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Bill Elliston: The Lifer

Bill Elliston

Episode 38

“It really all comes down to how invested they are in doing the most they can with what they have

Were you in town for Nationals this summer? Chances are you heard this week’s guest calling the racing! Join Joan this week as she sits down with longtime coach and friend Bill Elliston as they discuss Bill’s career in cycling, his coaching perspective, his thoughts on DEVO, how to make a career out of cycling, and much more.

Bill Elliston

Instagram: @elliston_coaching

Website: Bill Elliston Coaching https://www.ellistoncoaching.com

Cycling Tips: https://cyclingtips.com/2017/12/the-lifer-the-extraordinary-story-of-a-somewhat-ordinary-bike-racer

Facebook: @elliston.coaching

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/m.iadeye/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mia.deye.1


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. And after a couple weeks off from recording, I am excited to say we are returning back to the pod with a person, who I am very excited to, to have joined us this week. He is someone that I respect more than most, just about anybody I’d say, in the bike industry and somebody that I have had the honor of calling friend for many years, and also a colleague.

Joan Hanscom:

So with all of that teed up, welcome to the podcast, Bill Elliston of Elliston Coaching. We spent all of last week with you here at the track, but now couldn’t get enough of you, so we have you back on the pod this week. Welcome to the pod.

Bill Elliston:

Thanks. Happy to be here.

Joan Hanscom:

So as I just teased up here, you and I have worked together for a very long time at this point. Yesterday, I think you said it was your 10th anniversary of becoming an official staff member of the USGP, which is where you and I started working together in a not a coaching capacity. You and I have worked together in a coach athlete relationship longer than that even. But yeah, so it’s kind of funny that 10 years on, here we are on a podcast talking about bike stuff, so yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

For those of you who don’t know Bill, Bill is a coach. He is a bike race announcer. He is a former professional bike racer. He is a bike race promoter. He is a man of all things in this sport. Bill, how do you identify these days in the sport?

Bill Elliston:

That’s a good question. I’m still trying to figuring that out. Kind of just transitioning from racing over to the other side of the fence, so to speak. So, probably more as a coach and just someone who’s involved in bike racing on pretty much every level.

Joan Hanscom:

Pretty much.

Bill Elliston:

So, I mean, I guess, coach is my official title still, but kind of starting to branch out a little bit more from that and just do other things to stay involved in the sport and in a bunch of different capacities.

Joan Hanscom:

We’re going to include it in the show notes because I think it’s a really brilliant piece of writing, in addition to being interesting. Cycling Tips did a story about you in which they refer to you as a lifer. We are obviously at the track. You have even done time racing here at the track in the past, Tandemonium, Madison’s, so you’re familiar with the discipline of track racing. We were happy to have you here announcing with us last week at the Masters National Track Championships. And I think to your point about transitioning from racing into the other aspects of the sport, tell me a little bit about what you saw last week here at Masters Track Nats.

Joan Hanscom:

I was sort of, I guess, I’ve raced Masters Road Nat myself, but I was sort of super impressed with what I saw last week here at Masters Track Nats, in terms of like, there are 80-year-olds who are still lining up to do Masters Track races here at the track and I thought that was compelling. So, what was your impressions last week of people who are still lining up?

Bill Elliston:

I think it’s great. I think it’s great that there’s still, to your point, still people that are in their 70s and 80s that are still very visibly training seriously and targeting events and making every step they can make to get a really good result in their level of racing. I think it’s great that people are still doing it. And a lot of those people are certainly because Masters Nationals were here on the East Coast and at the velodrome locally.

Bill Elliston:

For me it was seeing a lot of athletes that I grew up racing with, either racing alongside with or folks that were literally mentors to me when I started back in 1983 and ’84. Guys like Joe Sailing, Patrick Jono, James Joseph, Chip Rezny, all these guys that were really good bike racers then and very serious about it. And 35 plus years later, they’re still going at it, they’re still serious and they’re still invested. And to be that invested, just for so many years, just certainly at the core of that it speaks to the passion they still have for racing bikes.

Bill Elliston:

And that’s kind of the part that I really love, people that just really enjoy it because there’s no way to stay as focused and as dedicated as that if you don’t have the passion for it. So to me, that’s really cool seeing so many people, so many people in the infield just with an undying passion taking it as serious as they need to get the results they want.

Joan Hanscom:

So, you coach a fair number of Masters athletes. I think you coach high level, let’s say, aspirational juniors, right? So, you’re coaching kids who are coming into the sport at a high level. You’re sort of mentoring them and bringing them into that step below professional racing. You take a team every summer when there is a race in Abitibi as Andrew would like to tell us to call it. Every summer you take kids in to that end of the sport and yet, you’re still coaching people like me who are, I’ve been racing, this was my 21st season racing bikes, so not nearly as long as you, but a long time at this point. And you’re still coaching athletes, like I said, at this end of the sport.

Joan Hanscom:

How do you manage that? How do you balance people like me who are crazy and high maintenance and demanding because I refuse to acknowledge or I don’t know, acknowledge that I should probably ease up and the kids coming. You spend a lot of range and ability.

Bill Elliston:

To me it’s the athletes on either end of the spectrum aren’t really any different. It all comes down to how invested they are. Whether it’s you’re a Weekend Warrior or you’re a Masters rider or you’re an up and coming Junior or U23 professional type rider. To me, it really all comes down to how invested they are in doing the most they can with what they have. And that’s all I look for in any athlete.

Bill Elliston:

It doesn’t really matter to me that they’re a junior with a whole potential career ahead of them or whether they’re a master rider just trying to satisfy maybe their own ego or just trying to get the most out of what they have left in whatever years racing they have left. As long as they’re driven and passionate and have the want to do it, I’m on board as much as they are. So, there’s really no line that separates either side of it for me. It’s just investment on the athlete side is what gets me involved.

Joan Hanscom:

I think it’s super cool though, right? Because if you look back, you and I are about the same age. If you look back at what people our age look like in the ’80s, how people our age were represented on TV. For me, that would be the Golden Girls, right? The Golden Girls were technically my age on TV, right? Their characters were essentially my age. I don’t feel like women today who race bikes at our age look like the Golden Girls. And I certainly don’t think that men who race bikes at this age look like that, but the male equivalent, right?

Joan Hanscom:

I think we’re seeing that people have this ability to stay athletic longer. There are some really fit dudes here last week racing at Masters Nationals and this is probably sort of that first generation where we’re seeing this happen or second generation of people who are really pushing themselves into being active competitive athletes into their 60s, 70s, 80s and I think it’s super cool. I think the fact that the human body can keep going and that we don’t have to become little old ladies and look like Santa Claus and we can we can still push ourselves.

Joan Hanscom:

How do you change that as a coach? How do you address the differences in the physiology when you’re 18 and when you’re 50?

Bill Elliston:

I mean, I think, for my part, it’s a lot of just very upfront conversations with athletes because a lot of athletes, it’s a challenge to face the reality of getting a little older and recovery taking longer and VO max dropping off a little bit and so on and so forth. And I think for everybody, you never want to admit that it’s common. But part of, that’s kind of the tricky part of my job is sometimes you have to have a lot of those come to Jesus talks of the reality of like, well, things change. You need a little more recovery. You need to balance expectations sometimes a little differently with the reality of real life, family, kids, and just the fact of getting older and the legitimate physiological changes that come along with that.

Bill Elliston:

So, it’s definitely a little bit challenging, but that’s where the communication is just super key because I’ve learned over time, you can’t expect athletes to know some of that stuff. Some of them do. Some of them are well-read and understanding or maybe they come from an exercise science background or a health-based background and they understand a lot of even just the basic premises of that. But I used to fall into the trap a little bit of just assuming that everybody kind of understood like what when you get to certain ages, you have to tweak expectations a little bit. And a lot of people don’t necessarily understand that or don’t want to understand that.

Bill Elliston:

So, it’s just a little bit of the unfortunate side of my job of making sure people are aware of, that so that things can be balanced properly and people are necessarily trying to exceed expectations of what Mother Nature says. And it’s certainly not to say that you cross a certain point in age where you can’t have any expectations. I mean, you still can, they just have to be based in the reality of what’s going on in your body and what Mother Nature’s is doing.

Joan Hanscom:

So, that’s a that’s an interesting thing, because I think when we started the conversation, you’re sort of grappling with that yourself, right? So, you’re coaching us through it and you’re also kind of having to coach yourself through it, right?

Bill Elliston:

Yeah, absolutely. It’s certainly, it’s been challenging on my own front, personally, as an athlete to figure that out and this year, maybe. Obviously, last year was a little bit derailed by COVID and all that jazz. And I didn’t really race nearly as much as I would normally race this year. But it’s become a little bit more noticeable every year for me, and this is the first year that it was maybe a little more eye opening noticeable than it’s been in the past and I stopped racing full time 12 or 13 years ago at this point. And I still had the good fortune of being able to “train” because I don’t necessarily train. I just ride my bike most of the time at a reasonable level.

Bill Elliston:

So I’ve been able to keep myself fit enough to play around with mostly the Pro 1 and 2 races. And I could still do it, but there’s still, I can still see the gap starting to widen a little bit in what I’m able to do in those level races. And I could still play around with them, but the ability to win some of those races are even getting the top five or top 10 is certainly starting to dwindle. And this is the first time where that’s kind of hit me that like, “Ah, okay” starting to catch up with me as well.

Joan Hanscom:

It happens to us all, I guess.

Bill Elliston:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

But it’s nice for men in our sport, right? Because men in our sport generally get the 35 plus, 45 plus, 55 plus, 65 plus category options at every race we line up for and the women do not. And so for the women, I think it’s even harder and until our sport gets a little bit bigger, it’s one of those things where I have to line up against cap 1 25-year olds. And there isn’t an option for me to do a 35 plus, 45 plus, 55 plus race the way there is for men. And I think that makes it extra hard perhaps for the women who want to stay in the sport and who want to keep going.

Joan Hanscom:

I think it’s one of the things that’s nice about the track is that it does offer those categories and it does offer those options. And I think in some parts of the country, even the road scene has those options for women, but certainly, East Coast doesn’t. And so I think that acknowledgement of where before I might have wanted to do a top five in a in a local crit, now, I’m like, “Oh, I made top 10.” That’s pretty good for me against who I have to compete against. But it’s still cool to see that there are a bunch of women out there around my age, who are still out there trying and still out there doing the thing.

Joan Hanscom:

And hopefully, as the sport expands, and I do view that COVID, in a lot of ways was a year of opportunity because a lot of people bought bikes. And so, I think if the bike industry and if our governing body and promoters all sort of put a mind to things, this could be a period of time where our sport expands. But that depends on all of those players doing the thing right. And I don’t know that that’s doable.

Joan Hanscom:

And that takes me to the next thing I wanted to talk to you about which is DEVO. And your thoughts on what’s happening with the state of bike racing here in the States? And how development works, how it doesn’t work? What your ideas are for, if you were to sit down right now with the people at USA Cycling in their elite athletics department and pitch them on an idea for DEVO, so that we could continue to grow the sport here., what would you do? Because you used to run development camps, you used to run Talent ID camps back when they were a thing. If you could sit down and say, “Here’s where I would love to see DEVO go.” What would you do if you had the floor?

Bill Elliston:

Yeah. I mean, it’s a tricky thing. I wish I had all the answers for that, but I think the first place I would start is probably try and figure out a way to rework the club structure with USA Cycling, because I think that’s… well, I’ll back up a second. I don’t think there’s any one specific cause that has necessarily cause DEVO to take a backseat to quite honestly becoming almost a non-existent thing. I think there’s a lot of reasons involved and I think some are controllable, some are fixable, some are just a product of a changing society.

Bill Elliston:

So, I don’t know that everything can be restored back to the way it was in 1987 where you’d go to a junior race and you would have a field of probably 40 or 50 of 15s, 16s, and then another field of 40 or 50 17, 18s. It’s literally every local, little crit in PA and New Jersey. And I don’t see those days coming back again for a lot of reasons. But I think of some of the reasons out there, I think some are controllable, some are able to be changed. I think one of those is trying to renew the club structure that used to really be a strong aspect of USA Cycling.

Bill Elliston:

Kind of, to your point earlier, about a lot of how this generations now has a lot of Masters riders into their 60s and 70s. When you went back to the ’80s, there was only, there was literally like two masters categories. It was like 35 plus and 55 plus or something like that. There wasn’t always five-year increments of Masters. There was really only a couple of age groups. And you didn’t have, those races didn’t have these overwhelmingly huge numbers. So not as many Masters raced so deeply, but a lot of them stayed involved in different levels.

Bill Elliston:

They were parts of clubs like the Lehigh Wheelman, the Somerset Wheelman. Some of those big clubs that were in the area back then. And instead of maybe racing so much as guys got older, they helped invest into bringing in young kids and running weekly club rides, and helping train young athletes, running skills clinics, and just really trying to help grow the sport by nurturing the younger kids getting involved. And somewhere along the way, and if I had to put a date on it would probably be the early to mid-’90s, something fell apart with that. And clubs kind of ceased to really have a big role with development because so many things shifted from being clubs to being teams, and all of a sudden you had the influx of more Masters categories.

Bill Elliston:

So, now all of a sudden, your average Master had a place to race in his ability because now there was not only 35 plus, there was 40 plus or 45 plus, so everybody kind of had a place. So, instead of really working on nurturing some of these young athletes, their focus maybe remained on themselves a little more and continued to race. And clubs started to morph into teams where it wasn’t so much about helping other riders, it was, well, like how can how can we create an environment where we have all kinds of sponsors and maybe now, we get more free stuff and this and that.

Bill Elliston:

And that’s not necessarily specific to Masters. I think that kind of trickled down through everything. But I think in terms of a lot of the Masters demographic, that whole team ideal took over a little bit more. And it became more about, “Hey, how can my team of 40 plus buddies get free frames and free clothing,” instead of maybe contributing back in a different way and the focus really shifted.

Bill Elliston:

In the meantime, I think again, bikes lost their luster with kids. Kids started to have other things to do. You’ve got the whole internet generation with just a lot of different options on what to do with your time and I think that played into it. But I think really coming back to a club structure and somehow if USA Cycling would figure out how to reinstitute a club structure of clubs need to promote races. And maybe some sort of mandate where trying to host skills clinics or trying to host weekly rides or trying to invest in getting younger kids into the sport, I think that would be a good start at the very least.

Bill Elliston:

And again, I don’t see anything going back to the way it was in the ’80s. And we talked about this as groups on Facebook. And I’ve talked about it with other coaches all the time. And I think everybody recognizes that that was just the golden era bike racing and as much as we’d all love it to be that way again with hundreds of juniors and a lot of DEVO opportunities, it’s probably not going to happen, but where we are now with not that many juniors and incredibly limited DEVO opportunities needs to change. And there’s got to be a way to figure out that middle ground somewhere.

Bill Elliston:

And to me a big start is that, is A, that club structure and B, USA Cycling, just reinvesting in the DEVO aspect. I understand some of the reasons for focusing a little bit more on the elite side. I get that there’s a financial component to the sport that needs to be attended to and that’s where things trickle down from. And I get that, but I think, personally I think way too much focuses on that and the DEVO thing has just gotten lost in terms of other things, unfortunately.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, I agree with you. I think when, well first of all, back when I started racing, if you weren’t on a team, you had to pay an extra $10 to race unattached, right? And-

Bill Elliston:

Yep.

Joan Hanscom:

And then the clubs all had to put a race on and so, I think that didn’t actually change until 2012. And there was a desire internally at USA Cycling to “professionalize” race promotion. And so, they were pushing race directors to have race director licenses instead of just being club events. And when that, I don’t know. When that requirement for clubs to put on a local race went away and it coincided with things like everybody getting an internet coach, because that was new.

Joan Hanscom:

Everybody was starting to get a coach, everybody. And I think that started with Chris Carmichael and Carmichael Training Systems when Lance was in his heyday, everybody was starting to get an online coach and everybody was training. And then the club have sort of fell apart when some of those requirements went away. I think you’re right. It became much more of a, “I don’t have to ride with my club to become strong on the bike. I can work with my coach on an individual program and train.”

Joan Hanscom:

But what you don’t get with an internet coach is skills. You don’t get development. You don’t get race tactics. You don’t get pack skills. And I think that’s where a lot of the stuff has gone off the rails, in terms of bringing new people into the sport, whether it’s juniors or adults. Coming in from other disciplines perhaps is that you get people coming off swift and they’re strong as can be, but who’s teaching them the skills? Who’s developing them into racers outdoors? And I think it’s a conundrum we have to solve. But if we want to have viable racing in the US, I think that that’s something we’ve got all figured out together.

Joan Hanscom:

And I think what’s interesting if you look at the current racing scene right now, I mean the US and we’re talking largely about road because track is a wholly different thing. I mean, track really is a different animal. It’s on a different pathway because the pinnacle of track racing isn’t the Tour de France. It’s World Championships. It’s the Olympics. It’s a very different discipline. But if you look at the road, we don’t even have really professional teams in the US anymore that race a full schedule here. You have a program like TIBCO that races in Europe. You have Rally that races in Europe. You have programs like that that are still US-based programs but you don’t have like the UHC Blue Train anymore like just crushing it at the crits. You don’t have the SmartStop team that was going elbow to elbow with the UHC team.

Joan Hanscom:

You don’t have those big domestic programs anymore. And is that a chicken or an egg thing? Is that because there’s not racing for them to do here? Is it because we went so crazy with stage racing with Utah and California and Georgia and Missouri and where all the stage race is, Colorado, that the bread and butter crit teams just can’t stay in business? What is it that you think on the roadside would bring more juniors into racing professionally, domestically?

Bill Elliston:

I mean, there’s a couple things. I think, first, we have to get some more kids in it. And I think you mentioned Lance earlier and for all the positives and the negatives that are associated with that guy, there was a lot of people racing bikes early on when he was kind of coming up and starting to win tours and so on and so forth. So I think, and he kind of goes back. You look at some of the big influx of riders in the ’80s and early ’90s and you had Greg LeMond, who was kind of in a similar position as Lance in terms of they were aspirational figures for US kids to look up to like, “Hey, look, there’s this American who’s on the world stage in this sport.”

Bill Elliston:

They’d kind of helped glorify it a little bit and make it cool and make it something that seems accessible to kids. And I think that’s definitely important because obviously we all know that the root of bike racing is it’s such a Eurocentric sport. And to your point about the stage races, those are just, it’s a Eurocentric model and it works great in Europe because the history, the culture and how deeply rooted it is over there. But the US simply doesn’t have that history, so I think you have to figure out how to appeal to these younger kids. And while guys like LeMond and Armstrong were, I think they were great figures to start, I think the reality is you need to have a good US circuit here.

Bill Elliston:

You go back even 15 years ago, towards the tail end when I was racing full time and anyway, we have like 13 pro teams, 14 pro teams. We had just an unbelievably healthy circuit in this country. A lot of really good crits, but also a lot of really, really good one day road races. And I think to me that’s the model of US racing. Smaller stage races are great, but your old Fitchburg, your old Tour de Toona, Green Mountain, Killington, Joe Martin, Redlands, all that stuff. Those are really, really, really good races and some of them have continued to be staples of the calendar. But the filler around that stuff really is big crits and one day road races, the old thing. And of course, Philly is one of the institutional races that were just around forever. So core states, the old Pittsburgh race, San Francisco, Atlanta, you had all these really good one day races. Univest another good PA race.

Bill Elliston:

So, I think those were really, that’s what US racing is and that’s what US racing needs. I think that’s what needs to be focused on to help rebuild the schedule. I think, to be honest, the Tour of California, Tour of Utah, those are great races, but they don’t really cater to the US market, in my opinion, anyway. And I think in a lot of ways, they quite honestly kind of squash what real bike racing is here in a lot of different ways. And I think, so many teams that win California and Utah and Tour of Georgia came on the schedule, so many little teams built their season around those races, which is it’s kind of cool because you got some exposure, but it was really limited because it was for a week that you would get this exposure.

Bill Elliston:

And you would pump so much of your budget into these races and then you really wouldn’t have too many races outside of that. And one big race and a handful of smaller races doesn’t really develop riders. You need a lot of races to develop riders. You need a really big schedule. And that’s why, like again, you go back to the ’80s when the schedule was just watched with one-day road races in crits. You had guys that were really successful here. And they went to Europe, and they actually did okay, because the US schedule, even though it wasn’t tours and big stage races, it’s still supported them developing pretty well as athletes, and then Europe just kind of fine-tuned that. And when-

Joan Hanscom:

I think, too, the piece that you touched on, when you have that big season of consistent racing, consistent head to head is that there’s a narrative to the bike racing, right? You can have a fan base. You can follow a narrative of a season, when you get to see these teams over and over again. And if you only see a team race once a year or twice a year, there’s no narrative for the fan of the sport to follow. So, if you are a 15-year-old, who loves bike racing here now, where do you see your hero?

Joan Hanscom:

You might see Sepp Kuss on the tour. And you might say, “Dang, I want to be Sepp Kuss” or you might see, somebody. You might see Jen Valante at the Olympics and say, “I want to be her and race the track.” But you don’t have an opportunity to see them here anymore, right? There’s not that consistent narrative of seeing your heroes here racing. And I think that that was one of the things that consistent narrative that we had with USGP if we want to jump from road to cyclocross was that was four months of seeing the best cyclocross racers America had to offer every month. There was a story to follow. There were standings to follow. There was a clear narrative to follow.

Joan Hanscom:

And I think with something like that, with that clear narrative, a gazillion juniors got into cyclocross, right? I think that it pulled kids into the sport. Kids were still racing now at a pretty high level, got in during that heyday. And I think having that consistent narrative of the sport to follow helped, right? I think when you see it all the time, when there’s a storyline for you to follow as a fan, it’s really helpful because you get to see it. And right now, if all you got to see is people racing over in Europe, it’s really far away.

Joan Hanscom:

So, I think a strong scene, regardless of discipline, mountain bike, road cross track, domestically, you need that to have something for people to aspire to. You have to have that for as a pathway to get into it, but you also have to have it as something to aspire to. And to even know that it’s a thing because if you don’t know it’s a thing, if it’s not in your backyard, and you don’t have access to it, how are you going to grow.

Bill Elliston:

Yeah, I agree. I think it’s unfortunate that obviously, the internet’s been around a long time, but live streaming is just kind of starting to become a big thing with races. And it’s unfortunate that now we have all this technology to do that, but we have such a limited schedule to now showcase because I think combining those two things would really help broaden the appeal to people.

Bill Elliston:

My interpretation of the Europe stuff is the kids that are that gifted, the riders that are men, women, boys, girls, that the riders that are that gifted are going to figure out how to make it in Europe. There’s always going to be those opportunities. The guys, the riders that go over there and just maybe do their own thing and figure it out and have successes, that’s always going to be an option. But I think here to really have an option to certainly to make a career in bike racing, you have to have the races to do it. And I think the sports is in a really hard place because there’s just not the races to really do it.

Bill Elliston:

And it’s unfortunate. I was at the Bucks County. I was talking to one of the young riders who had been in the break all day, who is just an immensely talented kid. And talking to him, asking him if he’s got anything going on for next year. And just lamenting with him of like, “Man, if this was 15 years ago, you would walk onto a pretty good US based pro team and you would be facing a pretty good little career for yourself.” And now, he just like not sure what he’s going to do because there’s such limited options to make it in the US as a bike racer. And that’s really unfortunate because we’ve got a lot of really good bike racers here.

Bill Elliston:

And I think the races that we do have, the one day-races and the crits, you see it. They’re good races, they’re great races. And you’ve got a couple of teams that are trying to make it happen and trying to buff the odds, but it’s to me, it’s hard. I struggle a lot to see the upside of it because I’ve seen what it can be and I see what it is now and it’s hard for me to see a way out of where the sport is right now. And going back to the DEVO thing, yeah, we need to have these races, but we need to figure out how to get more kids involved. We need to go back to having camps that are it’s not simply talent identification. They have to be because the talent ID only aspect it scares away a lot of kids because they just don’t think it’s for them.

Bill Elliston:

And I think to me, widen the pool, cast a wider net. You got to, you have to cast a wider net and you’ll still find those gems that you’re looking for. And I think we’ve proved it with the camp system. I started working the USAC Camp system back in 2007 or ’08, just literally as a guest speaker my first year and then that morphed into assistant coach, head coach and eventually I took over camp manager for three or four years. It’s several camps up in Finger Lakes in New York and in the Mid-Atlantic camp down here. And literally every year, we would have a success story out of the camp. And even if it was a small camp by the numbers, which we had some that were just not really well attended, but we had some that were 30 and 40 athletes, which was really all we could handle, but we’ve still every year we had success stories.

Bill Elliston:

Kids like Max Chorus who went on to a year out of camp was USA Cycling National Road champion. Kids like Robin Carpenter, who is in the middle of a really successful career. Laurel Rathburn, who’s had a great career on the track and has since retired. A lot of really good athletes came out of our programs and I think it shows. And I think back when I started, the camps were labeled as DEVO, primarily DEVO, but they had a talent ID aspect. And over the years, under the shift coming out of USA Cycling and trying to figure out how to market these camps and how to really move forward with them. They started to become the DEVO moniker got dropped and they became talent ID camps and that scared away a lot of kids.

Bill Elliston:

Because I think they thought it was exclusionary and you had a lot of kids that maybe had some good ability, they just didn’t think the camps for them anymore. And you would try and tell them, “Hey, come, come to the camp, come to the camp.” And if you’re not casting a wide net, you’re bound to miss a lot of people. And I think that became a lot of the problem until somewhere along the way some of the people out there decided the camp system was literally going to be a selection camp for races, which blew my mind. And that’s at the point where I walked away from wanting anything to do with it.

Joan Hanscom:

So, yeah, that’s depressing. But I think it’s an opportunity to pivot a little bit and talk about you as a coach, you as a person who loves this sport and is working awfully hard in this sport. So, I’ve been to Belize with you. I’ve raced the cross country there. You’ve won the men’s version of the Holy Saturday cross country race there, 2005, 2007?

Bill Elliston:

’05, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

2005. You won it in 2005. You’ve gone back and you’ve chased that title a bunch of times since then. You’ve had some really great results down there. But one of the bigger takeaways of your time in Belize and my teammates who’ve been down there to training camps with me and my teammates who’ve gone down and raced with me down there can attest that to this day, you have a little bit of celebrity status in Belize. Because if you’re riding along on the road in Belize and there aren’t that many of them, somebody invariably yells, “Hey Bill, Hey Bill,” right? And they call you champ. That is a lasting legacy you have there.

Joan Hanscom:

And one of the things that I find incredibly remarkable about what you do there is how you give back to the athletes in the Belizean community as well because you love racing in Belize, you love Belize. I think that race is probably your favorite, if I’m going to speak for you. But you are helping develop riders from Belize as well and you’re trying to bring them here to help them grow as racers and get more experience as racers. And so, I mentioned this because obviously, there’s a very prominent Belizean racer, who is trying to spark some love for crit racing in the US as well. So, Justin Williams, just embraced his Belizean citizenship, just won the Belizean road championship, is doing his part to bring Belizean athletes to the US. He’s also doing his part to try to make crit racing in America great again.

Joan Hanscom:

But you’ve also been doing that for a while, which I think is super cool. And I mean, I know that you’ve worked with a bunch of athletes from Belize and help them get here. So, talk a little bit about that and talk a little bit about what you’ve done there. And I know you’ve also done things like collected an enormous amount of stuff here because Belize is not a wealthy country. They also don’t have access to all the current bike stuff as easily as we do, so you’ve shipped tons of equipment, tons of gear, tons of clothes down there to help grow the local scene. Talk to us a little bit about what you do there because I think it’s really, really cool.

Bill Elliston:

Yeah, I mean, well, first, yeah, I absolutely love Belize and that race is probably pretty easily at the top of the list of favorite events I do. And it’s talking about Masters and declining physiological aspects over time. One of the fortunate things about that race, especially given my style is it’s something that’s still is within my wheelhouse, maybe a little bit more than other races. So for that reason, in part, I still really enjoy that race because I know I still have an opportunity down there in that event.

Joan Hanscom:

And let’s just be clear, that’s 146 miles?

Bill Elliston:

It’s 144.

Joan Hanscom:

144 miles.

Bill Elliston:

Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:

So, it’s not short. It’s a good long race. And it goes from Belize City out to the western part of the country and back. And that race is bananas. If you are there for the race day, you are seeing a highway lined from start to finish with people out cheering. It’s a party all day long. They love, love, love that event. They even love it for the women’s race, which I can attest is a much smaller field than the men’s field. And the crowds are still out cheering for the women’s race. We did not do 144 miles. We do have 75 or so miles.

Joan Hanscom:

But it’s an incredible experience to see that country just turn out from bike racing for an incredibly long power core, right? It’s an incredibly long course and every inch of the way there’s people out cheering and supporting. Sometimes when I’ve raced it I’ve thought, “I wish we had these kinds of crowds out supporting for us back home.” So I just want to give people a sense of what that race actually is. It’s 144 miles, 100-degree heat, 90% humidity. It’s a long day in the saddle so it’s no small thing that event. So carry.

Bill Elliston:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s a fun event and those, all those reasons are exactly why I like it because it’s so drastically different than a lot of the racing that we have available here especially on an amateur level. You just don’t find races like that. But yeah, I love Belize. In 2005, the year I won was the first year I’d ever gone to Belize. It was kind of a last minute thing on a whim with a really good Jamaican American friend of mine, who reached out to me about doing it.

Bill Elliston:

And ever since then, just, I think even if I hadn’t won the race I probably would have fallen in love with the country just for obviously the climate, the lifestyle down there, the simplicity to things and the general pleasant attitude of everybody. And in terms of cycling, and I guess in terms of life in general, one of the things you tend to see if you’ve never been to, I don’t that they’re technically still a third world country. I think they’re classified as an emerging country. But one of the things you see when you go to some of these smaller Central American countries is folks just have a lot of passion for specific things and they have a lot of passion for bike racing.

Bill Elliston:

One of the things that makes bike racing successful in Europe is it’s just such, it’s the working man sport. It’s really, really blue collar. It’s not necessarily your white collar sport over there. And it’s that’s certainly the same attitude in some of these smaller Central American countries is it’s very much the blue collar thing to do. And it’s, I won’t say it’s affordable, but people in those kinds of countries will literally get on any kind of equipment they can get their hands on and race. So, it can be a much smaller point of entry in terms of cost to the sport, so you don’t necessarily need all this high end stuff. People will just grab their 15-year-old bike and they’ll race and they’ll be successful on it.

Bill Elliston:

And that kind of helps fuel one of the things I love about it is it’s just not pretentious. People are just really happy to be doing it and they commit as much as they can commit given a lot of the restraints they had down there versus some that we have here and just seeing the passion that some of these people have is pretty phenomenal. And then when you really realize the passion they have up against a lot of the disadvantage they have in terms of finances in terms of equipment that’s reliable, in terms of proper clothing and certainly proper training guidance.

Bill Elliston:

It’s just for me, it made me realize that that’s a really easy place that I can give back. Because I had a lot of good fortune as a junior. I had a lot of friends that got me into this sport. They were a few years older that maybe moved out of bike racing kind of after they helped me get into it. They kind of segued out into “real life.” But they were in positions where they could give back in different ways, maybe financially and help me get to some races and help me just do things that I wanted to do in the sport.

Bill Elliston:

And financially, I mean, we don’t have some of the backing to help people. But I know I can help people down there in different ways because I can give coaching advice and I can round up clothing and I can round up equipment and get it sent down there and help in different ways. So, that’s really been a big driver for me is it’s been a really fun way to give back to people who are so passionate and maybe don’t have other means to do what they want to do. I try and fill in that void in a lot of different ways.

Bill Elliston:

As you alluded to I coach. I coach a couple of athletes down there. One full time, one kind of comes and goes. I help him kind of fine tune for races. And then I just spent a little bit of advice to a lot of folks down there. I’ve tried to help the folks at their federation down there. Some have maybe been a little bit more receptive than others through the years. But I still have a voice that they reach out to for a little bit of assistance in trying to figure out how to run some stuff. And I can only go so far with what I can do on some levels down there, particularly with trying to help them come up with some kind of a protocol to help their athletes and establish a national team and get them to other races.

Bill Elliston:

And you talked about Justin a little bit and I think it’s phenomenal what he’s doing. Justin’s a real notable athlete. He has embraced his Belizean roots and I think it’s great, he’s become a citizen down there. But more than that, I think it’s great that he’s realized that there’s also a lot of talent down there. And a lot of really good bike racers that are kind of not getting to really showcase themselves outside of their little world in Belize and Guatemala and Mexico from time to time. And I think what he’s finally doing is pretty phenomenal in trying to get some riders out of the country, get them to the US, give them some opportunities.

Bill Elliston:

And he’s kind of he’s kind of wearing two hats. He’s got his Legion team where he’s really trying to promote crit racing and bring that back to kind of its rightful glory in its rightful place as the cornerstone of American bike racing. And then, he’s also trying to get some riders out of Belize and give them opportunities where they might not otherwise have them. So, I think, while I’m working on different ways to help them, he’s kind of coming in and whether he knows exactly what I’ve done in the past or not, it doesn’t matter.

Bill Elliston:

But I think it’s great that he’s coming in and providing another pathway for these riders. And I really hope, I hope he gets some more support from the Federation. I understand they have their own struggles. Obviously, small country, limited financial resources, and so limited ability to get certain things done. But hopefully, his celebrity so to speak, can be a little bit of a catalyst for not only getting riders here, but maybe getting some people to help pump a little more life in some different ways into the Federation and be able to do a little bit more for their athletes in tandem.

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. Well, one of the athletes you coached, Kaya Cattouse, came up multiple years in a row now to race the Intelli Cup series and has seen some nice success there, was also here for Gateway Cup. And so you’ve helped her come here and find some success here on the crit circuit. And I’ve always thought that some of those Belizean athletes would do really well on the track. So, maybe that’s the next thing you can do is you can get them to come up here and try to learn how to be a track racer.

Joan Hanscom:

But yeah, I mean, you’ve certainly helped Kaya get better than she would have been had she stuck with just racing in Belize. I mean, I think the opportunity there for women racers in particular is limited. There’s just a small, fields are very small. And so development when you’re racing against three or four other women, it’s hard and then you go to compete internationally. And when you’re not used to competing in big fields, that’s a big jump. And so you’ve certainly helped her make that jump to racing here pretty successfully. And so hopefully at some point, maybe she’ll get to come and do one of Justin’s crits, which would be an interesting sort of coming full circle kind of thing, I think.

Joan Hanscom:

What are your thoughts on his $100,000 crit in Sacramento?

Bill Elliston:

I mean look, I think on face value, I think a crit of that magnitude is great. I think, I think anytime we can have some to races like that, it’s a pretty cool thing. And I’m hopeful it drives good attendance. It’s a little challenging the timing of it. I mean, it’s in California where I mean does the season ever really end in California, the land of Eternal Sunshine? So I mean, I think that’s great for West Coast athletes. I think it might be a challenge for a lot of other athletes because what I think the US state crit finals is this weekend in Winston, Salem.

Bill Elliston:

And I think that’s the last really major event on a national scale on the road. So, you’re talking over a month of a time gap from Winston, Salem to Justin’s crit, which I think that’s a little unfortunate that it’s that late in the year, so I think that’s a little challenge, I think. Admittedly, I haven’t really read up on his complete agenda with that race and what the goal is, so I’m not completely up to speed. But I think it’s a great one-off thing if the intention is to really drive more life into this sport. I mean, in my eyes, I would really love to see a series, right? That kind of-

Joan Hanscom:

Like we said, a narrative all throughout a season, right?

Bill Elliston:

Right. Get a narrative, get a 10- or a 15-race series out of that kind of money. And I think in my eyes that would be a little more successful in helping really jumpstart another series that contained a narrative and gave writers a season-long target in tandem with some of the other great events that are still out there, the USA crit stuff and some of the programs or events. I think that if you kind of divvied that up and fit, again, like 10 races in the calendar that would really, really help boost the calendar.

Bill Elliston:

And to me that would be a little more of a driver of creating a more promising outlook for the future of the sport than necessarily a one-off. That’s not me trying to poopoo any kind of a race. I think it’s a great race. I think it’s going to be successful in certain ways, but I just, I don’t necessarily know that it’s going to be the driver for resurrecting crit life in this country.

Joan Hanscom:

I think what the hope would be and it goes back to what you said earlier would be that if it can be the cornerstone of something new developing that creates a more consistent racing opportunity, maybe that’s the thing that makes running a professional team in the US, a viable thing again. And I think that that’s what you hope for, right? Is that you just hope that there’s a way to drive whether it be a pro cross team, like the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld Team in that discipline. Even it’s like a cross where there used to be consistency and there used to be teams.

Joan Hanscom:

You used to have a whole host of teams show up. You had the Cal Giant Strawberries. You had Stu’s team. You had a whole host of teams that were able to show up and race because there was that consistent narrative throughout the season. You hope that that starts to happen on the roadside again. And I say this as a person who’s working in track cycling right now, but who desperately wants to see that there’s a pathway for people to be viable in this sport. And track cycling faces its own challenges when A, the ECI calendar is changing again. So it’s really challenging to know when races are going to be.

Joan Hanscom:

Tracks are closing here in the US. Every year we’ve seen that another track closure. It’s a challenging model to run a velodrome because they’re very expensive. And you’re the nichiest of the niche. And so, any way that in our sport, we can find a way for people to make a viable career out of it, I think is important that we just talk about, what and regardless of discipline. For those of us who love bikes, who love bike racing, I think it’s really important that we just keep having these discussions about what does this sport need? And how do people like you who make your living now by coaching athletes who want to race bikes announcing bike races. You still want to dabble in bike racing. How do we keep it? How do we keep it all going? And it’s really interesting to get your perspective on all of that, so.

Bill Elliston:

It’s a tricky thing. I think it’s the longer it goes on the way it is, the more challenging it becomes. Because there’s so many factors involved. There’s just so many factors, again. And I think the more factors that come into play, the more challenging it’s going to be because it’s simply so daunting to stand on the outside and look in. It’s a really daunting thing of where do we start, but I think the powers that be, to me, it’s I know, it’s not all in their lap, I get that. It’s not their full responsibility, but I think they bear some responsibility for being a little more open to conversations and being maybe a little more open to starting conversations. And maybe to hosting some more seminars and consulting some coaches and some longtime members of the sport that have been around a long time. And really kind of having a little bit of a brainstorm session to see what we can do.

Bill Elliston:

And I think, there’s some coaches and there’s some folks that are, in their own little respective pockets of the countries, that are doing that. And I think with some success, but I think it’s always going to be a little bit limited without the investment of USA cycling on some levels. And again, it’s not to, I’m always very vocal to say that that I don’t want to put it all in their lap, but they certainly have a pretty fair responsibility that I think they’re not really taking the reins on it. And I think if they took the reins, a lot more people would be excited to get involved because they would feel like somebody cared.

Bill Elliston:

And the bottom line is I think a lot of people unfortunately have had some pretty poor attitudes about USAC and right or wrong. But I think we’re always going to have challenges if we don’t have their input and their investment on some levels and-

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah, in marketing these days, right? In marketing, right now, the tactics are either hyper global or hyper local. And I think if I were to say something to the Fed, if I had the floor that I gave you for DEVO, I think you’re right that there are some really terrific coaches. There are really terrific programs on the ground, right? Hyper local that are doing amazing things. I think like Edge Cycling here is doing great things. I think Kim Geist with what she’s doing with the T-town kids is amazing. I think what Star Track is doing is amazing.

Joan Hanscom:

I think there are really amazing hyper local programs that are doing incredible work. And I think if there was some way for the Federation to get that hyper local feedback, and collaboration with the hyper local, collaborate with people like you who are on the ground. Because where USA cycling, of course, suffers is they’re a tiny staff for a big country. And they do have all these people on the ground who are doing amazing things in their little corner of the world. And how I think the power that USA cycling could have, should have is in harnessing all of that hyper local passion, enthusiasm, commitment to the sport and finding a way then as the national leaders to expand that, to scale it, to find out how to grow it.

Joan Hanscom:

And I think that depends on them really doing the work at the grassroots level. And I think that’s the real challenge they face is, “How do we do the work at the grassroots level?” Because I do think there are people like you. And the work you’re doing with the Doylestown Bike Works kids. There are people who are doing the work in a hyperlocal way, but unless there’s the national opportunity, it doesn’t go anywhere. It stays in this hyper local little pocket and doesn’t go beyond. And I think that’s the challenge we’re facing right now.

Joan Hanscom:

So, it’s an interesting time, but I think COVID is and I’ve said this so many times before on the podcast this year, is that the COVID was a year of great opportunity. People bought bikes, right? People discovered the joy of being outside again. People discovered how much fun bikes are. And so, we’re at this really interesting point where racing might be in a very challenging position. Certainly, events were canceled left and right in COVID, but people bought bikes. You can’t buy a bike, right? People bought all the bikes. Now, there’s supply chain problems. People can’t buy bikes who want to buy bikes, but people got bikes. People have dug bikes out of the basement and got them fixed up and went out riding.

Joan Hanscom:

So, you have in many ways, a renewed focus on being outside enjoying bikes. But you have to have a way to channel that now for the people who just want to ride bikes and have fun and feel the stoke for riding a bike, amen. Enjoy. Maybe they’d be a fan of watching bike racing, but then for the people who bought a bike and who did what I did back when I first, I remember I first bought my first mountain bike 1990 and I rode it on the lakefront path in Chicago every day.

Joan Hanscom:

And there was another dude out there riding his road bike every day on the bike path at the same time I was. And dammit, I raced that guy every damn day up the lakefront path, every day. And that was how I decided that bike racing was cool even though I didn’t race formally for a lot longer after that. That guy I raced him every day and he absolutely raced me and it was just, and we never spoke. But man we were racing.

Joan Hanscom:

And I think there are people who bought bikes who are probably out on the bike path right now, racing people. And how do we give them a pathway in and how do we take the kid who’s on a little Target bike doing laps around the block and show them that there’s a pathway into the sport. That you don’t just have to race the squirrels and the chipmunks around the block in your neighborhood, you can actually go out and race against other people. I think there’s an opportunity that we need to jump on before the window closes.

Bill Elliston:

Yeah. And I agree. I think it’s kind of the interesting thing, right? It’s a lot of it sounds like getting down on bike racing, but it’s like bikes in general. Bike riding and recreational riding are probably in the best place I’ve ever been in this country with the bike sales. And you look at all the different segments of cycling with gravel, kind of becoming this big thing these days. And Gran Fondos are obviously a big thing these days.

Bill Elliston:

So, you go to you go to some of these Gran Fondos and thousands of people out there riding. So, obviously there’s an interest in bikes, there’s an interest going in hard, and there’s an interest in the sport. The part that’s suffering is I always say, it’s bike racing as we know it from, as what we grew up on in the ’80s, in the early ’90s. That part of the sport is certainly suffering. And again, that’s where there’s such conflict on a national level of where does the investment go in terms of the future of bikes. Not necessarily bike racing, but where’s the investment of bikes? And how can we trickle it down?

Bill Elliston:

And I think, maybe rightly so. There’s a lot more investment in Gran Fondos. There’s a lot more investment in the gravel series and that sort of things because that’s where the numbers are, and I get that. But in a lot of ways, I think it’s kind of come at the expense of traditional bike racing and that needs to be figured out. You see NICA, NICA is kind of a phenomenal thing, right? To be blunt, I have a limited knowledge of NICA. I’ve watched the races. I have talked a bit with some of the coaches and from what I from what I see and what I gather, NICA is absolutely kind of blowing up.

Bill Elliston:

It’s just really, really great a lot of kids involved and I think that’s awesome on getting involved, obviously and mountain bike is kind of their thing. And I think that’s great. And I love to see that side of the sport, prosper. Selfish me wants to see like, “Hey, how can we pack and we get some of these kids to diversify,” right? Maybe do some cyclocross, do some crit or some road or do some track. And, again, it comes back to that there’s a million different reasons, I think NICA is largely successful, because they’re targeting kids in a grade school and a high school age before they’re maybe-

Joan Hanscom:

And they’re keeping it fun, too, right?

Bill Elliston:

Right, they’re keeping it fun and they’re getting kids before maybe they’re so invested in some of these other sports like lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, track and field, whatever the sport might be. They’re kind of grabbing kids before those kids are invested in other sports. And so, kids are kind of digging in and their friends are joining in. So, there’s a club network there because they’ve got friends there. They’ve got coaches on hand that are invested in teaching them skills and in a safe environment.

Bill Elliston:

And so, they’ve kind of got that whole club structure that we used to have on the road, but it’s now on that mountain bike side, which is great. I think it’s phenomenal. I would just love to be able to see, how can we how can we recreate that on the road or how can we get some of these kids to diversify. And some kids have. I see some of those kids moving over into cross races and sometimes I see them in the crits and on the road side of things.

Joan Hanscom:

And we’ve talked to the local PA folks about doing a track program, so we’re super open to working with them. I think the other question is, how do you keep them in the sport after the high school thing ends, right? When you’re done with high school, and you miss that social component where you’re doing it because it’s all your high school friends or it’s all you. And all of a sudden, you’re not in that situation anymore, how do you keep them then doing the thing when the social structure changes?

Joan Hanscom:

And I think that again, goes back to your point about the clubs is that, having a social structure is why people do this, right? In a lot of ways, yes, we love to race bikes, we like the competition, you have to love training. But a lot of it is social, right? It’s where your friends come from. So if you’re a kid, and you graduate from NICA, let’s say, and then you go to college, and you go to collegiate racing. Cool, collegiate racing is a fun thing as well. It’s social. It’s not thriving at the moment. There are certain programs that are thriving in collegiate, but broadly speaking, it’s not thriving.

Joan Hanscom:

Then you graduate from college, and what do you do? You look for a local club. So, you get your first job. You graduate from college, you get your first job. You may be moved to a new place. Maybe you don’t, maybe you stay where you are grew up. But you look for a club and you’re 21 years old, and all of a sudden you’re looking for a club to join to race with, to ride with, and everybody’s 59 years old. That’s not super awesome when you’re 21.

Joan Hanscom:

So, I think that’s another big question that we have to solve. It’s like how do you get these people out of collegiate or out of NICA and into the racing program when right now the participant base is our age. And I know if I was 21-year-old, I probably wouldn’t want to be riding bikes me. Mora, over here, who is on our sound board who is being sucked into bike racing herself, she very graciously rides bikes with me, but most 21 year olds don’t want to ride bikes with 50 year olds, I’m guessing. So, Mora would be the exception to the rule.

Joan Hanscom:

But that’s another conundrum, right? How do you transition them and have the right social structure, so that it’s fun and you’re with your peers? And I don’t think we’re going to solve that on this particular podcast. But it’s a point to ponder, right?

Bill Elliston:

Yeah, it’s true, right? And it kind of goes back to the whole thing of trying to work both sides of the spectrum, trying to create a race calendar that’s flourishing, that people want to do year in and year out. And hopefully, that on the other side of it, you’ve got clubs that are breeding riders of all abilities and of all ages that are going to attend these races and give your everyday casual bike racer a place to go and join and learn and develop.

Joan Hanscom:

And have fun.

Bill Elliston:

Yeah, fun, right? It’s got to be fun. And it’s funny you say that, because when we would have our talent ID camps, that was like our opening night speech. That was kind of always our big thing for myself and the coaches I brought in was like even though towards the end, they were labeled as talent ID camps. With the insinuation that like these kids are going to go into the pipeline and they’re going to have careers in the sport. And my take was always like, “Man, I don’t care if you guys become pros. And I think that’s great if you do but I don’t care if you don’t.”

Bill Elliston:

My agenda with those camps first and foremost was to expose people to the fun of racing bikes and how they could have a better time with it and give them tools that would they achieve that. And hopefully, those tools would help them be more successful for the riders like Robin Carpenter that had found a higher degree of success than others and then moved on to an incredibly successful career as a bike racer.

Bill Elliston:

But my first agenda was like, “Look, I want you guys to have fun and I want in 30 years from now, I want one of you guys to be up here filling my shoes. Running one of these camps for the next generation. I don’t want to be here when I’m 75 years old, still running this camp because nobody stepped up to the plate out of your generation. I want you guys to help perpetuate the sport in the future.”

Joan Hanscom:

Yeah. And if it’s not fun, that won’t happen.

Bill Elliston:

Right.

Joan Hanscom:

Got to keep the fun, fun. It’s been a serious podcast with you, Bill. We’ve had a very serious chat this morning. But I think it’s good to talk about the state of the sport. And I think there’s probably no one better to talk to you about it than you because you live it on all sides. But on that note, we’ve been going for a long time, so I’m going to wrap it up. And I’m going to thank you for spending all this time with me today.

Joan Hanscom:

And I’m going to encourage everybody to read the article about The Life of a Lifer in Cycling Tips, so check out the notes in our show notes this week. We’ll have some great photos of Bill doing his various things from racing his bike to coaching in Belize and coaching here and even on the microphone, in his newfound capacity as bike race announcer. And for all your time. Bill, I thank you very much for sharing your thoughts on the state of the sport. I think it’s important stuff, even if it’s not the most exciting, so.

Bill Elliston:

Yeah. Thanks for having me and hopefully enough people listen and invest in the need to try and make things a little bit better for our sport.

Joan Hanscom:

And think about what they can do to help, right?

Bill Elliston:

Indeed.

Joan Hanscom:

Think about what role they can play.

Bill Elliston:

Yep.

Joan Hanscom:

All right. Well, this has been the Talk of the T-Town podcast with our guest, Bill Elliston of Elliston Coaching. And we are signing off for the week. Thanks so much for listening. If you liked us, give us a like on Spotify, Apple podcast, Stitcher. We’re everywhere, so make sure you like and share the pod if you find it interesting. It helps us grow. Thanks again for listening. Bye-bye.

Joan Hanscom:

This has been the Talk of the T-Town podcast with 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.