Travis Brown is an Olympian and a mountain bike Hall of Fame inductee. His road to the Olympic Games was twisty and narrow, and often fraught with obstacles—not unlike a section of Rocky Mountain singletrack.
In today’s episode, listen to his conversation with Colby to hear about how he began his return from a severe leg injury on the bike, even before that leg was weight-bearing.
Brown still works with his long-time sponsor, Trek, developing new bikes and equipment.
He also develops young talent in the sport, including those on Native American reservations, providing bikes to young riders there.
The pair touch upon all of these topics.
Finally, Travis reveals the scare he’s had from skin cancer. As an outdoor enthusiast who spends much time on his bike, he has strong recommendations for protecting yourself while you’re out on the trail.
- Archived page of Travis’ SSWC Tattoo: https://web.archive.org/web/20051115120933/http://www.trekbikes.com/news/news_detail.jsp?articleId=4353&category=hot_news
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/TBrowntrip
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/travis.brown.18007
Welcome to the cycling and alignment podcast, an examination of cycling as a practice and dialogue about the integration of sport in right relationship to your life.
Colby Pearce 00:25
Greetings and salutations, cycling in alignment listeners. Thanks for joining us again. Today’s episode will be with none other than Travis Brown. Travis is a good friend of mine and we’ve worked together on many projects. We’ve also raced together throughout the years in many different occasions and anytime those races were off road barring one Travis was the faster of the two of us but I did get him once in the final stage of the BRAC epic in 2004. Five I don’t know who’s counting. Anyway, Travis comes aboard today to share some of his insights about his role as a product developer at Trek and some of his experiences at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. I’m sure you’ll find our conversation to be filled with all kinds of wisdom nuggets, because that’s the kind of guy Travis’s so tighten your bows and hang on for a journey into the world of mountain biking. with Travis for warning, we do dork out on some wheel diameter discussions and talks about tires and things. So if you’re into that kind of stuff, you’ll like it. If you’re not, then just hold your breath in between the philosophical bits. Thanks for listening
Colby Pearce 02:03
Well, Travis Brown, thank you for joining me on cycling in alignment.
Thanks for having me. You bet. It’ll be just maybe an extension of our normal ride talks and we can nerd out on bike stuff. And that sounds perfect experience rolling around. Yeah. Yeah. For so many years.
Colby Pearce 02:22
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I was actually trying to remember like, how long do you think you’ve been? I’ve known each other.
Well, I think we knew of each other probably before we like had a relationship because we were going to a lot of the same training crits on the Front Range. Yeah, you know, I rode riding and racing was a pretty important supplement for me as a mountain bike athlete. And one of the reasons why, you know, I was based here in the biggest part of my racing career was the access to a lot of local road racing, because that’s kind of a type of power delivery that’s outside the parameters of the way you deliver power on a mountain bike. And so it’s a really key supplement for my training to do crits
Colby Pearce 03:11
Yep. good compliment to it. Yeah, yeah, I think if I remember correctly, you know, race the tour the healer at the same time when you’re,
yeah, yeah, we I did Hilo once or twice. And we were on like this trek composite team that Andrew Miller won that year. Oh, really? Yeah. And he I think the first I don’t remember what the first stage was, but I think it took the jersey the first day so then I was like, on the front for the next five days matches good was what I needed. Good training. Yeah,
Colby Pearce 03:41
yeah, that would have been the bogey on stage probably. Yeah. On it there. Yeah. And that was for trek Landis, right? Yep. Yep. Yeah. Drew Miller. Going back. Totally going back. Yeah. Cuz he was teammates with Jonathan waters. on Saturn. All right. Yeah. In 90 to three, somewhere in that. Four somewhere in there.
Yeah, it would have been early 90s. When I when I did he law. Yeah. Yeah. For training. Nice.
Cool. Yeah. And we probably I’m we’re probably in lots of Front Range races. I’m sure that we weren’t aware that we were both in
Colby Pearce 04:21
Yeah. Yeah. It was a different era back then.
Sports. It was Yeah, I mean, particularly mountain biking, you know, it was more in its formative. And boom years at that point as a brand new discipline within the right kind of sculpt of cycling. There was a lot of special growth, I think. I feel lucky to have participated in those years.
Colby Pearce 04:47
So you’re from Durango originally. And then you went to school and see you and lived in Boulder for many years, but you’re still now you live back in Durango? Again? Yes. And what what your world Mountain Bike World Championships in Durango,
the first official UCI world’s in Durango, or in 1990. Yeah, yeah. And so that was
at that point, I was still ski racing. So I came to CU Boulder. Skiing was a priority for me cross country skiing. And I had a lot of friends who were mountain bike racing, and I would train with them in the summer for my dryland training. But I never really raced I had enough competition with the ski season and that was my focus. You know, as a scholarship athlete, it was a priority. Yep. But then I had a coach, a ski coach here who had been a road pro and he kind of upped the amount of dryland training that we did on a bike so we could have more volume without the injury potential. And then, you know, training with my friends who are mountain bike racing, our road racing, you know, my level came up a little bit, you know, and they kept saying you got to try Do a bike race, which I finally did. While I was still in school and skiing, and then started kind of moving into having a summer bike racing program and a winter ski racing program.
Colby Pearce 06:12
What was the first race you did?
The first mountain bike race I did was the Iron Horse. Yeah, mountain bike race. And I think that was 87 or 88. Okay. No, 88
Colby Pearce 06:28
I think so we started racing the same year that was first Yeah.
And I had just as being a kid in Durango done the Iron Horse as a I don’t know p class, whatever the age class was, I think I did it when I was nine and 10. My parents were in cycling and then I kind of I was doing traditional sports and in grade school in junior high, and then I started finding my, my proficiency as an endurance athlete and that started as a runner. And then that evolved into being a cross country skier as the priority. And then that eventually evolved into cycling.
Colby Pearce 07:08
And the Iron Horse in case people don’t know is a pretty well established race in the Durango community. You go from Durango to Silverton, the road racing. The idea is you race the train.
Right. Right. Yeah. So it has this personality. And you know, there’s a story about two brothers, the mayor brothers in Durango, and one was a cycling enthusiast and one was an engineer on the train. Okay, so and there’s racing as the brothers racing each other. And so the Brotherhood the psychos, like, I think I can beat you to Silverton. Uh huh. And, and did. Okay. It was a close race. You know, it takes the train about three hours to get there. Yeah. So, for enthusiasts, that’s kind of a manageable time in the realm of what’s possible and they had a race and then it became what it is. Today, yeah. And then eventually added a mountain bike race and added mountain bike race. And during those 90s years, like mountain biking was kind of the premier event there. And then road touring came back, you know, on kind of a low part of the cycle and mountain biking. And it was the priority. And it’s kind of the way it is now, like the road tour is the most profitable part of that event property. Yeah, because they can put 2000 people up for highway. Right, right. Right. And it’s really difficult to find a mountain bike race where you can have fields of that size. Yeah. And the mountain bike race actually stopped for about 10 years. Oh, as they focused on the road tour.
Yeah. But it’s but it’s back
now. It’s back now. Yeah, yeah. It’s evolving like everything.
Colby Pearce 08:49
Yeah. You guys have incredible trail networks around Durango. I’m just green with jealousy
is definitely the you know, there’s a Lessing and diversity of trails there and convenience of trails there. So, Durango is unique from a geological standpoint. So, right, right from town, we have like rim rocks, sedimentary rock trails that are a little bit like fruta. They also have a shale that has no rocks in it. And we have glacial moraine. So it’s like clay and bowling balls, you know, there’s almost, there’s a really big variety of surface there. So it’s the perfect test ground for you to go try new tires and new bikes and new geometries because you’ve got all these different trail services until you with pretty ideal place to develop mountain bike product. You know, no place has every trail resource, but it’s hard to find a place that has more than Durango.
Colby Pearce 09:45
And your wife Mary works for trails. 2000. And you and she have both played a big role in the development of some of those trails around Durango. Right?
Well, yeah. My wife is the end of Durango trails, then they’ve changed their name from trails as they evolved, okay. And so that means that on my honey do list, I get super sweet projects like trail building and sign. So check also, you know, in my current role in product development, they give me a lot of free rein to pursue advocacy things. So, Durango trails as part of that. So I’m a volunteer Sawyer and machine operator and trail crew leader for them. Yeah. And that’s a pretty good, that’s a pretty fun extracurricular thing. And it really kind of closes the circle on a career that utilize trails. And you know, that was an imperative part of that mountain bike career path. Yeah, go back and build some and do maintenance on them and expand the network.
Colby Pearce 10:45
Yeah, yeah. And just to paint the picture a little more for our listeners. Durango knows. It’s in the extreme southwestern corner of Colorado. Pretty near the four corners area right. It’s about as far it’s almost as far from boulders you get and still be in the state of Colorado. Right? It basically
Well, I think it’s probably further to the southwest corner from Boulder than to the northeast corner of Colorado for sure. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, there’s people live in Colorado their whole lives and have never been to Durango. Right? It’s a little hidden, and it’s a little isolated. And that’s, you know, there’s two sides to that coin. Yeah, sure. Yeah.
We love it down there. And,
you know, for what I’m doing now, for what our family is working on now. It’s pretty ideal.
Colby Pearce 11:38
Yeah. Good playground. Yeah. So then so you did your first mountain bike race with encouragement from your coach and your, your buddies, your ski buddies, right and it was part of your driveline training but then how what how did the shift go? How did you decide to focus more on non biking and and steer away from cross country skiing, right. So I I think the first race I did was that mountain bike race at the Iron Horse and
I raced sport class. So it’s not racing categories are divided differently now. So it was beginner sport expert pro in those early days of mountain bike racing. So I start because of my endurance background, I started in the sport class, and I won that race and thought, Well, you know, that went pretty good. That was a lot of fun. I’m maybe I should try a few more of these. And so over the next year, I did a couple other races. And then the following summer, I decided, you know, I’m just gonna make a summer of mountain bike race as part of my dryland training. And I moved up to the expert class and did the car at a point series, which at that point was just a step below the normal series and prestige, number of events. And I won that series as an expert. And then I went to the National Championships were in which were in Mammoth, and I won the expert category there. And it was that fall. So that would have been 1990 that fall that the first UCI mountain bike worlds. Were in Durango. And I was already in Boulder at that time as a student, but I plan to do that and have that kind of be my transition into the pro category. Okay. And I had to do a qualifying race, and, you know, made it into the final and then I think partially because I really had no expectations and had no idea what I was getting myself into had a very natural open kind of premium race day and ended up 10th in the in the pro category. Nice. Am I in the first pro race? So yeah, that was what launched my pro career. So then the following year in 91. I got a contract to race mountain bikes. So two years left to ski 91 or 92, which I did and raced in the summer, a full schedule and winter a full schedule. Yeah. So the first two years I raced for Manitou mountain bikes, my first two years as a pro with Doug Bradbury, who had founded that company and was the engineer and fabricator for almost everything they did. But he was just starting to license his IP to other companies. And one of them was answer. So we got resources to go racing, and I got to start doing the World Cup races then. And it was also kind of the beginning of my education and product development. Because Doug as the fabricator and engineer was like, you can have your bike built however you want. here’s, here’s the way I would build it, you ride it, and then tell me whatever geometry whatever changes you want, because
Colby Pearce 14:55
these were aluminum frames, right? So
add aluminum frames, and you You know, fairly easy to change geometry and change in everything. And so I’ve read one of his bikes for a while and I went back. And you know, what made sense to me at that point was I wanted a bike that was more stable. And the window, the mental window that we were working within forehead, two bangles was pretty small. So I didn’t ask for changes there. But I did ask for a really long front center on the bike. And I think I asked for a bike that was a full two inches longer than the large that he was producing as a production bike. Wow. And because at that point, mountain bike geometry was basically a small derivative of road geometry. Right, right. It’s because it was a new thing. And like, Well, here’s what you start to, here’s what you start from, here’s my geometry. Yeah. And then you really gradually slowly adapted from that to whatever the application is. And when we look back on that, we realized that we were taking these Tiny, tiny steps. And you know, there was all this potential, but we just didn’t have the confidence to do things. I did it a little bit in that first year with Doug just because I didn’t know any better. Yeah, I was not educated in geometry and
Colby Pearce 16:16
so I think you were nuts when you came to him and wanted a five centimeter longer talk to
talking to him now about that he Yeah, he thought I was nuts. And then, but he did it anyway, he built the bike anyway. And we all wrote it. Like, thing is really stable. Like when you’re slobbering and fatigued, you just need the bike to go straight, right? It worked really well.
Colby Pearce 16:39
So it was a really long topic, but it still had a pretty, I mean, we’re talking about 73 head angle, right, like in road.
It wasn’t that steep. 71 was kind of the 7170 Okay, I was about where mountain bikes were for at that point and then 7173 head tube seat tube was kind of the state Yeah, for head tube seat tube angles, but chainstays were starting to move around a lot. And in front centers were starting to move around a lot. And that’s where a lot of the experimentation happened in those the early 90s, as far as geometry, then had to bangles started to be experimented with, you know, later in the 90s. And that’s still going on now. So Right, right. across country, a contemporary cross country bike might have a 66 degree headtube angle now. So right, yeah, take 20 years to change those six or selling degrees. Yeah. And it’s starting to slow down a little bit as far as headtube angle is getting slacker per category. And it’s also consolidating a little bit between category so yeah, when we started racing mountain bikes, there was one hour as a mountain bike, young you would go to a race and whether you’re doing the hill climb or the cross country Or the downhill you’re on a bike. Yeah. Right. So now there’s there’s hard tails and there’s full suspension cross country bike, right. And there’s short travel trail bikes and there’s long travel trail bikes, and there’s Bike Park gravity bikes, and there’s downhill race gravity bikes. So they all have a their own geometry. But interesting thing from the standpoint of head to bangles that there’s starting to be a convergence. Now again, you know, in the mid 60s, you know, us, you know, cross country bike now has 66 degree headtube angle that was a downhill bike of 10 years ago. Right,
Colby Pearce 18:40
right. Yeah. And so were these bikes that you were dealing with magnitude Those were all hard tails are you guys are doing some professional so
so I was also on the cusp of full suspension with Doug because he pioneered so my second year racing. He had a new full suspension model. And it looked a lot like an old school motorcycle where Basically had a fork. So a shock that takes the place of the seat stays. Right. And that was his design. I raced on that for a season, the second season that I wrote for him. Yeah. And that was the beginning that was really at that point, really progressive for cross country bike.
Colby Pearce 19:20
So that’s so interesting. You were just saying, okay, it took us 20 years to get that six or seven degrees of headtube angle change, right? And, and mountain biking is an arm of the sport that is ostensibly, like, much more fast developed technology much quicker to embrace change in or it should be in theory, but I mean, you look at cycling and the whole A lot of people have commented on how cycling slowed so slow to change in so many
ways. I think you look at the history of the disciplines, and it makes sense as mountain biking. 3040 years old, right, you know, depending on what you consider the start of mountain biking. Yeah, and road cycling is almost 200 years old. Right? So they’ve been developing bikes that became bikes that you raced on. Yeah, you know, so it has a much longer history and legacy. And naturally over that time, there becomes some entrenchment in what the design should be like. Right. So mountain biking just has less history for us to fossilize our thought process about what a mountain bike should be. Yeah, so it is, you know, it is a little more progressive in a lot of ways and ironically, because the material you wouldn’t have thought that carbon fiber would have been proven in the mountain bike category before the road category, but for the most part that’s true was
Colby Pearce 20:40
Yeah, yeah. It’s funny people associate how carbon fibers changed in the well. Maybe in the consumers mind in my mind it has because carbon bikes used to be seen when it first came out as Super exotic, super expensive, but also fragile and, you know, potentially and not repairable, whereas a steel frame is considered repairable. Like if you did tube you could go to a builder and have them install new tube right timeframes, same thing. But actually now it’s almost the reverse where steel frames the the tubing is manipulated so much that if you damaged it steel frame, you have a hard time getting into back in that frame probably whereas a carbon frame now there’s a whole subclass of businesses that are carbon fiber repair businesses, you can have almost anything and carbon repaired and sometimes to the point where it can be repaired to where you don’t recognize the difference from the original product. Yeah, so it’s taking this and then also, of course, there’s been massive technology developments in tech in carbon fiber where the carbons become more ballistically armored right and more resistant to impact. And that’s always been carbons. Well, in the past has been carbons weak point is it’s malleable, you can make any shape you want out of it, assuming you can spend the money on the molds and have the engineering to do it. So you can make intricate shapes for suspension or for Aero tubes or whatever application you want. And you can do things like play with change. heights to make extra clearance like on the stash for example, you can make crazy Aero bikes with super, super bizarre shapes. Carbon in general, the characteristics have good fatigue resistance, but not good impact resistance right? Right now that’s been offset by further advancements in placing different different materials on the exterior form and the carbon to prevent from rock strikes, for example, right or impact strikes v crash, and all the materials that are traditional
for bikes have evolved. I mean, like you’re talking about steel, like the budding for steel tubes, has come a long ways from when we started racing bikes, and aluminum processing now at this point because of hydroforming logs and tubes. Now we’re able to recreate a lot of the shapes that we once only could create with carbon fiber, right? in aluminum. Yeah, so but initially, you’re exactly right like the design freedoms for the designers to make shapes with carbon fiber. Was this whole new frontier? Yeah, you know, from round tubes and logs, right? You know, to like, Alright, any shape or any radius anywhere you want on the tube. And that was I think inspiring from the manufacturers and the designers.
Colby Pearce 23:14
Yeah, for sure. Because then you can you can re engineer a bike from the ground up and say, Okay, what shape actually is ideal for this instead of taking a round tube and manipulating it slightly to get the job done, right. So I can make it more of a purpose built tool instead of just a pile of pipes.
Right that we and I think that those freedoms in form the manufacturing technology for you know, the the Ferris products and aluminum bikes, yeah, like there’s even hydroforming now in steel, you know, where they hydrofarm parts and that have unique shapes that aren’t just a tube and then weld them together, or CNC clamshell shapes in aluminum or now we’re starting to see printed shapes. So I was going to ask you is what you think What’s your comment on the future of 3d printing? Well, from the from the standpoint of like the r&d group that I work in now at Trek, it’s going to give us a lot of freedoms as far as prototyping stuff in a shape that’s going to be more relevant to the end product when we eventually executed in carbon fiber. And it’ll make those prototypes those prototype iterations, cheaper to do as well. Yeah. Right now the the quality of the material that’s printed, there’s still some compromises compared to forging our machining. Okay, so the grain structure of the metal is not quite as good when you’re laying down those layers, whether it’s a laser to heat a layer like I think they do with titanium powder to get those lugs Yeah, the, the quality of the material to kind of optimize like strength and rigidity and everything. is not quite there for production level on our scale. Although there are companies that are doing smaller scale production bikes that employ 3d printing and the most prevalent right now is I think 3d printed titanium lugs. Yep, bonded to either. Titanium tubes are aluminum tubes or steel tubes, whatever are carbon tubes, or car or carbon tubes? Yeah. Any any of those? Yeah, materials. And so that gives a smaller manufacturer that maybe wants to do custom geometry and not be stuck with a mold. Yeah, that you have for a carbon fiber to product frame. Yeah, whatever part that is, which is fix. If you’re printing something, you know, version two of the log can be a degree different than version one of the log without a cost difference,
Colby Pearce 25:50
right? So the advantage there being whenever you make a carbon part, you gotta have a mold for it. It’s the mold is the real expense, right? The initial investment,
right small and there’s also an dollars. Yeah, the molds can are expensive, because it’s basically this giant negative piece that the carbon fiber, right schedule lays into. So that’s, you know, dozens or more pieces of carbon fiber with the, with the fibers oriented in a specifically designed way to resist forces or do it right strength, whatever you
Colby Pearce 26:23
want to do. But 3d printing, you don’t need a mold. That’s, that’s fundamentally a difference. You’re just making the the three dimensional object in space effectively instead of it being contained by mold. Right.
Yeah. So you you create the part in a CAD program. Yeah. And then, you know, once you have that, depending on how you built the part in CAD, you can probably change a degree with a few clicks. Yeah. Or change the shape with a few clicks. And so those are really inexpensive changes compared to doing a new mold. Right, right. Right, right. Yeah.
Colby Pearce 26:55
And that that’s another part of manufacturing technology. That’s moving Pretty fast is is metal printing and carbon printing. And it’s becoming less and less expensive all the time too. So it it’s not a really big part of our production process at the at the production level at this point, but it’s moving in that direction. It’s definitely an emerging technology.
Colby Pearce 27:26
Yeah. And do you think bikes are going to be Do you think high end bikes are going to be primarily carbon for the foreseeable future? Are there other materials that are? People talk about different
stuff? Yeah, that’s a big question to unpack because, you know, carbon is a big reason carbons as popular as it is, is that’s what consumers want. And it’s not the perfect material for every application. Right. But if that’s what consumers want, and are willing to pay for With the price premium for carbon over aluminum or steel or titanium in some cases, then that’s what the manufacturers will build.
Colby Pearce 28:07
Interesting. This goes right to our conversation we had trailside yesterday,
right? Yeah, yeah. And so there, you know, there are factors that contribute to the success of a product that are purely based on the performance of the product. And there are other there are many other market factors, trend and fashion and, and, and other things that are independent of their performance. And those things all have to get packaged together with the right recipe in the right amounts, to make a product that’s successful as a sales piece at the end of the day, that’s profitable. So you know, my group primarily focuses on the performance component. You know, we do field testing, and we create a performance profile for a given prototype and we compare it against a best in class competitor, and maybe our existing product and we can say, it’s this, it’s this percent better in climbing over this terrain. Right? You know, that’s just data. Yeah. And we were slower on this flat terrain, and we were faster on this smooth terrain and, and you just build that performance profile comparison. So then the product manager can look at that and be like, Alright, here’s how the performance metrics compare. How does that fit in what I think the emerging markets going to be next season or in two or three seasons? And so they’re reading trends within the market, and potential things that we can execute that aren’t in the market that are progressive? And can we convince people that this premium performance even though it’s way different, is actually better? Right? Now, there’s there’s just so many things that go into a successful product at the end of the day in sales that aren’t just their performance characteristics. You
Colby Pearce 30:00
Wait, let’s rewind for a minute. Tell us your actual job title of truck. What what? Sure. We’ve been describing all the things you do, but we haven’t given people that frame right. So I
was when I retired. So after those two years race Informatica two and 93, I started racing for track on my mountain bike race team. And I raced full time on the mountain bike race team until 2005. And at that point I had found had been on this long path to getting more and more interested in the product end of things and being a testing resource. And I knew that I wanted to move into product development. And I made sure trek knew that, you know, three years before Yeah, the end of my racing career and so they gave me an opportunity to be part of the core development team, and to create the field science for development. Cool, and I quickly realized that I couldn’t do it all myself. It was just way too much. Writing in too many different categories, and they started building a group of field testers. Yep. You know, which you’re part of now. And currently, you know, in our group that I manage out of Durango, there are a couple dozen field testers that ride development stuff, or pilot run products that we are just debugging before we turn them over to, to the retailers. And those people are, you know, basically my eyes and ears for the industry now, you know, no one can be every place. So, those people are super valuable, and not just putting ride time on them. But telling me, you know, I think it would be cool if we did this, or I had this problem with the bike or what have you guys tried? You know, try something that I’m, you know, I think might be a good idea. So, yeah, yeah, that pool of resources for me and for track development is invaluable. So, back to what my title is yes. I think they call me field test manager. Okay. So that involves, you know, managing all the pilot run debugging programs. Yeah, running field tests for development projects on the prototypes. It also still involved because of my racing history, you know, some Ambassador responsibilities. And then like I said before, they also give me a lot of free rein to pursue advocacy program, so, Durango trails is one of those. For a couple years, we’ve been trying to help the reservations create Nika teams on the Navajo reservation. And so we’ve done that it’s taken a long time to actually create the relationships there just to get to the point where they would take bikes with no strings attached. Interesting. Then we move past that, okay, and things just move at a different pace. Uh huh. You know, in, you know, on the reservation,
Colby Pearce 33:07
and now there’s no negatives fall No, there’s no night all.
But there, you know, particularly the Navajo reservation, and we also have a Hopi composite team and they were together for a couple years. So the Hopi reservation is, is an in holding in the Navajo reservation. Navajo is the biggest Indian Reservation. It’s the closest Indian big reservation to Durango. Okay. And, you know, as a high school runner in Durango, we would always go and run cross country events on the reservation and that the level of competition for cross country there is phenomenal. They have a really, really rich history of endurance running really similar running traditions to the Tarahumara Copper Canyon and their high school runners are just phenomenal. So we would go onto the reservation and just get smoked, you know, and then we come to the state championships on the front range and everyone be like, well, Durango hasn’t run against us all year. How can they be very good and we come in the front range and do great. That’s the championship. So that was that was a secret down there.
Colby Pearce 34:20
So there probably are some some good mountain bikers hidden in that population, I would guess if they’ve got some strong running background.
Well, that’s kind of, you know, my, my ambition to create a tool for self exploration and connecting with nature and something to do that’s inspiring on the bike is that they have this endurance tradition that is so applicable to mountain bike riding and to cycling in general. And they also have you know, their reservations one of the prettiest places on earth. It’s spectacular. And you know, people that go to Moab for mountain biking think that that Southwest Red Rock desert terrain only exists in Moab like it exists all over the Navajo reservation. Right there are places that look like Moab all over the place on there. Yeah.
Colby Pearce 35:07
Yeah, that if you if any of our audience aren’t really familiar with Moe Abby can go forth and make the internet searches but it’s basically like Bugs Bunny Roadrunner cartoons like giant balancing rocks and desert landscapes and stuff. It’s just such an amazing playground. So red slick rock and
yeah, big, big piers of red sandstone. And yeah, it was a spectacular place
Colby Pearce 35:30
carved by wind and water for Well, not much water, more wind, I suppose for hundreds of thousands of years, I would imagine.
Right? It’s a special place for sure. Yeah. And we’re you know, another one of those convenience things of Durango is we’re only two and a half hours from Moab. So yeah, I ride there a lot, you know, especially in the winter, when riding gets closed down because of snow in Durango. I mean, I’ve gone over there just for a day test, you know, when we have projects that really need to get pushed
Colby Pearce 35:58
out Ride some trails and drive back. Yeah,
so that pretty much gives me year round testing and Durango okay.
Colby Pearce 36:06
Yeah. Yeah, you guys were like, a couple winters ago we had a pretty bad winter but you guys got creamed two winters ago like, right. I remember your your wife basically being scarred by the amount of shoveling.
We have. We had a really, we had a heavy winter two winters ago and our the snowpack in the sand was I think was almost 300% of normal. Wow. And that manifests in a really late High Country riding season. Yeah. And also trail clearing for that spring of avalanche debris flows as it were still trying to catch up with that and a lot of places in the San Juan’s wow their debris piles that are still not completely cleared. Yeah.
Colby Pearce 36:50
So that spring I rode with an OTR group we wrote over independence pass in Aspen and just I was blown away by the avalanche debris that was had come down the valley going in up going from Twin Lakes to Aspen
that is more like the west side, the west side.
Colby Pearce 37:08
Yeah, I mean, just acres and acres, like as far as you can see if trees just flattened, right. And then you could see where the trees went to the roadside, the head cleared the road. And the road was all damaged, the asphalt was all destroyed. You don’t they had heavy machinery there. And then on the other side of the road, the flattened trees just continued. And it was one of those moments where you just have that sort of perspective of the scale and strength of nature. Yeah. And we thought it wasn’t on this road when this happened. Yeah, and those
those debris fields really inform how monumental the snowfall was that year because the edges of those slides had 50 year old trees in them. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And that happened all that in the sand lawns too.
Colby Pearce 37:49
Yeah. Yeah. So, okay, so your, your mountain bike for trek for what about 13 years from 92 to 2005 Yeah, professionally. And in that time, you got to have a lot of cool adventures. And one of them was you made it to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Right? So I’d love it if you could unpack that journey a little bit for our listeners and tell us what was involved there. Sure. Well,
I think that Olympic inspiration for me went back to kind of a formative experience that I think most kids have when they’re watching the Olympics with their parents. Like, oh, I wonder what it would be like to be in the Olympics. And you know, when I first had that experience, I had no focus on sport. You know, I was still playing basketball and football at that point. But then, when I started to find, you know, my way in endurance sports, and running cross country and track I started thinking, Well, you know, who knows how this might develop? Maybe this could be the vehicle that could get me to the Olympic Games, while through injuries and reality about my potential as a runner. I then became Cross Country skier and skied at the University of Colorado, you know, skiing was also an Olympic sport. And I thought I was getting a little closer to maybe a reasonable goal of going to the Olympics. And I thought, maybe skiing is going to be it for me. And then I found cycling. And at that point, cycling was not an Olympic sport. And so, but it was booming. And I had the opportunity when I graduated to actually go into career racing, rather than go to graduate school, which was, had been my plan A, and so I decided, I’m going to do that. I’m going to see if I can just do one year as a pro and pay all my bills, I’ll be happy, you know, I’ll go on with whatever other careers I’m going to have. And I’ll be satisfied with that. And those opportunities continued to build. And then in the early 90s, with the mountain bike boom, maybe 94, they announced that they were going to Make mountain biking a full metal status event in Atlanta games. And so then that whole Olympic dream and possibility was kind of back on the table and was new inspiration for me. And I was just kind of coming into the good years of my pro career at that point, and was kind of, you know, moving up and I made the Atlanta games a priority. And we had a five or six race qualifying series over the 95 and 96 season.
I was at this sixth race of six in Michigan, and I was in a good place to make the second spot for the Atlanta games and pre riding the course. There were a B options and usually the option was technical and had a jump or a lot or something and I was sessioning. One of the options Which was a, maybe a 36 inch diameter log that you could ride up and over. But if you came in with speed and bunny hopped it, you could clean the whole thing again, a couple seconds on that part of the course every lap. Yeah. And I miss timed it whenever the bars broke my collarbone. Oh, so Oh is out. Ah, and so at that point, I kind of had to decide, you know, is this ambition worth, you know, everything you invest into it? And is it something you should continue to pursue? Because, you know, that day and for a few weeks after that was kind of it was emotionally difficult to be like, I was there, right, and now it’s gone. Right? And so I decided to pursue it another four years, okay. And I was going to continue to race because that had actually become my livelihood. But, you know, the, the Olympic pursuit is kind of different from that. It’s such a small number of people. There’s so many things that can go wrong. So I said, you know, whatever happens, I’m going to pursue it again and, and it’ll be worth the effort regardless. And that got me pointed back in the direction of process rather than outcome, which is, I think, a really important part of my personal growth and growth as an athlete. And we had very similar qualifying protocol for the 2000 Sydney games, where it was maybe five World Cups. They selected long team and 99 and I’d won the national championship in 99. And there are a couple qualifying races and then there were four, I believe four World Cups before the Olympic Games in 2000, where they made the selection, the first of which was in Mazatlan in that spring. It was a really early race. And I went to that race, it was really dusty and on the Start lap because I couldn’t see the rots in everything at crashed. Mm hmm. And I slid into a tree and I broke my leg. Oh.
And so I thought, Man, this whole thing about the Olympics is replaying itself. Right? And
I didn’t know.
I broke my tibia. Okay. So slid out and was sliding across this dirt and my bike still, my bike was still attached to my foot. Yeah, I went on one side of the tree, and the bike went on the other side tree and the tree hit right below my knee and Okay, and broke off the tibial plateau. Yeah. And so I went to a hospital in Mexico, like from the ambulance to the hospital in Mexico, just kind of shell shocked. And the doctor said, you know, you’re gonna have to have surgery, and I broke down at that point. It was overwhelmed with you know, that disappointment. And Mary was there and pretty much said, well You know, there’s to a little over two months until the next world cup to Canadian World Cups that we’re going to be the last two qualifying races. And I just thought at that point, like, I don’t have anything to lose by not continuing to pursue this and doing everything that’s possible for me in my rehab. So Mary was an angel in this whole process. She found all the best tibial plateau fracture surgeons in the country. And the best one happened to be right here at Boulder center for sports medicine, Dr. Steve Paul. Yeah, who would have done I think he’d done his medical school thesis on this particular surgery. He came back to Boulder had surgery a day or two later, and kind of hit the hit the rehab, you know, as hard as possible pushing the boundaries for sure. Yep. I made some really short cranks for myself. indoor trainer. Yeah. So that as soon as I had, you know, about 10 degrees of motion, I could start turning circles, little tiny circles on the left side, big circles on the right side, and then kept lengthening that crank. Hmm. And I think that movement that really early movement after the surgery, completely changed the trajectory of how I was healing. And so every time I would go in for rehab or a checkup, I was way ahead of when I was to the point where I still wasn’t weight bearing, but I remember this pretty vividly. I was at the point where I could, I could stand on the bike and I could definitely pedal hearts seated, and I was so tired of riding inside. And so I decided I’m going to ride outside. Mary held me up in the driveway as I clicked in, and I rolled out and rolled around the street a couple times. I’m like, I’ll be back in an hour. I’ll yell when I come back. Yeah, came back She got me off the bike. And so that path continued. Yeah. And just on the most fortunate recovery trajectory you could possibly imagine. Yeah. And I got back and I, two weeks before those next two World Cups, I was able to do some local races. Yeah, it went really well. I did those two World Cup races and was in the top 20, just barely, but I was the first American amongst the qualifiers. And I made that Olympic team. Wow. And you know, the experience, you can relate to it by going from professional cycling. And thinking that that’s a big deal on a big international sport into the Olympic Games. And seeing it scale that’s different on a quantum level, you’re like, wow, this is really big. It’s kind of overwhelming experience. It is.
And I was a little
apathetic about the commercialism of the Olympic Games. And I thought that was going to qwop really compromise the personal experience, but having that many athletes from all over the world in the same place, like I think, like, the experience just for me, it exceeded my expectations. You know, it’s definitely had there’s some commercial aspects and financial aspect to the Olympics that aren’t in the athletes interests, right. But it’s like being part of the world coming together. And even though it was criticized, I went to opening ceremonies and I went to closing ceremonies and, you know, that experience of unity was pretty special. Mm hmm. I had had a terrible race there. You know, and that was disappointing. Yeah. But the, you know, most Olympic athletes have subpar experiences there. The pressure is so high Right. And you look at, you know, the whole world focus is on the medalists. And that’s a couple like one or 2% of Olympians. Right. So, right. Yeah, that’s, that’s the way that went. And so that experience, you know, it’s funny finally got there thought it might happen as a runner. thought it might happen as a skier. Yeah, I thought it might happen as a mountain bike rider look like definitely wasn’t gonna happen as a mountain bike rider and, and, you know, it happened. So I wouldn’t change the you know, the disappointment of the 96 games, because I think that really changed how I approach sport and how I change how I approach life. I’m glad that it didn’t exactly replay again for Sydney, but it’s like most things in life, the stuff that’s the most traumatic has the most potential for growth. Yeah.
Colby Pearce 48:52
Yeah. Right. The Broken healers.
Yeah, for sure. I mean, when you’re just cruising along, you know, Mine out the potential that’s there.
So, yeah, it was fantastic. It was phenomenal experience
Colby Pearce 49:08
that we have some interesting parallels in our racing journeys in that respect a little bit and only my my running was a little cleaner. I didn’t have the false starts quite so much that you did or the or the challenges you did the trees and well, trees in both cases, I guess for you. But I definitely had a similar experience. I mean, I got to the I remember walking into the dining hall in Athens the first time and looking and seeing that there was a McDonald’s in the Olympic cafeteria, and I was just like, what, what the actual F is going on here? Like,
I didn’t I had identical experience. Yeah.
Colby Pearce 49:48
Like, this does not make any sense. I don’t understand what’s happening. So I’m done. That’s cool. That’s cool.
Yeah, well, and that, you know, there were I don’t know if it was Same when you were there, but there were countries that were flocking to McDonald’s because it was not something that they really had. Sure. I remember Chinese athletes at the McDonald’s booth in the dining hall. Yeah. Like, I wanted to check that out. It was something unique. Yeah.
Colby Pearce 50:16
Yeah. But I also felt that felt that sense of global community and gathering and just there was a very unique energy to the city of Athens when I was there, both in the village and outside the village. And that was pretty special.
Yeah, yeah. I think that the environment of the athlete village because it’s because it’s people from almost every country in the world, right in the same place, with kind of common ambitions and common dreams and common lifestyles of sacrifice and effort. Like, yeah, like, I don’t know how you describe that other than a sensation of unity. Yeah.
Colby Pearce 50:57
Yeah, I agree. That’s a good adjective. There was a lightness to it in from that respect, also, but contrast it with the expectation of performance. And it’s hard to enjoy,
but it’s hard for me anyway, it was hard to kind of bathe in that experience. Yeah, you know, underneath the anxiety of, you know, the race performance anxiety that, you know,
Colby Pearce 51:22
well, a lot of I think comes down to the logistics of the actual event for you because for me, the timing was perfect. So I got there. I also did opening ceremonies and closing ceremonies, but it worked out well for me because the my event was like right in the middle. So I could do opening ceremonies a few days to bounce back. I mean, just so people are aware. You know, going to the ceremony is like a huge commitment as an athlete because you’re waiting for a bus, you’re on a bus, you’re you’re loading on buses with hundreds of other athletes. You’re driving to the stadium, you’re waiting, you’re waiting for an hour while they assembled Thousands of athletes and do this and then you’re walking out onto the field and you’re, you know, raising the flags and doing the thing and you’re part of that whole experience. But by the time it’s all said and done, it’s like, nine hours of standing right? When you’re, you know, if you had a points race or a mountain by cross country within 2448 hours of that event, that’s not ideal preparation, right? Or arguably even a week. This is going to be the biggest race of your whole career, you know, walking around and sweating and not being able to eat for many hours and whatever and dealing with who knows what other challenges. I mean, these are the types of things you think about. So I remember distinctly having a conversation, a long conversation with Bobby Julich about whether he was going to do opening ceremonies, because the men’s road race on the Athens schedule, I think was two days after, right? And he really was torn over it. He really wanted to go, but, you know, he’s talking to his teammates, and they were like, Dude, don’t do it. You know, this is the Olympics and ultimately, he did not go to the opening ceremonies.
I think it must have been a very similar schedule in Sydney because I remember the road racers. Being similar corrected,
Colby Pearce 53:02
yeah, about whether or not to go. And then they were road racer like, this is another contrast being attracted, like, I was like I’m here at the Olympics, you know, basically they give you a choice to stay however long you wanted. And my race being I think I had another week or or more. Before closing ceremonies. I was like, why would I go anywhere else? Right. I’m going to stay here and go see other events and just ride my road bike around Athens and sequel stuff and go for walks and go see ruins with my family. And we did all that stuff. And it was amazing. But the the roadies were off to go race the next weekend. It’s um, you know, I don’t know what I don’t remember what event there was right? some classic or something and something that their teams had him do and I felt bad for him because there it was almost like a long weekend in now for them. And for me, it was like two weeks of, you know, walking around in odd basketball players and gymnast
right? Yeah, that was another fun game in the dining hall was trying to yes that sport. It’s a On like athlete probably spent
Colby Pearce 54:01
a whole day in the dining hall. What
do you think that person does? Right? Like gymnast and basketball players, they’re pretty easy to figure out.
Exactly. But yeah, and then there’s more normal size looking athletes and then they’re get harder.
Colby Pearce 54:14
Yeah. I also remember having a very distinctive moment we, I’m pretty sure it was on the bus to go to cleanse our money. So they dumped on these buses and you’re sitting with you don’t know whom and you kind of get on with a cycling team. But then you’re mixed with other people. And I sat down next to this, this woman and started speaking to her and I believe it was 2004. So 16 years ago, I don’t remember what team she was on. She was on. She was an American, and she was on a team who had one gold medal.
It might have been
Colby Pearce 54:47
I won’t speculate what it was anyway.
It’s hard to say because there’s so many sports in the Olympics that you know, I see anyplace else. Yeah, modern pentathlon.
All of the the shooting water polo
Colby Pearce 55:00
Right now, Water Polo, like just so many sports, so many teams, so many athletes, the scale of the event is really incredible. So I’m sitting next to this woman. And when you go to ceremonies, it’s a standard operating procedure. If you win a medal, you take your medal, you wear it. So I look and she’s wearing cold metal around her neck, like, Oh, you know, this is great. Congratulations. Thank you so much. And she asked me about my sport and how I did and, and we’re talking and I’m asking her where she’s from and stuff. And then after a few minutes, I’m like, you know, can I ask you a favor? She said, Yeah, I’m like, Can I just hold that metal for a second? I just want to see it. She was like, sure, took it off, handed it to me. And it was such a potent moment, because I simultaneously held this gold medal that this this woman’s entire, I don’t know how many years of our life and our dreams and our so much effort and I’m sure blood, sweat and tears have gone into it. And it was such a symbol of all that work. And it simultaneously struck me What a powerful symbol it was. And then it also was just a symbol, like holding the metal on my hands. I was like, This really isn’t. This is just like all the metals I have hanging on a nail in my garage from local criteriums. Like, other than the fact that it says Olympic games on it, and that it’s probably plated in gold, instead of plated in whatever our local criteria metals are plated in gold ish stuff. It wasn’t any. It wasn’t it didn’t have this massive weight. It didn’t. I didn’t feel electricity going through my hand fingers. You know, I didn’t hear music when I touched it. So it was like, Okay, this is kind of unimpressive in a way, but at the same time, the significance of the symbol of that metal really impacted me. So that was just a sort of an odd juxtaposition. Well, I think valatie to that moment.
Yeah. I think the Olympics in general, I had a similar experience in that something that you look forward to and have ambitions to for years and years and years. And then it comes and it goes.
Colby Pearce 56:58
The only thing I ever
want Olympic partum Yeah, I had depression after the Olympics. Yeah. Because it was something that I focus towards for so long. Yeah. without regard to what it really meant just that that’s what I want to do. I think the process for the Atlanta games and that let down and not going there. And like I said, it kind of refocused me on process rather than outcomes helped with that hangover. But it’s definitely I think, something that a lot of athletes a lot of Olympic athletes go through. Is that alright, here’s a point in time. I was pre Olympics now on post Olympics. Yeah. And now why now? What? Like, I’m still the same person. Mm hmm.
This feels kind of weird, but
Colby Pearce 57:45
there’s no Olympics to shoot. I mean, I was speaking about this in my recent podcast with Jesse stenzel. And and we were talking about how, in the one sense, being an elite athlete is such a simple life because, you know, you get up every day and you’ve got that Olympics or the next world cup of the next world championships and it gets you out of bed even when it’s gray and cloudy and cold and you don’t feel so great or whatever and you you it structures your day gives you that gives you that endpoint to focus on. Yeah. And on in one sense that simplifies your life, it makes things so directed, it makes things so orchestrated, because all the pieces are towards that single end. On the other hand, there’s almost a sense of, of burden. Because unless you’re constantly making progress towards that goal, you have you get the dark side of that the shadow side of this, you start to feel like you’re falling behind. So there’s always this pressure to go there’s always the throttles always on to some degree. It’s just a question of how how throttled it is at any given day or any moment whether you’re doing intervals or whether you’re recovering or whether you’re working on some project or managing the rest of your life so that it can still you can still focus on that goal. And then of course, once you do go to the Olympics, or the World Championships, or whatever it is, Or maybe it’s your state championships. There’s that post. There’s, there’s after right? And life becomes more. There are different goals and different priorities and how do you weigh those? And those subtle interactions between? Well, how do I evaluate the priority of me wanting to go for a nice bike ride versus spend time with my grandma this afternoon? Or do that lawn yard work that’s been wanting to be done for a while or do my taxes which feels yucky, but has to be done. And life becomes more nuanced and subtle, and, and just so not elite athlete? I mean, that’s part of the magic of the Olympics is you feel like a rock star because you’re there and you’re like, I did it. I made it to this cool platform. And there are all these amazing athletes around me and, and I feel like it’s just a very special place. And then that ends and it’s back to reality. So yeah, I agree. I think that’s some that’s a challenge for athletes and It’s all about perspective. Right?
And that’s, you know, that’s something with sport or anything, I guess that you invest in that deeply and focus, like, there’s a monastic aspect of that lifestyle. Yeah. And there’s two sides to the coin. You know, and I look back on and simplicity that, you know, the word you used is something that I relish most about that period in my life is that you are justified in being kind of self absorbed and looking out for just a few number of things. Right. And the simplicity of that life. There’s definitely something special about it. Yeah, it comes at a price. Yeah, it comes at a price. Yeah, it comes at a price. And I, you know, you get to the point, you know, whether it’s a chance, whatever championship race or peak race or whatever it is, that those moments you know, the energy at the Olympics is right are the energy at a peak race for any athlete is great, but it’s still a moment in time. And if you’re not deriving some satisfaction from the process of getting there and the process afterwards, then 99% of your life is not you’re not getting satisfaction from 99% of your life if it has to be those moments your kind of host. Agreed.
Colby Pearce 1:01:25
Agreed. Yeah, absolutely. Well said. You know, it’s, it’s like, you save up your money to buy something, some object for years and years, and you’re convinced that when you buy that object, it’s gonna make you happy, it’s gonna fulfill your life, it’s gonna, it’s gonna make you a different person somehow. And of course, that’s not true. And you can apply that same logic to making the Olympic team or attending the Olympics. Yeah, to be a truly an athlete that’s really imbalanced. I think you need to, to enjoy the practice of being an athlete. Right. And that’s something it took me many years to learn.
When I’m sure as a coach, you probably see that a lot. You know, there are people who are cyclists because they love it. And there are people who are cyclists because they think that’s what’s expected of them or that’s what their spouse or their family thought was important or their peer group that is important and they don’t enjoy it. And they may have a ton of talent and be experiencing success. But it’s the wrong sport for those people. Right? Right now you need to be doing something that you enjoy so that so that you can be pulling satisfaction and peace of mind.
Colby Pearce 1:02:37
Yes, searching for that external validation through the sport all the time without harvesting your own joy from it is gonna be not sustainable. Right? Yeah.
Yeah. So, you know, I ride. It’s part of my life is bike riding, particularly mountain biking. I think the machine of the bicycle is maybe one of the best and engines of humanity. You know, that says the sensation of freedom of getting from A to B and your own power that Yep. Like most people experienced as a young kid. Yep. You know, still pretty magical. You know, we’ve talked about doing, you know, bikepacking tours, you know that, you know, bikepacking on the car at a def trail is part of my medicine, you know, and my recreation and also I’m in a fortunate position that I can justify it as some product development time to Yeah, so yeah.
You know, the recipe of cycling in my life fits pretty well.
Colby Pearce 1:03:37
Yeah, just yesterday, I think he’s returned. He said. I think you said high Alpine medicine. Yeah, yeah. Which is so true. I mean, you know, living here in Colorado where we have We’re so blessed to have access to, to that but it’s, there’s something magic about the air and the energy of the planet when you get above treeline. That’s just my country. prana at that The term you used Yeah, thank you. Yeah, I country prana
that’s special. It really is.
Colby Pearce 1:04:07
Yeah. Yeah. Once you get a taste of it so tires, Travis, you’ve done some cool. You’ve got given been given some good freedom attractive play with neat stuff.
Right? Yeah, for sure. I have a lot of freedom to kind of chase Ingres like product inquiries and suspicions and stuff and see where there might be an opportunity for a unique product or a superior performing product. We do lots and lots of frame geometry prototypes. But, you know, wheels are probably the most important component of road bike or mountain bike. And so we’ve done some experimentation there. And you know, some of that manifests in like the stash bye That you’re talking about and that you ride, which is a 29 by three inch tire. It’s kind of a niche product. But that was pretty fun r&d exercise that required unique frames and unique forks and unique rims and tires. To execute that, we have kind of continued to experiment with different tire volumes and tire diameters. And when I moved into the product development department, we were still running both the Fischer and the track brand, right in the mountain bike segment and Fisher brand was our 29 inch wheel brand. And so I started doing some work and comparative wheel sizes at that point, which was either 26 or 29, where now it’s pretty much 27 five, or 29. Yeah, I know in the pandemic and people dusting off all kinds of bikes right now they’re having trouble finding 26 inch tires, right as you know with things switching to the better small wheel sizes 27 five Why manufacturers stop stocking? 26 inch tires? Right? And a lot of those bikes were sitting in garages for a long time until Yeah, 2020. Now then they got dusted off. And yeah, and they need new tires. Yeah. But that comparative wheel size is kind of part of the trek personality, because we had those two brands. And, honestly, the Fisher brand, the 29 inch wheel platform for the Fisher brand was kind of on the chopping block for 10 years. You know, it just wasn’t taking off to the degree that we expected or we thought was appropriate for its performance parameters.
Colby Pearce 1:06:43
So was Fisher Fisher was the original one of the first 29 or platforms that you track acquired Fisher and then brought it on, but it just didn’t quite ignite is that
that’s pretty yeah, that’s pretty accurate. So yeah, okay. Fisher is one of the original mountain bike brands. Yeah. with specialized and you know, a few other small manufacturers, and true was a part it was a point in the industry where accessing other niches within mountain biking made sense for Trek, which was known as a road brand to acquire some mountain bike brands. Okay, it’s kind of a no this is a great analogy that the GM model of the bike industry so one company had several brands that had different niches. Right. So we had, you know, Lamon, bike sublicensee engraving from Amman, we produce cross bikes and road bikes. We own the client brand, we purchased the client brand. We purchased the Bontrager brand, which is originally a frame brand but then manifest into our component brand, right. But now, as we kind of had more shared technology and brand equity The effort of maintaining all those brands independently was was overwhelming. And during that period of Fisher being this mountain bike brand that was 29 focused, then it struggled to get wide acceptance. Because one of those things we talked about earlier, you know, there’s some entrenchment and resistance to good ideas. Yep. Even if they’re good, good. And then right about the point where we decide to roll Fisher into the track mountain bike group as the Fisher collection bike track, was about the time Europe decided to change their mind from 29 years are really dumb to 29 years are the best thing ever. And so, it was kind of the end, the the, you know, the path had already been set for the end of Fisher as its independent brand. But it was kind of the beginning of the real boom of 2019 wheels. And so 29 year sales took off at that point, in what year was this? This would have been in early 2000s? Yeah, maybe around 2003 2004 is when this was going on. Okay. And, you know, finally at that point there was tire options, 29 inch tire options that were comparable with 26 quality enough different tread varieties, different varieties, enough rims, good forks, you know, and so there was better apples to apples comparison. You know, anything that’s kind of groundbreaking, the few first few prototypes for su iterations are myopic, in a sense is that they’re no if you only have one tire, it’s really good for one condition. You think about that, right? You don’t have all the choices, it’s going to be a deterrent to switching to a new platform. Yep. But that so that’s part of the trek legacy is is a really good, I think intellectual understanding of different diameters and different tire volumes and performance. And so we did during that time when we had dreck as a 29 inch platform and track as the 26 inch platform, Fisher the 29 inch platform, but 29 was growing and we wanted some of those characteristics without cannibalizing sales, because we had a lot of dealers that had were both Trek and Fisher dealers. That’s when that mixed wheel platform project of the six Niner came out. Yep. Because it had a lot of the steering stability of a 29 without it being a full 29. And so and that was really mostly what was the end of that project is that we almost overnight in one season. We didn’t have that issue of it being a specialty category for 29. And we didn’t have to separate banned brands to maintain. So even though there are some you Unique 226 unique 229 performance characteristics of a mixed wheel platform. Yep, we didn’t need that elegant solution to having some 29 inch character in the track line. Different from the 20s 29 inch bikes in the Fisher luxury line. Yeah,
Colby Pearce 1:11:19
that’s interesting. I remember that was about the time that I was doing the Breck epic stage race with you and yeah, and Jeremiah Bishop and I was riding on canadel at that point, and we were on the first scalpel frames and those frames were very twitchy in the front end. Yeah. And Jeremiah proposed proposed a solution for me is like, well, you can just put a 650 b front wheel right like, you just need a lefty hub because that had a lefty suspension fork with one arm and and you can build you just find a six B rim and build up the wheel and then effectively you’re making I mean, I don’t know if it if a bike with a 29 inch front wheel, and I was 26 rear wheels of 69 or I don’t know what my mind was called six. 650 b six are
right but but that mix platform and you try that I
Colby Pearce 1:12:05
raised it for three four seasons and it calmed down the handling of the scalpel made it more stable and two cents more. There was really seemingly no downside it just helped the bike handle better and then Candela eventually re rework the geometry that by committed adultery Niner and change the suspension and relax the geometry it became more progressive but I don’t remember what the head angle was on the original scalpel but it was a twitchy break on twitchy bike for sure
yeah, so all in all when we go back now and write 26 inch wheel bikes, they all fields they
Colby Pearce 1:12:36
all feel like a cat on cocaine. Yeah, yeah. The other interesting point on that is so racing on the track. The vast vast majority of all racers Of course, race 700 see and track is a world where you know, the skinny tire even to this day still somewhat remains a thing like I mean when I was racing in the mid to late 90s on the rode for Shaklee and cart a cyclist I was racing a 19 millimeter tubular tires was very common or 21 millimeter to to build tires and I was pumping them up to no joke 125 130 psi right and racing criteriums on that. And somehow most of the time I managed to not die or fall down. And I was convinced at the time I had an instinct that that was the fastest psi for me now whether or not that’s true or not, who knows?
That would depend on the terrain,
Colby Pearce 1:13:27
the terrain could be a really smooth surface and I also I also honestly believe that writing style plays into it. I think there were certain dynamics of being in a peloton that played out to me leading to that conclusion and some of them were like, consider that I’m about 62 kilograms hundred and 40 145 pounds depending on what time of year and what season we’re talking about. So I’m missing about 2030 pounds of muscle compared to the average rider in the US peloton or an international peloton and when you have a lot of corners, Through every long corner, I’m even if I enter the corner with the same speed, I just don’t carry as much inertia. So I’m losing sometimes I lose a bike length and long corners on guys who weighed 20 pounds more than me, right? So one of the sacrifices I made was I run higher psi. But that requires me to be a better bike handler, right, in less grip, a little less grip. So I’ve got I really have my act together. So Necessity is the mother of invention, right? So I feel like some of my road cornering skills were forced to be at a higher level because I was dealing with some other will say, and also I didn’t have as big as many horses. I wasn’t an especially powerful rider, you know, but DRAM racing, so you got to figure out a way to solve the equation. This is what’s cool about athletics. And this is one of the reasons I think that the expression watts is watts just annoys the crap out.
There’s so many other ways to skin a cat. Especially especially road cycling. Yeah, cuz the aerodynamic component
Colby Pearce 1:14:56
and the pellet play of the peloton and now you use your power and when You use it in a race and all those little nuances, right? Yeah unquantifiable. The other extreme example, which went backwards is I was teammates with Jamie Carney for a long time. And Jamie actually rode 650 b wheels on his track bike. And his rationale was that if he had a smaller front wheel, he could draft more closely to the rider in front of him, right giving him a benefit of recovery benefit. And that only, but the entire premise of that wheel size being an advantage was based on three things, or two ideas and one challenge. The challenge was getting tires, just as you said, he could find 650 b tires because of course for many years before the UCI outlawed it, there were time trial and track bikes that had different size wheels. And usually the smaller wheel was the front wheel, back
mount bike, right and at that point, they were using even some smaller wheels then,
Colby Pearce 1:15:53
yeah, oh, yeah. Yeah, for some of the bikes. Yeah. Especially for the project. 96 bikes. I think that 20 And the front of her murmur correctly. And so then you’ve got these crazy tires, right? And those are all 18 millimeter tires, of course. So Jamie had to get tires, that was his challenge. And most the time he managed to pull that off and get acceptable quality, you know, you got to have a pretty nice tire to go fast on a velodrome in a world at the world level. And he’s racing World Cups and World Championships and pinning games and the like. But the other interesting part is his advantage is only processed on the fact that I don’t know if that’s a word. It’s it’s framed by the, the fact that everyone else in the points race or medicine or scratch race, whatever event he’s competing in is using standard size wheels. Because the advantage is that he’s using a different size than everyone else on the track. Right, right. Um, it’s also based on the idea that riders have a certain reflective habit on where they’ll draft off of someone like when you’re in a paceline. As an experienced writer, you learn how far away you can be from someone but it’s not because you’re staring at the Distance between your wheels. It’s based on your sense of space between their butt and their frame and their hub. And they’re all those parts together. And since Jimmy’s rear wheel is a smaller diameter, if people actually paid attention, they realized they could actually draft a much closer to him to
as he wasn’t, he wasn’t riding a mixed wheel. Correct.
Colby Pearce 1:17:20
It was 50 b front and rear. So assuming people didn’t figure that out, which probably most the time they don’t because you don’t you’re in a points race. You just behave as though Jamie were riding the same wheels as everyone else. You’re not going to notice that when you’re racing behind him probably. So anyway, it was interesting idea. He used it for a number of years. I don’t know
Do you think there’s an argument for a track bike with just really long chain stays to keep people from drafting Yeah.
Colby Pearce 1:17:46
Maybe because chainstay length on a track bike probably wouldn’t impact handling the way it would in any other discipline because of course, you know, when the when front center really center bottom bracket drop, and chainstay or chainstay length impact handling the most is when you’re coasting and driving the bike through a corner, whether that’s on uneven loose terrain on a mountain bike or through a berm or on a road descent, you know coast on a track bike, if you’re coasting on a track bike, something went really wrong. So maybe maybe there is I don’t know,
if there weren’t like with your experience and wheel size and such a unique application. If there weren’t the UCI restrictions on wheel diameter, I think there would be what do you think the diameters would be ideal
Colby Pearce 1:18:35
wheel? Yeah. For track
because I know for a while there were from reading history. There were some track records set with really small
Colby Pearce 1:18:45
daily also huge member measures by right right. Yeah, you had that massive rear disc made when he said our record at one point and he had a I don’t recall if he had a smaller front wheel than a 700 c four. It was the standard diameter and have to look that up, to be honest but remember the rear wheel being Massive I recall correctly at a split see two because it went. Yeah, yeah. So far forward over the BB. Um,
I think I recall, like team time trial records. Oh yeah, with really small wheel Oh, yeah, exactly what you’re talking about it allowed the riders to be closer to each other. And
Colby Pearce 1:19:18
I think some of it was also that before arrow bars were a thing. People had their the idea that they wanted a bullhorn bar which was more arrow than a drop bar, and they wanted that bullhorn bar to be very, very low. And that required that necessitate a very short head tube and for a rider who was less than will say, my height five, nine, you would need a small front wheel was might be the only way to get that down there because in the day of quill stems, you didn’t have negative 30 degrees stems, right, those things didn’t. People weren’t solving the equation that way. And I also think they thought, well, a smaller wheels, a more Aero wheel because it breaks less wind. They weren’t really probably accounting for the fact that breaking the wind through a wheel which is basically a controllable shape. You know, a manipulable shape is probably more ideal, you might be able to park the wind around the rider using a lenticular disc, for example, might be more efficient than using a smaller, flatter disc or whatever. So I think it’s, you know, only in the last 10 or 15 years, I’d say have people on the whole start to think of the aerodynamic rider like wheel combination as a unit as a package. We used to do things like put a fork in a wind tunnel and say how Aero is this fork right now, we realize that’s you got to evaluate the whole system. It’s all about context. Yeah, it’s about the airflow between the wheel and the fork blades, and the foot behind the wheel and how the negative pressure influences the air and all those it’s,
I find that really curious and interesting for you know, especially when we start talking about wheel diameter. Mm hmm. You know, in my limited understanding of fluid dynamics and aerodynamics, you know, there seems to be some situation, situational arguments for smaller on the Smooth, you know on like on the track, right whereas on the mountain bike we’re always talking about something bigger.
Colby Pearce 1:21:06
Always. Yeah. So Well, that’s a great point. I mean, okay, let’s think about it this way if we look at the fact that most international standard veterans are all 250 meters long and they’re wood in their indoor now finally you see I made that call and about well, they finally make myself sound old. I think that was in 2005 or something. They said all international competitions have to be held on an indoor velodrome. Okay, that was a good call. But 250 meter velodromes, basically the geometry there’s no real standard other than the fact that on the black line, the velodrome needs to be certified to be 250 meters in length. There’s no standard for the banking, the geometry of the transitions. The width of the track, there’s a minimum but there’s no maximum. So some tracks are a certain width on the straights and then they get wider in the corners, whereas other velodromes are constant with all the way around and that has subtle but non trivial impacts on the way racing plays out on master racing or timed events as well, depending on which discipline you’re talking about, but fundamentally these tracks were designed with one event in mind as my historical velodrome geometry architecture understands it, which is basically for a team pursuit. And the idea behind the design of a velodrome is pretty simple. When you’ve got a four rider team pursuit, when the lead rider pulls off, and goes high, the other three riders go underneath and the fourth rider should be able to do a smooth, clean transitional arc without losing speed and drop into the fourth position. So they drop off at the entrance to the turn and return to the to the team at the exit at the turn. And the geometry of the track and the transitions from the angle of the straight to the torn to the corners is basically designed with that process in mind. So we’re talking about what’s interesting too is that team pursuit teams that The speeds have gone up so much, especially in the last about five years, the tines have been dropping and dropping, dropping. So now riders are riding at higher velocities than those tracks were theoretically designed for. They’re still making it work. But it makes you wonder when they’re when we might hit some sort of limit. I don’t know, I
don’t know, and then have to build a bigger track. I don’t
Colby Pearce 1:23:22
know if the track would be bigger necessarily. I don’t think people would want a bigger track because that changes the stadium footprint. And there’s all these implications as far as building size and how many people you can get in there and all that other stuff, but and also, a lot of World Record times are based on numbers. All right. Yeah. They
have to have some standardization.
Colby Pearce 1:23:40
Yeah, so books are an indoor sport, but I don’t know probably, I would guess that then with higher speed you need Super bankings. Right. higher speed, bigger lean angle. Yeah, you need bigger banking. So there’s a point when the riders are going to be going steering up track and then at the top of an external Change when their angle changes from acute relative to the banking of the velodrome, to up to use and they start to turn back down. If their speed is great enough in theory, I mean, you’d have to, there’s no way they’re going to clip a pedal, but I don’t know what they might just lose traction and start sliding become unsafe. That would be the issue. But you know, I don’t think
that the, like a team pursuit would pursue smaller wheeled bikes. If they had the freedom to do that.
Colby Pearce 1:24:31
Well, they do now they, in theory they do because the UCI regulations are that the wheels, there’s limits on the small size and the large size of the wheel, but the only stipulation is front wheel. Front and rear wheel diameters have to be the same, right? So they could be using dual 20 fours if they thought it was advantageous. I think the perception is that there’s a trade off in smaller wheels with rolling resistance, which I’m sure you would agree with. So Seems like 700 sees just sort of the default settled on spot, whether it’s optimal? That’s a great question. I think, yeah, it’s, I don’t know,
I, you know, in my experience and offer a testing you know, there are still some surfaces where 26 inch wheel bike is faster, but has to be really smooth and really good traction. You know, and heartbreaking to stop and an acceleration and that almost never manifests in a real an average. Yeah, cross country course. Right. But if you if you took those out, I was just curious, you know, we’re advantages. The UCI actually projected that mixed wheel ban onto mountain bikes for quite some time and made that six nine year bike and the mixed wheel platform bikes, illegal tech from a technical standpoint, right but it was at a time when Jeremiah you know was right. Is Cannondale that way and handful of other people riding mixed wheel bikes that way because there were they weren’t enforcing it. Oh, but then like, you know, like, not allowing disc brakes and cross they’ve abandoned that arbitrary rule, which is allowed for a little bit more development. I forgot about there still are there still are some overall diameter limitations, I think. Which is relevant from a product development standpoint. In some cases, if you want your world cup riders to ride them, yeah. But there’s a path for kind of creating that new opportunity in the mountain bike category with appeals with the UCI technical commission. I my own ideas about the relevance of the commission but yeah, there are some pathways if that was something that someone really wanted to pursue. But But the other thing is that you almost sell no bikes to people that are doing UCI. UCI races so right there’s the everyone you sell a bike to isn’t competing in those. So is it relevant to how it UCI compliant in mountain bikes? I’m not sure it is not
Colby Pearce 1:27:11
such an interesting paradox for manufacturers like you have your elite athletes who are who everyone’s watching and writing out and seeing on the news and and you want. Ostensibly, you want to use those athletes that you sponsor as your salespeople, your ultimate salespeople. bike is but they’re the regulations those athletes are subject to in competition do not apply to 90% of your consumer base, right? So it doesn’t make that much sense. So then you end up with a weekend warrior who can build a an eight pound road bike with loose German componentry. And it’s half the weight of what, you know, rider who’s making their living riding at the tour francese riding on right? That’s it makes sense.
It’s happened a little bit with that road bike weight limit where it’s allowed other technologies to be explored of like, that’s all resistant to putting power meters on you know that you’re still at a certain larger tires experiment with that
Colby Pearce 1:28:06
because the bikes going to be at limit anyway.
Yeah, listening their minds to some of those things but it hasn’t gotten that far. It hasn’t gone to different wheel sizes anyway.
Colby Pearce 1:28:15
Right? That would be so challenging in road cycling because of course then you’ve got the whole flat tire right and prank
gaming mechanic and we bridge that challenge with disc wheels.
Colby Pearce 1:28:26
There, you know, we have a lot of discussion and resistance, right?
Right. Dramatic videos are able to slicing pieces of meat on rotors and stuff like literally dropping steak on top of rotors, right. But you know, the funny thing about that whole part of the argument against disc brakes on road bikes was that no one ever showed all of the injuries from chain rings, right, right. I mean, there were more even more injuries from chain rings from big chain rings when you had a crash in your in your small chain ring and you had those teeth exposed. Yeah. So there it’s the same path of argument you would use to say, oh, everyone has to use a one by four safety. Right? That never happened.
yeah, I gotta say.
Colby Pearce 1:29:16
disc brakes are just the technologies in arguably superior. Yeah, in arguably superior.
Well, and it’s part of partially covering the ergonomic compromise of, of the levers that we’ve had. We’ve talked about before. Yeah, you know, you you know with a rim brake on the hoods, cyclocross or wet road riding or whatever, you got to forefinger death grip, in order to get the braking power, you need to slow down so disc brakes have eliminated eliminated some of that finger force.
Colby Pearce 1:29:43
Yes, for sure. For sure. massive improvement in safety that way. Yeah. And that’s assuming, you know, for you and I who ostensibly we have healthy hands and strong fingers, but not everyone’s in that position. I mean, I find to have, you know, battling wrist injuries or other things. Where they just don’t have the grip strength to, to handle that. And for them electronic shifting and dyspraxia is you know, it’s just a matter of Game Changer game changer in terms of safety and convenience and ability to ride their bike and enjoy cycling and still feel like they’re not about to, to have their hand slip off the charger, or be able to control the bike on a braking load, I guess. And I’m saying but so you’ve played with some really big tire sizes. Tell us about some of your cool prototypes and some things you’ve had had made in the world of monster tires?
Yeah, well, yeah, within that kind of curiosity and inquiry of things that could potentially provide a performance advantage. I’ve done what I can to experiment with wheels that are larger than 29. And that’s part of this overall inquiry into mixed wheel platforms and like, what tires actually do the performance on a bike on a given terrain, right. And so there are a few larger diameters and tires available, and They’re usually created for the unicycle industry because on unicycle has its own endurance, kind of sub discipline people who do endurance unicycle races, and like a high Wheeler, like a penny farthing. Yeah, your gear is dictated by the size of the wheel on the wheel. So you will there Do they want the biggest wheel that they can basically stand on and pedal. And so there are both 32 inch and 36 inch tires and rims available that we can build into mountain bikes. And the quality of the tires and the rims is pretty low. And so you get some of the impression of what it would be like as a race product or as a refined trail bike product. But then you still have to extrapolate quite a bit. It’s offset by the lower quality the casing or low quality casing. Basically it’s a it’s a wire bead, yeah. 30 TPI, two ply casing Yeah. So it’s almost twice as heavy as a Kevlar bead, 120 TPI, single ply casing, right. So that’s a big penalty, especially on a 36 inch wheel. So if you’re going to do comparisons and have some objective metrics for comparison, you have to find really crappy tires for a 29 inch wheel bike and then do the comparison that way. And that’s surprisingly hard to find an identical low quality tire for things with a 29 inch wheel. Right, right. But we’ve done some of that. And from what I can tell, there definitely are opportunities for faster wheels and larger diameters, on rough terrains, or on slick terrains. It feels the same way it did when we were doing all this comparison of 26 and 29. It feels slower. Uh huh. But when you start To put a time on it, and as the terrain gets looser, or rougher or slicker, they’re almost always faster. Interesting. Now we The next stage is to scale that to a high quality tire. Yeah. and prove like, in the best case, pro level components. This is actually faster, and it’s faster on these terrains, and it’s slower on these terrains. And we’ll probably have a break point of that. I would suspect it’s similar to what it is currently between 26 and 29. You know, a larger wheel is going to be heavier, and it’s going to be less stiff.
Colby Pearce 1:33:37
Yeah. Have you so totally penalizes you during accelerations
or really steep climbing because that’s basically an acceleration on every
right? However, that one thing and we learned this in the 29 to 26 and 29 to 27 five comparison is that the maintenance of that inertia Through the dead part of your stroke or the maintenance of that inertia through a corner is an advantage that you don’t feel
as the motor right? You
always feel the resistance of the inertia when you push on the pedals. But we’re not really we’re not nearly as good as test riders at feeling maintenance in those those dead spots. So interesting
Colby Pearce 1:34:21
when you can’t pedal. Yeah. So I had this conversation in my fit studio all the time with people who are about how I mean, cycling’s got a bad rap in some respects because it it’s a sport for all the endurance sports, I think Cycling is the one that allows the crappiest technique. Like, if you’re a bad cross country skates gear. If you’re really bad, you can’t skate you’ll fall over like it’s so balanced intensive. Are you saying because of the inertia stability of the sir. Yeah, well, yes in that or also the inertial stability of a trainer with a really heavy flywheel. So we’ve all these people have been riding indoors and doing swift and now they go outside. They don’t know why. They they’re taking So bad or their back hurts at their knee hurts or their leg hurts. It’s like drainer syndrome. And I have to explain to them like, okay, a trainer camouflages dead spots. Because that big heavy fly once you get it going, you can just jab at the pedals right and really be pretty atrocious it you’re not smoothing your pedal stroke, you’re not really developing or making power with a supple muscle at all, you just kind of punching at the thing just jabbing, jabbing and you’re and also your position can be way out of whack your salad can be way too far forward, away high or low or whatever. And the inertial kind of camouflage that to a degree, right? It’s like that big heavy fly. But once you get it going, it costs you through the dead spots. Also similar to a fixed gear on the track, right? That fixed gear camouflage is dead spots to agree. The weird juxtaposition is that if you write a fixed gear bike on the road, you also have to pedal at very high cadence as you go down a hill. So that does force the development a supple muscle but anytime you’re making power of the fixed gear, you can have a pretty crappy dead spot and the The wheel will drive you through that dead spot. The same thing is true for people who live in really flat terrain places like if you live in Florida, you can ride with a pretty lousy pedal stroke to be honest and not necessarily figure it out. Because flat riding camouflages dead spots as soon as you get the bike and the rider up to speed, you can be pretty sloppy. But the inverse of that is writing them out by cup a really steep loose climb, you’ve got if your dead spots really big or if you’re the difference between your your low point of power and your high point of I should say torque actually, in the stroke is too There’s too much differential. Then when you hit the torque at three o’clock or four o’clock, you’ll break traction, right? So you have to smooth your pedal stroke. You got to put a little power in during the day it’s about at least and you can’t be too snappy
at the high point. Right? So I remember being a little surprised by that pedaling dynamic per discipline data when you know We started doing some training for the Olympics at the training center and working with the biomechanics there and
Colby Pearce 1:37:04
I was just broker I think, right. I’m pretty produced a graph and they talked about it in the mountain bikers had the smoothest stroke. Yeah. And yeah,
and we thought we were already the redheaded stepchild of cycling, right, the new kids to the party, right. And somewhat, you know, kind of the Neanderthals of, of cycling. And we thought those, you know, by mechanistic analysis that we were going to be terrible. And it was exactly for that reason is that you develop a good power, you know, around stroke to keep traction. Yep. And it was the, the track riders at high rpm. Yeah, and the mountain bike riders that have the smoothest strokes. And the other thing that was interesting about the track riders is that their low rpm pedaling
Colby Pearce 1:37:48
was not efficient. That’s exactly why because the the fixed gear can make bad habits. Hmm, yeah, it’s interesting. Um, it What I love about that whole, that whole study In that those pieces of data is that it reminds us how the athlete solves the equation. Right? And the human body figures it out instinctively, we just figure it out, figure things out as athletes like adaptability, you just you just start to learn. Like, this doesn’t work for me. This does work for me, how do I make power going up this steep climb? And you just nervous system figures it out, right? without necessarily consciously applying things, right? So that’s cool.
Yeah, we got to give our bodies, our bodies more credit for sorting things when we’re in this world of reductionism and analysis and being able to have metrics that explain it very clearly. And it’s always some kind of stretch, if you’re really tacking it down in your explanation. You’re making some big leaps in there. I think most times, yeah. Yeah. Because there’s always so so many so much more analysis that could be done that can’t be done.
Colby Pearce 1:38:54
Right. balance in all things, right. Yeah, for sure. So Good. Um, thank you for the the, the journey down. We’ll doggedness I appreciate that. Um, there’s one other topic I want to bring up if if you’re okay with it, and that is I know you’ve had some, some health challenges recently and specifically you had a brush with melanoma, correct?
Yeah. Yeah, a few years ago.
2017 I think, you know, I was in for my annual dermatologist screen and I’d actually had a spot on my arm on the top of my forearm that I’d been aware of for a long time and had been asking the dermatologist about for a long time, and I don’t know if I, I saw it change extra but I went in like it six months, I think six or eight months. So ahead of my annual checkup. I said I want you to look at this one again. Yeah. And I don’t know if it was because of what I said but they biopsied it. And it was a malignant melanoma. And so, having, you know, knowing the behavior of melanoma, you know what I was in see you had a biology that cancer cell class and knowing that I had it had been there for at least 10 years. That was pretty scary, huh? And it kind of reprioritized life and mortality and a lot of things like that. Because I, you know, didn’t know that’s kind of a cancer of skin cancer generally is very easily curable. As if you get it you catch it early and melanoma in particular, it’s kind of either surgery and no metastasis or surgery. Tons of metastasis. It’s over, right. Fortunately for me, it was a former right and, but I had a couple months to think about it before the biopsies of the surgery came back. That was a good kind of recalibration of life. Yeah, I definitely have had a lot of hours at high altitude with my arms exposed, right, like at the perfect angle to just absorb as much sun as possible. So I’m pretty much only long sleeves now much more cognizant about protection from sun. It’s a little late for the long term damage. And I think lots of people kind of realize that late but, you know, um, yeah, you know, dodged that bullet, my bike still produce the conditions for that. So I’m extra careful now, because I still being outside is still priority. Important medicine, too. Yeah. Yeah. And are you using sunscreen or use more mechanical sun? Mostly covering just because of the chemicals in sunscreen? Yeah, right. If you’re outside in Sun every day and putting sunscreen on every day, I think there’s some fair Question about the health effects of that.
Yeah. So I have a lot of
really cool looking brims on my cycling helmets and sunshades on my cycling helmets. Yeah, tongue in cheek.
And I wear long sleeves and warmers most of the time. Yeah. Or sunshades on my legs, like for those long tours, I wear full leg warmers and full arms all the time.
Colby Pearce 1:42:25
Yeah, yeah. So when you’re in high country, that he usually isn’t too much of an issue but
right and, and I think, I don’t know, if I’m adapting to it or just accept, it’s the way it is, you know, a really thin sun covering for your arms, if it’s white can be cooler, you know, your reflect a lot of thermal energy that way and even though you have an additional layer there, it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be when I’m like, Alright, I’m committed to pretty much covering up on all rides now. Right. So very fortunate outcome for that and changed my practice of being outside.
I have a 16 year old daughter, right likes to get a tan.
I probably remind her more than she thinks is enough that, you know, I think I just read some study that as few as five peeling sunburns before age 20 doubles your risk of skin cancer. Interesting. It’s when those you know, those, those epithelial cells are formative, you know? Yeah, that the damage manifests long term. Yep, so sunburns for young people are the most damaging. Ah,
Colby Pearce 1:43:43
yeah. And there’s got to be balancing all that right. I mean, I assume that some people probably just develop more of a natural sun callus or naturally develop a son a callus will say
yeah, hands and Halloween introduction and yeah, yeah. And you know, doing that graphic From my understanding now through through this experience, is that a little bit of sun to start to get tan? Yeah, I mean, there are a lot of health benefits, obviously vitamin DS, we’re starting to realize how fundamentally that important that is to, to our health and our immune systems. Right. But the difference between very gradually getting at Yan Yep, and burning the shit out of yourself. Yeah, and having
Colby Pearce 1:44:25
you know, those are pretty freaky. I remember falling asleep in the sun when I was a young boy and just getting absolutely scorch. So that was I definitely had I probably have more than five. Yeah, yeah. Well, and then the amount of time that somehow you can spend riding without injury, right. It’s part of the magic of cycling. You know, you’re out your arms or they’re in a perfect solar panel at the angle. Yeah, especially here in Colorado. So sunny here, but what’s odd about Cycling is that I feel like I think in the summer, clearly, we get Probably most cyclists do pretty well in vitamin D in sun exposure just through forearm exposure. But when you add up the number of hours of like where the angle is pretty obtuse in the fall or in the spring, and when you like, especially if the weather’s cool and any wearing arm warmers you’re really not getting that much sun. So there’s this. Yeah, there’s balance in all things. Right.
And well, it might be a little ironic, but I’ll spend five or 10 minutes outside without a shirt on, you know, a couple times a week to Yeah, just to get her that healthy production. Right. And to keep that, you know, I think sometimes it’s referred to as like the the P 450. system, which is basically, course correcting damage DNA, your body has a profound ability to heal itself if it’s functioning well, yes. And there’s mechanisms for almost to address all disease but a lot of us are pretty detached from that
divine healing wisdom, greed. Yeah,
Colby Pearce 1:46:01
yeah. Very well said, Yeah, the the body is the perfect healing machine. You just have to give it the tools and get out of the way. Right. Right. The water, the nutrients, the time, the air. proper breathing. Yeah, some positive thought and then let it do its thing. But yeah. Cool. Well thank you so much for coming in and spending time today and sharing your thoughts and your stories and wisdom. I appreciate it.
Yeah, thank you. It’s always a pleasure to dig into technology and lifestyle with you and mind your experience
Colby Pearce 1:46:37
on a similar path. For enjoyable, thank you. I’d like to express my gratitude for enjoying the episode with Travis Brown. I’m sure you’ll agree he shared some interesting nuggets. One thing I neglected to ask Travis about was his win at the 2002 singlespeed world
Colby Pearce 1:47:02
And those World Championships should be viewed in air quotes, because it’s singlespeed. So what’s unique about this races when you when you are required to get a tattoo that displays your victory, that’s just how it goes. So we’re gonna put a link in the show notes to Travis displaying his tattoo that he he earned after his victory. Also, I distinctly remember seeing the trophy from this victory in his house many years ago. And if memory serves, it was a glass jar with a bisected pig fetus in it. So, that tells you a lot about cyclocross and then the sub chapter of cyclocross fat which is singlespeed It’s a special beast. Thanks again for listening. If you want to make some comments about this or any of my other episodes, hit me on the old electronic mailings, make the keyboard mudros cycling in alignment at fast labs.com. standard disclaimer, my inbox is exploding. Let’s take a look. Let’s just see where it’s at right now, just for fun. I don’t know how you manage your inbox, but I shoot for zero. And right now I’m at 34. Some of you will laugh because I know there are people out there who run around with giant red numbers on their inboxes like 1076. That is not how I roll, that stuff goes away. But these 34 emails are all emails that I actually must respond to with words, complete sentences, maybe even possibly misspell the times. But I do my best. So I do enjoy your feedback. I’ve been getting a lot of feedback on the podcast and I appreciate that. Some of it’s been positive, much of it’s been really positive. A lot of it’s been You’re an idiot. You don’t know what you’re talking about. And I read all the feedback and I consider all of it so good better. Otherwise, send me your thoughts. Thanks. Have a nice day.
Colby Pearce 1:49:01
Listen up monkeys. The ramblings on this podcast represent me and me alone. They’re not indicative of the thoughts or opinions of fast labs or Chris case or Trevor Connor, or anyone else. Also, none of this advice is intended to prescribe or diagnose anything. I’m not a doctor, I don’t play one on the internet. So, just want to be clear on those points. Thanks for listening.