Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

In this week’s show, we talk about training over the holidays, why discomfort is important to our development, and our goals for 2023.

cyclists riding in snow
Photo: Ground Picture

In our last potluck show of 2022, Grant Holicky, Trevor Connor, and Rob Pickels discuss the importance of discomfort and how it’s often in the toughest times that we experience our greatest growth, whether it’s a tough conversation, a challenging workout, or doing something new and unfamiliar.

We also chat about the holidays and the best approach to training at this time of year. Coach Holicky poses the question of whether lots of training is the best use of our time—or is it better spent resting and enjoying time with family and friends?

And like many people at this time of year, we’re looking ahead to 2023 and thinking about our goals and aspirations. It doesn’t matter how thorough your training plan might be, when it’s cold and snowing outside, it can be hard to find the motivation to get out there, but if you have some clear and exciting goals it’ll make it a whole lot easier. We round out the show sharing our aspirations for 2023. So, hang your training shoes and season goals by the chimney with care—and let’s make you fast!

Episode Transcript

Chris Case  00:05

Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Fast Talk your source for the science of endurance performance. Who’s this guy?

Rob Pickels  00:12

The best damn voice Fast Talk has ever had.

Chris Case  00:15

I am Chris case. I’m making my maiden return to the show, and today we’re doing a potluck. We’ve got Grant Holicky in the studio, Trevor Connor sitting across from me, Rob Pickels sitting next to me. Welcome everybody. Can I even say that?

Rob Pickels  00:32

No, this is incredible. It is so good to hear your voice.

Chris Case  00:35

Wow. Thank you.

Trevor Connor  00:36

Rob came ready, he got himself sick so we’re gonna get a good Chris radio voice.

Rob Pickels  00:42

Trying to keep up with him.

Chris Case  00:45

Keep practicing buddy.

Grant Holicky  00:46

Face for radio.

Chris Case  00:49

Today’s episode of Fast Talk is brought to you by Alter Exploration created by me, Fast Talk Labs co-founder Chris Case. Alter Exploration crafts, custom cycling journeys that create opportunities for both physical and mental transformation. Alter Exploration, what we do is all in our name. Alters journeys are meant to be challenging, your skill and fitness will be tested, and you’ll stand a good chance of transforming yourself in small, but significant ways – alter. Alter Journeys are intended to be all terrain tours on any and all surfaces -alter. Then there’s exploration. This won’t be a vacation so much as an exploration of you and the destination. Reach a greater understanding of your physical and mental capabilities, while simultaneously experiencing a stunning landscape, life altered. Learn more about my favorite adventure destinations and start dreaming at

Chris Case  01:52

Tell me more about what we’re doing today.

Rob Pickels  01:53

You’ve never done a Potluck.

Trevor Connor  01:55

Grant you explain what this is.

Grant Holicky  01:59

It’s a little bit of everything. A little bit of nothing. Just a little, you know, it’s it is like that beautiful potluck dinner where you might get yourself some chicken wings. You might get yourself a great dessert and somebody might bring ambrosia

Rob Pickels  02:12

noon and you could get food poisoning.

Grant Holicky  02:15

It’s 5050 shot

Rob Pickels  02:16

you could win listening to this you could lose listening to this. Hopefully entertained Come on.

Grant Holicky  02:22

Yeah, yeah, well, yeah, you’re always gonna be entertained, always

Rob Pickels  02:24

entertained. I hope. I just hope that I laugh maniacally when I’m reviewing the episodes, then I feel really good. But what did it feel like? That’s the bar. That’s my thumbs up right there. If I spend at least a quarter of the time laughing.

Chris Case  02:38

Can we hear the maniacal laugh now? No, dude, no,

Rob Pickels  02:41

I need to be inspired. Later.

Chris Case  02:44

All right.

Grant Holicky  02:44

It might not happen.

Chris Case  02:46

It probably won’t. I’m here.

Trevor Connor  02:49

So I’m being silent here. Because I would just go in through all the programs on my computer to find the notes for this episode and all the research and polling and stuff like that, right? We don’t have

Rob Pickels  02:59

and most importantly, Trevor has a computer. He’s keeping the trend of

Trevor Connor  03:04

he and I don’t know why I do because it’s just not part of a pot.

Grant Holicky  03:07

I feel sure what he’s ready for. But he’s ready.

Rob Pickels  03:10

Well, I think that he is giving the illusion of being ready because he came in and opened his computer. That’s Trevor exact illusion of Exactly.

Trevor Connor  03:18

No. Usually we come into an episode and we have a conversation. We go through the outline, what are we going to talk about what research do we want to come in? Or bring into this? I literally came in here I’m like, what are we talking about?

Grant Holicky  03:29

What what we I feel like I’m a potluck? What we have to plan for is how much time is allotted for making fun of each individual person on the potluck. Because I can see Trevor’s screen on his computer right now. You guys don’t want to know what’s on it.

Rob Pickels  03:40

I’m sure that I don’t but maybe we should record some of these insults as be rolled that we can then sprinkle into other episodes. Yeah, and why

Grant Holicky  03:48

not all one episode?

Rob Pickels  03:50

kind of tricky.

Trevor Connor  03:51

You see what’s happened since you’ve left chaos. devolved?

Grant Holicky  03:54

Right? In what did you want?

Chris Case  03:56

What what I want to see Trevor is for you. I want you to freestyle today. Don’t you don’t need a computer. It’s all in your brain.

Trevor Connor  04:03

You ready for this?

Chris Case  04:04

Yeah, shut it down. Feel good.

Grant Holicky  04:09

It’s free. No. Blood pressure. Just turned beet red.

Rob Pickels  04:17

All right. So we made fun of Trevor for the computer. Grant. You’re wearing a hat today. So we can’t tell if you shower. I will say

Trevor Connor  04:24

you had to say that.

Grant Holicky  04:27

I got on the phone with Steven. Hi, this morning. We’re talking about the Christmas trip for cyclocross. And I said if you didn’t answer I was gonna take a shower but I turned to my wife and said if I go to the podcast smell and a little bit she looks pause that she looks at me and she goes well that’s on brand Yeah, just as I was actually

Chris Case  04:48

running for walking in looking showered he didn’t say I didn’t

Trevor Connor  04:52

want to continue that conversation where then he said and grants gonna be late and I’m showered.

Chris Case  04:57

Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m getting. You want brand everybody so far is on brand. We’re

Grant Holicky  05:02

all on brand. Rob was

Rob Pickels  05:04

just so put together. I don’t even know what my brand is. I don’t

Grant Holicky  05:07

know that anybody knows what your brand is. You

Chris Case  05:10

What is your wife say your brand is? Silent.

Rob Pickels  05:15

Can we have live Collins to the show? Right now? Hey, good. She would she loves me. So she would fake it.

Grant Holicky  05:27

She would fake it. Yes. Thank you because she loves me because she loves me. She would

Grant Holicky  05:31

make something up. Perfect. She’d go

Chris Case  05:36

to Confession afterwards.

Rob Pickels  05:39

She’d have to pull out that list of compliments that she keeps on the side. Right? Yeah, right.

Grant Holicky  05:43

It’s on the back of her phone. Exactly.

Trevor Connor  05:47

We are 509 into this episode, and we have accomplished nothing. Hey,

Chris Case  05:51

Grant said we were that’s the little bit of nothing. I mean, this is the episode there’s at least

Chris Case  05:57

six people still listening. Right?

Rob Pickels  05:59

What would happen if we had a Seinfeld ask? So that was just about nothing.

Grant Holicky  06:03

That’s isn’t that what that’s what potluck is? That was what I wanted to eventually get

Trevor Connor  06:06

to subject in with the potluck analogy. We have walked to the smorgasbord of a table filled a plate with just the lettuce and walked away.

Grant Holicky  06:17

Oh, no, I think we got the we got the good stuff. I don’t know what the good stuff is like we went there and got putting,

Chris Case  06:22

does this remind you a little of off course. Yeah.

Chris Case  06:27

For those who don’t know, because there’s a lot of them out there. Yeah, divorce was

Grant Holicky  06:31

was my short live podcast. And I loved the fact that it was just kind of like, Hey, you’re my guest. What do you wanna talk about today? Did you prepare it all? Yeah, a little bit.

Rob Pickels  06:42

I mean, you call it the guest.

Chris Case  06:45

He looked up their phone number. I texted somebody to get their phone number. I generally had a question or

Rob Pickels  06:50

two. Hey, you got on my podcast.

Trevor Connor  06:52

I liked it. Allow me to rephrase my analogy. We have walked away not with the mixed greens. The iceberg lettuce.

Rob Pickels  07:00

Iceberg lettuce. I don’t know, man. I need chicken casserole. Like, yeah,

Grant Holicky  07:05

wow. Yeah, you know, this is just where we all differ in opinion. If it doesn’t have research, you think it’s Iceberg lettuce? I think it’s, you know, tuna surprise. Alright, so

Trevor Connor  07:17

there was some meat? What’s your question?

Grant Holicky  07:19

Okay. So my question is to all of you, and to everybody out there with the holidays coming up. A lot of us are off work. And maybe we can look back at what you did over Thanksgiving. But what is an athlete’s response? What is your response to when you have that time off from work for the holidays? Do you train more? Do you train less? What’s your goal? What are you trying to do over that time?

Rob Pickels  07:45

Well, I know I took the week off of Thanksgiving, and I went to Tucson and had a little mini training camp. But that’s not normally what I would do. And it’s not what I would do over over the Christmas holidays to tell you the truth. But in November, I was all about training. And it’s December now. So I’ve turned that faucet off.

Grant Holicky  08:01

Why were you all about training in November? Did you have us

Chris Case  08:05

preparing for December? Exactly two times I

Rob Pickels  08:07

knew December was coming. So I needed that last ditch effort? No, I don’t know, you know, more than anything. It was just we were going to a place that was warm. Yeah. And it was a new place for me to explore some trails I had never been on before. I was almost more excited about that, I think than the training itself to tell you the truth. And so it was just kind of how the opportunity struck. In all honesty.

Grant Holicky  08:28

I guess my big part of my question is, I feel like with the athletes, I coach that work, when they have time off work, what I always get from them is I got time off, we should put a huge weekend. I want to put it in a huge week. And I feel like sometimes it ignores other things in their lives of what they might be having to do or wanting to do. Or the point of you’re off work, man, like relax a little

Chris Case  08:53

bit, what you’re looking for one of us to say is that people should not try to do too much, especially this time of year when there’s family stress and life stress.

Grant Holicky  09:04

Well, I’ll just stress you don’t have to sell.

Chris Case  09:07

I know, I know. I’m joking. And that I could sense that. That’s what kind of is in your head. But it depends, I think you said the operative word, which is what’s your goal, right? If your goal is to finish strong the cyclocross season, then you probably do take some time to train or at least don’t let yourself D train for a week. But if you’re, you know, the rest of us,

Rob Pickels  09:33

he looked at me for what it’s worth. Like like,

Chris Case  09:36

no, no. Are you planning to take the time off because you’re not racing? Nobody. Most of us are racing anytime soon. So let your mind like let things go for a while. Don’t take that attitude that I found myself getting caught up in when I was still racing a lot this time of year which was oh my god, I can’t even be around people because I want to avoid at any risk of getting sick because I got to go to Masters nationals and all this stuff, and that’s the antithesis of what you should be doing this time of years, you should be with family, you should be relaxing, you should be enjoying yourself. You should maybe even be eating a little too much if you know like just let loose a little bit.

Grant Holicky  10:17

Well, I think it was funny that you mentioned the getting sick thing because yesterday a couple of my athletes that are going to cyclocross nationals came over to the house to pick something up and they stayed outside. Because I have two kids under the age of eight. They’re petri dishes. Yeah, my house is a Petri dish.

Rob Pickels  10:32

Well, that’s nevermind.

Grant Holicky  10:34

Probably was my the case when I was single. Very true. It’s better now. But from a sickness point of view, not from a mold point of view, it is a Petri dish. Got it? But, but so they stayed outside. That doesn’t have to be the norm. And I think that cyclocross is always funny, because I think everybody’s always getting ready for a 45 minute race that masters nationals. They’d get into the Christmas period when it used to be in January. Yeah. And they train, train, train, train train, and I’m out there fishing and hanging out. Yeah, I’m getting ready for 45 minute race, like how fit do I need to be. But Trevor, you have a very different point of view of the holidays.

Trevor Connor  11:16

Well, I’m mixed. So I will tell you my own experience, I’d always do a big training camp right before I’d go home to visit my family. So I do four or five days beat myself up. And then I would go and pretty much relax

Grant Holicky  11:31

was that your penance? Were you just preparing to see your family like, you know,

Trevor Connor  11:36

part of it was I lived on the West Coast, I didn’t have a bike and Toronto, I wasn’t bringing my bike bag with me. So I couldn’t ride my bike or jog when I was there. So I just enjoy the time with my family. I do have athletes that I’ve coached, I have one athlete who takes two weeks off during the holidays. And he loves that the time to do a big block. So we’ll do a big four or five day block, but we’ll time it. So then he can also use part of the holidays to relax and rest afterwards.

Grant Holicky  12:02

That’s one of the things that I really like coaching is using the organic trips, or the organic things to just let that be a rest week. So kind of what Trevor is saying is load up, load up, load up and then just be in this place where you get to just go on that trip without a bike, relax, chill out that go like go have an extra beer, or three and just not worry about it for a couple days.

Rob Pickels  12:32

Yeah, well, I kind of I look at the holiday period, just like I look at even recovery days in the middle of a training cycle. There are people who will be like, Okay, well, today’s a recovery or a rest day, I’m going to lift weights today instead of right, right, right, right. Are you sure that you’re actually taking a day off? Are you sure your body’s recuperating, you’re probably just over stressing it more by doing this weight lifting activity. And that’s the same thing coming into the holiday period. I think that everybody and we talk about this all the time, you need some detraining so that you can come back even stronger in the future. Otherwise, you just have this very monotonous week, in week out throughout the entire year. And taking that step back is hugely important.

Grant Holicky  13:11

You know, I think the other part of that coin too, is what kind of stress are you dealing with outside of training, so you can load up and then relax when you go on a trip. But you’re probably loaded up at work to leading into that time off. So I think it’s the ebb and flow, you got to be careful of all those pieces of the puzzle. Never forget that it’s not just training stress that causes the body to break down.

Chris Case  13:37

I want to dig into my vault of fast talk memories. Now, going all the way back to a episode that Trevor and I recorded with Brent Bookwalter, I

Grant Holicky  13:49

really wanted you to go going all the way back to Episode 3737 37. Let’s

Chris Case  13:56

see what number that was very close to my first episode. This was probably episode 65 Maybe. And we talked a lot about the balance of training, stress and all the travel that he as a pro was doing and all this sort of stuff. And one thing that always stuck with me and I’ve I’ve thought about it plenty before and after that time was the whole oh my god, I’m going on a trip, I gotta just destroy myself before that trip. The one thing you have to worry, maybe not one thing, but one of the things you have to worry about there is you beat yourself up super bad. And then you put yourself into a germ infested environment like an airport or a plane or whatever. And your risk of getting sick or something goes goes up because you’ve beat your body up and your immune systems, not what it should be. So just be wary of that fact as well.

Trevor Connor  14:50

This is a risk and I just told you about what I used to do, which was do a training camp and then fly right to Toronto. And I look back at my time when I was living in British Columbia and doing that every year. are almost every year I will get back to Toronto and get sick. Yeah, yeah, I do a big training camp get on the plane the next day. And I just wasn’t thinking.

Grant Holicky  15:07

So yeah, I think all these things kind of come back to what I was asking. And I appreciate everybody’s answers that I think just look at your individual situation, right? What do we say all the time? It depends. What’s the right thing to do? Well, it depends.

Trevor Connor  15:22

Yeah. So I want to throw a scenario at you and hear what you think about this. I mean, hearing you kind of push towards that. Maybe you you do try to take a break when you have those holidays, and not try to train hard. You know, I’m a big believer in the training camp. So with my athletes in the bass season, I like to have that every about every four weeks, a big four or five day block where we beat them up. And a lot of my athletes say That’s their favorite time, they love to do those blocks, they love to beat themselves up. Problem is you do that in February, you’re having to figure out how to fit around work, you might have to take a couple hours off work, whether there’s a lot of factors that play in to be able to get that time and it’s a big sacrifice, you get to the end of December holidays. And it isn’t a sacrifice, you have the time sitting right there to do a four day block where you’re not apologizing to the boss and everything else, it would be hard for me to go to those athletes and say, You know what, I know you have the giant opportunity to do something you love. When we take the time off and do nothing. Well,

Grant Holicky  16:27

remember that I think my point is more of is what you’re doing, adding to your stress. So if you’re in a situation where it doesn’t add to your stress, like I got a bike there, I can just go and do this. And normally I’m gone eight hours a day for work. And I’m only really going to be gone four hours a day on my bike. So everybody’s still getting when family wise and all those things. Yeah, go do it. My concern is that I think the travel and the time with family and all of those things can be in and of itself a stressor. Yes. And hauling your bike there. And people who want to spend time with you. I think there’s I end up feeling like this is super important in relationships is we go to the beach every year as a family. And I always want to bring my bike because it’s July, my wife wants to go sit on the beach. So for our first couple of years, I was always bringing my bike and she’s fun. Yeah, I’ll go ride to find find fun. She’s never really said anything. And eventually I was just like, You know what, I’m not gonna bring my bike. And she looked at me and said, thank God. So, you know, it was one of those things that just took me a little while to catch up on. So I think

Chris Case  17:34

that’s not the first time that’s happened. Yeah,

Grant Holicky  17:37

nor will it be the last. But I do think it’s it is very personal, right. And there is that opportunity to do that for people. So go do it. The last thing I will say about that is be very careful that you’re not committed to this as the training camp, when it’s the end of December. And you could like don’t go spend five hours a day inside on Swift because the weather sucks. And think that that’s the same stress as getting five hours outside, like, be willing to adapt.

Trevor Connor  18:09

Put on your unit clothing. Go out the weather sucks. And do five hours is the Canadian

Grant Holicky  18:15

  1. Yeah.

Rob Pickels  18:17

Chris, you you have a question for us today. This is your first one man. What do you got?

Chris Case  18:22

Yeah. And it’s a bit of a philosophical question. But I’d also like to try to bring in some science if if it’s out there. We got science. Okay, great. So the question is,

Trevor Connor  18:33

torture me with a

Chris Case  18:36

pretty simple question. What are the benefits of getting uncomfortable in an athletic sense, both physically and mentally? Who wants to jump on that one?

Rob Pickels  18:48

The best part of this question is, I think that Chris sent this during my Tucson training camp, just after I had run into a cactus with my hand. And I sent them a picture saying Does this qualify as discomfort? I don’t necessarily think that that’s what you’re talking. That’s

Chris Case  19:03

not exactly what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the type of discomfort that comes about from maybe it’s a what Trevor does, it’s a training camp or a training block that is longer than something you’ve ever done before. Or it’s a set of intervals that takes you to a place you’ve never been before

Grant Holicky  19:24

or it’s coming on his podcast and not being allowed to have his computer open and that research,

Chris Case  19:28

discomfort for him notice

Trevor Connor  19:30

I was actually looking at the outside of my computer. I’m so uncomfortable, not be able to use my computer. I’m now looking at this looking

Chris Case  19:36

for recent data scribbled on the back of his

Grant Holicky  19:40


Trevor Connor  19:43

i Oh, even I literally just picked up my computer and looked at the

Chris Case  19:46

saw you do that? I should have made a comment but I didn’t. So that’s the type of discomfort I’m talking about. And again, it’s the physical discomfort mental discomfort. Why should people strive to get to that place not ever Every day, obviously, but occasionally,

Trevor Connor  20:02

I have an answer. But I think grant is going to tackle me, please, I want to see both

Rob Pickels  20:07

of these things I don’t know that would be discovered for me to watch this happen.

Trevor Connor  20:10

I’m gonna bring in some evolutionary

Chris Case  20:12

biology. Great. That’s what I want to hear.

Trevor Connor  20:14

I want to evolutionary biology. Excellent. So this is actually really interesting study on mental processes. That explains a lot of why you see people respond the way they do in politics. So the study actually looked at people’s political response, why people are so quick to believe, things that agree with their opinions. So things I read on Facebook a lot, and I don’t want to go too into the politics. But this is what motivated this study, our brains actually use a lot of energy. And remember, we evolved in a time when we had a caloric scarcity. So you only really want to use energy when you absolutely have to. So our brains actually evolved in a way to be able to recognize situations, recognize things that you’ve seen before the elderly, process it find a hat or deal with it, using very, very little energy. This is the whole origins of stereotyping. There’s actually an evolutionary reason for that, if you stereotype, you don’t have to think about it very hard in the future, you conserve energy. So we actually have two levels of our brains, we have that very quick, I’ve seen this before, I’m going to stereotype disagrees with what I want to think. So I’m going to favor it because I conserve energy, then there is what is called uncomfortable thinking, where you have to process something, if it disagrees with what you might already believe. You have to think deeply about it to understand that requires a lot of energy. So we are hardwired to only do that when absolutely necessary. So if what you are used to suddenly isn’t in line with surviving, like I keep doing this thing, and I keep getting hurt, then you’re willing to do the let’s go to that higher level of thinking and change my cognitions change the way I think, but we are programmed to say I want to avoid that. But that’s when you do your best thinking, that’s when you do your best growing. So that requires you to be uncomfortable. Whenever you go to that higher level, you are going to be uncomfortable. We are programmed that way. So I’m a big believer, whenever I’m thinking about something, if I find it too easy. If it agrees with me too much. I go, Oh, I’m doing that lower level thinking. So I like when I read research. I like when we’re preparing for these podcasts. I like to put myself in that uncomfortable state because I know I’m using that higher level of thinking. That’s why I like having me around.

Rob Pickels  22:43

goes against everything he’s comfortable with. Yeah, I can see it.

Grant Holicky  22:47

Yep, Grant just makes me uncomfortable. Now, there’s sites, there’s just so much.

Trevor Connor  22:58

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Grant Holicky  23:25

It’s backed up of like, what’s the best way to get somebody in engaging conversation about anything that they don’t agree with, which is the slow down and get them actually think instead of react? Because the reaction is going to be the simplest way to go there. So if I’m talking to Trevor about training, if I say, Trevor, you’re wrong. He’s not forced to get uncomfortable. He can just say no, I’m right. And I can say no, I’m right, we walk away. But if I go, I understand what you’re saying. And I agree with this part, this part, this part and this part. What about this,

Trevor Connor  23:55

that makes me really uncomfortable?

Grant Holicky  23:57

And so but I just think that that’s really important in everything that we do. Yes, I’ll take it always to that mental side of a training point of view where training is not just physical. It’s not just the number. You do the number you move on the psychobiological model, your brain is attached. Listen,

Rob Pickels  24:14

great. We chose to not include you on that episode. So let’s Let’s tone down.

Grant Holicky  24:19

Wow, yeah, wow, they chose okay. Anyway,

Rob Pickels  24:24

are you uncomfortable now?

Grant Holicky  24:25

I’m just pissed. Are you doing good?

Trevor Connor  24:28

comfortable at all, he just angry,

Grant Holicky  24:30

mad. That’s bad thinking. But no, the whole point of that is to say that your brain and your body are inexorably tied together. So when you’re sitting at an interval, or you’re sitting at a power number, it’s not just about doing that from a physical standpoint. It’s understanding how you’re going to feel when you’re doing that being okay with feeling like that while you’re doing that. Continuing to talk yourself to continue to do those things. Because you don’t just go into You stop those pieces of the puzzle that are how do I feel, can I keep doing this, your brain is telling you to stop it, your part of your brain is to protect your body from overdoing it. So you have to override that in some contexts. So being uncomfortable, is really important because you learn how to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

Rob Pickels  25:22

Yeah, I fully agree with that. And I think that it’s discomfort that ultimately defines where our boundaries are. And oftentimes, when you see someone who does not lead a life where they regularly dip into discomfort, their comfort boundaries are very, very narrow. Anything that is outside of that is a huge perturbations to what feels normal, natural and okay to that person. You know, take for example, Tucson gonna bring up Tucson as many times as I’m hoping he can’t, yeah, I’m hoping but it was it was 70 degrees. And I’m used to being in this colder environment here in Colorado, there were people riding their bike in Tucson, that had on full tights long sleeve, balaclavas at 70 degrees, their comfort window of temperature is very, very narrow based on the riding conditions that they’re typically in.

Grant Holicky  26:14

I like these people. Meanwhile, I saw somebody yesterday in short sleeves and short shorts,

Chris Case  26:19

and it was 35, seven

Grant Holicky  26:21


Rob Pickels  26:22

you know, but I think that if we take this, and I first, it’s funny to hear Trevor and grant talking, because they took it in this very different direction, where I’m taking it, Chris, and maybe you’re on the similar side of the table, literally. And as I am, for me, that’s where big adventures come into this. I love kind of being in the middle of nowhere, not quite sure if I’m going to make it back on time. Not quite sure if I know how to do that. Because that puts me in a position in the rest of my life have, I survived the six hour ride in the mountains where I had to hike for an hour and a half. And I’m like GPSC, my wife and telling her I’m going to be a little bit late. That makes Monday through Friday a heck of a lot easier for me, in my opinion. Because I know that I have the confidence I survive that situation. I can survive anything else that gets thrown at me.

Chris Case  27:11

This is probably going to start blending in because I know what your question is Rob, the next question we’re going to talk about, but yes, I’m on the same page with you. The reason I asked the question about discomfort is because I think it helps you reset what you’re capable of. There’s a lot of cliches here. But it’s like you can re determine a lot of things by pushing the boundaries where you think they are, they’re not actually boundaries, you just expand where you’re able to go, how you deal with a lot of those situations, you become comfortable being uncomfortable, you become comfortable being in a stressful place, what you have previously deemed a scary place or what what have you. And that is transformative. The reason I started to mention your next question is because the line I wrote down to answer that question is, this is kind of like a personal mantra. I may not know where I’m going, but I know exactly how to get there. It’s kind of like, it doesn’t matter how lost you get. I hate to say it, but it’s about that journey. It’s about putting your stop it.

Grant Holicky  28:20

Love it. Yeah, I hate to say

Chris Case  28:22

I hate to say it, I don’t know how else to say it. But it has become a cliche. It’s not about the end goal necessarily. It’s about the journey. It’s about all the things that you learn about yourself. character wise, resiliency, all these things that you can only learn by putting yourself in situations that you have never experienced before. And you grow from that I’m gonna cliches for a reason. Sure. There’s just not a cliche kind of guy. That’s fair.

Rob Pickels  28:46

So in the future, we have an episode coming out about intrinsic extrinsic motivation. And you’re the perfect example of intrinsic, but I do want to back up, Chris, there’s something that you said in your opening, you said not all the time. And I think that that’s hugely important because it also ties into the first thing we talked about today. Grant with your question, if you are constantly uncomfortable every day of your life, that does not make forward progress. Right? Right. Our discomfort needs to be interspaced with islands of comfort, because ultimately, that’s potentially where that growth and rebuilding occurs. So I do think that people need to be careful about the dosage of

Trevor Connor  29:25

this so you just made me question my life. Well,

Chris Case  29:28

well, exactly. I was about to say I find myself unable to do normal rides very often these days like I’ve reached a point where in this maybe I just need to be settled their tolerance I built on my to have well yes, absolutely. I built up my tolerance for being uncomfortable or doing quote unquote, crazy stuff. But going out and just riding for the sake of riding around the block to put in miles is not something I really never care to do anymore. It’s my rides have to have themes. Well, I have to To come up with a theme for all of my rides in a purpose, let’s split, let’s bring it back to a healthier place, my rides need to have purpose.

Trevor Connor  30:07

Well, it’s interesting, because you’ve heard me say it again. And again. And again, there’s the dominant theory of of physiology, which is, you need to produce a training stress to see an adaptation. And we are essentially talking about the mental side of that, which is you need to cause mental discomfort in order to grow. And this isn’t just an opinion, like I said, there’s plenty of research showing that to open up those higher levels of your brain to change your thinking to grow your cognitions you need to have that that discomfort. That’s the the mental version of training stress. So encouraging me, I saw this in you, you did that trip to Iceland, where you taught yourself inside out, you put yourself through a lot of discomfort, but just came back and said that was transformative.

Chris Case  30:51

Absolutely. I want to do it again. I’ve been thinking about every day since I’ve been there. Those are the types of things I just

Trevor Connor  30:58

love that yogurt.

Chris Case  31:01

You mean sour cream, right? Yes, I do.

Chris Case  31:05

Yeah, no, that that’s exactly it. I think they’re sort of day to day discomfort. And then there’s really big discomfort. And those are once a year for some, maybe it’s even once a lifetime, which is a shame, because they really do change you and for the better. But it’s those things that you choose to do. Because you’re not even sure you can do them. In the lead up, you’re getting uncomfortable, like oh my god, what have I committed to what have I gotten myself into, and then that kicks off higher level thinking of, I need to do this, and I need to do this. And I can, you know, like you figure stuff out that you wouldn’t otherwise have even thought of because you didn’t need to. And then you go to this place. Whether it’s Iceland circumnavigating an island or, or for some people, it’s Leadville, I don’t know if I can even do Leadville or some big race, some GranFondo some event, put yourself in that situation. And then day after day, hopefully, and I think this is going to prove itself time and time again, oh, my God, I can do this. And then you figure stuff out on the road, like I was worried about this, I shouldn’t have been because I can tap into this. And I’ve done this thing before. And it applies in this way, talking in vague terms, but it’s all of this is has the potential to change you into a better human being in a lot of ways a stronger human being and so forth. There’s some other

Grant Holicky  32:27

psychological research that talks about people changing careers, or changing paths in their middle ages, and how much more well rounded they can be because of man, you know, I joke that I dropped everything and moved out here at one point in my life, and then I dropped everything again and changed careers again at 46 or 47. And I’m so much better for it. And so I think it’s not just in terms of athletics, but it can be in terms of big life changes, too. And I’m gonna that’s why

Chris Case  32:59

Trevor and I are so the three of us are really cool. You’ve done basically the same thing. Oh, all your life, right? No, that’s not true.

Trevor Connor  33:06

I love that. Because like the three of us are really cool. And you Rob.

Chris Case  33:13

Yet remember, we hadn’t picked on him yet. Trying to get my jab,

Rob Pickels  33:17

dry, Chris,

Chris Case  33:19

I hope you’re fine. As far as we’ll have you back in 200. More.

Grant Holicky  33:27

Apparently, Rob makes those decisions. Now he’s done

Rob Pickels  33:30

2023 Guys spread around the corner. Mm hmm. I’m ready to because I don’t want this to turn into a bit of a New Year’s resolution thing. But I’m not gonna lie. Everybody talks about how hard COVID years were COVID years, I felt like pretty good for me. This year, this year has been really tough. Because I’ve been off and off my game. I haven’t been doing the things that I normally do. I haven’t been enjoying the things I normally enjoy. And so for me, I know ending this year. And Trevor, you and I have talked about this quite a bit like I’m actively sort of trying to be engaged in making next year better for myself. And that’s the question that I want to ask you guys is in whether or not you had a great year this year, I think next year can always be better. So without being too new year’s resolution, what are you doing? How do you make 23 better than 22.

Grant Holicky  34:21

So as a starting point, there’s some really good research that shows that when you pick a date to start something new, that’s in the future, you have a better chance of sticking with ever with whatever that is, instead of just saying, Oh, I’m gonna I’m gonna start tomorrow, having a date, doing whatever you want up until that date, picking that date and moving forward from that date in a different way. You have a better chance for success now. So New Year’s resolutions have a little bit of oomph to them. There’s a reason that they’ve worked that way. That’s all I really had. That’s it. I’m not changing anything.

Rob Pickels  34:56

You’re not doing any No,

Grant Holicky  34:57

I love myself. Whoa,

Rob Pickels  34:59

you want Do you want to reach across and give yourself a hug there?

Chris Case  35:01

We might have to phone another friend.

Grant Holicky  35:05

My shoulder patting myself on the back.

Trevor Connor  35:08

So I gave up on that because I am not a believer in New Year’s resolutions.

Grant Holicky  35:14

Well, I didn’t necessarily say that yours is the time to do it. But a an arbitrary date. The reason

Trevor Connor  35:19

being, I think if you have to wait until a date, oh, sure to do something, you’re not taking this seriously, if you need to fix something. Why wait, do it now. But you’re saying there’s research actually saying pick a date? Yeah, it

Grant Holicky  35:35

doesn’t need to be very far in the future. You can say on Monday, I am starting this change. But giving yourself that opportunity to prepare for it to almost throw a little debauchery in first, whatever that might be. This is when I’m going to change. There’s some research that shows that that’s beneficial.

Chris Case  35:54

Should we answer your question now, Rob?

Rob Pickels  35:55

Yeah, I think so. I’d love some insight from you guys. Yeah. What do you got for No,

Chris Case  35:59

despite all the things I just said about how I don’t feel like I can take normal rides anymore, and I do a lot of things that make me uncomfortable or just that are adventurous, I shouldn’t not saying every ride is meant to lead to discomfort. That’s far from the truth. But I mean, I basically I’ve already given my answer like 2021, my circumnavigation of Iceland was just incredible for so many reasons. I don’t need to, but I can list them. But it’d be boring, it’d be boring, I want to do something like that in 2023, I want to get back to a place I want to commit to something that does what I explained Iceland, like it puts me in a place where I’m unsure that I can do it, I have to figure some things out. It might also have a gear aspect to it, like what are the things that I don’t currently own. But I need to do some research and figure out like this, it needs to be light, it needs to keep me dry. It needs, you know, something technical in that sense. I think that is for me. That’s an interesting aspect of of this stuff, too. And so I don’t know what it’s going to be yet I don’t know where I’m going to go. 2023 is shaping up to be a very busy year for me in terms of what I’m doing now professionally, the amount of trips in cycling adventures that I might do. But somewhere in there, I’m going to make time for myself to do something big, kind of scary, and very challenging.

Trevor Connor  37:29

So Rob, let’s throw it to you. What are you going to change for 2023?

Rob Pickels  37:33

You know, for me, I’m somebody who, gosh, I live in the moment. And that’s really great a lot of the time. But sometimes when I’m only dealing with my immediate needs, it prevents me from long term happiness or long term success. And that’s a lot of what happened this year. I didn’t take that step back from living in the moment to plan something for the future. And every time I did try to get around to that something came up. Oh, I can’t do this thing because Oh, my wife is traveling or I’m not sure what’s happening with this. So I’m afraid to commit to doing something else. And 2022 passed me by like I look back, and I didn’t have a big adventure. I didn’t do anything that put me outside of my box. And for 23 I think I’ve already probably over scheduled myself because I have to make up for exactly I’m doing a 24 hour mountain bike race in February. Wow, those

Chris Case  38:32

still exist. I

Rob Pickels  38:33

do still exist. I’m doing with the team. But I do love mountain biking at night. So I’m doing with the team. Let’s see I also I signed up for Finland gravel.

Chris Case  38:40

Oh yeah.

Rob Pickels  38:41

I recommitted to transportable mountain bike race. Now I’m actually I’m feeling very uncomfortable about all of this looking at next year because I have like four gigantic events on the calendar. I’m interested see how I make it through all of this. But I will say I am very much looking forward because I’m in that phase right now, Chris, where I’m planning, transportable mountain bike race. What tires should I run? Need to test? I have a dozen tires that I want to test to see what you’re going to be the best. I love that stuff. Yeah, but it has really reinvigorated a lot of the things that I enjoy about life and about cycling. Screw you grant.

Grant Holicky  39:19

No, I’m laughing because you guys are just so different than me. Well,

Chris Case  39:23

in what way?

Rob Pickels  39:24

We’re better than him.

Grant Holicky  39:27

You’re not wrong, but I’m I’m turning 50 Next year, so I want to do something like I was gonna go run the rut. But I don’t think I can run the rock because I think it’s during the first one run the rut for those who don’t know run is a 50k running race in Big Sky Montana that goes up and down the mountain about four times. It’s miserable. right up my alley. But I really wanted to go do this because it’s something that I don’t do. I don’t enjoy running. Typically,

Chris Case  39:55

bowling balls don’t normally like running but they do roll downhill.

Grant Holicky  39:58

There you go. They do. Yeah, they do. So I wanted to go do something that takes me as you guys had completely out of my comfort zone, go do something completely different. And I’ve done a lot of the bike stuff. So I wanted to do that. But it doesn’t line up. But I’m laughing because my approach to doing it would be to just show up on the day and do it right. Like these shoes will work, I’ll probably be fine. And may not train but you know, I I don’t. That’s not what I enjoy about those things. I don’t enjoy the planning. I don’t like yeah, I’ll just go do it. Yeah, but that’s why I was laughing. I’m not laughing at what you’re doing. I’m sitting here like, Dude, that’s rad. I wish I could do those things. What are you doing in the future, Chris?

Chris Case  40:40

So I have a company now. It’s called alter exploration. And it is meant to create opportunities for people to do these things that we’re talking about get uncomfortable, challenge themselves, ride, gravel, pavement, whatever everything in between those two ends of the spectrum, on bikes in incredible places. The Dolomites, Iceland, the Piedmont Alps where there’s some fantastic gravel, high above the most famous climbs you’ve heard of that get used in the Giro, like the finesse, stray, there’s stuff built by Napoleon, because this area was fought over for years between France and Italy, that incredible gravel there, Switzerland and other places, Colorado, of course, I just didn’t want to come on and be a salesperson. But that’s exactly what I’m doing is trying to offer these types of experiences to other people, because I think they are extremely beneficial. They are transformative, fill in all those cliches, but they’re cliches for a reason. Because they are awesome. They will change your life for the better. And that’s what I want to do help people do that. But to the other thing that I was going to say, sort of ties together three things that we were all saying, first of all, I said I want to do something big next year, but I haven’t chosen it yet, which I think goes to your two points, which is you are sort of saying different things. But let me try to tie this together. The picking of a date is important. I don’t know what I’m going to be doing. So if I weren’t in Rob’s position of having too many things. I could just be like, well, I said I was going to do this big thing. But I never really chose the thing. And now this other thing came up and you’re not really committed to it, you haven’t put down a bunch of money or whatever, or you haven’t signed your name to the registration. And then it’s easy to just be like, I’ll do it next year, or you put it off or something else comes out that sounds like that. That was my that was the whole year for 2020. Yeah, and what you’re saying in some senses is pick a date and commit to it, because that ties you to that thing. And it helps you get

Grant Holicky  42:46

to that place. It prepares you and inspires you. And all right.

Chris Case  42:50

So what I’m saying I’m admitting to the fact that I need to pick what it is that that big thing is going to be for me next year. And then I will be in your shoes, like geeking out on the equipment, the root the fist that may be finding somebody to call up and say, Hey, I don’t know you. But will you join me for this adventure? Because I need to make sure I come back alive sort of thing. So

Grant Holicky  43:12

yeah. Trevor 2323.

Chris Case  43:16

Don’t say I’m gonna do tour of Tobago again, because you’ve done that enough. Now, I’m not saying you can’t do it again. But this has to be something different. You’re watching out for your wall.

Trevor Connor  43:26

And I’m doing it again. But I’ve given my opinion on the whole New Year thing. And that’s just

Chris Case  43:30

the you’re just out. This isn’t necessarily. Well, I will it’s your question. I don’t want you to think of it as a New Year’s resolution whatsoever. I want to avoid Yeah, I want you to tell us Have you thought about what’s on that list? Like what’s your to plug of another fast talk thing? What’s your end one challenge for 2023? Well,

Trevor Connor  43:51

I actually don’t have an answer, flop. Honestly don’t. So

Rob Pickels  43:55

that was another episode of fast walk.

Trevor Connor  44:00

I kind of get the feel for my next season in November. So that’s when I get back on the bike and get back to train. And there are years where I can’t wait to get back on the bike. I’m excited. I’m motivated, and get right into the training and go oh boy, I was off too long. And I’m just excited to be here. I have other seasons where I get back on the bike. And I’m like, this is just work.

Chris Case  44:22

And you’re at that place right now.

Trevor Connor  44:24

And this year has definitely been that, you know, I’m doing the training. I’m following the plan. But there’s nothing I’m going oh boy, I’m excited. I’m getting ready for this. It’s not there right now.

Chris Case  44:35

Can I make some suggestions? Absolutely. Some of these would be hard to get into. But I think you are built assuming your back is ready for something like this, but you should do a big gravel race.

Rob Pickels  44:47

I’d love to see Trevor do a big gravel race. You’re built for it.

Trevor Connor  44:50

Yeah, no, I should have been doing gravel racing from the start. That’s kind of the type of race in that. As you said I’m more fitted to and I haven’t been doing them and I’d like Do you know I will probably sign up for one or two this year,

Rob Pickels  45:02

but we’re gonna help you get your mojo back.

Grant Holicky  45:04

Don’t do big horn. Was that? Cause those downhills you’re back with up about halfway my bag be on the ground, my

Trevor Connor  45:13

back is fine. That that is well welding shoes

Grant Holicky  45:16

bows right, you’ll be fine.

Trevor Connor  45:21

So yeah, no, I honestly haven’t thought about what I’m going to do and 2023

Rob Pickels  45:26

and but that it doesn’t even have to be about what you’re going to do in terms of events for you. 23 might be about reevaluating, cycling or reevaluating a true how you interact with the sport, that maybe you say I’m done with my road bike, I want to become a downhill mountain biker. I don’t care what that wasn’t my that wasn’t what are you gonna do sort of situation? It can be a much bigger philosophical question. Well,

Grant Holicky  45:52

I think I think the big philosophical questions are important. I think that taking that chance to look at what you have been doing and take an objective look at that and going okay, am I happy with that? Would I like to change that?

Rob Pickels  46:06

Exactly. You know, I

Grant Holicky  46:07

wasn’t totally kidding. When I said, No, I really dig what 2022 was, I made some changes during this good luck to my wife. Good. We really I really enjoyed what that was. I mean, I feel like I travel a little too much for cyclocross, but I don’t know that I can avoid that. And it’s probably not going away. But kind of dug it and almost what, what I came to, personally from a racing standpoint, or any of those things, I’ve long ago came to this realization that the fittest I will be all year is March.

Rob Pickels  46:37

Yeah, it happens to me, too.

Grant Holicky  46:40

I don’t know why. Right. Like I’m indoors. I’m in a groove. I’m in a pattern, all that stuff works. Summer comes in, we start traveling, we’re all over the place, and we’re doing this and that. And then I get in the cross season, maybe I’m fit when crossed starts because I like the six week cross. I’m a pilot. Yep. Do whatever in jello. I’m just exhausted from running the team and work in the pits and doing those things. So like, yeah, I want to pick something early on the year and see if I can actually use that fitness. So instead of when do

Chris Case  47:11

you turn 50? June? Okay. So instead of lamenting

Grant Holicky  47:14

that I’m always super embrace H 50. So instead of lamenting that I, you know, oh, I’m always fit in March, and it’s never useful. I think I need to find something to make it useful.

Rob Pickels  47:28

Yeah. Well, and that’s my challenge to you. 22 was great. And that’s perfect. I’m super happy to hear that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do something to make 23 better. Right. Right. Right. And that’s we do that in training, I had a great training season, you’re not going to do the exact same things you did before. You’re gonna find ways to improve upon that. Well, you don’t put much thought into training.

Grant Holicky  47:47

No, I put a lot of thought. I’m gonna I’m gonna jump on this. I actually think that was is one of the biggest mistakes that people make in training across the board. That was great. Now I need to do more. No, I didn’t say more. replicator, now I need to do something different. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll keep getting better,

Rob Pickels  48:09

you’ll keep getting better.

Trevor Connor  48:12

So if you haven’t picked up on this, the potlucks serve two purposes. One, make sure I never go on a date again. Yeah, to make sure grant never gets an athlete again.

Chris Case  48:25

Right. I don’t think about coaching whatsoever. I have a basket case planning to me. What do you plan?

Grant Holicky  48:32

I never said I was a basket case. Well, I didn’t know. You didn’t have to say Anyway, anyway. And maybe this is why I don’t what is it about

Trevor Connor  48:43

your life that we’re destroying with the potlucks?

Rob Pickels  48:47

Nothing I tried to make my life better with every

Chris Case  48:51

i Smiling.

Chris Case  48:52

Yeah, he’s gonna have some maniacal laughs when he listens back to that part.

Grant Holicky  48:59

There’s much we’re gonna cut

Julie Young  49:06

Hi, listeners. It’s Julie Young!

Dede Barry  49:08

-and Dede Barry.

Julie Young  49:09

We’ve had a fantastic time recording a special podcast series. That’s all about performance, nutrition, youth athletic development, training, and physiology for the female endurance athlete.

Dede Barry  49:21

We’re excited to share our knowledge and tap into leading experts like Dr. Dana Lis, Jenn Sygo, Dr. Emily Kraus, and Catherine Cram. Fast Talk Femmes is coming this January, and we can’t wait to share it with the Fast Talk Labs community.

Chris Case  49:42

That was another episode of Fast Talk. Subscribe to Fast Talk wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcast and be sure to leave us a rating and review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk are those of the individual. As always, we love your feedback during the conversation at to discuss each and every episode. Become a member of Fast Talk Laboratories at Become a part of our education and coaching community for Grant Holick, Trevor Connor, and Rob Pickels, I’m Chris Case thanks for listening!