Jana Martin //

7 // Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of EF Education First Pro Cycling Team

Long-time friends, training partners, and competitors, Jonathan Vaughters and Colby Pearce have a deep racing history and relationship. With decades of experience in pro cycling, they have gained many insights about training, coaching, and the trajectory of the sport.

Colby and JV first discuss their early training techniques, taught to them by their first cycling coach, Adrie Van Diemen, a Dutch exercise physiologist now with UAE Team Emirates. Many of the techniques are now considered to be standard practice. The pair reminisce about how they were ahead of their time, in many ways, even though they didn’t realize it.

Vaughters, who has coached many pro cyclists over the years, then gives examples of experiments gone right—and wrong—and how certain training regimens should be applied to certain types of athletes. He also openly discusses the conflict of interest in coaching athletes while also serving as their team manager.

The discussion then turns to the finer details of cycling technique, including a detailed explanation of how crank length affects a rider’s ability to climb, sprint, and win. JV even describes the time he swapped cranks behind the back of his former team manager, Johan Bruyneel.

Next, the conversation turns to Rigoberto Urán, who finished second in the 2017 Tour de France. The Colombian’s diet at that year’s race included bananas and… bananas. Vaughters uses that example to illustrate how the natural and simple solution oftentimes bests all of the “advanced” nutrition expertise in the world—and how athletes often discover what works best for them and “solve their own equation.”

That, and much more, in today’s episode of “Cycling in Alignment.”

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TRANSCRIPTION

(Please excuse any typos as this transcript is generated automatically through A.I.)

Intro
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
Greetings, podcast listeners. Thank you for joining us for today’s episode with none other than the legendary Jonathan Vaughters. That’s voters which is spelled like daughters but with a V in case you were wondering. Today we get deep into the woods on some training methods. How we were both trained under the legendary Dutch coach Andrie Van Diemen jayvees training methods with some of the riders on the EF team and many of our early racing adventures, including the front Miss went hanging things out the window of my Honda Accord as a pseudo 17-year-old wind tunnel we do talk over each other a little bit at times the rhythm can lead to some blurted statements on my part.

Sorry about that.

Colby Pearce
In spite of these layers of audio information I believe there are some great nuggets you’ll find wisdom nuggets dropped by gv without further ado, Jonathan Vaughters so in my garage I have a photo of you and I Norm on the trial nationals podium right it’s like the most awkward shot ever because I you won and I got third enormous was that we made a norm sandwich and but you’re like the way that photographer caught you? It’s a it’s an ad. I think Doug ran for car cyclists, right? Because you wrote for comp telecard a cyclist background but like the photo is super awkwardly posed because you’re like, halfway de- like celebrate Tory podium positioning so your wrist is kind of like half weirdly cocked. So you look like you’re pointing at some random object. It’s just really weird, right? But anyway, I mean, you’re winning rational so

Jonathan Vaughters
yeah, so I mean, who cares about exactly right random object?

Colby Pearce
Yeah, I heard that TT well because I decided to be the guy who was like the only way I’m gonna win this if I do ridiculous shit. So I was here I had no blood weld me a 22 centimeter long stem and I read the Superman position in a road time trial with a 700 c front disc. Damn, I didn’t even know you did that. I almost died like multiple times. Yeah,

Jonathan Vaughters
I know. And that was hilly. That wasn’t a flat time. It was on Well, it

Colby Pearce
was on a freeway straight, but it was straight. But it was. Yeah, I just was like, but then like the photographer car would go by and I’d be like, ah, like in the middle. Yeah. terrifying. Yeah. This is a perfect segue into our, our intro conversation about your early cycling mentors and, and the people that you idolized or perhaps Perhaps, maybe didn’t idolize, but

Jonathan Vaughters
yeah, I mean, I certainly had a couple of people who idolized but they certainly wouldn’t have qualified as mentors. I mean, do you remember that I thought Alexi Gray was super cool. But like, he would not be one that. I mean, I don’t even think I ever spoke to him that much less than he tried to mentor me, right. I don’t think he really tried to mentor anyone. Really? Yeah, it wasn’t Alexi style. No, no, that wasn’t like his thing. But yeah, I think the thing is, is in that era of bike racing, like now, all of your young riders that are coming up, they’ve had coaches, they’ve had mentors, they’ve had parents involved. They’ve had the multiple levels of you know, they started in this club, and then they are the parents hired them this coach and yada yada yada. And, yeah, they have a lot of guidance. Like by the time they’re, you know, 20 years old. They have eight years of training peaks files, and they know exactly What their 20-minute power is and their five-minute power and etc, etc. Which, you know, there are good and bad points to that. I mean, you know, but in our generation we were completely self taught, you know, my unit Well, you didn’t have parents. My parents didn’t particularly think bike racing was like the best idea. They were happy to, like, drive me to the races, but they sort of did it halfway but grudgingly right. And, but they certainly weren’t gonna mentor me. I mean, you know, occasionally motor pacing us to the Air Force road race and we’re late, right. Yeah. And I know, that was a that was a great idea that Colby is referring to my mom was trying to motor places on a highway, my mom, okay, she’s 85 years old now. So this is, you know, this is this is 25 years ago, so she’s like 60 so she’s a 60 year old woman in an automobile station wagon attempting a motor pace for the first time. And you know, of course, she’s nervous because we’re driving in the shoulder and she like sees a rabbit go across the street who knows right and like hits the brakes. And I slam into the bumper and go onto the roof of the car. And I called my mom the B word. Yeah. It’s a dog moment. Yeah. Just yelling at your 16 year old mother diving station wagon calling her sorry. Exactly. But anyway, that goes back to my point that we had zero guidance. Like there was, I mean, really none if you if you look at it, like, I mean, there were people that would try to give you advice. I mean, you know, Bart tried to give me advice. And but was it actually good advice or just advice? Yeah, suggested by I, you know, I feel like both you and I, in a way, you could almost say, like, we mentored each other. And we did that just by like reading everything that was possibly available on physiology back then. And then you’d say, Well, I think we should try this. And I’d be like, well, that’s done. Let’s try this instead, or whatever. But the point of it was actually by the time You and I were 21 years old or there abouts we were relative to our peers in terms of what we were doing. I mean, it might not have always been right. But in terms of our thought process and trying to go faster, it was like, way more evolved than what anyone else was doing at that point in time. You know, like I said, it was there’s a high degree of experiment tality to it, but but it was, you know, we were actually sort of pushing in the direction that everything is nowadays. Not trying to say that, you know, we were ahead of our time, but in a lot of ways, actually, we were ahead of our time and, and, you know, and some of those things were wrong. And, you know, in a lot of our theories, I remember, you know, my favorite one being your big year theory, but it’s like, it’s not about like, cool. So there’s the big big gear theory, right? Big Bang Theory. Colby was like, Okay, well, my oxygen carrying capacity isn’t actually that high. So I’m going To utilize the fact that I have more muscle mass, which this isn’t actually done, right? So I’m just on climbs, I’m going to push like massively huge gears, and therefore there’ll be less movement. And therefore, since there’s less movement, I’ll use less oxygen and therefore I’ll climb faster. Did I actually say all that? Yeah. And this is when you’re like, 1617. This isn’t even when you’re when you’re 20? No, this is like 16 or 17 years old. And so there was this sort of this like six month period where Colby tried to go up every single harlot like 50 RPM, and like, it kind of works for like, five minutes. Right? And then you like, completely?

Colby Pearce
Yeah, so especially me being a pretty factually fluid athlete. I didn’t have the greatest force control. So even if I did have the strength to push the gear, I just fall to pieces. My back’s starting to hurt, right cuts funny. Yeah. Huh. Wow, I’d forgotten about that little tidbit. I mean, I’ll so by the time Adrian came along, he was like the person who gets gave us this direction that we needed right? When I started emailing Adrian, did you ever pay

Jonathan Vaughters
Adrie or was that like you just like pilfered?

Colby Pearce
I’ll refresh your memory? Yeah, technically either even demon father even the Dutch coach who worked originally With what? No, no before cycling he was into he was training Dutch soldiers for the

Jonathan Vaughters
Geez What special forces or?

Colby Pearce
yeah like what’s the name of the city next to Amsterdam? Oh then how Yeah, yeah, yeah, he was like training he worked in Den Haag like training right Dutch Special Forces right troops or something to that degree? I don’t know. We’ve now I remember that. I might have romanticized that slightly because we were 20 at the time, but yeah, he trains ninja is basically so are driven demon. So the technical arrangement that you told me was I’m paying Adrian, you pay me and then I’ve okayed this with Adrian that you’re allowed to pay for the program. Now whether or not you actually okayed it with or not, yeah, no idea to this day. We can ask Adrian, but

Jonathan Vaughters
he probably like Didn’t he was he probably thought he was coaching one person.

Colby Pearce
I’m pretty sure that’s what happened. Yeah, but Oh, And that person’s name was at 39674 two@compuserve.com. This is 1995. Like the internet was born the day before.

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah, we got what was one email a week with the training program? Yep. Yep. And that was and there was there wasn’t a whole lot of conversation beyond that one email a week.

Colby Pearce
No, but that that training program was like gold every day, I’d read it and be like, holy crap, this is amazing. And also to set the stage I think, after Greg Oman JB and I were the second and third people in that universe, or at least the United States to get srms. So which cost as much as more or more than many people’s cars at that point, but, and we also didn’t know about a thing called import taxes. So when they showed up, you’re like, Hey, we need an extra $567 or whatever. So she’s like, oh, but man, that thing was amazing. I mean, I like there’s no question I learned so much about even just basic rules of pacing, which, to be fair, a lot of writers now learn so quickly and so early in their careers, they probably don’t really see them as

Jonathan Vaughters
Well, right Actually, I would argue that a lot of the writers now that they’re so focused on the numbers, they actually have no intuitional pacing whatsoever. And you actually have to teach them in time trialing. Like, okay, on this part of the hill, you’re gonna need to go well over Yes, your functional threshold and at the top of the hill, I need you to actually go all the way to sprint, you know, see 100 watts, right and, and they’re just like, like, well, I can’t do that. Yeah, or whatever. And in actually i a lot of times I see now that almost the over information really limits riders and you see riders that that produce massive numbers that actually can’t seem to figure out how to get it onto the road. And

Colby Pearce
so true. This is one of my most frustrating points about modern metrics like because people get confused I think they see the metric as the goal like I don’t give a shit how many watts you make, what place did you get? Did you win the race? Like, I don’t care if you set a wattage PR when you won this race or not? Yeah, do Did you win the race? Like the competitive the goal of competitive Cycling is to win races So, but people are so sensitive about it’s a funny Oh, it’s like the other measuring contest. It’s unbelievable.

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah, that yes. I was gonna describe it to you. But, you know, I made some stupid comment on Twitter. Well, actually, it wasn’t a stupid comment actually was a well thought out comment. But it it, it received a lot of emotional responses. And all it was, was through having one of these like virtual races, and which I, you know, no, no comment on virtual races. And so agreed, you know, the, the results in this race, it was sort of basically a one hour uphill race, roughly, you know, I don’t know, maybe there were two climbs, but they were different than what you would expect. You know, they’re like, I’m, you know, Freddy Ovid, I think, who who’s a runner did really well, and you know, some guys who you think would be, you know, really great, weren’t so great. And it was just, it was different. And one of the guys who didn’t do that, well relative to You think was ramco isn’t it well, and so I made a comment because observing ramco evident oil isn’t a parallel on his bike. He’s very aerodynamic. He has very flexible hips. He’s got short arms, he has like narrow shoulders wide hips, like he’s a classic, like, very sure, I guarantee you he’s low drag in his road position in his time travelers or whatever, like he’s a low drag rider. So you put them in a race on a, you know, on an indoor trainer, and his aerodynamic advantage is evaporated because all they’re doing is some very crude measurement of drag based on height and weight. And so, you know, he just didn’t do that. Well. All right. And so my comment was is interesting that this guy, this guy, this guy, beat event up well, my theory has always been that event equals advantages not the reason he is such a great young cyclist is not that he has such an incredibly high power output but that actually he’s very efficient aerodynamically. Like, I get like 150 like hate tweets you know for I don’t know the rebel How can you say he doesn’t have good power? Well, no, I’m saying he’s a fast bike racer just not an a turbo trainer who cares? Like, yeah, I’ve no idea why anyone would care whether or not he, how he gets to be as fast as he is. But like somehow it was like offensive that I was calling him lower power output and more aerodynamically efficient.

Colby Pearce
Yes, this is, I think I’ll throw this out there. I think this is somewhat of an American value system, but it’s shared in the world of cycling on the whole that we we virtualize or we glorify or or ionize, the writer with a big view too, that’s authentic. That means you’re a real talented writer. And that’s the first thing we all think of by default, there’s a default mode network response like is that person telling hits like what’s their FTP? What’s our video that makes them good? If your arrow well, that kind of counts, but it’s not really and I’ve made several comments about that myself. You know, like I built a whole air quotes cycling career off of having a hammer. Or engine that’s really arrow like I don’t have a problem with that like to me this is part of what makes the game and yeah so there are many aspects and facets to talent but we wave some more than others what was weird about that is that like if I were to say Jonathan you won that race because you out chess match to everybody and you were the brilliant tactician like people would pay that respect. But we all love to talk about the story that the the one time that the guy just ripped everyone off his will with brute force and that’s the most iconic victory you can make. And well, yes and no, I mean, to me, they both have their

Jonathan Vaughters
you know, it’s funny in the way I recruit. I almost overcompensate for that in that, like, I almost am skeptical of like writers that just produce massive numbers on straight roads. And I almost just say yeah, okay, but can they go around a corner? or whatever, you know,

Colby Pearce
and well, this takes us right to Phil perfect, like textbook example of this problem. Yeah. So I feel gaming.

Jonathan Vaughters
But yeah, yeah, I mean, because I was a little bit that way like I wasn’t, I’m kind of aerodynamic, but I had the big vo too. And you know, it’s funny in that I’m almost like, slightly too skeptical of riders that are similar to myself, you know that I tend to be like, Yeah, but that’s it.

Colby Pearce
So you can see probably in your own career, how that on the one hand, that ability served you and the times that limited you because we all tend to think that if if a rider’s carrying around a big vo2, they can just do whatever they want in a bike race, but that’s not really not the case. When you have you have a rider with a big group of two and like

Jonathan Vaughters
poor hip flexibility. So yeah, can’t get down and really wide shoulders, and they aren’t smooth as regards bike handling. They don’t know how to ride at the front of the peloton. They are they can’t ride at the front without expending a lot of energy. I mean, so if they’ve got poor dynamics, poor bike handling ability, I mean a really, you know in in US racing Or I should say just racing worldwide that has big wide roads and small peloton, you can get away with that. Yep. And then as soon as you go to Europe, guys like that rate limiting factor, yeah, they aren’t able to succeed. And what’s interesting you see it over and over again is guys like that, because they have the massive v2 and they were successful, either in North America or maybe like in the, you know, in the Asian tour, or whatever it is. Then they go to Europe and the roads are small and like they no longer have the bike handling ability to stay at the front and or their aerodynamics aren’t that good? And they have all these rate limiting factors that don’t allow them to exploit this massive YouTube and what they do always is say, Oh, it’s because of doping. Like, oh, like the doping. It’s like, Well,

Colby Pearce
yeah, maybe like, maybe you can’t go around a corner. Right? Maybe. But you know, but it’s, it’s, uh, you know, it’s it’s sort of like the default. Yeah, default excuse. Yeah. I think Phil’s the textbook of that because he grew up in Florida and he was just like, probably 5% stronger, a full 5% stronger than the next strongest guy in the whole state who is like 10% stronger than everyone else so Phil and I like I coach Phil for years in case people don’t know I like Phil he’s a great guy. I think what he’s doing now is entertaining and he’s having fun with it so good for him. And I also like the way Phil presents himself on social media in various aspects anyway, off in the weeds, but like he grew up in Florida so strong that he never had to learn well, first of all, they don’t have corners in Florida. No offense, Floridians. But secondly, like he never had to learn how to be how to have any finesse he never went to a peloton with 50 guys who were as strong as him and had to figure out like how do I beat these guys he just he could always brute force everyone and when you’re the only guy in the in the ring with a massive Roundhouse and you go dig it battle the death every time eventually you’re gonna whip out that Roundhouse and kick everybody in the teeth. Mixed analogy But anyway, so like Phil guts to Europe and there’s 150 guys in the peloton who are plus or minus a tiny percentage of his raw ability

Jonathan Vaughters
by the Cornish master and they can arrow or shoulders and they have like they can

Colby Pearce
move up in a pellet. And bump elbows and yeah and deal with bumpy roads and

Jonathan Vaughters
you know the funny the, you know an interesting in this isn’t an American writer but a guy who was fascinating that it was a real head-scratcher in figuring it out and you realize, oh, wow, you know, this is sort of the same thing is he’s European and he grew up doing Dutch races is Thomas Decker. Now Thomas Decker went from he was so strong as a junior and so strong as you 23 that all he ever did. He even in crosswind races like the olympius tour, he could sit last wheel in the peloton and wait for a hill or a crosswind and just rip past everyone up the side and go to the front. And then he goes into the pro ranks in within you know a year or two of in the pro ranks. He’s doping. So like he can still just sit at the back right and just rip up the side of the peloton and did beat everyone right and so then he served doping suspension, the guy has incredible numbers like really, really, really great, you know, numbers in so I say, okay, you know, listen, you are a massive physical talent. I’ll give you a second chance to come back after your suspension. So he comes back and he can’t race like at all. And it’s like, well, you know, Thomas Mann, you’re Dutch, like, you know how to write Crossman’s? Ah, yeah, but do you when you took away the fact that as a junior and you’re 23 that he was just he was naturally stronger than everyone else. And then as a pro he was doping so then he was still stronger than everyone else. He’d never learned how to raise a buck ever. Yeah, even though he’s Dutch and so it was very quickly apparent like holy moly like he’s missing some basic you never you don’t know how to ride in the front of a peloton. You know how to wait until the peloton splits down to 15 guys, and then you just kind of right up to the 15 guys and like, take a breather, and then start racing from there now. gyros. It’s it’s We’re back. But what, you know, as racing becomes tighter and tighter and the margins are smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller,

like that stuff,

Jonathan Vaughters
you know, it becomes impossible to overcome. You know, you have to be an efficient bike racer. To win.

Colby Pearce
Yeah, it’s, um, well, I guess we could

Jonathan Vaughters
say you got it. We got to go back to we gotta go back

Five-Speed Regina Freewheel’s and Good bike handling

Colby Pearce
that well. Yeah. Well, we get synopsize that to bring a story in from my younger racing with Necessity is the mother of invention. I mean, I learned how to corner really fast when I was young, because I wasn’t very strong. And I snuck into a one to race the last day of the super week series, when I was still a three, right? And one day, I just figured out I was like, if I just show up to the start line, I’ve already got a number. No one’s even gonna notice there’s 180 guys in this right. And then, you know, 40 minutes later, I was 170 fourth, like hanging on for dear life. And the only way I was going to survive that credit is to go through every corner about three miles an hour faster than everyone else, right? Just get past you know, on the streets. So this is how racers I mean, to bring maybe part of that conversation full circle is like, when Phil Gaiman or Thomas Decker get into a race of law corners, they’ve never learned how to learn how to have those skills, those cornering skills or those peloton negotiation skills. It was never a survival so and then you it’s Yeah, in a certain respect, it’s like someone who’s always driven a Porsche like you give them a Honda Accord and they just can’t make it go around a corner fast. But when you build someone from the bottom up, ostensibly they have more skills. However, the flipside of that is, you can’t make a resource out of a donkey like, right, I could do vo twos to the end of the time, and I’m never gonna end up with a

Jonathan Vaughters
oxygen capacity of Thomas Decker a lot of this stuff. If you look back to when we were kids, and again, like you and I were experimenting around. We were using SRM a decade before anyone else really was, you know, fascinating about that. It was because both you and I sort of have very similar points in time realized, like, wait, but there’s there is no metric that’s telling us actually what we’re doing. Like as heart rate that tells you what your last year you were sponsored and their speed that is sort of like the end product, but there’s no anyway. Right? which is again, this is very, you know, for like 19 year old kids not I don’t know what was wrong with us but, but a lot of the stuff that we did back then that we were forced to sort of pre SRM right and we can get the Adrian’s training program in a minute because I feel like so many of the things he had us doing were again, like over a decade in advance of the rest of the world, but some of the things we did as juniors IE, like a six speed Regina freewheel that like, you know, you had six choices, but really only like four of them worked. And you know, Junior gearing So, like whatever it was maybe a 1721 or maybe the 1519 or, and yeah, in it forced you to be able to 140 RPM

Colby Pearce
Yes.

Jonathan Vaughters
And it forced you to be able to pedal at 53 RPM because there was there were not many choices in certain circumstances and you were forced to vary power outputs a lot. You were without knowing it. We didn’t know that that’s what we’re doing. But we were Yep. you’re forced to vary cadences a lot. And thus torque. Yeah, yeah, exactly. To me, it’s like, man, if I could get ahold of like a 12 year old and say, Okay, listen, you know, you’re gonna have to use down tube shifters and a five speed Regina freewill for like, the first five years of racing. Hmm. You know, like, I mean, that would be like the best foundation you could ever because then the kid would a he’d have to go around the corners faster than everyone else because he’d never be in the right gear coming out of the corner. That’s true. He would be forced to or he or she would be forced to, you know, to be extremely adaptable with our RPMs it would actually it would force them to like really know how to manage a bike to fanatic I mean it’s funny because so many guys that I’ve dealt with that kind of came in later with equipment like they’re so dependent on the equipment like they have no like finesse. Yeah, I mean it’s it’s, you know with with modern day derailleurs like it for me it’s I mean, it’s almost impossible to drop a chain like it’s really difficult to drop a chain you can do it but it’s pretty Yeah, but it’s pretty hard but like we would have gone. I mean, like Tom Danielson he would drop a chain like every race he dropped the chain and it was just because he’d never had to finesse a bike ever. He just like from when he first started racing bike the equipment was already sort of the technology was to a point where he was just used to just slapping on levers and the bike would work and so like if there was ever a situation like he didn’t know like, No, you can’t go from the 5327 into the 3927 like it was our yeah I take him off and then you know, can we fire the mechanic? No.

That was you man.

Jonathan Vaughters
right you know and but that’s really you know that that’s common nowadays so I don’t know it’s it’s just a funny I mean I know the equipment has to evolve in the technology has to evolve, but man if you ever wanted to like coach, if you really wanted to, you know, produce like a tour de france champion and you could find like the specimen of a 12 year old to do that I would give him a five speed Regina freewheel and some friction shifter. Maybe we can just trim down a modern cassette that actually shifts.

Colby Pearce
Yeah, five gears so we get the torque.

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah, but even the shifting like it would teach them like, Hey, you got to be a little delicate. That’s true. Like, you can’t just always force it like you gotta you know,

Colby Pearce
I have vivid memories of you racing around that carbon fiber gear Ciotti with, if I remember correctly, you had a 41 tooth chain ring and like a 20 or 21 in the back and what’s funny is, you know, our local climb here super Flagstaff, which is

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah, we used to go that climbing on 21 like no problem. I can’t even imagine that dude,

Colby Pearce
I can’t either. But also modern writers can’t conceive that either. There are times when people are like, I don’t know if that’s enough gear for me to make up that yeah, that

Jonathan Vaughters
might wait a min race with Neil. I was in like a 3620. Yeah. 28 or 30 or whatever. Yeah.

Colby Pearce
Yeah. Some gear that just not exactly. Yeah. And I remembered sourcing trying to source a 38 tooth chain ring. So we get about 3825 for the horn hill climb that went up the Magnolia road here locally, which is a ridiculously steep climb, right. I mean, 3025 now like I,

Jonathan Vaughters
I mean, I could make it up the thing, but wow, why, yeah, that’s terrible. A lot slower. I mean, this is, this is one of these funny, this is also a funny thing that I, you know, in that you watch on social media is that you know, a lot of guys will say, you know, if someone goes up a climb really fast over in Europe, they’ll say, Oh, you know, that was only 20 seconds slower than during the doping year. or whatever, or maybe 20 seconds fat or whatever. So they must, you know, clearly there’s no right. Yeah, go back and look at a video of racing in 1994 or whatever. And, you know, you’ll quickly see like, it’s like a floppy jersey that is clearly like retaining about frickin two pounds of liquid in the jersey. They’re riding at 57 RPM always, you know, just like stuff that we look at now and be like, Oh, my Lord, Daddy’s doing that this guy’s not gonna be in there. And by the way, they’re like, going just as fast as the guys do now. Right? You know, right. Then you know, when you put it in that perspective, it’s like, oh, okay, you know, but then we are using a high cadence cadence that’s, that’s just an excuse. Now, no high cadence actually works. Huh?

Colby Pearce
Yeah. Not to turn it into a to a point which goes back to Adrian right. Remember what the first thing that he had us do? In 1994. He had us So my recollection is programs will be great. This will be one of those like, what do you remember? What do I remember? I remember him giving us on day one, like every Tuesday was lifting weights really hard, like, oh, watts, it was leg presses, mostly in hamstring curls. So my legs were smashed. And then that afternoon, we had to go out and do four by five intervals as fast as we could with five minutes recovery at 120 RPM average. And then commonly the next day was two by 20 at what would be in modern terminology called sweet spot, right? Like, you know, 20 watts below FTP at 60 RPM average. Yeah, and that was one that was basically the core of his program. And when you could do that back to those days off back to back and not be absolutely throttled it took me I started his program January 1, of 95. And I was pretty out of shape. And man, it took me months before I could even do that whole thing, like legit legitimately and not be completely throttled or even finished the workout.

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah, no, he was You know, so again all these concepts that everyone thinks they’re sort of but the first thing is first thing was your pedaling frequency. Yep, he would never call it RPM or cadence it was pedaling frequency your pedaling frequency needs to average 100 on all these training rides and that doesn’t sound like that hide maybe by nowadays standards but like back then doing 100 RPM for like a three hour training ride was just it felt absurd Yeah, then this is the second thing was you right is that it was he did reverse period ization reverse period ization in that, starting in November, he said Okay, the first thing we’re going to do is increase your view to max and your ability to produce maximum torque. So actually three things we’re going to increase your ability to, to be efficient at high RPM, we’re going to increase your your, your view to max and we’re going to increase your ability to produce maximum torque so weightlifting, high RPM, writing five minute intervals, yep. And as you would Well remember nobody was doing five minute intervals in November in that era like that was seen as absolutely insane people were like, you’ll burn out Yeah, I’m gonna go hikes and neatest dude.

Colby Pearce
Yeah. Which is what I was doing the previous year till that point because I was afraid of burning out you were totally if you genuine what’s that saying like December champion equals January floppiness or June. Yeah, I don’t know something. So, right. And I to be fair like not to mislead anyone but yeah, if you do five minute vo twos all year round, you’d

Jonathan Vaughters
probably be fried. But it was, but it’s interesting if I look at, you know, how we do things now, you know, there’s a lot of reverse periodization there’s a lot of, you know, how do you develop maximum torque? There’s, you know, I mean, Andre was talking about with regards to weightlifting is that, you know, we need to create an environment where the concentric and eccentric motion of your muscles is collapsing the vascular system inside of your muscles, that it’s going to Teach your body to be able to like grab that oxygen out of that collapse

Colby Pearce
all the fibers are contracted exactly right yeah well which is when the Moxie measures right? Yes same concept it’s it’s how low does your ot saturation go under maximum efforts when your muscles are completely contract so

Jonathan Vaughters
this is stuff that right much more common nowadays and and was the whole background of you know micheli Ferrari telling Lance Armstrong you need to pedal at a higher pedaling frequency to reduce you know when he was racing to reduce the maximum contract out for so therefore the oxygen delivery could be better right? You know I mean, we can talk about Lance and Ferrari all day long if you want and you know, there’s but like that theory of Ferrari is was spot on. And it wasn’t something that a lot of other people were doing in that point, but that when Ferrari started doing that with Lance, that’s five, six years after, right when I were doing that, but the whole point of it. I guess the to me like the overarching theme there is that I miss having Eugene Jr, new 23 riders coming up that are clearly, you know, haven’t been coached and have figured this stuff out on their own and and have like a curiosity about the training and instead of witches are robotic there yeah, exactly which is uncommon now right now it’s it’s, you know the level of professionalism even in the you 23 programs when I say professionalism I just just from the coaching standpoint is just, you know, it’s, it’s at a much, much, much higher level and I’m not necessarily saying that’s bad It’s just that I think what we’re going to see in the next generation or this generation of pros is that you know, guys are they’re going to be at the top of their career at 22 years old. And you know, they may be able to maintain that until they’re 30 or whatever it is, but like that, but the whole Oh, he’s a 21 year old and he’s winning all these big races. So that by the by By the time he’s 28, he’s gonna be killing everyone. I don’t think that’s gonna apply anymore. For you know, I think what you see is what you’re gonna get at a much earlier age with guys now.

Colby Pearce
And so you’re saying you think that because of all the data that writers are being subjected to when they’re younger, and that they’re refining, they’re optimizing things on an optimized way

Jonathan Vaughters
earlier, they’re investing way way way way early. Yeah.

Colby Pearce
And that’s just so human nature right. Like if we can optimize it, we should do it now. Yeah. Which isn’t necessarily which arguably always the case

Jonathan Vaughters
again, like if I could have all the time in the world in a 12 year old that I knew like had the engine which I don’t know how you determined that the definitely had the middle finger as you’re molding them or something. Yeah, right. But like, if you could develop that scenario. Seriously, I’m not joking when I Regina, five speed, freewheel and downtube shifters and they just Nope, you know, power meter. Yeah. And you have to ride that way until you’re 18. And on your 18th birthday, like we’re going to give you a power meter and di two now that’s an idea.

Colby Pearce
Here we go USC, let’s get some rules going. I mean Yeah, I have this discussion, I just did a little mini Episode The other day where I drew a diagram and I drew a triangle. And in that triangle, I put a p for power, and an HR for heart rate and an RP for relative perceived exertion. But in the middle of the triangle is a question mark. And I think, in my mind, this is the model that I use sort of like a crude Venn diagram. Like all these metrics that we’re using to go around and around in circles on this triangle are really asking the question, we all do the same thing as athletes, or we should be doing the same thing as athletes. The moment you get up and you swing your legs out of bed and your feet the ground you stand up for the first time, every competitive athlete instantly makes the same calculation. How hosed am I from yesterday’s training? Yeah, am I smashed and I fresh? How’s my nervous system responding how sore my legs how sore my muscles

Jonathan Vaughters
because what those if you if you have, you know, an aura ring and a whoop and you write and you have training data from the day before and you have recent hematology and like you’re going to second guess you’re feeling well or Maybe you’ll maybe it’ll become easier

Colby Pearce
if you’re doing it backwards. Yes. Like that’s I think that’s what we’re both saying is that what what’s missing is the writers, some writers don’t know that those numbers are there for one purpose only, which is to refine their instinct into themselves. Right? For me, the purpose of sport is alignment with knowledge of self and intent. That’s what we’re doing. So in order to know yourself, we’re just using power and aura rings to figure out what’s going on. That’s the point of these metrics people. It’s not to replace what’s happening. It’s not a proxy for human experience. This is what sport is about. And you know, when you’re 87 k into a road race are 42 k from the finish of a 200 and something k road race, and you’re in the breakaway and you’ve been there for 50 K and some guy attacks on a roller at that moment. There is no metric to tell you like should I respond? Now there’s no heart rate number there’s no power number there’s no like wattage prime number that can or should try to tell you whether or not you respond to that moment. It is straight, guttural instinct, someone just stabbed you in the juggler. How are you going to respond? That’s a bike race.

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah. Right. Yeah. But I think that, you know, what I witness is that we, you know, the crew of directors on, you know, on my team that are all about our age, roughly are a little bit younger but they still have the same generation that instinct which was sort of that was the one thing we did learn when we were 16 years old. We have to teach guys that at 25 you know, they they know the numbers inside and out. They know that whatever that they need to have a glucose drink with branched chain amino acids after hard training they I mean, you know, these are all that stuff has been ground into them the like, what do I do when some guy attacks has not like that hasn’t been taught to them.

Colby Pearce
We’re missing some old school.

Now. Yeah.

Road Racing the 90s in the American West

Colby Pearce
Are you paying attention riders? JV’s dropping you some nuggets in here? All right. So to go rewind just a bit, maybe we can just tell a few stories. And if they’re lame, Janet can just cut them out. But I think people might find them relatively entertaining. I mean, I have memories of us driving around all over the western half of the United States going to have to bike races in my white Honda Accord and sometimes in the Volvo. I remember us going to tour the Hilo when we were juniors and me thinking that I could squeeze through a six-inch gap

Jonathan Vaughters
that when you’re talking about you know that you were like, Okay, well, I’m not that strong. So I’m just gonna have to learn how to go around corners faster than everyone else. And you know, for the most part that was good every once in a while it kind of hit you in the ass. Oh, yeah.

Colby Pearce
I definitely fell down in a few corners. No question. I mean, tell you learn stuff. Yeah.

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah, I remember that. to really hear that. Like You. You. You peeled off pretty much all this game you had I did.

Colby Pearce
And then I was like, I feel fine. I’ll be gone. The next day road race. And no not so much but then that turned out to be the road race of death and destruction anyway yeah, so that was the first year I believe they had a juniors race and they basically gave it was

Jonathan Vaughters
a healer monster. It was the healer

Colby Pearce
monster like 16 year old kids like my,

Jonathan Vaughters
my 4120

Colby Pearce
you got fourth walking to the line?

Yeah, like the field. I think

Jonathan Vaughters
everyone Angelenos didn’t pull it off anymore.

Colby Pearce
Anyway, that there were some some lumps for the race promoters back then. Yeah, but good adventures, and we did the 89 or stayed race remember that one? Yeah. This is in Norman, Oklahoma. Middle of Nowhere.

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah. I remember those. I don’t know. The classic cross when the like time travel cross when criteria.

Colby Pearce
road race around went around this giant Lake now out in the middle of these cornfields and stuff. Yeah, that was good vintage racing man. And then there would there are all these state races I tell people about now that they don’t know that existed. There was mammoth stayed race. Used to be so many beautiful five days traders in the US like I’m sorry, racing has rubber racing. I hate to say it out loud. Man, but it is such a Brontosaurus at this point, it’s like going extinct. Yeah, we have like it’s true. We had mammoth. We had Casper. What was the one in Bisbee? The Yeah, volta de Bisbee. Okay, right. And then there was the tour of the future, which was like a kid’s version. Yeah. I mean, volta, they basically this is like where I cut my teeth in racing. And like, really had to battle my own demons and shadow and be like, do I want to do this? Because I remember going really, really hard in the first year I went there in that road race and looking up and seeing like, 160 riders in front of me on the climb. And that’ll crack. Well crack me, but it was

Jonathan Vaughters
Well, I mean, the thing of it was, is that the that the, you know, back then there were no you 20 threes? No, so us racing was one it was more robust than the number of races that you could do in two, you know, the one two pro races. I mean, I write a little bit about this in my book that like a mammoth that year. I mean, you had, you know, the Russian national team who like you know, they were all listed. gold medalists. And I mean these were like the superstars. And then you had the Superman coming professional team, which, you know that year like they raced to, to Swiss and yeah, they were I mean, they were at mammoth, and Jonathan Vaughters. 19 year old kid from Boulder from Denver, Colorado, right? And actually 17 then but the Yeah, there you go, we could sign up to these because they were one two pro races and as long as you were a category two or above, even as a junior, you could sign up and get in and race them and race so far over your head that like the lessons learned were hard and fast and I and you know, again, the juniors just see coming up now they don’t they don’t have those opportunities, like their training is 10 times as optimized as our as ours was, but like their first experience with like real racing, is you know, when they go to the U 23. house and you know, with the national team in Europe, like that’s the first time that they get you know, clobbered over the head now, somehow the us you know, produced the Junior World Champion. So it can’t be all bad what’s going on nowadays, but it’s just an interesting I think, as a as a broader section. You know, we just had a more sink or swim type development.

Colby Pearce
I think that’s a good, good way to describe it. Yeah.

Jonathan Vaughters
And yeah, and then there were a lot more races for us to do. They really were. And they were driving distance races, and they were races that, you know, I mean, Coby and I would drive and like, either like find a hotel or sleep in the car or beside the car on top of the car. And you know, and then do the race. And it was, you know, our pre race meal was a breakfast burrito and our post race meal was a regular burrito. Or pizza header. Yeah, or Pizza Hut, right. Yeah, exactly. And so that, you know, that sort of, let’s borrow mom’s car, your car, whatever it was, and like drive all over the nation. And stay in ratty hotels are asleep in the back of a Honda. And you No compete with guys that were extensively professionals. You know that’s yeah that’s that’s kind of that’s a bummer that that’s not an experience that probably any juniors really get to have anymore. Yeah, it

Colby Pearce
it helps you appreciate things I suppose. Yeah in a way because you have to earn it but I won’t I won’t go so far as to say that I was literally sprinting for my rent check like Matt Shara was at times, right. It wasn’t

Jonathan Vaughters
just maca, Shara It was a lot of the guys were racing. They were sprinting for their rent. Yes. Yeah, that was the I mean, yeah, that was a lot. I mean, basically, the whole of team Shaklee was racing for a wrench

Colby Pearce
and yes, I mean, except for me. And I raced that team for four years. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Interesting. So you’ve coached a lot of writers over the years. Some of them that come to mind

Jonathan Vaughters
some of them worked and some of them didn’t. Well, sounds like the five speed Regina for you. Yeah, exactly. I don’t think

Colby Pearce
it works. I don’t think any five speed reunion free will ever

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah, you’re right. Nevermind Yeah,

Colby Pearce
yeah. Yes, we used to have to only have five gears in the back. For those of you who are wondering, we’re not even that’s not an exaggeration. Not an embellishment. Um, let’s say you coached in McGregor. You coach Timmy for a while, right? Yeah.

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah. Those guys. I was more like a consultant. Yeah. But yeah, I mean, they’re they’re both super smart kids. So right. You know, they they were figuring stuff out on their own pretty fast. Dan Bowman. Yeah. Yeah,

Colby Pearce
yeah. Blake Caldwell, right for a while. Ah,

Jonathan Vaughters
yeah. Yeah, for a little while. Yeah.

Colby Pearce
Yeah. Some of you following them, right. So at this point, you’ll know who these people were for sure.

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah. And then then there was a long time where like, I kind of didn’t coach anyone because it was too much of a conflict of interest, you know, and it’s still in so that you know, because I was like, I was hiring and firing people. Right. Like, it’s pretty hard to fire somebody you’re coaching. Yeah. But, but then, you know, sort of in the very lean, lean, lean years. Have Cannondale like 2015 1617 I started coaching guys again because I was like, okay, like, how do I make like this team is as bare bones as it’s gonna get in the world who are like, how do I actually be as impactful as I can be, you know, given my specific strength set, and so I was like, Well, okay, I can coach guys and I, you know, and that was, you know, Coach Dylan Vaughn Barlow, which that went great. And Tom Delta slacker. And, you know, that went great. And Joe Dombroski, there were times that went great. And times it didn’t go so great. loss and kradic that didn’t go great. I mean, I have all I mean, blossom still on the team and have all the respect in the world for him, but like, you know, sometimes it’s just like mine. I was being overly experimental with him. Because my idea with Lawson is this guy can get top five and a grand tour. And I was overestimating his ability and but I was I was like, training him like Chris Froome trains, you know, and it was killing the poor guy yells too much. Yeah, it was way too much. But, you know, some of the guys worked out and some of the I mean, I’m really I mean, I’m most proud actually of with with Lang about Sebastian Lang of elven Kilimanjaro because they both you know then well I guess Dylan wasn’t quite podium at tour Flanders I almost said it was fourth and then you know Lang Avella was third and Perry Ruby. Yeah. And you know, those are races that clearly I’ve never done those races but like those guys, they totally entrusted me with their with their coaching to you know, because those were there. Those were their objective races for the entire year and we every single time since I’ve worked with them, we absolutely nailed those objectives as far as their form one you know, pure lawns coast pure line again, pure, you know, pure is has never been quite as good as he was, you know, in 2012. That’s a long time ago. He was just I don’t know younger writer fresher, but we but he did have a bit of a renaissance you know, in 2017, where he wants to say this g ro and one route pursued and, you know, was really competitive in the mountain stages in the zero and then it was super hard. To rigo getting second in the tour that year, and I was you know, I was really proud of that coaching here that here as well that was, yeah. So.

So big picture.

Colby Pearce
What have you learned as a coach? Like Like, I mean, I’ll I’ll say it right alongside you like I’ve had some coaching experiments or clients that have I’ve experimented with because really, I think anyone who tells you coaching is not experimental is lying a little bit.

Jonathan Vaughters
Like World Tour athletes, it’s like, oh, you do a little experiment, it doesn’t work out You do?

Colby Pearce
Well, right. It’s their livelihood. So you’re you There are times when you make more of a calculated risk and less of a calculated risk depending on where the writer is and what they need and where they are in their career and what they’ve got coming up right like things are going relatively well and they’ve had an established pattern and they want to bring you on you’ve learned that pattern and maybe you stick well pretty well within that but you push them a little bit. So what are your big lessons like? Like I’ve had some big lessons coaching, what do you feel are your big successes like I’m what I’m looking for is like Maybe insights into certain phenotypes of writers or personalities or psychology of writers versus those that have kind of flopped. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Jonathan Vaughters
Well, the good example of that and trying to sort of evolve a writer and then what your idea of what the writer is, and this is where you get into trouble as being their boss, and their coach, ah, which is something that I’ve always had to deal with. So like Joe Dombroski, the first year I coached Joe Dombroski. You know, things are a year and a half or whatever things went great podium and a few mountain stages in the Giro, he wanted to review TA, you know, he was ripping along really well, like he was coming back from his iliac artery surgery. And so it’s an improvement was just boom, boom, boom. Yeah, he was untouchable. You talked about your family. Yeah, yeah. So, but I was observing him and like what Joe wanted. Joe wanted to be a GC writer. And so he was like, I want to figure out my time trial position, and I want to end I because we were testing them. The track and like Joe at the same weight as Rigoberto run I think it may be Joe’s like one or two kilos heavier than rigo to go 50 k an hour on a road bike. Joe has to produce 80 watts more. Well you can mess with his position, although you want Yeah, he was 80 watts more right shoulders. So I just sort of was like, Yeah, I don’t know about GC, right? Like, I don’t know that I you know, and maybe you know, this is one of these like, probably should have. I mean, I did have this discussion with Joe, but maybe I should have had it three or four times you know, I started thinking what I see with you, Joe is let’s forget about GC you don’t position yourself well in the peloton. You don’t time trial. Well, forget about GC. Let’s focus on mountain stage wins. So we’re going to focus on getting you into the breakaway. And once you’re in the breakaway, then you win out of the breakaway. Right? Well so one of the key things that I realized why why pure Rolando was so successful in breakaways is that he just didn’t fatigue at all, you’d be in a 200 k bracket. This is this is Thomas to get one on one right 200 k out there all day long. And there’s zero drop off in his physical capability here, you put them in a 15 k time trial. He’s a very mediocre bike racer, you put them in a 230 kilometer breakaway, right? And he’s a very, very exceptional bike racer. Same thing with Thomas the gift. So this is my mindset was like, Okay, this is where Joe is going mountain stages, they gotta slow the speed down because he’s not that automatic but like mountain stages, long breakaways. He’s gonna meet so. So at that point time, I was also talking a lot to an ego, Sam along and you know, and he goes super into his, you know, high zone to training, which, for those of you know, an ego, I mean, this theory makes a ton of sense. It’s essentially like you need to be writing, doing a huge volume of training in like, what a nega would say, is right at the threshold of where you switch over From slow twitch muscle fiber utilization to starting to recruit fast twitch fiber utilization. So it’s like fat Max,

Colby Pearce
which also coordinates with Yeah, substrate utilization. Right. So maximizing fat.

Jonathan Vaughters
Yep, exactly. Like fat max. It’s like so it’s the, it’s the, there’s a point like if you ever do a vo to max test where they show your expired gases, and I’ll show you a point at which, you know, you’re burning more and more and more fat as the intensity gets higher, and then all sudden, your fat starts dropping off as your burning of sugars increases exponentially, right. And so that point, the maximum fat, which, you know, in a typical writer, this is like, this is 15% below your 20 minute FTP, roughly, I mean, somewhere around there, maybe 20%. Anyway, so I thought with Joe, well, what do you do in these long, you know, four hour breakaways. You’re at this like fat max a lot. You’re sitting there for hours and whoever uses the least glycogen and the least sugar during these long breakaways Whoever uses the least amount of that and the most amount of fat, whoever, whoever touches their fast twitch fibers, the least in the four hours leading up to the point where the breakaway splits apart and who wins the race? That guy is gonna win and so I’m like, okay, Joe, we’re gonna do a ton of an ego Sam Milan, start with Joe is like 300 320 watts, right? So I was just kind of sitting and I were doing like these big and Joe got incredibly efficient. And we send two ponies the first part of the year and like, you know, hit a Crossman 10 came to the race and like he couldn’t, I mean, the guy, right. He was incredibly fatigued. He had no snap. He was he was cooked. I mean, he was he was he was very efficient. He would have been great at doing these like Laughlin Morton like 17 hour records or like, everything he would have won. Yeah, Race Across America, right easy. But Perry nice, not so good. Too much snap. So,

Colby Pearce
okay, let me ask you a question then. Do you think it’s when you were doing the fat max training? Were you actually also manipulating substrates that he was taking in before the rides was? Were you encouraging him to eat like for eggs and bacon stuff? Yeah, we were doing we were writing some dietary manipulations. So do you think that is carbohydrate metabolism and is carbohydrate processing enzymes were to shut down?

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah. Yeah, no, that’s exactly and that’s what happens like as guys as you get them better. I mean, this is, you know, as you get guys better and better and better and better at burning fat, they get worse and worse and worse and worse at Burning carbohydrates. So like, right, you know, when you see guys getting super, super, super lean, you know, that usually they’re getting worse and worse at Burning carbohydrate. This is where, you know, and this is something that just really pisses me off about the modern water code. So I had to hang on a little bit of tangent is that you know, under the world anti doping Association code, the utilization of cortisone is totally legal out of competition, right, right. And like of course, you can also get a T for in competition Well, you want to short circuit, you know, that whole balance right there. So you’re teaching your body to use fat better and better and better, but like because you’re doing that you can’t get to your turbocharger very

Colby Pearce
easily the carbohydrate. Yeah, yeah, throw some cortisone in the mix and it will it’ll just pop up the glycogen pieces really easily and you can you can use the carbohydrate just fine now, so you can train for five weeks straight, just focusing on zone to make self super efficient, keep using Corazon and then pop into the race and you haven’t lost your turbo button. Exactly.

Jonathan Vaughters
And that’s and it’s super unfortunate that you know that a drug that should be for therapeutic use IE knee injuries, etc. or asthma.

Colby Pearce
Or if you get stung in the eye by before you

Jonathan Vaughters
walk, you know and listen, you know, like back then, when I got stuck in the I was like, Oh my god, this is ridiculous. I can’t take cortisone because at that point in time, you could take cortisone, but you could only get a T if it was like a knee injury not for an allergic reaction. Stupid, right? But now where they’ve just opened it up. It’s like, you know, I mean, because then it’s not to say it’s the perfect Hack but, you know, it’s like if this is this is the big, you know the why I really respect what the MPC is doing. I don’t know if you’re following the movement for this occasion because you, which is Roger le j, my old boss? No, I mean, MPC does a lot of things. But the meat of what the MPC does is that, you know, they take cortisol, blood tests the writer, so the natural core that if your cortisol is incredibly suppressed, it means you’re taking exogenous cortisone, and basically, the MPC then, since they have no oversight, this is a voluntary club that you sign up for. They just say if a writers cortisol is suppressed below a certain point, for health reasons, you shouldn’t start the race. Right? Well, of course, there’s a little more implied and all that, but like, you know, it’s like the automatic rate 50 limit. Yeah, exactly. But the thing is, is is actually it’s it’s very effective and like why that wouldn’t be you know, when I see a TV A rider drop out of the MPC, I’m always really disappointed in that, because, you know, you’re kind of come on man like that, like, just, you know, let’s let’s, let’s move this forward in a positive direction. But anyway, just so you know, that’s the Yeah, you know, because having experienced I got Joe to be incredibly efficient and like, you know, how do we just, you know, jammed a bunch of cortisone into them, that probably wasn’t the problem. We fixed it, you know, but like, end of the day, you know, it took months to sort of unwind that issue and get him back to normal. And it was a, it was a, it was an experiment that was well intentioned to try and get him to, like win stages as opposed to finish, you know, overall. Yeah. And, you know, it backfired.

Colby Pearce
You push the right levers, you just maybe push a little too hard. Yeah. So, this is what I think is so fascinating about cycling, in particular, because there’s so many nuances to success in the sport, right? And no matter how many it and also at the same time, in some way, science, like Cycling is the most science dominated sport right now. Because we We can measure everything so much with our power meters and all our dorky gadgets. So on the one hand, we have all the science but it’s also one of the hardest sports to quantify. I mean, put someone in a marathon like yeah, it’s hard to quantify that too. It happens in the real world, but there are so many less variables predict the outcome of a marathon race, or even a swimming race there are cycling race, start variables, right.

Jonathan Vaughters
And those infinite you know, you have to be good at sprinting for 10 seconds and well, that’s fine. That’s one of the many very like Dombroski. like okay, the guy’s the most efficient zone to engine in the world, but he gets popped in the first 10 minutes. Very nice because you can’t make 600 watts you know, in a crosswind well the funny The funny thing about that is that so using that same because I was super into like an ego that year. And and I still you know really respect that whole his own ideas that I was using those same training approaches to our classics, ie Dylan and Sebastian who their two goals are Flanders and obey right or seven hour races. Yep. So in those guys Because they’re they’re big muscley dudes that have a lot of fast twitch fiber you know apparently yeah apparently for them it worked like a charm so like all of a sudden I was like they were like in you couldn’t see it coming with both of them it was like they would do like a three hour backhoe which is like a week before finals, but it’s a four and a half hour race, not a six and a half hour race. Right? And they’d be like good at d3 hero, Becca they’d finished like eight or you know, 12 or whatever. But like you get them into Flanders and you could just see all the last 20 k they were like, you know, right there. Right and No, they don’t have the, you know, the same kind of massive motor that whatever like Matthew Vanderpool has or whatever, but like, but they were able to be there and then the whinging, you know, 2030 minutes of Flanders and obey because we had developed this ability so efficiently, but like, since these guys are you know, they’re both Dutch. They grew up sprinting out of corners over and over and crossings, whatever else like where’s Joe When you sort of took away that, you know, you overtrain the zone to stuff and you undertrained the 22nd snap, so he can’t stay in the crosswind right with these guys. It it made the crosswind early in the race a little more annoying, but it didn’t really, you know, they were like, Oh, I used to be able to come out of corners a little bit better than I do now. But

Colby Pearce
whatever, doesn’t matter, I get passed by one or two guys. Yeah, in the end, it didn’t matter.

Jonathan Vaughters
But like I’m so much stronger in the last 20 k Oh, that was totally worth it.

Colby Pearce
So the big picture then is that this is a beautiful takeaway of like, as coaches we have to apply very carefully the training paradigm to the phenotype of the rider and the characteristics of the rider. You know, in this case, only physically Of course, psychologically as well. But to make sure that we’re getting the desired result out of the writer right I mean, I remember Phil gaming complaining one point because he’s like, Okay, you’ve given me like 192 sprints and four days of training or something ridiculous which I had. And then you know, that year he went on to beat Min saibot at Redlands, and we all know what the finishing circuit of Redlands looks like. I’m sure everyone Single listener knows what that looks like. Um, he said sarcastically, it starts on a criterium course and then you go up and do this hilly circuit through these mountains above the town of Redlands, and then you come down and you do like four or five circuits on the correct course. And it’s a pointing little course man. It’s like a triangle with like a trap is like glued to it. So it’s like, I don’t know, eight corners and a couple of them are greater than 90 degrees. I mean, it’s very glycolytic very sprinting very Sergi. And Phil men say Bo attacks Phil 99 times and burns off as teammates and they come to comes I mean, literally, this is down to the second. And Phil’s sprinting out of the corner, like barely hanging on for dear life. Like he won the race by half a second or something totally ridiculous. Yeah. And this is, I mean, Phil’s nature Phil is for the purposes of our discussion philosophically is very much like Joe Dombroski. Like for a steady state very vo to dependent, right. And if we just trained is and I’m not saying like, Look, half my early coaching successes, were like, you know, good intent and Reasonable science and and experience combined with this blind luck. I mean, I’ll be honest, that’s how coaching works half the time you’re like, hey, that turned out really well, right? But I’m cautious not to give myself too many Pat’s on the back. Because we all know that coaching is a blackbox problem, like, you put in an input, that input is training, right? And then something happens in the middle, that’s the blackbox part and then bring out the other end this, this thing comes this result this,

Jonathan Vaughters
this ability, you know, you have to take the individual into into account. I mean, this is like Joe, for instance. Yeah. You know, Joe never said anything to me. When I said, How you feeling, Joe? Good, huh? The answer was always good.

Colby Pearce
blood from a stone.

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah, I mean, and I think since he, he, he’s a very, like he’s on he almost has like the mind of an engineer. You know, he’s like, Well, okay, like, my leg didn’t fall off today. So I’m mechanically good. Yeah, so the answer is great. Right. You know, there’s not this like subtle like, yeah, by like athleisure wear Like, a slang of old, ya know, highly, highly intelligent and very intuitive, you know, Dutch racer who grew up in the Dutch race, you know, that just that that intuitive style of racing that they have their service kind of lets me know, like everything about like, Well, you know, my wife and I, we got in a fight and my kid has a cold and yeah, you know, and he’ll just make the call like, if he doesn’t think the trainings, right. You know, he’s an older writer, he’s not afraid of me is his boss, like, you know, he, like he’s sort of at the end of his career. So he’s just like, Listen, I want to win Ruby. And I know the only way I’m gonna ever win Ruby is by being real crafty about it, and you know, whatever else so he’s like, I’m gonna trust you, but he’s like, but if I think it’s wrong one day, I’m just I’m gonna tell you to go get lost. Right. And you know, like with with Joe and Lawson they never did, they did exactly what I told him to the tea, and never said anything about their personal lives ever, you know, and so, so yeah, I mean, and and I crushed both of them,

Colby Pearce
right? So we can break writers down, basically. They’re kind of phenotype of compliance with training, right? They’re those that could be turned like rebels like yeah, you give them a training program and they might just crazy Ivan it and do whatever they want, right? Then there are those who are a little more compliant, like they’re looking to be told what to do. Right? I think there are certain athletes who want accountability they want they want to they they’re almost you could argue looking for a parental model and coaching, like do this. And then when they write you comments, you get things like, where these efforts, okay. And my response, I took me a long time to figure this out. Like, your efforts are fine. I didn’t even look at the numbers and they’re fine. I don’t give like, I’m not your dad. Right? This is up to you at right. And it took me a long time to kind of get my head wrapped around the fact that there are writers who want that compliance and what you do with that, once you figure that out as a whole other psychological discussion, I mean, let’s be real, like, if you’re coaching people, and you think you’re not a psychologist, sorry,

Yeah, you are.

Colby Pearce
Right. And then there are writers who will kind of do their own thing. And have accountability or authority to like you’re describing with say bus like, on the day if he’s supposed to go out and do some ridiculous hard ride and he knows that he didn’t sleep well because his kid had a cold and kept him up all nighter is whatever happened to smoke alarms went off or something, then he knows he’s smart enough to go, I’m gonna make the call this I’m going to own it. I’m just going to ride easy and all right, gv a comment later tonight, and then we can discuss whether I’m going to do it tomorrow or whatever. So I think that’s something to be aware of in terms of how you relate to your riders, and what kind of relationship you have there. I mean, I’m sure. Do you think that there are times when when you coached Lawson and Joe Dombroski that, look, there’s got to be inherent conflict of interest there, because if I’m Joe, and I, you give me some big hard ride, and I go out, and I make it only halfway through, and I’m just completely shattered, right? I mean, I’m the guy. That’s what I’m getting to. Yeah. So you’re, you’re the guy who’s responsible for rehiring my contract, but also choosing whether or not I’m going to start the bureau or the tour this year. Like I can tell you right now, if I’m your basic human psychology like, dude, everything’s perfect. Yeah, I smashed that ride today I’ll figure out how I’m gonna upload the power file later. This is this is what.

Vaughters: Team Manager and Coach?

Jonathan Vaughters
So this is why I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that the riders that I’m willing to take on my team because I’m not I shouldn’t really be coaching guys on other teams. riders, I’m willing to take on my team that I coach, I almost sort of have to pre vet them in that, like, they have to be really hard characters, they have to be smart. They have to be very self confident. They have to be curious about the training, and not not, they cannot be just someone wanting to be told what to do. If they’re fearful of me from the position of ultimately the general manager of the team. It won’t work. It’s not gonna work. So like with service and Dylan, they were both that they had that character. They’re very strong characters. Yeah. And so it worked really well because they did not feel Hear me, they, you know, they pushed back on me when they need to be pushed back. They weren’t worried about the race selection for this without the other thing, they weren’t worried about their contract. I mean, I’m sure, you know, every year, we get a little awkward some certain points in the year when their contracts would come up. And I’m talking to their agent sort of behind their back and they’re, you know, yeah, but ultimately didn’t affect the training. But I think that’s the exception. Like, that’s probably 10% of the riders, I have 90% of the riders I have, can’t operate like that with their boss. And so I can’t coach them, you know, like, I look at a lot of their training programs and training peaks is that, you know, I spent a good portion of every day just going through, like, you know, riders on my team and, and as I go through the files, I just, you know, I’m like, Oh, God, why are you you know, I could see all these mistakes. And I can make comments here and there, but ultimately, like, I’m sort of a distant consultant. And if I make those comments too strongly, it’ll freak out the writer and they’ll totally change everything they’ve been doing with it. Just to like, make me happy and like, that’s no good right now, right? Oh, right. So I basically have to kind of just, you know, observe my tongue and

Colby Pearce
yeah, interesting. Or maybe call the coach and have a conversation.

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah. And then that sometimes works to like it depends on the coach. But again, that gets tricky as well. Because then the you know, the coach clearly wants to have you like them. You can get more riders on your team and, you know, the circuit like, like Jim Miller, Francis, I can always have a straight conversation with Jim Miller, Jim Miller, like, you know, he doesn’t so Wyoming cowboy. Yeah, exactly. He doesn’t he’s not scared of me in any way, shape, or form. So like, that’s a guy that I would have no problem saying, Hey, have you thought about this? Right? You know, my passion. I love coaching guys. managing a team can be moments great. And at moment, I wouldn’t say that. It’s more of a job than a passion in a way but like coaching guys is a real passion. And so of course, I want to do more of it. But I do have to, I have to edit my desires.

Colby Pearce
When we described our our training program that a German demon gave us Earlier that program I would say you outline the basic elements. We had some very high cadence pedaling, we had some vo to early kind of reverse pair period ization elements. We had a lot of force work in the gym, and later on and then on the bike as well bringing it together on the bike with the high torque low cadence efforts. So I would say that program covered a lot of bases and that influenced my thinking in a lot of ways that and honestly Greg Oman’s book early in my career was like that was such a bread and butter chicken soup type of program. It was like, Okay, this is a good

Jonathan Vaughters
baseline. Well, I mean, Mommy, Adrian, the way I love it, it’s amazing. How many people do not think of just the basic like how do you produce power? What is power, right? So how are analyzable it Hello, is torque multiplied by angular velocity, correct. Okay, so angular velocity just meaning RPM, like how fast your pedals going around and how hard you’re pushing on the pedal pedaling frequency. That is pedaling frequency. Yep, times torque. Yep. Or Torque times pedaling frequency either way doesn’t matter. In so when people say I want to increase my power, and I said, Okay, well, there’s two ways you can do that. What do you mean? There’s two ways you can do that? Well, you can increase the amount of torque you’re putting into the pedal or you can enhance angular velocity. Yeah. And so if you look at Adrian’s program, all he was saying is in the early parts of the program, before you get into the sort of closer to the season, where you’re refining the the early parts of the program is, let’s do high RPM stuff to increase the speed at which you can move the pedal. And then let’s do weightlifting to increase the amount of torque you can put onto the pedal just

Colby Pearce
if you’re just reducing those two components and focusing on them. And it’s so it’s a basis when you see it, right. Yeah, no, I okay. So I got to tell my story. And Janice heard this one a few times. Supposedly, there was a school child in Belgium you know, many years ago and Eddie Murphy went to the elementary school. They whatever handout is Eddy Merckx, posters and baseball cards. You know, he gave a speech and kids said Mr. Mertz, I want to win my local town hall. How do I do Do it w bigger slowly or a little gear quickly. And of course any mercs responded, you push a big gear quickly. Right, right. So that’s exactly what you’re talking about is torque, how hard you push on the pedal, which is, which is force which when you put it in a circle is torque, and how quickly you make force which when you put in a circle, his cadence or angular velocity, what drives me nuts about 99% of all modern head units, and for some reason, this is such an antiquated, weird artifact of coaching, what do we track in? In our most of our head units? We track power and we track cadence. Why do we do this? Most riders don’t even know what torque is, right. Now when I worked at SRM in 2006 15. I lobbied hard that was when the PCA head unit was coming out. I was like holy, you need to have a torque widget on this head unit. I will prescribe you if I have writers who are using this head unit and they can see torque Yeah. Why Why would we prescribe a workout and tell someone I want you to do this many watts and this much cadence. Now, granted, a Of course the torque is a result of that equation but the point is conceptually if a rider understands what cadence is, they should understand what torque is right? And they many writers I know are like what stork I don’t even know what that is like, right? This is a component of how you’re making power like this is a very basic fundamental concept. So, that always bothered me a bit The only other head unit that ever had torque displayed on it was the older Cyclops one that we used in like 2013 had it for a while and then

Jonathan Vaughters
it fell out but well that you know frustrating when I raced, I used as you know 180 millimeter cranks Yes, people thought that was like I was so my mind like why are you using cranks in the reason is this is that

Colby Pearce
you can tell your own story.

Jonathan Vaughters
As a you know, as a human being I am unable to produce very much torque like I when I go to the gym, I can I can do squats and leg press and everything until the cows come home and my muscular ability to push hard on a pedal is very Limited. I’m just not a fast twitch. Yeah, not a strong guy. But I’ve got little tiny hips with little tiny glutes and little tiny legs. So with 180s It wasn’t like every it’s funny in that era. Everyone’s like, Oh, 180s Yeah, but you have to be strong to push 180s like, you have to be a big strong man to push one. But the reason was, is no, I’m actually this is an attempt by me to compensate for a natural weakness that I have by using 180s. I’m, I am increasing my angular velocity because I’m making the circle bigger. Yes. So I’m increasing the amount of movement that I have no foot speed, but I could handle move. You can handle the I have in the ration. Exactly. I had a great layout, right. I had great hip flexibility. I had like good ankle flexibility, so I could deal with the larger circle. Yeah. And your hips were relatively stable on the bike. Yeah, and, and I had a large oxygen delivery system like that was never a rate limiting factor. For me, so like, by increasing the amount of movement, there was no real downside to it. I mean, the one downside you could say is that my knees were coming up further into my chest. So I couldn’t be as aerodynamic but like, but that aside, there was really no downside for me to using a longer crank, like I, you know, sure, I was maybe being less efficient, strictly speaking, but I was trading off that oxygen carrying efficiency for a little more torque, which was a major rate limit. You could afford it

Colby Pearce
you could afford the co2 Yeah,

yeah. Cuz you had heavier so in I mean,

Jonathan Vaughters
explaining that to Johan Bruyneel in life, you know, and, you know, you show up to training camp and he’s like a, what is a Why do you have the long cranks on the bike? And so then, you know, I’m you can I try to explain that to him? And it’s like, I might as well have been speaking Eskimo, right? I mean, it’s like, he just like looked at me and he’s, like, turned the mechanic and said, change his cranks. Yep, that was it. Just done like no discussion. 75 now you’re on changing

Colby Pearce
tracks. I don’t care how many miles you’ve gotten your legs at this point the season, you are now riding 170

Jonathan Vaughters
Of course, I snuck back to putting 180s on the bike and just like scraped off the one file, you know. But like, you know, this is, but yeah, I mean that that explanation argument I made about angular velocity and a larger circle and like less efficient, but yet I had a greater I had a very high view too. So I could afford the less efficient blah, blah. Like,

Colby Pearce
he doesn’t care. Yeah. So and those, I think you’re spot on all those points. I will mention that most, the vast majority of all writers, this is you I’m talking to you out there. You think you’re JV right now, but you’re not I swear this. He’s in a very, very small select percentage of people who would benefit from going to longer cranks. And whenever someone comes into my fit suit, and they asked me, should I go to longer cranks? I’ll lay out the exact argument. We just

Jonathan Vaughters
had jority people the answer’s no.

Colby Pearce
You know what I’m saying? Alright, that’s what I’m saying there for 99% of all riders. The benefits of going shorter far outweigh any potential risk or liability of going long. Danny Martinez

Jonathan Vaughters
you know who is Columbia national champion and they got I mean, that guy can produce some numbers that you would not believe like if he ever if you ever figures out how to manage himself in the front of the peloton. Look out super old school coach. He’s a little little clumsy guy. So 170s for road racing. 172 fives for time trialing and I was just like, what Why? Why? Why are you doing this? Oh, well, you have to push a bigger gear in a time. I’m like, Yeah, but you’re not pushing any more torque like the you know your Yeah, okay. It’s a bigger gear. You’re going 55 k an hour, man. You’re like 105 rpm and your time traveling like you don’t need it. cranks like, again like I mean, we eventually just basically that was a moment where I’m like, I’m your boss you putting on 170s right? You know,

Colby Pearce
what are we all on him?

A Johan him but there was logic behind the damage.

Colby Pearce
You actually understood the idea but um,

Jonathan Vaughters
but yeah, I mean that that’s yet for most people who unless you have exceptional hip flexibility and room right how I used to always put my foot by my head. Oh yeah, yeah. So like, unless you have exceptional hip flexibility and you have like a, you know, very high view to max exceptional hip flexibility, exceptional ankle mobility. Now, like long cranks are not gonna

Crank Length Finneagling and Bike Fitting

Colby Pearce
they’re also just not going to help your seat height is what 80 centimeters.

ish. No, that’s like my inseams like 88

Colby Pearce
Okay, your satellites 99 centimeters. Wow, I don’t

Jonathan Vaughters
know. I think my satellites like 77 that make sense?

Colby Pearce
That doesn’t know it’s higher. That’s about seven centimeters higher than mine. I think

Jonathan Vaughters
Yes, that’s right. Yeah, seven Yeah, about 77. Huh. I’m not that much taller.

Colby Pearce
Never fit JVM bike in case you’re wondering. All right. Yeah, well, anyway. Being is you’ve got longish legs for sure. Yeah. So, also, you know, when people ask me about changing crank length, and I’m working on them as bike fitter, I’ll explain to them look, the only people that really are justified in potentially pushing the envelope on longer crank length are people who are World Tour pros who are trying to win the welter. Because every year the Vuelta has six mountain top finishes that are like 25% or higher. Yeah, like insanely steep. They love these finishes that are like 4k long, they just go off the side of a tree. And at that moment when you are out of gears, meaning you’re in your lowest gear, and you’re going as hard as you can, and you’re out of the saddle, most the time at that moment, the longer crank, you have pretty much the faster you’re going to go. Yeah, so you’ve been paid a lot of money to win these stages, well, then you should figure out how to drag that longer crank length around for the under 364 days a year. But for the rest of us, who are the vast majority of all bike riders, that’s not your end goal. You don’t want to have to deal with all the extra hit motion and really People don’t realize two and a half Mills is is not trivial in the world of foot speed. When you do the math, it’s Yeah, yeah, it’s a big thing and range of motion and foot speed.

Jonathan Vaughters
I hope you’re you have a very nerdy audience for this. But when nerd out with the little Colombians that we have like Sergio Ito, right, get those five four. He gets a monster eat the monster. And you know, he rides 170s right, you do the percentage math doesn’t seem it’s not like me writing 240 Yeah, it’s like a Leonard’s in conversation. Yeah, you know, so right. But like, what we can’t get on 150s they don’t exist. Well, okay.

Colby Pearce
Sponsor correct ones, but yes,

Jonathan Vaughters
right. Exactly. So I and by the way, like I he’d be like, he wouldn’t be okay with it. If it was like, you’re gonna ride 150 he just it would be like, no, there would be no buy into that. So it just, but if you do the math on it, I have an 88 centimeter inseam. Right. And I don’t know what his is, but you know, it’s probably in the like low status. So like, you know, so imagine we have a 25 centimeter difference. So that’s the equivalent of 40% difference in leg length. Right. So he’s four. So our 170 cranks 40% smaller than 180. cranks. No, not even close. Right. So he’s getting an enormous amount of leverage. Yes, he can you can see it when he time trials. You know, it’s like you’re always like, Look, right. What is this? Like? He’s because you know, his knees are coming way up into his chest and he can’t get his hips are rocking around and like, he’d probably be great on like, 150 cranks,

Colby Pearce
right? Maybe on the TT biking.

Jonathan Vaughters
But yeah, I mean, it’s just like you. You know, how the question there is, when do you start seeing because if you’re totally used to 170 cranks, you’re totally used to 165 or total uses 175. There’s a certain you know, you become more efficient from an oxygen carrying standpoint in that exact circle motion right like little Little by little,

Colby Pearce
I mean, some of the stuff Jim Martin’s done it. Yeah,

Jonathan Vaughters
it shows. To me, it’s just like, but yeah, but it’s that it’s the more repetition you’re doing in this perfect, you know, 175?

Colby Pearce
Yeah, there’s some muscle memory and some real patterning that’s out there. But

Jonathan Vaughters
I don’t know how how, you know, is it five millimeters? My take is that how much can you reduce somebody for a specific event,

Colby Pearce
think about it logically like, Okay, do take any repetitive action, right? It could be whatever it can be cycling, but it could be rowing or throwing a football or whatever. Take any repetitive action and repeat it to the maximum range of motion with quite a bit of force over and over again and train them and train them and train there. That’s going to put a certain demand on your nervous system, it’s going to train your nervous system to perform certain activities, the muscles are firing a certain pattern, etc. You’ll become adapted to that and you’ll eventually over a long enough timeline begin to have sports specific adaptations to that neural pattern. Yeah. If we take that same activity, and we’ve reduced the range of motion, that’s lowering neural demand. I don’t know Even though it’s a change, I could be wrong about this. And maybe you saw the shift down but not up. Exactly. And yeah, that’s my argument. I could be wrong about that. If somebody is a neurologist, they want to come to me please send me

Jonathan Vaughters
an email because you know, for a lot of talk about it for time trials where you’re dealing, mainly speaking with higher RPMs mainly speaking, lower torque situations. I know again, this Yes. Most people are gonna say what do you mean lower torque? No. time trials, you’re not accelerating very well, when you have a head unit with torque on it, you see the average or you would say, you aren’t you would not be you you aren’t jumping out of corners. You aren’t following attacks? Not if you’re doing it, right. Yeah. Not if you’re doing it, right, exactly. So in a time trial, you’ve got lower average torque, your oxygen carrying components gonna be much so you know, the smaller range of motion would actually potentially make sense.

Colby Pearce
See what I’m saying? Yeah. Now, of course, comparison, a to b 180 to 170, or whatever. 170 to 160. might be too much. But maybe but the point of driving out is that you’re you’re reducing foot speed when you go from a longer crank to a shorter cranking assuming your cadence stays the same, which probably won’t, because the athlete is self selecting gears, which means they’re gonna gravitate towards what works for them. This is the beauty of athletics, especially at the elite level is that the athlete always solves the equation on their own you have to let allow for a certain amount of athletic, right intuitive organismic decision making have a

Jonathan Vaughters
word but anyway, organism asmik or

Colby Pearce
universe.

Jonathan Vaughters
Oh, okay.

Colby Pearce
So we go from 170 to 160s. We are we’re reducing the foot speed, and possibly the athlete might shift to compensate for that. We’re also probably increasing torque, but maybe not because the fact is that what I have noticed in recording torque on my own head unit is that it doesn’t really matter if I’m doing a flat TT or hilly TT or climbing time trial, assuming you don’t run out of gears Yeah, my kind of torque threshold is my torque threshold I can make a certain number of Newton meters right now I have to compensate for that that’s part of solving the equation. So

Jonathan Vaughters
my assumption was just simply that because the arc of the pedal stroke with a smaller crank that arc is different that somehow you might not have that oxygen carrying efficiency might be lower.

Colby Pearce
Maybe I could be wrong about that. I

Jonathan Vaughters
Well, I don’t think anyone’s ever really looked at it truly truly studied that to the degree because yeah, I mean, the problem is anytime you do as you said, well Okay, then let’s just do a study with that hat. Let’s have an athlete come into the laboratory and pedal at 300 watts using 170s and pedal 300 watts using 160 The problem is is like Well, okay, which one does he do first? Because whichever one is first which ones he adapted to? Yeah, right i mean there so yeah, it you know, even just the elbow the laboratory, you know, he was sweating more for the second run than the first run because he was slightly Well, we can reverse the order

Colby Pearce
or you know, yeah, but someone go left brain that to death.

Athletes solve their own equation – from gear to nutrition

 

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah. You know, it’s funny when you’re talking about sort of almost reverse engineering like just the athlete will self-select and then you kind of adapt the science around that one of the funny things, you know from the from every grand tour the egos done but I mean the one he’s most known for in 2017 were you second in the Tour de France’s? You know? You rigo just eats bananas. Like when he races he eats a lot of bananas. I mean, it’s

Colby Pearce
freakish. Yeah, like at least a banana an hour. I will. My opinion it’s nature’s perfect exercise. So he just

Jonathan Vaughters
he just Chuck’s down bananas right. And so I’m talking to our nutritionist Nigel, you know, like, geez, man like Rico needs a lot of bananas. It’s kind of like I mean, that’s what like Joe Dombrowski always used to say Rico is like the easiest GC rider in the world to have on a team. He’s like, basically, he just

Colby Pearce
what you want from the car? bananas?

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah. Well, he’s like, he doesn’t ask his like, he just wants his teammates to be cool and chill and like not high stress. And then you give them bananas. Like that’s it. That’s like, Okay, if the bus is low stress and you give me bananas, everything’s good. Everything’s good. Yeah, like that’s it. There’s never any drama with that guy. And so put a halfway through the tour. I’m like, geez, you know, like, have we really looked at Rico’s nutrition like, he just, he just wants like, just use bananas like, you know, you’ve got all these like advanced like super mixes and encapsulated whatever encapsulated carbohydrates that like go straight from your stomach into your pituitary gland and produce rocket fuel and whatever, right and in the ego just is like, no hollow banana, right? Any, you know, second place in the tour, unlike bananas,

and

Jonathan Vaughters
and I saw I’m like Nigel, you know, gosh, like, isn’t this something that we should be looking at? And he’s like, Oh, we have and you know, rigo just does not change and, and then Nigel just said Listen, you know, he said sometimes in nutrition, we find out that what the athletes are doing That’s actually we reverse engineer and figure out well, that’s what they should have been doing as opposed to like, this is what you should be doing and now start doing it because we figured out in the laboratory, this is what you should be doing. He’s like I he’s like with Rico. He’s like, my guess is he’s like no one will really ever know. But my guess is is that probably if we spent five years like studying Rico’s organism or whatever his orgasm ism like that, that he that we would find out that like, actually, bananas were the perfect fuel for him. Right? And that like messing with that was only gonna make him go slower. Yep.

Colby Pearce
I think that sound also falls right in line with my preachings. I’ve been on my soapbox earlier about how bananas really are the perfect food and we should eat more real food in the bike.

Jonathan Vaughters
Yeah, well, this is I remember when when I did Philly now, you know i? Yeah, what’s this day like? My blood glucose is a little funky, right? You’re an endurance athlete. It’s pretty common with long races. You know, I would balk really easily. I mean, you’re like I didn’t particularly like

Colby Pearce
long rides or long races. restarting long road races with one protein shake totally in your exact down to bottom or like

Jonathan Vaughters
at Philly, which is you know seven hour race yeah I the year one year that I did really well there like I in my feed bag halfway through the race. It was a turkey sandwich man. Yeah, I had like a just a full on turkey sandwich. Extra Mayo, no tomatoes, right. You know, like Turkey and cheese. And I eat a turkey sandwich halfway through, you know, Philly, and you probably want really well. Yeah, it was great because I had like nice stable blood glucose for like the last three hours of the race because I had a big ol turkey sandwich. Everyone else

Colby Pearce
is eating their 12th gel. Yeah,

Jonathan Vaughters
yeah. Yeah, yeah. So

Colby Pearce
yeah, I have a big problem with the culture of endurance sports, how we kind of have justified the consumption of all these sugars. I mean, if you walked into a 711 and saw a bunch of gels, you’d be like, that’s garbage. Don’t eat that. But because it comes in a fancy wrapper and it costs $2 it’s good and it has aminos now it’s a sports fuel and it’s good for you and it increases performance. Yeah, people come on, like eat real food. Eat a fig eat a banana. Have a turkey sandwich in a long run. If your stomach can deal with it I yeah, I I struggle with that one hardcore. And I’ll probably never eat another gel again in my life even if I do sign up for an occasional bike race.

Jonathan Vaughters
No, that’s, I have not ego sings that. Right? Well, no actually that’s not true. It was kind of funny. I wish

Colby Pearce
you had one on your mammals race, Neil.

Jonathan Vaughters
Oh, you know I had one right before you’re right. I did. I did consume a gel like it was like 20 minutes before we started I did have a gel. That’s the last gel I had. Yeah, I was I was actually thinking of this. I went Friday with my buddy Peter who’s like a, you know, he’s an art consultant. And like, randomly, just because I like forgot to eat lunch or whatever. And I was like, Oh my god, I’m totally bonk me. Like a two hour ride. And I was like, I’m not gonna make it home. You know, I haven’t bonked in you. And I seriously thought I wasn’t going to I was just, like, get an Uber. And he had like two gels and I was just there was like the best tasting food I’ve ever had these gels. But I would never think to carry a gel with me on a ride anymore. Right? It took me like five years before I could eat spaghetti again after I stopped race

Colby Pearce
I’m the same way I still cannot really enjoy pasta to me pasta is rocket fuel. It’s like race fuel. Anyone who sits down need to play the pasta and I’m like, What? Are you gonna go run a marathon the next day? Oh, no, I’m just like pasta. what’s what’s wrong with you like, pasta is a rare irrevocably change in my mind forever. Yeah. So okay, I want to rewind one more time to the Adrian conversation and and tie it into our discussion just now about athletes solving their equation. So Adrian’s program was very had a lot of different components to it. Now we have people like Steven Seiler, who is basically looking at the performance of elite athletes and reverse engineering how they solve their own equation, right. And his conclusions from that I’d love to see and of course, then we have on one side hence we have Indigo. And then on the other side, we have Seiler. So, to refresh the context, indigo is all about zone to fat max training, right which is like plowing along at for most people 230 250 watts. For a typical amateur for for

Jonathan Vaughters
most people I don’t think you know my mom can no no no talking about hundred and 50 watts for

Colby Pearce
five hours talking about our Jim Beasley you know really really fit tight. He’s an old friend of ours who didn’t race a lot but was really fit. And then on the other side we have Seiler system which is extremely polarized right in silos. Yeah, he’s top bottom he’s talking about I’m like, you either you either light it up and make yourself bleed from the eyeballs, or you’re riding along it like German sprinter paste, like zone one, like looking at the flowers and stopping for coffee. And the answer

Jonathan Vaughters
is somewhere in between. Probably, I mean, that’s the as it usually is. Right? I mean, you know, that’s so going when you’re talking about athletes self selecting, now you and I learned all this stuff about Adrian, right with from Adrian, you know, like, you’re gonna do these five minute intervals at 400 watts, and you’re gonna do well,

Colby Pearce
you were doing them at 400

Jonathan Vaughters
I wasn’t anywhere you’re gonna do this threshold effort at three zero blah, blah, blah. Yeah. And then I remember the some of the races and especially time trials that I did immediately after sort of going To the ad bootcamp of six months. You know, my pacing was all wrong, right? Like I was like, Okay, I can do 360 watts in this time. And I do 360 watts on the uphill and 360 watts on the downhill and 360 watts on the flats. I’m like, well, you’re on 365 and like that that result, I think, yeah, yeah. And then I remember observing a guy who I trained with in Spain a lot and I would only train with this guy once, like, at first I train to them a lot, but then once I started really doing the ad program, he wouldn’t ride with me anymore because he found it extremely annoying to ride with me. This guy he sent a lot but he CO in recent days, but he I think he was fifth in the wealth in like 9495 so like, you know, this is your typical Spanish banesto climber you know, had a six seven year career made enough money to buy a house and then never touched a bike again and probably like lives on cigarettes and french fries now but but anyway, he sent a it was real simple, like training you go out with him and it was pretty much always a rolling ride. He’d never liked to do big mountains even though he’s it climber and he never liked to ride on the flat. So we’d always do a rolling, right? And he would get out of the saddle on the uphill of the role of the one. And like, crank it all the way to the top and then coast down. Yeah, crank on the top and Coast. And so and that was all he ever did. Like it was just it was if you’re on an uphill, you’re like, you’re hitting it as hard as you can. And if you’re on the downhill, even on the flat, like he would just roll noodle along on the flat. And so I’m thinking okay, this guy got fifth in the Vuelta, and I got 140 ninth, right. So yeah, that’s what’s going on here. Yep. And that’s in that’s part of the learning. Like with Adrian, he taught us how to like, you know, look at power data and how to understand what your body could produce or whatever but there was this point where I had to shift back to like the super old school Regina five speed freewill. Yep. Where it’s like wait a minute, actually, like okay, like This power stuff is interesting. But like if I just am dead steady about every time, I’m never gonna do well on a time trial again, right, I actually have to modulate this based on like in, you know, modulation a time trial is really simple, the slower you’re going, the higher your power output should be like coming out of a corner, you’re going slow, your power should be really high, going on a downhill, you’re going really fast your parachute, most of time is long and lost, the slower and slower you’re going so so don’t lose time there. Yeah, you know, it was almost like, we were programmed a certain way really early. And then like all that was totally unwound by Audrey’s training, which is really effective. But then you kind of had to pull back to a little bit of more of just the instinct. Yeah, and you know,

Colby Pearce
and like visanthe pretty sure this guy never even used a heartbeat note right right, let alone a power meter. I have no idea what Yeah, so and for context on that. I mean, Jamie and I live on the front range of Colorado, which is like, we’re at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. You look West, it goes straight up. You look East you see Kansas, like we’re literally at the foot of the Rockies. So our terrain is eternal. Like a 20 mile Canyon, or like endless flat roads. So when Adrian said go out and do a three hour ride in zone two power, we could literally do that for almost every minute of the ride and come home with almost no time in zone three, four or five or however you want to call it. When you live in a rolling area. First of all, you adapt to that terrain. And I noticed in my career, early racing, I would go race against guys who were brought up on the East Coast, you know, the McCormick brother, for example, right? They probably train exact like Vincent de does, like they live in Massachusetts and go on these rides where it’s like one k roller up one k roller down, and all day long. They just go smash up these rollers and their big ring. And guess what they could do to me in races? They could really mess me up on little rolling hills. Yeah, but if I got them in a long flat stage, it was okay. So yeah, I think metabolically the load that Adrian gave us when he gave us those rides had a definitely a good training effect. I mean, there’s there’s it’s hard to go out and ride if you’ve never done it

Jonathan Vaughters
try to be exclusive. It had a great Yes, but it’s like this is the agree. So it’s like, you know the ego thing whereas an ego basically is like you I only need to train in zone two. I mean, right? He’s like religious about it.

Colby Pearce
Yes, he is

Jonathan Vaughters
a zealot. He’s really like preaching to the world like, this is the only where as conversely, there are a lot of other people that have a very opposite theory to that. And the answer is, I think and coaching is like how do you balance it and certain athletes need to be a little bit more on the on off and the other athletes need to be a little bit more of the nigo. And it depends what their race goals are. Depends on what their physiology is. But yes, I was going to bring up a point you mentioned Frankie McCormick. Do you remember the race announcer on the East Coast that love Frankie McCormick. He was like the race announcer he was like the Dave toll of the East Coast know. His name was dick ring. I remember hearing No, I don’t remember declaring victory I just say he always used to say when at the Pittsburgh longbow, classic he whenever Frankie McCormick attack he’d say

Lord lava doc. That’s Frankie McCormick on the attack. I’m your announcer Yeah.

Colby Pearce
And the first time you heard that you looked around and I’m like, Am I being pranked? Yeah,

Jonathan Vaughters
guys. Okay, tinkering. tinkering. Okay, and there you go

Colby Pearce
take from that which is a

stick ring here and we’re here we’re gonna watch Frankie McCormick, local hero Western Massachusetts.

Colby Pearce
Yep. who probably won Fitchburg nine times in a row or something. Sure. Lord llama Doc, Lord Lafitte

Jonathan Vaughters
duck, which actually, the love isn’t the actual expression. Right,

Colby Pearce
right. Well, yeah, I understand. Yeah. Well, sometimes we have to do these things. You know, Disney ffice some. That’s great. That’s a perfect way to end. Yeah, good adventures. Okay, boys and girls. I hope you enjoyed that episode with Jonathan Vaughters. He’s a smart guy, and he’s got a lot of interesting observations to make about training and so forth. Do you want to check out more about JP he wrote a book recently. I’m in a little bit of it. It’s called one way ticket. Nine Lives on two wheels and a memoir. I got part of the title out of order on that, but we’re gonna put a link in the show notes for that. So make your keyboard mudras and check it out. We’re also going to put a link in there to what appears to be Audrey’s website. That’s Audra van diemen, a coach that Judy and I spoke about many times in our episode, and it’s induction. So I’m pretty sure that’s the right website. But once you go forth and explore, if you want to check out any of my goodies on the social needs, check out my Instagram account. That’s cycling in alignment on Instagram. You can also look at me on my website. That’s Colby pierce.com. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. It’s just my name with a.com afterwards. Does that mean I’ve been commercialized? I’ll stop now. Have a good day. Thanks for listening.