Fast Talk Femmes: Tips From a Super Bowl Champ Turned Track Cyclist

Former NFL tight end Luke Willson and his coach, Jenny Trew, share tips on skill transfer between sports.

FTF EP 130 WEBSITE

Luke Willson is a Super Bowl XLVIII Champion who has played for the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, and Baltimore Ravens in his professional football career. However, his journey took an unexpected turn when a medical issue arose, abruptly halting his football career. Nevertheless, Luke didn’t let this setback deter him. With the assistance of his coach, Jenny Trew, he successfully transitioned his football skills into a thriving cycling career. 

In this episode, we’ll hear from both Luke and Jenny as they share insights on skill transfer between sports. Discover how Luke translates the mindset and strategy of football into cycling and gain valuable tips on bike handling skills and building endurance—particularly when transitioning from a power sport. You can follow Luke on his cycling journey as he attempts to qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. 

Episode Transcript

Dede Barry  00:05

Hi and welcome to Fast Talk Femmes with Dede Barry and Julie Young. On this episode we’ll be joined by former NFL tight end and Super Bowl champ, Luke Wilson and his cycling coach Jenny Trew. After an incredibly successful professional football career that included playing for the Seattle Seahawks, the Detroit Lions, the Oakland Raiders, and the Baltimore Ravens, and winning Super Bowl 48—Canadian Luke Wilson returned home to his province of Ontario and took up track cycling.

Dede Barry  00:34

He’s now training and racing at the Mattamy national cycling Centre in Milton, Ontario. All the kids at the Velodrome think it’s pretty awesome to have a Super Bowl champ riding and racing with them. Luke’s rise in cycling has been swift, and has been accelerated by working with former Canadian National Team track endurance coach, Jenny Trew. This is not Luke’s first time switching from one sport to another. He’s been a multi-sport athlete for much of his life. In fact, before he went pro and football, he was a Canadian Junior National Team baseball player and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. But then he decided to focus on football.

Dede Barry  01:09

A lot of athletes transfer into cycling from other sports as its social, low impact, and a sport that isn’t limited by age. But from what we’ve seen many focus almost entirely on fitness when they start cycling, and not enough on all the important skills and strategy. We’re really pleased to have Luke and Jenny join us on this episode to discuss skills transfer when switching from one sport to another. Luke and Jenny, welcome to Fast Talk Femmes.

Dede Barry  01:37

Luke and Johnny, thanks for joining us today. It’s a real pleasure to have you on the show.

Luke Wilson  01:42

Thanks for having us.

Dede Barry  01:43

Yeah, Luke has been super fun to see you develop on the track. And I know Jenny’s been training you hard. But you know, how did you get into cycling? And what was your segue into this sport from football?

Luke Wilson  01:56

Yeah, it’s kind of been a interesting story. I somewhat abruptly retired from football, I had signed back to Seattle to play my ninth season. And I had some health issues kind of the summer leading into my nine season and just showed up, they want to kind of lost the passion, not necessarily for football, but some of the things that kind of are also involved when you’re at that level. And I was like, Okay, I’m done this like time to move on kind of started another chapter in my life, which was a little strange, because at that point, all my life really had been, at least for the last 10 plus years was just football. But then I went home. This is God’s honest truth. I had some former teammates that I’d see riding a road bike, and I went home and pretty similar story to a lot of people. I was living in Seattle, and because of COVID at the time, you know, I was a little worried about crossing the border due to my job because I was just kind of never knew they’d like lock the border down. And then I’d be stuck there. So I hadn’t been home and Oh, two plus years, went home. My parents live in Salem, Ontario, and my dad was like, Hey, we’re going for it was September so it was warm, or going for a bike ride. My parents are not cyclists, but they use kind of bikes for exercise. And my dad’s like, I just got this new Norco is a $900, flat bar Norco. He’s like, you can ride that. And I hadn’t been on a bike probably since I was 12. And he had a little speedometer on it. Don’t ask me why, but I was bombing around probably like 20 kilometers an hour, just thinking that I was ripping. I’m like, Man, this is a blast. I kind of felt like a little kid. And I was like, this would be something that I could potentially get into in Seattle. So again, kind of fate would have it, went back to Seattle and looked at buying a road bike and one of the first people I met in the local scene was an ex. Domestic pro riders. name’s Derek Wilkerson.

Dede Barry  03:54

I know Derek, you know, Derek, yeah. Okay, so

Luke Wilson  03:57

there we go. Small world. So I was actually on the phone with Derek yesterday. And he was kinda like, Hey, man, if you want somebody to kind of show you the ropes, you know, again, I didn’t know at the time. But he was like, I’ve done a lot of riding in my life. And it was kind of fun because again, I was retired, I had no job. And I bought a road bike and me and him pretty much rode right through the winter, just a lot of kind of zone two and I every ride it was like, more and more enjoyable. I was say I saw more Seattle in the surrounding area, those next six months that I had in nine years living there. So how the racing started was Derek was like journaling, go racing your bike. And I remember looking at him like what I didn’t even know there was such thing as local bike racing. I know that might sound ignorant, but I was just pretty heavy football. And he’s like, yeah, there’s all sorts of bike racing, locally, cetera, et cetera. He’s like, but I’ll be honest with ya. He’s like as he started to get a little more competitive at your size, it’s like I’m not trying to be negative with Derek is over. was in person he’s like, but your best chance of winning consistently would be on the Velodrome. So that’s, that’s, again, kind of the short story of how I went home parents are just bopping around kind of the community. I’m pretty relaxed bikes, bought a road bike, met Derek, and fell in love and just couldn’t get enough of

Dede Barry  05:20

  1. Yeah. So did you ever try the track in Seattle? Oh, yeah,

Luke Wilson  05:24

that’s my I consider that land track. In fact, it’s quite a lot easier to ride me and Jenny, that’s conversation the 400 meters the width of it all. Yeah, I think one of my fondest memories this year, was one of the first NCAA nights I one of the races I got third, in genuis. Like, I think I was like 14 people back and she came up to me afterwards like, hey, this ain’t Seattle. Above the blue on the last lap, and just asked everybody. Yeah, so that was a good Seattle’s a little, I’d say less technical. Is that fair?

Dede Barry  05:58

Yeah. For our listeners, Seattle’s a 400 meter oval with actually, what is the banking journey? Do you know it’s maybe

Jenny Trew  06:05

1010 degrees in the corner? It’s probably 25 degrees. Like we used to joke. It’s like you start the track race and a quick breaks out.

Dede Barry  06:13

It’s pretty flat. Yeah, yeah. So Luke, I know you’ve been a multi sport athlete most of your life. And you said you rode bikes when you were a little kid. But did you do any other endurance sports at all? Absolutely

Luke Wilson  06:24

not. Which I think kind of buries me a little bit. Now, you know, I remember the last endurance thing I probably did was honestly, in third grade, because that’s the first team at least when I was growing up, you could join for the school was cross country. And then once I got to like sixth grade, it was kind of basketball, to be honest with you. Hockey was my like, number one sport as a kid. And then as I got towards the end of high school, it was pretty much strictly baseball and football. So I played a lot of sports, summer lacrosse. You know, my parents were pretty supportive and really wanted me to try a bunch of different things. But as far as endurance goes, I was definitely not an endurance athlete, which again, is not the best thing. I can see jetties kind of laughing because we’re getting there. We’re getting there. We’re chipping away at it. Yeah. It’s been a bit of a journey.

Dede Barry  07:19

Yeah. At what age? Did you sense you had a shot at going pro and football or baseball? Because I mean, you almost went pro baseball, right?

Luke Wilson  07:27

Yes, baseball was a very weird journey for me, because I never really took it too serious. I was kind of an abnormally large kid. I haven’t grown a much since ninth grade. So I stepped into high school very close, if not at six foot five, which was large, you know, and everyone was like, hey, like, you should play football, you should play baseball again, it was more of a hockey guy. And once I had signed a scholarship to go to Rice University, play football, I kind of laid off the hockey and started playing baseball a little more seriously. And I ended up on playing on our junior national team that year. And again, it was one of those things where I never really saw myself mentally going professional in baseball until I don’t want to say it was too late. But like after the World Junior tournament, I had a scout from the Cincinnati Reds that was like hey, don’t go to school like we will pay the exact amount of money that it’s you’re getting out in the scholarship and we’ll give you a you know, quote unquote, free education afterwards, if you come to sign for the reds, so that was kind of when I was like, Hey, maybe I can play pro baseball. And then as far as football goes, being a Canadian kid and going down to Texas I’ll be was a division one school but not you know, when I think of big time division one schools Rice University’s football program is not one of them. But after my like second season playing, I would say so I redshirt it was my third year, like we would play big teams, Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech. And I felt like I held my own in those games and was able to accumulate a couple stats. And I was like, Hey, this is something that I think if I really worked at I could potentially make it so I would say baseball was a little earlier just because that’s how things went. But football after my second season playing my redshirt sophomore year in college, was when I was kind of like I can really go to the NFL if I commit to this goal.

Dede Barry  09:23

And like when you are playing football, did you do a lot of different cross training like you had to have done a fair bit of running probably mostly speedwork Right?

Luke Wilson  09:32

Yes. And it was interesting like training wise, especially now that I’ve done the cycling and again, me and Jenny communicate quite a bit. No surprise here. Football is not nearly as scientific as cycling. Oh, I don’t want this I always get bothered with like ex athletes and I understand why there’s a lot of people that are like very disgruntled with their experience. That is not me. I like look back on my football days with a lot of happy Did some fond memories. But that being said, that is it big time, let’s call it meathead culture, you know, it is not very scientific, you know, it doesn’t really make the most sense. Let’s start as the training goes, and it is difficult, like you don’t College, there’s 90 Guys was 85 scholarship, guys. So it’s tough if you have for strength coaches to have, you know, 85 individual programs. And when you’re playing the pros, there’s 53 plus 10. Practice squad guys a little easier. But still similar situation. So you get a lot of your one on one stuff and things you really need to work on either by yourself or in the offseason, when you’re working with somebody one on one. But again, as far as a crossover training, it was interesting, because I always found that, you know, I could do these drills, doing cone drills, you know, Quick Ladder, things like that. But I found that the most explosive I got was actually playing squash in the offseason. I know that sounds very strange, but for some reason, I liked playing squash. And it was like just being in there and kind of having to like be athletic and bounce around. And like some different body movements and mechanics, I found actually translated to my explosive ability a lot better than, you know, five yards back, 10 yards back. And also, this kind of a hello, when you play other sports where I’ve found again, it’s a personal thing. I’m sure there could be a sports scientist in the football round that wants to strangle me right now. But it’s like, some of the drills that have us do, it’s like, I would never do this on a football field. Like I never going to run five yards straight one way, 10 yards straight back the other way like that. It’s literally an impossibility. So that would kind of be my thing. As far as like crossover training. I wish we did more of it. But football is definitely not as advanced as cycling.

Dede Barry  11:53

Yeah, that’s super interesting.

Julie Young  11:55

So Luke, I know, you had mentioned you’re not an endurance athlete, but as a tight end in the NFL, was there any element of endurance training in your plan? Yeah,

Luke Wilson  12:05

Julie, this is gonna make you laugh a little bit. But I actually found that in the pros, you needed less endurance. So in college, we would go, no huddle. And so basically, again, I’m not sure how familiar everybody listening is with football. But in the pros, it’s like you do a play, you jog back to the huddle, you all huddle up, and you listen to like what’s going on, and everything was very, very strategic, you know, and it becomes almost a chess match between coaches, a, there’s still a chess master degree in college, but we would never huddle up. So it was like, do a play. And you’d look to the sideline for like, almost like a baseball coach doing signals. And that would tell you where to line up. And then you’d look back. So you needed a little more endurance in college. In the pros. I used to joke. Because I was shocked. Like, as a kid, we always run after practice, you know, we got to be in shape. And I can you just kind of laugh because I can remember being in high school and doing 20 minutes of sprints or whatever, at the end of practice. And then I got to the pros and like we never sprint. I mean, we do when we plan. But we never do any of this. I would lie, I felt like I was like to my whole life. You know, we were there. And it was like, well, we want you to be fast and you there is some repeatability. But there’s not just a lot of endurance to be quite frank, you don’t. Again, you need to be able to go for six seconds 45 times with a minute plus break generally between them. And 15 minutes between when the offense gets on and defense gets off. So a lot of it is just training like explosive movements and repeatability of those explosive movements. It’s just not very endurance based. That would be my assessment.

Julie Young  13:52

I mean, I guess that’s kind of the case. And Jenny, you can probably speak to this, but for sprinters like on the track or those athletes that are really speed focused. It’s like you don’t want to take that edge off, in some ways by doing too much of that endurance work where you’re maybe creating those slow twitch fibers. Jenny, what do you think about that? Is there some truth to that?

Jenny Trew  14:12

Yeah, I mean, I think you need to be fit enough that you can handle that repeatability. I think sometimes that’s missed. The difference was running versus cycling is that probably just the walking around. And just being a regular human supports a lot of that and the sheer repeatability of what you were doing on a football field. I would also say that watching you come over there must have been a fairly solid base of fitness because even if you look at everything that we’ve done in the last six months, you’re doing 15 hour weeks that are almost all intensity. So that takes a lot of fitness actually. Yes, it’s

Luke Wilson  14:48

funny, Jenny you say that because I always find even like to this day as far as like fatigue goes like the other day we’re joking for each other recording this a couple of days ago I ranked one of your The workouts isn’t 10 out of 10 on the RPE scale, and like three hours later, I’m not fresh, but I’m not dead like I’m not tired. Where if I were to go do like five hours of Zone Two, for me personally, I feel much more drained as a, from a longevity standpoint, it’s obviously not as physically demanding. But I am a little bit more accustomed to being like, Hey, I just played a football game. You know, we took 40 snaps, I basically smashed my head into a lot of human beings for an hour, jumped on a plane right afterwards. And like, again, Monday is not a tough day in the NFL. But now I have 300 pounds loaded on my back. And we’re doing back squats on Monday, which is pretty. Again, I talked about the meathead style shirts, not scientific, but that’s pretty standard in the NFL, is that Monday is like day right after the game. So I do find that that does help sometimes. And I know you’ve kind of done this, but like the lat I’ve been pretty jacked up for the last two days, I’ve been to pretty tough, intense days on the bike, and I am sore, but I do feel like I can handle that style of training.

Jenny Trew  16:05

Yeah, absolutely. I was wondering, when I saw the comments from a couple of days ago, I’m like, I wonder how the next day, like another year into intensity is gonna go. But again, it went really well. So that ability to hit that repeatability at that intensity is pretty unique. You are exceptional at that. I

Luke Wilson  16:23

got one thing going for me.

Julie Young  16:28

So Luke, as a football player, I know you said it’s kind of lacking science in your opinion. But I would imagine your offseason and your inseason looked very different in terms of your training.

Luke Wilson  16:39

Yes, it’s funny, you asked that because I’ve always wondered, deep down, I always felt like I was doing things the wrong way. And I’ll kind of explain what I mean by that. I had a coach once asked me and he said, Because generally how the NFL works, I’d say for 99% of NFL athletes, is you have a very big offseason, you know a lot of lifting a lot of training football’s a weird sport, where, because you need 11 guys to play it. You don’t really play football in the offseason, a lot of it is just in the gym. Yeah, you’re doing some individual stuff. For me as a tight end, I’d have a guy throwing the football here and there. But it’s tough to like find a defensive end and go blocking with them. And you’re never gonna put shoulder pads on. So a lot of it is in the gym, and kind of building up if you will. And I remember a strength coach said to me once, you know, look, if you’re the guest right now, what do you think you can squat peak offseason, like you’re at the end of your program? And I remember telling him at the time I was a little younger, I said 550 pounds. And he’s like, okay, week eight of the NFL season, what do you think he can squat? And I’m like, by that point, 450 You’re pretty beat up. And he’s like, so then what was the point of squatting? 550? And like, I’m scratching my head a little bit, because I’m like, What is he going to see? He’s like, if you do all of this training, so you can be that strong, but then you do it for the season. But then by week, eight of the season, you haven’t kept that up, what was the point of doing it. And I always thought that was intriguing. Because for me how the NFL works is basically get as strong and as healthy and as fit as you can the offseason. And then it was kind of like hanging on for dear life. And you just slowly trended by the end of the year you were slower, weaker, your body fat percentage is probably a little higher. And granted, you’re playing there’s a little more demand on the body. But I did think it was strange that the idea is to like, not train as hard in the season. And it’s just kind of the way things are, I don’t know, maybe one of you three can kind of dispel this myth for him. But I always wondered why we never trained hard during season.

Julie Young  18:49

Oh, I think it’s kind of similar to cycling. I mean, I don’t know Didi and Jenny, what you think but I think we do kind of create this huge base and offseason and this durability. And as you start racing, you’re almost losing fitness in some respects. And I think, I don’t know, Jenny, in terms of your track programs, but I know in road cycling, it’s it’s really hard to keep up like that strength training throughout the season, maybe trying to do some maintenance amounts. But to me, it seems very similar. It’s kinda like you’re slowly kind of taking those deposits out of what you’ve built in offseason.

Dede Barry  19:23

I think just to add to that to like, you have to account for the travel when you’re in race season. And maybe it’s similar when you’re playing a lot of games. It’s like, that’s fatiguing and sometimes more fatiguing than the training I find like road cyclists for example. And and track cyclists. They’re often racing overseas and dealing with in our time changes and whatnot and sometimes you you know, lose two days a week just to travel. So definitely a lot of road cyclists tend to lose fitness throughout the season. Yeah,

Jenny Trew  19:54

I think it’s a pretty normal cycle. The fittest you are is almost as you start the season and then You get faster and better at the racing part of it. But all the other underlying pieces do tend to erode a little bit. And I agree the travel takes a big toll on people. I used to say a lot when I was talking to athletes that your body can’t differentiate between the stress. So whether it’s school stress, or work stress, or travel stress or training stress, it’s not like your body has little like, boxes for each one of those. It’s just all like stress. And so if you don’t account for all those other pieces, sometimes that’s what it implodes. And so I think what ends up happening and race season or for cycling, specifically, but probably same in other sports is that you get so much of the other stress that you can’t keep that physical stress level up as high. And so it kind of balances out that way. Yeah, that’s true.

Julie Young  20:50

It’s a really, really good point about travel, because I think people really underestimate or don’t even consider that in terms of the stress that contributes.

Jenny Trew  20:58

Yeah, it was a few years ago, I was looking through an athlete’s loop data. And the only thing that I was able to take from it was that travel was a major stress. That was the only thing that routinely would just like, throw the numbers out. Anytime this athlete traveled, they’d be a mess for a couple of days. And that was the only thing that I got from the whole thing. Not training, not anything else is travel. Yeah,

Dede Barry  21:22

the other thing is just like being in different environments to like, because there’s different allergens and different environments. And I know like when my husband race for Team Sky, at the end of his career, the last three years, and they were kind of all about marginal gains, like they were the ones that really brought that to pro cycling at a big, big level. And they tried to keep everything as consistent as possible. So they would bring their own mattresses and their own pillows and shafts and everything to the races just to try and at least, you know, control the variables they could control to kind of bring that stress down. But still, it’s not easy, you’re still moving and got the outdoor environment, the indoor environment, like your body is just like dealing with a lot of stressors, for sure.

Luke Wilson  22:06

Yeah, it’s funny, you say that, because one of the things I also thought about while playing was and I think this definitely applies to bike racing. But some of the greatest players, you know, in football, make the most money, obviously, and rightfully so. But it’s kind of a snowball positivity, because now they have the most resources. So it’s like, I look at bike racing, for example. And I have, I’m not a professional bike racer, by any means, but I try to follow some, you know, local Canadians and some people in Europe, and it’s a very different world, it seems like the in the NFL, as far as funding goes. So I just think like, if you’re taking a flight, you know, overseas, and it’s like, you’re a pro bike racer, you would hope that you’d be sitting in one of the big pods, you know, kick your legs up during this nine hour flight, get two meals potentially on it in a nap, where it’s like the opposite kind of happens with cycling, again, from what it seems like at a certain level, where it’s like, well, actually, instead of one direct flight or two, you’re gonna take five, they’re gonna be jammed in the back of the plane, and there’s gonna be 310 hour layovers in there. And that’s kind of something that I always thought like, it’s a crazy world to me, because it’s so competitive. And there’s so many people, and there’s things that make a difference. And like Jenny just said, it’s like traveling is a huge ordeal and your selfie, where it’s like, that takes a lot out of you. But like, some people don’t have the resources, you would think of you to even riders, and one person, they’re both going to Europe or North America, and one person took a straight shot in a first class pod and got a three hour nap on the plane and two meals and had their legs reclining the whole time. And the other person’s jam in the back and had three lay overs. And it took 48 hours. Again, as I’m not a sports scientist, but I would assume that the person with the straight shots gonna have a lot better chance at winning the race.

Dede Barry  24:07

Yeah, for sure. Well, it’s really interesting in the Tour de France, because there’s this whole debate because certain teams obviously have bigger budgets than others. And so you see some riders being flown off the top of mountains on helicopters at the end of the stage, while others are you know, maybe riding down the mountain to meet a boss to take them to the hotel. And it you know, it might be a three hour transfer and you’re really only got about 14 hours to recover from the stage anyways. And you’re spending like three hours of I’m trying to get to the next hotel but yeah, like even at the top top level and cycling and in races like the Tour de France where recovery is so key to performance. Not all the athletes are being taken care of the way they should be and it definitely I think determines the outcome of the races in some cases.

Luke Wilson  24:54

Yeah, it’s a crazy again, I learning that about this world, but I would assume that a lot of races is our I mean, I’d say the majority is run one on the bike. But you can certainly put yourself in a better spot off

Julie Young  25:06

of it. Oh, for sure. Well, in that funding comes into play in terms of access to sport scientist and access to technology and wind tunnels and equipment you think about like the time trial equipment, for example.

Dede Barry  25:19

Yeah, that’s crazy. So Luke, I’ve, I’ve seen you out training and racing on the track. And it’s been super fun to watch your progression. But what’s been like the most challenging aspect of bike racing for you thus far? Oh,

Luke Wilson  25:32

by far, aerodynamics. Like, it’s bizarre to me. You know, when I first got into it, I was like, okay, bike racing is simple. You know, who can rip the bike the hardest and pedal the most and etc. And obviously, there’s tactics, which is also a huge part again, especially for me. But as far as the most difficult thing. You know, I watch a lot of people that can just fold over their bike and just seemingly be wildly comfortable and pedal. And it’s just not what I naturally gifted at. Now, I’m working at Jenny’s lap, and Jenny and I get it. I’ve said in Jedi a couple of photos, I’ve been really trying to like work on the arrow position. So that’s partially why I’m excited. We’re doing some timing in two days. But it’s just not easy for me to one find a bike that fits in within UCI rules, as I had a small issue at nationals with that we got around it, but it was I was slightly panicked. And then to like being able to really hold an aerodynamic position for long periods of time, not my forte. So that would probably be number one. I would say there’s other things that are very challenging, but for me, that’s the most frustrating.

Dede Barry  26:51

Yeah, my son race is on the track as well. I’m familiar. Yes. It went quite a bit as well. He does a lot of thoracic mobility and like shoulder mobility work pretty consistently, Johnny, how are you addressing that in terms of like increasing flexibility and durability?

Jenny Trew  27:10

Yeah, a lot of the work that Luke has done has been on the rollers. So getting into position on the rollers. So we’re talking like just getting used to putting power out in those positions, because there’s two parts to it, right? There’s having the flexibility. And then there’s the having the flexibility while your body is doing something else. So I’ve seen a lot of athletes, you’re like, Oh, you shouldn’t be good. And then the second Well, I mean, you see it all the time on the bike, right, and then the second somebody starts going hard, they push themselves straight up, and they’re big wind sail again, that’s one of the things it’s actually been really cool to watch Luke get more and more comfortable in the position and be able to hold that position while he’s going hard. And also trying to relax. So we’ve been doing a lot of like kilo work, right? And so when everything just like smacks the wall, to be able to relax into that position, and really like fold in, even though your body’s dying. And that’s been so much of the efficiency that’s come out of it. I think that’s made a really big difference. But the majority of it has been riding rollers in position for like five minute blocks and just getting used to being there. And being able to relax into that position so that you can go hard in that position. Yeah, that totally makes sense. Luke, I

Dede Barry  28:28

saw you did a pretty quick kilo in January for a newish rider. Do you feel like that might be a really good event for your skill set? Or do you prefer the Sprint’s or bunch races or

Luke Wilson  28:39

I think that that’s going to be a good one, when it’s all said and done. I mean, I got a tip my cap Jenny has helped an ungodly amount with the kilo work. And to be honest with you, I’m kind of excited for provincials again, thinking positive here and I don’t want to sound cocky, but I think I’m going to shatter that time. So that’s been a lot of fun. I do think that’s kind of more like my style, I would say, I don’t know if like more of a diesel engine. Someone at the tractor the day said, You look like you have a Mack truck engine. The only problem is, you have the aerodynamics of a Mack truck as well, which I thought was quite cool. But this was not in the arrow position. I’ll just put it that way. But that’s definitely the focus for me right now. As far as the other stuff. There’ll be some people that are mad at me for saying this. Quite honestly, I think sprinting is dumb. I don’t understand it. Like I watch it. And I’m like, This is ridiculous. There’s three laps and we’re just going to sit and stand for do over them. But I digress. I digress. Again, hopefully there are too many sprinters watching this. But I do like bunch races I find the tactics very fun and intriguing. And it just adds such a very cool, you know, element to racing to me. And I again, I go back to my last night at the NCIS and it wasn’t the Top division, but it’s like certain races play out my favor. And then there are certain other races where you just get exposed. And there’s, you know, what’s fun about the 250? I think in Milton compared to the 400 and Seattle, is it the 400 and Seattle, if you do make mistake, you’re not dead. You know, it’s a long enough track, and it’s flat enough, where unless it’s super late in the race, there’s a lot of leeway for making errors, where I find that on the 250. If you miss the move, or you do something stupid, or you try and pass 10 People in the last lap above the blue, for example. It’s not going to work out, like you’re just you blew it, it doesn’t matter how strong you are at that point. Like if people are adequate, which built in as a very large amount of strong riders, I would say, you’re not going to win. So I really do. I’d say I’d like to kilo. And then after that, my next thing would enjoyment wise would be bunch racing.

Julie Young  31:00

So Luke, speaking of bench racing, I’ve been thinking about, you know, we’ve talked about differences between cycling and football, but kind of thinking about some similarities and thinking about you, like navigating through the scrim of players on the field. You know, do you find there’s this similarity to kind of navigating that peloton in that confined space on the track? You

Luke Wilson  31:22

know, it’s funny, it’s I do to some degree, and I find it’s most relevant in elimination races, elimination races, to me, I don’t know why it is, but it’s by far the most comfortable I am in any race. Now I’ve it’s not being said, like I have gotten got, you know, and if guys are just wildly stronger than me, then doesn’t really matter how tactical I can get if I’m just not at the fitness level I need to be. But I find that you know, that elimination race is a very similar or there’s, I shouldn’t say very similar but has some similarities to playing football, you’re kind of on it, you know, I think of myself, like running routes. A lot of time, if I have a 10 yard, you know, let’s call it a 10 yard out route. You know, I’ve got to know what’s going on outside. I’ve got to know what the coverage is. Okay, I’ve got a wide receiver, my team is going to clear this defender out, this guy’s an inside leverage. So I almost want to like push a little bit and then break out a little quicker, you know, be a little more explosive. Where I find again, on the eliminations, it’s like, okay, I can tuck in a little bit here. I’ve got this guy box in like, Oh, I got to punch it for 30 meters. Like I do find that in that race. In particular, there’s a lot of similarities. And even in some of the scratch races in the Velodrome, where there isn’t a lot of similarities to me is my least favorite race of all time, the tempo, where it’s just like work going, and it’s not stopping. That is not football, like, and I’m not great at that. I’d rather kind of the like, yeah, we’re on it. We’re going hard. Okay, we back off for a sec. So it is there are some similarities with some races, but other races not as much.

Julie Young  33:00

Yeah. So you’d like the more tactical races?

Luke Wilson  33:03

I would say. So again, that’s kind of at the moment. It’s fun. But the one thing I don’t love about tactical racing, just me griping. Now, this is probably my least favorite thing about cycling, is I don’t like when cyclists lose a tactical race. And they just have 35 excuses to like, why they lost. Yeah. Like, I don’t know why that is. It’s like, you know, I lost the points race the other night. And I lost the points race because I was not good enough. In that points race, like, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean that I’m trash, it’s cycling. Now. It’s not really a huge hit to my ego. Like, you want another reason I lost the points race because I made terrible decisions. And I was not strong enough to make up for those decisions. So that’s why I’m surrounding that gripe out of the way. So that’s the only thing I don’t like, it’s like, when you’re sitting in the pit afterwards, and 15 guys have an answer to you why they didn’t win. I’m like, Well, I mean, I don’t know what to say. I didn’t win either. And it’s not because of my wheels or somebody else. It’s because I messed up. Anyways, great things over

Jenny Trew  34:09

somebody said it went fast. I did not that. That’s very fair. That’s very fair.

Dede Barry  34:17

Look, what’s your balance of road riding and track riding right now? Oh, I

Luke Wilson  34:21

would say it’s a decent split on the Velodrome two sometimes three times a week depending if there’s a race, just because it’s the winner. And we’re trying kilo. I mean, Jenny can back me up on this, but we’re doing a little more intense trainer style efforts. And then I think after provincials I don’t know for sure but will my guess is a big roadblock is coming in my near future at some point so at the moment, I’d say you know I’m on rollers, doing roller workouts twice, you know, not including warm ups twice a week and then velodrome two to three times a week which has been

Dede Barry  34:58

it’s been great Do you do any strength work? Or is is that? Yeah, yeah, yeah,

Luke Wilson  35:03

I’m, I’m back in the gym, you know, sometimes I’ll go and do twice a week. But usually like the second time is this Morrison like body movement kind of body work stuff. Back to the whole aerodynamics, what I do find is that I get wildly stiff after riding my bicycle. So it’s kind of nice to get, you know, move around and just get some functional movement in.

Dede Barry  35:26

Yeah, that’s interesting. I mean, that’s something I found really helped me in my career. And I like our son does just tons of functional movement, and not a lot of heavyweights, just like increased mobility and durability more than anything else.

Luke Wilson  35:39

Yeah, it’s weightlifting. And I’ve been a guy that’s really I mean, I have loved weightlifting, for a large part of my life. And I actually own a gym in Windsor. Like, it’s kind of a passion of mine. But I do like, you know, there’s a lot of myths about weightlifting, and it’s talking about, like, functional movement and strength through, you know, full ranges of motion in certain parts of the range. It’s like, hey, I can go and squat the house, for example. But if I can’t, you know, translate that or my range of motion, while I’m squatting said weight is not great. You know, how is it actually applicable to cycling or to football or to anything, you know, and again, I always kind of laugh like benchpress was a funny one, because you get guys, you know, that were benching 400 pounds guys alive in that we’re benching 500 pounds. And it’s like, nobody is 500 pounds in the NFL. So like, theoretically speaking, if you can lay on your back and push 500 pounds off you, why can’t you just absolutely throw hands and dominate other people? Like, and it does help? I’m not saying it didn’t help. But I think a lot of it is like, and as more new school thought is like, Hey, can we have strength through different planes? Different motion, like full body style stuff, if you will? Yeah,

Dede Barry  37:01

that’s interesting. You know, earlier, I mentioned when my husband wrote for Team Sky, how they were like, really on all the marginal gains. And one of the things they did like on that team that was different, too, is they hired a lot of coaches from other sports, who introduced training methods, like diet, dietary methods, and warm up and recovery strategies and whatnot, that were from from other sports. But I was kind of curious, like, do you feel like there’s anything that you learned from football that you think cyclists and cycling coaches could benefit from adopting? Oh, as

Luke Wilson  37:36

far as like diet and training? I would say no, but to be honest, what I would say, and maybe I’m being harsh, I know, we just kind of joked about it. But the one thing that I think transfers over is like the ability to accept failure, like what I find interesting in cycling, is like, especially when I’m doing time trial things is, it’s just very honest feedback. You know, in the NFL, you’re playing against somebody. For me, for example, like a quarterbacks throwing me the football, or if I’m blocking someone, you know, they ran a blitz and this guy knew was coming or didn’t notice come in, like, there’s a lot of other factors that can play in to whether you fail or succeed in cycling. I mean, there are race tactics, there’s obviously those things, but at the same point, I find it’s just very, it’s a very, either rewarding or unforgiving sport when it comes to results. But like one of the things that would always be like, you know, said in the NFL, was like, when you’re watching film, and we would get graded on every single play, like you play on Sunday, you watch the entire game with your coach from two different camera angles on Monday, and there’s a great sheet in front of you, for every play, that’s across the board, every team. And even if you have the best game in the world, and you miss two plays, like it’s going to be on the sheet, and there’s going to be like coaching notes. But one of the things that teaches you and they would say this is like, well, you know, that guy gets paid to like the guy you’re going against, is in the NFL. He’s got a job to do. He’s not he’s not here, because he got lucky. So it’s funny, but it’s like, I think one of the things that has taught me, you know, well, I’ve been able to transfer is like, from a mentality standpoint. Like I, unfortunately, as much as I would like to and not going to win every single bike race, you know, but it’s like, hey, we can learn from this, like, what did I do wrong? What can I get stronger at what did I think I did really well there. So to me, that’s kind of where a lot of the skill transfer has been. And I don’t know teams do this, but from like a mental standpoint, that would be one thing. And then we also had a great sports site guy in Seattle. His name was Mike drew Bay. He’s, I would say a very progressive sports psychologist and He would come up, you know, before games and warming up. And we just kind of had little cues like, Hey, if you’re really trying to work on something, or if you’re starting to, like get to am, too, which was kind of a problem for me at times, I just get to wild, I’ve told Jay, this, sit at the heart start line with a heart rate of 175. And I haven’t done anything, potentially a problem in cycling, you know, you just kind of you would develop cues and like things to kind of say in your head, like, hey, you know, let’s set some goals for today’s race. And it’s pretty cool. Like, Jenny has these cheats on training peaks. And I think about them before, like, hey, what exactly do I want to do today? You know, based on who I’m writing with, you know, and or what group I’m writing with, or what race and it’s like, Okay, I’m gonna do one, two, and three, you know, that’s kind of my things. And then if I end up doing four and five, well, it’s gravy. But like, at the end of the day, I need to focus on these three things. And it could be something like not even result based. It’s just like, Hey, I am going to stay in my arrow position, like Friday, I’ve got a bit of an arrow tweak. Friday meeting tomorrow, I don’t know when this will be released. But when I’m saying this, like, my number one goal for Friday’s times is to not move my head. I’m going to keep my head like so just kind of like, again, I’d say as far as prostrating goes, those are kind of skills that I would develop as a football player that I think are even more important as a cyclist. Because there’s a lot of failure in cycling. It’s kind of wild, like even on the trainer, you know, you just fail so much

Dede Barry  41:34

that, oh, even the best riders in the world, they don’t have a 50% win rate. Usually, it’s pretty rare anyways, but one of the things I find interesting is that I’ve been looking at these cognitive tests that the NFL has been implementing, like, have you heard of s to cognition? No, but it does sound familiar. It seems like they’re using it maybe for recruitment and to kind of understand why their potential candidates maybe have the cognitive skills to be able to perform at the level they need to and perform at the specific tasks they need to but you’re not familiar with that.

Luke Wilson  42:08

I’m not familiar with that. But it’s funny you say that because some of the best athletes I’ve been around, have not played in the NFL, not because of athleticism, but just sheer understanding of how to play football, or even just remembering the plays. You know, our words like you’re in that huddle, and it might be 15 word play, and you need to know like, where I’m lined up whether or not I’m on the ball. Okay, am I in motion? Is there a shift? Okay, if this guy blitzes Am I changing my route? Or if they go to cover two instead of cover three is the route change up the quarterback just said one word generally, it’s can if you hear the quarterback yelled, can. That means he threw play in the can, that’s a slang. And you got to remember the other play that he said in the huddle like we’re going to Kansas play with again, then excuse the other seven word play. So there is a lot of that where guys just and if one person is off, I would imagine it’s similar in team cycling, you know, at the word level, if you’re trying to win a sprint stage, and you have two or three guys that don’t understand the Lido train, probably not going to win that stage. I’m guessing that would be my guess. I wouldn’t know.

Dede Barry  43:19

Let’s say second decisions are just like so key. And sometimes you can’t teach those right. Like there’s not that elasticity to teach that necessarily. Like the hunger piece has to be like pretty inborn. But it’s all the intangibles I think that cognitive tests might be able to pick up on. Yeah,

Luke Wilson  43:36

I would agree with that. And especially and I could see in cycling as well, like, on some of these races, you need to be able to like basically be on the verge of redlining and also thinking like, Hey, I’ve got a strategy. I’ve got like a couple ideas. And if this happens, I need to be able to react.

Julie Young  43:53

Hey, Luke, it’s interesting hearing you talk because you said a lot of things that I wanted to comment on first, I love Michael Gervais. I love his podcast.

Luke Wilson  44:02

He’s the best. He’s great guy.

Julie Young  44:04

He’s amazing, amazing. I really loved your attitude about like failure, and just that mindset of taking everything as a learning opportunity. I think that really takes the pressure off and allows you to really tap your potential as an athlete. But as you were talking, I was just thinking to myself, because this DVD set, it’s kind of like that split second decision making, which I think is a big difference from cycling to football, as you said, like all your plays that you guys have rehearsed. Like I think cycling when you’re doing your best, it’s like more instinctual. Do you find out on the track with like your your racing that you find that you listen to that little voice?

Luke Wilson  44:45

I do. Unfortunately, it’s funny because I don’t have the experience. Sometimes a little voice is right, and sometimes a little voice is very, very strong. And then the next thing I’d say about like my little voice is that sometimes I need To tell the little voice to like, Shut the heck up, you know, and it’s funny but like, not like Turvey. But our head coach Pete Carroll used to say, like, part of being a professional athlete, again, he put in the football context is like fighting human nature. And I think with a little voice, but there’s been a few races where I have burned myself. Because in my head, I’m like, Yeah, I can rest right now. You know, I can rest right now, I’ll go get this in a couple laps, or like, they’re not going to stick this. And then all sudden, it’s like, you know, I should have suffered early and would have been there later. So I need to decipher, like when that little voice is telling me the truth. Versus when the little voice is maybe being lazy on the track. And I’m doing a wrong decision, if that makes sense.

Julie Young  45:48

Yeah, I think it’s just with racing. I mean, the only way to get better is through doing more of it. And you just continue to gain that experience and have all that experience to lean on. Yes.

Luke Wilson  45:58

And it’s funny, Julie, because one of the things that I think I need to get a lot better at from the mental side of things, is, you know, in football, there’s a lot of ego, I would say that’s involved with playing football, and you never really want to be embarrassed. But for me personally, it’s like, in cycling, you know, I need to get to the point where it’s like, Would I rather hang in and maybe, you know, get 10 and be like, Hey, I hung in but like, could I have gone harder, or just went for first and absolutely blown up and then basically can’t even finish? And it’s like from a developmental standpoint, I would assume that like blowing up is a much quicker way to get better than just, you know, keeping the governor on so that like my ego doesn’t take a hit, if that makes sense.

Julie Young  46:46

Yeah. I mean, you

Dede Barry  46:48

learn when you try. Yes, you learn your limits, too. Right. And sometimes you you realize your limits were like up here when you really go for it, right, like a lot higher than you thought. You know,

Julie Young  46:59

one of the things Michael Gervais said, and it’s something that really stuck with me is like the biggest challenge to us reaching our potential is fear of what people think of us.

Luke Wilson  47:08

Yes, I don’t know if you’ve ever met Dr. Gervais. But like, just having that guy around for six straight years was I mean, he’s like the greatest guy on planet Earth. But like, he could say, like two sentences, and you’re just like, you have no worries in the world, and you’re ready to just run through a wall. He just has a way with words, I think. And like he said, Julie, I follow him on on social sites. I know he’s in Cali now. So I haven’t seen him in a while. But that’s a big one. And again, it’s like, you know, I kind of had to come to the realization like early I mean, I don’t look like a cyclist, I am getting much better. But it’s like, hey, like, people are probably gonna think that I’m just some big donkey out here. You know, but eventually, I think that I’m going to be really able to be in the mix. That’s kind of the goal. I’ve was on training peaks other day, and I wrote a bunch of things in for Jenny and I got a date circled this summer. That’s, you know, a decent size event. And I’m hoping to go out there and be very competitive in it. So that is a big part of it, I think in all sports, but especially in cycling, because, again, it’s like on a football field. There’s 23 other people, everyone’s doing something different. There’s defenders, where it’s like, bike racing is just like such highs and just such lows, and there’s really no escaping it like, you lose because I again, I’m a believer that I mean, obviously if somebody crashes and there’s bad luck in front of you, but for the most part like you lose because of you and you win because of you or your team, like that’s just kind of three act to me again, I’m not an expert, but that’s the reality of the situation.

Julie Young  48:45

Yeah. Hey, speaking of that circle on the calendar, we’ve chatted about kind of your immediate goals but what are your long term goals and cycling? I did see that you did I think the steamboat gravel race

Luke Wilson  48:57

Oh yeah, I made some very poor decisions in that one Julie. poor decisions. I wrote the majority of that just by myself kind of a no man’s land. I had about two hours left and I’m looking at the sky going like Why Why did you do these? Like what what make you I love the event, but I’m like, why? Like some people do it as just a kind of a GranFondo style. And some people try to race it. And I kind of twisted it, which led me again to writing a completely by myself. But for me goals. Just being quite frank and I again, this might be quite a bit lofty. But my goal is to eventually be the P one on our national team. You know, I think that with my size, it’s probably going to be quite nice for the people behind. I again, I’m going to keep chipping away and hopefully make it but I guess like part of the fun for this whole thing was when I retired from playing football again, it was a bit of an emotional time in my life. And I remember thinking to myself like hey, What was some of the most enjoyable moments from my career? And obviously, like we won the Super Bowl, that is kind of the first thing you think about, you know, there’s some great games I played in, etc. But before I was drafted, there was a period where you basically end college. And then the draft is in April and in college ends the end of December, if you go to a bowl game, so like January, February, and March, you go generally to like Florida, or Arizona, California has some and they have these, like, combine training facilities, if you will. And that’s where an each school as a pro day as well, so that you can run these 40 yard dash vertical tests. So I was 22, maybe just turning 23 at the time. You know, I was living in a townhome before other guys just graduated college. So as you can imagine, not a ton of money. And it was like the greatest time because it was just like four guys that were just trying to make the NFL every day was like, How do I get better at this? How do I get better at this time, so Scout will like me cetera. And I said if I can ever, like replicate that I would do it. And honestly, I’m completely in the middle of it right now. And that’s what’s been like, so sweet. Or like having such a lofty goal is like I spend it not like a weird way. I mean, maybe it’s weird, but like not in a negative way, I should say. But I spent like all day looking at training peaks, like going through numbers like Okay, and again, it’s not like, like people say, Man, this is taking over my life. Like I actually kind of like it. It’s not really like taking over my life in a negative way. But I’m like, like, what can I do? You know, like, what can I do to like, shave off another 10? What can I do to like, try and get in a position where it’s like, hey, you know, I know that I’m a little older. So that’s probably not working against me. But ideally, you’d like, you know, young, 20 year old something that can probably be your P one for the next 10 years. But it’s like, okay, so now I gotta be better than the 20 year old, like, what can I do, I can end I think it’s been a blessing because Jenny has been helping quite a bit. Again, I got another chance to get a PR and eight days or so. And then we’ll look at those and go from there and just keep kind of chipping away at this thing. So that’s kind of the long term goal.

Julie Young  52:18

Cool? Well, I think it’s just a lot, you know, you can’t really discount what you you know, achieved and gained in football, even though like we’ve talked, it’s very different. But the mentality that you gained through football, definitely, I would imagine serves you really well. And in this new venture,

Luke Wilson  52:35

yeah, big time. And that’s, again, I say a lot of these things, because I’ve made mistakes in my life. And even in my thought process, again, meeting people like Dr. Dre like, definitely helps. And I think like one of the other things that has been fun for me about cycling, and not to get like, too emotional, but like, I played football really out of like, I want to say out of spite, but like it was a lot of like, I gotta prove people wrong. And I was like, angry and just like, hey, you know, nobody said a kid from Canada can go to the NFL, like, I’m going to show them, you know, and I ride my bike, because I just liked doing it. I enjoy being on my bike. In fact, there’s a lot of days where, if I wasn’t chasing the kilo time, I would probably go ride more. But I know it’s detrimental to my Kyoto. That’s kind of what’s been fun about this. It’s like I don’t really feel like I’m out here like, with the world’s biggest chip on my shoulder trying to like shove it in someone’s face. Like just being honest, at times playing football, that was kind of some of the motivation. Were like, I like riding like I’m excited. And I’m excited for provincials coming up, and whether they go well, which I believe they will or they go wildly poorly. I’m going to be excited to get back on the bike after that. So that’s what kind of fun for me.

Julie Young  53:57

Very good. Hey, Jenny, I’d love to just shift the conversation to you a bit more now and just like help us understand how are you structuring Luke’s training to help him reach these goals?

Jenny Trew  54:09

Yeah, well, it’s been a really fun endeavor. I would say for most of the last six months, it’s been really textbook actually. You’re like, Oh, if you do this, you’ll get better than any. It’s better. Oh, we do this get better. Oh, gets better. So it’s been like this one science experiment of how do we balance doing enough aerobic work to underpin all the intensity of enough aerobic work to get the efficiency in Luke had done a ton of work before we started working together to get his leg speed up. And so then we started doing some lowercase and stuff. Luke was like, I don’t like this at all. Like, this is very strange, because you are strength athletes. So we’re gonna we’re gonna try to like pull it back a little bit. So a lot of the work on the track has been to get the efficiency up there. So the very first time I ever met Luke, we’ve been on an SRM bike and he hit Just shy of 2000 Watts, for Max, right? So you’re like, Okay, so you have the speed and that max power. And so so much of it has been okay, how do we take this, this raw power? Make the bike go faster? Make it so that you can really exert that power throughout the whole pedal stroke? And what is the best cadence for that? And how do we get your position? Right? And so it’s been very track heavy for that efficiency piece. I think that’s a big part of anybody getting on the track tends to be like you think how different can it be right your road your track, but there is an efficiency that comes from that that cannot be ignored. Plus, I like the track because it gives you more coach athlete time, you can actually see what’s going on. It’s not just me staring at a computer and being like, Hey, man, that’s a good power. And you go, Yeah, that’s cool. We actually can make changes on the fly, actually coaching, which is the part that of the sport that I love where you give me like this discipline? Yeah, that’s not the plan today. Okay, we’re, we’re gonna change that up. And then also just yeah, that that ability to take in everything that’s going on around you. And that’s been really cool. I’ve long believed that athletes coming from field sports, from sports, like soccer and hockey, I’ve never worked with somebody from football before. But that ability to take in so many pieces of information, and make a decision. So that’s been really neat to see, I have never ever met somebody that is relatively new, but they’re like my favorite event, the elimination, like really what it is, but when I thought about it, I’m like, Yeah, that makes sense, right? You’re like making a bunch of decisions. It’s really intense. It’s fun. I mean, ironically, it was also my favorite event on the track, because I think it’s so tactical, that you have to understand what’s going on at all times, and that ability to Yeah, just like scan the field and see what’s going on. And I think you do, you do get a lot of cyclists that get to a fairly high level who don’t have that ability. So to have somebody coming from another sport to be able to do that is really neat. So to go back how we structure the trading, there’s been enough aerobic to again, get that aerobic base under there. As I said earlier, Luke’s ability to hit intensity like session after session. I mean, we didn’t do that to begin with. To begin with, it was one hard a day and we were doing double days just to again get a little bit more and get a little bit more efficiency, efficiency on the track efficiency on the rollers. And since December, I think we started doing double intensities back to back. So I guess Tuesday, Luke is doing four by one minute like Max with kind of eight to 10 minutes in between. One of the really cool things too is it’s really satisfying, because looks really good at hitting the little stars get to see a lot of stars on training peaks with just one. And then that evening heading to the track, and doing some intensity on the track with NCAM stuff. Next morning, doing three by broken four minutes that you hit like a PR for your five minute power on I know,

Luke Wilson  58:09

all time five minute power on a four minute effort, we’re in good shape here.

Jenny Trew  58:15

And then attract session after that recovery day today. And then tomorrow, efficiency stuff in the morning, and then some speed stuff on the track in the evening. So a lot of that sort of stuff and did some more threshold earlier on. And as Luke said, We’re because it’s Canadian winter, and we have access to the track and we had a bunch of goals on the track, get to do a ton of intensity, and then go outside for a bit and lay a little bit more of the foundations.

Julie Young  58:43

Jenny, I think you know, I mean, obviously Luke is a really good example of this. But we also see this with a lot of female endurance athletes. And Didi had alluded to this earlier that, you know, they come from a background, let’s say they were collegiate rowers or runners, and then they transition into cycling. And so I think a lot of the focus, even with those athletes is on the fitness side of cycling, they kind of neglect the importance of the handling skills and the tactical skills. So how do you handle that with athletes that come to you and that kind of an athlete? Yeah,

Jenny Trew  59:18

for sure. I used to joke around. So I was a swimmer, and then came into cycling and figured there was very little of my swim career that transferred over from a physical place. It was more my work ethic. And then the fact that I wasn’t very good on a bike, it taught me all the intangibles like how to draft and how to like preserve myself and all of those things. And I think when you have athletes coming in with big aerobic engines, they they can kind of bypass all those little pieces. And in the end, it sometimes hurts them, which is really interesting. And a couple years ago, I was working on the track with Emily marcolini, who was a pro for an number of years, and was finding that she was struggling with the technical pieces. So she was very strong when it came to going uphill very strong and time trials, and really wasn’t enjoying crits as much and so I can’t entirely remember how it came about, but we are like, Okay, we’re gonna get you on the track. And I have never seen anyone try so hard to overcome fear as much as I’d see Emily and one of my very favorite drills to do with athletes and warm up is to just have them play around so you have them riding around, you’re like, Okay, now, put your hand on somebody’s shoulder. Okay, now they’re gonna put our hand on your shoulder. Okay, can you both do that at the same time? Now we’ll do two lines. Okay, well, the three lines, okay, we’ll do four lines. And we did a bunch of that with Emily. And as I said, I’ve never like you could see it in her eyes, like just this, like, I hate this. I hate every second of this, but I know it’s gonna make me better. And it was amazing to see. And she actually, the very first crit she ever finished was that year at Redlands, she finished the credit Redlands in the yellow jersey, and it was the first crit she’d ever finished in the pack. And that was a lot of just those basic skills. So I’m a big believer that rollers make a big difference. We’re coming up in a time where people like to ride the trainer. And Swift is amazing. Don’t get me wrong. But if that’s like your entrance to the sport, your efficiency on the bike and your ability to just kind of throw your bike around, you get so used to just being able to mash it, as opposed to the finesse that I think rollers can make a really big difference. It’s probably one of the first things I do with most athletes that I start working with. They’re like, do you have rollers? And if the answer’s no, I’m like, Okay, well, let’s, let’s go get you some rollers. Because I think that’s huge for skills. As I said, I think the track is just also really awesome, because it makes people make decisions. And there are moments where it is scary out there. We’ve been doing most of the work with Luke and opens on Friday nights, and to say there have been a few close calls would be a fair statement. Yes. But I think that’s the other piece is that if you do most of your training by yourself, like you have to, you have to pay attention to cars, or you’d hope that people pay attention to cars. But also, if so much of your training is done by yourself and your pod in, you don’t make decisions in the same way. Whereas if you’ve got training groups on the track, and you’re just kind of paying attention at all times, it’s like the difference between driving on a long rural straight road by yourself and driving a 401 not I wouldn’t say in rush hour because it stopped. But in that like weird in between me when everyone’s doing weird stuff, and you’re like I just you’re like on high alert, because everything’s going at 120 kilometers an hour, and people are making strange decisions. So you just have to be aware at all times. So I think the track is just this amazing entity for that. And then also that interaction with okay, what are your goals? Okay, how do you go through and, and I think, yeah, in cycling, we have this really strange belief that the sport is just physical. And to me, the beauty of bike racing is actually that technical tactical piece. And I remember thinking years ago that you almost have to relearn at every stage, you get through bike racing, right? You get fast enough, and then you’re like, oh, cool, I can play the game now. And you get to play the game, and you bump up. And then you’re like, Yeah, you have to get fast enough again, so that you can play the game again. Yet, we do a really great job of parceling out physical piece and getting coaches to help with that, like physical trainers almost. And we do a less good job of those other pieces of the puzzle which are so you’ve got the physical piece fairly taken care of and more science to back, then, probably almost any other sport. And I explained it when I talked to other people, I’m like, I can know what somebody’s heart rate is, what their cadence is, what their power is, for every second of a four and a half hour ride. And that data is collected over every day. And over every week. And like, the just the sheer volume of data that you can have in cycling is almost overwhelming, right? So there’s so much of that. But you don’t get the same level of feedback for technical pieces, you don’t get the same level of feedback for tactical stuff, and the mental pieces while and trying to actually pull those apart and be like, Okay, it’s like it’s a 360 degree circle and, and the physical stuff will get your part of the way. But the other stuff is really important. And I think one of the fun things about working with crossover athletes is I mean, as Luke has talked about, like his, his mental capacity is huge, right? And the tactical is also huge. Like there’s nothing that even borders on Mostly it’s complicated and bike racing, as what you would do in one play on a football field, right? Like, it’s like, over three and a half hours, you have to make four decisions. It’s different. So you’ve got these really developed areas. So then what do we have to develop what we have to really focused on that technical piece to getting that efficiency in so that all the powers going through for the whole pedal stroke so that your start is good. So that, you know, like, all those pieces, and then the physical, which again, you have this phenomenal background in athleticism. So it’s just kind of steering that ship in a slightly different direction. I mean, most people can’t take off seven seconds in a kilo in four months. Yeah, I mean, like your threshold, it went up by like, 10% in a month and a half or something like that. So

Luke Wilson  1:05:54

I’m counting on that to just

Jenny Trew  1:05:57

absolutely. But that’s because when you’re dealing with somebody who has such a vast like physical literacy behind that, it is really fun. It is it’s like textbook, you’re like, oh, step by step.

Julie Young  1:06:11

Do you find Jenny with like this aerobic ly talented crossover athlete? Like, do you find you have to approach that skill development differently between a male and a female athlete? Or is it pretty similar?

Jenny Trew  1:06:24

I would say it’s quite different. I think boys play on their bikes a lot more. I mean, I know I’ve walked up on loop at least a couple of times trying to just do track stands. If you had a female athlete doing the same thing, they would not be like, Yes, but how is that going to make me faster? Jenny? Like, okay, all right. Well, I can tell you, it will, it will make you faster. But I’m going to have to explain to you why that is. I think when I was working with the Cyclery, we actually had quite a few athletes crossover in their early 20s. And I think the skills and the nature of playing is not something that’s ingrained, especially in endurance athletes, endurance athletes tend to be like, Okay, I’m gonna do this, because it’s gonna make me faster. Okay, so I’m going to sit on the trainer, because it’s going to make me faster and trying to explain that, no playing around in the parking lot, and trying to pick up a water bottle off the ground that will actually make you faster. Why will it make me faster? Well, first of all, you’re probably not going to lose, like, so much energy with your hands and vice grips on what you’re trying to do, you’re gonna stay on your bike more all of these things, right. So I found with the Cyclery, that we would do that, we’d go to camp, and just play around on bikes. But I do think that, again, the rollers were a big piece of that, because you can get somebody to get that physical piece as well. But my big thing with rollers is always like this is a technical workout, your heart rate might not be what you want it to be relax, like we’re trying to do something a little bit different and, and cyclists as a general rule really struggle with that. Like if I’m not moving my physical piece forward, how am I possibly getting faster. So trying to explain those pieces that there are different ways to get faster. And it’s not always super linear. And they think just learning to move your bike underneath you. And I’ve said to many people over the years, like when it’s really working, you’re not riding a bike, like you’re like are the bike, it’s a piece of what you’re doing. It’s not something you’re on top of. And even now, if I ride enough, I can feel it. And it’s fun, right? Because you’re like, Oh, this is it’s moving. And I think the other piece that’s often really helpful is getting newer riders to ride on a mountain bike or ride gravel and just try different things and put yourself in different situations.

Julie Young  1:08:40

Yeah, just exactly what you said. I see. So clearly with young mountain bike athletes that I work with, when we go out for a ride. The boys are like going up on slopes and just totally playing on their bikes and the girls are just kind of just staying on the trail. But I think that playfulness is huge. And I think cyclocross is such a good way to develop skills to just it’s so playful and it’s like low consequences. Yeah,

Jenny Trew  1:09:07

for sure. You get to ride a road bike with fat tires in the woods. How can it not be fun?

Dede Barry  1:09:12

Have you tried cyclocross?

Luke Wilson  1:09:14

I have not done any races I have. I do have a gravel bike and I’ve went out with Jenny’s husband, Chris once. And if you had to attack the weakest part of my cycling, it is by far cyclocross. Like what’s funny is on the road and on the track. I actually feel like I have decent handling. But it’s like the moment you get this like single track and there’s a tree branch or there’s a stone in the way. It’s like, I’ve never been on a bike in my life. And I just I fixate on like a tree and then I don’t realize that I have to turn in a sec. It’s it’s something that needs a lot of improvement. Let’s just put it that way. Yeah,

Dede Barry  1:09:54

it’s interesting. I got more into mountain biking, post my racing career and And I wished I would have done more of it when I raced because I felt like my bike handling skills just improved incredibly. So I highly recommend. It’s not necessarily like what you need for kilo training, but I recommend it to anyone. Because, yeah, it just builds this like confidence and ability to move in so many different directions and jump. And I think it’s it’s a huge development tool.

Julie Young  1:10:25

It’s like what Jenny said, getting used to the bike moving under you. Yeah,

Jenny Trew  1:10:29

I mean, I’ve seen many, actually, young women go to junior worlds and not be able to hop a curb. And you’re like, what’s kind of scary if you can’t move your bike enough to hop a curb? What happens when something happens in front of you? Yeah, right. Yeah, exactly.

Dede Barry  1:10:42

Well, to wrap up, Luke, if you were to give an aspiring cyclists one piece of advice, what would it be?

Luke Wilson  1:10:51

To me, I would say, make sure you’re enjoying riding or enjoying the process. You know, I was told this when I was 18 years old, coming out of high school. And a guy said to me said, Look, when you get down to Rice, he’s like, after the first camp, you will know whether or not you love football. And I remember thinking like, again, I’m like, 17 might have an 18 year old, like, I love football. What do you mean? And I remember walking back with all the other freshmen and every single one of them was miserable, and like just griping. We were redshirting. So we had no chance to play. And I remember thinking myself, I’m actually kind of having fun, you know, but I didn’t say that, because I was like, one of six guys. And that would be my thing is like, you know, yeah, I’m not gonna sit here and say that every single time I’ve jumped on the trainer, I’m doing jumping jacks beforehand, but like, I am generally excited. And then to me, it doesn’t really become a chore, it becomes like something I want to do. And I want to attack and I want to get better at and I want to go racing. So if I had one thing of advice to any aspiring cyclists, I would say, make sure you’re enjoying it, because then it’s not like a chore. You know, you look at your training peaks, and there’s no like, oh, man, I got four minute broken efforts today. It’s like, Hey, what’s your max five minute power? Okay, let’s take a run at this thing to it seemed like a good shot at it, you know? And that’s kind of what I would say.

Dede Barry  1:12:15

Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s really good advice.

Julie Young  1:12:18

I love that Luke, because it’s like, we have to remind ourselves, we don’t have to do this. We get to do this.

Luke Wilson  1:12:23

Yeah, it’s funny you say that, but a strength coach in Seattle, my first five years. That was his go to line right there. He says it’s a GET TO thing. And he said all the time. And again, it was kind of a constant reminder, like we get to work out today. You know, we were in the Pacific Northwest. It’s week one of the season, there’s a bald eagle flying around our practice facility was right on Lake Washington. Like, this is a pretty special situation. You know, like, we get to do that. So that was a that’s definitely a saying that I’m very familiar with and I agree with wholeheartedly.

Dede Barry  1:12:55

Yeah. Well, Luke, I’m looking forward to watching your kilo at provincials. I’m excited and following your progression. So thank you both for your time today. And all the great nuggets of advice you provided. Oh, it was a fun chat.

Julie Young  1:13:09

Yeah. Thank you. It’s great to have you both.

Jenny Trew  1:13:11

Thank you. Thank you.

Dede Barry  1:13:12

That was another episode of Fast Talk Femmes. Subscribe to Fast Talk Femme wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcast. Be sure to leave us a rating and a review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk Femmes are those of the individual. As always, we’d love your feedback, and any thoughts you have on topics or guests that may be of interest for you. Get in touch via social. You can find Fast Talk Labs on Twitter and Instagram @fasttalklabs, where you’ll also find all of our episodes. You can also check them out on the web at fasttalklabs.com for Luke Wilson, Jenny Trew, and Julie Young. I’m Dede Barry. Thank you for listening!