Balancing Sport and Life, with Brent Bookwalter

We discuss self-care, spending time on relationships, knowing your personal limits, and working to keep your passions alive while training and racing.

Brent Bookwalter Fast Talk Podcast
Brent Bookwalter

Today we have a great episode in store for you, with someone you’ve heard from many times before on Fast Talk. Today, we’re finally joined by Brent Bookwalter of the Mitchelton-Scott WorldTour team, a man of both wisdom and humility, for a full conversation on balancing life and sport. What do pros know about that balance, you ask? “They’re pampered!” you’re probably thinking. Well, not exactly true. The life of a pro cyclist is not as glamorous as you might think. We’ll discuss that misconception, but we’ll spend the majority of our conversation learning the many ways in which Brent has learned to balance training and racing with being a good husband, a soon-to-be-father, a son and friend, and a gran fondo promoter, among many other things.

Through the years of racing both at the neo-pro level through to the WorldTour, Brent has dealt with limited time—sometimes well, sometimes not so well—which has forced him to prioritize his life in myriad ways. And it’s those tips that apply to all of us. The high level of physical and mental performance that is demanded of pro athletes while they also strive to maintain healthy relationships and interests outside of their career, means that they have been forced to master “life-balance.” While we don’t all deal with the issues related to pro cyclists’ in our own lives, there are common themes about self-care, spending time on relationships, knowing your personal limits, and working to keep your passions alive that we can all relate to. Today, along with Brent, we spoke to long-time pro and coach Katie Compton, as well as two of our favorite coaches and soon-to-be Fast Talk Labs podcast hosts, Grant Holicky and Colby Pearce. Now, bust out your balance board, brush up on your communication skills, it’s time to compartmentalize. Let’s make you fast!

Primary Guest Brent Bookwalter: Mitchelton-Scott WorldTour team
Secondary Guests Colby Pearce: Former pro cyclist, time trial specialist, and coach Grant Holicky: U.S. national team swim coach and cyclocross coach Katie Compton: 15-time U.S. national cyclocross champion

Episode Transcript

SPEAKERS

Chris Case, Brent Bookwalter, Trevor Connor, Grant Holicky, Colby Pearce

 

Chris Case  00:00

Welcome to fast off the velonews podcast, everything you need to know to ride. Hello again and welcome to fast talk. I’m your host Chris case. Today we have a great episode in store for you with someone you’ve heard from many times before on fast talk, we’re finally joined today by Brent bookwalter of the mitchelton Scott World Tour team, a man of both wisdom and humility, for a full conversation for the first time on balancing life and sport. What do pros know about that balance? You ask? Their pampered? You’re probably thinking, well, it’s not exactly true. The life of a pro cyclist is not as glamorous as you might think. We’ll discuss that misconception first. But we’ll spend the majority of our conversation today learning the many ways in which Brent has learned to balance training and racing with being a good husband, as soon to be father, being a good son, a good friend, a good family member, being a grand fondo promoter, among many other things. Through the years of racing, both of the Neo pro level through to the world tour, Brent has dealt with limited time. Sometimes he’s done it well. Sometimes he’s done and not so well. But in any case, he has been forced to learn how to prioritize his life in myriad ways. And it’s those tips that apply to all of us. The high level of physical and mental performance that is demanded of pro athletes, especially at the World Tour level. While they also strive to maintain healthy relationships and interests outside of their career. Well, it just means that they have been forced to master life balance, and that’s why Brent is such a great guest for episode today. All we all don’t deal with the issues related to pro cyclists in our own lives. There are common themes about self care, spending time and relationships, knowing your personal limits, and working to keep your passions alive that we can all relate to. Today along with Mr. Book, Walter, we spoke to longtime pro and coach Katie Compton, as well as two of our favorite coaches and soon to be fast labs podcast hosts, Grant halki and Coby Pierce. If you didn’t catch it, last week, we released our first bonus episode. That’s right fast talk is now a weekly podcast. Coach Connor and I were able to answer a few of your questions, one related to overtraining and burnout are not interchangeable terms. Thank you, Dr. Seiler for the correction and one related to physiological testing. If you have a question for us, you can either write to us at fast talk at fast labs.com. Or, as you may have heard by now, we have a number setup for you to call 719800 to one one to leave a voicemail with your question. If we can hear you loud and clear in the message. We may include the recording in the show. Now, bust out your balance bore. brush up on your communication skills, get ready to compartmentalize. Let’s make you fast. We’re excited to have Brent bookwalter on the show today, and we’re just as excited to tell everyone out there about the book Walter binge granfondo studied with racing on time segments on tough climbs that provide an epic challenge to all. It’s a perfect way to celebrate the end of the professional cycling race season by riding the routes Brent used for training earlier in the year. It’s a bonus that the event requires travel to the beautiful cycling destination of Asheville, North Carolina, where you will ride in autumn colors enjoy some of the world’s best craft beers. Saturday, October 31 is the date visit bookwalter bins.com and sign up for email updates you’ll receive first dibs on registration when it comes open April 1. ready to take your training and racing to the next level. We’re proud to introduce the fast labs performance experience training camps combining our devotion to science with our passion for sport. We’ve developed a world class experience modeled after World Tour team camps the likes of which are typically reserved for the most elite cyclists now bringing it to you. To help you gain a better understanding of the science of human performance in partnership with the incredible staff at the University of Colorado sports medicine and Performance Center will guide you through pro caliber physiological testing, biomechanical analysis and nutritional assessment. Throughout the camp. leading experts in Sport Science will present on the latest developments in their fields. Oh, and you’ll also get to ride on the gorgeous mountain roads of Boulder with Coach Trevor Connor and myself. Check out fast labs.com enter fast labs 2020 as the discount code and receive $500 off a purchase at this performance experience at training camp. Bears, mentioning the fact that Brent has been a longtime contributor to fast talk. He’s been on this show in many, many episodes, but but he has never been our primary guest. And today, finally, after all of these years, Brent bookwalter joins us for a full episode of fast Bob. Welcome, Brent.

 

05:27

Thanks for having me, guys.

 

Brent Bookwalter  05:28

I’ve enjoyed the brief appearances in the past and I hope this one can be a good one too.

 

Trevor Connor  05:34

Yeah. So Brent, we we’ve been really excited to finally get you on the show as our primary guests, you have shared a whole lot of wisdoms with us over the year, years, you have given us or me some of my favorite quotes of all time that I share with my athletes. Don’t listen to this, this is actually some some good words of wisdom. So really looking forward to talking to you about this. And this is a bit of a not just a training episode, but a let’s talk about life and balance. And so I’m just going to start it off by saying something that I hear a lot from athletes I coach is this, well, I’m not a pro, I’ve got a family and, and a job. So I don’t have the time to train all the time. Having worked with a lot of pros, having known a lot of pros, I would say that’s not really an accurate quote, would you agree?

 

Brent Bookwalter  06:28

Yeah, I would agree with that. We are in a privileged, very exceptional circumstance of having performance and competition as a huge part of our lives. And often, you know, one of the highest priorities up there. But I don’t know, I don’t know any of my pro peers that you know, truly believe that is all they do. You know, we’re most of us are husbands or fathers or boyfriends or brothers or sons and friends and have a lot of other irons in the fire. And sometimes it takes it takes a bit of a village just like we would have to in pursuing our athletic excellence just to just to keep us alive and going and, and doing those everyday day to day life things that everyone else is obviously dealing with, too. Yeah,

 

Chris Case  07:18

I think that’s one of the misnomers of professional life is that it’s an entirely pampered life. But that’s not really the case. And, and the world tour is one level. Domestic racing is another level. And those can be considerably different. But I would say fill us in or correct me if I’m wrong, but even at the World Tour level, you’re having to manage a lot of stuff when you’re on the road, the logistics, finding housing in Europe, we’re gonna get into a lot of this stuff. But the list goes on and on of those things that you’re having to deal with, outside of, you know, taking care of your body. Preparing for training, preparing for racing, there’s a lot going on.

 

Brent Bookwalter  08:05

Yeah, there is most definitely and you’re right, we we are at the at the highest level of the sport in the world tour, most of us have incredible access to resources and support. And we do go through periods of our seasons where we our baby to nurtured and taken care of and, you know, every minute of every day is outlined for us. And it’s just plug and play, we show up and get after it. Someone looks after us every step of the way. On the opposite side of that is since those days and those periods are so looked after, and so micromanaged and so far removed from, quote, normal life, that sort of normal life, outside of the sport and outside of competition does get neglected. And that requires a need and attention and a deserved focus when when we come back to that that is maybe you know, even higher than if we had been just sort of in and out of that through a whole week or through a whole month or through a whole year. So no matter who you are, it’s important to define that balance is a maybe elusive elusive goal or dream but balance a family and balance with other work balance with some travel and just keeping that sort of a holistic all encompassing outlook on everything that isn’t as part of life.

 

Trevor Connor  09:21

Yeah, what I wanted to bring up you You brought you just mentioned and talked about what it’s like at the highest level and all the challenges there that you have to face. I’ve worked a lot with aspiring pros or Neo pros who are just getting into it. These are the people that are either making nothing or starting wage for domestic Pro is in the the five to $6,000 per year range, which you obviously can’t live on. So the other side of this for pros at lower level or new pros is they still do have to work a job yet they still have to be able to perform they have to be able to go to the races and show themselves so they have to try Those 20 to 25 hours per week, they have to find the time to rest, and completely exhausted from all their training, and they still have to find that ability to go to work, get their job done, many of them will have boyfriends or girlfriends that they have to come home to. It can actually be very, very hard to balance all that. And Brad, I’m sure you you went through that phase as well.

 

Brent Bookwalter  10:25

Yeah, I definitely did. Yeah, I went through, I guess I took sort of the collegiate development path more after high school, you know, I didn’t, I wasn’t quite ready to go all in for cycling and still valued the, the idea of, of getting a bit of an education and growing as a person, and as an academic a little bit, but definitely still wanted to grow as a cyclist. And I was very fortunate to have parents who were very supportive and did help me through school. But that didn’t mean I also wasn’t working, working jobs at different times of the year and trying to balance school, and some, some extra income and my training all together. And really, I feel really grateful that as much of a challenge that was at the time that I had the opportunity to, that did sort of spread me thin, and it did balance me out. And it gave me an appreciation for for time management, you know, it really cemented my I think my love for the bike. Because I didn’t take that time for granted, I didn’t just have hours and hours on end, that I could just meander around the countryside, I had to really keep it focused. And then even that little bit of perspective of being in a bit of an academic environment, or a bit of a normal, you know, work environment, working seasonal jobs, where I was with other people who were out of the cycling world completely. So I think in hindsight, as much as I would have loved not to have had those, those split priorities at the time, it served me well in my development and provided some perspective. And, you know, these days when I am able to go through these parts of the year, days, weeks and months of the year where I am, you know, solely focused on training, you know, I appreciate it all the more and try to really make the most of it.

 

Trevor Connor  12:04

Yeah, I mean, I can tell you one of the things that I noticed working with those athletes, and you’re kind of touching on here is pros are kind of this contradiction that to be a top level Pro, you have to be remarkably tough. I mean, you have to go into these killer races, you can be absolutely exhausted, you can be injured, and your team manager doesn’t have a ton of sympathy and says no, get in there, go do your job. So on the one hand, you have to be really tough. But on the other side, there’s always this fragility that I’ve seen in prose. And to give you an example, when I was racing full time, I used to love to go and visit my nephews and nieces. And unfortunately, they were at that age where they thought giving me wet Willies was incredibly funny. They thought it was funny, I did not because that could ruin a spring season. If I came back from a really hard six hour ride, and they shoved a wet finger in my ear, I could be coughing within a few days. So I have seen working with a lot of high level athletes, that there is this fragility, this, it’s really easy to fall apart with how hard you’re training with how much you’re trying to balance. It actually the training side of it’s pretty easy. figuring out what to do you have a coach, it tells you, it gives you the interval work tells you what to do every day, what I’ve seen take more athletes apart is more not be able to figure out that balance. So they stay functional so that they can still have a life and function in life.

 

Brent Bookwalter  13:38

100% Yeah, I agree. I mean, the the science sort of training in the time on the bike, that’s, you know, that’s the fundamental of why we do it most of us is, is being out in the bike and putting in the hard miles and, and working on those heart intervals and suffering and being uncomfortable, we find some gratification and enjoyment in that. And most of us enjoy also, like you mentioned that that systematic piece by piece, sort of building through training into goals. And that’s one facet of it. That’s the sort of science of it. And then there’s also the art of it. And I would put the art of it into that, that balance in that family sort of realm. And I think really, one of the things that has helped me is approaching that in a similar way to that, that I have the scientific part. And that is, yeah, there are maybe more more variables you don’t know if that niece or nephew is going to be sick or you don’t, you can’t always control how many wet Willies they’re going to give you. But, you know, be honest with I’ve been honest with myself about how important those times are to me, and then sort of systematically and methodically built those times in knowing that I can go and be present and enjoy it and not be neurotically paranoid about about the little bit of immune system dysfunction or about being on the edge of missing an hour training here being on my feet an extra hour there. And that obviously varies through the seasons and through the years and through different phases of goals and progression, but planning it and being deliberate with it. And, and also being honest with with communication with my family, knowing what they can expect to me. And what I’m going to expect to them can can help ease those times and, and make them a little, a little less traumatic, and hopefully make me a little less fragile. Like you said,

 

Chris Case  15:32

I think that that is really great to hear from someone at the at your level, that they have this perspective on things like, this is my job. And at the same time, I realize it is a job. It’s extremely important. But sometimes family is more important. taking the risk of being around somebody that I love, because they might be sick, but I want to see them anyways, is important enough that I’m going to take the risk or maybe not even think about it, think about it as a risk. But just say like, today, this is more important to me. And having that ability to balance the priorities in your life and shift between them is, is great to hear. sitting down with someone who is a pro and talking about life work balance might seem like the the wrong approach. But I think what we’re learning here is you’ve had to do this for a long time, even before you were a pro in a sense as you were, as you were heading in that direction. And therefore you’ve had to pick up on a lot of these things. And perhaps it’s become second nature to you now. But our job today is to tease all these things out of you to shake them out of the trees, so to speak, and get all these really great nuggets of information, how you become an airport Ninja, whatever the terms might be, or the phrases you might use for all these tricks and hat life hacks that you have to, to balance everything. But I’m looking forward to bringing out more of those.

 

Brent Bookwalter  17:13

Well, that’s really tricky. It’s a work in progress. You know, the first thing with me is a sort of acceptance that by proximity, I am going to be away from my family for a large part of the year. And I’m not going to have as much time with them and as much time as they would want with me prioritizing that line of communication and prioritizing, staying in touch with them, which is challenging, I think especially now with the the culture and the tendency to just be sending text messages and just be updating people, whether it’s family, friends or strangers, what we’re doing on via social media, real authentic quality communication can go by the wayside. So that’s something I’m still struggling with and challenging myself to do more sort of cut down on the quantity and just go for the quality a little more, but it’s definitely definitely a work in progress. And another thing is just being a real on, on the expectation with my family. And, you know, they’ve, you know, my parents and my brother and my wife’s family, they’ve been doing this alongside me and with me a long time. So they’re no strangers to it, but I do sort of have to continuously remind them of the uncertainty in my program and what they can expect me and, and also what I want to expect from them. So I think being sort of honest and deliberate with what what the time expectations are, and the opportunities to see each other is really important. Another Another thing I would say is, you know, I’m using my family is part of my support network. And they do play a role in supporting me towards my goals, in addition to just being parents or brothers or friends as well. And I am relying on them as part of my inner circle and my support team. And I think discussing with them ahead of time, the role they’re going to sort of play in that support team, and when I’m going to rely on them and how I’m going to rely on them, I think that is important to sort of set the expectation and, and be realistic and be open to feedback from them. If that’s something that they’re up for,

 

Chris Case  19:05

you know, from my point of view, just to second what you said, and having now gone through the the evolution of learning what it’s like when there’s a newborn in the house two, one year old, a two year old, very, very, very active three year old, almost four year old now, communication is such an incredible thing, whether you have a child or not honestly, that you don’t even have to have the child to know that communication is a fascinating part of a relationship and I think such a significant part of any good relationship and talking about you know, I need this now or do you what do you need now trying to understand what’s going on inside of people’s minds and bodies in a given time in a challenging and so Much stressful time of your life, when you have a newborn child, it’s you’re learning a lot things are coming at you pretty quickly, you can talk to as many people as you want. But until you live it, you really don’t have a great sense of what it’s really going to entail. And so being able to sit down with your wife, or husband or partner, and explaining to them, how much you love what you do, but how much you know, that they’re going to need in those situations and just being Yeah, like, like you said, setting those expectations, not just for you, but for them. For the relationship as a whole is, is

 

Trevor Connor  20:41

critical. The example I’m going to give of how important this, the communication and the support is. I’ve worked with a lot of masters athletes who do have families and have a job. And so spouses aren’t too happy if they’re disappearing every Saturday all day to go and ride their bikes, understandably. So one of the things I and Chris can testify to this, one of the ways I coach athletes is I do a two, three weeks of fairly standard training. And then we have a really big, fatiguing week, where we do a four day block or a five day block, depending on the athlete that includes the weekend, then we take a rest week, there are physiological reasons why I do that. But a lot of that is actually about that family and training balance. If you’re disappearing, every weekend, your your family has every right to be upset with you. But I’ve found when I have my athletes go back to their significant others and say, once every four or five weeks I want to have this weekend where I really go and kill myself and the rest of the time. family comes first. And I tell my athletes that you know love get you out for a long ride on the Saturday or the Sunday. But if you got family things going on, that’s fine, because we got our big week coming up. When they get to the big week, they’ve communicated it with their family, I even have them pick the dates that worked for them with their family. Sometimes I’ve even seen it where the family actually becomes a bit of a cheerleader, because they know it’s coming, it’s been communicated. It’s not every weekend. And then you get to have this really fun kind of four day block where you just get to go and feel like a pro athlete. Yeah, love that

 

Brent Bookwalter  22:20

we do that same thing. One of the extra layers of maybe being a professional is that oftentimes we can’t count on those those structure period as Asians and those overload weeks and those rest weeks because our our racing schedules are so much I’m very well aware of how important those those big box are, and even more so maybe those rest weeks, and you know, the our families, I think rely on those heavily. And the expectation of them is really high. And I I see it discussing sitting around the dinner table with our teammates and my teammates and talking about what is going to happen during a rest week or what they have planned or how great it’s going to be or you know, or the offseason, you know, there’s so much anticipation, it’s like this golden nugget that everyone’s striving for. But the challenge with us is oftentimes everything gets jumbled around and that that really creates that balance of family tough because it’s not just ourselves in our own athletic pursuit that is counting on this is time it’s the other other people in our lives that are as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve you know, I think I’m gonna get a little rest block here rest week here, finish this race and to be able to take a load off and then sure enough, you know, schedule gets changed, priorities can change. And then it’s it’s back to the drawing board to that Yeah, as a pro that is one of the one of the biggest challenges to just just keep rolling through that and keep and keep adapting and then really staying staying for us staying healthy through it is is such an immense challenge to you. I can’t tell you how many times we get to those rest days were that easy week are a little break in our season only to find that we’re injured or sick and then instead of being quality time like he said that needs to be devoted to the family. It’s we’re kind of just back on the clock and the recovery sentence monk and out on the couch, drinking tea trying to recover in every way possible, as opposed to giving the family and others in our life that deserved attention that they’ve all been waiting for. And we’ve been waiting for to

 

Trevor Connor  24:17

Okay, we got a call out that that that is a little pro moment that just sit down on the couch and drinking tea, or anybody else would be like yeah, sitting on the couch and eating Doritos and drinking beer.

 

24:29

We do that. There’s a time for that.

 

Chris Case  24:35

Elite coach Coby Pierce, with the newest members of the fast labs team knows what the pro life is like having both lived it and coached many top pros over the years. He has a lot to say about how hard it can be to balance that life.

 

Colby Pearce  24:49

Well, having coached I don’t coach a lot of World Tour pros, but I have certainly coached a few of them and I also worked with the team for Garmin sharp for a year in 2013 as part of their sports science program. I can tell you that firsthand that that’s a that’s an easy sort of misconception to follow is that athletes, professional athletes have really leisurely life’s off the bike or they’re pampered or that they have a lot of things taken care of for them and and the fact is that, you know, I experienced this is my, during my own racing stint, you sacrifice a lot, and I used to really struggle, the word sacrifice, because to me never felt like a sacrifice, because it was my passion. You know, like creed always says my credo is used to say cycling almost chose me, I first bike race I did, I felt like I was struck by lightning, to be honest, I was like, holy crap, oh, bike racer. Now this is it. I’m going home and shaving my legs. And that was when I was 14 years old, is it? My step mom was like, Whoa, what happened? But you, you follow this passion, right? And you you just go all in on it. And other things, by definition, are left out of that equation. Because you’re always riding your bike, you’re always tired. You’re always training. And when you’re not training, you’re recovering. So things like your friends, like, Hey, you want to come over and have barbecue on Saturday afternoon for I’ll still be riding my bike. But didn’t you start at 10 in the morning? Well, yes. And even if I get home at four, I’m going to be on the couch, you know, doing my normal texts and do my ice bath or you know, eating my recovery food or whatever. Like I can’t stand for two hours and chitchat. You give up a lot of things. You can’t just have a project where you’re going to just decide to nuke a weekend building a deck. Like these are things that normal people do that cyclists do not do for decades of their lives, or at least a decade. And those because so much of your life is consumed with treatment, training and racing. Now consider the World Tour Pro. Or when I raced in Europe, you’re traveling back and forth to another country. Now you get to set up another life in another country. Do you know how complicated that is? If you’ve never done it, you probably don’t have an idea. But you’re talking about work permits and foreign language barriers and buying a couch and negotiating to find a mover to move the couch up the tiny little apartment stairs that they’re all really super small and Girona. And then what you do with the couch when the lease is up, if you’re Alex, you put it on the balcony. Long story. But so there’s living in a foreign country dealing with foreign team dynamics, you have this really large plate of challenges on because you’ve left your friends, you’ve left your family at home, even if you have a wife or girlfriend who travels with you, then they’re in a foreign country. And do they are they able to find work more often not than so. And so all these challenges, these life challenges that aren’t really evident to the outside observer become quite polarizing, and just they become big struggles for a lot of athletes. And a lot of athletes have gone over to Europe and said, This is it, I made it, I got my college, my contract, and then they realize, first your project contract is not that much money, especially when you consider all the additional living expenses of basically having a second apartment or a second place to live, right. And the time and energy to get that set up. You’re basically asking the athlete to move while they’re training. Usually, that’s how it works.

 

27:50

And that’s man.

 

Colby Pearce  27:52

I don’t know last time you guys moved, Trevor, you just move recently, like moving. I lost the month of training because I had major life disruption. Yeah, right, let alone if you have family and other things to deal with. Then the other misconception about protein recycling, and I’ll say this with all affection towards the team, man, pro tour cycling teams are held together with super glue and duct tape. It’s unbelievable as they are

 

Chris Case  28:11

together,

 

Colby Pearce  28:12

even at the top and and i’m not disrupt disrespecting any of the mechanics or the team workers are one years who works so hard, but it’s just a fact it’s the way it is. And you get to the service course you see what people are working with. And on the one hand, there’s this massive pile of resources. On the other hand, there’s like nothing. I know, for two riders who have asked for their access to their time trial bikes, for example, everyone assumes they’ve got race bikes and Time Trial bikes at home. There are guys who show up to to tour to Swiss and have not written their TT bike for four months because they don’t have one at home. Because then that because their TV got broken down or change to another ride or to go to another early season race because the rotating bikes, they’ve got three programs going at all times. This is just one of many examples of how athletes struggle to get the right equipment at times, and you just assume they’re rolling in that stuff. And there are times when there are deep pools of resources. There are also equivalent times when the athletes going, I’m in the same pair of shoes for nine months. And you’re like How is this even possible, and it just happens because the athlete is moving targets and they’re dealing with sponsors. And they’re or they’re working through the network of the team to try to get replacements, shoes, etc, etc. So the stories never end in that respect, then there’s things like health insurance, or when you crash or get sick in a foreign country and trying to figure all that out depending on what country and you’re in that can either go really smoothly or incredibly poorly. There. There’s the list of life challenges that a pro athlete has to deal with. They’re astounding. And so it’s easy to think that they’ve got a pampered life they’ve got they’ve always got massages and access to equipment and all the training tools they need. And in select cases or select examples, that can be the case, but more often than not, it’s actually it’s a real struggle and you get to the top and it’s a classic example of I’ve chased this as my dream My whole life and now I’m here and but I didn’t know what the dream actually was.

 

Chris Case  29:59

Now that To get back to our conversation with Brent bookwalter, I was gonna add in that, we did actually have quite a good conversation about something similar to this. And in our recent episode on season planning, where, you know, for an amateur who has the luxury of really like placing the family vacations first, you can work backwards, once the vacation is planned, you can say, okay, that’s, that is the family time at the end of my racing block and work backwards and figure out the training that fits into that knowing that not only for your physiological self, so to speak, and you’ll get the rest period. But also, after all the racing, and time away from family, you’ll get to be able to spend some time with the family and recharge in that way as well. So that discussion, I think, was something that we dovetails really nicely with this balancing discussion. So check that episode out.

 

Trevor Connor  31:02

There is nothing I like more when it’s possible to give one of my Masters athletes just a killer week, right before they go and sit in a beach for 10 days,

 

Brent Bookwalter  31:13

makes it feel even better. It makes it makes it feel sweet. Yeah, it’s a love that we’re as as professionals, it’s just so hard to anticipate that. And it’s one of the one of the biggest challenges and that’s one of the things I’ll look forward to most when I’m when I’m not racing at this level is, like you just said, being able to actually plan a trip with those I want to be with the most and know that without a doubt. It’s not going to change your bend and barring unforeseen catastrophes won’t be sick or hurt. It’s pretty touching go and always getting changed and moving around. And yeah, I can’t think you know, my family enough for the patients that they have with me in the ever changing schedule. It’s quite a challenge.

 

Chris Case  31:52

I’m really happy to hear that. I sense a little bit of jealousy in your voice that froze

 

Brent Bookwalter  31:59

100%. And pros

 

Chris Case  32:00

don’t have it. So as well as we think we have the ability to plan our own vacations and we know they won’t change that’s amazing.

 

Brent Bookwalter  32:08

Yes, it is enjoy it relish those relish those planning moments and know what’s coming. Because Yeah, like, you know, the, probably the guys in the hierarchy of the team that are there up at the top, they have a little more security and soundness in that planning. Because they’re their schedules are gonna change a little less. But myself as someone who’s made a career of sort of being adaptable and versatile and slotted into a lot of different situations and race scenarios, my schedule is changing often.

 

Trevor Connor  32:37

I had a blast those years that I raced full time, but I will tell you, that it was tough with that race and then try to rest before you get to the next race and then you hop on a plane go the next race and it’s just that routine, over and over again. Just trying to keep your your body functional get to all the races and you couldn’t find anything else. You couldn’t do anything else. The only way I had no in a summer had happened was because I had done the races that I knew were in July and August. Was it because I’ve actually enjoyed any of the summer that it is nice to Vail I. I do remember the first year I really back down going, Oh, that’s right. This is what a summer feels like.

 

Chris Case  33:16

That might be a good segue into taking a deeper dive into the balance of travel and training. You know, you were talking about vacations here and travel in that respect. But you travel the world for your job in a sense. And so shall we dive into travel and training balance? How do you make that happen? consistency, staying healthy, dealing with foreign beds and foreign food and the good and the bad of both of those things? And what can you offer us there on tips, Brent?

 

Brent Bookwalter  33:53

That’s it. Yeah, it’s another huge challenge. And it’s something that I love. And I’m very grateful and appreciative that I’ve had this chance to travel and see so many places, but it does become a burden. Man, I’ll tell you how I miss my bed and miss being home and miss that consistency. So I think one of the big things is just accepting that travel is gonna throw me some curveballs use that proper planning and, and accounting for different possibilities can go a long way to making my life easier. And the travel less impactful on my training. But ultimately, it is an area that you know, we have very little control of so just accepting that, you know, when I go into a travel block to a race or when I’m traveling back to Europe, you know, there’s gonna be some money for scenes and things I can anticipate and I gotta sort of mentally and physically prepare for that just like I would have a training session that means getting the proper proper rest and lead up beforehand, you know, using as many little hacks as I can with, you know, tons of hand sanitizer and compression socks and as good a nutrition and little little travel survival kit and just try to treat in that big travel that just Like you would have been training to what? Yeah,

 

Chris Case  35:01

what’s inside that travel kit? I’m curious. Oh, man, yeah, I

 

Brent Bookwalter  35:05

wrote a pretty big backpack or carry on bag that usually most of my teammates are laughing at, because it’s so heavy. But yeah, I want to, I want to be prepared, I want to, I want to definitely have a bit of a reserve of some food and some snacks and some water in there gets stuck on the runway for too long and you’re starving and dehydrated. And that’s not doing anyone any good. So there’s definitely a bit of a nutrition component. Definitely always have the compression socks on. Like I said, definitely using the hand sanitizer, being really vigilant with just trying not to touch my face, touch my eyes, being aware of all those services I touched and, you know, not being too crazy about it, but it’s always inevitable you’re gonna you’re gonna touch them, but just going through it, I’m aware and doing my best to mitigate as much of that, that danger as possible.

 

Chris Case  36:07

I heard that turning on the air vent above you is actually a good thing because it creates a zone where like a negative pressure zone over you so that it Ward’s off some of the the stale air that might be in the cabin of an airplane? I could that could be a total myth.

 

Brent Bookwalter  36:27

Yeah, I’ve heard that too. I guess it probably depends. He asked if, if you’ve asked my European teammates through Mike that I’ve had through my career, most of them would default to saying any sort of air blowing on you at any point in time as a major risk for for infection. You better get that better get that buffer that turtleneck or scarf up around your neck or you’re gonna gonna catch a cold

 

Chris Case  36:50

euro myths are so awesome. I love it, they think they’re gonna get sick. If they have a plant growing in their house or some things they have such strange thoughts.

 

Brent Bookwalter  37:01

There are some rituals, but But yeah, whatever works. I mean, I think the takeaway is, you know, find, find out what works for you and, and stick to it, and then allow that to, to give you some confidence and bolster you and be empowered, knowing that you know what, I’m doing everything I can in my control. Now I can sort of just, you know, go through the process and know that I’m doing my best and controlling what I can control. And after that, you know, who knows what’s gonna happen?

 

Chris Case  37:29

Yeah, the placebo effect can be pretty strong, even if it’s not a you know, it just having the confidence that you’re doing what you can to reduce the risks. And we’re talking about this, like we’re talking about deadly diseases, but we’re talking about, you know, minor things relative to what’s the world

 

Brent Bookwalter  37:48

but yeah, but they have a big impact. Yeah, exactly. really big impact. Yeah, I mean, watching pro cyclist travel, do a key race when they’re super lean and coming off a big training load and have a massive part of their season riding on on the races that are about to happen are not the most relaxed, a little neurotic. I’ll confess another another piece of survival too. I do have. I don’t even think I ever opened it this year. But I do have like a little face mask in my little like travel kit, just in case, you know, you get a person that has just coughing up a storm and there’s no extra seats. You know, I’d rather have that right, little bit of a hospital germ mask to throw on for a couple hours of flight. And then you know, know that they’re coughing all over me.

 

Trevor Connor  38:27

I was so excited when I got to the center. And they started teaching us how to travel because I grew up as a bit of a hypochondriac. I was like, wait a minute, my neuroses is actually a benefit now.

 

Chris Case  38:39

Yeah, right. Exactly.

 

Trevor Connor  38:42

So the only thing I would throw into the travel mix here of suggestions I have that really worked. For me at least one is have something that’s comfortable for you, I always travelled with my pillow. I found I could sleep on almost any bed as long as I had my pillow that was just a bit of comfort, a bit of home for me. And it was worth finding the space to be able to fit that in my bag. Other people might have other comfort things, but that those little things can really help. The other recommendation I would have is this is going to sound strange, but let travel affect you. I used to do this early in my career. And I’ve seen athletes do this. They try to map out their training as if the travel didn’t exist. So they’ll map out a week that they’re traveling though they’ll map out their plan as if they were at home the whole time. And the fact of the matter is crossing time zones getting on a plane for five hours. These things do affect you and modify your training let you accept the fact that Yeah, the travel is going to affect you a bit and trying to train at your normal volume, your normal intensity might not be the best approach. And also keep in mind being off the bike for four days isn’t going to change. Yeah,

 

Brent Bookwalter  40:00

yeah. 100%

 

Chris Case  40:01

Yeah, I think it’s an important point I used to treat the the travel day as a rest day. So I would try to smash myself leading right up to that rest day, but you’re, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable because then you’re maybe a little bit compromised, your immune systems a little bit taxed, and then you expose yourself to an environment where there are a lot of germs around. And it’s kind of the opposite of what you want to be doing. You don’t want to go into a travel day, especially if it’s a transatlantic or Trans Pacific flight, completely fatigued and, and vulnerable. Okay,

 

Trevor Connor  40:39

I had an athlete last This is last week, she was getting ready to travel for Thanksgiving. So we’re recording at the end of November right now. And my instructions we kind of mapped out a week but my instructions to her is Look, do it you can you’re traveling at the end of the week. I know you have a lot of work to do. So it’s not a great week. It’s not a great week, it’s November season’s doesn’t start till May. So she had threshold intervals planned before the the Friday, Thursday or Friday. She was flying on the Sunday. She didn’t get the intervals in and I get this text from her on Saturday night saying she’s just going to bed. It’s like 11 o’clock at night she goes but you know, I know I missed my thresholds. But don’t worry, I’m getting up at 4am. So I can do the threshold work before I get on the plane. And thankfully, I saw it right away and just text her back. So I’m like, so your plan, even though I said it’s not a critical week is to go and completely immunocompromised yourself, and then go get on a plane for three hours with a bunch of people right at the start of flu season. Does that sound like the best idea?

 

41:44

No.

 

Chris Case  41:45

Yeah.

 

Brent Bookwalter  41:46

Yeah, definitely not. That’s that’s a brutal. But we all I mean, like we were saying earlier is we’re all addicted to that process of we want to get it done. And we want to be accountable to our training and ourselves. And we don’t I hate giving up on a workout. And I hate, you know, kicking a workout out of my training program, I feel the tendency is to let it feel like a failure. And I, I can’t, I struggle with that all the time for as long as I’ve been training and doing this. Just striving towards this balance. It’s still something that I struggle with. And it’s something I still I see the other pros that I’m around struggle with that feeling you’re not alone when you’re when you’re going through that struggle. And I think that’s one of the reasons it’s important to have a coach and have someone with some outside perspective, guide and provide a little insight. But I definitely agree with you, Trevor in that the the pillows big. Another thing I do is just in that same note of familiarity, I think anything that you can bring along with you and traveling to make the space a little yours. I’m definitely a room brew coffee coffee maker, and I have my little coffee setup that I bring with me all through the world, every race I go to just about and gives me a few minutes every morning to sort of set myself and know that I have something that I can expect at the same and it’s my time. It’s not in the team schedule. And yeah, maybe I’ll wake up a few minutes early for it. But that’s my choice. And it’s empowering to have no I have a little bit of control and familiarity in that. I think that goes a long way as well.

 

Trevor Connor  43:34

So if you’ve been listening to the show lately, you know we have expanded in the next few weeks we’re adding a couple shows to our lineup hosted by super coaches grant Holliday and Colby Pierce. But something I’ve been really excited about as a camps are going to be offering this spring and summer. Back when I joined team Rio Grande in 2011, Dr. Annie Pruitt did one of these scientific camps with the team. And he modeled after what he did with pro tour teams. At the end of the camp, he had a talk with us and basically said, you guys are pros. And you should feel like pros. And I’ll tell you that camp made us feel that way. I still haven’t forgotten that first camp and the impact it had on me. It was a lot of fun. It was incredibly informative. And I went on to have my second best year of my life at the age of 40. I think the camp and the approach that Dr. Pruitt taught us was a huge part of that. So I continue these camps when I manage team Rio Grande and it has always been a dream of mine to make this type of Camp available to everyone. And we have partnered with the University of Colorado sports medicine Performance Center to make these camps a reality.

 

Chris Case  44:43

So if you’re as excited about these camps as we are, go to our website, www dot fast labs.com Check us out. We have three camps in 2021 the last few days of April 1 two days of may one in June. In one in August, check out fast labs.com, enter fast labs 2020 as the discount code and receive $500 off a purchase at this performance experience training camp. So Brent, I know work means something a little bit different than it does for the rest of us work is racing your bike work is training to race your bike and work is taking care of your body. But some of these rules, some of these tips that you have on balancing work and training in life, are applicable to everybody. So let’s dive into that one. Now, for the person that has a 40 hour per week day job, they might think, well, what is what is Brent going to be able to tell me about this, but let’s, let’s see what you have to offer here, Brett? Yeah,

 

Brent Bookwalter  45:57

maybe nothing, not, I do have it good. And that, you know, I can prioritize my recovery and stay off my feet and make nutrition a priority and build my day around my rides. That wasn’t always the case. You know, I, I have had various jobs at different times in my life, especially when I was younger. And I think one of the things I learned through that time was just to not underestimate the toll and stress that that work would have on my training and racing, just like the travel and just like the family, it comes back to some pretty fundamental anticipation of, of what what that total is. And ideally, again, that’s done with a coach and a support network of friends and other family and co workers helping you to just be real on what that stress is like.

 

Trevor Connor  46:41

So something I want to throw in here, this is actually going to flip it around a little bit. This is a struggle for people who decide to go pro and they’re very early in their careers, something happens and it’s not a good thing when cycling or your sport goes from being your hobby to your work. Because when it’s your hobby, it’s your release, it’s the thing that you do to get away from what stresses you. And I’ve seen a lot of athletes who get serious hit this phase where all of a sudden, now Cycling is their work. And it’s a real struggle for them. Because they suddenly don’t have a stress release. And that’s part of the brand, please call me out on this one. But that’s part of the reason I say there’s no pro out there that just rides their bike and sits on the couch because you just can’t survive if your your work and your hobby, all wrapped up in one and you have nothing else going on.

 

Brent Bookwalter  47:38

Yeah, definitely. I think that tricky relationship of, of that hobby. And that passion. becoming our work is, is something that I think about a lot and I’m up against, and I love riding my bike. And first and foremost, you know, I like riding my bike, probably more than racing it. And I think I’d like to think it’s something that I’ll always do. But it does sort of the relationship I have with riding does change, because it isn’t just about having fun out there. And it isn’t just about chasing a goal that I’m doing for myself. It’s about, you know, existing within a team network and, and being accountable to my teammates and our sponsors. And that expectation of pressure of trying to accomplish something, and having to frankly, and having that pressure that you know, failing is not an option. So that changes the relationship of it. Yeah, once again, I think that’s, that’s something I’ll look forward to, and I’m no longer racing professionally, just getting back to the pure, pure sort of joy of writing and, and not having that, that sort of blurring of mixing passion and profession. That’s that it’s it’s a something I’m, I’m grateful for. And I’m really appreciative of and try to stay, stay aware of that and know that it’s not something I’ll get to do forever.

 

Trevor Connor  48:53

That’s a good way to look at it.

 

Chris Case  48:55

One of the things we haven’t really spelled out, and it it really applies to each of these main categories we’re talking about here is the fact that there’s training stress, and then there’s other stress. And while there isn’t a formula to say, work, stress equals you know, some component error of training stress or is equivalent to this amount of training stress or travel stress is equivalent to this amount of training stress. There’s no formula for that. But the point is, all that stress accumulates. And you have to take that into consideration when you’re talking about how much training you should do, how much rest you need, that has a long or that has a lot to do with how you make all of this balancing act work out properly. And your advantage Yeah, there’s

 

Brent Bookwalter  49:48

all these all these factors in our lives that are that are applying stress work in our family and the travel and training obviously, they’re all sort of, you know, taken us up to our capacity. You know, the way I sort of view it is like I, I need to do things also to give back to my body and to give back to myself. So whether that’s prioritizing, you know, sleeping an extra hour, or taking a nap, or incorporating more meditation or making sure I’m going to focus on my diet more, get a massage, there’s all these things that, you know, remain, we usually just focused on the things that are putting us in the negative stress down, down, down, down, down. But eventually, we got to give something back to our bodies and ourselves as well, you know, treat those as sort of positive points, if you will, and use those to bolster ourselves back up. It’s not unlike thinking about it as if you are an accountants perspective on on yourself. If you keep making withdrawals, you’re going to go into a bad place pretty quickly, if you make a bunch of withdrawals, put it in a deposit, another withdrawal and other deposit, then you’re going to keep that account in balance more, more so than if you just keep draining it down and down and down. And then all of a sudden, ooh,

 

Chris Case  51:07

I gotta, I gotta put a deposit in there or helps I’m gonna be, you know, bankrupt here.

 

Trevor Connor  51:14

Just flip this around, what you’re talking about is that balance between stress and having to release, don’t turn training into a second job, don’t turn it into another source of stress. Most of us are doing this because it’s something we’re passionate about and really enjoy. And you need to keep that if you’re having a stressful job. And then you’re stressing about your training, you get really out of balance, in some ways. See the training not as a sacrifice that you’re making that you’re trying to balance, but is potentially something that you really need. I personally had that experience back in when I started my graduate work. I was a full time student, I was teaching I had a coaching business. And I remember that first fall, I had about two weeks where I didn’t do any exercise. I was so busy studying and working that that’s all I did. At the end of that we had a holiday party for our department. So I went to the house walked in the door, one of the other students said hi to me, and I did I’m sure the equivalent of just sitting there with my mouth flopping around, and I couldn’t actually form a sentence. And I was there about a minute before I was like, I am so out of balance right now. I actually can’t talk to people, I can’t function and I had to leave the party. And now after that I just went I can’t go two weeks without having my stress release. I have to ride my bike. That’s what it is for me now.

 

Chris Case  52:48

Been there. Yeah. And I think that that brings up the an idea about sort of compartmentalizing things, whereas, you know, we’re talking about balancing things. And part of being able to do that is when you’re at work focusing there when you’re at your when you’re on your ride, focusing there, trying not to let them erode one another. You know, daydreaming is a is a pretty amazing thing. And you could do that to some degree, but you don’t want to obsessive really think about your rides when you’re working or vice versa. Who would who would actually think about work when they’re riding? Besides Trevor?

 

Trevor Connor  53:29

Are you thinking about the other day?

 

Chris Case  53:30

Yeah, I’m thinking about the other day,

 

Trevor Connor  53:33

Chris and I were on the same bike path riding and I biked right by him and didn’t even recognize him because I was deep and thought

 

Chris Case  53:42

I was it was it was funny and a little bit troubling. I gotta be honest with you, Trevor I, I pulled over to the side of the trail. And I kept looking back thinking, there’s just no way that this guy I’ve known for six years, just rode past me and recognized me. And then finally Trevor turned around and came up to me and he I could tell immediately like this, this dude was deep in thought, and he’s having a conversation with me right now. But I think his half of his brain is still deep in thought. So I’m just gonna let him go this way.

 

Trevor Connor  54:14

That’s pretty much the way

 

Brent Bookwalter  54:17

the bike is good for that, though. It is it’s, I’ve had to work on that that compartmentalizing a lot lately, and with the with the guidance of some, you know, trained psychologists and mental trainers because it’s, it’s really important for me to when I throw my leg over my bike to really be be functional and switching to that compartment and holding myself to a very high level of accountability and executing my, my work and my intervals and also enjoying it. That’s part of it too, taking a minute to look around. But then knowing you know, especially in different times of the year, if I’m going into that that family space or that other workspace or working on another project that I have to deliver the same attention and focus to that switching and keeping myself accountable to that my two sensor or just guidance would be that that hasn’t, that doesn’t just happen naturally, like I’ve had to, I’ve had to train and work and try to appreciate some awareness for that it’s not easy to just, it’s not always natural for me to bounce around to those different compartments, and actually stay in them. So it’s a constant work in progress. And in going a little deeper, I would say, you know, it’s the same even with a little bit of a social setting. It’s like when I, when I show up with my teammates, I have to sort of put myself in that team compartment then and now I’m, you know, now I’m non Pro Cycling Brent, and I’m teammate Brent, and stay in that compartment, stay present, you know, when I’m, when I switch back to my family, or when I’m out in the bike by myself in a training session, you know, to move around, and it doesn’t mean those aren’t bleeding together somewhat, I think that’s always inevitable, it’s helped me to have a little little awareness of that and view a little more visually like that. So I don’t know if that can be helpful for others, but it has been for me,

 

Chris Case  56:00

is there a particular trick that you use as a mantra or a phrase that you try to keep in mind when you’re trying to switch between these compartments will, what is the work with the sports psychology or the psychologist, then able to teach you about how to go between those two component or three compartments, four compartments,

 

Brent Bookwalter  56:22

yeah, many, many, it varies kind of depending on, on what is currently happening with training and with life, but the biggest component of it is just a sense of awareness and sort of mindfulness of those of those thoughts and those pressures and those feelings in my mind, or my body, of coming and going and just being able to sort of like recognize them, and note them, and then act on them if needed, or if not just pass them off. Sometimes I’d say like a little bit of visualization, like I said, actually moving, moving around, putting myself in different places or compartments, if you will, helps. And I think you know, you can use keywords or triggers to do that, that’s gonna really just I think, depending on the individual, and everyone has their, their sort of way to do that. But I think the endeavor of, of searching and feeling that out and having someone help you do that is, is important and can be impactful.

 

Chris Case  57:16

Great hockey coach with forever endurance, also knows a lot about life as a pro, he shared many of our feelings about what happens when your passion becomes your work.

 

Grant Holicky  57:26

One of the big things that’s starting to come into all professions in industry now is having this understanding of work life balance, and that we’re going to get more out of work when our life’s in balance. And it’s a little bit of a fall away from this idea of just get it all done and get the work done. go go, go go go. You know, we go through this a lot with coaches, at all times of coaches always want to be available for their athletes, they always want to be around, they feel like they need to be there all the time. But when they’re burning the candle at all ends, they’re not a very good coach anymore. They’re not making good choices. So everybody needs to have that place where they’re able to step away from their sport or their profession and do something they love and recharge. And as professionals, I think that’s crucial. You know, we talk about a lot with the cross group, having fun and making fun of each other and really enjoying what we’re doing. There’s this idea that being a professional athlete is great because your hobbies, your job, well, it’s not your hobby anymore, it’s your job. So when you can find ways to really enjoy your work and enjoy what you’re doing, you’re going to you’re going to be much more productive member of society a and and secondly, a much better professional in what you do. And so I think that’s crucial with with everybody in every walk of life, every profession. But in some ways, sports is even more important because you’re defined as a person by your success in your sport. And being careful to understand that other people may define you that way. You can’t define yourself that way. Or the rest of your world kind of falls away.

 

Trevor Connor  58:56

I love that you brought that up because when I’ve coached athletes who are trying to go pro, one of the things I talked to them about is exactly what you just said ago. You just lost your hobby. Yeah, so now you need a new hobby.

 

Grant Holicky  59:06

Yeah, yeah. And it’s, it’s interesting to how many high level amateurs This is there’s always an expression that I loved was, if I only could quit my job and pursue this full time I would be this good or I would be that good or something like that. And I’ll draw back from my life. Personally, I’ll, I’ll talk about it with Max’s life. We’ll talk about it with a lot of these guys. They were better when they were in school. They were better when their life was structured. I was far better with a full time job and trying to race professional triathlon side than I ever was. If I got rid of that job. I’m a far better cross racer. Now with a four year old and a one year old than I ever was when I had no kids. My whole life is structured, but so is my off time. So is my time with my family. So it’s my time with my friends. So as those other things and that’s crucial.

 

Chris Case  59:56

Now let’s get back to a conversation with Brent bookwalter Let’s talk about something that, you know, we’ve touched upon in a few different ways throughout the episode. But let’s focus in on it just a bit more and talk explicitly about it, which is the the mental side of this, staying positive, staying strong mentally, so that you can make all of this work.

 

Brent Bookwalter  1:00:19

This is an area of constant pursuit of improvement and performance for me. And an area that I’ve recognized, you know, more in like the second half of my career as potential to improve. I’m seeing deliberate work here from my peers, more often implemented into the, into the training plan and the regime. So I think this is an area that undoubtedly, most people can improve performance balance, and well being, this is probably an entire podcast in itself. So we could really get off into the weeds here, maybe this is redundant, but I’d say, you know, commit some time, resources and effort into sort of creating a mental training plan, just like a physical one, strategize, plan, learn, grow and identify some strict tricks and coping mechanisms and practices that, that work for you. So whether that’s working with a psychologist doing some meditation, some visualization, some self talk, etc, I have some appreciation and respect for you know, that as a facet of training and progress and balance and itself, that that’s definitely helped me. Another thing I would say is that just to find, you know, for me, I find my space and my place, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day. So it can be it can be admits to crazy travel day, or it can be walking outside, when I’m at a family gathering for five minutes. But just giving myself a few seconds to just breathe, refocus, recenter, and just process past that, I’d say you get a coach, or at least enlist a friend, this is probably going to be someone other than the person who is telling you how many wants to do for me, that’s definitely the case. Sometimes I think, I think coaches often provide a lot of psychological support and mental and positivity training. But to be fair, we often need to look, look in additional places and turn over more stones enlist others as well, and just our normal physiological coaches,

 

Chris Case  1:02:19

I really liked hearing us talk about this as a as a key component to training, you know, it’s such an under appreciated, often ignored area that can significantly improve, not just what this episode is about the balance, but performance too. I mean, thinking about the different aspects of what it takes to get to your level, you really need to tap into everything, oh, and but the same applies to every amateur out there, if all they do are their intervals, that’s great, you know, that’s gonna see some amount of progress are gonna help them achieve some amount of progress. But if they just leave the whole mental component on the table, then not only is their life and work balance, going to, to potentially suffer, their performance is too. So I love hearing you talk about it as a critical component here. And, you know, honestly, I think people are intimidated by it. Because people don’t like to think about these things to some degree. But honestly, and this is maybe it’s just me, I I find it really fun, really rewarding. And this this great expanse to see improvement in yourself. So focusing on it spending some time there is really rewarding. And I would encourage people to, like you said, look at it as a component of your training and sit down and either with somebody or just, you know, there’s books, there’s, there’s resources that that you can tap into, and really see a lot of progression here. And it can be really fun and rewarding.

 

Brent Bookwalter  1:04:08

I guess the last thing I would just say is that I appreciate being given the chance to chime in here but I by no am no means an expert in this stuff. And the whether it’s cycling related stuff for the balance of family or the travel or the other work that is sure to comment other points in my life. I’m a student and I’m still figuring it out. And I think a little appreciation and respect that we’re all just sort of trying to figure it out and do our best is a important concept and, and sort of note that that feels worthwhile to sit on for a second

 

Chris Case  1:04:46

15 times across national champion Katie Compton wouldn’t have had such a long career if he hadn’t devoted time and energy to stay mentally strong and balanced. Let’s hear some of her thoughts.

 

1:04:56

I think it’s because I listened to my body and I look into my moods, and I think about how I sleep. And I also, I get to the point where I think the amount of years I’m doing and the amount of miles on my legs, I’m, I’m allowed to kind of get away with doing a little bit less. Because I put so much time in when I was younger, I can have that better balance where I know how much intensity I need to do I know how much recovery it takes. I know when I can do high volume, that’s all judgment, I think through a lot of seasons of racing my bike and knowing what is too much, and then what is not quite enough. And then just knowing that, you know, if I’m going to have, you know, a couple down months, it’s going to come around. And I think you don’t notice that you don’t believe that until you go through so many periods of the ups and the downs. Knowing that that you are going to come out the other end, it’s just a matter of when and how quickly. Yeah, it’s not easy. But I think once you understand that, if you don’t dig your hole that deep, and you stay more balanced, you actually do better and you’re happier as an athlete, and you have usually more successful than constantly chasing, chasing, chasing, not getting enough recovery, not hanging out with your friends not enjoying your life. Because when you skip out on those things you burn out quickly to Part of the reason why you do it for so long as because I do spend time with doing other things or my friends are getting together for something I had something else planned. I’m like, you know what, I’m gonna go hang with friends, because life’s too short. So I try to keep everything in perspective where I want to be a good bike racer, I want to be successful at what I do. But I’m also not going to sacrifice a fun life just so I can win a one a bike race. And I think that’s that’s helped me kind of keep maintain balance and kind of keep perspective on kind of the priorities in my life. And what’s gonna keep me happy as a as a person in an athlete.

 

Chris Case  1:06:43

Alright, let’s finish up with our takeovers. Read your you’re a novice here, something you’re not pro at, which is our take homes, which we give every guest 60 seconds to encapsulate everything that we’ve addressed, and maybe everything that they’ve learned up to this point in their life, this is a huge task for you. You got 60 seconds to give it to us now. So take it away with your take homes, the 60 seconds.

 

Brent Bookwalter  1:07:16

Yeah, rough, I would say an understanding that we’re all on this process. And we’re all on this journey. And is it is a constant ever changing work in progress. And what has worked in the past yesterday might not work today. So continuing to evolve, continuing to adapt. At the same time being deliberate, being focused using the resources we have and what’s at our disposal to maximize plan and use use everything yeah, that we have at our fingertips not being afraid to, to lean on those around us and get help when we need it. Understand that. As much as we work at something, there’s always something that we can learn from someone else and never be afraid to stop learning. So Trevor, 60 seconds,

 

Chris Case  1:08:06

you’ve done this so many times before you could do it in your sleep. Tell us what are your takeaways from today’s episode.

 

Trevor Connor  1:08:13

So there’s a reason instead of bringing in a time manager to talk about balancing life with or training with work and family and all these things in life. There’s a reason we brought in a pro, this belief that a pros life is just training and sitting on the couch, it couldn’t be further from the truth. From my experience, actually, the training is the easy part. The hard part, and what I’ve seen and more careers is finding that balance, both mentally and in terms of time management and, and work. It can be really, really tough. And one thing I have seen in the pros that are successful, is they get really good at figuring out those rocks, what’s really important, and what can be sacrificed and staying focused on that. And I think that’s something if there’s anything that I learned from my years racing full time that I find really beneficial. Now that Cycling is just a hobby, and I actually have a real job is that focus is that ability to say, these are my rocks, I need to really work on these and here’s how I fit it all together. Chris, well, I

 

Chris Case  1:09:26

emphasized the importance of communication pretty early in the episode, I think it’s it’s worth repeating here. And by that I mean, you know, communicating not only with everyone around you, but with yourself about what you need with your partners that can be a positive or a negative thing. But hopefully through communication, you can you can figure out a way forward. That is you know, on the positive side say hey, you know, I’m gonna, I’m gonna do these races this season and Let’s figure out a way to have our family weekends and some race weekends. And let’s just plan it and set expectations there. And then if you know on the negative side, don’t want to avoid it, but some people do struggle to ride as much as they want, because maybe their spouse doesn’t or their spouse, you know, feels like they’re taking advantage of the situation or something like that. But sitting them down and communicating that before it turns into something, something worse and communicating how much you you either love it or needed or both. And trying to figure out ways to maybe do it together more or do other things together so that you can eat to do your own things individually that you love to do. So just talking about it with with those that are important to you is so critical to The Balancing Act that we’re talking about here.

 

Trevor Connor  1:10:57

So Brent got to finish the show by saying that you have shared a lot of wisdoms with us over the years. Today was certainly no exception. And it was way too long before we got you on the show as our primary guests. Thanks for thanks for joining us. Thanks for having me, guys. I

 

Brent Bookwalter  1:11:13

always enjoy the show. And it’s an honor to just be amongst the other esteemed and knowledgeable and insightful guests that you’ve had. So thanks for putting me in that great circle. Absolutely.

 

Chris Case  1:11:24

That’s awesome to hear. Thank you. That was another episode of fast talk. As always, we’d love your feedback. Email us at fast talk at fast labs.com Subscribe to fast talk on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, SoundCloud and Google Play or anywhere you prefer to find your podcasts. Be sure to leave us a rating and review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on past talk are those of the individual for Brent bookwalter Colby Pierce, great hockey, Katie Compton and Trevor Connor. I’m Chris case. Thanks for listening.

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