been the biggest support, my biggest fan since day one. And she’s always supported me and told me that you can do anything.

Joan Hanscom:

We’ll have to get her here one summer.

Amber Joseph:

I know. So I’m hoping that she can come for the UCI race because that’s what she’s-

Joan Hanscom:

[crosstalk 00:17:21].

Amber Joseph:

… planning on doing. But the borders are all closed.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

So I’m hoping fingers crossed that she’s fully vaccinated now. So I’m hoping that she can get over here.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, I think things are supposed to relax a little bit in the UK.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, I heard a bit of a rumor. Well, in the UK, they’re relaxing big time. Now bars and everything are open and things like that. But I was told on the 15th of June, America was supposed to be saying that they’re opening borders or something like that was happening. But that’s a rumor. Who knows?

Joan Hanscom:

Who knows?

Amber Joseph:

Who knows?

Joan Hanscom:

But yeah, hopefully we get to have her here this summer.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, I really hope we do.

Joan Hanscom:

So you’re leaving us shortly for Pan-Ams?

Amber Joseph:

Yes, I am. In a week, I’m leaving for Lima, Peru for Pan-Am Track Championships, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So-

Amber Joseph:

Being the first one since 2019.

Joan Hanscom:

… kind of crazy. This is like-

Amber Joseph:

It’s crazy.

Joan Hanscom:

… all getting back to it-

Amber Joseph:

It’s crazy.

Joan Hanscom:

… after COVID.

Amber Joseph:

I’m like, oh my God, are we all going to remember how to race our bikes fast? It’s like we just got to turn off. It’s fine.

Joan Hanscom:

Right. Yeah, I mean, it’s weird. You don’t know the competition, how much-

Amber Joseph:

Other people have changed, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… how much other people have changed. You haven’t seen each other. You haven’t-

Amber Joseph:

I don’t know how much I’ve improved or changed. Who knows?

Joan Hanscom:

… Yeah, it’s sort of the great blank slate.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, it’s like the benchmark for the next few years I guess.

Joan Hanscom:

Which is cool.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And so if all goes according to plan, you’re going to do Pan-Ams. And then again, you have another big race in the fall because the season’s gotten a little bit weird.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, so I have Lima, Peru. And then at the end of June, which is the 24th to the 29th. And then I’m going to come back from that. And then my first race will be Boise with Legion. And then from that, I’ll probably stick with them all the way up until the 24th, which is here for the UCI races.

Joan Hanscom:

Woo-hoo.

Amber Joseph:

Woo-hoo.

Joan Hanscom:

Big July.

Amber Joseph:

So-

Joan Hanscom:

You’re either going to come back flying-

Amber Joseph:

… Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… or you’re going to come back-

Amber Joseph:

Tired.

Joan Hanscom:

… even that, yeah.

Amber Joseph:

One of the other I’m sure. But yeah, I’ve been really looking forward to the check, the three weeks of the UCI races. So I’ll be here for that. And then I’m hoping I can get here for the Madison Cup with Kendall.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh that will be fun.

Amber Joseph:

Although it does clash with a big, the Joe Martin Stage Race.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh yeah. Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

So we’ll have to see what happens.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s a fundraise.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah. Yeah, it is.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s a fundraise.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, Skylar was saying. And then so yeah, with Legion in July, then I come here end of July beginning of August. And then after August, then I’ll be with the team pretty much for the rest of the season I think-

Joan Hanscom:

Yes.

Amber Joseph:

… if all goes to plan. And then I have probably the biggest race for me personally is under 23 Pan-Am Games which is going to be in, I think it’s Cali.

Joan Hanscom:

All right.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s the track

Amber Joseph:

Wait, I think no, something’s telling me it’s not. I think it is. Or it’s-

Joan Hanscom:

So-

Amber Joseph:

… I think it’s Cali, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… So everything goes according to plan in 2021.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

The end goal, the big target is Paris in 24.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, 100%. Yeah, that is the goal. So this year-

Joan Hanscom:

So what are the steps to get there?

Amber Joseph:

… Okay, so for cycling for a single nation rider, it is a little bit more complicated if you’re part of a big organization. So for me, it’s really I have to bring my end game to every single race that I do because that will be it. I won’t have my other teammates to see if they do better to the qualifier spot.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

So one nation cup goes towards the games, but then it’s still three UCI class one, three UCI class twos. But the thing is now that for nation cups, you only need 250 points to go to the race. And then depending on how many riders they are, then they have qualifications. And then from the qualifications, then you do the race. So that adds a bit of stress. But it’s really to race my bike as best as I can and see what happens at the end of it. So yeah, nation cups class ones, class twos, they all go towards nation I think.

Joan Hanscom:

I don’t think people really appreciate how complex that whole process is.

Amber Joseph:

It really, really is.

Joan Hanscom:

And it’s complex even for a nation like GB, bed space and all of that.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s incredibly complicated.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

But when you’re from a small country-

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, it’s really hard.

Joan Hanscom:

… it’s really hard.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, so before they changed the UCI, the qualification system, so the quota worked out to be… The first two thirds of the quota went towards team pursuit, which contains the four riders, the team event and I’m only one. So that’s one quarter I can’t do. And then it’s the Madison and that’s another two riders with the slings and I still can’t do that.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

So that’s 16 places taken up by team events. And then it goes down to the individual ranking. And then that’s really hard to break top eight in the individual ranking because we’re at the end of the… Where they’re strong.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

It’s really hard to-

Joan Hanscom:

The competition is deep.

Amber Joseph:

… Yeah, it’s really deep and it’s really hard to, as a single nation to race every three class ones that I’ve done and every two class ones that I’ve done to really make a huge impact for me to be up there. I don’t have any help in races.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

In Europe, I’ve raced the class ones and class twos and it ends up being six GB riders, four Poland riders, four French riders and six German riders. And they’re all protecting two or three of their riders or they’re all trying to make the race as hard as they can.

Joan Hanscom:

Right, and there’s you.

Amber Joseph:

And it’s just one attack after the other attack after the other attack and then oh, we’ve got a French and GB up the road. Okay, we’re going to sit on the front and let the gap open up and not let anything else go.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

And then it ends up being first place, second, all those places are GB, GB, French, German, dah, dah, dah. And then oh, Barbados.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

So it’s really hard to break into that team thing. But I think now UCI kind of realizing that and they’re trying their best to make it so single nation riders can get that opportunity, but it’s still not quite there.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, its-

Amber Joseph:

I’ve just got to get stronger and I will.

Joan Hanscom:

… You will.

Amber Joseph:

So-

Joan Hanscom:

Have no doubt.

Amber Joseph:

… Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And I think July is going to get you-

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, I think it will give me a real kick on the bum. Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… July is going to get you there I think.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s for sure. So that sounds like all work and no play, but that doesn’t seem like you. So what are you doing for fun here in T-Town-

Amber Joseph:

Oh, well, I mean, what… It’s… I don’t know. I go for my training and then I probably clean my baby, my bike and-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I know.

Amber Joseph:

… find something else to do. I’m really lucky to be staying with Pete and Shelly Taylor, which is just on the road and they’re amazing. And they’re always finding things to do when, oh, should we go do this? Or let’s go do that. Or oh, I’m going to come with you and do the shopping. I just like spending time with them. So yeah, I spent a lot of time with them when they’re here.

Joan Hanscom:

They are amazing people.

Amber Joseph:

They are. They really, really are.

Joan Hanscom:

Just they’re so good.

Amber Joseph:

They’re filled with so much love and warmth. I think that’s why I’m not struggling so much. I miss home, my mom and all of her animals. I’ve got like a minute to farm at home. But I think if I was anywhere else, I’d be really, really struggling with not being with my mom because we’re joined at the hip. But I think Pete and Shelly have made it a lot easier for me to be away from that and still make me feel like a part of their home and their family that they’ve taken me straight in. And I probably wouldn’t be here for this long if I didn’t have them.

Joan Hanscom:

I wonder if you were to make a list of how many athletes have passed through their home.

Amber Joseph:

I know. I know.

Joan Hanscom:

And how many different athlete’s lives-

Amber Joseph:

They still have an impact on.

Joan Hanscom:

… Yeah, I mean, it’s sort of mind boggling to think about how two people can make such a profound impact on so many people’s lives as they sort of pass through this sport.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And it’s sort of mind boggling to me. And we had Pete on the pod.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And it was great to have him come in and talk about the why and of what they do, but it’s just yesterday, he was there all day.

Amber Joseph:

He was.

Joan Hanscom:

And he had athletes-

Amber Joseph:

I think he told me yesterday, he did 12,000 steps just going around that course yesterday.

Joan Hanscom:

… Yesterday he had an athlete in every race on the program.

Amber Joseph:

He did.

Joan Hanscom:

And he was in the corner, cheering, yelling, motivating, picking people up off the ground-

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… the entire day.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, he didn’t stop.

Joan Hanscom:

He didn’t stop. And as a person who was happy to sit underneath the canopy of the sprinter and hang out with you guys, it’s just you sort of sit back and you marvel at his energy and what he does.

Amber Joseph:

He’s filled with so much energy.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

But he also seems like he makes it fun for you guys.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, he does. He really does.

Joan Hanscom:

You and Kara will be in goofball.

Amber Joseph:

100%. He reminds me everyday. You have fun. Cheer up. You know what your doing.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. I had a crappy race and at the end of the day, you were in the pace car and I was shooting the show with Pete. And he’s like, “Joan, a bad day to bike race is still a better day than a good day at work.”

Amber Joseph:

Exactly.

Joan Hanscom:

And I was like, “Yeah, okay.”

Amber Joseph:

Yeah. Yeah, he knows exactly what to say.

Joan Hanscom:

He knew exactly what to say. And I thought he was either given me a little bit of the big daddy thing, which I appreciated because I was feeling pretty wretched at the end of the day yesterday. So he just knows what to do. He knows how to make you get back up and-

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, he really does.

Joan Hanscom:

… that’s impressive.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It was cool to be part of yesterday.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, both of them do. I wouldn’t know what I would do without them here. They’ve… Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, taking you in.

Amber Joseph:

I love them into pieces.

Joan Hanscom:

You’re one of the family now.

Amber Joseph:

Yes, I’ve taken that spot.

Joan Hanscom:

They have a nice little set up here though. Their home away from home-

Amber Joseph:

They do.

Joan Hanscom:

… with their gym and pool.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, it’s great. It’s really great. Their pool, I think they got like, they started building in 2019. It finished late 2019 beginning of 2020. And it looks so nice. You should go and see it. Really it’s gorgeous. And their gym, they’ve got a new gym in the garden and it’s so quiet. They have everything you need. Play boxes, boxes for jumps, boxes for squat, squat rack, leg press, barbell, the trap bar. They’ve got loads of stuff and it’s amazing what they do.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that’s-

Amber Joseph:

And it’s funny. My friend said, “Oh Pete, how much should I have to pay you to use your gym?” He looks at Shelly and Shelly’s like, “How much.” And Shelly is like, ” [inaudible 00:27:56].” Yeah. Okay, and Shelly’s like, “Fuck oh.” That’s how it is.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

They don’t want anything bad. They just want people to… They do things to make people happy and you don’t get many people like that nowdays.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, and to be resourced, right?

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s the thing.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s like they’re just very giving of the resource.

Amber Joseph:

They are so giving. So, so, so giving and I’m so grateful-

Joan Hanscom:

Who else is with you at their house this summer?

Amber Joseph:

So for now, it’s Mindy, Kayla, she’s here with us as well. She arrived a few days ago. Billy, he’s-

Joan Hanscom:

Obviously.

Amber Joseph:

… [crosstalk 00:28:26] home.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that’s his house.

Amber Joseph:

Justin, yeah, yeah, Justin is there.Justin Park.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

And I think there’s a few more arriving, but I’m going to be in and out.

Joan Hanscom:

Right.

Amber Joseph:

So I’m probably going to… Yeah-

Joan Hanscom:

Lose your space.

Amber Joseph:

… No, no always my space.

Joan Hanscom:

You’re so funny.

Amber Joseph:

I’ll take us over if I have to. I’ll sleep with squirt. They’re done.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s so funny. That’s so funny. So what are you hoping to achieve this summer with Legion? Just learning more about crit or more about winning, more about… Do you think you’re going to get-

Amber Joseph:

A bit of everything.

Joan Hanscom:

… Are you going to get a chance to go for it yourself with a team or are you going to be a worker bee? Not that there’s anything wrong with worker bee.

Amber Joseph:

No, there isn’t anything went wrong at all. I think if, to me, we all won. Over this weekend-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that’s a beautiful thing-

Amber Joseph:

… I wasn’t even there and I felt like we won.

Joan Hanscom:

… That’s the beautiful thing about cycling that people don’t understand is that it really is a team sport.

Amber Joseph:

It really, really is. And I haven’t really felt that. It’s so recent that I’ve felt that. I was a WCC, but we didn’t get to race. The girls, we did our own thing and I didn’t feel completely a part of a team. And then on the track, when I was in the track program, I felt a part of a team, but everybody else was sprint and was the union. So I didn’t really have that endurance connection, that bike racing connection and suffering connection. But I think with this team, we’ve connected on so I felt like I’ve connected with them on so many levels that they understand and I understand. And I feel like really a part of that team and it’s insane. I met them all for the first time at Armed Forces, but they’ve already all made such a huge impact on me.

Joan Hanscom:

So one of the things you said to me before you went down to ride with them was that you were excited to be with them because what they’re trying to achieve is so much like what you’re trying to achieve.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, it is.

Joan Hanscom:

So talk about that.

Amber Joseph:

Okay, so I believe I think that if I had stayed in Barbados, when me and my mom moved in 2013 to England, which then allowed me to get into cycling so much easier because it’s so big in England, but it’s not in Barbados, especially at that age, it’s not really a thing to do. I was running, swimming, I had a horse. I didn’t even know this whole bike quality. So I remember the 2012 Olympics, I didn’t even know the whole velodrome thing was a thing. I watched athletics, swimming and probably some hockey. I didn’t even register in my mind. And then 2016 Olympics, I remember watching on the TV and was like, what is this? Where are all these people from? All these countries, it’s amazing.

Amber Joseph:

But before that, so I was in Barbados and I believe that if I was in Barbados, I probably wouldn’t have carried on cycling because I’ve seen that you can go so far sometimes. Only a few of us have really made it on the international or Pan-American level. And I believe that I wouldn’t have gone as far as I have if I had stayed there and I don’t want that to be a thing. So my dream when I’ve retired and hopefully with my gold medals and the things that I can make people inspired by is go back home and create this pathway, all these big nations have and really make that team and show that if you have a dream and you want something, you just have to put in the hard work and you’ll get it.

Amber Joseph:

And I want to create that opportunity to people, inspire all the young girls and boys in Barbados that this is an amazing sport, try it. That’s really what I want to do and give knowledge and teach them about every aspect of cycling. So when they get to the international level, they’re ready or if they want to get to the Pan-American level or the Caribbean level even or even just national level, there’ll be ready.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, and I think just making them know that it’s a thing, right?

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Just even like-

Amber Joseph:

I know there’s so many people in Barbados that they just don’t understand the scale of the, or sometimes they don’t understand the scale of sport. There’s only so many sports that we follow. Cricket is probably our biggest sport and football is growing and hockey is growing, loads of things are growing in Barbados. Judo is growing, everything’s growing. But so I think it has a place in my heart that I want it to grow and be a sport that when drivers in Barbados see cyclists driving, they’re like, oh, I wonder who that is or, oh, how I am in England.

Joan Hanscom:

Right. Right.

Amber Joseph:

That’s how I want it to be. And I really want this sport to grow and inspire. And I think with Legion, what they want to do is inspire and make an impact and bring crit racing and bring this racing back to America like you say and I want to learn from them and see how they do it. And hopefully I can do the same in Barbados.

Joan Hanscom:

What’s interesting about Legion? So the Williams are from Belize originally, right?

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

And so I’ve gone down and I’ve done that race, the cross country in Belize, the women’s version, which is not nearly as long as the men’s version, but you can see the impact that they have on the cycling community in Belize, right?

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

That that whole cycling community looks to the Williams brothers as role models and what can be achieved by… And Justin and Cory have gone back and raced the cross country a bunch of times and won. But it’s impactful. Again, it’s inspiring the Belizian athletes to believe that there’s a pathway. And I think that’s super cool because you could be that for Barbados.

Amber Joseph:

That’s what I want to see.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Amber Joseph:

I want to be an inspiration. That’s really what I want to do. I don’t care what happens to the end of this. I just want to inspire people. I wish I was when I was there.

Joan Hanscom:

Yaeh.

Amber Joseph:

Because the sport is a beautiful thing. It really is.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s super cool.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s super cool. I think that’s the perfect place to leave it though. The sport is a beautiful thing.

Amber Joseph:

Yeah, it is a beautiful thing. It takes you to beautiful places.

Joan Hanscom:

And well, on that note, let’s wrap it up. Let’s just say thank you for coming on the pod. We wish you so much luck-

Amber Joseph:

Thank you for having me. Thank you.

Joan Hanscom:

… coming up with July. And we’ll be happy to have you back at the end of July for UCI.

Amber Joseph:

CL.

Joan Hanscom:

But I’m losing my crip buddy for a while, but that’s okay.

Amber Joseph:

I’ll be back, Joan. I’ll be back.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, but we’ll have more fun on bikes later this summer, but we wish you the most luck.

Amber Joseph:

Thank you.

Joan Hanscom:

And yeah, keep us informed on how the progress goes.

Amber Joseph:

Definitely, I will.

Joan Hanscom:

Thanks for coming on the pod.

Amber Joseph:

Thank you for having me on the pod.

Joan Hanscom:

This has been the Talk of the T-Town Podcast with host, Joan Hanscom and Andy Lakatosh. Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode brought to you by B Braun Medical Inc. Head on over to our website, thevelodrome.com where you can check out the show notes and subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode.

 

Posted on

Nima Hadian: You Have Good Taste.

Shangy's - Weihenstephaner German Beer

Episode 31

“We chose beers that we anticipated a hot summer and we wanted the Miller Lite drinker to be happy. And also the hop head and the sour guy and the seltzer person and everybody’s covered. So there’s something for everyone.”

Curious about the beer selection here at T-Town? Join us this week as Joan sits down with Nima Hadian, owner and president of Shangy’s Beer Authority. They discuss how our beer selection was curated, supporting local breweries, and why you should come out and taste the beers.

Shangy's - Weihenstephaner German Beer
Shangy’s and the Weihenstephaner German Beer Garden

Facebook: @shangysthebeerauthority

Instagram: @shangys_the_beer_authority

Twitter: @shangysbeer


Transcript

Joan Hanscom:              Welcome to the Talk Of The T-Town Podcast, where we discuss all things track cycling. Broadcasting from the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, I’m your host and Executive Director, Joan Hanscom, along with my cohost, athletic director, Andy Lakatosh.

                                    Welcome to the Talk Of The T-Town Podcast. I’m your host, Joan Hanscom Executive Director here at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center. And this week, we are going off cycling talk and on to beer talk with our sponsor from Shangy’s: The Beer Authority, Nima Hadian, who is here to talk about our amazing beer selection, how he picked the beers, why we pick the beers and why you should come out here and taste all the beers. So Nima, welcome to the pod. We’re excited. I am a huge fan of the tasty beers and so our partnership is a delight for me. And yeah, tell us a little bit about yourself, about Shangy’s and why you’re here.

Nima Hadian:                Thanks, Joan. We’re excited to be here. We’re excited to have our beers here. Shangy’s is a family-owned and operated beer store in the Lehigh Valley. We’re also a beer wholesaler. We’re just super excited to be the beer purveyor for the velodrome. And we’re super excited to have a venue in the Lehigh Valley that’s strictly focused on craft and imported beers. Not your regular Bud, Coors and Miller kind of venue. Rather serving some of the best beers in the world. So for us, it’s really exciting to put cycling and craft beer together and offer Lehigh Valley residents some of the best beers out there.

Joan Hanscom:              I have to say. So even before we started working together here, I was a huge Shangy’s fan and I’m going to say something that’s inappropriate because we don’t sell them here. But I lived in Chicago for a long time and I lived in Kentucky for a long time. And my absolute favorite beer on earth is from Three Floyds Brewing, which is gumball head and or zombie dust.

Nima Hadian:                You have good taste.

Joan Hanscom:              And one day last summer, when we were in the middle of all the COVID thing, I went paddle boarding by myself on an insanely hot day. And I just wanted a cold beer when I was done. And I go rocket into Shangy’s. I saw the gumball head in your store. And I was like, “This is the place for me,” because I found the gumball head. And then I saw zombie dust and I was like, “Which do I get?”

Nima Hadian:                Three Floyds is one of the best breweries in the US. It’s actually rated top-10 best breweries in the world. Gumball head is a tremendous summer beer and Alpha King is one of the first pale ales in America. You have very good taste.

                                    But in terms of selection here, what I like about it is you’ve covered your bases and you’ve got a lot of styles covered. So most consumers are going to be very happy that we go anywhere from double IPAs, triple IPAs to white beers, German hefeweizens’, lagers, seltzers. So really, there’s enough here to keep everybody that’s a beer fanatic extremely happy.

Joan Hanscom:              Well, you’re joining us right after our first Friday night. And we had the [inaudible] beer garden open for the first time in a long time. The deck sold out, so the beer garden was completely sold out. And the feedback on the selection of beers … because we sell beer in cans up on the deck. And the feedback on the selection after the first Friday night was bonkers. People loved what you put together for us. So I want to give Nima full credit here.

                                    He said, “Yeah, we’re going to sponsor the venue. We’re going to become a partner in your beer selections.” And man, you knocked it out of the park when you made your assortment for us. And we sort of sat back and said, “Yes, you tell us what’s good and we’ll take your advice.” And man, was the feedback positive after the first night of people seeing your new menus.

Nima Hadian:                No, it’s great. And you guys have given us the opportunity to put together the [inaudible], which is the first [inaudible] in Pennsylvania. The brewery, which is the oldest brewery in the world, it dates back to the year 1040. And it’s actually owned by the German government. And it’s a historic site. It’s also the leading brewing school in the world. So some of the top brewers in the US all went to school there. It’s a very highly-accredited brewery and they’re excited to be partners with you guys at the velodrome. And they’re also very interested in cycling and honored to have their [inaudible], which is a German wheat beer with yeast, which is extremely refreshing on a hot day. And their lager, which is their [inaudible], which is the oldest-reciped lager in the world, which dates back to 1040, available here in [inaudible]. And the [inaudible], I believe in cans and undraft.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah, I had the [inaudible]. And oh, it was yummy.

Nima Hadian:                It’s not only yummy. One of the things that the Germans don’t like to talk about is [inaudible] actually have less calories. And they don’t want people to know that because they think that’s bad. But for us, we think it’s great.

Joan Hanscom:              I wish I knew that. I would have felt less guilty about drinking the second one.

Nima Hadian:                Generally, about 115 to 120 calories compared to a hazy IPA, which is 300 calories. And that’s for a 16-ounce glass. So they’re not only great, they’re kind of good for you and there’s live yeast in it and it’s always alive and it’s cloudy and it kind of has a banana clove [crosstalk].

Joan Hanscom:              Oh, it’s so good.

Nima Hadian:                It’s very refreshing. So I think in the beer garden, it’s really cool. It looks like a little piece of Germany. And on the other menu, we try to focus on getting some local beers in here, but also making sure that our bases were covered to keep everybody happy. So the sections in beer we have offered at the velodrome are local beers, just general craft USA beers from around the United States, imported cans, which are the weihenstephaner beers, seltzers and ciders.

                                    The seltzer that we have is interesting. It’s called Two Robbers. They’re a local Pennsylvania company. The first Pennsylvania craft seltzer company. Their product is made in Philadelphia. It’s owned by two young individuals that graduated from Wharton School of Business at Penn University and put together this amazing seltzer company. We’re on track to sell almost a hundred thousand cases of-

Joan Hanscom:              Holy smokes.

Nima Hadian:                And they make six different flavors. We have here the most popular, which is the orange mango Seltzer. It’s available in a 19.2 ounce aluminum bottle. So it’s a can, but it’s a bottle. It keeps it extra cold. Very smooth and delicious. The cider that we have here is Doc’s hard cider. It’s a true cidery. Everything is real. It’s brewed in Hudson valley. Rated as one of the top five best cideries in the U.S. They own their own orchard. They pick their own apples. They press their own juice.

Joan Hanscom:              Oh, that’s cool.

Nima Hadian:                I believe they were featured on something with Martha Stewart.

Joan Hanscom:              Oh, right on.

Nima Hadian:                That really quality, no preservatives, no adjuncts cider.

Joan Hanscom:              Nice.

Nima Hadian:                It’s delicious.

Joan Hanscom:              That’ll have to be on my list for this week.

Nima Hadian:                No. Definitely. It’s very good. And then on top of that, you’ve got four awesome draft beers. Bell’s Two Hearted IPA, which is, was I think four years in a row now, has been rated the best beer in America. Weihenstaphaner hefeweizen which is what we talked about. It’s the oldest brewery in the world. The hefeweizen is a German wheat beer. The Einstok Icelandic White. This is our best-selling white ale. It’s from Iceland. It’s the difference between a White ale and a hefeweizen is. It’s a Belgian interpretation of a wheat beer.

                                    So the wheatness of it is a little bit different. It’s not so much banana clove. It’s more orange peel and coriander, and it’s a bit thinner in texture. So it’s more [inaudible] you can drink more than you would other beers but really tasty. And again, this is a beer you don’t find in any other venue. It’s truly craft. And lastly on tap, we have funk citrus, which is the most popular local IPA. It’s brewed in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, where our store is by Funk Brewing company. Funk has always done extremely well here at the velodrome. And we’re happy to have it on tap here.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. I think what’s really nice about our selection that we have with you guys is that… And Nima, you’ll find this out this summer, it’s hot here at the track and it’s really nice to sit out on a hot summer night and just enjoy a cold beverage that’s refreshing. And man, the menu you’ve selected for us is that. It’s like, it’s not stouts. It’s all beer that you want to drink on a hot summer day after a bike ride yourself. Right? So if you go for a ride, you come back and you want to have a cold refreshing beer. You come to our beer garden and you have an assortment of things that hit the spot. We know we have a couple of rides coming up this summer that aren’t related to the track and velodrome, but they’re rides for folks on either gravel bikes or on road bikes, but they’re starting and finishing here at the track.

                                    And the goal of that specifically is they’re going to finish their ride here so they can go up on the beer garden and have some cold refreshing beers. And they’re so stoked about what we have on offer here for them, because it is that assortment that’s like, we did the thing. And now we’re going to sit back in the shade of the tent. We’re going to put our feet up. We’re going to watch a little bit of bike racing and we’re going to have a great refreshing adult beverage to cap off the day. And I liked that we went with something really refreshing and all good for the hot summer days that we’ve got coming ahead.

Nima Hadian:                No. I appreciate it. It was fun picking the beers after visiting the venue and learning more about it. It’s amazing to me that this place isn’t three times as busy. It’s busy already, but I’m sure as more and more people come here, whether you’re a cycling fan or not. I think when you come and look at the menu and sit in the beer garden and have all these great beers and such a beautiful venue and things to look at and things to learn, I think you guys are going to get busier and busier here. The selection of the beer, it was, we chose beers that we anticipated a hot summer and we wanted the Miller Lite drinker to be happy. And also the hop head and the sour guy and the seltzer person and everybody’s covered. So there’s something for everyone. And that was important to us to do. We think there’s so much opportunity here to expose people to great food, which what you’re doing with the sticky pig paired with these beers and just to watch the venues and see what’s going on. I’m sure this is going to continue growing.

Joan Hanscom:              I’m curious to see. So for our listeners, we are open more than just Friday nights. Right? Friday nights, the big show, it’s the pro racing. Pro-Am racing. It’s the big show. But we are also open on Tuesday nights when we have amateur racing. The beer stand is always open. The sticky pig is serving on Tuesdays. We have the beer stand open on Saturdays. Although I think the slushies did really well on Saturdays. And so did, what is it, those things called that I don’t like because they have tomato juice in it? Bloody Mary’s. Yeah. The bloody Mary’s do well on Saturdays. But the moral of the story is we have the handlebars open multiple days a week, and it’s about to be open on Thursdays too, once we have racing across the street. I’m going to be super curious to see what nights attract, what type of beer drinker. You want to see on a Tuesday who’s drinking what versus on a Friday who’s drinking what. And I’m super curious to see how that goes. I like, I’m a nerd. So I like to see those kinds of things.

Nima Hadian:                No. It’s great info. It’s great to learn. And I think you have something for everyone.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah.

Nima Hadian:                So I do think you’re going to see different things spike on different nights because it doesn’t matter what you’re drinking at home. You’ve got it covered here. Especially with the slushies. And something else with the slushies that you guys are getting into. There’s a Pennsylvania company that makes craft slushies. And the name of that company is Get Slushed and they actually use real fruit. It’s Pennsylvania made. And they have six or seven different flavors. The slushies, their hearts slushies are alcoholic. This company slushies are the best that I’ve ever had. Honestly, it doesn’t taste like there’s any alcohol in them. I think they’re dangerous. They’re eight and a half percent alcohol and just, they don’t have that burn, that alcohol burn. They’re super smooth. I think you guys pick the blue raspberry and another flavor and you’re rotating in and out of flavors, but they’re definitely a huge hit so far. And I think at this venue they’re going to continue being a hit. They sell out fast, and then you have to re-slush the machine.

Joan Hanscom:              Right.

Nima Hadian:                But I think that’s going to do extremely well for you.

Joan Hanscom:              We have the Elite, Junior, and Para National championships coming here in the month of July, which is always hot toasty. And we’ll have, we’ll be open every, we’ll have ticketed racing every day that week in the evenings. And I’m certain the slushies, for the friends and families who are coming to watch athletes racing national championships I’m sure that in the heat of July those slushies are going to be selling out like crazy. Because they are perfect for the hot night in the stands. Yeah. So I think that’s going to be a big seller and something that we’re looking forward to. I just think people are going to have fun here. We are trying to sell fun here. And I think we talked about it before and not a knock on baseball, but this is a bit more of an action packed night. And I think for what we offer here, the greatest assortment plus the sticky pig, I think people are just going to start to feel like this is-

Nima Hadian:                Yeah, you could have a food and beer pairing while you’re watching a really cool venue. And you’re not stuck in a little seat. You can walk around and move around. And it’s hard to be… If you’re a little too hot, you can move. You can move around. You can go drink great beer.

Joan Hanscom:              And just be social. And you’re up close to the action. You’re not sitting many hundreds of feet away from the racing action. You can feel the breeze on your face when they go by and it’s very loud and colorful. And I think it just makes for a super fun experience here. But I also know, and I want to give you full credit for this. You’re thinking like a true partner for this organization. Right? You’re not just a sponsor that puts up signage and that’s that. And I think for people who follow sports and follow events, it’s important to understand that sponsorship is what keeps us going. Right? It’s what keeps events happening for you. But we’re sponsorship is really magical is when it’s a partnership. And I love that our partnership was Shangy’s, you’re bringing ideas to us. And you have ideas for, which we’re not going to spill to everybody right now because we got to keep something to tell you later. But you’re bringing us ideas about ways to bring this venue to life.

                                    And so I just want our listeners to understand what a valuable partnership that makes this. Right? It’s much more than just, we’re going to a warehouse and picking up beer. We’re collaborating and we’re trying to make something here that’s a true partnership but also that is a thing for the Lehigh valley. I think that’s really exciting to hear that we have a partner that wants to help make the track a destination and sees the vision for what this place can be and where it could go. And so that’s really exciting to me. So I’d love to talk to, to hear you talk a little bit about that. Because I’m drinking your Kool-Aid Nima and I think we’re on the same brainwave. But yeah, talk a little bit about that.

Nima Hadian:                I was so excited when I first came here that I literally got in the car with our team and went, we have to do it. I just really, I liked the passion of everyone who works here because I think you’re all doing it for the right reason. And honestly, I just think the venue is so interesting and outside the box and it works perfectly for what are and what we do. We represent family owned breweries from around the world. Not bud Kors, Miller, large ginormous enterprises, they’re mom and pop breweries. Whether they’re local or they’re from Iceland or they’re from Belgium, or they’re from Germany, they’re not big money box entities. And just seeing how there’s just so much potential for growth and knowledge and getting the word out to consumers around Eastern Pennsylvania. That we’re lucky enough to have a venue like this for cycling right in our backyard.

                                    And you’re offering all these other things like fantastic beer and fantastic food and a great setting. It’s exactly what we want to be a part of. And I’m, I think we’re so fortunate that we’re able to be able to have a venue, take on these brands. Rather than look for the large check from the large breweries, which is the same beers that you see every venue that you go to. So really, the mom and pop breweries that you’re allowing this venue to be in this venue. You’re really helping a lot of small businesses. And my excitement is I think beer and biking go together. And I think we want to be a long-term partner and educate the Lehigh valley on what a gem the velodrome really is and making it a bigger and bigger thing every year.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. And I think there’s ways for us to continue this partnership and make things more fun, even outside the traditional track season. And I think you and I share this vision of making this a driver for the cycling community year round, and then ideally beyond the cycling community. Right? Let’s be relevant to the entirety of the Lehigh valley and let’s tie it into this bigger vision for bringing people from all over to the Lehigh valley. We should get the Germans to come here and spend time with us.

Nima Hadian:                I think they will. I think there’s a lot, honestly, there is. I didn’t want to give away too much, but there’s a lot of breweries that have a lot of interests and doing a lot of different things here. Like I said, a lot of craft breweries, whether they’re made in the U.S. or anywhere in the world, they don’t get these opportunities often because these kinds of venues are completely dominated by large beer. Large beer can cut the big check. And that’s why when you go to these baseball, and football, and hockey and you look at, we wonder why they all have the same beer, it’s because they can afford to pay, to write a cheque to do that.

Joan Hanscom:              Right.

Nima Hadian:                Little breweries can’t afford that. So again, this is outside the box and you’re giving your consumer so many choices they’re not used to. And you’re giving good food, which again, there’s not a lot of venues with good food. I love being a part of it. Our partners, which are the breweries around the world that we’ve been in contact with, all of them are so positive about it and want to learn more about it and want to learn more about being able to be a partner as well and touching the consumer one way or another. So it is really exciting. And I think the company’s Shangy’s and the Velodrome and everything you’re doing here are the, we’re talking about the same customer.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. 100%. I agree with that.

Nima Hadian:                So we’ve got a ton of ideas I’m trying to catch up and learn as much as I can, so we can be a good partner and continue to be a good partner. But I’ve got a lot of tricks up my sleeves that I think we can do some really fun things.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. I think that to me has been one of those things that’s always been nice about working in cycling, is that because we are a niche because we are a small sport in the U.S. it’s creativity. Right? And it’s the opportunity to play and do things differently than you would if you were the NFL. Granted the NFL, I wouldn’t mind their revenue. Not going to lie. But it is one of the things that makes our sport fun. Right? That you have creativity. That you can do things that are off the beaten path.

Nima Hadian:                You have a Weihenstephaner beer garden. Who says that?

Joan Hanscom:              Right. I know. Right. You’re not going to get that at Gillette stadium. Right? So that’s really fun. That makes my job interesting. It makes me coming to work more fun. But it allows us to do good stuff. And I love what you were saying about the seltzer you picked is local. And the cider is from the Hudson valley and it’s handmade essentially.

Nima Hadian:                We wanted the best representation of every style, but yet make it not offensive to anyone.

Joan Hanscom:              Right.

Nima Hadian:                Again, whether you drink crazy hoppy beers or light beers, or you hate beer and you want a slushie, or you want to cider, or you want a seltzer, you’re covered. And again, I love that about here, that somebody can be happy. A lot of venues, people complain about two things, price. I got a $12 beer and it was a light beer that was not so great.

Joan Hanscom:              Right.

Nima Hadian:                Here you’re giving everyone really, the best of class, at a really affordable venue price.

Joan Hanscom:              Right.

Nima Hadian:                And you can’t beat that. So it’s a lot of fun. We’re going to see if we can change up the draft beers. Maybe bring in some new stuff all the time. And just constantly try to grow on learning more about, who’s coming here, what’s working, what’s not working? Let’s fix it and keep making it better.

Joan Hanscom:              Well, and I like the idea too, of just giving people like, hey, maybe you’ve never tried this one before. So let’s, it’s almost like have the experimental tap. Right? Where you’re like, okay, yes, we’ve got the three ones that we know everybody loves. But this fourth one, maybe when you come on a Friday night there’s something different to try that. And if you are into that, right? If you part of what you enjoy in life is trying new stuff. How cool is that? You can do that here. I mean, it’s super easy in the cans. Right? Like the cans are easy and we can do that. But I love this idea of, you can come here and know it’s going to be reliably good. And there’s going to be something for you. But also that there may be like, I wonder what they’ve got this week.

Nima Hadian:                You know it’s worth it. And some of the things that I’m thinking about down the road is getting some of the suppliers to come here and meet people. Talking to people about their beers. Maybe it’s a sampling as they walk in. Maybe it’s a giveaway night. Maybe it’s… I can tell you one thing that we’re going to start on our own social media for Shangy’s is to do ticket giveaways. To do other kinds of giveaways, to bring more people here. Because we believe if somebody comes to the Velodrome they’re going to come again. So I think we just set just like you got me. I think you can get the consumer. They just need to walk in the door.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. 100%.

Nima Hadian:                And I think you’re well on your way. You had a record first week and I’m sure it’s going to keep going, because this is such a neat venue.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. I’m excited. I’m excited to see what we do next. And I can’t thank you enough for just having some vision. Because it’s, for us, like when you’re a little niche sport, people don’t always see it. Right? People are just like… I’ve worked in cycling for a long time and I’ve talked to those big beer brands that you’ve referenced. And all they want to know is how many kegs you are going to move and they don’t see the opportunity to get creative with it. Whereas what I love about what we’re doing together is, I think you understand inherently that cyclists don’t want to drink Michelob Light or no, it’s not Michelob Light, Michelob Ultra. And I can’t tell you the number of times in my professional career where people are like, oh, you must want MC ultra because you’re cyclist.

                                    I’m like, that is the last beer that the cyclists want. A, cyclists aren’t afraid of carbs. So a low carb beer option is typically not what we’re going for. But cycling has such a rich history in Belgium and in Germany and in the European nations, that those European beer brands are such a nice fit for our sport. And I love that you didn’t push Mic Ultra down my throat when we met, because I will tell you honestly, that’s the first time. It’s great that you get who our consumer is and you have an appreciation for it. And I think that, that goes a long way towards making a great partnership.

Nima Hadian:                Were thankful to be allowed to do this. Like I said, little small local beer companies generally, don’t get on venues like this. It says a lot about the venue that you’re willing to give locally owned and small family breweries, the opportunity to be highlighted at a venue like this. So for all parties involved, for the consumer, it’s fantastic. It’s an experience. You get great food, you get great beer and a great setting. And for these breweries, just getting the opportunity to be in front of all of you is an opportunity they don’t get a lot of. So it’s fun. We want to be, continue to be great partners and help educate consumers and get more and more people here.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. Right on. Well, I’m going to say thank you for coming on the pod Nima. And I’m also going to tell all of our listeners that the Weihenstephaner hefewizen is the way to go. If you haven’t had it yet, it is yummy delicious. So with that, this has been the Talk of the T-Town podcast, very special episode focused on our delicious beer list. We hope you tune in again next week when we will return to the topic of cycling. But this one was a good one because we really want you to come out and see what we’re talking about and experience a great night out at the track. Signing off, for the Talk of the T-Town pod. Thanks for listening.

                                    It’s been the Talk of the T-Town podcast with host Joan Hanscom and Andy Lakatosh. Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode, brought to you by B.Braun medical Inc. Head on over to our website, the velodrome.com, where you can check out the show notes and subscribe. So you’ll never miss an episode.

 

 

Posted on

Bob Freed and Dave Pryor: The Last Waltz

Episode 30

“It’s not just get out on your bike and ride. It’s come together as a group.”

Do know someone who’s been affected by cancer? Join Joan this week as she sits down with Bob Freed and Dave Pryor (race director and long time committee member, respectively) as they discuss the Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer (PPRAC). Get the history behind how it all started in 1983, the organizations that the proceeds go to, and the plan for the ‘last waltz’ ride in Lewisburg next summer.

Bob Freed and Dave Prior - Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer
Bob Freed and Dave Pryor – Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer

Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer Website: PPRACRide.org

Thanks to B Braun Medical Inc. for sponsoring the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. BBraun is a global leader in infusion therapy and pain management, B Braun develops, manufactures and markets innovative medical products to the healthcare community. They are also strong believers in supporting the quality of life in the communities where their employees work and live.


Transcript

Joan Hanscom:

Welcome to the Talk of the T-Town podcast where we discuss all things track cycling. Broadcasting from the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, I’m your Host and Executive Director, Joan Hanscom. Along with my co-host, Athletic Director, Andy Lakatosh.

Joan Hanscom:

Welcome to the Talk of the T-Town podcast. I am your host, Joan Hanscom, the Executive Director here at the track, and today, we are going into the community a little bit more. We’re not talking about track cycling. We are talking about other really cool things that are going to be happening here at Valley Preferred. I’m excited to have our guests with us today, Robert Freed, who is the Race Director for the Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer, and Dave Prior, who, oh boy, who does a lot of things. He has this day job and then, he has his side gig, as we hashtag side gig, who does things like Monkey Knife Fight and PA Unpaved, so we wanted to talk to these guys and hear what they’re up to and let everybody know what they’re going to be doing here at the track this summer. Yeah, and how you, our listeners, can get involved.

Joan Hanscom:

With that, let’s start with you Robert Freed, Race Director. You’ve been doing this ride since 1983. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how this thing got started because, by the way, when I didn’t live here, I knew about this ride. I had heard about it. I heard new people… people I know from the industry were doing this ride, and I was always curious about it, but now I know the person behind it, which is cool. Tell us about it. Tell us about its genesis, tell us about you and why you do this big thing every year.

Bob Freed:

Okay. Well, I’m going to start back in 1981. I had a cousin who is a good friend of mine who had fought cancer for much of his life. At the age of 17, he thought he had it conquered. He had developed into a high school runner, and one of his goals was to run a marathon. In the fall of 1981, he and I ran Marine Corp Marathon together. Shortly after that point, his cancer symptoms came back, and he was diagnosed that he was no longer free of cancer. It only took a few months for it to ravage his body and he died in early 1982.

Bob Freed:

I was a young man at that time, and it really hit me. I wanted to do something, so the idea of riding around the perimeter of Pennsylvania to raise money to fight cancer popped into my brain. The event took place or got its origin… I went to my pastor at the time and approached him with the idea and he said he had done some previous cancer fundraisers and he said, “Yeah, I’m onboard with it.” We threw together this thousand-mile ride that roughly followed the perimeter of Pennsylvania. That took place in 1983.

Joan Hanscom:

The rest, they say, is history.

Bob Freed:

That was the origin.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, the origin story. That first year, you raised an insanely large amount of money for, A, that time of… like, back then, for a bike racing or a bike riding event, and tell us a little bit about where the funds go because I think what you do for a non-profit ride is very unique. Not all non-profits do what you do. Explain a little bit to folks where the money goes and how you disburse the funds.

Bob Freed:

Okay. Well, we’re a very grass roots organization. Our committee is basically people who have ridden, have been on this ride for years. The average length of time that our committee has been involved with this ride is 22 years.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s amazing.

Bob Freed:

We have a very dedicated committee and all volunteer. The idea was that we’re going to raise this money, we’re going to keep it grassroots, we’re going to keep our expenses at a minimum. When the ride originated, like I said, my pastor friend got involved, he organized churches around the state that would house us and feed us. That was how we started out. The first ride we had just over 20 riders, and very little support. Before the time of cell phone, no GPS, it was at times a little bit of a shit show just trying to find out where we were going, get addresses. Some of the cue sheets we had were handwritten by me. I had no experience in this, but we made it, we made it back to Allentown in our first year.

Joan Hanscom:

It’s amazing, we forget that now. Right? We’re super spoiled. We have Strava files, we have Map My Ride, Ride with GPS, we have all the technology. We forget that remember like cue sheets. I remember the first, like the first big, organized fun ride thing that I did, I had the cue sheet. There was an art to folding it. You had to have binder clips attached to the cables on your bike that held it in place. Then, you’d flip it over to figure out the next turn and heaven help you if the road wasn’t actually like… there wasn’t a sign on the road where the turn was supposed to be. It used to be really hard.

Bob Freed:

Right

Joan Hanscom:

I forgot about cue sheets until you just said that. Yeah, we used to have… there was a real art to how you folded the paper, and you just have to flip it over, but yeah, that’s crazy because now we just are so spoiled. Like, hey, send me the link to your Garmin file.

Bob Freed:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Dave, if everybody… average life a committee member is 22 years, how long have you been involved and tell us a little bit about how you got on the team?

Dave Prior:

I’m a youngster on this. I’ve been only involved 18 years.

Joan Hanscom:

Slacker.

Dave Prior:

This will be my… I know… this will be my 10th ride coming up. I started 2000… numbers and math are hard, so 2003. It was the Oswego ride. Selene and I, Selene Yeager, who more of you know her than me, we’re married, and we like doing big rides like this. Same thing like you, Joan, we he had heard about it for years. Pat Corpora was a rider. He was president of the book division at Rodale, at the time we both worked at Rodale. He would take his out for his training rides and say, “I’m doing this six-day ride from this and that to raise money. Let’s go out and ride some hills together because it’s always a really hilly ride.” He would tear our legs off of us just… he’s a machine.

Dave Prior:

We got the seed in our head, like, “Oh, wow. Maybe we could do this someday.” That’s [inaudible 00:07:42] big and adventurous and hard and kind of the things we do. We fell into it as a thing we do in our bike rides more so than our fighting cancer advocacy life. We weren’t there yet. We weren’t hit as much by cancer then, but the one hook to us was, at that point, by the time we got involved, Pastor Paul, Bob’s pastor, had moved up to Palmerton and was working at a Holy Trinity Church up there. That’s where the ride then finished every time. That happens to be Selene’s hometown, we had just had our daughter, she was one years old. It’s like, “Well, this is a way we could go back and do a vacation together. Let’s ride every day for our first vacation after having a newborn,” because we can leave our daughter at her parents for the week, and we’ll be back in town right where she is. How perfect is this?

Dave Prior:

It worked out and it was wonderful and amazing, and sitting on Selene’s wheel, granted, I try and do that now still, but on that last day it was that like baby draw like tractor beam trying to see her baby again was what pulled us all the way back. That was amazing. We got to Palmerton and the ride changed our lives. We’ll get into more of the emotional thing, but it is… when you say grassroots and it’s a really tight group sleeping on church and gym floors every night and you really get to know each other, good, bad, and the ugly, but it’s almost all good. It’s all really good people doing amazing cause who have been really touched by this.

Dave Prior:

At that point in our lives, early 30s, [inaudible 00:09:18] shape of our lives. We could do this all day. We could ride this. There was a lot of people on this ride we saw on the start and like, “There’s no way they’re going to finish day one. How is this going to be possible? This is hard. Don’t they know this is hard? They’re in trouble”, but they did it. They rode every day, and it was exhausting and brutal and they were empty at the end of it. They refueled at night on the church dinner, and then they got up the next day and did it again. Then, at some point then during the week, they’d tell us why they were going through all this because this ride is so much easier than the cancer that their spouse or parent or family member or [inaudible 00:09:51] friend was dealing with. They were just motivated to do something and raise this money and just fight back in some way. Then, we were hooked. Now, this is the only event that we just do every time that [inaudible 00:10:02].

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. I think that is something that you can’t underestimate the power of. People, sometimes in the light of something like cancer or another horrible disease, you feel powerless. You are at the mercy of medical science, you are at the mercy of what somebody’s body is doing at the cellular level, but if you can go out and do something that you feel is moving the ball forward in some way, shape or form, it’s incredibly powerfully motivating. For me, I’ve had that same feeling about doing the MS ride. My mother had MS, so when I would go out and ride, there was this special extra motivation for me because I was like, “There’s nothing I can do for my mother, but I can pedal for this cause and hope that we help somebody else.”

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it’s a powerful motivator and you start to see what the impacts on real lives that that has. Racing is cool, let’s not kid ourselves. Bike racing is cool, it’s fun, but it’s sort of… it’s driven through achieving something. Right? Whether the process or going faster, and something like this for something bigger than your self-achievement. It’s for something bigger and I think that’s what drives an event that started in 1983 to still be going on now in 2021.

Dave Prior:

Right. It’s raised over two million dollars to fight cancer.

Joan Hanscom:

Which is an incredible number, especially given the number of people that do the ride every year. You’ve kept it small. This is not something like going way back to the Ride for the Roses that Lance Armstrong used to do where there was like a gazillion people that came out and did the ride to raise money. This is a small group. This is a small… you deliberately keep it to a small number of riders. I mean, not small. It’s not five, but it’s a small group of riders, so the fact that you’re raising so much money is really quite incredible, I think. That speaks to your dedication. Where did you get your riders is the question? How do you get to the group that you have roll out on the road every year?

Bob Freed:

Well, I’ll address that a little bit. Back when we started, it was actually difficult to get riders. The first few rides we had to advertise, we were in Bicycling, we were in bike shops all around, and gradually, as kind of word of mouth, a lot of local people got involved with the event.

Bob Freed:

Just let me go back and go back to the original ride, which was a thousand miles, two weeks. That was going to be the end of it for me. It was just planned as a one-year ride. That’s all that I had in mind. During the planning phases, my father was diagnosed with cancer, and he passed away the day we returned on the first ride. We decided, hey, we better keep this going, and that’s how it evolved. We decided let’s go 500 miles rather than a thousand. That would be an easier way to recruit riders, I think. It’s hard for anyone to take two weeks off consecutively in their life.

Bob Freed:

We went to a 500-mile ride, and we also went to a point-to-point ride. We started locations outside of Lehigh Valley. Any place 500 miles north, south, east or west basically we started, Ottawa, Montreal, West Virginia, Ohio, all over the place, Vermont, so this grassroots thing it became very personal to a lot of people. As word of mouth and people became involved, it became very easy to fill our spots. One of the things that we wanted to do was to keep this an intimate experience where we all got to know each other throughout the week. Every night we have a meal provided for us and following the meal, we have a program where riders talk about their experiences with cancer. It really drew our group together and when people join our group, it takes them a couple days to figure out that this is something special that is going on within this community. Now we fill up very easily.

Joan Hanscom:

Yes, I can imagine. I can imagine. Like I said, I mean, I had heard about it when I was living very far away from Pennsylvania, so it is definitely something that folks recognize. One of the beneficiaries of your ride is Dreams Come True. Can you talk to us about that, what they do?

Bob Freed:

Go ahead, Dave.

Dave Prior:

They are a local organization, also very, very grassroots. A couple of them running the show. It’s one of those places where they help terminally ill children fulfill a dream. It’s go to Hawaii, it’s go to Disney, go to a sport event and meet a third baseman of the Phillies that’s their hero, a variety of things like that. Children who are in it in very difficult, hard ways need something, a bright star to look forward to, and this is the group that pulls that together. We help raise money for them to help make those dream possible. 15% of all the money we raise goes to that organization, and Bob, how much does that tend to add up to? A lot.

Bob Freed:

I was just trying to run some of those numbers through my head. I think it’s over $400,000 that we’ve donated to Dream Come True.

Joan Hanscom:

Which is astonishing. Then, the bulk, the 85% of that fundraising goes to American Cancer Society, so I think that we’re trying to hammer home here is that a hundred percent of the monies raised goes to the cancer charities of your choice, which was where I was going way back when we first started talking about it. There’s been so much controversy about some of these fundraising rides where like suddenly a lot of this money is routed to administrative expense or it’s routed to overhead, and I think that this is… it’s incredible testament to the work you guys do, the work that the committee does to pull this off, and like you said, sleeping on church floors.

Joan Hanscom:

I’m an even director and I have been for 20 years, so I have a full appreciation of what it takes to organize something like that, but I think a lot of people don’t know what goes into route design, what goes into finding places to sleep, finding people to feed you, so that meals are taken care of, like you said. Then, I think that that’s something that I love to peel the curtain back on that and let people appreciate what goes into this. I mean, you both do a big, heavy lift on this thing. Talk a little bit about what that is. Talk about what… yes, you’re not using paper maps anymore. You’re probably using some more sophisticated equipment to make your route.

Dave Prior:

We still give out cue sheets. We still do the cue sheets.

Joan Hanscom:

There you go. For all you listeners who want to throwback to binder clips on your… people don’t even have cables on the front of their bike anymore.

Bob Freed:

Wow. Weird. I don’t know how they do it.

Joan Hanscom:

Where do you clip it now? Handlebar bag with the thing? Yeah. Talk about the work that goes into this and I think this is interesting to know because your ride is not annual, it’s biannual, and I believe that the biannual thing is because it is so hard to organize something like this. Talk about the work that goes into making this thing.

Bob Freed:

Well, if we go back to the beginning again. We decided after the initial ride to do it again, and we thought, “Man, this was really hard putting this together.” I had never been on an organized event before. I’d never run an organized event before, but I learned quickly that recruiting committee members and dividing up responsibilities is how this thing would be done. Every other year, to help out the people who planned, so they wouldn’t get burnt out, plus we had a child every other year for the first couple years, so that helped balance it out a little bit, but what has developed is a committee where people just dive in, everyone has their kind of niche in the planning.

Bob Freed:

Dave, I’m just going to say, Dave does a lot of committee work. He has hands in a bunch of things with it, but for instance, Dave would do mapping. We have another committee who would work on the lodging in city A, another person who would work on food in city B, another person who would work on the social media side of it. As it’s evolved, I’ve just more or less have become an overseer, I think, and the committee is really who gets the work done.

Joan Hanscom:

I think you mentioned an interesting thing that folks should appreciate, too. You know what makes things… when you’re an event organizer and you run your event in the same place every year, it gets real easy. Right? You have the same existing relationship with the sports marketing group, you have the same relationship with the hotels, the tourism board, whatever, you have a relationship established in the place because you go there every year. You guys don’t do that. You make it extra hard on yourself because you do a different route every year, which means every year you’re seeing new roads, doing something new and cool, so it’s interesting because you’re doing a different route, but it’s also a much bigger lift because you’ve got to find new supporters along each route, which has got to make life a little bit harder.

Joan Hanscom:

Dave, you’re always exploring new roads then. Tell us about that. Tell us why that decision to go somewhere new every year and help people understand what goes into that every year.

Bob Freed:

I’ll start, Dave, then you can finish. One of the ideas for starting at a different place every year was we wanted to keep riders returning. It’s kind of like this family, and we didn’t want to ride from Vermont to the Lehigh Valley every year for five consecutive years. We just thought we would lose those riders, so we decided a different point of start every other year and new scenery every other year. That was a way of enticing riders to come back again. Dave, why don’t you tell them a little bit about how you find [crosstalk 00:21:42]

Dave Prior:

Usually, we have a wrap up after a ride in September, talk about how it went, things we would alter and change, things we might help with all of it, but then really start thinking about, all right, where next. Where should we start? Often, the people who have been there 20 or more years will say, “You know, we haven’t been to this part of Vermont in forever. We haven’t started in the south in a long time, in West Virginia or things like that,” but we kind of have the radius of where we could start a ride from.

Dave Prior:

In previous ones, we would try and get in as many states as possible because we thought that would help tell the story to when we’re doing fundraising because every rider has to raise thousands of dollars by themselves and tell the story about [inaudible 00:22:25] ride they’re going to do and why people should support them. We found over the years that really the story is we’re doing something remarkable to fight cancer and there’s enough people now who are in the fight to go, “I will support this.” You could start in Allentown and do a six-day ride and come back to Allentown and I think we’d get the same amount of donations and financial support we need to go from here to here to here, but it does kind of help with that. It helps recruit riders that say, “Wow, I’m riding from Maine down to Pennsylvania.” It’s looking at those sort of things.

Dave Prior:

Then, the hardest part is finding places that we could stay every night. Finding a place that has a large enough school with a gym floor where we can set up all of our air mattresses or a church that would have that sort of space, that would have showers. They could also have… usually, we kind of draw from churches, social organizations like VFWs and Lions Clubs for meals, and some sort of place that has… a high school and a middle school, so they would have enough space. Usually, those schools have enough gym space and adults sized showers. We have… I think we stayed in an elementary school once and [inaudible 00:23:31] showers.

Joan Hanscom:

The toilets are like four inches off the floor.

Dave Prior:

The toilets are [crosstalk 00:23:34] yeah. Beggars can’t be choosers, but-

Joan Hanscom:

Quads get a good workout.

Dave Prior:

… [crosstalk 00:23:40] shower. Those schools don’t have showers, so we didn’t have a shower there. Then, getting super creative, like, but there’s a YMCA a half mile down there, so we can walk down there and get to use their showers. It’s that sort of scrambling. There’s a group of six that do the housing lodging committee and then, while they’re doing that, then there’s also trying to find meals along the way that we can get at. That’s the hard part.

Dave Prior:

Finding roads in between, I [crosstalk 00:24:06] it, is not easy, but it’s a lot easier than finding the actual places who will put a group of 85 to a hundred people up for free or minimal cost, so that we can keep that hundred percent fundraising level.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. I think that-

Dave Prior:

That’s the hard work.

Joan Hanscom:

… that actually goes to where we are right now, right, and what the challenges the ride is facing in the COVID times when you couldn’t put 80 people in a gym to rest for the night because we couldn’t be indoors. Talk a little bit about how COVID impacted the event and what the impacts of that are.

Bob Freed:

Well, as we work through this whole process, and we had originally planned our next ride for 2021, we were just kind of on the edge of our seats as to whether we could have this in July of 2021. In January, when things were still closed up, vaccines weren’t accessible yet, we made the decision to push off our 2021 ride to 2022, so that… looking back at it now, maybe we could have done it this summer, but I feel very relieved that by 2022, everything is… not everything, but it’s going to be much more normalized.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Bob Freed:

Our ride, it’s so social. It’s not just get out on your bike and ride. It’s come together as a group. Go out after you get riding and we can sit and have a beer in a local tavern, meet together at night and share. I didn’t feel that this year we would be able to do that, so we just pushed it off.

Joan Hanscom:

Well, there’s a financial impact, too, though. Right? Finding people to… Everybody’s been impacted by this, so I’m sure the non-profits that have supported you along the route, or types of non-profits that have supported you along the route, they’re supporting other things right now because people were hurt by this. Getting folks to pony up food for 80 people had to be challenging. Right? It’s an allocation of resources question, I’m sure. Like, it can’t be easy when people are supporting folks who maybe have lost their jobs or local restaurants who’ve closed or… I think there’s probably a balance to sometimes would probably be psyched to have 80 folks roll in because there’s going to be a positive effect of a economic impact for the community, but others are going to be like, “We’re not resourced to put you up right now,” I’m sure.

Dave Prior:

It was already being challenging before COVID. We had already been looking at ways we were going to alter and change things up because it was getting really, really hard to find that throughout the state. Trying to keep on quiet, safe roads means you’re going through quiet, safe towns. We’re not riding into Buffalo, New York. We’re trying to avoid a city like Buffalo. We don’t want to ride in and out of there, so trying to find towns on the outskirts and they’re having hard times, too. I mean, it’s… without delving into politics, it’s been-

Joan Hanscom:

Yes.

Dave Prior:

Obviously, if you watch anything, it’s rough out there for a lot of towns, so it’s been hard the last say three or four rides to really pull all that together. Sometimes, it’s like that week of we’ve actually found a meal.

Joan Hanscom:

Right, right.

Bob Freed:

It’s been, the last 20 years, it’s become progressively more difficult, and the people who are responsible for finding that lodging and food, especially the food I think, it’s become very, very difficult. We’re in our planning and we have town A is good, now we’re looking for a hundred miles away, 90 miles away for town B. They strike out at every place in town B, so now we’re looking at another town that’s a hundred, 90 miles away for day two, and it kind of burned out the committee a little bit.

Joan Hanscom:

I think the good takeaway is you found a way to pivot. Right? You’ve got a creative solution. Right? You’ve got something going for this summer as a precursor to… well, let’s break the news. Next year is the last one we think. Is the plan for the final hurrah for next year? But you’ve got stuff planned for this summer to kick off that and it’s got a… I think you’ve found a creative solution, so talk about this summer. Talk about what you’re doing. Let’s not be a downer and talk about how hard it is. Let’s talk about the cool stuff you’ve got coming.

Bob Freed:

All right. Well, let me give you a little backstory on the direction we’re going now. Last ride… well, I’m getting a little older and this is pretty time consuming in my life. My wife has been support from the first ride to the last ride. It’s getting more challenging for her, and I was kind of having some just thoughts about where are we going to go with this. Last ride, 2019, pretty much everyone on the committee came to me privately and said, “You know, Bob, I think this is the last ride for me.” At the end of that ride I’m thinking, “I guess this was it.” This was the grand hurrah, but we didn’t even really have a grand finale.

Bob Freed:

Dave and I brainstormed a little bit and we said, “Well, let’s see if I can get this committee back because I am not going to recruit 10 brand-new committee members and put them into place and try to do this ride as it was. Let’s do something for our last hurrah.” We decided to make it hopefully a little bit of a reunion ride where we can get a lot of past riders, maybe some people who are not into cycling quite as much anymore, but we decided to pick one location, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and do three days of riding with multiple routes every day for multiple ability riders.

Bob Freed:

In the past, this ride was city A to city B, and it’s 90 miles and it’s 8,000 feet of climbing. Some days are really a bitch, and that kind of kept some people from joining us, some of the past riders who are getting older and maybe not putting as many miles in. I got one comment last ride that said, “Please, can we do less miles and have more smiles?” That became our mantra for 2021. I am stepping down, our committee is stepping down, but it’s not necessarily the last perimeter ride. We’re handing it over to the American Cancer Society. We’re not sure which direction they’re going to go with it. Are they going to go back to a six day, 500-mile ride? Are they going to do… Like you said, finding new venues every year, maybe they’ll go to a ride across the state where you hit state colleges and you do that same ride every year, so you sort of have everything in place year to year, or maybe they’ll do it as a three day event as we’re going to do 2022.

Bob Freed:

Dave, do you want to talk about our kickoff ride that we are getting geared up for?

Dave Prior:

We realized that we were already missing each other through all this. We talk about how things happen in the pandemic. We were fortunate not to be planning a ride last year or this year really once we decided it wasn’t going to work, so we haven’t really had that kind of hardship, but we were really missing each other. We did miss sleeping on gym floors with each other and those connections at night and even the sound of someone deflating their air mattress at 4:30 in the morning because they need two hours to get ready for the ride apparently. I still don’t understand that, but I miss it now.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s hilarious. Less sleep is better.

Dave Prior:

Right, right. Sure. I love you. You know who you are, and I do love you. We decided that… and also when we had Monkey Knife Fight in the spring, we were able to put that event on for 300 people and a lot of the people who volunteer for that are perimeter riders and perimeter community members. It was our chance to finally see each other again and how great it was to be either riding or helping out people or just being involved with something. It’s like, everyone came back [inaudible 00:33:06] thank you for doing that [inaudible 00:33:07] through that, thank you for inviting me to help out, I had such a great day, it was so great to be back involved.

Dave Prior:

We had already been thinking about getting together this July for when we would have ridden, the start of the ride, just to do something, and then was like, “Well, let’s do something, something. Let’s build off of this momentum. Let’s be excited.” Momentum is moving forward by then, that was early April. You could already see momentum was going forward with vaccinations and with what’s capable to do outside still, what’s capable to do in settings that aren’t indoors. We can pull all this together and we have a great venue we can pull this together at, which is the velodrome with the food and the beverages and places to gather, the patio, parking, which is always hard for events. We can invite all of us back together and go for a ride.

Dave Prior:

We know all of these amazing routes that go out of Trexlertown and come back. With that kind of setup, we could then also invite all of our friends who’ve always said, “I’ve always wanted to do a perimeter ride, but I could never pull it off or I’m not sure. Maybe next time.” Let’s invite them out for a ride and let’s get them to see what this is a little bit like, talk to them about it during the day, gather around with some food and beer afterwards, and talk them into coming out in 2022 for something that is more doable for everyone and it’s not six days across the state or six days… I think one day [inaudible 00:34:28] six days, 600 miles and thousands and thousands [inaudible 00:34:32] of climbing. It won’t be quite like that, so I think we will be able to get more people to come out together and have a day back together again. We are moving in that direction. The state is opening up limitations at the end of this month, so by July 31st barring… things happen. We know how to change on the turn of a dime if we need to.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah.

Dave Prior:

We’ve gotten very good at that, so let’s see if we can stay good at moving forward now.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. I think we just opened for business here this week. Actually, we had our first Tuesday night race-

Dave Prior:

Wow. Hey.

Joan Hanscom:

… this week and we had our first Saturday race last Saturday. What you were talking about is so real. There is just an appetite to be out seeing people and doing things safely. I think we are getting to the point where we are doing things safely, but we’ve never seen a turnout like we had on Tuesday night in years. People were out, they were buying food, they were having drinks, they were sitting… we had people lined around the rail. It was fantastic. There was such a good vibe on Tuesday night here and I think that’s what you’re touching on. You’re touching on this like, we need community.

Dave Prior:

Yes.

Joan Hanscom:

We’ve all been sort of in our weird, lonely little bubbles for a year, and man, there is an appetite to get out and just be with our people. I think you’re getting the band back together and that’s amazing. You’re inviting more people into the band.

Dave Prior:

Yes.

Joan Hanscom:

I think, Dave, you and I have had so many conversations about this now. We are at this incredible moment I think, it’s just this incredible period of opportunity where we can open the community up. We can invite people in, and we can use the thing we all love to grow our community. We all love bikes, so let’s use this thing to grow our community to do good things. You guys are doing good things. You’re doing really great work and we here at the track, are so excited to be part of it. Right? We’re excited to invite people who may never have seen velodrome racing but have done your ride every year or every other year, to come here and see what we do and be part of our community, and we get to join yours. What an incredible inflection point we’re at. Right? We are at a point where we can… because there’s so much excitement for getting community back together, because there’s so much excitement about being outdoors together, we’re at this great, incredibly powerful moment if we capitalize on it.

Joan Hanscom:

I know I’m really excited to have you guys come because we can be… it’s like the first day of kindergarten when you make new friends. That’s how I look at this. I’m like, we’re the first day of kindergarten. We’re going to make new friends. This is cool. I’m not going to be nervous like… I tell this story all the time. I was the most high-strung kindergartner ever. My mother was a grammar school teacher, and my brother was much older. He would come home and have homework, so my mother, to keep me entertained, would give me homework. Therefore, by the first… the night before kindergarten, I was a nervous wreck because I was worried about being able to count to a hundred forwards and backwards and say my ABCs front and back.

Dave Prior:

Wow. Still can’t do that.

Joan Hanscom:

My mother’s like… yeah, no. I can’t do it now either. My mother was like, “You’re an idiot.” She’s like, “The other kids are going to be eating glue. You shouldn’t worry about counting to a hundred.” There is that sort of anxiety, but there was also this thrill of, oh, I’m going to meet other people and it’s going to be so exciting.

Joan Hanscom:

I think that that’s where we are right now with bikes. There’s so many people with bikes and it’s like the first day of kindergarten.

Dave Prior:

That’s true.

Joan Hanscom:

Let’s meet them all and let’s do all the cool things together. That’s such a moment, so we’re excited you’re coming.

Dave Prior:

We’re excited that you’re having us.

Bob Freed:

Yeah. I go back to the very opening of the velodrome and racing there a little tiny bit, but also attending Friday night races. The velodrome has always been a hub of community of cyclists and runners in the valley. You’d go there on a Friday night, and you always run into people who you haven’t seen for a little while, a year, a month, but people who you see out on the road, people who you race against, people who are just bicycle enthusiasts, and the velodrome has always been that hub in that community. That’s one of the reasons why we are so happy to start our July 31st event at the velodrome and partner with you and help bring in some people who will be at the velodrome in the future, I’m sure.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Tell folks what you’re going to be doing. You’re going to be setting up in the plaza though before that, before the 31st, so that people can learn about how to participate and what they can do. Talk a little bit about that. What’s the plan? We don’t need the exact specifics, but you’re going to come out, you’re going to share some information with folks on Friday, so if people are listening, the moral of the story is, if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, “Well, this sounds like a cool thing to get involved with.”

Joan Hanscom:

You’re going to be out or people from your committees are going to be out on a Friday night and you’re going to promote participation. They can meet you, they can talk to you, they can find out how to get involved, and then, on the 31st, you’re going to do a ride here, which is cool because that’s a weekend we have UCI racing, so you all are going to go out and ride bikes while we, Maura and I, are going to be working hard on producing track racing. When you finish, you’re going to come back and you’re going to have some great food from the Sticky Pig, you’re going to get some beers from the Shangy’s Craft Beer Handle Bar Café, which is awesome because, by the way, we’ve got a great assortment of beers. Putting in the plug right now for the bar.

Dave Prior:

Can’t wait.

Joan Hanscom:

You’re going to hang out and watch bike racing. Right? Who doesn’t want to do that? Listeners, who doesn’t want to do that? Who doesn’t want to ride bikes and then, watch bikes and eat great food and have some beer?

Dave Prior:

Hang out with good people.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Hang out with good people.

Dave Prior:

What a perfect day. What a perfect day. We’re going to set up… we haven’t figure out, again, not finalizing plans, but having some Friday nights beforehand, having space there just to chat with people, though I know in just walking around with a Perimeter Ride shirt on, we’re going to meet other former PPRAC riders and people who, “Oh, yeah, this might be the year I do it now.” It’s going to be great to be able to just be at the track and talking to people, just walking around in turns and doing that. A little bit first there, but also, occasional nights we’ll do stuff there.

Dave Prior:

We do have the website set up on PPRACRide.org, that’s P-P-R-A-C Ride dot org, and there’s a button for register for the kickoff and that has information on how to get to the kickoff ride is what we’re calling this. We’ll be there and it’s going to be $30. We’re just covering some minor expenses to be out on course and that will get you a [inaudible 00:41:44]-

Joan Hanscom:

Woo hoo.

Dave Prior:

… an aid station, and insurance, that’s for us.

Joan Hanscom:

Always good.

Dave Prior:

[crosstalk 00:41:52]

Bob Freed:

If you want to register for the 2022 Perimeter Ride, we’ll waive the fee for the July 31st ride.

Dave Prior:

Yes, [crosstalk 00:42:02].

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, there’s the hook right there.

Dave Prior:

Commit to the big one. Those three day [crosstalk 00:42:07] and then we’ll come back and, yeah, like you said, the Sticky Pig will be open, the Shangy’s Beer thing will be open, so riders can buy some food and buy a beer. Then, we’ll come out to the patio and we’ll talk about the day, we’ll talk about next year, we’ll talk about anything in between.

Joan Hanscom:

Nice.

Dave Prior:

We’re just looking forward [inaudible 00:42:23] together again.

Joan Hanscom:

Then, let’s jump ahead to 2022 and just you’ve sort of teased it a little bit. It’s going to be based out of Lewisburg. Right?

Dave Prior:

Right.

Joan Hanscom:

Which is where Dave, you do a lot of rad things, and which I’m really looking forward to. Then-

Dave Prior:

Right. You’re signed up for our big event this year.

Joan Hanscom:

I’m so excited. It’s so exciting to be signed up for things and then they’re going to happen. Right? This is amazing. Yes, for our listeners, I’m signed up for Unpaved. All of my teammates are doing it with me, and we have not been able to do big events together, so we’re all super excited to come out for Unpaved. You’re doing the last ride or the last-

Dave Prior:

Right. The last waltz.

Bob Freed:

The last waltz.

Joan Hanscom:

The last waltz in Lewisburg. When? How? What do people need to know? They can go to the website, but give them the 20-

Dave Prior:

The website will be there, so just a quick backstory on that. As we were deciding what to do for our last hurrah, last waltz, and where to base it out of, clearly, I’ve got great relationships with the great people in the Susquehanna River Valley and tourism. That’s the first place I went once restrictions lifted last summer was up to that region. Joan, you and I have talked about what a great area this is to ride bikes in. That is also in a absolute beautiful great place to ride bikes in, so we just wanted some place a little… we thought about having it here, but we ride here a lot. Let’s do something different. Let’s have a weekend out there together and the town is opening their arms for us, so we’ll be staying at Bucknell University dorms if you choose to, or you can choose to stay in a hotel. There’s a lot of great hotels up around there.

Dave Prior:

We won’t have gym floors and air mattresses, so that one has been ruled out, unless you want to book your own church floor. Feel free. We’re not getting involved in that again this time. You can choose your own lodging, but it will be based all out of there and we’ll have a ride on… we’ll get together on Thursday night for our first rider meeting, and then we’ll have a ride on Friday. Should be all road and probably in the 80-ish mile with options lower than that. We’re still working on the routes for that, but I think 80 is kind of our long spot, long-distance rides for this. Then, on Saturday, same thing, but in a different area. Say this time we’ll go head to the west instead of the east, and also do an 80-ish mile road ride. We’ll also look to doing a gravel ride on that Saturday that could be an option for riders. I happen to know some great gravel roads in that area that we use for Unpaved at Susquehanna River Valley, so we might treat some riders to check that out if they’re so inclined.

Dave Prior:

Then, have a party Saturday night and it will be a party. We have a venue for that at Bucknell and we’ll have bands, and we’ll have food and drink, and we’ll have a lot of getting back together. Maybe we’ll play The Last Waltz songs or something. We’re still trying to get Robbie Robertson to come out for it. Then, Sunday, we’ll do a shorter ride, maybe to the north that time and maybe in the 60 mile-ish range and just hug each other at the end of it and see what we do after that.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s rad.

Dave Prior:

Did I cover everything, Bob?

Bob Freed:

That sounds pretty much what we’re doing, Dave.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s rad.

Dave Prior:

It’s in mid-July next year, 2022, July 14th to the 17th.

Bob Freed:

14th through the 17th. Yep.

Joan Hanscom:

Nice.

Dave Prior:

I’m looking for [inaudible 00:46:02]… we will have a one-day ride option as well, so a rider can just do the Saturday ride if they’re so inclined. Registration is $375 for the three day ride and that will get you the ride and the cue sheets and also, the devices, how to get [inaudible 00:46:19] the GPS. We’ll do that, too.

Joan Hanscom:

The concession to the modern era.

Dave Prior:

Yeah. An aid station, and then you can also choose how you want to do food and lodging in Lewisburg. It can be a food plan they can buy into. You can, again, do dorms if you want to buy into that or you can stay at whatever beautiful hotel if you’d rather do that. Those are options. Then, riders have to raise $1500, a minimum of $1500 to participate, so if you sign up, you’ve got a year from now to raise at least $1500. Most of our riders raise more than that and that’s always a challenge. We’ll have incentives for that. The more you raise, the more likely be to win great prizes from Giant Bikes and other great sponsors that we have. [crosstalk 00:47:06]

Bob Freed:

I [crosstalk 00:47:06] give a shout out to Giant Bikes. Last year we developed a relationship with them, and they’ve come across with lots of items to raffle away and we gave away one Giant, a very nice Giant bike last year. We kind of figured out a raffle system for our highest fundraisers and one person was drawn and received a nice Giant bike.

Joan Hanscom:

Nice. See, you do good things, and you get good things.

Dave Prior:

Just to finish that up, the one day ride is to be a hundred dollars-

Joan Hanscom:

Oh, okay.

Dave Prior:

… no matter what distance you choose. If you choose just to ride Saturday… but you also still have to raise money. That’s part of the PPRAC mindset, it’s part of who we are. Then, you have to raise at least $500 to participate.

Joan Hanscom:

Right on. Right on. I know speaking for the Velodrome, we are very excited to play our little part in all of this. We’re excited to see you and all of your riders here at the track and I want to thank you for giving us some of your time to talk about it. We are striving so hard to become a true cycling center here for all disciplines, and that includes rides like this one. We are very, very grateful to have you give us of your time today, but also, that you’re going to come here and do some cool stuff with us over the summer. Thank you very much both for joining us this morning and, yeah, this has been the Talk of the T-Town, and you all should go and sign up for this very, very cool event because it’s a good cause, it’s done right, and it’s done by super good people. Thanks so much for listening.

Joan Hanscom:

This has been the Talk of the T-Town podcast with host Joan Hanscom and Andy Lakatosh. Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode, brought to you by B. Braun Medical Inc. head on over to our website, TheVelodrome.com where you can check out the show notes and subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode.

 

Posted on

Selene Yeager: You Can Do Rad Sh*t

Selene Yeager - Author and Athlete

Episode 29

“I try to live my life by doing things that make me feel inspired. If something sparks my imagination, then I’m like, I should pursue that. Right?

Is there something in the back of your mind that you’ve always wanted to do? According to Selene, you regret the things that you don’t do, not the things you’ve done most of the time. Join Joan this week as she sits down with Selene Yeager– fit chick, friend, and fellow podcaster. They talk doing rad things, how Selene got into bike racing, how diets affect men and women differently, how she got her podcast started, and a plethora of other topics!

Selene Yeager – Author and Athlete

Thanks to B Braun Medical Inc. for sponsoring the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. BBraun is a global leader in infusion therapy and pain management, B Braun develops, manufactures and markets innovative medical products to the healthcare community. They are also strong believers in supporting the quality of life in the communities where their employees work and live.


Selene Yeager

Instagram: @fitchick3 @feistymenopause

Facebook: @FitChickSeleneYeager @feistymenopause

Twitter: @Fitchick3

Websites: seleneyeager.com

Live Feisty Podcast Episode with Dr Stacey Sims https://livefeisty.com/hit-play-not-pause-a-feisty-menopause-podcast-breaking-down-the-science-with-dr-stacy-sims-episode-1/

Transcript

Welcome to The Talk of the T-Town Podcast, where we discuss all things track cycling. Broadcasting from the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, I’m your host and your executive director, Joan Hanscom, along with my co-host, athletic director Andy Lakatosh.

Welcome to the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. I’m the executive director of the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, and I am joined tonight by a very rad friend of mine, Selene Yeager, who is I guess known for being the fit chick from bicycling magazine, but more recently, and I think much more interestingly known for her Hit Play Not Pause podcast, which is incredibly rad. And she’s also a completely badass mountain biker, gravel racer, person of inspiration. And so I’ve been wanting to have her on the pod for quite some time, and I’m thrilled that she is joining us here tonight.

I’m stoked to be here. I hope I live up to all that.

It’s like the podcaster talking to the podcaster.

I know, it’s really funny. I’ll try not to reverse roles-

It’s very-

… as one does.

No, I think that’s going to be funny. I was talking to another friend of mine who’s trying to resuscitate his podcast, and he’s like, “Will you be on my podcast if I’m on your podcast?” And I’m like, “Sure, or we could just jointly use this one podcast,” and he was like, “Yeah.”

The podcast wealth is real.

Yeah. So you’re the first, but you’re probably not going to be the last, where we cross pod. Is that-

That’s good. No, that’s a good thing.

It’s going to be a new thing, cross-podding. But so Selene, I wanted you to be on the pod… We were talking about this before we started to record. Because we are here at the track trying to inspire more women to do rad things, and here at the track that may take the form of racing on the track. But I think it’s more just that vibe of you can do stuff that you might not have done before. And you’re doing that, right from your podcast, on down through your whole career. So tell our listeners who are track people perhaps who don’t know about you, when did you start racing bikes?

When did I start racing bikes? I started racing bikes… I think the first bike race I signed up for was in 1996, right after I got to Rhode L. And people were like, “Oh, you should race,” because I had been doing the lunch ride at that time, and I honestly didn’t know people raced bikes. That’s how naïve I was about all that. I was like, “I’m not a bike racer.” Like, “You should try it,” and I was like, “Okay,” and I won it, and it went from there. But yeah, it was 1990.

So without dating, right, without putting a specific… you claim that you are a late bloomer to bike racing.

Yes.

So how old roughly were you when you started racing bicycles?

Oh that’s hard. That would require me to whip out my phone and do the math on that, because I can’t do that. Well let me think. I started at Rhode L when I was… I was probably like 27ish. I want to say 27ish.

So not a super late bloomer.

Not super late to that kind of like, oh, I’m going to line up and do a 5K level bike race, right? But when I officially went pro I was 40.

Now see that is very interesting.

Yeah.

You did it with another very rad woman, Rebecca Rush, right? Like both of you racing at that age.

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Like-

She came from the adventure racing background and well, always told this story how much she hated racing bikes, because in adventure racing, the bike’s just a burden. You have to carry it. It’s terrible. I don’t know if anyone’s washed them. They never actually ride them very much. They’re just awful. Then-

Crossing like rope ladders and all sorts of horrible things, yeah.

Right, right, just carrying this-

Big heavy bike.

Yes, this albatross. But no, she started racing professionally because adventure racing kind of went south and she didn’t know what else to do. And she just picked up the bike and did… she had good endurance, so she did some endurance events and kind of taught herself how to mountain bike. And yeah, she was 38 when she started that.

How old were you guys when you did… you did the Cape Epic together, correct?

I did the Cape Epic with my teammate at the time, Sheryl Sorenson, and that was 2011. So I would’ve been 41.

  1. Which-

Yeah, or 42. Math is hard.

I wonder how many other 41-year-old women have done the Cape Epic.

I never even thought about it.

Like I did-

Rebecca and I were like… I don’t know. We did Israel in-

That’s the one I was thinking of.

… 2015. We were in our mid-40s when we did Brazil.

Right. Which-

Yeah, and won, and came in 2nd overall, and she just had a terrible day with food poisoning and Israel, it sort of set us back, but yeah.

But the moral of the story is that 40-year-old women can do rad shit is the moral-

100%.

Where I was going with all of that is that that’s amazing, right, because like I watch Red Bull TV over the weekend because the Nove Mesto was on and of course that’s super fun to watch. And you see 22-year-olds and you see… it’s inspiring to see the new generation of young racers coming up.

For sure.

But it’s also cool to think about-

But women, especially in the endurance space… I mean, you might not see as many Red Bull women starting at 40. That’s not likely. That doesn’t mean they can’t learn to downhill. I have a friend, she started mountain biking at 63.

Which is so cool.

I met her, and she got… she did it all right. She got lessons, she got coaches. She went the whole thing. She’s still taking clinics with Sue Hayward, who is a very rad professional down-hiller from back in the day. And she’s learning to huck. I mean, she’s going down stuff that would be terrifying to 90% of women.

Yeah, and I think that’s amazing.

And I she’s probably 70 now. 69, yeah.

And that’s how I want to be. I want to be 80 years old and still doing cool shit on bikes, is… Like I don’t want to-

Yeah, it’s funny. That’s what got me inspired, is when I moved to this area, I did it for the job of Rhode L, right? And before that, I would not have considered myself… I played sports in high school, I played field hockey, but I also waitressed and smoked cigarettes. You know what I mean? I wasn’t like the most healthy person in college, and then I stopped smoking when I started riding a bike again because I was like, “These two things don’t go well together.” But triathlon was big at the time. That was the mid-’90s to the late ’90s, and I went to my first triathlon in Bridgeton, New Jersey, and I was sitting behind a woman who had 83 on her calf. And I was like, “Wow. Like you can do this until you’re 83?” Something clicked. I was like, yeah, this is… There was something in that that I wanted for myself. I hadn’t even put any other thought to it, but it registered.

Yeah, and I see… Where I used to live, I would see there was an old couple, and they had matching titanium bikes, and they always had like matching kit, and I thought, they’re doing it right. This is a thing that we can do and do at a high level, for a very long time. I think the other really cool thing is that it’s never too late to try a new version of the thing, right? Like-

Absolutely, and actually, that’s longevity in sport in my mind. It’s hard to keep doing the same thing, if for no other reason because you’ve done it and done it and done it, right? And I think it’s good sometimes to try the new thing because there’s nowhere to go but up from your starting point there. But I just interviewed Julie Young for my show, and she’s mid-50s, and she won her age group on Leadville in single speed.

Good lord.

In her early 50s. And it’s still [inaudible 00:08:24]. I mean, I could go on and on and on. Like women have a lot of longevity, especially in the endurance space. And they’re very good on bikes too. There’s a lot of lower body strength. So yeah, 100%. When I was racing any of those racers we never worried about 20-year-olds. Maybe late 30s they have more miles in their legs, they’re more of a threat. But you need that experience, you need that deep, deep base and that takes years.

Right, right. I love that, the deep base really… it’s a thing.

It’s a thing, it’s a thing.

It’s a thing, and you don’t, I think, necessarily appreciate that it’s a thing until you step away and come back and you realize it’s still there, and it’s a powerful thing. You’ve also written extensively.

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

You have ROAR that you wrote, which I think for women has been-

With Dr Stacey Sims, yeah.

With Dr Stacey Sims, yes. But sort of pivotal for female athletes, understanding that we maybe need to eat a little different than the guys, and stuff that we’re doing-

Yeah. The intermittent fasting stuff is fascinating on that right now. I mean, we have the exact opposite physiological response to intermittent fasting than men do.

Which is so interesting because you hear so many people right now, like, “Oh, it’ll improve performance, it’ll improve recovery.”

Yeah, for men.

For men, right.

Those studies have all been done on men, and the research that is out there on women, the hormonal response is terrible. Like women with prediabetes actually become diabetic.

Wow.

It’s that bad, because of this hormone called kisspeptin that reacts very differently for survival reasons in women, and it is very disrupted by fasting.

So you have another version of ROAR coming out for shall we say ladies of a certain age, our age?

Menopausal transition, yeah. 40 and above. And it’s because we had one chapter in ROAR, and it’s not a bad chapter, but at the time, we will both be very transparent, neither of us were sort of deep into the transition ourself to fully appreciate just how broad the effects are of that hormonal fluctuation and decline. And I personally had no idea all the things that estrogen does. I didn’t know it was anabolic, I didn’t know any of that stuff. It was metabolism, and it merits its own book. It 100% merits its own book.

I’ve kind of led us down this path because here at the track, we are trying very hard to go into a more female friendly space and to encourage people to come out and try things. And we did a women’s weekend the first weekend of May here which was I think amazing, because we had women of literally all ages and all sizes, and it was amazing to see them come out and try the new thing. I think what we’re trying to do on the podcast today perhaps is for women who are curious about biking, curious about endurance sports, curious about the track, starting to provide resource for them to know that, A, you can come out and do this and we’ll teach you how to do it, but B, there are resources for you to know how to eat, how to fuel yourself, how to actually… if you want to jump into the thing, how to do it smart, like not intermittent fasting.

Right.

Have all these conversations and just start to connect women to resource for doing some rad shit, like I said at the beginning. I think that knowing that there’s a resource like your podcast for women who are our age, but everything you talk about on that podcast is relevant to 20-year-olds too, right? It’s relevant.

Yeah, yeah.

Maura here, who is sitting with us, our podcast producer, is in her early 20s, and understanding that women need to fuel differently, as I bring Maura into becoming a bike racer, because I’m going to harass her into racing bikes too… we all need to know this stuff, and also see examples of people who are doing it, who are accessible human beings, right?

Totally.

You don’t have to be super skinny, don’t be afraid of the Lycra, don’t have… and that’s so easy to say, right?

Yeah. I think that tide is turning. I genuinely think that tide is turning. I’ve given Crossfit a lot of props for that, because I think that they made it cool for women to take up some space, they made it sexy for women to take up some space and be strong, and I think that that has had a net positive effect, by and large. I think the culture… I look at my daughter who’s 19, and they have a very different relationship with that. They don’t have the same skinny, skinny, skinny is better, which is really refreshing to see. So that encourages me a lot. I do think, especially in cycling, like power is everything, and women can develop really powerful legs. If you look at women cyclists they are built differently than men cyclists are. They-

Yeah, for sure.

Yeah, they just are. That’s where the engine is and that’s where your power is. It’s interesting, we wrote ROAR for women. The mission of that book in my mind was not only just like women are not small men, meaning all of the studies at the time had been done on men and just translated to women, and that has failed women from heart disease. It still fails women in heart disease. It fails women in athletic spaces. And if you want to really go deep on that, I think it has limited what we can realize as our potential because nobody’s ever studied us, and we’re so different, right? So it’s very exciting now that that’s changing. I think you’re going to see records broken and paradigms shift.

Women are learning, oh, this is when I’m puffy… Because you know PMS exists, and you know that you feel puffier, and something’s happening. Your blood plasma is shifting. There are things going on that are making those changes, and they can certainly affect your performance. And the idea always with the show and with the books is to teach you how to work with your body instead of against it, to optimize your performance. And there are things you can do to mitigate some of those symptoms that would otherwise be problematic, like being sure to hyper hydrate before something, because your blood plasma’s low. I mean, sometimes it’s just simple things.

Yeah, and I think that, yeah, we don’t know that, right, but who hasn’t… Well back in the day, when it was still a thing for me, if you’re getting your period like the days before you might’ve felt like just absolutely awful. But then when it would happen, you’d be like, “Yes, I can scale a mountain today.” Like this surge of [crosstalk 00:15:02]-

Yeah, yeah. The day I had my first iron man, it was very exciting.

Great timing.

Yeah.

I always knew about my mother because she would clean the house like a-

That’s hilarious.

… maniac. She would get this surge of energy to clean.

That is so funny.

And we’d all be like, “Oh, okay.” We always knew.

Wow.

But now there’s science behind it, right? And for us as athletes, we need to learn how to harness the power of that science and just… It doesn’t matter if you’re Mandy Marquardt trying to go to the Olympics in Tokyo, or if you’re me racing in a local training crit, these are things we need to know, and this is what makes your experience-

Totally.

… trying the things out better.

Yeah, you want to have fun, and you want it to be a positive experience.

Yes.

Like at the end of the day, you’re going to put in the work and you want the reward. That’s what cycling is very much about. That’s why people like it. You put in the work and the work pays off. You get in what you put out. Like all that stuff. But I think what happens with the menopausal transition specifically is that equation all of a sudden gets messed up and people… it’s very disheartening. A lot of women are like, “I’ve put in the same work and now the output is different,” and they don’t know what to do.

Right.

And they start doing things that are counterproductive or even disruptive to them, eating less, pushing more, wholly intermittent fasting instead of just like, with understanding you can work with you physiology, and the whole show’s about that. I say it all the time. Like there’s two points in a woman’s lifetime where she drops out of sport most, and the first is puberty and the second is menopause, and there’s reasons for that. And at least in puberty, you have classes in school and you have whole afterschool specials, and people have told you what to expect. You’re not like Carrie standing in some Stephen King movie like dripping with pig’s blood because no one told you what to expect.

But it’s not much of an exaggeration to think that that’s what happens to women on the other end of the line. Like they don’t know to expect… Like some women get like oral migraines for the first time and they get like vertigo and the list is like 36 symptoms long.

Yeah, which is insane.

And all of you’ve ever heard about is some hot flashes or something. It’s ridiculous.

Right. I had a doctor when I was in my 30s, this was the only advice she gave me about menopause. She’s like, “Go into menopause at the weight you want to come out of menopause, because…” That was it, that was all she told me. And I was-

There’s so much wrong with that advice, I don’t even know where to start.

I was like, “Okay, well how do I know what weight I want to go into it at?”

Oh my god.

And they don’t tell you how to do that. They just say make sure you do it. I guess when it started for me, like the perimenopause stuff… I gained weight like…

Yeah, like overnight, yeah.

And having been an eating disordered ballerina my whole life, like what was my go-to thing? Well, if you eat watermelon for all your meals, you’ll lose weight, right? So okay, I’ll just default back to my very disordered eating habits of eating just watermelon and it didn’t work.

No.

And I remember talking to Christian Cime about like I don’t understand why are all the tricks… because they’re tricks, right?

Oh yeah, 100%.

Like by the time you get to this age, and with a history of eating like I had, you have tricks. You have a go-to bag of tricks, and they never fail you. You want to lose 10 pounds? The watermelon, that’s it, it’s magic. And it wasn’t working and I was like, “Christian, what do I do?” Because I was training for a race that I really wanted to do well in, and she’s like, “I think you need to talk to this person I work with, sports nutritionist, and we need to get a handle on your whole eating disorder thing. But we also need to get a handle on your… you’re just not fueling yourself properly.” And I remember he said, “What do you eat?” I was like, “Well I have watermelon for breakfast and then I have a salad with a piece of salmon for lunch and then I have watermelon for dinner.”

Oh my god.

And he was like-

He’s like, “Where do we being?”

He was like, “Well okay, what do you eat the next day?” I was like, “Well I have watermelon for breakfast and I have salad with salmon for lunch and watermelon for dinner.” And he’s like, “Every day?” And I was like, “Every day.” And he’s like, “That’s not going to work.” And he really was like, “You are not eating close to enough protein.”

Not even close.

Not even close. And I started eating protein and literally within three weeks, my body composition changed, because I was doing something so bad, right, it was-

And that’s worse when you get to like 40-plus and the-

Yes.

… menopausal transition, because protein synthesis is more challenging without those hormones. And if you don’t really pump it up, it’s a losing proposition really.

But if I hadn’t talked to him I would never have known that, because I’ve been essentially a vegetarian, pescatarian my whole life. I never ate meat, and he was like, “Yeah, how do you feel about chicken?” And I was like, “Do I have to?” He was like, “You know of do.” But my doctors didn’t tell me this. My doctors didn’t know. You just don’t know. And here he was, he was like telling me how to fuel for athletic performance, because he knew I really cared about this race, and the only thing that was going to get me, that I cared about more than my weird eating disorder, was performing well on this race. And that was the thing that helped me override the impulses in my head to not eat, was like al right, well he promised me it would improve my performance, so I’ll do it.

But what a difference the protein made, and I think that nobody knows this is if you’re female, right? You just go, “Oh, I’m going to go on the watermelon diet and it’ll work,” and it doesn’t.

No, it doesn’t. And it can be-

It’s terrible for performance.

It’s terrible for performance, and it can just cause you to hang onto weight, if not gain weight. It’s really not good for you at all. It’s very counterproductive.

Yeah. But I needed somebody to absolutely spell that out to me, and I think for women who care about performing well… and again, cat four, cat five, [crosstalk 00:21:07]-

It doesn’t matter what you are. It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter what you are. That piece is super important to know. But I also think that it’s important to know that you don’t have to be a super skinny bice racer.

You don’t.

We have to come out of this-

You don’t no matter what. Power is important. One of the things that has always helped me is looking back… I came in third overall and won my age group in the Mount Washington hill climb.

Good lord.

I was-

I didn’t know that about you.

Yeah, no, and I-

That’s insane.

I was, I don’t know, 138. Definitely 10 pounds heavier than some of my lighter weights, and I was much faster and won that. Power is everything.

That’s a mean race.

Yeah, and I did it on my 5339. Like I took my road bike. I had no idea what I was doing.

That’s a mean, mean race. I grew up in New Hampshire, so that would be the-

I was out of gears from me to you. I was like it’s going to be a long day up this mountain.

Oh man, yeah, that’s a mean race, and-

It’s beautiful though. Have you done it?

No. Are you kidding? I grew up like with people who had stickers on their car that said, “This car climbed Mount Washington.” There’s no reason to do that on a bicycle because it’s scary driving up it.

They don’t let you go down it.

No, yeah, no.

You wouldn’t make it.

But that’s super cool. I didn’t know you’d done the hill climb. That’s funny. Yeah, I think that that’s all part of what we’re trying to create here, is culture. I think you’re a shining example of that, not just from the bike racing perspective but because you jump into things, and I think we’re trying to create an environment for people to jump into things here. I want to talk to you about the starting of your podcast. You’ve had this great career riding with bicycling, you had a great career writing books, great career, late bloomer, racing bikes professionally. And we were paddling along on our standup paddling boards one day last summer, and you were like, “Hey, what do you think about this idea?”

That’s so funny.

“Do you think there’s an audience for it?” And I’m curious about how you tell our listeners how you got there. Like how this came to you, how you thought you could turn it into a thing, because it’s the same instinct. You know what I’m getting at? It’s an instinct to follow an inspiration.

Oh 100%, and I try to live my life by doing things that make me feel inspired. If something sparks my imagination, then I’m like, I should pursue that. Right? If you get a little buzz of like, hmm, that sounds exciting, I think that you should follow that, always. Yeah, no, I have been, as we talked about before, talking with Dr Stacy Sims on the followup of ROAR, the book that still does not have a title. We’re working on it even though it’s going to be out in months. But we’ve been working on that, and the company who she hires to do her courses on all of her stuff is called Live Feisty. And they contacted me knowing that I work with her, saying, “Hey, would you be willing to do a little webinar kind of thing with us?” They wanted to start talking to women in the menopausal space, because they weren’t really addressing them either, and they saw that there was a big deficit there.

I had been thinking an awful lot of it since going through it myself and being so blindsided by it, and being like, “Why does nobody know about this?” And looking around and seeing that there were a lot of women who had disappeared that used to be on start lines and be… And I said, “You guys should have a podcast,” and they said, “Do you want to do it?” And I just said yes. So that’s just how it got started, and I’m like, “Oh boy, now I’m going to do a podcast.”

I feel like you’re surfing the wave in front of them.

Oh my god, I didn’t know how big that wave was. I honestly had no idea.

But if you think about, and I think about this a lot because I love surfing… you see people fighting to get the wave before to-

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know exactly what you mean.

… get the ride. And I feel like you got the wave. So now you start to see the New York Times is doing stories about it.

Crazy.

The Washington Post is doing stories about it. But I feel like you were surfing the wave first. Like you grabbed it first, and that’s so cool. And all these people are paddling behind you, like, “All right, we’re going to…” And that’s so cool.

No, it’s wild. It’s wild. I mean, I knew I was plugging into something big. I just knew that in my heart, just because there are so many of us out there. There’s so many women of the title nine quote, unquote generation, right, who are just living differently, and who have gotten into sports, and so many women in endurance sports and all over the place who are going to be blindsided by this thing that nobody is talking about. When I went through it, I’m like, no one’s talking, and I didn’t feel comfortable talking to anyone. I hated saying the word menopause because it meant like old and washed up and not attractive, or I don’t know, like all these things, and it was really a crisis in many ways.

And I was just like, I have to get over myself, and I have this platform… I’ve been a writer and researcher and this space for 23 years. I have all these women, athletic and doctors and physiologists and everything to call on. It would be criminal for me not to pick up the microphone and just start saying the word.

Yeah. You know what’s funny? We’re very close in age, you and I. Maybe a year apart difference.

I’m 52.

Yeah, and I just turned 53, so we’re just a year apart. Do you remember that show The Golden Girls?

I can’t even believe that that woman was 52, right?

Right? Like I look at-

I can’t remember her name, but I remember it.

like B Arthur and… it was like B Arthur, yeah.

Yeah, they were all a little older, but the youngest one in there was like 52.

Yeah. They were The Golden Girls, and I’m like looking over… For our listeners, I’m looking across the studio here at Selene, and she’s got a very rad Canyon bikes hat on. She does not look like B Arthur. There’s no moo-moo to be found. The Golden Girls was not that long ago.

I know, it was ’85, I looked it up.

And we are not The Golden Girls.

It’s unbelievable, it’s unbelievable. It really is unbelievable. I don’t know if you saw… I feel kind of bad. I called them in. I don’t know if you saw… Asker Jeukendrup, I can never pronounce his name correctly, but he’s this big name in sports science, right, and I love him, I love his work, I love what he does. But a couple of weeks ago he did something about how just like we were talking about, women, masters, athletes, need more protein. It was really good, really good information. But dear lord, the infographic he used was like a blue-haired woman with a shopping cart-

Oh no.

… kind of thing. And like [crosstalk 00:28:04]-

Like a granny?

Very much like granny. And I couldn’t help myself.

Do I look like a granny? No.

I was just like, “Asker, I love you, but those images…” And he’s like, “Oh, we just thought lighthearted,” and I’m like when you live with that in your life and you’ve been diminished, none of these women think that’s lighthearted. It’s so hard to get past that. And he got it, but I just was glad I had that conversation. I didn’t be like, “Oh, it’s wrong.” I just came to him and brought him into the conversation that I’m trying to have. And I think that’s important as we go forward and what you’re talking about, because I think that when women… especially when they hit 50, there’s a weird invisibility thing that happens with a lot of women.

Well yeah, and like invisibility in terms of your own self… not awareness, but self-confidence. So-

It’s a weird, weird thing.

It’s a weird space, but you also said just a few seconds there were women disappearing from the start line. And I hate that. And I think you had my friend, Sheryl Osborne, on your podcast, which I love, because I love Sheryl. And I love what she does. But she’s a lifer, right?

And she said the same thing. She’s like, “Where are you? Where are the people that have started with me?”

Right. She taught me how to race bikes in 2000. We go that far back. My first season racing was in 2001, because I did a clinic with Artemis in 2000.

Yeah, and that’s right when she started, just about Artemis, was about 2000.

And I look around, and right, where are the women that we started with back in 2000? There aren’t very many of us. But I loved what Sheryl said, which was just like calling on women… maybe you don’t want to race anymore but you can still be part-

The other women need you.

The other women need you. I think that’s another thing why we have Sheryl on the board here, why we have Michelle Lee on the board here. We’re trying to say hey to other women. And why I have you on the pod. I just think women need to hear it, particularly as we get older, but when you’re Maura’s age, right… when you’re Maura’s age, you still need to be invited in, because it is intimidating and-

Well especially like… I mean, it can be the track especially, I think can be… You look at the people and they look like Tron, and especially if it’s a bunch of dudes, because there’s a lot of posturing and then swinging going on-

Oh yes.

… and it can be like… you can feel like you don’t belong in a hurry on the track.

Well, and there’s visors and-

Yeah, no, that’s what I mean, it’s a very-

It’s very-

… Robocop kind of feel to it.

Yes.

So I think that having a friendlier face and voice and everything to be like, “Hey, this is actually a fun thing that you can try,” is important.

It’s fun, and there are ways for you to succeed at it, even if succeeding isn’t winning national titles. It could be.

Succeeding is just learning how to ride the thing. I mean, it’s exciting just being on a track bike and riding the oval. Like that’s exciting in of itself, I think that’s a success.

Absolutely. And it’s also… there was a woman I was talking to from Women’s Weekend who, she had said, “Oh I lost every race I started,” and I was like, “You beat 99% of the other people who didn’t show up.” And we always lose races. I’ve lost more races-

Everyone loses races.

Everyone loses races. It’s not about winning, unless you really want to go to Paris or LA.

But even those people, they lose more than they win.

And they lose. Yeah.

Every bike racer loses more than they win.

Absolutely. And I think that that’s part of the intimidation factor, but I think if people start to know-

If you line up thinking about it as that kind of a strict competition of win or lose, right?

Yes.

But I think then you have to understand that it’s not that. It’s interesting in cycling, and I think about that a lot. And I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it’s because it’s always been more of an elite activity that’s not been as much of a citizen thing. But like nobody lines up for a marathon thinking, “I’ve got to win this thing.” You know what I mean? Or people are going to think I lost if I came in 175th. Nobody does, nobody cares.

Right. Which is sort of why the gravel thing is lovely, right?

Yes.

You know, like-

Because people don’t go into those thinking I’m going to win this thing. That’s not why they’re there.

Right. The year did Dirty Kanza, I was so happy. I was just like, “I finished, I didn’t crash. I had a lovely beer at the end.” It was-

Totally, that’s why you’re there.

That’s why you’re there. You’re not there to break legs and crush souls. Well maybe somebody is, but I wasn’t.

Yeah, like 3% of the whole field.

Right. But I think that there’s a vibe that we’re trying to like just do the thing. Do the rad thing. Make your podcast. Buy the paddleboard. Try racing bikes. So Selene, if you were to talk to women who maybe haven’t tried bike racing, what would you tell them?

What would I tell them?

Yeah, what’s your advice, as a reasonably late bloomer, as we’ll like to go back to? How would you go about getting more women into the sport?

Yeah see, I mean I would… well I mean and I have talked about your Women’s Wednesday. I mean, I think finding something like that is a great way to get into it, because you go there, it knocks down barrier number one, which is I don’t belong, right? Like you go there, and you see like oh, everybody does look like me. They-

Right. They’re not superhuman.

You’re going to see people that look just like you, and you’re going to realize that they’re not super humans, they’re normal human beings that are just trying this cool thing. And I think that that is a huge barrier, and once you do that, the rest of them fall more easily.

So if you decide you like the thing, and this is fun and I want to pursue it, what would your advice be to women who want to progress at the thing? Whether it’s track racing, gravel racing, road racing, mountain biking. To you, what are the things as an athlete that matter to get right, nutrition, weightlifting-

Yeah, I would say some structure, right? I mean, I think going from no structure to any structure, all of a sudden you have a giant bump because any structure is better than just sort of flying by the seat of your pants without any knowledge. I mean, whenever I’ve seen people make that first bump it’s always… they start following a plan, even if they don’t have a coach right away, because you can go into training peaks, you can go into any of these platforms… my god, there’s so many of them now, and get a basic plan that will just give you some structure to your week. It will make sure that you have rests and some high intensity and some stuff. If you can get a coach, a coach is an amazing thing to have, because it’s a human being that-

Are you still working with your coach?

I work with coaches all the time. I work with different coaches because I like to see how other coaches work, and I respond well to changes in coaching. So I’ll work with somebody for a while and then I’ll switch it up and see, because it’s a professional and personal exercise for me. But I think it’s super invaluable. I never self-coach because I would second-guess myself six ways til Sunday.

Oh I could do it… yeah.

And it’s not fun. Like I want to open a plan and see what someone has for me, I don’t want to be like that’s a chore. I’m not coming up with my own plan. I have no desire to do that. But I think that piece is super important because the rest of it kind of falls around that. Like once you are committing yourself to a structure or to a process, then you are going to respect your recovery because you’re in this process and you’re respecting that, and you are going to maybe drink less on a weeknight, all the things that just are the long tail of that lead edge of I’m following this road, this process.

Yeah, that’s funny. Like going back to, oh, all right, I’ll eat the damn chicken breast, because-

Right, right, you did that because you [crosstalk 00:36:09]-

… because I bought into the process, and I wanted the other thing. It’s amazing the power of that. When you buy into a process and you’re like, okay, I’ll do-

Well the process works most of the time. I’m not saying it’s infallible, you know what I mean? If the process isn’t working for you, maybe you need another process, and that’s finding the right coach and finding the right plan, but definitely.

I don’t know. When you did your first mountain bike race, let’s talk about… because I think people… like, what do you expect? What are you feelings? I know what I did. My first day, I was terrified.

I felt like vomiting every race I’ve ever done. If I was going to race again this weekend, I would feel like vomiting the morning of. Those nerves never went away.

Right. And I think this is a thing we need to get people to know, right? Like expect that, expect that there are race day nerves. Expect that-

Right, harness the butterflies.

Yeah.

I always just call it the potential energy, and the more potential energy I had, the more miserable I was. But honestly often the more miserable I was, the more ready I was to go. I mean, but you care, you’re going to get wrapped up in it, and then you just find ways. Like I just found a system to deal with it. I had a race morning preparation that would be like, okay, out of the head, start putting your race bag together, just like the stuff. Lube your chain, pump your tires, time for your warm-up. Just do your things.

Routines and rituals, right? That’s the-

Yeah, yeah. Get the monkey busy, so it’s not hopping around your brain.

Right, the monkey brain is a bad thing. No, I think that these are all the things that are barriers to entry, right? Like-

Totally. Because you think you are alone in that, and-

And you are not.

There are pro football players that vomit before every big game on Sunday, like it’s a thing.

I did my first crit since 2019… my first post-surgery crit too, right? So with legs that could potentially work. And then obviously 2020 I didn’t get to race and test that out, so I had a lot of mental baggage. And my coach and I had decided that I was going to go do this training crit. And I woke up that Sunday morning and I cried, and then I got in the shower-

Just want to hide under the bed, like, “Why, why, why-“

I got in the shower and I cried.

… why did I sign up for this?

Then I was literally texting him sobbing from the shower, like, “I don’t want to go, and I think it’s a bad idea…” That was the… I think it’s a bad idea. I don’t think I should do my first training crit with 60 dudes, and I don’t know if my legs are going to work. I had every single first time [crosstalk 00:38:49] meltdown, and I was like begging for the out. Like if I send enough panicked texts, I will be told I don’t have to go and do the thing, and I did not get that [crosstalk 00:39:01]. And I was not absolved from going to do the bike race, and then I went and it was fine.

It was fine. Once the gun goes off, it’s always fine.

It’s always fine, yeah.

Literally, even if you don’t do well, it’s still fine.

Right, exactly.

Once it goes off it’s just fine.

But yeah, I think that that is such a universal experience of-

It is, 100%.

… lining up for a bike race.

100%.

But yeah, it was funny. I did every trick in the book to get told I didn’t have to go to that bike race, and I was not told that.

Yeah, and then [crosstalk 00:39:32]-

And I was so glad I finished.

Well this is it, and you’ll be so glad that you overcame that, because the fun and the rewards and how you’ll feel after it 100% surpassed that, which is why people sign up immediately for the next thing.

Right, right. When you do your first-

Like you just forgot about that terrible feeling you just had, and then you get it again and you’re like, “Oh here I am again in this terrible feeling.”

Right.

I’ve just got to get through this terrible feeling and it’ll all be fine.

And it’ll be fun all over again, right. I think when we look at the barriers to entry, right… Maura’s nodding her head, she’s like, “Okay, you’re really selling it now, Joan. Can’t wait to have that horrible feeling.”

But she’s a swimmer. She’s got to know, having those nerves on deck are real.

Yeah. But for all of our listeners, right, if that’s what… just expect it.

Just expect it.

Just know that if you are going to come out and try your first track race, or even try your first Women’s Wednesday or [crosstalk 00:40:28]-

[crosstalk 00:40:28] nervous.

… it is part of playing the game and we all feel it, and it doesn’t matter… I mean if you’ve been racing since the ’90s or if you’re-

Doesn’t matter. It-

It doesn’t matter if you’re 16 or if you’re 60. Everybody gets it. I think that that’s one of the things that, again, that we’re just trying to make the message for our women listeners who maybe have friends who are on the fence or who are on the fence themselves, or mothers of juniors who are curious about racing, and wanting to come out. They’ve done the Women’s Wednesdays program because they want to understand what their kids do when they race, but they haven’t taken the leap themselves. We just want to tell them there are ways to overcome the monkey brain, as you said.

Oh 100%.

And this doesn’t apply to cycling, right? This applies to all of us.

Everything. I mean everything.

Everything.

Job interviews. I mean, whatever it is. Whatever that care about that you’ve applied yourself for. I mean, nerves are to be expected.

Yeah.

But every time you overcome it, you get stronger in everything you do. I mean, that’s just true. You know what you’re going to be fine. The sun is going to come up tomorrow, and it’s never as bad as you think it’s going to be. And you’re going to get something out of it, like that’s… no matter what you do. If you apply that throughout your life, you’ll try more things. You’re not really going to fail. What does that even mean?

Right. And so you came in last in a bike race.

Who cares? You’re the only one that actually cares.

Right.

Everyone is so concerned… I tell my 19-year-old daughter that all the time, like you’re the only one thinking about this. You’re the only one who cares. Everyone’s very self-absorbed. They don’t care.

Right.

They don’t even know.

Right.

They know where they came in.

You know what else I think is really funny? I was listening to another podcast that I like quite a lot, and they had a sports psychologist on, and they were talking about the ability to screw something up. They used more colorful language. And then just laugh about it.

Right, this-

It is really important that you can just laugh about-

100%.

That makes the monkey brain quiet too. If you laugh at it, it’s way better, and you put it behind you and you move forward. But I think we all need to remember that this is not serious as a heart attack stuff. This is what we’re doing for fun and-

And your self-worth is not wrapped up in a result. Like all that. It’s just not.

Right. And it’s okay when you fall over to laugh, which Maura also knows. I took Maura out for her very first… brand new bike, which is beautiful by the way. Maura has this beautiful blue, blue bike, and I love it.

Yeah, it is beautiful.

And I was like, “Okay, so have you ever clipped in before?” And she was like-

I knew that was coming.

She’s like, “No,” and I was like, “Okay, well you’re going to fall over at some point today,” and sure enough-

In the parking lot.

Yeah.

It’s always in the parking lot. It’s always.

And we just know-

Or a stop sign.

Yeah, well I think that actually happened too. Or very close to it.

Almost.

Yeah. But these are the things, right, and if we can’t laugh at it because we know that it’s our universal experience, then you won’t have fun doing the thing. But just come out and-

Totally.

… try it. Yeah, so there’s our big long-winded pitch for all of you women to come out and try doing this cool, rad thing. What’s next for you, Selene?

Well this podcast is only seven months old, so I’m just really hoping to grow that. We’re having a summit, a menopause performance summit, in Boulder, Colorado in September.

Oh, I didn’t know that. How did I miss that?

Well because it was really isn’t formally announced yet.

Oh okay.

But we’re in the works of doing that. And I think there’s just so much potential, there’s so much potential, to do really rad things and to just… Like you said, I can feel the groundswell. I don’t even know. I’ve never been one to know what I was going to do in the next couple of years, because I would’ve never told you that I was going to be a bike racer. That wasn’t a plan. When I did iron man, I kept telling my coach, “I’m not an endurance athlete.” He’s like, “You kind of are. So get over that.”

That’s funny.

Yeah. Well I always thought of myself as a field hockey player and like a track racer. I used to run the 800. Like I’m a solid middle distance athlete. He’s like, “Not so much.”

No.

But yeah, had I not tried that, I would’ve never learned that about myself. I would’ve never learned that about myself. If you don’t try stuff like that, you will never learn-

What you can do.

What you can actually do. I have tried the track and that is not for me. I mean, I like it. It’s fun. Like I love to ride around the track, and I love to train on the track. It’s just I’m not tactical that way, so it doesn’t suit me. I’m more of an endurance person who like, if I slip my paddle, I still have a good eight hours. Like-

Yeah, no, I’m the same way.

Yeah, it’s supposed to like, every fraction of a second… if you get to an elite level, like fractions of a second.

I was laughing on… We had our first day of racing on Saturday and I was talking to a couple of the guys. They were getting ready to go up and do their race, and we were staging, and one guy said to the other guy, “How long has this race…” And he said something like, “Oh, 16 laps or something,” and they’re, “Oh, wow, it’s really long.” I was laughing, I was like, “Oh my god, I like four hour and longer type events.”

Yeah, I’m just kind of warmed up.

I was laughing, I was like, “And this is why I couldn’t race on the track, because like you I need the…”

[inaudible 00:46:12] spinning out there for a couple of hours, ready to go.

Yeah, exactly.

I would do that with cycler cross. I’d be like, “All right, who wants to be race?” Then it would be over. I mean, I did pretty well but it was different from-

Well horses for courses, right?

Yeah, totally.

Yeah. I’m definitely in that long camp as well. Make me do something for 200 meters, and I will be like, “Wait, what? I’m supposed to have started already. Like that’s not-“

It’s fun though. It’s fun.

It’s really good training.

Oh it’s amazing training.

And when I lived in Colorado, we would ride on the track in the wintertime because I had a bubble on it.

Oh cool. Yeah.

And it was way more fun than riding the trainer. Like way more fun than riding the trainer.

Light years better than riding the trainer, yeah.

So it was a super way to spend the winter training, was like riding on the track, because you bubble nice.

Totally.

You can’t do that here, but maybe some day.

Yeah, yeah.

Not a bubble. Listeners, I’m not putting a bubble on the track, but you know, who knows what other cool things we could cook up, but-

Cool.

But yeah, but what about for you for riding for this summer? Any goals for you? I know you’re doing a big ride this coming weekend.

Yeah, it’s a Sweet Water, Risky Rebellion Gravel in Prosperity, Pennsylvania.

Ah cool.

Yeah, it seems like a really cool format. They’ve got three distinct loops. Not like a loop race but like three different loops that you have to do in order to add up to 120 miles. But it’s cool because you’re coming back to the same spot, so if you need anything-

Seems like a pedal on the flat, like-

Yeah, yeah, yeah. If you need anything, you can get it. Yeah, I’ve been doing a bunch of gravel stuff in the state, which is just amazing. I don’t really have anything, outside of the state, or quote, unquote, race-wise until… Well Grit is coming up. So there’s Rothrock Grit which is a women’s focused gravel race in central PA, which is very cool. And that’s the first weekend in June, and then I’m going to do Big Sugar, which is in Arkansas, and the Spirit World in Patagonia, Arizona, in November.

Ooh, that sounds nice.

Yeah, the gravel thing is so cool because you can be a little more heads-up and see things. Like mountain bike racing was awesome, but you really have to be attentive to what’s right front of your wheels a bit.

Right.

And there’s sections in that in gravel, but you can really take in a place in such an amazing way, and it’s been just a really cool next chapter for me.

And we have Unpaved.

And we have Unpaved. I should have said Unpaved, what’s wrong with me?

We have Unpaved, and I’m excited to do Unpaved this year.

Yeah, and that is beautiful. My-

Beautiful time of year.

October’s always peak-ful, second weekend in October.

And I am super excited, and a bunch of my teammates are doing it with me, which is also very fun.

I’m very excited about that.

But I’m also really excited about your new format for Unpaved.

I love it. I love, love, love it. It’s taking off of the Grinduro kind of thing. I mean, we didn’t make it up. My husband puts it on… that’s why I’m saying we. But instead of doing a start-to-finish time, we’re doing timed segments that add up to about 40 or 50 miles of the race, of the 120 mile course. But the beautiful thing about that is, A, there’s a start window, so you can start whenever you want within that window, with whomever you want. And last year, the three women who were in contention for the win rode the whole thing together and just raced each other up the [crosstalk 00:49:41]-

Oh that’s rad.

And regrouped. It was amazing. And they stopped and had a picnic lunch at lunch.

Oh that’s super good.

But that’s what it allows to you is really enjoy the day. You are not racing through eight stations, which is really difficult for everybody. That’s difficult on the volunteers, it’s difficult on the people. In previous years, there were plenty of crashes at predictable places. Like a couple of hot turns. No matter how many signs you put up, people are going to overcook them. We gave that a bandaid, once we turned off the racing in those places, and just timed certain segments. It allows everyone just to really, really enjoy the day, and you still get the winners, the people who are concerned about times and podiums. You still have that. I love the format.

I’m super excited about it. The thing that… you’ve said it about me before, that I’m solar-powered. And I don’t like 6:00 AM cold starts.

Oh right, because then it’s usually a 7:00 AM start and it can be cold. But then it warms up quite nicely.

Yeah, so that to me is like the greatest development ever. One of those COVID innovations that is going to-

I love it. And it also helps because that race particularly starts on the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail, and the Amish and Mennonite in the area use it to go to church and it’s on a Sunday, and you just don’t want to be… even though it’s neutral. Like a bunch of us hauling down that thing is just a little problematic. We’ve done it, it’s fine, but it’s way better to… because that is beautiful. So if you can just be spread out and just warming up on that nine mile stretch enjoying your morning, it’s a great way to start the event. And having that completely neutral, and god forbid, you always have to pee and there’s always a giant line, and it’s just… Like last year was no big deal. We still needed to start by like 8:30, and then somebody’s like, “Oh, wait a minute, I forgot my blah, blah…” You know what I mean?

Yeah.

Who cared? We started at 8:45 and it was all fine.

Yeah, no, I’m super excited about that. To me, that’s one of the innovations of the COVID times that I hope never changes. I think there’s been a bunch, like of things that have been positives that came out of-

Oh I would agree. It was a good-

… out of the weird year that wasn’t-

… way to learn things and try some different things. It was pretty cool.

Yeah. But that to me is very exciting, so I’m targeting that. We have the master’s national championships here at the track in September.

Oh that’s right, Cheryl was talking about that.

Yeah. So that’s September, and I think it ends September 19th, September 20th, and then the track is essentially going to close for resurfacing.

Oh wow.

So-

Oh wow.

… Unpaved for me is this like thing-

Oh that’s great.

… out in the future that I’m looking at. When the track has claimed down and it’s actually closed for resurfacing, there’s this beautiful thing lurking out in the future for me as a goal.

Oh that’s cool.

And you’re doing Vermont Overland.

Oh I forgot about that. I’m like, I’m missing one.

Yeah, Vermont Overland.

Yeah. That’s at the end of August.

Yeah, I’m looking forward to that one. That’s going to be a fun one.

Yeah, those are… they have so much great dirt, great-

And maybe some heavy topper and-

Oh yeah, and a tree house. They have a lot of good breweries up there.

Lot of good breweries and maple creamies, and all sorts of-

Yeah, I think there’s a lot of… As we’re talking, there’s so many women coming into gravel and I think that’s a lot of it. The woman I work with at Live Feisty, Katherine Taylor, started Women Gravel Cyclists, and she named it that… just a very generic name, so people could find it. Facebook group, she started it in March last year at the quarantine, and she’s up to like 6300 women already.

Wow.

In that private Facebook group, just coming in like, “Hey, I just started gravel, hey, I just started gravel, hey, I just started gravel,” and it’s very cool.

Yeah, it is very cool. It’s just I think… I love seeing more women coming into the sport, and I like seeing it’s not just young women.

Oh no, and these are by and large not young women.

Yeah, and I think that’s super cool. It’s interesting how it overlaps with your hit play not pause thing, right?

Yeah. When you turn 52 or 40… you get to a point where you’re like, you’ve done the same thing for so long, whether it be professionally, it’s easy to get in those ruts, and it’s exciting to start something different, to try something new at that point in your life.

Yeah. And I think too it’s hard to make friends when you’re a grownup.

Oh that’s a good point too.

I think-

And to find that community.

It is a way to find community that can be really challenging when you’re not with a bunch of college friends anymore. Like you-

And you start acting like college friends when you find these people because you go… all of a sudden, like we did this weekend, we went camping together, and planned a weekend around two rides that… And that’s the other beautiful thing of now there are all these routes that… you can find them and you put them on your device, so that’s not as intimidating either, right?

Right, right.

There’s a route. You know it’s established. Your device is going to show you the way, and you have a map if you need it, and you camp and you drink beer, and we rode to like… We found a bake sale and bought-

Oh nice.

… stuff at a bake sale midway through, and stopped for pizza. It’s a really fun way to be an adult.

Right, adult and have friends and have fun. Like play bikes, right?

Yeah, totally.

It’s playing bikes, and I think we all need a little bit more of playing bikes. I’m super excited because here in Lehigh Valley, there’s some momentum behind that, right? Like Discover Lehigh Valley is the tourism board here, and they have… part of their master plan is focused on bicycles and-

Good.

And they’re trying to make it IMBA recognized community, but mountain bike community. So there’s a lot of really positive energy around bikes happening here, here in Lehigh Valley, here at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center. And I think that one of my goals is to try to bring all these communities together, right? And be a sort of cycling aggregator, right? Because we could do all the things here-

Well, and we’re more powerful together. I mean, I loved the podcast you did with Jeff Cash for that reason. You know what I mean? There’s so much intersection of all of the things, the farming and the cycling and the healthy active living and all of that… it’s all here, and if we all join for the common good, like the potential’s amazing.

Yeah, I think that that was another beautiful thing that came out of COVID, right? All of a sudden, Jeff and I were talking this morning about it. Like there was a time early in COVID, right, where you couldn’t get your groceries delivered, and you couldn’t… The shelves were empty, and you could only buy one dozen eggs, and you couldn’t buy chicken, and you saw people rediscovering their local farms, and oh, well maybe I’ll go straight to the farm stand because they have food that they don’t have at the grocery store right now, our supply chain is a little bit messed up. And oh, maybe I’ll buy a bike because we’re allowed to recreate outside, and oh, I’ll buy a paddleboard because we’re allowed to recreate outside.

I think we’re in this beautiful moment of opportunity where yeah, there’s no getting around the fact that COVID was awful and people suffered and people died, and businesses closed and it was awful. I’m not trying to point-

Right, 100%.

… COVID as a lovely thing that happened. But there are things that we should take out of it that we should keep going.

Yeah, it would almost be criminal of us not to, honestly. Like to not pull the potential positive things out of this, of like-

Right. And I think bikes are a huge part of that.

I agree.

I think you can’t buy a bike. Last weekend I was in a trek store, and I was in [inaudible 00:57:47] because I was down in their shop as well. And in both stores people were walking in and saying, “Hey, I’d like to buy bikes,” and the answer is like-

It’s crazy.

… okay, well there’s a waiting list.

Yeah.

But it’s an opportunity right now for us to welcome people into our community, right? And I think that that’s the most important… yes, performance matters. High performance matters. High performance lifestyle matters. But it also matters that we grow the community, and it matters that we invite people in, and if you want to go down the high performance pathway, super, that’s… more power to you. And if you just want to have fun, that’s super, more power to you. Right? It’s like equal. But I think we’re at a pivotal time where we can invite people in.

Oh yeah, they’re there. Otherwise those bikes are going to go into garages.

Right, and we don’t want that to happen, right? This great bike boom, and all the inventory in the country is gone. Invite people in. Like how do we invite people in? And we do it through conversations like this one where you’re saying, “Hey, there are tools for you. If your body doesn’t feel like your body should, don’t let that stop you from trying the thing. Find the tools, find the diet, find the resources. Find the people.”

Oh 100%.

And don’t let it stop you. Instead, find a device, upload a file, go ride your bike in camp. Bring your protein.

Yeah, yeah. All those resources. Just even talking to… One of the early women I had on the podcast, I had on because I had heard about these women getting out of sport because they were getting incontinence, which is something that happens. So they’re wetting themselves, and they don’t want to run if they’re wetting themselves. That’s embarrassing. It’s horrible. But that is largely treatable, but if nobody talks about it, you don’t know that. And then all of a sudden… So I was like, no, no, no, we can’t have people… And then the same thing, I mean like women have vaginal pain if they’re on the saddle. But if they think it’s just them they’re going to be like, “Oh, that sport’s maybe not for me.” They don’t want to talk about maybe their clitoritis to the guy in the shop.”

Shocking.

So I mean-

Right. So talk to women and figure out which saddle works, right?

Right, exactly.

Right, I think that’s the whole thing is… That’s what your podcast has been so good about. And the one about fear.

Yeah, how about that?

I found that to be super interesting, and I know nothing about the science of it. But man, anecdotally, even just again thinking about my own mother and where her anxiety level went as a mother when she crossed that threshold, where my own anxiety went, and understanding that that fear reaction is something that actually is part of this whole-

It’s grounded, it’s hormonally grounded. That study was fascinating.

I mean, but fear plays a huge part in coming out on your bike.

For sure, for sure.

That is relevant. So everything on your podcast, I think as a… You might’ve been talking to climbers, or talking to nutritionists or doctors-

Yeah, they were climbers who were 2000 feet up in the air, but it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter, it translates, right? So I think that just for women listening again it’s like, “Hey, look, there’s resource, and the things that you are potentially experiencing at this age, there’s tools for us. There’s ways. You’re-

Yeah, don’t let it define you as that, oh that’s not for me because I’m feeling this. That’s not for me because I’m X. I mean, it’s an opportunity to learn that there’s physiological and biological underpinnings to some of what you’re feeling, that can be mitigated and that you can work with. And it doesn’t have to be like oh, now is the time that I check out. [crosstalk 01:01:48]-

Right, disappear from the start line.

Right, right.

Yeah, that phrase has stuck with me now. There’s people disappearing from the start line. Yeah, we don’t want that.

No, we don’t want that.

We want people reappearing at the start line.

Because in many ways, I mean all the things that we say… there’s like this little negative undercurrent that I try to avoid. And that’s another thing that actually really bothered me when I started doing my own research, and A, I could not believe there was not another athletic menopause podcast in existence. There’s 850,000 podcasts in the world. I was stunned that there was not another one. But-

Now there is.

Is there? Good.

Yeah, one woman, because I know her. Her name is Lesley McShade and I know her from when she lived in Louisville.

Oh that’s great. Oh good, okay.

So yeah, so now there’s one more.

What is the-

I can’t remember the name.

Okay, I’ll have to look it up. Yeah, so more the merrier. There’s plenty to learn. But that surprised me that there was no other podcast in that space, but I have completely forgotten what we were talking about.

Well, I think we were talking about disappearing from the start line. What’s so interesting is you don’t see the master’s men disappear from the start line.

That is true.

The master’s men make up the bulk of bike racing population, right? Like if you look at USA Cycling membership, where their age group skews. If you look at who’s riding gravel, I remember looking at the demographic slides from-

It was like maybe 10% in the field that were women.

Yeah, but seeing what ages they were too. They were all 49 to 59.

Oh, I know what I was going to say now. Yeah.

So we don’t see our male counterparts disappearing from the start line, and I think that that’s important to recognize, that we can do it too.

Oh 100%, and what I was going to say is that… underline all this. There was so much negativity that I wanted to avoid. But also, there’s something that happens when you turn… for me it was definitely 50. I just got this other… stopped giving any care. Like no more Fs to give, about a lot of stuff. I dropped a lot of care about a lot of stuff that would’ve bothered me when I was 25 or 35 or even 45, and that is empowering. I mean, I think you can harness that, and just be like, “Now’s the time. If not now, when?”

Right, right.

I let go of a lot of that stuff, and there’s a lot of women I talk to that went through the same thing. They’re like, “I am 50, and let me tell you, I don’t care what you…” There’s a lot of people stepping into that in a way of power, and coming into their prime in many ways. So I think taking that mindset also and using it in your physical and athletic or recreationally athletic life is useful.

Yeah, for sure, for sure. Yeah. Was it you that posted or was it somebody else in the Feisty media universe that posted about how much had been spent on like-

That was today.

Yeah, on Viagra.

On erectile dysfunction. It was like-

It as fascinating.

… seven billion, in the course of, like not much time. And menopausal health was like one billion over the course of I don’t know how many years. It’s just like they don’t even… It’s so infuriating, and it’s going to change. But it’s funny to see, because we’re all in this ocean together, right? If you’re on the ocean, sometimes you don’t even see the water. And a lot of the people I’ve had on the show, like the cardiologist I had… I saw the light bulbs going on and off a lot, and she was like, “They don’t talk about menopause at all at the women’s cardiology conference.” Like it doesn’t even… All the stuff that she’s like, “Why aren’t people talking about menopause?” And they’re saying it. I had talked to the woman, Kristen Dieffenbach. Same thing. Just like sports psychology. Nobody talks about the effect of menopause.

Right, on sports performance.

It’s not even a thoughts.

Yeah.

Yeah, so there will be thoughts now.

For sure, for sure.

And that’s going to make it better for everybody.

And it will make it much better for the women coming behind us, right?

So much better, so much better.

That’s the interesting thing, is there’s a map to follow now. And the map will get clearer and-

Oh yeah, it’s only going to get better.

But yeah, I think that it was that erectile dysfunction post that made me think about that, about the master’s men and how they are vastly dominated the number of people that race bikes, broadly speaking, across all the disciplines. And we need the master’s women to come into the game.

Well I won’t even poke the bear and talk about men can get a TUE for testosterone, but women can’t. Like let’s light the place on fire.

Right, yeah. Right.

I had this whole conversation with a woman, it’s a podcast coming up I’m very excited about. But when I was younger I used to roll my eyes so hard in women’s studies classes when they used the patriarchy term, right? Like, oh, we’re all equal now, women work. And I was so dumb, because it is so entrenched in our medical system, in everything.

In our sporting system.

In everything.

Right, because that is infuriating, right? Like if you’re a male you can walk into a clinic in a strip mall and get your prescription for testosterone and-

That low T baby.

Well, in Colorado Springs there was a place called the Low T store. That was the legit name of the business, the Low T store.

Of course there is.

And it was next to a place where I got my hair done, so I always laughed. I’d pull in, I’d be like, “Oh look, I’m parked at the Low T store.” But yeah, honest to god, right there in the strip mall. Yeah, women who are undergoing all this hormonal stuff, we can’t get a TUE.

Ridiculous.

It’s astonishing to me. Well it’s a performance-enhancing drug. Well yeah, what do you think testosterone is for those guys? Like they are getting it for performance enhancement.

100%, it’s so ridiculous. And to not allow women to… because women can get menopausal hormone therapy, but to not allow them to get the other piece of that. Oh, we can get an estrogen patch, that’s okay. That’s just ridiculous.

Yeah.

It’s part of the whole equation.

Right.

They’re all the hormones and they work like a symphony.

Right, they kind of work together.

Right.

Yeah, I know. It’s really kind of crazy. But I will say, when I first moved to Colorado Springs, I was looking for a new doctor, and this is a funny thing that nothing has to do with what we were talking about but it was just funny. So she said, “Oh, well you’re of a certain age,” and I was like, “I am?” And she’s like, “Yeah, so you’re probably-“

What does that even mean?

Well yes, I was of the age where the change was happening. So she was like, “So I can give you testosterone.” She’s like, “It’s off-label use. But it’s just a little pallet, and insert it in your butt and just come back every six months and get a new pallet inserted.” I was like, “Well I can’t do that because I race bikes and that would be frowned upon.” I was like, “But just out of curiosity, what are the benefits, what are the side effects, what are the symptoms?” She was like, “Oh, well you’ll have higher muscle tone, you’ll have better energy. You’ll have better sex drive.” She was painting this like glowing picture of like how much life would be vastly improved if I had this-

On the other side of this door that you can’t walk through.

Right. And she’s like painting this great picture of how awesome it was, and I’m sitting there going, “Okay, so what’s the downside?” And the only thing she did was go like…

You might grow some-

You might grow a beard. But it was-

Waxing for that.

But it was so funny because she’s just like, “Yes, here’s the litany of things that will make as…” I think I was 48 at the time, maybe. And she’s like, “Here’s all the things that will make your life better if you can do this thing,” and I was like, “Oh I’d like to sleep…” I knew sleep was one of them too. And she’s like, “Yeah, you’d sleep better, and you’d have better energy, and more overall lean muscle mass,” and I was like, “These are all great things. I can’t have it.” Oh, that’s not fun. But you have to make the call. If you’re going to race bikes-

It’s-

… you can’t do it.

Yeah, that one really… that’s a…

Yeah. And it’s just not fair.

No, it’s patently unfair, and it’s definitely endocentric. It’s definitely a male-

Yeah, because I mean, I get it. Sure, if you’re a 30-year-old woman taking it for performance-enhancing reasons, okay-

Yeah, but it is part of a hormonal therapy situation for menopausal hormone therapy. It makes-

Yeah, and it-

[crosstalk 01:11:10] makes sense.

Well and I guess, then why is it-

Keep it within a certain range like everything else.

Right, keep it within a certain range, but then apples should be apples, right?

100%.

And then the men shouldn’t be allowed to have [crosstalk 01:11:21].

Oh 100%.

But that would never happen.

Yes, we know that.

So that would never happen. But yeah, I just remember her stroking her chin being like, “Well…” I was like, “So that’s the one downside.”

Like oh god.

Yeah, it was funny. She was very like painting this brilliant picture of, oh, you’d sleep and you’d be leaner and you’d like-

All this stuff.

I was like-

You’d be so powerful.

… oh, I could be happier. I was like, oh, that sounds nice. But no, I’ll have to pass.

Anyway… yeah.

It was just really funny how that all went down. But yeah, so that’s that. So the moral of the story, our big takeaway from this very wide ranging conversation, which I sort of love, because it went… I told you before we started recording I had a billion things I wanted to talk to you about and I was going to range far and wide and it wasn’t going to make sense. So I hope our listeners rode the train of thought. The takeaway of today is don’t be afraid to try new things.

100%.

Doesn’t matter if it’s track bikes, gravel bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, try new things. But try bikes, because we like bikes.

Yeah.

Come to the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, because we’re trying to be nice and welcoming and inclusive and friendly.

It is very fun, even if you don’t want to race.

And it’s fun, even if you don’t want to race. We have great beer, so you can have that too. But look for the resources, and that is really-

Look for the resources.

… in all of this, I joke about trying the beer and doing the thing, but really the message I wanted to get across today for any of our women listeners or male listeners who then have females in their lives that they want to encourage, is there are resources for us, whether it be coaching or ROAR or ROAR 2, the unnamed ROAR 2, or Hit Play Not Pause, or Women on Gravel. Whatever the resource is, if you are interested in doing the thing, the message of today’s podcast with Selene is that you are empowered to do the thing.

Yeah, if you’re interested in doing it, you should do it.

You should do it.

Yeah, there’s a way.

There’s a way, and there are women who have started younger than you are and there are women who have started later than you, and it doesn’t matter. There are women who are going to be faster than you, and there are going to be women who are slower than you, and it doesn’t matter.

Doesn’t matter.

Doesn’t matter.

No.

Do the thing, and-

You always regret the things that you don’t do, not the things you’ve done most of the time.

Most of the time.

I qualified that. You always… most of the time.

Most of the time. But yeah, and I think that for our listeners, tell them where they can find you and find some of the great information that you’re putting out.

Yeah, I mean Hit Play Not Pause has a private… which just means we keep out trolls and spammers, but it’s a Facebook group that is also… I think we have 5000 women in there now, and it’s a great resource because people just can come in and ask questions, and it’s a very open space. I’ll look at it in 6:30 in the morning and I’m like, “Oh they’re talking about orgasm. Okay, that’s cool.” It’s a very open space. That’s probably the best resource, they’re podcast adjacent, and I exist on… Well I should say Feisty Menopause is another good place that has an Instagram and a Facebook itself, where you’ll find the trickle-down of any of the things that I do. Like I write a blog and a newsletter for them, and that information trickles into that. So feistymenopause.com is a great resource for a lot of information, and you can find me at FitChick3. [inaudible 01:14:58] FitChick for bicycling since 1999, on Instagram and Facebook as well.

Nice. Yeah, so I encourage you all to check out the great resources, even if menopause is not your current concern, because there’s just a lot of other great information for all women, and at some point, it will be for you.

And it will let you know, like there’s a lot of women who didn’t… they’re experiencing things like I didn’t know, like a lot of anxiety. I mean, that can be an early indicator. Poor sleep, anxiety. Like stuff that just kind of makes you feel like you’re losing your mind. Could be hormones. I mean, when you look at graphs at what the hormones start doing and it’s technically perimenopause… we just call it the menopause transition. It looks haywire. I mean, of course you’re feeling that way.

I mean, you watch the whole reproductive life and there’s this rhythm and it looks perfectly orchestrated, and then perimenopause comes and it looks like a spiral graph. Like somebody just threw something in there. And it does even out again at the other side of the tunnel. But I mean, if you’re starting to feel like… like we talk about the fear. Like wacky, sort of like I’m not quite myself, and I don’t know why. It could be hormones, it could just be the start of something. And knowledge is power.

And that starts for some people in their 30s, so-

For sure, late 30s, it can start early 40s. It can go for 10 years, it can last for five years. I mean, it’s the kind of thing… but if you know there’s actions you can take and resources for you, and there’s no negative to that. There’s no downside.

Right on. So check your resources, kids. That’s the moral of the story.

That is, certainly.

And do the things. All right, well this has been The Talk of the T-Town Podcast with our guest, Selene Yeager, and we were thrilled to talk all of those unusual topics for track racing but awesome, and I think really important stuff to talk about. So thank you for coming on the show this week, Selene.

Thank you for having me, it was a lot of fun.

This has been The Talk of the T-Town Podcast with host, Joan Hanscom and Andy Lakatosh. Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode, brought to you by B. Braun Medical Inc. Head on over to our website, thevelodrome.com, where you can check out the show notes and subscribe, so you’ll never miss an episode.

 

Posted on

Missy Erickson: Go With the Flow

Missy Erickson

Episode 28

“It’s being able to take your experience and give it to other athletes in a way that they understand because everybody learns differently.”

Did you know that how much dairy you consume can affect your bike fit? Tune in to this week’s Talk of the T-Town to hear Joan and Andy talk with Missy Erickson about the intricacies of bike fitting, how Missy found cycling, and how she approaches coaching her athletes.

Missy Erickson
Missy Erickson

Thanks to B Braun Medical Inc. for sponsoring the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. BBraun is a global leader in infusion therapy and pain management, B Braun develops, manufactures and markets innovative medical products to the healthcare community. They are also strong believers in supporting the quality of life in the communities where their employees work and live.


Missy Erickson

Instagram: @missyerickson @erosportspa @bigpicturecycling

Facebook: @missyericksonofficial @EROSportsPA @BigPictureCycling

Websites: ero-sports.com/2020 bigpicturecycling.com

Transcript

Joan Hanscom:

Welcome to the Talk of the T-Town podcast where we discuss All Things Track Cycling. Broadcasting from the Valley Preferred Cycling Center I’m your host and executive director, Joan Hanscom, along with my co-host, Athletic Director Andy Lakatosh.

Andy Lakatosh:

Welcome to the talk of the T-Town podcast, I’m Andy Lakatosh, athletic director of the Valley Preferred Cycling Center here with my co-host Joan Hanscom. Today we have Missy Erickson, the 2016 Valley Preferred Cycling Center rider of the year, World Cup bronze medalist, six-time national champion, and 2016 Olympic Long Team member and might be 2024 if she makes a comeback, sitting here in the studio with us today. Welcome Missy, thanks for coming on, how are you?

Missy Erickson:

I’m good, thanks for having me.

Andy Lakatosh:

For everyone who’s not here, Missy just had her birthday on Sunday and we’re hoping for Spring weather but we just finished wrapping up coaching a very cold and blustery track session this morning straight into the studio to record the podcast. So, fresh off of doing plenty of work and jumping into a little bit of fun. For everyone who doesn’t know Missy and her background, Missy, could you tell us a little bit about how you found cycling, got into it, what you did beforehand, how you came to find velodrome riding.

Missy Erickson:

Yeah. I grew up in Minnesota. I played all sorts of sports growing up. I started cross-country skiing when I was in middle school. Our cross-country ski coach at the time was a cyclist himself so he actually got me involved in cycling for off-season training. So cycling actually was my secondary sport just to get me off of skis all Summer. And then I transitioned into cycling as I become better and better at it. Eventually got offered a collegiate scholarship to Fort Lewis College, I was there for four years. I was only a road cyclist prior to go in and then Fort Lewis actually introduced me to track cycling. They just sent me an email and asked if I would be interested in doing it and my complete attitude about it was just, “Sure, why not.”

Missy Erickson:

And so I just started getting involved with collegiate cycling in that way, I learned how to raise mountain bikes, track bikes, cyclo-cross bikes. I even dabbled in BMX a little bit, I was really bad so that ended very quickly. But it was I think the first time on the velodrome, I remember, I think it was Paper Planes from M.I.A. was playing on the speakers and my friend Sarah and I were screaming at the top of our lungs at Colorado Springs trying to figure out what exactly we were doing. And I think it was the first weekend there I was approached by Mark Tyson actually, who became my first track specific coach in Colorado. And he asked me how high my high jump was, or how my vertical jump was, and I didn’t know who he was or what he was referring to and I had no idea so I just completely washed it off.

Missy Erickson:

But our track season really was only about three weekends, so I think I rode the track bike for five or six days, and then went to collegiate nationals and ended up medaling in a bunch of different events and just fell in love with it. Graduated college after four years…

Andy Lakatosh:

Hold on, before we go any further, that’s a lot of stuff to cover. So we went from cross-country, which of course makes sense in Minnesota because there’s so much snow.

Missy Erickson:

Right.

Andy Lakatosh:

When does snow start falling there usually?

Missy Erickson:

I mean, when I was a kid, we had feet of snow on the ground by Halloween. So, we didn’t have the typical Halloween costumes you see today. We had like, I stuffed an M&M costume full of newspaper and wore a snow suit under it to go trick-or-treating. So, we had snow early and we had snow late, there was always snow on my birthday, so right now we’d still have snow on the ground, so…

Andy Lakatosh:

And you’d still be skiing into May?

Missy Erickson:

Yeah, so that we would… Our high school season would start early, we’d run cross-country running, go into Nordic, and then we would cross-country ski all Winter long as long as we possibly could. State Championships was always probably in late February, and then we’d still have snow into the Spring.

Andy Lakatosh:

What was the highest level you made it to or biggest accomplishment you had in skiing?

Missy Erickson:

I raced a couple of Junior Olympic events but I think I made it to the state skiing three times.

Andy Lakatosh:

And so little known fact, you actually raced with and competed against Jessie Diggins?

Missy Erickson:

Yes.

Andy Lakatosh:

Who-

Joan Hanscom:

That’s crazy.

Andy Lakatosh:

Yeah.

Missy Erickson:

Who was arguably better than anybody. I actually remember at state my first year, she was on the start list behind me because they went by slowest to fastest ranking order for points of the overall season and my coach said, “When Jesse comes by you,” Because it wasn’t a question of-

Andy Lakatosh:

If.

Missy Erickson:

… if she was, it was when she was. He said, “Stay with her as long as you possibly can.” And Jessie is years younger than me, actually. So she was, I think she won state as probably at eighth or ninth grader, she was really young her first year that she won. And when she came by me, it was on a hill, and I was bigger than I am now, and arguably, if there was power to weight in skiing, it would be quite low. And she flew, for each one of my steps she must have been taking two or three, she was so fast, it was unbelievable. So, the fact that she’s Olympic gold medalist does not surprise me.

Andy Lakatosh:

Well, and that was a really big historic Olympic gold medal too because US doesn’t do well in cross-country skiing but we’ve never won in women’s, right?

Missy Erickson:

No, I think the other medal was a man. I’m not familiar with what he actually did but, it’s the first Olympic gold medal by any American female for sure. I mean, she went on to win the World Cup overall, this year she won the Tour de Ski, she’s just breaking so many barriers and she’s just an incredible human being. She’s just incredible and the US Ski Team has come so far in the past couple years and they’ve done so much to build the program and the mentality. So, if you haven’t read Jessie Diggins’ book you should. And they also wrote a book about making the team too and that’s just incredible, the mindset and how they shifted the culture within US skiing and made that team work. So, very good reads for anyone who’s trying to put a program together.

Joan Hanscom:

That’s super interesting. So, but Missy, you came from an endurance background then…

Missy Erickson:

Yeah. And I-

Joan Hanscom:

… and became a sprinter?

Missy Erickson:

Yeah, I mean, the shift for me to go towards sprint was actually just because I fell in love with the keirin. When I was in college, my roommate, his name’s Ian, he, actually, we finished collegiate nationals and we just got in the car as soon as we got back to Durango and we loaded up the car and we went to Elite Nationals because they were out in LA and I had never competed in an event outside of collegiate. And for anyone who has been to collegiate nationals, the atmosphere at collegiate nationals is quite different than Elite’s. Elite’s is a lot more serious, there’s a lot more people, and so we just loaded up the car and took off to LA and I think we slept on the floor of his dad’s apartment in Santa Monica and I remember I rode a 90-inch gear in the women’s keirin and my first year I ended up getting a bronze medal.

Andy Lakatosh:

We’re talking about 2008?

Missy Erickson:

This is probably 2008 or 2009, so years back, that’s when I fell in love with the keirin specifically. I was an endurance athlete, I had only done road cycling up to that point. At collegiate nationals I think I medaled in the points race and scratch race and some more of the endurance stuff, but I just loved the keirin. And so for me, I didn’t have anybody there telling me physiologically, you are an endurance athlete, you’re sprint athlete, I just went by my heart like I did at that point. Wasn’t being coached by anyone specifically, I didn’t have any goals, it was just I went with what I felt was right. But even after that, I continued to do everything. I raced all the road events for Fort Lewis, I did cyclo-cross, I tried mountain biking but that result was very similar to BMX. So everything I did was endurance up until the point that I graduated. And then when I graduated in 2012, I just packed up my car, I sold almost everything, if it didn’t fit in the car it didn’t come with, I moved to Los Angeles with 800 bucks in my pocket because that’s what I sold my mountain bike for.

Andy Lakatosh:

Which is a lot like track sprinters standards, right? You-

Missy Erickson:

Yeah, which I call rich.

Andy Lakatosh:

You were the richest out of all of us.

Missy Erickson:

I found a room in a house in Torrance, where there was already three people living in it, and I didn’t know who they were, and I just moved. I asked the lady, she agreed to waive my deposit for a month until I found a job, I paid her my first month’s rent, which as everyone knows in LA is not cheap. And I literally walked into the velodrome and went into Jamie Staff’s office because he was running the program at the time, and I just said, “Hi, I’m Missy and I want to train with you guys.” I had an aluminum Fuji bike with a bent rear triangle and really bad training wheels, which I still have.

Andy Lakatosh:

Much against my advice.

Missy Erickson:

Yeah. And Jamie pretty much just said, “Okay, well, let’s see what you can do,” And I’m pretty sure my 200-meter that day was slower than 13 seconds, I had no idea what I was doing but he let me jump in the program. He didn’t write me a training plan, I just followed the other girls around, they were all incredibly welcoming. At that point it was like Taylor Crane and Kristen Walker and Dana Fais, all these incredible people that I had watched race Pan Am championships and Pan Am games and I knew I love California and I knew that’s where the indoor velodrome was going to be and that’s where I figured I had to be if I wanted to make it happen. And up until that point I didn’t actually know track cycling was in the Olympics, I just knew that I liked it and I wanted to try as much as I could to go as far as I wanted to.

Andy Lakatosh:

I see. So to me there’s almost a beauty in the fact that you didn’t grow up around track, you didn’t know the culture, you didn’t know the niche of it, you weren’t locked in, you just had a very open and “Hey, I’m going to do what’s fun,” basically instead of like, “Oh, I can’t race on this Saturday because that’s supposed to be my other training day,” You weren’t locked into I got to keep following this, you were like, “Oh, I’m just going to do whatever is fun and I get faster at doing,” So you just winged it because we definitely run into a lot of like, “Ah, I can’t go to California, I have to stay here and train with my coach and do this. I can’t mix it up,” Or just seeing all the roadblocks, it’s expensive, and it’s this, and it’s that and the other thing, and you definitely are always like, “Screw it.”

Missy Erickson:

Yeah, I mean-

Joan Hanscom:

Well…

Missy Erickson:

Go ahead.

Joan Hanscom:

What’s also important, though, is that you pick the thing that spoke to you. And I think, too often you see junior athletes being wedged into a path and they’re not picking, it’s being picked for them. And ultimately, I think that you ended up where you are today, coaching, bike fitting, still riding, because you picked the thing rather than having it thrust upon you. And I think that there’s a lesson in that for a lot of kids in the sport. There’s so many options available, if you love bikes and you love playing on bikes, play on bikes with the discipline that actually speaks to you don’t feel like you have to go down a certain pathway, pick the path that’s right for you. And I think that’s a really important thing for people to just take away from what you’re saying is that, there’s lots of ways to skin the proverbial cat, right? If you want to be pursuing this pathway, then pick the one that speaks to you the most not necessarily the one where people are trying to pigeonhole you or direct you.

Missy Erickson:

Right. I mean, there was even a point when I had an opportunity to be part of the women’s team pursuit program prior to Rio. I attended one of the camps, I did really well, and I had a sit down conversation with the coach, and they wanted me to be part of the program. And at that point, I was…

Andy Lakatosh:

Well, at that point the sprint program had been disban-

Missy Erickson:

Yeah and then-

Andy Lakatosh:

… Jamie had moved on to BMX.

Missy Erickson:

Yeah, this is years down the road. Team pursuit always intrigued me as an endurance event and I enjoyed doing it. Even being offered an opportunity to train with the program at the Olympic Training Center, for me it was, I just loved to sprint so much and it wasn’t necessarily the sprints, it was just the keirin and I loved it, I loved every aspect of it and that was just the event that I wanted to do. And I knew if I were to switch, I won’t be able to do what I technically love to do, even though I loved riding and I love track and I love the team environment and everything, I went with what spoke to me across the whole board. When I wanted to race cyclo-cross, I raced cyclo-cross and when I didn’t, I didn’t and when I wanted to race road, I would race road.

Missy Erickson:

I’ve done to America’s Dairyland, I’ve done Superweek, I’ve done Nature Valley Grand Prix, I was part of the collegiate All Star Program. I’ve been there and done those things but it was always just the keirin and I loved it. And the fact that I was able to win a World Cup medal in that event, will always be one of my favorite memories. Everyone has their favorite thing that they got out of their career, but that will always be really important to me because I followed my heart and I did what I knew I could do and what I wanted to do, so…

Joan Hanscom:

So do you still love the keirin?

Missy Erickson:

I still love the keirin. Yeah, I mean, it’s a condensed short scotch race, I love all racing and I love scotch races, I love, like I said, team pursuit, I have a love-hate relationship with points races. The ones that I do do well and I like and the ones that I don’t I don’t. I don’t really like the Madison but that’s for other reasons. I just loved racing my bike and so I just continued on with it so, I think that’s important for anybody.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I agree. And I think Andy and I have talked about this on past pods to racers race, right?

Missy Erickson:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

I like road racing but there’s not a lot of it so I race GRITS and I race Gravel and stuff because I like racing.

Missy Erickson:

Exactly.

Joan Hanscom:

And I’m not terribly good at it but I still like it. And it’s good to… It’s one of those things you do the thing that makes you happy and racers race. And that’s a great mentality to embrace as well, again, for the juniors who are listening, try racing all the things, find your version of keirin, right? If you’re a junior athlete listening to this, race all the things, try them all because you like racing bike and find your version of the keirin and then chase that but if you want to chase cross, chase cross but race all the things and try.

Missy Erickson:

Right. When I went into college that’s just what I did, I was only a road athlete I’d never raced on the track path as a junior, I’d never touched a mountain bike, I didn’t touch a mountain bike until, I mean, I broke my arm on a mountain bike my freshman year of college, it was my second ride and I ended up in a five-foot trench with Ruthie Matthys as my instructor.

Joan Hanscom:

Oh man.

Missy Erickson:

So you do, you just go and you just try everything, don’t be afraid to say no. If you’re not good at something, just keep trying, do everything, you never know what is going to fall into your lap, so…

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, that’s it. So, where were we in the Missy story? We were at the Long Team for 2016 then.

Andy Lakatosh:

Yeah, well, I guess what I’m noticing is that, if you look at your resume, you got a lot of really amazing opportunities, right? The collegiate All Star stuff, all the cyclo-cross accomplishments, and I just see so much of that came out of your willingness to be like, “Yeah, sure I’ll give it a shot.” And I think that’s also what got you initially very, very far with Jamie and with USA cycling stuff was you’re just like, “Oh, this is what I got to do next. Cool, I’m going to do it right.” Like you were just on board for anything, I think that’s an important kind of thing. That type of mindset gets you really far because even if you look at Vicki Pendleton, Anna Meares, Chris Hoy, the best in the sport, I bet if you ask them at the end of their careers, did they have it all figured out? And it would probably be no. It would probably be, “No, I was still looking for ways to get more and just being open to opportunities and different viewpoints,” and stuff like that really makes a big difference. I think sometimes that gets lost.

Missy Erickson:

Yeah, I mean, I think it’s really important to just… My whole perspective was just do whatever you have to do within reason obviously. I did so much traveling back and forth as soon as I got to California, I was there for maybe nine months training. The program fell apart, Jamie left, riders were leaving, so I was again without a coach, didn’t really know what I was doing, and this is Fall of 2012. And so, there was no program with USA cycling. At that point we were getting ready for the Pan Am championships and that was my first national team trip actually. I kept training through that Winter and then made the Pan Am championships team for 2013 with Maddie Godby. I had known Maddie because she was a friend of mine from out in California and she was also coached by Mark Tyson and so we got back together and after the Pan Am championships that year, we set a new team sprint national record and Maddie broke almost every record you can imagine for sprint females at that trip and I moved back to Colorado Springs for that Summer.

Missy Erickson:

So when I moved back to Colorado, because opportunity presented itself, I trained out there all Summer, race, had my first full season, had the opportunity to race on Blaine in Minnesota which is now no longer in existence. And I didn’t know that existed when I was a junior actually, I’m from Minnesota and I didn’t even know we had a track there. And then after that Fall, I actually move back to California again. So, for me it was all just about going where I was happy and my happiness was very important because happy bike racers are fast bike racers and that’s something that still sticks with me. When you’re happy, when you’re calm, and when you’re relaxed you perform well.

Missy Erickson:

And so, that was something that was really important to me throughout my entire career. And the moment that I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t calm and I wasn’t relaxed, I knew something had to change, and so that’s how I ended up back and forth and back and forth and that’s ultimately what led me to stop racing bikes for a while as well. So, that’s all very important is just going with the flow. Anytime I saw something that I could improve upon or whether it was equipment or coaching or where I was or races that I need to go or people I need to surround myself with, training partners, coaches, et cetera, I made the change and that was always really important.

Joan Hanscom:

So, you said something interesting about happy bike racers and certainly that’s been a theme that we’ve had throughout the pod as well. We had Kristen Caiman talking about her business mantra which is happy racers go faster, we had happy Carly is a fast Carly. So, you’re a coach now yourself, how do you help your own athletes realize that happy racers go faster? What’s your philosophy on that now that you’re on the other side of the bike so to speak, how do you help your athletes get to that place as a coach? Because that’s an important thing, I think, it’s for everybody.

Missy Erickson:

When it comes to my athletes, I think all of them will agree that I take a very personable approach to all of them, and I care greatly for every single one of them. And so, it’s really important for me to know what triggers them, what makes them happy, what helps them relax, and every person is different. So, helping the athlete themselves identify what do they need to do to be happy themselves, is it having their favorite breakfast? Is it having conversations with certain people? Is it focusing on the time? Is it focusing on the result? Is it focusing on just simply being present? Every single person is different, but helping the athlete understand that statement is very true. If they are happy, if they are calm, if they are relaxed, they will have a good day regardless of the result.

Missy Erickson:

I can’t really give you a straight up answer about what I do because every single person is different. And it’s just understanding that for each individual and helping them understand that. When I see somebody all wound up, you can see the stress and stress is not conducive to happy bike racers. So, it’s just understanding that and helping them understand it and then figuring out what triggers are going to help them relax and what’s going to make them happy, essentially. So, I don’t know if that answered the question, but…

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I mean, I just think it’s an important coaching philosophy. I think that it’s more and more people have this awareness that matters.

Missy Erickson:

Yeah. And I think that’s the important thing, is that understanding that it does matter, taking the stress off. If you’re traveling to an event and something goes wrong, you have a choice, you have a choice to get really upset about it, you have a choice to be really stressed about it or you can just go with the flow, and that was my whole philosophy. I spent an entire evening for hours walking around Mexico City with the US program trying to find the velodrome and I had two choices. It’s super stressed out about the fact that I’m walking on my legs for two hours the day prior to an event or like, “Oh, cool, we get to see Mexico City. This is kind of funny. We’re all just out here, nobody speaks Spanish, we don’t know where we’re going. Okay, whatever, it is what it is.”

Missy Erickson:

And I think it’s important for athletes to understand that they have that choice. You have a choice to get upset, you have a choice to respond the way that you’re responding and you can shift that mindset. So, you can either go with the flow, accept what’s happening and make the best out of it or everything can be negative, everything can be stressful, and then that’s going to weigh on you throughout your entire event.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, it’s funny, there’s a public very World Tour stage example of that, right? Like in the Tour de Romandie, just a week ago or two weeks ago now, Geraint Thomas crashed on the penultimate stage 20 meters from the finish line. His hands were frozen, he slipped off the bars and he was in a position to win the overall and he was interviewed afterwards and he was like, “Oh, I felt a right walker,” But he made fun of himself and then he put a funny meme up of his glasses falling off his head and he made a joke about it. And then he went out the next day and just crushed the final days time trial. And he had previously done a podcast about this same topic about how you can either get completely flipped out and stressed out and he had his sports psychologist on talking about the ability to laugh stuff off, and how that ability to laugh off stuff when it’s appropriate, is really important. And I think it’s also something really to remember, if you have a bad result, you have to put… It’s like hockey goalies-

Missy Erickson:

Exactly.

Joan Hanscom:

… We’ve talked about hockey goalies on the pod before too, you let a goal in and you have to forget that you let the goal in. You have to be able to laugh it off, you have to be able to put it behind you and not dwell and get caught up in dwelling. And I think that’s a real skill to cultivate, I wish I could cultivate it better, I worry about every single thing, and I don’t let things go. I’ve been standing with the test.

Missy Erickson:

I mean, Andy knows me well enough that he knows that I was not always like that. Every single day mattered, every little thing mattered, I was so superstitious in my career like my socks could not match, I had to eat brownies beforehand and God forbid, I didn’t. So, it comes with experience and I think that’s important for any coaches, not all good athletes make good coaches, and it’s being able to take your experience and give it to other athletes in a way that they understand because everybody learns differently.

Missy Erickson:

So, taking my experience in being able to digest that and give it to somebody else in a way that they understand and they can perceive it, is really important. So, every athlete responds to things differently and so it’s my job to understand that and give them the information in a way that they’re going to understand and they’re going to learn and they’re going to take what they need from it. So, it is a learning process. The whole thing is a learning process and I didn’t understand that until I was well into my career. So there’s always things that I wish I could have changed and I would have done differently but now I know better. So, hopefully I can pass that on to other people.

Andy Lakatosh:

Well, with all say, having been privy to witnessing this whole process firsthand is, and I strongly encourage, and this is why I think it’s great that we have the programs that we have here at the track compared to other tracks, but I strongly encourage elite athletes to coach even if it’s not what you want to do as your long-term career path, right? Because there was a point where Missy started coaching some athletes and we discussed training plans and how to correct things and help people improve and she can be like, “Can you believe this one person is freaking out about this one thing and they won’t let it go. And now, every day they expect that they have to be better than they were the day before and if they’re not, it’s a failure.” And I was like, “Yeah. Yeah, I think I’ve encountered an athlete like that a time or two before.”

Andy Lakatosh:

But I even learned too as a coach to like things and then all of a sudden, you just don’t start to sweat the small stuff. I think we spend a lot of time as coaches Missy and I focusing on the process, control what you can control, focus on execution, right? And the only thing that you can really control when something bad happens is your reaction and that goes right back to what Missy said about laughing things off and not stressing about it. But a big part of it is definitely, if you do the work and you put in all the time, you take care of yourself and you recover, then on race day, you’re really focusing about, and this is a harder thing to get people to truly understand, but you’re focusing on executing and just doing what you’ve been programmed to do, you’re not focused on going fast, or beating someone, you’re just focused on executing all the skills and all the abilities that you already have. And then if the result is the best that it can be, and then we get beat, probably we were beaten by somebody better. If we make a mistake, if we don’t execute right, then that’s on us. But there’s nothing wrong with losing.

Joan Hanscom:

There’s real thing, though, into believing in the process that, right?

Andy Lakatosh:

Trusting in the process.

Missy Erickson:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, to show up on race day and say, “I’m not going to worry about all the things that you just rattled off Andy, I’m just going to worry about executing.” That means that you have to have, for the months, years leading up to that day, believed in the process, bought into the process and have confidence that on the day executing is in your reach, right? I think that’s hard for a lot of athletes. I think that there’s anxiety about, “Am I prepared enough? Am I ready to execute on the day?” So how do you handle that? How do you get by it in the process because it’s a months and years long thing, it’s a relationship that goes on for many…

Missy Erickson:

Right. And I think in my own experience that’s I was all in or nothing. And that’s how I operated, it was 100% everything. So, if I had 100% belief that I was doing everything in my power, whether it was sleeping enough, eating the right things, obviously, rest and recovery, anything that I needed to do, I was always seeking out what I knew to be the best, whether it was programs, coaches, facilities, equipment, if someone told me something was better, I researched it and I got it and I made sure I had it. And that was just how I function. So, there was no limitation in my book. I…

Joan Hanscom:

That’s the high performance mindset, right?

Missy Erickson:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

… that [crosstalk 00:31:14] talking about.

Missy Erickson:

And because like then when I showed up to a World Cup, I said, “I have everything that I know. I do not have a doubt that I’ve done everything that I know possible to become a better athlete.” And of course, I left my first World Cup getting dropped off the back for kieran before the race even got started. So, I left that World Cup and said, “Okay. This is what I learned and this is what I need to adjust, because I need to get better.” So, being able to believe in what you’re doing was really big for me. I had to know that people believed in me, and I had to know that I believed in myself. So I surrounded myself with a team of people who I know did, because then I knew that I was in the best hands possible. And at one point if I did not believe so, I brought someone else on board and I made sure that I was always constantly improving because the only way we improve is through change. And so if I’m just doing the same thing over and over and over again and not seeing improvement, then I’m going to change something to make it happen. And obviously change is painful for a lot of people. But you have to do adapt.

Missy Erickson:

So, when someone walks up to an event, our job as coaches is to make sure that we have done everything in our power to make them the best possible athletes that they can. And their job as an athlete is to make sure that they have done everything on their end to make sure that they are the best athlete they can be. And if they do that, they can leave an event regardless of the result and know that they’ve done everything in their power and we can adjust accordingly afterwards. But the worst feeling is when you do as an athlete walk up to an event and say, “I could have done this, this and this and I didn’t and this is the result because of it.”

Andy Lakatosh:

There’s a big part of being able to take ownership over that too.

Missy Erickson:

Exactly.

Andy Lakatosh:

Not casting out blame and going, “Oh, the program wasn’t right.” Because no, you missed XYZ day, you stay up till one in the morning, you don’t eat the right foods, like taking ownership of that, right? That’s-

Joan Hanscom:

100%. 100%.

Missy Erickson:

Yeah.

Andy Lakatosh:

And as a coach it’s not a fun conversation to have but I think that we work with a lot of athletes that are prepared to accept those things, right? The first thing you should always do, I think, is look introspective and go, “All right,” Like Missy’s saying, “Did I do everything? If I did everything and I still fell short, then what’s the area of opportunity?” And approaching it that way instead of going, “Something was wrong with you guys.”

Missy Erickson:

Yeah. And I think that’s a maturity thing to the same thing as, like I did that as an athlete. I can count on my hand a handful of times that I did not take ownership for my own mistakes or my own results accordingly. And now as I’m older, I can look back and I can see that. So as a coach I try to stay ahead of the ballgame, right? And you’d have those conversations with the athletes prior and you say, “Okay, this is where we can improve upon, are you willing to take that sort of commitment?” And some are and some aren’t. And the ones that aren’t, then accept that that is what they choose. And it works out for some and it doesn’t for others. So, as an athlete that was how I functioned. It was all or nothing, it was taking ownership and trying to be the best possible athlete that I knew how to be, whether that was eating the right foods, selling equipment, getting new stuff, it didn’t matter what it was, anything that I thought I needed to improve upon, I just did it.

Andy Lakatosh:

One thing I will say is that the OCD side of Missy, that everything has to be perfect and right on point, has come in incredibly useful for her when she’d… So coaching I kind of trust on her, right? I was like, “I need help. Can you help? Can you do this? Can you talk to that person?” And I think as elite athletes we regularly get approached as like, “Hey, would you be willing to coach me?” I know when you start coaching there’s so much fear around like, “I don’t feel I have it all figured out why are you going to give me money to tell you what to do because I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do every day.” But the OCD for Missy has definitely made her an incredible bike fitter, out of this world. Can you tell us a little bit about how you discovered that, how you became a bike fitter, and how it’s been going for you.

Missy Erickson:

Well, my whole fitting process started back in 2012 when I moved out to LA. Jim Manton had his ERO studio inside the velodrome and-

Andy Lakatosh:

Which at that point was just a couple of metal barricades.

Missy Erickson:

Yeah, it was. It was just a couple of metal barricades with his equipment sitting there and he was there a couple times. And when I made the Pan Am team for 2013, he walked up to me and I didn’t know who he was, and he didn’t know who I was and he said, “Your position is absolutely terrible and I can’t believe you actually made the team so, can I fit you?” And I was just like, “Sure, why not,” Like another opportunity just there, so why would I say no to it. And then our relationship, Jim and mine, just grew from there, just became a process over the years of getting to know each other and him helping me with various positions whether it was for pursuit or mass start or sprint or…

Andy Lakatosh:

All the bike changes, all the handlebar changes…

Missy Erickson:

Yeah, anything I needed help with, he was there for me and he became a really great sponsor and supporter of mine. And that was just something that just appeared as history of me in the sport. And in 2015, Jim had been asking me throughout the whole the years if I would be interested, he really wanted a female fitter because he wanted a female perspective to come along so he could reach more female athletes because him as a man, he doesn’t know what it’s like to ride a bike as a woman, it’s very, very different, he’s the first person to admit that. So, he-

Joan Hanscom:

Which is great.

Missy Erickson:

Yeah, which is great, I mean, Jim is one of the most-

Andy Lakatosh:

I was just going to say, give Jim’s resume so people actually understand who he is.

Missy Erickson:

I mean, Andy, you know Jim’s resume, he’s the man and that’s enough, that’s all you have to say. Like in the-

Andy Lakatosh:

But didn’t he fit X number of the top people that finished at Kona every year or something like that, like he’s the guy.

Missy Erickson:

Yeah. He does so many fits, he is arguably the number one fitter and ERO guru in the world at the moment in terms of cycling world. He’s huge in the triathlon world. He’s worked with the women’s team pursuit program, he’s helped develop products and bikes and equipment and anything and everything under the sun, he is your go-to person. So, I didn’t know any of this, I just thought he was some guy that did bike fit. He’d been asking me for years if I would come on board and do an apprenticeship under him and become part of ERO as I operate, if I can’t give something 100% of my time, I just don’t do it. And so, I was 100% in to try to make the Rio team. And so I told him, “Right now I just don’t have time, maybe in the future.”

Missy Erickson:

In 2015, I had a really bad accident on the track that took me out of the sport in a roundabout way but I didn’t ride a bike for a couple months. And so when that happened, he just looked at me and he said, “You’re not riding right now, so why don’t you come and just see if you like this.” And so, for a couple of months, I just started going into the studio every day whenever he was doing a fit and just listening to what he had to say and how he worked and know his process and methodology and what he did, and I came to really like it. It was, again, with my OCD, it was numbers, it’s so intricate, it’s listening to the athlete but also looking at the numbers and figuring out where an athlete is supposed to be positioned. It’s like a big puzzle you’re just trying to figure out, everyone’s different. And so-

Andy Lakatosh:

Well, there’s so many if then statements and stuff, I know that there’s other fit courses and stuff that you can do in a number of sessions or a long weekend or even a single session, or some people just go, “Oh, here’s an app on my iPad, here’s the angles of…”

Missy Erickson:

Yeah.

Andy Lakatosh:

And as long as you’re at that number, it’s good to go but it’s really so coaching, it’s so personalized, and this is what I came to realize because I was definitely one of those stubborn like, “This is my seat height, this my this,” I don’t change it ever, right? And then I met Jim and Missy and I was like, “All right, I know none of this so I’m going to stop talking about it.” I stopped advising people on fit but, I was amazed at how many… You had a couple month long there every day with him.

Missy Erickson:

Yeah, I think in total I did seven to eight months before I did my first solo fit. And that was me just going in every day and just learning. And it took that long for him to be comfortable enough to say, “Okay, you can do this to my standard. I have a standard that I set and that I require and I think you’re ready to do it.” And so, I started fitting out of the ERO studio in Carson and at that point we had an actual studio, a little brick and mortar area, that we fit in out of the track. And so that just became my thing then, just like I went all in for cycling, like I went all in for the fit studio and when Rio wasn’t going to happen, we had the conversation of moving here to T-Town and Jim really wanted a studio on the east coast and so it just worked that Jim operates the West Coast side and I’m here on the East coast and we have our two locations, and it’s been really good. It’s one of those things where I don’t advertise and I don’t market other than what you see on Instagram, which is just my before and after pictures of people’s positions.

Andy Lakatosh:

Yeah, it’s all just word of mouth.

Missy Erickson:

Because I believe that if I do a good enough job, and that if I deserve it that people will comment that it’s worth it. It’s one of those things where if people even they believe in the process, and they believe in what I’ve done or they’re set up in a good position and they perform well and they feel good and they love riding their bikes then that’s all that I care about.

Missy Erickson:

So, my fit process essentially is just every athlete that comes in is treated the same, I don’t care if you’re going to the Olympics or if you’re riding on the Derby, that’s as high of a level as you want to achieve, everyone should be comfortable on their bike, whether they’re in a road position, a mountain position, a TT position. Everyone comes in with their own objectives, I get people who are 10 years old, I get people who are 90 years old, everybody is treated exactly the same. Everyone gets the same level of service. Everyone gets the same attention to detail and my attention to detail, as we all know, having severe OCD is incredible. So I take the time that I need to and if we need more time we take more time and… I don’t know what else to say about it, it’s like geek out with it, it’s fun for me. I have people come to my home and get to meet my dogs and becomes a very personable experience for me. I care about every single person as a person not just as a fixture on a bike that comes to me and I set them up and send them home. I take to heart every single person that comes in and I want to make sure that they love cycling as much as I do.

Joan Hanscom:

And for those of you who are listening, who haven’t had a bike fit yet, who haven’t gone through a full-on professional bike fit, I have not worked with Missy, I had my most recent bike fitting done with Colby Pierce out in Colorado but it was a very similar thing. It was a six to seven hour process of getting that whole aspect of how you sit on the bike dialed in and I’m not an elite athlete but for me, just the way he changed the way the hoods were set up on the bike and the reach, I became a better descender, better person going through corners, it was such subtle manipulations. And so even if you are, like Missy saying, like a Derby rider or you want to go to a Gran Fondo or a Century, it can make such a massive difference. And if you’re going to invest money in a bike, invest money in a fit, because amplify your performance, but being just your pleasure on the bike it’s more fun when nothing hurts and when your weight is distributed correctly on the bike so that your cornering feels better, you feel more secure, it’s definitely something worth investing in if you have a bike that you really love and you want to ride it, I can’t speak highly enough.

Joan Hanscom:

What’s funny, talk about OCD and getting down into the details. When I worked with Colby, one of his questions that leapt out at me that was so stunning was how much dairy do you eat? Because apparently dairy is processed in your pancreas and your pancreas is on your right side and so it can lead to a left-right power distribution. Like how many hours a day do you spend in the car and how much dairy do you eat? And I asked him why that mattered for bike fit and he had such an interesting answer about where your pancreas is, that I thought, “Oh my god, that is the devil in the details,” Right? Because that is-

Missy Erickson:

There’s a lot of stuff like that that people don’t realize [crosstalk 00:45:45]. It’s like we’ll get someone up on a bike and I’ll ask them similar questions and they’re like, “Oh, what does that have to do with this?” Or “What are you seeing?” Or introducing some people to things that they just haven’t thought about like imbalances and realizing that like, “Oh, you actually have a leg length discrepancy,” or “Did you know you’re rotated or did you know that your saddles’ actually really crooked or that it’s bent?” Even little things like that people just don’t think about and there’s this whole stigma on social media about hang slamming your stem which drives me absolutely bonkers.

Missy Erickson:

The other thing too is that fit changes as we’re evolving especially in the track world, there’s so much that’s coming out now where you’re seeing positions change so much. And it’s really important that as fitters you stay up-to-date with that and you evolve with the change. And I think that’s something that alot of people don’t do, they’re so stuck on the numbers that they’ve been presented by software programs, that they don’t accept that there are changes and that there are adaptations that we need to take place and that we need to invest in. And I’ve seen that a lot with the track sprint world. Had the opportunity to work with Cycling Canada and a couple of US athletes and athletes from other countries as well, I learn through every single fit that I perform. You learn something about how somebody works as an athlete and how you can better them as an athlete and I put that inside every other fit that I do regardless if you’re going to the Olympics, like I said, or not, it’s every single person should be treated equal and I take my knowledge that I learn and give it to every single person as well. So, I don’t really know what else to say about it.

Andy Lakatosh:

Well, I think-

Joan Hanscom:

It’s just really cool, right? I mean, again, for the non-elites, like for me, I had external iliac artery endofibrosis which came from probably two decades of riding with handlebars that were too low and created an extreme hip angle that then damaged my arteries. So now I ride with a stack of spacers because I don’t want to redamage my arteries but that’s part of a conversation you have with a fitter, right? Like if I didn’t adjust my fit because of my predisposition for this artery thing, then I would just damaged myself again and have more really spendy surgery whereas now I can optimize a fit that’s as good as it’s going to be for what condition I have to work around. So, that’s just so that my legs keep working. But that’s where this all matters for everybody. Again, I’m not going to Tokyo, I’m not going to Paris, but I still want to be able to ride my bike and still want to be able to do it safely, healthy, and so everybody.

Andy Lakatosh:

And as fast as possible.

Joan Hanscom:

Everybody has there issues.

Andy Lakatosh:

So, I guess what I’m saying that ties this whole thing together is the always being open to and willingness to grow and learn and adapt, right? When you were getting out of high school and college you went wherever you had to for your riding. As you transitioned into coachinG you’re always looking for new techniques, things that worked, didn’t work, how to help the next athlete, so we’re always learning and growing as coaching. And as a fitter, you just said the exact same thing, right? Like yes, you did seven, eight months of apprenticeship, you have how many years of fitting under your belt now, but it’s still like got-

Missy Erickson:

An evolving process.

Andy Lakatosh:

… got to keep evolving and you got to keep growing. One of the important things that I had learned is, even if you stay the same way and you do the same events in the same training as you get stronger and as you change how you ride in different phases, you still need to get refit, even if you haven’t changed the bike because you just might sit and produce power differently on the bike, you need to go back for follow ups. But what I wanted to ask just to wrap it up for fun, is what is the biggest Missy bike fitter peeve that you have to deal with clients that come in because I know I’m going to guess that it’s changing handlebars, seat position, pedals, wear the shoes and going… The fit doesn’t feel the same, the fits are wrong. Is that it or there’s something else that drives you more bonkers like not trusting bike size recommendations?

Missy Erickson:

All the above. I mean it. I think the biggest thing is that I don’t ever, I mean, I see people all the time where I’m like, “Oh, if only I could help you,” But I do not approach people and say, “Hey, let me fit you,” I do run a business but I don’t pressure anybody to do what I think they need to do. When someone comes to see me, they believe it’s because they need it and because I can help them. And that’s the only way, same philosophy of coaching. I don’t go out and tell people that, “Oh, let me coach you, I can make you so much better.” If someone wants to come see me, if they want to get fit by me, if they want to be coached by me, it’s because they believe that I can help them.

Missy Erickson:

And so, when someone comes to me for bike recommendations and they do a pre-fit, and I send them a list and their track bike size is four or five sizes bigger than what they’re used to riding. They’ve come to me and they believe in and what I do. And sometimes that doesn’t happen, sometimes I have people come in, I tell them, “Hey, you’ve been writing a 48 and you really need to be on a 59,” And it blows their mind because they’ve never heard that before. When they don’t take those recommendations that gets on my nerves a little bit because I put a lot of work into it. It’s not, like I said, I take a very personal approach to every single client that comes in into my shop, you can tell me somebody’s name that I fit and boom I remember exactly what their process was. I know how they work as an athlete, I remember what they look like, I remember what we did.

Andy Lakatosh:

OCD at its finest.

Missy Erickson:

Yes, yes. And that’s part of it. So, I take to heart the work that I do with my clients so, I mean, when someone comes in and get a fit and they go on a ride once and they say, “Oh, it felt weird I changed everything back,” That drives me a little bit nuts. The body takes time to adapt, and when you change your bike position, you change how your muscles work, so you need to give it time like everything else. You don’t do one training session all of a sudden become a world record 200 meter holder, it takes time. So, I invest time in people and they invest time and believing that what I do works, so…

Andy Lakatosh:

Needless to say, I touched nothing out of my bike after Missy does it or else I pay the price.

Missy Erickson:

No, you don’t.

Andy Lakatosh:

Well, I think that about wraps it up for us, Joan, anything? Any final questions for Missy?

Joan Hanscom:

No, it was super good to have you on the pod, I loved hearing from other women who are trailblazing in our sport. I think we’ve had a bunch of really fascinating female guests on the pod and you are just the latest in a long list of female guests who are really blazing a trail particularly as an athlete but also in the bike fit realm in your coaching and I think that’s awesome and I appreciate you giving us your time to talk about it. And for everybody who is listening, just give a quick shout on how they can find you if they want to get a bike fit.

Missy Erickson:

Facebook and Instagram, it’s all I do, at ERO Sports PA. Website is ero-sports.com. You can find all of our info there whether you’re in California, whether you’re here on the east coast. Jim is still operating out in California too so, I’ll give him a little bit of shout out. And coaching with Big Picture Cycling, so you can find us at the track almost every day. Online, Facebook, Instagram, same type of thing with Big Picture Cycling and ERO sports.

Joan Hanscom:

Awesome. Thank you.

Missy Erickson:

Yeah, thanks for having me.

Joan Hanscom:

All right. This has been the Talk of the T-Town podcast. We’re wrapping up our chat with Missy Erickson, signing off for me and my co worker, Andy Lakatosh, and we will catch you on the next episode.

Joan Hanscom:

This has been the Talk of the T-Town podcast with host Joan Hanscom and Andy Lakatosh. Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode, brought to you by B. Braun Medical Inc. Head on over to our website thevelodrome.com where you can check out the show notes and subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode.