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Selene Yeager: You Can Do Rad Sh*t

Selene Yeager - Author and Athlete

Episode 29

“I try to live my life by doing things that make me feel inspired. If something sparks my imagination, then I’m like, I should pursue that. Right?

Is there something in the back of your mind that you’ve always wanted to do? According to Selene, you regret the things that you don’t do, not the things you’ve done most of the time. Join Joan this week as she sits down with Selene Yeager– fit chick, friend, and fellow podcaster. They talk doing rad things, how Selene got into bike racing, how diets affect men and women differently, how she got her podcast started, and a plethora of other topics!

Selene Yeager – Author and Athlete


Selene Yeager

Instagram: @fitchick3 @feistymenopause

Facebook: @FitChickSeleneYeager @feistymenopause

Twitter: @Fitchick3

Websites: seleneyeager.com

Live Feisty Podcast Episode with Dr Stacey Sims https://livefeisty.com/hit-play-not-pause-a-feisty-menopause-podcast-breaking-down-the-science-with-dr-stacy-sims-episode-1/

Transcript

Welcome to The Talk of the T-Town Podcast, where we discuss all things track cycling. Broadcasting from the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, I’m your host and your executive director, Joan Hanscom, along with my co-host, athletic director Andy Lakatosh.

Welcome to the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. I’m the executive director of the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, and I am joined tonight by a very rad friend of mine, Selene Yeager, who is I guess known for being the fit chick from bicycling magazine, but more recently, and I think much more interestingly known for her Hit Play Not Pause podcast, which is incredibly rad. And she’s also a completely badass mountain biker, gravel racer, person of inspiration. And so I’ve been wanting to have her on the pod for quite some time, and I’m thrilled that she is joining us here tonight.

I’m stoked to be here. I hope I live up to all that.

It’s like the podcaster talking to the podcaster.

I know, it’s really funny. I’ll try not to reverse roles-

It’s very-

… as one does.

No, I think that’s going to be funny. I was talking to another friend of mine who’s trying to resuscitate his podcast, and he’s like, “Will you be on my podcast if I’m on your podcast?” And I’m like, “Sure, or we could just jointly use this one podcast,” and he was like, “Yeah.”

The podcast wealth is real.

Yeah. So you’re the first, but you’re probably not going to be the last, where we cross pod. Is that-

That’s good. No, that’s a good thing.

It’s going to be a new thing, cross-podding. But so Selene, I wanted you to be on the pod… We were talking about this before we started to record. Because we are here at the track trying to inspire more women to do rad things, and here at the track that may take the form of racing on the track. But I think it’s more just that vibe of you can do stuff that you might not have done before. And you’re doing that, right from your podcast, on down through your whole career. So tell our listeners who are track people perhaps who don’t know about you, when did you start racing bikes?

When did I start racing bikes? I started racing bikes… I think the first bike race I signed up for was in 1996, right after I got to Rhode L. And people were like, “Oh, you should race,” because I had been doing the lunch ride at that time, and I honestly didn’t know people raced bikes. That’s how naïve I was about all that. I was like, “I’m not a bike racer.” Like, “You should try it,” and I was like, “Okay,” and I won it, and it went from there. But yeah, it was 1990.

So without dating, right, without putting a specific… you claim that you are a late bloomer to bike racing.

Yes.

So how old roughly were you when you started racing bicycles?

Oh that’s hard. That would require me to whip out my phone and do the math on that, because I can’t do that. Well let me think. I started at Rhode L when I was… I was probably like 27ish. I want to say 27ish.

So not a super late bloomer.

Not super late to that kind of like, oh, I’m going to line up and do a 5K level bike race, right? But when I officially went pro I was 40.

Now see that is very interesting.

Yeah.

You did it with another very rad woman, Rebecca Rush, right? Like both of you racing at that age.

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Like-

She came from the adventure racing background and well, always told this story how much she hated racing bikes, because in adventure racing, the bike’s just a burden. You have to carry it. It’s terrible. I don’t know if anyone’s washed them. They never actually ride them very much. They’re just awful. Then-

Crossing like rope ladders and all sorts of horrible things, yeah.

Right, right, just carrying this-

Big heavy bike.

Yes, this albatross. But no, she started racing professionally because adventure racing kind of went south and she didn’t know what else to do. And she just picked up the bike and did… she had good endurance, so she did some endurance events and kind of taught herself how to mountain bike. And yeah, she was 38 when she started that.

How old were you guys when you did… you did the Cape Epic together, correct?

I did the Cape Epic with my teammate at the time, Sheryl Sorenson, and that was 2011. So I would’ve been 41.

  1. Which-

Yeah, or 42. Math is hard.

I wonder how many other 41-year-old women have done the Cape Epic.

I never even thought about it.

Like I did-

Rebecca and I were like… I don’t know. We did Israel in-

That’s the one I was thinking of.

… 2015. We were in our mid-40s when we did Brazil.

Right. Which-

Yeah, and won, and came in 2nd overall, and she just had a terrible day with food poisoning and Israel, it sort of set us back, but yeah.

But the moral of the story is that 40-year-old women can do rad shit is the moral-

100%.

Where I was going with all of that is that that’s amazing, right, because like I watch Red Bull TV over the weekend because the Nove Mesto was on and of course that’s super fun to watch. And you see 22-year-olds and you see… it’s inspiring to see the new generation of young racers coming up.

For sure.

But it’s also cool to think about-

But women, especially in the endurance space… I mean, you might not see as many Red Bull women starting at 40. That’s not likely. That doesn’t mean they can’t learn to downhill. I have a friend, she started mountain biking at 63.

Which is so cool.

I met her, and she got… she did it all right. She got lessons, she got coaches. She went the whole thing. She’s still taking clinics with Sue Hayward, who is a very rad professional down-hiller from back in the day. And she’s learning to huck. I mean, she’s going down stuff that would be terrifying to 90% of women.

Yeah, and I think that’s amazing.

And I she’s probably 70 now. 69, yeah.

And that’s how I want to be. I want to be 80 years old and still doing cool shit on bikes, is… Like I don’t want to-

Yeah, it’s funny. That’s what got me inspired, is when I moved to this area, I did it for the job of Rhode L, right? And before that, I would not have considered myself… I played sports in high school, I played field hockey, but I also waitressed and smoked cigarettes. You know what I mean? I wasn’t like the most healthy person in college, and then I stopped smoking when I started riding a bike again because I was like, “These two things don’t go well together.” But triathlon was big at the time. That was the mid-’90s to the late ’90s, and I went to my first triathlon in Bridgeton, New Jersey, and I was sitting behind a woman who had 83 on her calf. And I was like, “Wow. Like you can do this until you’re 83?” Something clicked. I was like, yeah, this is… There was something in that that I wanted for myself. I hadn’t even put any other thought to it, but it registered.

Yeah, and I see… Where I used to live, I would see there was an old couple, and they had matching titanium bikes, and they always had like matching kit, and I thought, they’re doing it right. This is a thing that we can do and do at a high level, for a very long time. I think the other really cool thing is that it’s never too late to try a new version of the thing, right? Like-

Absolutely, and actually, that’s longevity in sport in my mind. It’s hard to keep doing the same thing, if for no other reason because you’ve done it and done it and done it, right? And I think it’s good sometimes to try the new thing because there’s nowhere to go but up from your starting point there. But I just interviewed Julie Young for my show, and she’s mid-50s, and she won her age group on Leadville in single speed.

Good lord.

In her early 50s. And it’s still [inaudible 00:08:24]. I mean, I could go on and on and on. Like women have a lot of longevity, especially in the endurance space. And they’re very good on bikes too. There’s a lot of lower body strength. So yeah, 100%. When I was racing any of those racers we never worried about 20-year-olds. Maybe late 30s they have more miles in their legs, they’re more of a threat. But you need that experience, you need that deep, deep base and that takes years.

Right, right. I love that, the deep base really… it’s a thing.

It’s a thing, it’s a thing.

It’s a thing, and you don’t, I think, necessarily appreciate that it’s a thing until you step away and come back and you realize it’s still there, and it’s a powerful thing. You’ve also written extensively.

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

You have ROAR that you wrote, which I think for women has been-

With Dr Stacey Sims, yeah.

With Dr Stacey Sims, yes. But sort of pivotal for female athletes, understanding that we maybe need to eat a little different than the guys, and stuff that we’re doing-

Yeah. The intermittent fasting stuff is fascinating on that right now. I mean, we have the exact opposite physiological response to intermittent fasting than men do.

Which is so interesting because you hear so many people right now, like, “Oh, it’ll improve performance, it’ll improve recovery.”

Yeah, for men.

For men, right.

Those studies have all been done on men, and the research that is out there on women, the hormonal response is terrible. Like women with prediabetes actually become diabetic.

Wow.

It’s that bad, because of this hormone called kisspeptin that reacts very differently for survival reasons in women, and it is very disrupted by fasting.

So you have another version of ROAR coming out for shall we say ladies of a certain age, our age?

Menopausal transition, yeah. 40 and above. And it’s because we had one chapter in ROAR, and it’s not a bad chapter, but at the time, we will both be very transparent, neither of us were sort of deep into the transition ourself to fully appreciate just how broad the effects are of that hormonal fluctuation and decline. And I personally had no idea all the things that estrogen does. I didn’t know it was anabolic, I didn’t know any of that stuff. It was metabolism, and it merits its own book. It 100% merits its own book.

I’ve kind of led us down this path because here at the track, we are trying very hard to go into a more female friendly space and to encourage people to come out and try things. And we did a women’s weekend the first weekend of May here which was I think amazing, because we had women of literally all ages and all sizes, and it was amazing to see them come out and try the new thing. I think what we’re trying to do on the podcast today perhaps is for women who are curious about biking, curious about endurance sports, curious about the track, starting to provide resource for them to know that, A, you can come out and do this and we’ll teach you how to do it, but B, there are resources for you to know how to eat, how to fuel yourself, how to actually… if you want to jump into the thing, how to do it smart, like not intermittent fasting.

Right.

Have all these conversations and just start to connect women to resource for doing some rad shit, like I said at the beginning. I think that knowing that there’s a resource like your podcast for women who are our age, but everything you talk about on that podcast is relevant to 20-year-olds too, right? It’s relevant.

Yeah, yeah.

Maura here, who is sitting with us, our podcast producer, is in her early 20s, and understanding that women need to fuel differently, as I bring Maura into becoming a bike racer, because I’m going to harass her into racing bikes too… we all need to know this stuff, and also see examples of people who are doing it, who are accessible human beings, right?

Totally.

You don’t have to be super skinny, don’t be afraid of the Lycra, don’t have… and that’s so easy to say, right?

Yeah. I think that tide is turning. I genuinely think that tide is turning. I’ve given Crossfit a lot of props for that, because I think that they made it cool for women to take up some space, they made it sexy for women to take up some space and be strong, and I think that that has had a net positive effect, by and large. I think the culture… I look at my daughter who’s 19, and they have a very different relationship with that. They don’t have the same skinny, skinny, skinny is better, which is really refreshing to see. So that encourages me a lot. I do think, especially in cycling, like power is everything, and women can develop really powerful legs. If you look at women cyclists they are built differently than men cyclists are. They-

Yeah, for sure.

Yeah, they just are. That’s where the engine is and that’s where your power is. It’s interesting, we wrote ROAR for women. The mission of that book in my mind was not only just like women are not small men, meaning all of the studies at the time had been done on men and just translated to women, and that has failed women from heart disease. It still fails women in heart disease. It fails women in athletic spaces. And if you want to really go deep on that, I think it has limited what we can realize as our potential because nobody’s ever studied us, and we’re so different, right? So it’s very exciting now that that’s changing. I think you’re going to see records broken and paradigms shift.

Women are learning, oh, this is when I’m puffy… Because you know PMS exists, and you know that you feel puffier, and something’s happening. Your blood plasma is shifting. There are things going on that are making those changes, and they can certainly affect your performance. And the idea always with the show and with the books is to teach you how to work with your body instead of against it, to optimize your performance. And there are things you can do to mitigate some of those symptoms that would otherwise be problematic, like being sure to hyper hydrate before something, because your blood plasma’s low. I mean, sometimes it’s just simple things.

Yeah, and I think that, yeah, we don’t know that, right, but who hasn’t… Well back in the day, when it was still a thing for me, if you’re getting your period like the days before you might’ve felt like just absolutely awful. But then when it would happen, you’d be like, “Yes, I can scale a mountain today.” Like this surge of [crosstalk 00:15:02]-

Yeah, yeah. The day I had my first iron man, it was very exciting.

Great timing.

Yeah.

I always knew about my mother because she would clean the house like a-

That’s hilarious.

… maniac. She would get this surge of energy to clean.

That is so funny.

And we’d all be like, “Oh, okay.” We always knew.

Wow.

But now there’s science behind it, right? And for us as athletes, we need to learn how to harness the power of that science and just… It doesn’t matter if you’re Mandy Marquardt trying to go to the Olympics in Tokyo, or if you’re me racing in a local training crit, these are things we need to know, and this is what makes your experience-

Totally.

… trying the things out better.

Yeah, you want to have fun, and you want it to be a positive experience.

Yes.

Like at the end of the day, you’re going to put in the work and you want the reward. That’s what cycling is very much about. That’s why people like it. You put in the work and the work pays off. You get in what you put out. Like all that stuff. But I think what happens with the menopausal transition specifically is that equation all of a sudden gets messed up and people… it’s very disheartening. A lot of women are like, “I’ve put in the same work and now the output is different,” and they don’t know what to do.

Right.

And they start doing things that are counterproductive or even disruptive to them, eating less, pushing more, wholly intermittent fasting instead of just like, with understanding you can work with you physiology, and the whole show’s about that. I say it all the time. Like there’s two points in a woman’s lifetime where she drops out of sport most, and the first is puberty and the second is menopause, and there’s reasons for that. And at least in puberty, you have classes in school and you have whole afterschool specials, and people have told you what to expect. You’re not like Carrie standing in some Stephen King movie like dripping with pig’s blood because no one told you what to expect.

But it’s not much of an exaggeration to think that that’s what happens to women on the other end of the line. Like they don’t know to expect… Like some women get like oral migraines for the first time and they get like vertigo and the list is like 36 symptoms long.

Yeah, which is insane.

And all of you’ve ever heard about is some hot flashes or something. It’s ridiculous.

Right. I had a doctor when I was in my 30s, this was the only advice she gave me about menopause. She’s like, “Go into menopause at the weight you want to come out of menopause, because…” That was it, that was all she told me. And I was-

There’s so much wrong with that advice, I don’t even know where to start.

I was like, “Okay, well how do I know what weight I want to go into it at?”

Oh my god.

And they don’t tell you how to do that. They just say make sure you do it. I guess when it started for me, like the perimenopause stuff… I gained weight like…

Yeah, like overnight, yeah.

And having been an eating disordered ballerina my whole life, like what was my go-to thing? Well, if you eat watermelon for all your meals, you’ll lose weight, right? So okay, I’ll just default back to my very disordered eating habits of eating just watermelon and it didn’t work.

No.

And I remember talking to Christian Cime about like I don’t understand why are all the tricks… because they’re tricks, right?

Oh yeah, 100%.

Like by the time you get to this age, and with a history of eating like I had, you have tricks. You have a go-to bag of tricks, and they never fail you. You want to lose 10 pounds? The watermelon, that’s it, it’s magic. And it wasn’t working and I was like, “Christian, what do I do?” Because I was training for a race that I really wanted to do well in, and she’s like, “I think you need to talk to this person I work with, sports nutritionist, and we need to get a handle on your whole eating disorder thing. But we also need to get a handle on your… you’re just not fueling yourself properly.” And I remember he said, “What do you eat?” I was like, “Well I have watermelon for breakfast and then I have a salad with a piece of salmon for lunch and then I have watermelon for dinner.”

Oh my god.

And he was like-

He’s like, “Where do we being?”

He was like, “Well okay, what do you eat the next day?” I was like, “Well I have watermelon for breakfast and I have salad with salmon for lunch and watermelon for dinner.” And he’s like, “Every day?” And I was like, “Every day.” And he’s like, “That’s not going to work.” And he really was like, “You are not eating close to enough protein.”

Not even close.

Not even close. And I started eating protein and literally within three weeks, my body composition changed, because I was doing something so bad, right, it was-

And that’s worse when you get to like 40-plus and the-

Yes.

… menopausal transition, because protein synthesis is more challenging without those hormones. And if you don’t really pump it up, it’s a losing proposition really.

But if I hadn’t talked to him I would never have known that, because I’ve been essentially a vegetarian, pescatarian my whole life. I never ate meat, and he was like, “Yeah, how do you feel about chicken?” And I was like, “Do I have to?” He was like, “You know of do.” But my doctors didn’t tell me this. My doctors didn’t know. You just don’t know. And here he was, he was like telling me how to fuel for athletic performance, because he knew I really cared about this race, and the only thing that was going to get me, that I cared about more than my weird eating disorder, was performing well on this race. And that was the thing that helped me override the impulses in my head to not eat, was like al right, well he promised me it would improve my performance, so I’ll do it.

But what a difference the protein made, and I think that nobody knows this is if you’re female, right? You just go, “Oh, I’m going to go on the watermelon diet and it’ll work,” and it doesn’t.

No, it doesn’t. And it can be-

It’s terrible for performance.

It’s terrible for performance, and it can just cause you to hang onto weight, if not gain weight. It’s really not good for you at all. It’s very counterproductive.

Yeah. But I needed somebody to absolutely spell that out to me, and I think for women who care about performing well… and again, cat four, cat five, [crosstalk 00:21:07]-

It doesn’t matter what you are. It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter what you are. That piece is super important to know. But I also think that it’s important to know that you don’t have to be a super skinny bice racer.

You don’t.

We have to come out of this-

You don’t no matter what. Power is important. One of the things that has always helped me is looking back… I came in third overall and won my age group in the Mount Washington hill climb.

Good lord.

I was-

I didn’t know that about you.

Yeah, no, and I-

That’s insane.

I was, I don’t know, 138. Definitely 10 pounds heavier than some of my lighter weights, and I was much faster and won that. Power is everything.

That’s a mean race.

Yeah, and I did it on my 5339. Like I took my road bike. I had no idea what I was doing.

That’s a mean, mean race. I grew up in New Hampshire, so that would be the-

I was out of gears from me to you. I was like it’s going to be a long day up this mountain.

Oh man, yeah, that’s a mean race, and-

It’s beautiful though. Have you done it?

No. Are you kidding? I grew up like with people who had stickers on their car that said, “This car climbed Mount Washington.” There’s no reason to do that on a bicycle because it’s scary driving up it.

They don’t let you go down it.

No, yeah, no.

You wouldn’t make it.

But that’s super cool. I didn’t know you’d done the hill climb. That’s funny. Yeah, I think that that’s all part of what we’re trying to create here, is culture. I think you’re a shining example of that, not just from the bike racing perspective but because you jump into things, and I think we’re trying to create an environment for people to jump into things here. I want to talk to you about the starting of your podcast. You’ve had this great career riding with bicycling, you had a great career writing books, great career, late bloomer, racing bikes professionally. And we were paddling along on our standup paddling boards one day last summer, and you were like, “Hey, what do you think about this idea?”

That’s so funny.

“Do you think there’s an audience for it?” And I’m curious about how you tell our listeners how you got there. Like how this came to you, how you thought you could turn it into a thing, because it’s the same instinct. You know what I’m getting at? It’s an instinct to follow an inspiration.

Oh 100%, and I try to live my life by doing things that make me feel inspired. If something sparks my imagination, then I’m like, I should pursue that. Right? If you get a little buzz of like, hmm, that sounds exciting, I think that you should follow that, always. Yeah, no, I have been, as we talked about before, talking with Dr Stacy Sims on the followup of ROAR, the book that still does not have a title. We’re working on it even though it’s going to be out in months. But we’ve been working on that, and the company who she hires to do her courses on all of her stuff is called Live Feisty. And they contacted me knowing that I work with her, saying, “Hey, would you be willing to do a little webinar kind of thing with us?” They wanted to start talking to women in the menopausal space, because they weren’t really addressing them either, and they saw that there was a big deficit there.

I had been thinking an awful lot of it since going through it myself and being so blindsided by it, and being like, “Why does nobody know about this?” And looking around and seeing that there were a lot of women who had disappeared that used to be on start lines and be… And I said, “You guys should have a podcast,” and they said, “Do you want to do it?” And I just said yes. So that’s just how it got started, and I’m like, “Oh boy, now I’m going to do a podcast.”

I feel like you’re surfing the wave in front of them.

Oh my god, I didn’t know how big that wave was. I honestly had no idea.

But if you think about, and I think about this a lot because I love surfing… you see people fighting to get the wave before to-

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know exactly what you mean.

… get the ride. And I feel like you got the wave. So now you start to see the New York Times is doing stories about it.

Crazy.

The Washington Post is doing stories about it. But I feel like you were surfing the wave first. Like you grabbed it first, and that’s so cool. And all these people are paddling behind you, like, “All right, we’re going to…” And that’s so cool.

No, it’s wild. It’s wild. I mean, I knew I was plugging into something big. I just knew that in my heart, just because there are so many of us out there. There’s so many women of the title nine quote, unquote generation, right, who are just living differently, and who have gotten into sports, and so many women in endurance sports and all over the place who are going to be blindsided by this thing that nobody is talking about. When I went through it, I’m like, no one’s talking, and I didn’t feel comfortable talking to anyone. I hated saying the word menopause because it meant like old and washed up and not attractive, or I don’t know, like all these things, and it was really a crisis in many ways.

And I was just like, I have to get over myself, and I have this platform… I’ve been a writer and researcher and this space for 23 years. I have all these women, athletic and doctors and physiologists and everything to call on. It would be criminal for me not to pick up the microphone and just start saying the word.

Yeah. You know what’s funny? We’re very close in age, you and I. Maybe a year apart difference.

I’m 52.

Yeah, and I just turned 53, so we’re just a year apart. Do you remember that show The Golden Girls?

I can’t even believe that that woman was 52, right?

Right? Like I look at-

I can’t remember her name, but I remember it.

like B Arthur and… it was like B Arthur, yeah.

Yeah, they were all a little older, but the youngest one in there was like 52.

Yeah. They were The Golden Girls, and I’m like looking over… For our listeners, I’m looking across the studio here at Selene, and she’s got a very rad Canyon bikes hat on. She does not look like B Arthur. There’s no moo-moo to be found. The Golden Girls was not that long ago.

I know, it was ’85, I looked it up.

And we are not The Golden Girls.

It’s unbelievable, it’s unbelievable. It really is unbelievable. I don’t know if you saw… I feel kind of bad. I called them in. I don’t know if you saw… Asker Jeukendrup, I can never pronounce his name correctly, but he’s this big name in sports science, right, and I love him, I love his work, I love what he does. But a couple of weeks ago he did something about how just like we were talking about, women, masters, athletes, need more protein. It was really good, really good information. But dear lord, the infographic he used was like a blue-haired woman with a shopping cart-

Oh no.

… kind of thing. And like [crosstalk 00:28:04]-

Like a granny?

Very much like granny. And I couldn’t help myself.

Do I look like a granny? No.

I was just like, “Asker, I love you, but those images…” And he’s like, “Oh, we just thought lighthearted,” and I’m like when you live with that in your life and you’ve been diminished, none of these women think that’s lighthearted. It’s so hard to get past that. And he got it, but I just was glad I had that conversation. I didn’t be like, “Oh, it’s wrong.” I just came to him and brought him into the conversation that I’m trying to have. And I think that’s important as we go forward and what you’re talking about, because I think that when women… especially when they hit 50, there’s a weird invisibility thing that happens with a lot of women.

Well yeah, and like invisibility in terms of your own self… not awareness, but self-confidence. So-

It’s a weird, weird thing.

It’s a weird space, but you also said just a few seconds there were women disappearing from the start line. And I hate that. And I think you had my friend, Sheryl Osborne, on your podcast, which I love, because I love Sheryl. And I love what she does. But she’s a lifer, right?

And she said the same thing. She’s like, “Where are you? Where are the people that have started with me?”

Right. She taught me how to race bikes in 2000. We go that far back. My first season racing was in 2001, because I did a clinic with Artemis in 2000.

Yeah, and that’s right when she started, just about Artemis, was about 2000.

And I look around, and right, where are the women that we started with back in 2000? There aren’t very many of us. But I loved what Sheryl said, which was just like calling on women… maybe you don’t want to race anymore but you can still be part-

The other women need you.

The other women need you. I think that’s another thing why we have Sheryl on the board here, why we have Michelle Lee on the board here. We’re trying to say hey to other women. And why I have you on the pod. I just think women need to hear it, particularly as we get older, but when you’re Maura’s age, right… when you’re Maura’s age, you still need to be invited in, because it is intimidating and-

Well especially like… I mean, it can be the track especially, I think can be… You look at the people and they look like Tron, and especially if it’s a bunch of dudes, because there’s a lot of posturing and then swinging going on-

Oh yes.

… and it can be like… you can feel like you don’t belong in a hurry on the track.

Well, and there’s visors and-

Yeah, no, that’s what I mean, it’s a very-

It’s very-

… Robocop kind of feel to it.

Yes.

So I think that having a friendlier face and voice and everything to be like, “Hey, this is actually a fun thing that you can try,” is important.

It’s fun, and there are ways for you to succeed at it, even if succeeding isn’t winning national titles. It could be.

Succeeding is just learning how to ride the thing. I mean, it’s exciting just being on a track bike and riding the oval. Like that’s exciting in of itself, I think that’s a success.

Absolutely. And it’s also… there was a woman I was talking to from Women’s Weekend who, she had said, “Oh I lost every race I started,” and I was like, “You beat 99% of the other people who didn’t show up.” And we always lose races. I’ve lost more races-

Everyone loses races.

Everyone loses races. It’s not about winning, unless you really want to go to Paris or LA.

But even those people, they lose more than they win.

And they lose. Yeah.

Every bike racer loses more than they win.

Absolutely. And I think that that’s part of the intimidation factor, but I think if people start to know-

If you line up thinking about it as that kind of a strict competition of win or lose, right?

Yes.

But I think then you have to understand that it’s not that. It’s interesting in cycling, and I think about that a lot. And I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it’s because it’s always been more of an elite activity that’s not been as much of a citizen thing. But like nobody lines up for a marathon thinking, “I’ve got to win this thing.” You know what I mean? Or people are going to think I lost if I came in 175th. Nobody does, nobody cares.

Right. Which is sort of why the gravel thing is lovely, right?

Yes.

You know, like-

Because people don’t go into those thinking I’m going to win this thing. That’s not why they’re there.

Right. The year did Dirty Kanza, I was so happy. I was just like, “I finished, I didn’t crash. I had a lovely beer at the end.” It was-

Totally, that’s why you’re there.

That’s why you’re there. You’re not there to break legs and crush souls. Well maybe somebody is, but I wasn’t.

Yeah, like 3% of the whole field.

Right. But I think that there’s a vibe that we’re trying to like just do the thing. Do the rad thing. Make your podcast. Buy the paddleboard. Try racing bikes. So Selene, if you were to talk to women who maybe haven’t tried bike racing, what would you tell them?

What would I tell them?

Yeah, what’s your advice, as a reasonably late bloomer, as we’ll like to go back to? How would you go about getting more women into the sport?

Yeah see, I mean I would… well I mean and I have talked about your Women’s Wednesday. I mean, I think finding something like that is a great way to get into it, because you go there, it knocks down barrier number one, which is I don’t belong, right? Like you go there, and you see like oh, everybody does look like me. They-

Right. They’re not superhuman.

You’re going to see people that look just like you, and you’re going to realize that they’re not super humans, they’re normal human beings that are just trying this cool thing. And I think that that is a huge barrier, and once you do that, the rest of them fall more easily.

So if you decide you like the thing, and this is fun and I want to pursue it, what would your advice be to women who want to progress at the thing? Whether it’s track racing, gravel racing, road racing, mountain biking. To you, what are the things as an athlete that matter to get right, nutrition, weightlifting-

Yeah, I would say some structure, right? I mean, I think going from no structure to any structure, all of a sudden you have a giant bump because any structure is better than just sort of flying by the seat of your pants without any knowledge. I mean, whenever I’ve seen people make that first bump it’s always… they start following a plan, even if they don’t have a coach right away, because you can go into training peaks, you can go into any of these platforms… my god, there’s so many of them now, and get a basic plan that will just give you some structure to your week. It will make sure that you have rests and some high intensity and some stuff. If you can get a coach, a coach is an amazing thing to have, because it’s a human being that-

Are you still working with your coach?

I work with coaches all the time. I work with different coaches because I like to see how other coaches work, and I respond well to changes in coaching. So I’ll work with somebody for a while and then I’ll switch it up and see, because it’s a professional and personal exercise for me. But I think it’s super invaluable. I never self-coach because I would second-guess myself six ways til Sunday.

Oh I could do it… yeah.

And it’s not fun. Like I want to open a plan and see what someone has for me, I don’t want to be like that’s a chore. I’m not coming up with my own plan. I have no desire to do that. But I think that piece is super important because the rest of it kind of falls around that. Like once you are committing yourself to a structure or to a process, then you are going to respect your recovery because you’re in this process and you’re respecting that, and you are going to maybe drink less on a weeknight, all the things that just are the long tail of that lead edge of I’m following this road, this process.

Yeah, that’s funny. Like going back to, oh, all right, I’ll eat the damn chicken breast, because-

Right, right, you did that because you [crosstalk 00:36:09]-

… because I bought into the process, and I wanted the other thing. It’s amazing the power of that. When you buy into a process and you’re like, okay, I’ll do-

Well the process works most of the time. I’m not saying it’s infallible, you know what I mean? If the process isn’t working for you, maybe you need another process, and that’s finding the right coach and finding the right plan, but definitely.

I don’t know. When you did your first mountain bike race, let’s talk about… because I think people… like, what do you expect? What are you feelings? I know what I did. My first day, I was terrified.

I felt like vomiting every race I’ve ever done. If I was going to race again this weekend, I would feel like vomiting the morning of. Those nerves never went away.

Right. And I think this is a thing we need to get people to know, right? Like expect that, expect that there are race day nerves. Expect that-

Right, harness the butterflies.

Yeah.

I always just call it the potential energy, and the more potential energy I had, the more miserable I was. But honestly often the more miserable I was, the more ready I was to go. I mean, but you care, you’re going to get wrapped up in it, and then you just find ways. Like I just found a system to deal with it. I had a race morning preparation that would be like, okay, out of the head, start putting your race bag together, just like the stuff. Lube your chain, pump your tires, time for your warm-up. Just do your things.

Routines and rituals, right? That’s the-

Yeah, yeah. Get the monkey busy, so it’s not hopping around your brain.

Right, the monkey brain is a bad thing. No, I think that these are all the things that are barriers to entry, right? Like-

Totally. Because you think you are alone in that, and-

And you are not.

There are pro football players that vomit before every big game on Sunday, like it’s a thing.

I did my first crit since 2019… my first post-surgery crit too, right? So with legs that could potentially work. And then obviously 2020 I didn’t get to race and test that out, so I had a lot of mental baggage. And my coach and I had decided that I was going to go do this training crit. And I woke up that Sunday morning and I cried, and then I got in the shower-

Just want to hide under the bed, like, “Why, why, why-“

I got in the shower and I cried.

… why did I sign up for this?

Then I was literally texting him sobbing from the shower, like, “I don’t want to go, and I think it’s a bad idea…” That was the… I think it’s a bad idea. I don’t think I should do my first training crit with 60 dudes, and I don’t know if my legs are going to work. I had every single first time [crosstalk 00:38:49] meltdown, and I was like begging for the out. Like if I send enough panicked texts, I will be told I don’t have to go and do the thing, and I did not get that [crosstalk 00:39:01]. And I was not absolved from going to do the bike race, and then I went and it was fine.

It was fine. Once the gun goes off, it’s always fine.

It’s always fine, yeah.

Literally, even if you don’t do well, it’s still fine.

Right, exactly.

Once it goes off it’s just fine.

But yeah, I think that that is such a universal experience of-

It is, 100%.

… lining up for a bike race.

100%.

But yeah, it was funny. I did every trick in the book to get told I didn’t have to go to that bike race, and I was not told that.

Yeah, and then [crosstalk 00:39:32]-

And I was so glad I finished.

Well this is it, and you’ll be so glad that you overcame that, because the fun and the rewards and how you’ll feel after it 100% surpassed that, which is why people sign up immediately for the next thing.

Right, right. When you do your first-

Like you just forgot about that terrible feeling you just had, and then you get it again and you’re like, “Oh here I am again in this terrible feeling.”

Right.

I’ve just got to get through this terrible feeling and it’ll all be fine.

And it’ll be fun all over again, right. I think when we look at the barriers to entry, right… Maura’s nodding her head, she’s like, “Okay, you’re really selling it now, Joan. Can’t wait to have that horrible feeling.”

But she’s a swimmer. She’s got to know, having those nerves on deck are real.

Yeah. But for all of our listeners, right, if that’s what… just expect it.

Just expect it.

Just know that if you are going to come out and try your first track race, or even try your first Women’s Wednesday or [crosstalk 00:40:28]-

[crosstalk 00:40:28] nervous.

… it is part of playing the game and we all feel it, and it doesn’t matter… I mean if you’ve been racing since the ’90s or if you’re-

Doesn’t matter. It-

It doesn’t matter if you’re 16 or if you’re 60. Everybody gets it. I think that that’s one of the things that, again, that we’re just trying to make the message for our women listeners who maybe have friends who are on the fence or who are on the fence themselves, or mothers of juniors who are curious about racing, and wanting to come out. They’ve done the Women’s Wednesdays program because they want to understand what their kids do when they race, but they haven’t taken the leap themselves. We just want to tell them there are ways to overcome the monkey brain, as you said.

Oh 100%.

And this doesn’t apply to cycling, right? This applies to all of us.

Everything. I mean everything.

Everything.

Job interviews. I mean, whatever it is. Whatever that care about that you’ve applied yourself for. I mean, nerves are to be expected.

Yeah.

But every time you overcome it, you get stronger in everything you do. I mean, that’s just true. You know what you’re going to be fine. The sun is going to come up tomorrow, and it’s never as bad as you think it’s going to be. And you’re going to get something out of it, like that’s… no matter what you do. If you apply that throughout your life, you’ll try more things. You’re not really going to fail. What does that even mean?

Right. And so you came in last in a bike race.

Who cares? You’re the only one that actually cares.

Right.

Everyone is so concerned… I tell my 19-year-old daughter that all the time, like you’re the only one thinking about this. You’re the only one who cares. Everyone’s very self-absorbed. They don’t care.

Right.

They don’t even know.

Right.

They know where they came in.

You know what else I think is really funny? I was listening to another podcast that I like quite a lot, and they had a sports psychologist on, and they were talking about the ability to screw something up. They used more colorful language. And then just laugh about it.

Right, this-

It is really important that you can just laugh about-

100%.

That makes the monkey brain quiet too. If you laugh at it, it’s way better, and you put it behind you and you move forward. But I think we all need to remember that this is not serious as a heart attack stuff. This is what we’re doing for fun and-

And your self-worth is not wrapped up in a result. Like all that. It’s just not.

Right. And it’s okay when you fall over to laugh, which Maura also knows. I took Maura out for her very first… brand new bike, which is beautiful by the way. Maura has this beautiful blue, blue bike, and I love it.

Yeah, it is beautiful.

And I was like, “Okay, so have you ever clipped in before?” And she was like-

I knew that was coming.

She’s like, “No,” and I was like, “Okay, well you’re going to fall over at some point today,” and sure enough-

In the parking lot.

Yeah.

It’s always in the parking lot. It’s always.

And we just know-

Or a stop sign.

Yeah, well I think that actually happened too. Or very close to it.

Almost.

Yeah. But these are the things, right, and if we can’t laugh at it because we know that it’s our universal experience, then you won’t have fun doing the thing. But just come out and-

Totally.

… try it. Yeah, so there’s our big long-winded pitch for all of you women to come out and try doing this cool, rad thing. What’s next for you, Selene?

Well this podcast is only seven months old, so I’m just really hoping to grow that. We’re having a summit, a menopause performance summit, in Boulder, Colorado in September.

Oh, I didn’t know that. How did I miss that?

Well because it was really isn’t formally announced yet.

Oh okay.

But we’re in the works of doing that. And I think there’s just so much potential, there’s so much potential, to do really rad things and to just… Like you said, I can feel the groundswell. I don’t even know. I’ve never been one to know what I was going to do in the next couple of years, because I would’ve never told you that I was going to be a bike racer. That wasn’t a plan. When I did iron man, I kept telling my coach, “I’m not an endurance athlete.” He’s like, “You kind of are. So get over that.”

That’s funny.

Yeah. Well I always thought of myself as a field hockey player and like a track racer. I used to run the 800. Like I’m a solid middle distance athlete. He’s like, “Not so much.”

No.

But yeah, had I not tried that, I would’ve never learned that about myself. I would’ve never learned that about myself. If you don’t try stuff like that, you will never learn-

What you can do.

What you can actually do. I have tried the track and that is not for me. I mean, I like it. It’s fun. Like I love to ride around the track, and I love to train on the track. It’s just I’m not tactical that way, so it doesn’t suit me. I’m more of an endurance person who like, if I slip my paddle, I still have a good eight hours. Like-

Yeah, no, I’m the same way.

Yeah, it’s supposed to like, every fraction of a second… if you get to an elite level, like fractions of a second.

I was laughing on… We had our first day of racing on Saturday and I was talking to a couple of the guys. They were getting ready to go up and do their race, and we were staging, and one guy said to the other guy, “How long has this race…” And he said something like, “Oh, 16 laps or something,” and they’re, “Oh, wow, it’s really long.” I was laughing, I was like, “Oh my god, I like four hour and longer type events.”

Yeah, I’m just kind of warmed up.

I was laughing, I was like, “And this is why I couldn’t race on the track, because like you I need the…”

[inaudible 00:46:12] spinning out there for a couple of hours, ready to go.

Yeah, exactly.

I would do that with cycler cross. I’d be like, “All right, who wants to be race?” Then it would be over. I mean, I did pretty well but it was different from-

Well horses for courses, right?

Yeah, totally.

Yeah. I’m definitely in that long camp as well. Make me do something for 200 meters, and I will be like, “Wait, what? I’m supposed to have started already. Like that’s not-“

It’s fun though. It’s fun.

It’s really good training.

Oh it’s amazing training.

And when I lived in Colorado, we would ride on the track in the wintertime because I had a bubble on it.

Oh cool. Yeah.

And it was way more fun than riding the trainer. Like way more fun than riding the trainer.

Light years better than riding the trainer, yeah.

So it was a super way to spend the winter training, was like riding on the track, because you bubble nice.

Totally.

You can’t do that here, but maybe some day.

Yeah, yeah.

Not a bubble. Listeners, I’m not putting a bubble on the track, but you know, who knows what other cool things we could cook up, but-

Cool.

But yeah, but what about for you for riding for this summer? Any goals for you? I know you’re doing a big ride this coming weekend.

Yeah, it’s a Sweet Water, Risky Rebellion Gravel in Prosperity, Pennsylvania.

Ah cool.

Yeah, it seems like a really cool format. They’ve got three distinct loops. Not like a loop race but like three different loops that you have to do in order to add up to 120 miles. But it’s cool because you’re coming back to the same spot, so if you need anything-

Seems like a pedal on the flat, like-

Yeah, yeah, yeah. If you need anything, you can get it. Yeah, I’ve been doing a bunch of gravel stuff in the state, which is just amazing. I don’t really have anything, outside of the state, or quote, unquote, race-wise until… Well Grit is coming up. So there’s Rothrock Grit which is a women’s focused gravel race in central PA, which is very cool. And that’s the first weekend in June, and then I’m going to do Big Sugar, which is in Arkansas, and the Spirit World in Patagonia, Arizona, in November.

Ooh, that sounds nice.

Yeah, the gravel thing is so cool because you can be a little more heads-up and see things. Like mountain bike racing was awesome, but you really have to be attentive to what’s right front of your wheels a bit.

Right.

And there’s sections in that in gravel, but you can really take in a place in such an amazing way, and it’s been just a really cool next chapter for me.

And we have Unpaved.

And we have Unpaved. I should have said Unpaved, what’s wrong with me?

We have Unpaved, and I’m excited to do Unpaved this year.

Yeah, and that is beautiful. My-

Beautiful time of year.

October’s always peak-ful, second weekend in October.

And I am super excited, and a bunch of my teammates are doing it with me, which is also very fun.

I’m very excited about that.

But I’m also really excited about your new format for Unpaved.

I love it. I love, love, love it. It’s taking off of the Grinduro kind of thing. I mean, we didn’t make it up. My husband puts it on… that’s why I’m saying we. But instead of doing a start-to-finish time, we’re doing timed segments that add up to about 40 or 50 miles of the race, of the 120 mile course. But the beautiful thing about that is, A, there’s a start window, so you can start whenever you want within that window, with whomever you want. And last year, the three women who were in contention for the win rode the whole thing together and just raced each other up the [crosstalk 00:49:41]-

Oh that’s rad.

And regrouped. It was amazing. And they stopped and had a picnic lunch at lunch.

Oh that’s super good.

But that’s what it allows to you is really enjoy the day. You are not racing through eight stations, which is really difficult for everybody. That’s difficult on the volunteers, it’s difficult on the people. In previous years, there were plenty of crashes at predictable places. Like a couple of hot turns. No matter how many signs you put up, people are going to overcook them. We gave that a bandaid, once we turned off the racing in those places, and just timed certain segments. It allows everyone just to really, really enjoy the day, and you still get the winners, the people who are concerned about times and podiums. You still have that. I love the format.

I’m super excited about it. The thing that… you’ve said it about me before, that I’m solar-powered. And I don’t like 6:00 AM cold starts.

Oh right, because then it’s usually a 7:00 AM start and it can be cold. But then it warms up quite nicely.

Yeah, so that to me is like the greatest development ever. One of those COVID innovations that is going to-

I love it. And it also helps because that race particularly starts on the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail, and the Amish and Mennonite in the area use it to go to church and it’s on a Sunday, and you just don’t want to be… even though it’s neutral. Like a bunch of us hauling down that thing is just a little problematic. We’ve done it, it’s fine, but it’s way better to… because that is beautiful. So if you can just be spread out and just warming up on that nine mile stretch enjoying your morning, it’s a great way to start the event. And having that completely neutral, and god forbid, you always have to pee and there’s always a giant line, and it’s just… Like last year was no big deal. We still needed to start by like 8:30, and then somebody’s like, “Oh, wait a minute, I forgot my blah, blah…” You know what I mean?

Yeah.

Who cared? We started at 8:45 and it was all fine.

Yeah, no, I’m super excited about that. To me, that’s one of the innovations of the COVID times that I hope never changes. I think there’s been a bunch, like of things that have been positives that came out of-

Oh I would agree. It was a good-

… out of the weird year that wasn’t-

… way to learn things and try some different things. It was pretty cool.

Yeah. But that to me is very exciting, so I’m targeting that. We have the master’s national championships here at the track in September.

Oh that’s right, Cheryl was talking about that.

Yeah. So that’s September, and I think it ends September 19th, September 20th, and then the track is essentially going to close for resurfacing.

Oh wow.

So-

Oh wow.

… Unpaved for me is this like thing-

Oh that’s great.

… out in the future that I’m looking at. When the track has claimed down and it’s actually closed for resurfacing, there’s this beautiful thing lurking out in the future for me as a goal.

Oh that’s cool.

And you’re doing Vermont Overland.

Oh I forgot about that. I’m like, I’m missing one.

Yeah, Vermont Overland.

Yeah. That’s at the end of August.

Yeah, I’m looking forward to that one. That’s going to be a fun one.

Yeah, those are… they have so much great dirt, great-

And maybe some heavy topper and-

Oh yeah, and a tree house. They have a lot of good breweries up there.

Lot of good breweries and maple creamies, and all sorts of-

Yeah, I think there’s a lot of… As we’re talking, there’s so many women coming into gravel and I think that’s a lot of it. The woman I work with at Live Feisty, Katherine Taylor, started Women Gravel Cyclists, and she named it that… just a very generic name, so people could find it. Facebook group, she started it in March last year at the quarantine, and she’s up to like 6300 women already.

Wow.

In that private Facebook group, just coming in like, “Hey, I just started gravel, hey, I just started gravel, hey, I just started gravel,” and it’s very cool.

Yeah, it is very cool. It’s just I think… I love seeing more women coming into the sport, and I like seeing it’s not just young women.

Oh no, and these are by and large not young women.

Yeah, and I think that’s super cool. It’s interesting how it overlaps with your hit play not pause thing, right?

Yeah. When you turn 52 or 40… you get to a point where you’re like, you’ve done the same thing for so long, whether it be professionally, it’s easy to get in those ruts, and it’s exciting to start something different, to try something new at that point in your life.

Yeah. And I think too it’s hard to make friends when you’re a grownup.

Oh that’s a good point too.

I think-

And to find that community.

It is a way to find community that can be really challenging when you’re not with a bunch of college friends anymore. Like you-

And you start acting like college friends when you find these people because you go… all of a sudden, like we did this weekend, we went camping together, and planned a weekend around two rides that… And that’s the other beautiful thing of now there are all these routes that… you can find them and you put them on your device, so that’s not as intimidating either, right?

Right, right.

There’s a route. You know it’s established. Your device is going to show you the way, and you have a map if you need it, and you camp and you drink beer, and we rode to like… We found a bake sale and bought-

Oh nice.

… stuff at a bake sale midway through, and stopped for pizza. It’s a really fun way to be an adult.

Right, adult and have friends and have fun. Like play bikes, right?

Yeah, totally.

It’s playing bikes, and I think we all need a little bit more of playing bikes. I’m super excited because here in Lehigh Valley, there’s some momentum behind that, right? Like Discover Lehigh Valley is the tourism board here, and they have… part of their master plan is focused on bicycles and-

Good.

And they’re trying to make it IMBA recognized community, but mountain bike community. So there’s a lot of really positive energy around bikes happening here, here in Lehigh Valley, here at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center. And I think that one of my goals is to try to bring all these communities together, right? And be a sort of cycling aggregator, right? Because we could do all the things here-

Well, and we’re more powerful together. I mean, I loved the podcast you did with Jeff Cash for that reason. You know what I mean? There’s so much intersection of all of the things, the farming and the cycling and the healthy active living and all of that… it’s all here, and if we all join for the common good, like the potential’s amazing.

Yeah, I think that that was another beautiful thing that came out of COVID, right? All of a sudden, Jeff and I were talking this morning about it. Like there was a time early in COVID, right, where you couldn’t get your groceries delivered, and you couldn’t… The shelves were empty, and you could only buy one dozen eggs, and you couldn’t buy chicken, and you saw people rediscovering their local farms, and oh, well maybe I’ll go straight to the farm stand because they have food that they don’t have at the grocery store right now, our supply chain is a little bit messed up. And oh, maybe I’ll buy a bike because we’re allowed to recreate outside, and oh, I’ll buy a paddleboard because we’re allowed to recreate outside.

I think we’re in this beautiful moment of opportunity where yeah, there’s no getting around the fact that COVID was awful and people suffered and people died, and businesses closed and it was awful. I’m not trying to point-

Right, 100%.

… COVID as a lovely thing that happened. But there are things that we should take out of it that we should keep going.

Yeah, it would almost be criminal of us not to, honestly. Like to not pull the potential positive things out of this, of like-

Right. And I think bikes are a huge part of that.

I agree.

I think you can’t buy a bike. Last weekend I was in a trek store, and I was in [inaudible 00:57:47] because I was down in their shop as well. And in both stores people were walking in and saying, “Hey, I’d like to buy bikes,” and the answer is like-

It’s crazy.

… okay, well there’s a waiting list.

Yeah.

But it’s an opportunity right now for us to welcome people into our community, right? And I think that that’s the most important… yes, performance matters. High performance matters. High performance lifestyle matters. But it also matters that we grow the community, and it matters that we invite people in, and if you want to go down the high performance pathway, super, that’s… more power to you. And if you just want to have fun, that’s super, more power to you. Right? It’s like equal. But I think we’re at a pivotal time where we can invite people in.

Oh yeah, they’re there. Otherwise those bikes are going to go into garages.

Right, and we don’t want that to happen, right? This great bike boom, and all the inventory in the country is gone. Invite people in. Like how do we invite people in? And we do it through conversations like this one where you’re saying, “Hey, there are tools for you. If your body doesn’t feel like your body should, don’t let that stop you from trying the thing. Find the tools, find the diet, find the resources. Find the people.”

Oh 100%.

And don’t let it stop you. Instead, find a device, upload a file, go ride your bike in camp. Bring your protein.

Yeah, yeah. All those resources. Just even talking to… One of the early women I had on the podcast, I had on because I had heard about these women getting out of sport because they were getting incontinence, which is something that happens. So they’re wetting themselves, and they don’t want to run if they’re wetting themselves. That’s embarrassing. It’s horrible. But that is largely treatable, but if nobody talks about it, you don’t know that. And then all of a sudden… So I was like, no, no, no, we can’t have people… And then the same thing, I mean like women have vaginal pain if they’re on the saddle. But if they think it’s just them they’re going to be like, “Oh, that sport’s maybe not for me.” They don’t want to talk about maybe their clitoritis to the guy in the shop.”

Shocking.

So I mean-

Right. So talk to women and figure out which saddle works, right?

Right, exactly.

Right, I think that’s the whole thing is… That’s what your podcast has been so good about. And the one about fear.

Yeah, how about that?

I found that to be super interesting, and I know nothing about the science of it. But man, anecdotally, even just again thinking about my own mother and where her anxiety level went as a mother when she crossed that threshold, where my own anxiety went, and understanding that that fear reaction is something that actually is part of this whole-

It’s grounded, it’s hormonally grounded. That study was fascinating.

I mean, but fear plays a huge part in coming out on your bike.

For sure, for sure.

That is relevant. So everything on your podcast, I think as a… You might’ve been talking to climbers, or talking to nutritionists or doctors-

Yeah, they were climbers who were 2000 feet up in the air, but it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter, it translates, right? So I think that just for women listening again it’s like, “Hey, look, there’s resource, and the things that you are potentially experiencing at this age, there’s tools for us. There’s ways. You’re-

Yeah, don’t let it define you as that, oh that’s not for me because I’m feeling this. That’s not for me because I’m X. I mean, it’s an opportunity to learn that there’s physiological and biological underpinnings to some of what you’re feeling, that can be mitigated and that you can work with. And it doesn’t have to be like oh, now is the time that I check out. [crosstalk 01:01:48]-

Right, disappear from the start line.

Right, right.

Yeah, that phrase has stuck with me now. There’s people disappearing from the start line. Yeah, we don’t want that.

No, we don’t want that.

We want people reappearing at the start line.

Because in many ways, I mean all the things that we say… there’s like this little negative undercurrent that I try to avoid. And that’s another thing that actually really bothered me when I started doing my own research, and A, I could not believe there was not another athletic menopause podcast in existence. There’s 850,000 podcasts in the world. I was stunned that there was not another one. But-

Now there is.

Is there? Good.

Yeah, one woman, because I know her. Her name is Lesley McShade and I know her from when she lived in Louisville.

Oh that’s great. Oh good, okay.

So yeah, so now there’s one more.

What is the-

I can’t remember the name.

Okay, I’ll have to look it up. Yeah, so more the merrier. There’s plenty to learn. But that surprised me that there was no other podcast in that space, but I have completely forgotten what we were talking about.

Well, I think we were talking about disappearing from the start line. What’s so interesting is you don’t see the master’s men disappear from the start line.

That is true.

The master’s men make up the bulk of bike racing population, right? Like if you look at USA Cycling membership, where their age group skews. If you look at who’s riding gravel, I remember looking at the demographic slides from-

It was like maybe 10% in the field that were women.

Yeah, but seeing what ages they were too. They were all 49 to 59.

Oh, I know what I was going to say now. Yeah.

So we don’t see our male counterparts disappearing from the start line, and I think that that’s important to recognize, that we can do it too.

Oh 100%, and what I was going to say is that… underline all this. There was so much negativity that I wanted to avoid. But also, there’s something that happens when you turn… for me it was definitely 50. I just got this other… stopped giving any care. Like no more Fs to give, about a lot of stuff. I dropped a lot of care about a lot of stuff that would’ve bothered me when I was 25 or 35 or even 45, and that is empowering. I mean, I think you can harness that, and just be like, “Now’s the time. If not now, when?”

Right, right.

I let go of a lot of that stuff, and there’s a lot of women I talk to that went through the same thing. They’re like, “I am 50, and let me tell you, I don’t care what you…” There’s a lot of people stepping into that in a way of power, and coming into their prime in many ways. So I think taking that mindset also and using it in your physical and athletic or recreationally athletic life is useful.

Yeah, for sure, for sure. Yeah. Was it you that posted or was it somebody else in the Feisty media universe that posted about how much had been spent on like-

That was today.

Yeah, on Viagra.

On erectile dysfunction. It was like-

It as fascinating.

… seven billion, in the course of, like not much time. And menopausal health was like one billion over the course of I don’t know how many years. It’s just like they don’t even… It’s so infuriating, and it’s going to change. But it’s funny to see, because we’re all in this ocean together, right? If you’re on the ocean, sometimes you don’t even see the water. And a lot of the people I’ve had on the show, like the cardiologist I had… I saw the light bulbs going on and off a lot, and she was like, “They don’t talk about menopause at all at the women’s cardiology conference.” Like it doesn’t even… All the stuff that she’s like, “Why aren’t people talking about menopause?” And they’re saying it. I had talked to the woman, Kristen Dieffenbach. Same thing. Just like sports psychology. Nobody talks about the effect of menopause.

Right, on sports performance.

It’s not even a thoughts.

Yeah.

Yeah, so there will be thoughts now.

For sure, for sure.

And that’s going to make it better for everybody.

And it will make it much better for the women coming behind us, right?

So much better, so much better.

That’s the interesting thing, is there’s a map to follow now. And the map will get clearer and-

Oh yeah, it’s only going to get better.

But yeah, I think that it was that erectile dysfunction post that made me think about that, about the master’s men and how they are vastly dominated the number of people that race bikes, broadly speaking, across all the disciplines. And we need the master’s women to come into the game.

Well I won’t even poke the bear and talk about men can get a TUE for testosterone, but women can’t. Like let’s light the place on fire.

Right, yeah. Right.

I had this whole conversation with a woman, it’s a podcast coming up I’m very excited about. But when I was younger I used to roll my eyes so hard in women’s studies classes when they used the patriarchy term, right? Like, oh, we’re all equal now, women work. And I was so dumb, because it is so entrenched in our medical system, in everything.

In our sporting system.

In everything.

Right, because that is infuriating, right? Like if you’re a male you can walk into a clinic in a strip mall and get your prescription for testosterone and-

That low T baby.

Well, in Colorado Springs there was a place called the Low T store. That was the legit name of the business, the Low T store.

Of course there is.

And it was next to a place where I got my hair done, so I always laughed. I’d pull in, I’d be like, “Oh look, I’m parked at the Low T store.” But yeah, honest to god, right there in the strip mall. Yeah, women who are undergoing all this hormonal stuff, we can’t get a TUE.

Ridiculous.

It’s astonishing to me. Well it’s a performance-enhancing drug. Well yeah, what do you think testosterone is for those guys? Like they are getting it for performance enhancement.

100%, it’s so ridiculous. And to not allow women to… because women can get menopausal hormone therapy, but to not allow them to get the other piece of that. Oh, we can get an estrogen patch, that’s okay. That’s just ridiculous.

Yeah.

It’s part of the whole equation.

Right.

They’re all the hormones and they work like a symphony.

Right, they kind of work together.

Right.

Yeah, I know. It’s really kind of crazy. But I will say, when I first moved to Colorado Springs, I was looking for a new doctor, and this is a funny thing that nothing has to do with what we were talking about but it was just funny. So she said, “Oh, well you’re of a certain age,” and I was like, “I am?” And she’s like, “Yeah, so you’re probably-“

What does that even mean?

Well yes, I was of the age where the change was happening. So she was like, “So I can give you testosterone.” She’s like, “It’s off-label use. But it’s just a little pallet, and insert it in your butt and just come back every six months and get a new pallet inserted.” I was like, “Well I can’t do that because I race bikes and that would be frowned upon.” I was like, “But just out of curiosity, what are the benefits, what are the side effects, what are the symptoms?” She was like, “Oh, well you’ll have higher muscle tone, you’ll have better energy. You’ll have better sex drive.” She was painting this like glowing picture of like how much life would be vastly improved if I had this-

On the other side of this door that you can’t walk through.

Right. And she’s like painting this great picture of how awesome it was, and I’m sitting there going, “Okay, so what’s the downside?” And the only thing she did was go like…

You might grow some-

You might grow a beard. But it was-

Waxing for that.

But it was so funny because she’s just like, “Yes, here’s the litany of things that will make as…” I think I was 48 at the time, maybe. And she’s like, “Here’s all the things that will make your life better if you can do this thing,” and I was like, “Oh I’d like to sleep…” I knew sleep was one of them too. And she’s like, “Yeah, you’d sleep better, and you’d have better energy, and more overall lean muscle mass,” and I was like, “These are all great things. I can’t have it.” Oh, that’s not fun. But you have to make the call. If you’re going to race bikes-

It’s-

… you can’t do it.

Yeah, that one really… that’s a…

Yeah. And it’s just not fair.

No, it’s patently unfair, and it’s definitely endocentric. It’s definitely a male-

Yeah, because I mean, I get it. Sure, if you’re a 30-year-old woman taking it for performance-enhancing reasons, okay-

Yeah, but it is part of a hormonal therapy situation for menopausal hormone therapy. It makes-

Yeah, and it-

[crosstalk 01:11:10] makes sense.

Well and I guess, then why is it-

Keep it within a certain range like everything else.

Right, keep it within a certain range, but then apples should be apples, right?

100%.

And then the men shouldn’t be allowed to have [crosstalk 01:11:21].

Oh 100%.

But that would never happen.

Yes, we know that.

So that would never happen. But yeah, I just remember her stroking her chin being like, “Well…” I was like, “So that’s the one downside.”

Like oh god.

Yeah, it was funny. She was very like painting this brilliant picture of, oh, you’d sleep and you’d be leaner and you’d like-

All this stuff.

I was like-

You’d be so powerful.

… oh, I could be happier. I was like, oh, that sounds nice. But no, I’ll have to pass.

Anyway… yeah.

It was just really funny how that all went down. But yeah, so that’s that. So the moral of the story, our big takeaway from this very wide ranging conversation, which I sort of love, because it went… I told you before we started recording I had a billion things I wanted to talk to you about and I was going to range far and wide and it wasn’t going to make sense. So I hope our listeners rode the train of thought. The takeaway of today is don’t be afraid to try new things.

100%.

Doesn’t matter if it’s track bikes, gravel bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, try new things. But try bikes, because we like bikes.

Yeah.

Come to the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, because we’re trying to be nice and welcoming and inclusive and friendly.

It is very fun, even if you don’t want to race.

And it’s fun, even if you don’t want to race. We have great beer, so you can have that too. But look for the resources, and that is really-

Look for the resources.

… in all of this, I joke about trying the beer and doing the thing, but really the message I wanted to get across today for any of our women listeners or male listeners who then have females in their lives that they want to encourage, is there are resources for us, whether it be coaching or ROAR or ROAR 2, the unnamed ROAR 2, or Hit Play Not Pause, or Women on Gravel. Whatever the resource is, if you are interested in doing the thing, the message of today’s podcast with Selene is that you are empowered to do the thing.

Yeah, if you’re interested in doing it, you should do it.

You should do it.

Yeah, there’s a way.

There’s a way, and there are women who have started younger than you are and there are women who have started later than you, and it doesn’t matter. There are women who are going to be faster than you, and there are going to be women who are slower than you, and it doesn’t matter.

Doesn’t matter.

Doesn’t matter.

No.

Do the thing, and-

You always regret the things that you don’t do, not the things you’ve done most of the time.

Most of the time.

I qualified that. You always… most of the time.

Most of the time. But yeah, and I think that for our listeners, tell them where they can find you and find some of the great information that you’re putting out.

Yeah, I mean Hit Play Not Pause has a private… which just means we keep out trolls and spammers, but it’s a Facebook group that is also… I think we have 5000 women in there now, and it’s a great resource because people just can come in and ask questions, and it’s a very open space. I’ll look at it in 6:30 in the morning and I’m like, “Oh they’re talking about orgasm. Okay, that’s cool.” It’s a very open space. That’s probably the best resource, they’re podcast adjacent, and I exist on… Well I should say Feisty Menopause is another good place that has an Instagram and a Facebook itself, where you’ll find the trickle-down of any of the things that I do. Like I write a blog and a newsletter for them, and that information trickles into that. So feistymenopause.com is a great resource for a lot of information, and you can find me at FitChick3. [inaudible 01:14:58] FitChick for bicycling since 1999, on Instagram and Facebook as well.

Nice. Yeah, so I encourage you all to check out the great resources, even if menopause is not your current concern, because there’s just a lot of other great information for all women, and at some point, it will be for you.

And it will let you know, like there’s a lot of women who didn’t… they’re experiencing things like I didn’t know, like a lot of anxiety. I mean, that can be an early indicator. Poor sleep, anxiety. Like stuff that just kind of makes you feel like you’re losing your mind. Could be hormones. I mean, when you look at graphs at what the hormones start doing and it’s technically perimenopause… we just call it the menopause transition. It looks haywire. I mean, of course you’re feeling that way.

I mean, you watch the whole reproductive life and there’s this rhythm and it looks perfectly orchestrated, and then perimenopause comes and it looks like a spiral graph. Like somebody just threw something in there. And it does even out again at the other side of the tunnel. But I mean, if you’re starting to feel like… like we talk about the fear. Like wacky, sort of like I’m not quite myself, and I don’t know why. It could be hormones, it could just be the start of something. And knowledge is power.

And that starts for some people in their 30s, so-

For sure, late 30s, it can start early 40s. It can go for 10 years, it can last for five years. I mean, it’s the kind of thing… but if you know there’s actions you can take and resources for you, and there’s no negative to that. There’s no downside.

Right on. So check your resources, kids. That’s the moral of the story.

That is, certainly.

And do the things. All right, well this has been The Talk of the T-Town Podcast with our guest, Selene Yeager, and we were thrilled to talk all of those unusual topics for track racing but awesome, and I think really important stuff to talk about. So thank you for coming on the show this week, Selene.

Thank you for having me, it was a lot of fun.

This has been The Talk of the T-Town Podcast with host, Joan Hanscom and Andy Lakatosh. Thanks for joining us for this week’s episode, brought to you by B. Braun Medical Inc. Head on over to our website, thevelodrome.com, where you can check out the show notes and subscribe, so you’ll never miss an episode.