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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

Facebook: @MainSportTiming


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.