Some say Scott Moninger is the greatest American cyclist to have never ridden the Tour de France. Moninger is a crafty all-arounder who has victories in road races, criteriums, time trials, and state races. He’s a versatile rider and a passionate athlete with a deep love for the sport.
His characteristically stoic expression on the bike and ruthless competitive nature have earned him the nickname of The Iceman. Hope you enjoy our regaling of old racing stories and that you find our conversation about coaching and training to be useful.
Velocious coaching site: https://www.velociouscyclingadventures.com
Welcome to the Cycling in Alignment podcast. An examination of cycling as a practice and dialogue about the integration of sport and right relationship to your life.
Colby Pearce 00:25
Greetings, space monkeys. Today’s episode is with Scott Moninger, The Iceman. Scott drops a lot of wisdom nuggets on what it’s like to ride in an old school peloton, and how he found his way through the sport. He’s also a coach, and he offers some good insights into the mind of the athlete and his coaching methods. So I’m sure you’ll appreciate this discussion.
Colby Pearce 00:50
We also unpack a bit about group rides. Since I had so much feedback from my podcast about how group rides are dead, Scott and I decided to tackle that a little bit. He offered some good actionable advice on how we might be able to move forward with group rides because there are benefits to riding in a group of course, and just like everything, it’s a spectrum.
Colby Pearce 01:14
That said before we start with the episode, I want to address a few corrections adenomas, footnotes and miscellany. After my mountain biking podcast, I got a message from none other than Nick Ligon who works for Shimano. I’m going to read Nick’s text, he offered some insight that may be helpful for people who are looking for fitting solutions in the world of mountain bikes.
Colby Pearce 01:36
“Hello again friend, Happy New Year! Just finished up your podcast on MTB fit, really enjoyed it. Great to hear from Travis Brown as well. I wanted to share that Shimano produces three different q factors in the mountain bike line of cranks, a 160 to a 168 and a 171. Some of this is a function of chain line and not all cranks will clear all chains days on all bikes. also wanted to hear that we produce an X tr SPD pedal with four millimeters shorter spindles. Hence, a few more fit options for riders All the best. Thank you for Nick for reminding me of those facts. I actually wasn’t aware that Shimano did make those different q factors on their mountain bikes. I did know about the str pedals. And this is a very useful fitting solution for people who need either longer or shorter axles. So in case you don’t know, standard axle length on a road pedal is 53 millimeters. For most mountain bike pedals and nickel, probably correct me on this, it’s 55 or 56 millimeters. So when we have a shorter option in the zR range, really what we’re doing is we’re bringing the mountain bike spindle closer to a road spindle length. And when we have a plus four millimeter road spindle, we’re bringing the road spindle closer to the mountain bike length. So really, what you need to know here is there’s a shorter option and a longer option in the world of both road and mountain bike spindle links. Why do we care? Well, we want to adjust to the riders q factor or the foot separation distance as Steve Hawk prefers to say it between the distance between the riders feet while they’re pedaling. And this influences stance width, which has a direct relationship to the facial tension of the media line that runs all the way from the calcaneus or the sorry, the medial malleolus, all the way up to the groin. So that’s your inside ankle bone, all the way up to your grundle. Basically, there’s a band of fascia that runs along this line, this inner line of your leg, it’s not really a band, the band fasho runs continuously throughout the body, it’s kind of could be approximated to that mesh net that holds all the potatoes in the bag that you find at the grocery store. Only the mesh net runs around each muscle between the muscles and even sometimes through the muscles. It also envelops and surrounds each organ. And its continual, we’ll say sheet but it’s really an organ in and of itself. And so when this fascia the the space between your groin and your medial malleolus, or inside ankle bone becomes too tight. At times when you change the Q factor or the foot separation distance that can cause riders problems. The solution to this is lots of Sumo squats and mobility work and elbow and GPS stretching, no get dropped. But
Colby Pearce 04:23
that means also that sometimes we want to adjust our axle length to get the foot in the right relationship to the hip and the knee. And when we’re looking at the bike, we’re looking at the athlete riding the bike during a fit session. Ideally, we want a vertical stacking of those three points. That’s the head of the femur, the tibial tuberosity and the second and third Ray in English. That means the middle of your hip, the middle of your knee and the middle of your foot. We want all those things stacked in a nice tidy vertical line during the power phase. Not everyone will be able to actualize that because some people of course have different little wiggly shapes that happened to their knees as they pedal. The most common one being at the top, the stroke, knees kind of pop out. That’s typically a sign of really, really tight, internal hip rotators excuse me, external hip rotators can also be a symptom of many other things tight it bands, for example. So without going down the rabbit hole of fitting any farther, what I’m saying is that the longer and shorter packs off pedal axles are a really useful way to help riders adjust the distance between their feet. We can also impact that distance by using cleat lateral adjustment which Shimano SPD cleats do have some of however, that comes with impacts or ramifications. And the reason is we put if we want to move a rider’s foot closer to the crank arm so we move the cleat all the way out board. Then we move more of the stable surface of the metal cleat further outboard and we move the fulcrum upon which the foot can tip more towards the centerline and we increase the chance of pronation especially if the lugs and the mount by shoe are worn down because on a Shimano pedal, what determines foot stability in that plane is the contact of the lugs with the pedal body. Sorry, I should have said dark color before I started down that one. So without further ado, now we’re going to unpack Scott monitor. I hope you enjoy this episode. Scott is a slippery little bugger. I’ve raced against him many times over many years and the vast majority of those times he crossed the line before I did. I’m sure you’ll start to slip out the reasons why Scott is so clever in this podcast. Enjoy. Hello, everyone. Happy New Year. Jenna doesn’t like when I do that because it references. It destroys the evergreen content of our podcast. But you got to say Happy New Year. I mean, come on. Look, we all just went through. So even if you listen to this in April of 2024 Happy New Year. Today’s guest is none other than Scott moniker. Hi, Scott. But before I even continue my intro, I just got to address this wandering elephant in the room. I’ve heard it pronounced exactly 51% both ways. Is it monitor or monitor your heart G or
saw he was the former mining guru? It’s a hard Gee, I got it right. Yes, you did. You went Oh, my 51.1% outstanding, but I can understand the confusion because you know 51% of the race announcers out there got it wrong advice. Right. So Right, right, right. I was just happy. They were saying my name. Usually when I was doing some writing
Colby Pearce 07:43
something positive. See, there you go. Yeah. I’ve had people misspell my last name for years. So I get it. Mine’s the minority spelling. So Scott is one of the winningest bike racers in American history. If you want to look up all the stuff he’s done, go forth and make the keyboard mudras because there’s lots of information about I think you’ve won pretty much every major bike race in the US. He’s a crafty all around racer who has victories in road races. criteriums time trials state races. He’s a versatile rider and is truly a passionate athlete with a deep love for the sport, which is evidenced by the fact that he is still like me. 100% bike dork top to bottom to this day. His characteristically stoic expression on the bike and ruthless competitive nature have earned him the nickname of The Iceman. And you gotta check out our fantastic artwork we will include in the show notes and the Instagram drop. Because it’s worth seeing if you haven’t checked it out. Who’s the artist who did that for you?
I was used Michael Morris, originally resided in Kansas City worked for Hallmark cards, and he’s now a Colorado resident. Oh, cool. He chased me out here, I think nice. And it was sort of a friend of a friend. favor. Yeah. Yeah. But I ended up selling the bike. So it was kind of Yeah, we sort of became friends. But he just did it as a side project. And he’s kind of known for his character. Yeah, ability. So you have fun with it took a while he said to find, you know, kind of just encapsulate the, what he was looking for. Because I had so little expression, every picture kind of looks the same, like Well, I don’t know. So
Colby Pearce 09:15
that turned out really well. Nice headed to that’s cool. So let’s start with your origin story. You You grew up in Atlanta, I believe or you were born in Atlanta and grew up in Kansas City.
You’re close. I was born in Atlanta. I was only there about a year and then my father got transferred to Wichita, Kansas. And little known fact we actually then moved. We only there for a couple years, then moved to Aurora. My father was working for Martin Marietta down there. So like a three to five. I was actually a Colorado resident. Then he got transferred back to Wichita. That’s where it all kind of went south.
Colby Pearce 09:46
No kidding. My dad worked for Martin Marietta as well. Right on so I was in Denver.
It’s funny. So from like, age five to 18 Wichita was my home, okay, which unfortunately is nothing like Kansas City, Kansas is actually kind of rolling terrain which does pan flat. Okay.
Colby Pearce 10:00
So in windy so the wind makes you strong, I
guess. I guess everyone was always wondering how a guy from Kansas Wichita specifically could climb but right as you know, it’s really more about body type and terrain or where you live. Wait, you
Colby Pearce 10:11
can climb you only one mount Evans, what? Six times six times good memory.
And I’m ready, go. All right. I mean, Belgian guy, Lucian van amp one. k one jersey of the tour like five times. So I mean, it’s Yeah. So it’s really about physique more than than where you grew up,
Colby Pearce 10:25
Yeah. In my opinion.
Colby Pearce 10:28
Okay. So how what, what was the origin? Like, how did you get kindled as bike racer, like, were you that nerdy kid who wanted to be on the football team and didn’t quite make it and, you know, like, every
other kid back when we’re talking early 70s, I started riding a bike after school as just a sort of a freedom vehicle, you know, just hanging out my buddies and we’d, you know, jump things and just see how long the skid contest coasting contests, you name it, we were doing it and I just never stopped. You know, I’ve been segwayed into BMX racing from like age 11 to about 13. And then most of my little posse kind of grew up and got cars and into girls and I was like, you know, I still kind of love this bike thing and my father was a weekend warrior kind of bike dork so I was surrounded by by the scene already in it would go and watch him race and everything. So fate would have it that my BMX bike got ripped off after I spent like an entire summer getting it completely dialed. So it was a work of art, you know, completely silver frame with all blue parts. And it was it was a work of art but it did you do the thing with the number plate where you low Yeah, use the exacto blade and you’ve got to make all your little stickers and
Colby Pearce 11:33
that was like a whole that was the thing hold right.
Yeah, like I said, this was this was part, you know, part sport and part art for me. So yeah. Yeah, I got ripped off literally a month after I had it all dialed and I was just like, you know what, maybe that’s a sign. So I took the insurance money and just upgraded my father had like, that had too much stuff laying around. So I got a frame, then coupled together roadbike and so around age 14, I started doing the local Saturday morning, you know, club ride, which back then really was a club ride. But, you know, myself and a couple of the younger kids, we turned into a race. Everyone’s like, you guys should race take out a license. So the next year at age 15, I did the first year Junior thing started traveling around Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, just anywhere that, you know, within about eight hours, you know, we would consider a feasible drive to go do a bike race, believe it or not,
Colby Pearce 12:23
and where you going with your dad most the time or with a club or both? I
mean, we were Yeah, my dad and I were in the same club. And so it would be eight or 10 people packed into a van. And that was actually really, at that time pretty pretty eye opening for me because you know, as a 10 1215 year old kid, you don’t really know much beyond your, your 20 mile radius and to go to some of these cool towns like Fayetteville, Arkansas or Lawrence, Kansas. I mean, it’s all relative, but those were pretty cool towns compared to Wichita, Kansas. So it sort of gave me a view into what what might be outside the farms. Okay. Wichita.
Colby Pearce 12:58
Yeah. in Fayetteville. Wow. Like now it’s exploded into this. Yeah.
That’s how long that recently going on. I mean, I literally did that as a first year Junior back in Yeah.
Colby Pearce 13:06
Yeah. Early 80s. And were these like, are they mostly crits? Or were there some road races mixed in? Or was it both?
Both Arkansas was was almost always road races and or stage races, things like zuri, and Nebraska tended to be more crits. So I think that’s why and how I became an all rounder, I mean, I literally weighed 95 pounds back into my tiny, I’m just one of those kids that didn’t really fully develop until I was about 21. So at 15, you can imagine actually, one of the pictures I sent you was was me at 16 I’m pretty much just skin and bones, you know. But I had to develop some tactical skills because you know, everything was so flat, especially right around Wichita. So I’d go out with two or three guys after school and we would just we’d raise proceed limit signs, which, you know, where I lived on the edge of town, there was a speed limit sign about every five miles out in the foreign country. So we would just do town to town. And you know, I couldn’t bring anybody but I could outsmart them by you know, just playing the wind and the cross winds and timing, and maybe I’d go a mile from the, you know, from the finish line or whatever. But that’s kind of how I sort of honed some of my non natural skills. Because I am really just, I think at the core just kind of a steady state climber. Slash time trial, this is probably be my, my specialty or was certainly not sprinting. But yeah, if I got to the top of the hill with three or four guys, I was generally pretty confident that I could beat them. I just had kind of had that extra snap that that I probably developed, you know, at age 1516, whatever. I’m doing all those towns doing all those crits and everything. That’s really interesting.
Colby Pearce 14:27
I think a lot of riders maybe don’t consider how much their local training environment and the tools they have at their disposal influence their long term development. You know, like you look at riders like the McCormick’s. What are they good at? They’re going to go and up like two minute long hills, right, right on the saddle and big gears. Well, they
have to do that I get home
Colby Pearce 14:44
Yeah, because that’s what they do for four hours every day or whatever. And, and so that’s really interesting like your natural off the couch abilities, probably steady state climber. But then you grew up in this environment that forced you to be crafty, forced to learn and think ahead force you to sprint so that helped you develop into an all round house. That’s, that’s cool.
Yeah, and I certainly learned about drafting right away number one, because it’s so flat, everyone’s kind of rolling along pretty fast. And the wind was always howling. So I mean, you know, for six months, it blows out of the South and the other six months is built out of North. But you know, everything is a square grid where I trained, or I wrote, so you just naturally switch left side if you’re going north, and you know, vice versa. And as a smaller guy, I mean, I could draft off anyone, basically. But I always you can find the sweet spot pretty clearly. So I’m always shocked when people like, hey, which which side should be sitting on? It’s like, really, you don’t feel that? You know, because I feel it on my cheeks or my forearms or my wherever. Any exposed skin or I just feel it and how I’m leaning my bike. Yeah, you know if it’s strong enough, so yeah, I’m always shocked by people that have actually written a long time and don’t have a sense of which side of the wheel to sit on. Because to me, it’s it’s it’s more it’s more than second nature. I mean, it’s just I agree natural.
Colby Pearce 15:44
Yeah, I agree. Riding on the front range here. As a kid, I felt the same thing, right? Got my ass kicked in so many road races where it was just a painful lesson like that. I mean, literally 12 inches of bike position can be the difference between easily surviving in the group and getting nuked in 500 meters or 800 meters when guys are going for gas because it’s it’s an efficient baseline. It’s eight on 110 on 112 on one, depending on how well that groups working together, you’re fighting that wind just a matter of time.
If you can’t feel it, you can see it. I mean, just look up at the flags look up at the, you know, the, the wind socks or the tumbleweeds that are gone. I mean, there’s a million things out there, they’re telling you which way the winds blowing or which way it’s going to be blowing as soon as you make that turn. Yes, it’s coming up. And so yeah, yeah, I think I think all those things combined just made me a very kind of intuitive and very, I you know, sort of an aware cyclist because again, I didn’t have a ton of natural ability that point to just my background was BMX, which was going all out for 90 seconds, which again, wasn’t, wasn’t my strong suit. So I didn’t have a lot of success at BMX riding. But
Colby Pearce 16:41
yeah. And riding that when just craps used to be in a very efficient rider. That’s,
yeah, and I think it forces you to be low and feel comfortable being low, you know, I’m actually not a super tall, big guy. Anyway, most of my length is in my torso. So right, once I can get low and stay flexible, then I can get
Colby Pearce 16:59
now a lot of draft off just about anybody. I think you and I are similar in that respect. Yeah. Yeah. That’s cool. It also forces you to really step up your handling game when you’re in a group and learn how to feel the almost organic flow of a peloton, because when you’re you guys are all fighting crosswind from the right, you know, for example, and everybody’s stacked up your you know, it’s like to a beginning cyclist, front wheel overlap is this sort of seen as this thing of death, you know, like, never overlap wheels, and that’s one on one, that’s a fair piece of advice. But in the wind, you have to overlap wheels, you do it constantly. And the way to not go down, of course, is to pay acute attention to the wavelength patterns that happen in the group. So if you’re eight guys back, and you’re stuck diagonally international on, and the rider up front twitches, you know, by the time it gets to you, it’s gonna be more, it’s gonna be a lot more than Twitch, right? So you’re watching that you’re watching those lead riders all the time of that peripheral vision, you’re almost feeling it right. And even when you’re really on, tapped into that wave, sometimes the the wave hits you and there’s almost nothing you can do. Anyway, that’s just sort of negative consequences, potentially riding in a group. But most of the time when experienced riders are riding together in the wind like that, that’s why they can be so efficient and just chunk take chunks and chunks of times out of the next group.
And I do think it forces you to kind of switch on, you know, that’s not a time let’s say you’re doing a square kind of road race and you’ve got a 12 mile section of serious crosswind. That’s not where you want to be digging into your pockets and getting food out or right and possibly even drinking. That’s really when you like I said you want to be watching straight ahead and watching the guy that’s eight wheels ahead of you because like you said, He’s gonna have to swerve for a dog or roadkill or something like that. So
Colby Pearce 18:32
or everybody’s using the road gutter to gutter. So when that guy’s on the gutter and the limiter, you’re in the gutter. You’re balancing like, how much draft do I get versus how much sand and tumbleweeds and goat heads for those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s like, nature’s perfect device to flat a bicycle tire and it exists on every shoulder in Colorado and I don’t know you guys have go heads and in Kansas.
Yeah, so everything, everything bad, Kansas everything.
Colby Pearce 18:55
So you’re, you’re negotiating that, like hmm, I’ve got the carrot of the rider in front of me in this nice big fat draft that I want to live in this deadwind but man, it’s like how much risk do I want to take? So then it’s
it’s kind of an anticipation thing that like I said, if you’re doing a race where you know, there’s gonna be a section of crosswind that’s, you know, you want to be prepared for that you want to hit that haven’t already topped off your, you know, you’ve taken waterfowl and you’ve taken your fluid and whatever and you’ve just dealt with, you’ve got your arm warmers off, or your wind vest did that to the car so that that’s kind of go time.
Colby Pearce 19:25
Totally and ready to go into the blender. Yeah,
and you can always tell people, they’ve never done that scenario. I’ve never been in a serious crosswind like holy crap. I mean, it is sort of like the difference in warming up for a time trial versus doing the trial. Yes, one of them is all about prep, the other ones actually execution. So when you’re in that, that moment, you just got to be ready to go and not distracted by all that other stuff.
Colby Pearce 19:41
That’s a great way to think about it. And that segues me to a perfect part of our conversation, which is how road racing is dying in America in the US. And it reminds me of the Walter de Bisbee which was of course, a staple stage race for us when we were talking like late 80s, early 90s even probably Made it as far as maybe late 90s. Like 9596 somewhere in there be like the last year I did it when it was certainly on the downward downward slide was 2002
Yeah, in fact, yeah. Okay, I got my 200 when in Bisbee Nice to have you
Colby Pearce 20:15
in the crit or Tantra. Oh, it was uphill Tantra. Yeah. Up the prologue.
Colby Pearce 20:20
So this is a I think it was a five day stage race in this little nowhere town in Bisbee. Arizona, Arizona. It was kind of like tucked in a canyon and was the perfect place for a stage race
like see Mexico I think at night.
Colby Pearce 20:31
Yeah, yeah, really, really south. vacant roads, big highways, lots of climbs lots of cool stuff. So that a prologue they had a flat tee tee, and then a couple of road races that finished with these climbs that were around I don’t know maybe six seven k long each and I cut my teeth on that race a lot. I remember the first year I went there just got absolutely annihilated, like limping home every day, you know, going as hard as I can to finish 188th like just got my ass kicked. This is probably 91 or 92 first or second year as a senior. But then I remember this next year I went back was a little better prepared and one road race in particular that really goes into exactly what we were just describing is basically a giant lollipop. You go out on this kind of diagonal road and then you got a big rectangle and I think he did two laps in the rectangle then you took the lollipop stick back in town you sprint for the for the win.
I think it was called tombstone road race or something. I think we might have something appropriate like that. You’re
Colby Pearce 21:20
right. So we’re heading out on this lollipop section and I’m I’m already got my Scott monitor note pad going I’m like I know where the winds gonna be. I got destroyed in this road race last year. I’m gonna make the league group I’m going to be at the right place in the right time. And sure enough, we turn I think it was North was the first leg maybe. And man aside when comes in the field, just within 800 meters of fields in five groups, riders all over the place bodies, bottles, you know, people going everywhere, right off the road, and, and I injured my way into that front group. And it was I mean, we’re talking this is when held hands were 160 180 riders, right, right. I mean, the first group of us probably 24 dudes. So this is an elite selection. For me. This is one of the better moments of my early racing career. I was like, holy crap, I did it. You know, I was probably in a group with you and Dave man and mingle men and Ron and I don’t know who else a bunch of svago. Guys, okay, and 92 Who else would have been in that peloton? I’m not sure this probably 92 or 93. Like
we’re not in that during that time period, we use that race as prep for Tour de Pon. Right? There’s really nothing else. I mean, ideally, we would have gone to Europe for two weeks or something. But that just wasn’t feasible at the time. So let’s just go to Bisbee. And, you know, we were doing miles afterwards and before and everything and using it as a training race. But yeah, there were good teams that you know, I know that Chevy le ShareFile doesn’t pretty much do the same, same same programming protocol. And so yeah, would have been pretty star studded that year. So I make that first leg of the
Colby Pearce 22:43
other rectangle. I’m in the league group on 24 guys, I’m like I made it man. This is like I’m already starting to think way ahead you know, there’s another 100 k racing to go at least, but I’m thinking my head I’m like, Okay, how is this gonna play out? You know, is the field gonna shatter again? Is this group gonna get more selected blah, blah, blah. But it was like, you know, when you’re reading a book, you can only see to the next chapter. Maybe? This was my big success. We took the next right turn which would have been East I suppose. And we were in a dead tailwind. Oh, and suddenly I was 134 pounds of toothpick trying to keep up with you know, Dave man and all these super powerful writers. We turned her tail wind or dynamics means nothing. That’s my weapon to play. It’s my car. I’ve got Yeah, I don’t have a lot of horses. I don’t have a lot of co2. Man, I was so had clearly made the selection on the first rectangle
got completely dumped on the tail end. So I was the only guy who didn’t make it on the next stretch. It’s kind of a slow death to if you get dropped in Taylor. Like is it just happens inch by inch by inch. You know? We’re like, on a climb. It’s gone. Yeah, pretty much over in. Yeah. 3040 seconds to Windsor slope.
Colby Pearce 23:46
Then we turned right, which was South so then I had to ride the side when by myself you know, last the four minutes to go from between the first group to the second probably I think I got dumped by you know, it’s like the wind was out of my sails. I probably went finished in the fourth group. I’m pretty sure by the time I rolled in,
I got to see Dave man putting the leader jersey on. Just as I was crossing the line, he was already being awarded that leader jersey and I remember him taking off his course like jersey and just seeing like every rib every that guy was so unbelievably ripped. Oh, he was a specimen. I mean, he literally looked like a thoroughbred racehorse, you would just see veins in places that you know, like, I’m a pretty lean guy, or I was but I never saw veins where that guy had veins. It was incredible. Yeah, I was like what? Yeah, and he and he lived on white bread butter, just all the things you shouldn’t eat if you wanted to be lean, I guess but you know, they also say you know to burn fat you got to eat it and he was certainly the epitome of that because I mean he was it was all about the British diet. I mean just a lot of fat a lot of heavy stuff like blood sausage, and yeah, he was by no, by no means a vegetarian or even a food guy at all. He just, you know, ate whatever interesting and drank beer like it was water. So he was just one of those guys. I don’t think it really mattered. He tried everything to fuel and he was a beast.
Colby Pearce 24:54
He was a beast. Yeah. And that was a head exploding moment for me. He’s like cross line cuz I was like, that’s what a real bike racer looks like. Okay. And noted guys like that, you know, it’s
like they make you raise your game. You know, it’s like when Peyton Manning came to the Denver Broncos, you know, they kind of sucked before he got there and all sudden everyone’s just like, holy crap we got we got to deal with, right we got to step it up and so that’s kind of what happened to our team because like Swart used to try to train with the guy and they would just have with each other, you know, all day long and it’s made both have their you know, one year they went and they were just basically turned the Tour de Pont into a training ride for the two of them, you know, they took turns with the jersey and everything and it was insane. Wow. Yeah, yes. Yeah. So but you know, that that wrote that raise the level from guys like myself and England and whatnot like, Okay, this is this is, you know, the power to weight that we need to deal with? Yeah. Yeah. You know, obviously, he had his weaknesses. He couldn’t do mount Evans or something like that. But he was incredibly good hydrologist and a decent sprinter and just I mean, I’m a crosswind. He’s the guy you wanted to.
Colby Pearce 25:46
He was all around like unreal air. Yeah, I was
very fortunate that I was teammates with him and not not against him.
Colby Pearce 25:51
Yeah. And so that’s a great point, you bring up that kind of rivalry. You know, a lot of writers that we know of are like dynamic duo’s. They have a sibling rivalry esque relationship when they’re younger, and it helps push him and lift him to that new level. I have that with JV to a degree, although 99.9% of the time he just kicked my ass. I think I maybe dropped him or maybe kind of put them under pressure once on a training ride. And I was right before I set that usr record. So I knew I was going good you go. But did you have a younger kind of brotherly relationship with any riders that really helped to develop you or push you or or maybe you can parlay that into mentors and people that you learn from as a younger rider.
Early on, I didn’t really have that person. But when I joined Coors Light, that was my first protein. So I turned pro with Coors Light, 91 engelmann. And I just seem to like, I don’t know why. But Pettijohn just decided we were going to be roommates together. So Michael, and I were sort of, you know, Batman and Robin, so to speak. And, you know, we would generally go one, two, and almost any mountaintop foundation. And I, you know, he’s just one of those guys that always had that extra gear, you know, I just I couldn’t seem to get to his level. But he inspired me to try to get there. And there were plenty races where, you know, he would see that he’d shelled everyone else. And so we’d ease up and I’d be able to come up to his wheel. And so we’d finish one, two, versus me being five minutes behind or whatever. So he was very, a very generous guy. And there were plenty of races where I probably should have been on the podium, but I was just because he you know, we were teammates, and he’s like, I don’t want to set up your loan so that you know, whether it be mount Evans, or, or Stratton mountain, whatever it was, he was just always had that extra gear. And I just, you know, I didn’t necessarily train with him very often, because he’s one of those guys who just wanted to go out of the driveway 25 miles an hour. He’s like, dude, I can’t do this thing called a warm up and cool down. And I like I like to do those things. But I saw how the workload that he put him, put himself through, and, you know, it just it made me realize that I could do a lot more. Because, you know, you don’t know until you try, but he was a guy that was out there doing it, you know, I mean, he and he would manage to go and finish top 20 worlds, basically, just by riding in the mountains of Colorado, and doing random, you know, local races and whatever. And you go over there, and he finished the same group as Borneo and guys like that. I was like, wow, which is incredible. It really is. When you look back at it, it’s like And oftentimes, he was the highest finisher of the US team. And there plenty guys that were that were based in Europe that couldn’t even write his level. So yeah, it was just the machine really was but it sort of like Dave man, he just, you know, we became close enough friends, because we’re always roommates and everything we talked about, you know, tactics, and this and that. And, you know, he wasn’t, wasn’t maybe as tactically astute as I was, and I had to, to sort of overcome some of my, my physical, you know, shortcomings. But yeah, we kind of traded back and forth. I think we we sort of complemented each other and so yeah, he was certainly guy that you know, kind of showed me the ropes or just gave me confidence that you know, if I push a little harder, I could break through and it was there was a turning point, you know, I can remember in 98 we were teammates at that point on navigators and
I was on small group with he and JV and a few other guys and racing him out Evans in a freaking fog Stormers? Yeah, I ended up taking off and, you know, winning by a minute or 30 seconds or whatever it was, but it was kind of a turning point. But yeah, just a great, great competitor. And just another one of these specimens. You know, just Yeah, the guy was meant to race a bike. Yeah.
Yeah. That’s, it’s
Colby Pearce 29:13
interesting, also, because I think, you know, it always depends on what floor you’re on what Florida building you’re on, you look to the next floor, and people look like they’re so much better than you and three floors up. It’s almost inconceivable. But that same model really applies even at the level of professional sport in the sense that we know you know, when we race with our compatriots, we know the guys who are barely hanging on for dear life. We know the guys who are or the women who are, you know, really, like, they’re driven. And that’s why they succeed because they’re problem solvers. Or, as the expression goes for someone who’s got a why there’s always a how, you know, you just solve problems. If you’re really passionate about something, you’re really driven to do something. And maybe in that case, it leads people to do things like overcome chronic injuries or physical shortcomings or a tendency to always get tendinitis or like you were saying, you know, Maybe you’re not the best sprinter. But you grew up in a town with lots of Sprint’s you had it forced you to be crafting and refine your tactical knowledge and versus the people on the next floor would be the elements of the man’s that just absolute, just specimens of specimens or the point 1.1, or whatever you want to phrase it, it’s like that people just cruise through the sport. And I think all those perspectives are really interesting and valuable. I would argue that, to a degree, maybe there’s some perspective of how in your case, and in my case, we’re both coaches now. And so we see other athletes, and you have to evaluate those athletes and kind of the coaching one on one, the first step is to figure out your rider and know them and figure out what their weaknesses are, what their strengths are, so that you can start to craft them into the direction they want to go based on their goals and their desires in the sport, right. So you have to kind of evaluate where they are on that building model, you know, are they on the third floor or the 42nd floor or whatever. And I would argue that because writers such as yourself and myself have had to when you when you are given a lot a huge hammer at the beginning, you don’t necessarily have to find all the other tools to get the job done. And big hammer to switch analogies is really a powerful blunt force instrument, but it is also a blunt force instrument. So when you’re forced to do things, like learn how to win 10 minute signs and hide in crosswind because you don’t have all this raw power to throw around it, it expands your toolkit. And then later as a coach, hopefully you can use those lessons to apply them to other riders and give them little insights like hey, you know, well, you got dumped in that Crossman section on that second leg of that rectangle. Tell me about that. You know, did you forget that you were in a crosswind and sit up and try to eat a whole power bar? You know, not everybody eats power bars anymore. But no, I
totally agree. I think the the extremely gifted athlete is a guy like Lance Armstrong would not make a very good coach, because it did come pretty easy for him just a guy that whether he was running, swimming, cycling was just going to be in the upper echelon, right of that. And I’m not saying that the guy didn’t work hard to get to the level he he did. But like you said he didn’t have to reinvent himself. He didn’t have to figure out how to win time down lines. He didn’t have to hide in the cross when he just you know, he had a he had a big hammer. Yeah. Drugs are no drugs. The guy had a massive hammer. Yes. He I just don’t think it would be a very good coach. Right? Like you said, the guy that’s a little more versatile that had to kind of use the the mental side of his toolbox as well as the physical side to to get to get the job done. Yeah, yeah. And getting back to angleman. I mean, what made him unique is that he his background was from running. So what he showed me was just another level of suffering. You know, he was a guy that would ride race through injury, race through illness. I mean, he finished one year, top 10 in the Tour de Pont, with bronchitis, I mean, just coughing up last is green. So if you’ve ever seen anybody else would have gone to the hospital or just left or whatever. But he just, you know, he just had that next level of suffering, because that’s what runners do. I mean, it’s just like, to go out and do distance running, you’re always breaking yourself down, you’re always injuring yourself one way or the other. It’s not as user friendly as the bike. Right? So for him going on riding five, six hours, I was like, Guys, it’s kind of like therapy, you know, as opposed to just pounding his legs and joints into the, into the ground. So yeah, that’s really what I took away from him was just the background had had set him up to where cycling wasn’t nearly as painful as what his previous sport had been.
Colby Pearce 33:26
Interesting. Yeah, I think there’s something in that too. I mean, a lot of times people ask me like, how in hell did you do the our rocker? That sounds so painful. If you’re used to noon, 20 minute thresholds, an hour is a lot harder and longer, for sure. But it’s also about your context. Like, I tell people, well go do a couple 100 mile mountain bike races. I mean, that’s basically ups 679 12 hour time trial, depending on the course. So if you really go pretty much flat out for nine hours, suddenly an hour doesn’t seem that hard.
So yeah, and I’m sure you’ve done plenty of 40 Ks, which are not an hour but pretty darn close. Yeah, at that point, you can see the light the end of the tunnel.
Colby Pearce 34:02
Right, right. But there are times when 40 k seemed like a really long distance to me, because I’ve been focusing on five minute efforts or whatever, right? There are other times where it’s like, yeah, 40 k, okay, I can do this. So it’s all about your context, your perspective, right? Absolutely. So, okay, so engelmann played a bit of a mentor for you and challenge you in that sibling way. What about coaches? Did you have a coach that work with you while you’re on course, like when you’re turned pro before you turn pro?
No, I was pretty much old school until about mid 90s. And then Dean Gall, which was my first coach, but spent two to three years with him. And he was great. And I still at that point, didn’t even have a power meter. It was all just heart rate based. So this would have been 9798 99 of that range. And then in the early 2000s, like pretty much everyone else in Boulder County, I got aligned with Alan Lim. And so he was the guy that gave me my first power meter and kind of hooked me up with power tap and that was really a big turning point. That was sort of old dog new trick kind of thing. Because at that point, I didn’t know how many more years I had any people been asked me, How much long are you going to do this? And I kept saying one more year, one more year. And I literally said that for about a dozen years, starting from 830. You know, and I was like, I don’t know. I mean, I’ve got a contract on the table. I love doing this. I’m still winning races. So I don’t know what the where the ceiling is. at same time, I’m seeing quarterbacks in the NFL do this until they’re, you know, almost 40. You know, Elway won two Super Bowls. It was 3738. Like, this guy can go out there and just get his ass handed to him every Sunday. I mean, guys taking his knees out and guys timing the way 300 pounds, I’m pretty sure I can raise a bike until my late 30s. So that was kind of my little bit of my inspiration. In fact, I was down doing a race in Mexico, and turned on the TV and was listening to an interview of john Elway just winning his first Super Bowl in Spanish was actually really funny. But again, I was you know, I’m probably six or seven years younger than that guy. And so I was like, Alright, if he can, if he can win the Super Bowl, the pinnacle of his sport at age 3738. I can definitely raise a bike until about that time. So yeah. Yeah. So that was kind of my inspiration. For sure. Yeah.
Colby Pearce 36:04
And wait, sorry. When were you born?
How old are you? I was born in 66.
Colby Pearce 36:09
So you’re four years older than I am? 58. Math six years? Yeah. Okay. And the last time I saw you race you? I don’t think anybody really raised him last year, but you did the crusher and some other gravel stuff. I think he did steamboat in 2019. Did Stingray in 2019? Yes. Some of those went pretty well. Crusher, you were top five, I think right?
No, I was like top 20. But you know what I was six. I was right behind the main four guys or whatever. I mean, there’s a nice front group of four. And then I was in the next group of for about, you know, seven or eight minutes back? Yeah. It was a good one. But yeah, getting back to my coach Alan Lim. Yes, he was my coach that I retired with. So he and I started working together in the early 2000s. Unless you work without for quite a while. And then all the way through. I retired at the end of oh seven. Okay, so he was really the guy that not only put a power meter on my bike, who explained to me what it meant, because as probably you may remember the first time he went out, it’s like, Okay, I’m going up lifting and Canyon says 220 watts. I’ve noticed. I’ve no idea what that means, like good or bad, right. And I didn’t even understand the relationship between that and body weights and more than anything. I mean, I could look at the heart rate, and the next week realize that I was doing same wattage a little less heart rate. So I was like, okay, maybe I’m getting fitter or something. But yeah, he was you know, Allen’s is an extremely smart guy and has a lot of real world experience. And so he was really great guy. And gave me a lot of confidence as I was doing some of those races in my late 30s like San Dimas or Redlands, you know, because you spend all winter training, it’s like, I don’t really know how my form is right out to Carter lake with the group rides and I just, you know, just feel okay. And you know, you got 40 pounds of clothes on you kind of feel like crap. You know, I’ve never liked having tighter on my legs, whatever it is kind of feels constricting is like I don’t know, Alan, what’s You know? And he’s like, go go, you know, hammer up Flagstaff, see how long it takes to get the top and I come back and he’d look at the numbers like, yeah, you’re gonna do fine. You’re fine. Yeah, you’re gonna do just fine. Yeah, unless you double flat in this uphill time trial, there’s probably not more than one or two guys are going to be doing like, okay, right. And so that gave me a lot of confidence. Similar to having a sparring partner, like you said, what you knew when you you know, when you were putting the smack down a JV that you were probably on good form. For me that pyrometer was that that? That validation? Yeah, okay, yeah, I can reverse engineer this and say, Okay, if your weight and let’s say you’re going to be at sea level, you know, last year you did it in this time, you’re you’re gonna you know, you’re gonna, yeah, basically. And so it’s like, okay, not that I lacked a lot of confidence. But it said some of those early season races, you don’t really know, a lot of racing in your belt. And I was usually got, it took about, you know, 1215 races where I really started to feel like I was on top form. Maybe be at 90% in early February or March like that. So yeah. So yeah, that was a that was a real turning point. And and I think it extended my career a fair bit, because it just it made me train smarter. You know, prior to that, I was just did a lot of I feel, even the heart rate stuff was a little bit kind of shotgun approach, you know. So I’d have Yeah, looking back, I’m not really sure how I did it back in the early 90s. Of course, it was just kind of just go out ride with the guys. And we’d race and rest and race and race. And you know, somehow it worked out. But I never really peaked. I didn’t have events that I was necessarily peaking for. I just, we would race all the time. It seemed like me back back in the early 90s. We were racing 100 days a year. So yeah, you just had a certain level of fitness that you maintain, and then like that you were kind of riding that way. Yeah. You just go on once in RC race to the next to next. And so
Colby Pearce 39:24
if you got really tired, you take a weekend off or whatever. Yeah, but otherwise, it was just like big early season build, like you guys do training camps a lot. We did a long training camp.
I mean, they were like three, four weeks long. We’re, you know, just be me sitting on those guys just pulling each other for, for 100 miles or whatever. I noticed. I was the I was sort of the baby the team. When I joined. I was the 13th guy and I wasn’t originally supposed to be on the team when it had had sort of finalized his roster and then the farm team that I was on crest folded at the end of 1990. So he kind of gave me the option page on dad. He’s like, Look, I can support you for another couple years. Have you ever read the Olympics in 92 or you want to turn Pro Bowl final pitch you And unfortunately the team was a little full of full width. gc guys, we had Alexi gray while we had engelmann we had Clark Shan so this is gonna be a kind of a full GC room so to speak. But as fate would have it you know, car got injured he broke through four bones that year just doing different things Alexi used Alexi good and bad. And then England was kind of rock. And so I ended up sort of becoming the number two guy behind eaglemont. Just in my very first year. Yeah, first year on courtside at 113 races. And yes, made my I didn’t want to be the the 13th guy. You know, I wanted to be part of the team. And so yeah, but I was pretty unsure myself. So yeah, training camp. I never hit the front. I certainly sat on the whole time. These guys are riding way too hard. And I don’t want to get dropped. So I’m just gonna sit on and just yeah,
Colby Pearce 40:45
and where were you guys camps? Normally Santa Rosa. Okay. So it can be quite rainy. If that
was February. Yeah, we lucked out. we lucked out. Some years. Yeah, we had nothing but rain. But Coors Light Years, were actually pretty good. And so we would take photos, and we would do you know, we did all the normal stuff. It was just, you know, we had full staff there as we had getting massage every day. And mechanics can just a nice way for everyone to dial in their second pair of shoes and their spare bike. And I mean, we kind of maximized our time here. So
Colby Pearce 41:11
it was real protein. Yep. Yeah.
And that, which is kind of a thing of the past. I don’t think guys, I don’t think any teams do training camps that long. I think they do more multiple years of 10 days in 12 days. But this was literally a month of just being out there as long as a single guy. I didn’t care. I mean, it was like a month here a month or whatever. There were guys that had families and kids and everything. And yeah, it took a long time. But yeah, how we did it.
Colby Pearce 41:32
And that was such a different era. I mean, just so people understand, if you wouldn’t mind outlining what a typical race schedule look like, in one of those years, we had just, it was like a smorgasbord of racing compared to what we’ve got now. State races, one day races.
Yeah, there was always something going on in Texas in March. And it was kind of a spinoff, I think of the original tour, Texas, which was quite popular back in the 80s. But so we had this thing called beauty the beast into some random things down in Texas that we would usually go to our schedule is really kind of driven by local beer distributors. And they would they would call corporate and say we want the team to come down here. So they would, they would kind of offset some of our costs to get down there. So we would go to random places like we did the horn Hill. Yes. in Wichita Falls, Texas, I think. And that was that was later in the summer. Of course, you want to be there in August when it’s really right. But our season kind of, you know, we would start out with our month long training camp three or four weeks training camp in February. And then we would go right into I feel like we always did a couple races right there in Santa Rosa. So we called the cherry pie road race in Santa Rosa. So you know, we thought we’d just go and destroy the local reputation. Yeah, we all 12 guys or 13, guys, whatever. And then, you know, but everything was a build up for the Tour de Pont. Or I think the initial years was the tour to Toronto traveling toward upon Yeah, right. So that was a right. Yes, that was basically our Tour de France or our grand tour for lack of a better word, because it was 10 days long. And it was about an hour or so of nightly ESPN coverage. Yeah. So yeah, everything was built up to that. I mean, we did one year down in Columbia, South America, a 10 day stage race to try to try to ramp up but for the most part, you know, between illnesses and crashes, everything we decided was better to stay stateside. So we would just kind of cherry pick events, whether it be Bisbee, or something in Texas,
Colby Pearce 43:19
to where the healer used to be a little earlier.
Yeah, yeah, right.
California, just Anyway, it was gonna be warm. You know, there’s usually in that point would use the split split the squads we have the stage race squad and the crits. Yeah, so we might send the crit squad to Florida or something
Colby Pearce 43:33
like that. So there was mammoth stage race, right. There was Willamette. In Oregon, we talked about that the other day, that was a race that had like $5 in prize money, but it was 100 mile road races on these little logging roads, right. I’m super steep climbs and always raining. And yeah, I
know. We definitely did Willamette. Yeah, because that was an April race. So basically, we had a total of about a six week stint on the East Coast, believe it or not, where I would just not be home. I mean, this was a Colorado based team. I mean, 90% of the guys lived here in Boulder. And so we would start with a big one day race in Atlanta called the Atlanta Grand Prix. Yep. And then we would head up to start the tour de Pon, which would be you know, basically four or five days later, and that went on for 10 days. Then we had a week off and we would go to Pittsburgh had a big race there called the thrift drug, which was weird Lance made us all look pretty human. That we had three or four days off, and we did this thing called the West Virginia mountain classic, which is a big five day UCI race in West Virginia. Yep. That actually won in 92. Then we had a few days off and we start the Philly week. So that would be the Trenton Lancaster. Yeah. And then and then the Superbowl, I guess. Yeah. Was Philly as in terms of one day races, so that was an entire six week stent. Yeah, with its stupid amount of prize money. And yeah, logistically, it all kind of laid out because it was all Mid Atlantic to the eastern seaboard kind of stuff. So we would just ship everything there. You know, we had our full staff out there and all the writers I mean, nobody went home during that period. No, we because we never had more than three or four days and it was better to not try to read acclimate whatever to the, the heat and humidity and everything. So that was that was the schedule and that was pretty standard. I mean, that started 91 for me anyway. And it was that way through about 96. Yeah, cuz I think that’s when you stopped and then the whole kind of schedule just sort of slowly started to disperse a little bit. It wasn’t quite as cohesive. Yes, we still had still had I think. So the affiliate week, but I think some of the other pieces kind of dispersed So, yeah, that wasn’t that was an insane season. And then after that, like you said, we had, we’d come back and we had Casper, we had mammoth. We had cascade, we had whaling city, we had Fitchburg, I mean, there was a, you know, six or six or eight. Yeah, six or eight really big NRC stage races and the fitness that we got in from that, that now swing on the east coast. That kind of just put us even another notch above the average.
Colby Pearce 45:49
Yep. Killington? Yeah. So yeah, it was easy to raise 100 days back
Colby Pearce 45:53
Easy. And now we got five, maybe stayed races in the US spread out throughout the summer. There’s almost nothing at the end of the summer, unless you’re, I think elegant still exists. Maybe there’s some called Green, green mountain, which is take out Yeah,
yeah. But no, I agree. As a coach, man, it’s hard to string together a season, even without COVID. That Yeah, that has any kind of rhyme or reason to it. And I look at you know, in USA cycling prints their, their NRC, whether it’s the USA crit series or their true NRC schedule, and it’s just it’s kind of all over the place. Yeah, I was like, how do you?
Colby Pearce 46:27
I don’t know, how do you build a program? Yeah,
I build a program. And I want How are you? More importantly, how do you sell sponsorship, and that was where this thing kind of fed each other. You know, when we had that, that core races, a guy like pettyjohn, could just step into any office and say, Look, we’re on television for, you know, 10 days during this period. And then we’ve got, you know, this many media hits from me, these were big events really well put on by by metal sports. So whether it was the Atlanta Grand Prix, or the Philly or Pittsburgh, those all had just really good. Really good crowds, really good media impressions, and it was easier to sell the sponsor on this is what we’re going to be doing this how many events we’re going to be adding this is the number of possible people that are going to see it. And now I don’t know how you, I don’t know how you present any of
Colby Pearce 47:10
that. Even though ironically, there’s more data and more, more ways to capture that. But if you’re
newer Tour de France is to heal and no offense, I’d love to heal up but you’re gonna have 25 people watching that race. True. And that’s not good. And, you know, kind of the same for Joe Martin. I mean, that’s a maybe a slightly bigger market, but not not really not compared to Philadelphia, not compared to Atlanta, not compared to all the people that would see the tour. De Pont ran in those 10 days when we were in Atlantic City. And you name it, I mean, some really, really low life stuff like Nevada city,
Colby Pearce 47:40
right? I mean, that race? Yes. I mean, that brace I’m sure there are at least 10,000 people watching that live. And that was a super cool is basically a criterium on a 45 degree angle. Yeah, no,
I won that race four times in one of the years I wanted. Oh, Ellen, was there? I mean, yeah, they did as a big enough event. And again, if you can, you know, pan the camera back and see eight people deep along the start finish line. That looks like a big deal. Anyway, it was a big deal was so yeah, we had no problem putting it was more, you know, for us was a matter of like, Can we get enough guys to all these races, you know, because we liked that we had 10 to 1213 riders, and we read generally splitting them between criteria in the state races. And I can tell you, at the end of the year, everyone was pretty gassed, because we were just trying to cover you know, we wanted to go to any big money races. And we also wanted to go anywhere that the Corps like deemed an event worthy of their sponsorship. Right and their support. So yeah, it was kind of, you know, there were times where we needed body doubles.
Colby Pearce 48:34
Yeah, few more riders.
And I just don’t see that as being the case right now. I it’s not even close. I don’t know how you try to put together a calendar with eight or 10 riders and say, Okay, we’re going to be able to, to keep you guys busy and going to races again, even without COVID I don’t know. It’s just it’s pretty haphazard the schedule.
Colby Pearce 48:51
It is, it seems like that’s why so many teams are just criterion focused. Now we’ve got speedweek and you can base it off a few other key crits around the country. They’re still surviving. But and even things like super weak have become, you know, two of America’s Dairyland which is sort of a distilled version of what super weak was all events are shorter and I don’t know how the spectators are and stuff like that. I haven’t done any of those races but super Ricky’s to be a big deal as well. Right. And, I mean, I’ve done all these events I’ve done not all of them. I’ve done I did a similar program to what you’ve done, you know, did Atlanta Grand Prix Lancaster and Trenton man I guess it was just, I’m sure that race is really good for you. For me that was like the anti
Colby that race actually none of those races were that good for me but it was hard to not feel like you were part of I mean, I did Philly 17 times. Wow, man, this one race. I mean, I’ve said pro for 17 years I mean one year that I was just wasn’t had the forum didn’t have the form or something. But yeah, but I was always you know, you can take your maximum number of guys there was not a limit for there was never they were trying to fill the field. Yeah, exactly. Right. I think so. And even the euros you know, guys like chipo gibellini would look over and say this would be a World Cup in Europe. I mean, like just the the half a million people there and the way the course was laid out and going up manioc was just like oh
Colby Pearce 49:58
my god, you know if we could figure out a way to do six or eight of those throughout the season than we would have a real sport and for a while we kind of did we had San Francisco Grand Prix which was amazing when they shut down the city and we just raced all over the freakin city peloton have 140 dudes, you’re going 60 miles an hour down the hills because it’s San Francisco right? You’re going four miles an hour up the hills if you’re me, you know play eight if you’re you, which is amazing because those hills are like basically vertical. Yeah, we had Atlanta Grand Prix. We also had Seattle Grand Prix. Yeah. Which Clark? I think one one year, like that race was also
same thing. They shut down the frickin cities. Anything with Pittsburgh, we called in Pittsburgh, like one mile straight up. Yes, Mount Washington Street. I think it had had been in Washington. But yeah, definitely spectacle where you’re going over the bridge twice and kind of doing an inner city loop and then going up this
Colby Pearce 50:46
big climb and events. Now I think in cities like that, it’s just too impractical to shut down an entire real city for that. I don’t know how they pull it off even then, to be honest, because the city just stops like traffic, they have to have a million policemen and marshals and volunteers to not have a bunch of cars drive out in front of the peloton, somehow, when they’re doing laps like that.
So no, I
mean, it’s part of it is sponsorship. But I think in some of those cases it was having like the local mayor was really into it or even the governor. Yeah. And then the case was like tour Missouri, where that West Virginia race that I mentioned, that was very much had some political component to it. And so when they get behind it, it’s just a matter of picking up the phone and make it happen. Things get get done. Yeah.
Colby Pearce 51:28
Agreed. Agreed. But for some reason, those phones are not being picked up any more. And I don’t know who greases the wheels behind all that stuff. Or if it’s just a function of different times different culture different. Too many people too many cars, perhaps but there was also a Houston brace that we did a couple times. Yes. Yeah, I mean, one in almost every city and same concept in Colorado. Likewise, we used to have a small stage race in most of the ski towns during the summer, there was an Aspen stage race Crested Butte stage race telluride stage race, Copper Mountain like. So now we’ve got these criteriums and bid sparks on the Front Range. And I’m really not honestly trying to bash any race promoters here like race promotion is the hardest job I know of, and probably the most thankless job. Absolutely, most likely, it’s super hard to make a living, I’m sure in most in 99% of all cases. But I mean, we used to have who doesn’t want to go to tell you right in the summer and race your bike, you know, and this is good for skiers, too, it’s not like that a lot going on back then mountain biking didn’t exist really. Now, of course, you’ve got the Winter Park terrain, you know, Hawker bike launcher pad, you know, ride your bike to the moon and back, upside down kind of thing, which I don’t really do or know that much about. But so it’s a whole different business model. But the point being is we have some cool stuff to do.
I guess the million dollar question is, are we ever gonna get back to that place? And I hope I’m wrong. Yeah, with my answer, but I don’t think so. Yeah. And I don’t know exactly what year it happened. It’s probably been 2025 years. I’m sure you remember this as well, because I actually thought it was a joke. When I when I heard about it. The story came out on the news. And I don’t know if it was a male or female, but they sued McDonald’s because they got a cup of hot coffee. And it spilled on their lap. Yes. And they successfully won that lawsuit. Right. And I mean, it was it basically turned this person into a millionaire overnight. And you know, it’s a total Johnnie Cochran kind of operation, I guess. But in that moment, I think everything changed, at least in the United States, meaning everyone now looked around going Holy crap, if I screw up, I can hold somebody else liable. Yes. It’s not my fault. Right? If I do a stupid move, I can probably find someone to blame and probably blame it on the manufacturer of this wheel, or the the person that made this curb, or the person that put that bottle can in the, in the gutter, whatever, I can always point the finger and find it to be somebody else’s fault. And so insurance costs just went through. And I don’t know, again, if that was 20 or 25 years ago, time flies when you get to be our age. But that changed everything. And if you talk to any race promoter, whether it’s Barry Lee, or Jim Burrell doesn’t matter how big or small that is probably the number one concern is liability. Some guy out there hitting a great or manhole or dodging somebody and hitting a curb. Yep, he’s gonna come after them. Most likely. Yeah. I mean, I wouldn’t. You wouldn’t. But I’m talking about the masses, right? The people that are newer to the sport, right? Everybody just thinks that it’s somebody else’s fault. Interesting. And if you think about the dynamics of an open road race, compared to say, an NFL football field, right now, how long does it take to certify an NFL football field, you come in, you measure the goalpost, you make sure there’s a net, so then the ball doesn’t fly into the stadium, probably takes a couple hours, versus 120 Mile Road Race. It’s impossible. I mean, there’s so many driveways and entrances and crap on the rear and seams between the gutter and the I mean, that’s a landmine, you know, I mean, it’s like trying to have an orchestra on a floating device going through whitewater rafting, it’s just it’s a it’s gonna happen, there’s going to be something go wrong because you just can’t control the nature of the sport. It’s part of
Colby Pearce 54:51
what makes this sport beautiful,
right? But if you think about it, it’s one of the only sports where we’re using somebody else’s venue. You know, you watch a mountaintop afterwards that was eroded. Designed to take people to a ski area. Correct. You know, world’s last year our fleet comes in and finishes on a racetrack for cars. Yeah, I mean, we don’t have any 100 mile open road races. They’re designed for cycling. We have velodromes. And it reminds us I saw a video recently total, total vintage video of a 1982 Coors classic stage, started at the Capitol and Cheyenne and finished at the Capitol in Denver. They literally Wow, they wrote on I 25. Yeah. And it was an extremely critical day because it was cross winds, as you can imagine, yeah, August, and the East Germans put the SmackDown and Dale stettner was the beneficiary of that. And he ended up winning that year because the Colombians couldn’t ride the crosswind, the way the East Germans and Dale was just in the sweet spot. Nice doing what you and I would do, right. And when you think about that, I mean, yeah, it was a long time ago, it was 40 years ago,
Colby Pearce 55:47
there probably was no frontage road then now
there’s no straight. I mean, in the end the footage I saw, it’s literally one police escort and then the caravan and there’s trucks and cars whizzing by I mean, it’s kind of a closure. Loosely. The loose version of that. Yeah. But can you imagine trying to go from 100 guys ratio bikes from Cheyenne capital down I 25. With or without the frontage road and finishing in downtown Denver. Right. There’s not enough police. There’s not enough cooperation. There’s not I mean, that just wouldn’t happen. Right? And goes to my earlier point of liability, but also just the practicality of you know, this country has grown a lot since you and I first got into cycling. Yeah, the roads are more crowded, and there’s more people and like you said, I mean, you’d have to, I can’t even imagine how you pull that off. I just couldn’t do it. That reminds me of and so that, you know, to answer the question, I don’t think we’re ever going to get back to the place where I was in the early 90s, where we just had a lot of really cool races that all strung together and and there’s a lot of cohesion and open road races, because there’s a lot of things working against that right now.
Colby Pearce 56:46
Yeah. So that reminds me of a year I went down to do I’ll call it the tour Mexico, I think I don’t remember what the title the actual race was and what year this was. But I remember, we got wind of this race. I don’t remember what team I was on the national team or what to be honest. But the first stage was supposed to be from Phoenix to like no galleys, okay. And we got there. And the race plan said they were literally just going to take the highway, like they were trying to do this, only this had to be, you know, somewhere in the low, mid 2000s. And sure enough, the promoter then realized he couldn’t do that. So they Yeah, oops. So they they spontaneously made a circuit race in a parking lot at South Mountain, which was man I got there, everybody was like, Oh, this is going to be totally, you know, a bunch of crap and the race is going to be really easy and whatever, no big deal. And I went and looked at the course and there was this pretty strong wind and you’ve been around sport long enough, you know that a parking lot. criterium can actually really challenging because they’re not real corners, you’re cornering around cones. Whoever makes the course play doesn’t know what they’re doing, right. And it’s really exposed and the surface sucks, and all those things came to fruition. So the first stage was actually quite hard. But then after that, we got transferred on a bus to Nogales, I spent a night in a hotel room in Vegas, which was one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve ever had. And the nastiest mattress I’ve ever slept on. And then we rode literally from the highway, like from there all the way south to the final stage, which was like a circuit race. On this like baja area. There was one stage with a like two k climb that they found that one of the side of some random little mini volcano, that was the GCD everything else was the flattest pancake stage you’ve ever done. But anyway, just funny. That’s the same concept. I think the promoter didn’t understand that wasn’t going to happen. And he had the race and has all signed up and somehow left it to the last minute to contact the Phoenix Police Department or whatever. Right, right. Arizona State Patrol So okay, I want to maybe shift gears just half a degree and continue the theme of what we’ve been talking about, which is the changing of the sport in the US and how the landscape has changed and meaning the types of events we have to race but also more cars, more cyclists, more people in general. And I think you synopsize it perfectly a few minutes ago when you said that basically what we’re doing is the only sport in the world where we are really using an infrastructure that’s not designed for our sport. We don’t have a playing field for our sport. the playing field for our sport would technically be a mount bike trail that was purpose built or a velodrome or velodrome or occasionally we do have training criterium courses that are made, there’s one there are a couple near velodromes around the US that have been made. There’s one in T town that’s there and people do train crits on that horse all the time. So we have a handful of those. You could also use a dual purpose like an auto racing track for a crit we used to do the one. What was the one call that was north of Denver? lead? Yeah, thank you. Yeah, we have a good training crowd out there. I wrote out there a bunch of times and
smashed myself and cyclocross would probably fit in that category, too. That’s a course made specifically for that event. Yeah,
Colby Pearce 59:48
unless you’re in Austin, and you run over the roots of an endangered tree and then you’ve run into all kinds of problems. But so road racing is this. It’s this exact scenario where we’re using of infrastructure was designed for vehicular travel, not for cycling. And there are two problems with that. And this is really part of what inspired the last podcast I did where I titled it, controversially, group rides are dead. And here’s why. And I will acknowledge that I throw out a lot of negatives on group rides there. And there are quite a few positives. And I didn’t quite see the other side of that coin in time for that podcast, which shame on me, because Shame on you, my whole mo is to, I really try to not look at things as good or bad, I try not to demonize or glorify anything. I like to point out sides of things and let people make their own decision, everything’s a spectrum, you know, you can be really, really flexible, but you can be too flexible, you can be really strong and be too strong. Most of us benefit from being somewhere in the middle of that spectrum to a degree and figure out where you are as an example. So when I kind of bashed group rides, I did so because I think my perspective was an emotional one where I was trying to illustrate to people that I think a lot of people just get on their bikes and do what they’ve been doing for 10 2030 years. And they think things are the same. And they’re not either, they’re too stupid to recognize that things have changed drastically. But most people aren’t too stupid to do that. They’re just turning a blind eye towards that fact, because they so desperately are attached to their group ride experience. And again, to use our local ride, the bus stop ride. As an example, this is the one to refresh. My audience’s memory is it leaves on a highway that goes north of town at 5pm. And it’s just an absolute recipe for disaster. If I was a coach now, and I was going to write a prescription for the worst group ride recipe possible, it would literally be the bus stop ride. And I know not everyone lives in Boulder, and most people don’t care. But the point being is there are many places in the US, and arguably in other parts of the world where the same formula still is happening. And there are these old, old school diehard cyclists who are trapped in 1984, who just won’t let it go. And they keep doing the same rides. And I’m being pretty harsh here. But I’m also doing that and fully aware of the fact that I’m sitting here with one of those riders who’s been around in the sport as long as I have much longer than I have, and you’ve got a wealth of experience in the sport on various different levels. And you got paid ride a bike for many, many years, and you’ve attended all these rides, and you grew up doing these rides. So I’d like to talk about your thoughts on this and also unpack some of the positives that are that go into group rides. I mean, obviously, there are things you can gain from doing a group ride, there are positive benefits to riding in a group.
Yeah, and I mean, as a coach, I, I struggle with that as well, prescribing somebody to do a group ride because I, I do appreciate the physiological benefits to it. And, you know, if you’re going out and doing sweetspot training, you know, three days a week, or, you know, threshold work or whatever, your legs can get a little stagnant, you know, and that oscillation and that constant speed changing that you experience in a group, I think is really pretty valuable, especially, you know, gearing up for a race where you’re going to be doing a lot of those same types of things. It’s just a different energy system completely. Yep. And for me, going back to my my days of the professional, sometimes I just didn’t have the bandwidth to spend five or six hours in the saddle with two or three other guys all by myself. But man, the time just flies and the miles fly when you’re getting sucked along by 25 or 30. Guys, so you know, and there’s also a speed component to that. I mean, you catch a tailwind and all sudden you’re going you know, 38 miles an hour. It’s like, Oh, this is good speed work, you know, right. So I do see a benefit and and as a coach I do, I do still occasionally prescribe group rides. If a person is maybe not able to do races for an extended period of time. talking specifically about the bus stop ride. I mean, it is famous and when I first moved here in the mid 80s. For me, it was a chance to go on Tuesdays and Thursdays and test my mettle against some of the best guys in the world. I mean, literally Tour de France stage winners I’ve been on the bus stop right totally and lead out man for you know World Tour guys have been on the bus stop. Right And so for me that was very, very cool as a young amateur guy trying to try to break through. I don’t think it has the same Mystique. Now. I mean, I remember doing a guy from Sports Illustrated actually showed up in the parking lot and wanted to talk to us and did a story about the bust out right way back in the early 90s. So it certainly has you know a bit of a following and and certainly Mystique and it’s it’s kind of known synonymous with boulder and the fact that anybody can go jump in this thing and there’s no waivers to sign in. Nobody’s in charge. And that’s both good and bad. Right? So obviously times have changed and you know, those roads, that means literally it’s a route that it has been for the last 3040 years. But those roads are busier now and there’s a lot more people out there a lot more hazards and you know, and the group goes faster than he did 30 years ago. I mean let’s face everyone’s riding arrow bars and arrow wheels and this and that so now and when crashes do happen on that ride they’re they’re pretty pretty detrimental. Yeah, so yeah. So I would be cautious to prescribe that particular ride to somebody because I know how aggressive it can be. I mean, it can Yeah, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s the real deal.
Colby Pearce 1:05:09
That’s my perspective. I am willing to go back to your comment about liability, right. I mean, we’re coaches. And, you know, I’ve learned a lot from other coaches that have coached me on how to coach and one of the cautionary tales that Jim Miller gave me is, he told me this point blank years ago, and I’ll just say it out loud. He said, when you write writing programs for riders never give direct route recommendations, because if you tell someone to go ride up Flagstaff, and then they come down Flagstaff, and you told them to do that, and they crash on a corner.
That’s a McDonald’s coffee.
Colby Pearce 1:05:38
That’s a McDonald’s coffee. Exactly. And and I and I don’t think Jim is a very skeptical guy, I’m he worked at USBC for a million years. So I’m sure he’s seen a million lawsuits. uscc gets a crop sued on him all the time. And so I get it. On the other hand, it’s like, Man, you know, there are times when you want to win, especially for someone I’m working with locally. And I know that terrain so well, I have a specific effort in mind. I want to give them that prescription like man, the best road for this effort is left hand Canyon right now, that’s what we want. I don’t want you to go up sunshine Canyon, which is just to illustrate the point left hands have steady grade of maybe three, three and a half percent for a long time. Sun shines like 8%, zero, downhill. 12% Yeah, 32nd. downhill, it’s like so you’re not going to get a steady effort done in that road. So when you’re really thinking about how to prescribe workouts for athletes, if you have the advantage of local knowledge of their terrain, you can visualize how that that effort is going to impact the rider much more. And also then when when you know that terrain rider goes out and give him a specific ride like stays on to ride or a steady 30 minute zone three or something and they pick the wrong terrain, then you could dissect it with him and say, Well, okay, we can see where your effort didn’t go optimally here. Because you went on this rolling climb, what I want is steady power. I want steady lactate, I want to burn in the muscle for a long period of time as an example, you know. So that’s one hurdle. But Scott, if you wouldn’t mind him packing. I mean, what are some of the lessons you can remember that were good things you took away from group rides. I know when I wanted the bus stop ride, I learned lots of things. In particular, I remember one time, Mike Carter actually told me that I was rocking my bike way too much when I was out of the saddle and it looks sketchy. And I was 16. And I already knew everything. So I told Carter to go take a hike. Which looking back on it is pretty funny. But you know, I’m sure you had some moments like that where you got to learn things where people was there a boss was there a heavy or were there respected riders that you remember learning lessons from I
remember Roy niggemann being kind of the boss for the first couple summers that I was I think it was part of his he would go out and do a hard training right and then finish it up with with the bus stop ride. And it seemed like more often than not, and when he was on he was on the ride. You know, he just commanded everyone’s respect. He was either wearing a Levi’s Raleigh jersey or something that was it was a lobby Claire or whatever. I
Colby Pearce 1:07:52
mean, something obviously indicated he was paid, right? Yeah.
And those guys just stood out. I mean, just wow, he’s jersey matches his bike. He says he’s actually a pro. And he’s just a well known guy around Boulder. And so if he said, we’re slowing down for the stop sign, because I can see Johnny law over there, then we would all slow down. Yep. And put a foot down or whatever, because he didn’t want to stand there for 10 minutes and get a lecture and get elected or get it. Right. Right. So yeah, Alan McCormack was also kind of that guy. Not quite as as
Colby Pearce 1:08:24
Yeah, exactly. But I was a quiet guy, but he,
but he’s sort of, you know, he had a different way of, of kind of impacting that the ride, you know, do as I do, as I say, or do as I do. Yeah. But yeah, those guys definitely come to mind is just, again, if you didn’t know any better, and I was a teenager, at that point, at 19 years old, I mean, I just looked up to these guys, and it’s like, Okay, I’m just gonna do what they’re doing. So if they’re gonna, if they’re gonna roll through in this group of six, I’m gonna roll through if they’re, you know, if they’re stopping the stop sign, I’m gonna stop the stop sign. So there’s just a respect, I think, and everyone’s kind of looked up to them. And you know, and they could, there was, those were the guys that could raise their hand, say, I’m gonna change the route. And we’re gonna go this way, which didn’t have very often but, but if they did, I would go along with it. And they were also the guys that if somebody did really something stupid, like let’s say, they jumped all the way across the double yellow to attack because they didn’t want anyone on their wheel. I mean, they would get berated. You know, whether whether it was a soft spoken Pro, or a guy that was maybe a little more outspoken, they would get, they would get, you know, scolded and sent to the back, and you didn’t see that guy do that for a number of weeks after that. So right. And unfortunately, I don’t think we have that anymore. From from what I can tell, it’s just it’s way more of a free for all now. Yeah. And so I mean, the few times that I have been, you know, just did that right quite a few times back in the day, and I can remember getting pulled over by, by Johnny law, usually in hygiene, the first thing he said was, who’s in charge here? Everyone just leave the company? Oh, yeah. Well, I mean, yeah. And of course, no one’s raising their hand. Everyone’s just, you know, staring at their, their front hubs or whatever. And so nobody wants To be in charge, you know, and no one’s gonna point to Roy say, Oh, he’s the he’s the FA. He’s the guy that tells us when we were screwing up but right. But that had to do more more with liability really than on road respect. But yeah, yeah, that guy just doesn’t exist right now. At least not in this town. I don’t think because, you know, part of it is those guys don’t want to risk you know, if you’re a world tour guy, if you’re Alex, how’s your training gear or something? You don’t want to get taken out by some so you kid, you know, who’s just overzealous to be, you know, riding next to an EF guy. Totally. And I think maybe that component just wasn’t in play, you know, back when? Back in the day. I mean, obviously, pros were well paid back then. But I think, yeah, you know, there’s just more at risk. Now.
Colby Pearce 1:10:40
There’s more risk, but also, I think we’re more we’re more safety conscious. I mean, people shouldn’t used to race with helmets either. Now, it’s
like, true. I don’t really I should do the best job right without a helmet. Yeah, of course.
Colby Pearce 1:10:49
We all did. Yeah. It’s just what you did, right? You didn’t know any different, right? We still let our kids run around in our neighborhoods. Now. I used to put them on a leash to drink out of a garden hose
right. Wait, what?
Colby Pearce 1:11:01
Yeah, I agree. I agree. I think that um, there can be some powerful lessons that we can learn from a good group, right with some structure. There’s obviously a balance there. But man, I I do remember people telling me what to do. I remember I when I first started racing, there was a bike shop here in Boulder called the high Wheeler. And I was on their club. That was my first club ever that I joined. And we had Tuesday and Thursday training rides, we would ride out east towards Erie, we cruise along and do a little paceline the guys were teaching me how to pull through not too hard. Keep the pace going. Work together, you know, all the things that you hear, you know, Damon Shanks yell at you when you’re a cyclocross race sarcastically and, and those were really valuable lessons, we had a couple town limits Sprint’s that I would do you know, and guys would light me up and these were cat four racers, but I was a 16 year old kid who weighed down 95 pounds like you and but I just love the sport and want to learn as much as I could. And figure out things like when you shift gears and advanced and all the basics, how far how close to lead to follow the wheel and, and bits and pieces like that how to change a flat tire and, and just little bits of advice you didn’t know, you know, to wear booties on cold days, that was something that I struggle with as a junior didn’t like those shoe covers on my shoes, that’s yucky feeling.
But and unfortunately, you don’t learn any of that stuff writing Swift,
Colby Pearce 1:12:15
you don’t you know, you really don’t or riding by yourself even outdoors or with one of the person who got into sport at the same age as us. So there’s this, just like everything, there’s a spectrum of benefit you can get from riding in a group. But when a group gets I think fundamentally the problem is that when a group gets about 25 riders or more and it’s competitive or slightly competitive in nature, the problem is the riders who are racers transition, and they switch into their reptile brain, and they think they’re in a peloton, right? And the fact is, you’re not in a peloton, you are on open roads. And when I see people doing things like moving up in a group ride, especially a group ride that’s ostensibly in a two by two format, right, which even a big group two by to format is really problematic for traffic. Yeah. And you have 40 people riding or 80, people riding two by two. So you got a group of 40, even if it’s a tidy two by two, which it rarely is, and you’re on a single a single lane road, meaning one direction traffic each way. And a car comes to pass you and they have to swing out to the other lane to pass 40 people is a solid, I’d say depending on the speed of the group and the speed of the road, it’s probably 3040 seconds of the car being basically at least partially in the oncoming lane. And on a rolling country road. That’s hard to find that much time when there’s not going to be an oncoming car when you have clear line of sight. So what happens over and over again with these rides, and I’m only talking about an 80% group ride we have rides here that happen that you know, the Saturday right still get to be well over 100 people sometimes what happens is the car starts to pass the group, another car comes in the oncoming lane, the cars to break and then basically turn right into the group and split the group. And this is clearly not a good scenario. And I went in a couple of group rides in 2018. And I stopped meaning into the ride. I actually turned around and went the other way. Because I saw this happen a couple of times it was like I mean, there’s multiple levels where I got to this point where I decided this was a bad idea for me to continue with the group. One is I didn’t want to participate in a group that was doing this to traffic I didn’t want to I don’t want to be part of it part of the problem. But the second problem is I’m a coach, I make my living in this sport. So same thing comes back to liability. I don’t Coach 99.9% of the writers on that ride. And the chances of my rider falling down or having an incident or getting hit are very slim. But how liability works. It my understanding full disclaimer, not a lawyer but basically the problem is that people get back to the corner and they’ve got nowhere to go and this comes down in part to our medical system being broken is F so someone goes to the hospital for three days they got 35 k where the hospital bills and their insurance runs out or they let it lapse or hits max or whatever or maybe they got 100 k where the hospital bills they got know where to go they have to point the finger at the person who left the beer bottle in the road or the guy who designed the curb. Or at least that’s how they feel. And their backs their back into a corner they got one choice they find someone to blame they go off to the legal system. It makes the problem worse. Everybody is just fighting for themselves at that point. And it’s it’s ugly, so so I but also the entire experience of the ride. Like I’m willing to be a chef I’m willing to be a father in the peloton. I feel that I’m qualified in most peloton to do this. And but I wasn’t able to actual eyes and in that case, in spite of the fact that before the right left, we talked to the writers and we kind of discussed how organized it was going to be and how we want to write two by two and there may be times where we call a single file. But here we are, and there’s writers it’s just to use a outdated term it’s frickin cowboys and Indians manage people everywhere. And I don’t want to be part of that it stresses me out that’s not why I’m what I’m doing on my Sunday I work in this sport all week long last thing I want to do is go into group right the stresses crap out of me all week and I’m in I’m herding cats and trying to watch out for people are going to crash.
Yeah. And unfortunately, it just kind of fuels the fire of animosity between motorists and cyclists when when it goes right in and I mean, if I were a guy in a car driving behind Yeah, I’d be like, really? Yeah, you know,
what do you idiots doing?
I even know what they’re doing. I’d still be pretty appalled.
Colby Pearce 1:16:21
Exactly. And I mean, it’s just a selfish myopic mentality we get into that’s the peloton. That’s what a peloton is. Right? Yep, you’re just focused on the goal of whatever’s happened. The next climb the next corner, the next crosswind, you’re thinking about saving your legs with a little climb, you know, where everybody’s gonna go without their junk and see how fast they can go. And, and, you know, and you’re not looking in the rearview mirror to see when their cars coming.
I mean, I think there’s a solution. But I, it’s a complicated one. And it would be combining a number of the components that we’ve talked about, you know, in the last hour or so. And that’s, you know, group rides need to be smaller, they need to have somebody in charge, but they also need to be in some sort of a closed environment. You know, we ideally, we need to have a training facility, whether it’s a two mile loop or a three mile loop or something. And yeah, and that just requires, you know, a much bigger Yeah. And infrastructure that we don’t have that almost no city has. I mean, there are a few, like I said, t town I know has one I’ve actually been on that. Right. And I’m sure that gets mind numbingly boring after a couple of summers. But this is just, if you’re a coach, and you’ve got you know, 10 or 12 disciples, 20, people, whatever, that’s a great venue or something similar to that, where you you’re not looking over your shoulder getting buzzed by cars, you’re not, you know, you don’t have roadkill to deal with. You don’t have Johnny a lot to deal with. It’s just you can focus on on, again, where’s the wind coming from? Where do you need to be flanked off to here? Let’s practice a lead outcome. There’s a million things you could do if you heavily if you had that kind of facility. Yeah. And we don’t and so unfortunately, you know, the default is let’s meet at the fun and stuff and go hammer for 80 miles up to Fort Collins or whatever, and just wreck havoc on on local roadways that we’re not really designed for that yes. Oh, yeah. Yeah,
Colby Pearce 1:18:02
yeah. That’s, that’s the thing. I think that’s the key point. It wasn’t designed for that. And, you know, I had a couple of people give me I’ve had a lot of feedback from my last episode on this topic. And that’s been great. I really appreciate everyone’s feedback. Some of it’s been good. Some it’s been not so good. And we’ve had I’ve had some interesting discussions with some of my listeners. And someone pointed out that a few people have pointed out that, you know, as taxpayers we have a right to use this road. And man, I’ll tell you, for 35 years, I’ve been firmly on the side of Yes, hell yes, we do. Right? Until recently. And that perspective has started to change. where it’s like, Man, this doesn’t make sense when you add it up. Like I’m not saying that no one should ride their bikes on the road. I’m not saying that. But I will say that taxpayers roads are their infrastructure made for cars. And bike paths are an infrastructure made for bikes and we make a compromise solution when we add a breakdown lane that bikes right in or a bike lane and that’s happened in many roads and Boulder County in those rides become more writable those roads have become more writable since that has happened there for a number of years. 75th was literally called I hate bikers road for like six years. I didn’t ride on the road at all because it was no shoulder and it was you’re guaranteed to get hassled there. Why? Because it was way over written. This is a road from the town of hygiene to Boulder that people ride regularly like you got there in any given week day. And there are people a steady stream of cyclists all day long. That’s how many riders we have here. So but the infrastructure wasn’t made for cyclists for cyclists it was in some cases adapted to allow cycling. And the problem is we emulate at the highest level like okay track racers. World Championships happens on a velodrome. How do you train for track you go to your local velodrome if you have one. BMX same thing, right cyclocross, same thing. mountain bike, same thing, but road. Our our high end of the sport our events that we emulate the most the Tour de France The Olympic road race, the world road race championships. The classics. Those happen on roads that are closed down 100% specifically for the event on the day. We do not have that luxury when we’re training unless you’re talking about training on a dedicated criterium and road race course. We don’t have it. I mean, there was actually a road race course that was paved in Moscow near the velodrome that was like, they had worlds there. I don’t remember how long the loop was, we never got to ride it because we went there for the World Cup in January. And it was like, you know, negative six. So we wrote rollers in the velodrome, but you can make a road race course. And there are places that have them. There’s a few in Asia, I think,
yeah. Literally for either worlds, or Olympics or whatever. Yeah, they they, they basically just made a loop. I mean,
Colby Pearce 1:20:41
can you imagine, and they’re actually there was a super cool one in Sydney, near the velodrome in the forest. And amazing circuit, Racecourse was probably 4k long. And we would go train there on a road bikes before we did our afternoon track sessions. I mean, this can happen. It’s a thing that exists in real life, just not in the US and it comes down to your local municipality. And
I feel like we’re kind of at the breaking point where it needs to happen is, you know, even writing just by yourself, or with one person, I mean, I now have a blinky lights on I’ve always got a helmet. And I still don’t feel that we’ve
Colby Pearce 1:21:09
got Garmin making computers that are like auto alert. I mean, this is not a universe, we should be in, you know, just like I rode recently with a friend of mine who said, I carry a gun when I ride at home in Alaska. And I was like, Well, okay, if you’re gonna fight a grizzly bear, that’s one thing. But his inference was, he might carry one here, and I’m going, that is not the solution. This is what I’m thinking.
Because unfortunately, you might end up using it. And then you’re going to jail. Right? I mean, that’s why I would never have I don’t own a gun. I would never carry one because I would probably use it when, when the guy buzzes me and throws a bigger camera at me. Yeah,
Colby Pearce 1:21:37
I mean, you look at the six guns that are owned and loaded, get used. So and I yeah, I don’t really want to go to jail. So Me neither I there are many other ways I’d rather spend my time. So it’s, I don’t Yeah, I think we can agree, we don’t know what the solution is, ideally. But in the short term, it seems like you’re saying, barring us making a 12 k road loop in Boulder, or, and I don’t want to just keep this conversation focused on Colorado. A good percentage of my listeners certainly live here. But this is a theme that happens all over the US I think, and even in other parts of the world. So that’s the bigger picture. This isn’t just here. We are definitely getting we are definitely experiencing accelerated ratio of cars and bikes on the road. And that is changing our sport. And that’s why more and more people hear this all the time, or people buying gravel bikes, they’re just sick of getting passed by cars. So that’s the thing. But that aside, I think you’ve made up some, you brought up some great points, which is ride group ride should be smaller, they ought to have a ride leader, or maybe some ride leaders who can direct and herd the cats and remind people when they forget, and they start to drift out or they start to move up before the climb. Or they start to you know, make other poor decisions, remind them to stop at a stop sign. Remind them that they are representing all cyclists, and that we are our own worst enemies. And that fundamentally tribalistic thinking can be expanded to all levels. But really, whenever we think that way, which is us versus them, I’m a cyclist, those people are dry our car drivers. Those people are people who drive cars and are polluting the environment and really rather be in an air conditioned box and experiencing the world look out enlightened and free. I am because I get to ride a bike. I mean, come on, like Cycling is just a dirty of a sport environmentally as any other sport. We all fly around on airplanes to go to bike races, we all drive our cars 50 miles to go to road races to do an optional activity. You know, most of the time, we’re not living these lives that are really that green and environmental. I’ll just say it like, yeah, there are exceptions. There are people who only own bikes. And there are people who like, like Josh, the copyright guy, he literally delivers his coffee on his bike every Thursday year round, regardless of whether that’s cool, the guy’s thrown down. And you know, he’s doing something that, in his own way, sweeps his own doorstep and makes the world a better place. A small footprint. Right, exactly. And I mean, he delivers coffee, the guy’s virtually a saint. But what could be better, what could be better. So, you know, we do have a local ride here that leaves on I think, well, pre COVID days, it used to be on Tuesdays, it was called turnt. Up Tuesdays, I won’t name the manufacturer who sponsors this ride just out of respect for them. But this is a this is a model that I recommend I I think I outlined this on the other pop, but I’m just gonna go quick overview anyway. If 80 people show up, the ride is broken into three groups. And before the ride, everybody gets a speech about where the rides going. And there’s a defined fast section. So there’s a warm up, and then there’s a stop sign. Once you stop at the stop sign, then you go and it’s full gas. From there, turn right on this road, turn left on this one watch off and stop sign here, etc, that until we get to this mailbox, and then we’re done. But when you get to the starting point, the ride is broken up into a B and C groups and you send the C out first. This is handicap style writing the writer self select. So you’ve got three groups of 18 on the road or whatever it ends up being and it’s much more manageable and then as the the B group starts To get to the C group and they disintegrate, then the stronger of those two groups form the leading group on the road. But then some eight riders might punch their way through. So the whole thing sort of expands and contracts and right is a little bit more organic. But it allows the A riders to really go throwdown instead of just dumping the C riders in five kn. And then they’re miserable, and they don’t learn anything and have to write by themselves. The B writers get to be chasing the A’s for a while. So it works really well. It’s a great format, because it solves a lot of problems. It keeps the group smaller, it lets everybody get their nickels out. But also it’s organized and it has some, some leadership. And I think that’s key. And this ride because it is led by a local industry manufacturer.
Colby Pearce 1:25:43
They have people who are employees at the shop who guide the ride, and they will disinvite people from the ride. And if the people show up anyway, then the ride will stop. It’s that simple. They have that control over and it’s their ride. It’s It’s It’s not that it’s an invite ride. It’s not hoity toity or elitist at all. It’s the opposite. Right, right. Right. It’s inviting, it’s inviting. It’s inclusive. It The purpose of the ride is to teach people to go ride fast, and they’ll teach anyone. But there’s also got to be some organization and some direction. So I think that’s an actionable solution that hopefully more people could take the reins on. And I would go so far as to throw out a notice and say, if you are a person who’s been in the sport for more than 10 or 15 years, and you understand how baselines work, you understand the local roads around your area, your neighborhood, your locality, and you are attending group rides. Be a boss, don’t, don’t be a dick. Don’t bitch people out that’s not the objective. The objective is to guide people to teach them to herd the cats a little bit to take on responsibility as a mentor for the sport. teach young riders how to pace learn how to pull through in a pace line without punching the living crap out of it or slowing down too much.
That Yeah, that’s one of the unique components of group riding, especially here in Boulder is how transient it is, you know, you might have out of towners for two or three weeks that you’re never going to see again. Yep. But it’s a complete different riding style. If they’re from say, New Jersey or the New England area, or even California, you know, their fitness level might be completely different than, than that of the local people. So especially if they’re coming to altitude, right. So it’s it is really important, I think, number one to know the route or to have the the route described to you prior to it and like you said, kind of self select what group you want to be in and just have a little bit more construction, you know, leading into it. So it’s not just this free for all, which is, you know, that’s kind of the the nuances of a group ride. That’s what draws some people to and the fact that it is it’s a free for all, but I think having some structure like that is super critical. Yeah. And just kind of keeps people a little more focused. Because let’s face it, when 25 guys show up for group, right, they’ve got 25 different objectives. You know, one guy’s like, Oh, I’m doing tempo today, I’m just going to kind of noodle on the back. And I’ll just do my tempo. And this goes, I gotta do sprint workout. So let me lighten it up every 30 seconds. Oh, great. I just need to get speed work. I just need saddle time. And so it’s like, that’s a lot of different. Well, that’s a good point, a lot of different agendas. And you know, if you know what the recipe is for the day, if a ride leader says this is what we’re doing, then it kind of makes your own objective secondary. It’s like, hey, look, you know, we’re gonna ride out as a group, we’re gonna go to buy to this section, we’re gonna punch you, but then we’re gonna cool down. And
Colby Pearce 1:28:13
that’s an excellent point. I think that part of the friction causing group rides is people going in with their own selfish agendas.
Right? My coach said, I got to do yeah, I can’t, I can’t over 250. All right, well,
Colby Pearce 1:28:22
you shouldn’t be here, you should not be here. That’s the actionable takeaway, if you have to do five by five at vo two, you’re trying to do it in a group. Because
that’s, that’s, you know,
Colby Pearce 1:28:32
let’s be honest, that’s not gonna work in that format, not effectively, it just doesn’t work. So if you’re trying to hide from view to workout, make it easier by being in a group, you’re approaching it wrong. Go to the canyon, go to this county road, go out there and race a cow. That’s what your objective is for that day, it’s a hard day, go get your work done. If you want to have a ride program that’s a little bit flexible, and can be defined by what the group is doing, and is a bit organic. That’s the time to show up for a group ride. If you want to learn, and you’re new to the sport, and you want to figure out how to do a baseline, you know, this group ride has baselines? That’s the time to show
to a group. Right, right. Yeah. And I think it’s a big, a big issue, because so many guys want to have their cake and eat it too. You know, they want to do the group ride, but they also want to do what their coach told him to do. And so they’re going to try to hybrid that somehow and you know, do a little bit of the group thing and sort of participate, but not really listen to what the rival you’re saying, Yeah, potentially, but then they’re going to know that at some point, they’re going to throw down their their two by 20, or something. And that can be pretty disruptive, so can be
Colby Pearce 1:29:25
really disruptive, or it just doesn’t go with the flow, the group or people on the group aren’t gonna understand what you’re doing. And suddenly, you’re trying to do a 20 minute threshold interval and some guy pulls through in front of you.
Right, so somebody thinks you’re baiting them, basically. Yeah. Because what you are and where you are, right? It’s just the the mouse and the cat guy.
Colby Pearce 1:29:40
Yeah. Yeah. It just doesn’t make sense. So I explained this paradigm to my athletes quite frequently is like, Okay, if you want to go do a group ride, you are giving up the precise structure that we want you to have for that day’s training. And that’s okay. If we agree that that’s what’s going to happen on that day. Yeah, but on the days where we want to control load precisely, we want to really achieve a certain objective, a certain number of minutes in a time in a particular zone, you know, I’m going to get you to 80 minutes of proper view to work or, or 25 minutes of it or whatever we’re doing, you know, or 45 minutes of tempo, a group, it’s not the situation to do that. Now, if you want to roll out with a group ride for an hour, then peel off and go to the canyon, do your own thing that can work, there can be compromises. But the more structure you have and are trying to achieve for the day, the the less likely it is a group will fill that need. So there’s a balance there. I think people need to recognize that.
Yeah, and I do think a lot of athletes struggle with that, because, you know, part of cycling is the social component to it. And that’s the lure of group rides. Meanwhile, like I said, they’re paying a coach or they’re part of a service where they’re being kind of told what to do on a daily basis, and they want to, they want to achieve their objective. But to me, it’s, it’s finding that balance, just saying, hey, coach, one day a week, I want to just have a kitchen sink kind of ride, like I can ride as hard or as easy as I want is because it’s gonna be zone one, it’s gonna be zone five, because that’s the nature of group rides. Yes, they’re oscillating all over the place. But you’re not going to get that steady state for two by 20 or 30 by 60, or whatever it might be. Right? Right. Because it’s, there’s just too much to do dynamic. Most group rides are so great. I think that, you know, if I were an athlete being coached right now, I would just have that kind of throw that out there and just say, look, yeah, give me one day, every other week or whatever, where I can just go and just throw down if I want to, or just sit back and yap with the guys at the back of the group or whatever,
Colby Pearce 1:31:16
on my safely organized. pared down. Yes, Brad. Yeah, I’d
like to buy a new bride. Right. Right. Yeah. Okay, with a police escort?
Colby Pearce 1:31:25
Yeah. I agree. I think, um, also, I want to just rewind quickly to one comment you made earlier, which is, you mentioned that when you started to figure out when you first got a power meter, you noticed a very basic relationship, which was you would do the same ride a couple weeks in a row, and you would get the same power with a lower heart rate. And for all the discussion about data, and all the Tim Cusick, Wk, oh, five, and all that crazy software out there with which can do all this amazing stuff. Training is fundamentally about one thing, it’s about making more watts per heartbeat. It’s shifting that curve. It’s that simple. And if you’re not in touch with how that curve, tracking that curve can be quite challenging. But in a way that’s meaningful, say, you gotta have a lot of data, you gotta have a lot of accurate data. But that said, That’s the goal. That’s really it.
Yeah. And I was lucky that I was starting out from almost Ground Zero, um, it was very early seasons. So I was seeing, I was seeing adaptation almost right away. Like I said, I was seeing a change relationship between power and heart rate almost right away, where it’s in the middle of season probably would have been quite so dramatic. But this was like, you know, November, December, I’d come off a long offseason. So I was pretty out of shape. And so within 10 days, or two weeks or whatever, I was starting to see that relationship improve. Yeah. So yeah, intuitively, I was like, well, that’s got to be good. Right. Right. Doing same Watson less heart rate. So either. Yeah,
But yeah, that was, like, a turning point for me. And having it kind of laid out and explained to me by somebody, as wise, as Alan was, was really, really instrumental in extending my career, I think, into my early 40s.
Colby Pearce 1:33:04
Yeah, Alan was my first official podcast guest. And he coached me as well, a couple years on there, including the Olympic year before so. Yeah, smart dude, wealth of knowledge. He really is.
Yeah. Cool, and not afraid to share it.
Colby Pearce 1:33:18
Agreed. Awesome. Well, let’s wrap up. Scott, by telling us a little bit about your coaching business. Tell us where people can find out about you, who you coaching for what’s maybe you can just briefly describe your coaching philosophy. What do you how do you tell people what to do? Man?
You know, it’s a great question. And certainly it comes up when I’m interviewing or being interviewed by a potential athlete. And it’s actually really, really simple. I feel that most North American athletes do not train hard enough on their hard days, and they do not ride Easy enough on their easy days. And that might sound extremely elementary and basic, but it’s one of the hardest things I do as a coach is to hold people back. This whole, you know, no pain, no gain kind of thing gets ingrained in people, and they don’t want to go out on a ride and get passed by somebody, you know, and get it to the cat and mouse kind of thing, even if they’re, you know, so the idea of staying within a specific range. You know, they always want to impress the coach by like, oh, check it out. I did 10 watts over, it’s like, no, that’s actually not what I want you to do. So, right. And they learned pretty quickly that that I mean business, so I want them to literally ride zone one for an hour and a half and not get their heart rate or their their watts over a certain range on their easy day. And it’s like, trust me, this seems really easy and kind of waste your time, but I’m going to crush you in the next two or three days, and you kind of want to leave that fresh. So take advantage of these rest days. And if I tell you to take one day completely off, you’d probably take it. I know there’s no there’s no extra credit here. And so again, that’s a it’s a really hard thing for some people to a cycle of break, you know, like, well, you said to do six intervals, So wouldn’t it be even better? Because I was feeling really good? No, no, you always want to leave that little bit in the tank. And yes, really, really hard a message to to relate to somebody. Because, again, there’s this mentality of it more as better, more is better. Yeah, but there’s tomorrow. And there’s next week, and there’s next month. And as somebody that did this professionally for almost two decades, I know how important it is to not leave it on the road every single day. Because that’s what you do on game day, you know, when you’ve got a number pinned on, then you can leave it on the road, you can do that extra credit, you can do the extra watts, because in theory, you should be five to 10% better on race day than than anything you did Monday through Friday. And that’s a true thoroughbred, you know, somebody that that shows up on game day, and we’ve all had the athletes that are the opposite of that, you know, they can crush it Monday through Friday, and then they just don’t seem to have it on on Monday. And that’s those are those are tough athletes to handle. But yeah, my philosophy is just, you know, really, really take your rest seriously. And and conversely, take your your hard days very seriously. Yep, as well. So I work for Valencia cycling adventures, we have kind of two components to the to the company, we have the coaching aspect, and then also camps we run about prior to COVID. We do about six or eight camps around the world. Majorca Spain, West Coast, East Coast Midwest here in the US, okay. Yeah, it’s owned by Tim Cusick who is the inventor or writer, creator of Wk, oh, four and five. So he’s a great, a great mentor and teacher to myself. You know, a lot of my philosophies and my style of coaching is comes from from the trenches, and the time that I spent doing this and being coached by some very, very good coaches like Dean college and Alan lamb. So a lot of it is first hand knowledge that, hey, if it worked for me, it’s probably gonna work for you. It’s sort of my philosophy, but but I certainly there there’s an analytical side to it as well. Yeah, with Wk Oh, five, and, and really poring through the data and everything. So
you know, I think be consistent is super important, especially as an older athlete, you know, if you’re in your 40s 50s, you know, being very consistent, not missing, you know, multiple days in a row. I mean, I get the best results, obviously, out of out of the students that I have that are that are, that are good students, you know, the guys that don’t miss workouts, or guys or girls. That’s key. That’s key. I, you know, we’ve all had that athlete that just will randomly do a workout and then Miss three or four days and then randomly do a workout. And then they’re like, hey, so I’ve got a race coming up this weekend. What do you think? And I was like, I have no idea. Because you’ve not given me a lot of data and right, you’re just kind of haphazardly, you know, I’m not really sure what you’re what you’re paying me for. But Right. Right. But that’s, that’s the 1%. I mean, 99% of people that hire me are serious enough that they, they’re actually more better students than I probably was as a as an athlete. So I tend to just look at every block is a five to seven day period. And I was like, okay, it’s snowing today. So I’m not going to do five hours in the mountains. But it’s two days as the sun’s going to be out. So I’ll do you know, so I was pretty good at just kind of shuffling things around and saying, Yeah, I don’t hope it’s okay. But you know, I will get a long day. And so it’s not going to be on Wednesday. It’s gonna be on Friday. Yeah, yeah. Most of my athletes are a little too scared, I think to do that, or they just don’t want to rock the boat. And fortunately, most of them live in places where weather is not really an issue. So okay,
Colby Pearce 1:37:57
so how many athletes you coach now?
I’ve got about six or eight right now and just kind of gathered around. And what’s your east and west coast?
Colby Pearce 1:38:03
What’s your demographic look like? Are you coaching on masters or juniors? Or?
Just I mostly masters? I’ve got a couple of full time. So my prototypes? Okay, they’re younger, you know, in their 30s.
Colby Pearce 1:38:14
Looking for the contract?
Yep. Okay. Okay. Which are actually really fun people to to, to coach, you know, they’re they’re extremely good adapters. And you just, you see results almost right away. Yeah. Well, you know, the the working type, we can worry that’s got 10 to 12 hours, you just don’t see the the gains as much. There’s only so much you can work with but but somebody that has unlimited time that can put in 2025 hours, 30 hours. I mean, you really see big gains. Yeah.
Colby Pearce 1:38:41
And how about your, let’s take a macro picture of you, how many, what’s your percentage of men versus women coached? You think maybe in the last, say, decade of coaching or something like that? How many? Like if you had to guess, are you coaching 80% men 20% women are honestly,
about 5050 for me, 5050 girls throughout and I’ve been doing this for about 10 years, okay? And a lot of that comes from, you know, a lot of the clients i have i’ve i’ve actually met at our camps, and so rightly spend, you know, a week or 10 days writing with that person and kind of understanding a little bit about the personality. And yeah, yeah, I think for a lot of people, I’m kind of a stress reliever, you know, they’ve got super high stress jobs, and they want to exceed, you know, Excel rather, and cycling and they just see me as a person that can sort of calm them down and kind of bring them down to a more calm place. And so, you know, we’re chatting once a week, you know, for an hour, so about, about life and about cycling and all those things. So yeah, it’s Park Coach Park shrink,
Colby Pearce 1:39:36
I guess. I think any coach realizes after a period of time, that’s really
yeah, part of the job and just how to balance you know, the stress of, you know, whether you’re a heart surgeon or a veterinarian or an anesthesiologist how to how to balance those those life stresses with the time on the bike. Right. And I think that can certainly be done. And the two can certainly play off each other pretty well.
Colby Pearce 1:39:57
I agree. Yeah. That’s the rate limiting factor always remind my athletes about that performance management chart which tracks your load over a whole season. That’s only on the bike load. It doesn’t account for the fight you had with your wife at 1am, or the raccoons that woke you up humping in your backyard at 4am or whatever random stuff. We’re the only three hours of sleep you got last night. Yeah, we’ll put a link to villosa cycling adventures calm in our show notes. But then I just set it so your memory is perfect. And you are going to look it up as you need to make the keyboard mood rose. Thank you very much, Scott, for being on the show today. I really appreciate you making time to come in. And thanks for having me. Let me share war stories. And you were very patient.
Lots of war stories,
Colby Pearce 1:40:40
lots of war stories between us. Yeah. And yeah, thank you, for you played a mental role for me and many of my early racing days. So I appreciate you being The Iceman and show me the right thing to do at the right time there. There are a few moments where you gave me a good nudge in the right direction, probably not
vocally, but maybe other other other ways.
Colby Pearce 1:40:58
But that’s just as important. You know, like you said, lead like Al McCormack lead by example, you don’t always have to go up to somebody and tell them, you’re being a moron, pull through less hard, you can just do it a few times and show them how to ride smoothly in the group. If they’re still not getting it may be time to say something. So I don’t know. You didn’t say much to me, that maybe had more to do with your personality than Yeah, it’s less to do with idiocy. But, yeah, my Carter was vocal to me. So
thank you, Scott. Thank you.
Colby Pearce 1:41:31
Attention, space monkeys public service announcement. Really, technically, it’s a disclaimer. You already know this, but I’m going to remind you that I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not a doctor. So don’t take anything on this podcast to constitute lawyerly or doctorly advice. I don’t play either of those characters on the internet. Also, we talk about lots of things. And that means we have opinions. I guess opinions are not necessarily reflective of the opinions of anyone who is employed by or works at Fast Talk Laboratory. Also, if you want to reach out, talk to me about things, feedback on the podcast, good, bad or otherwise, you may do so at the following email address firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s all spelled just like it sounds. Gratitude.