How to Effectively Evolve as an Athlete, with Lachlan Morton

We explore how athletes can evolve and find more fulfillment from their sport with pro cyclist Lachlan Morton

Lachlan Morton riding in the snow

If you consider yourself an athlete—and presumably you do since you’re visiting this site and listening to this podcast—then your definition of what that means has likely evolved through the years.

Think about your lifestyle, your mental health, your training routine—even your friends and community. To what extent are feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment connected to your definition?

Think about the arc of your involvement in sports, the positive and negative aspects of what that has meant for you as a person, and the place athletics has, and hopefully continues to hold, in the greater context of your life. Are you aware of the fortune it brings, or do you take it for granted?

Lachlan Morton, who currently rides for the Education First-Nippo WorldTour team, has been fortunate throughout his career to have something most of us don’t have: immense talent. Yet, that talent hasn’t always been enough to make him happy or fulfilled by his career. It hasn’t always gone smoothly, or been comfortable.

Lachlan has gone through a very public and well documented evolution as an athlete: He started long ago as a young kid with huge potential, then quickly became depressed and disillusioned at the pro level, ultimately turning into a bit of a rogue vagabond.

Next, he rode across the Australian Outback and was able to rekindle the fire, returning to the sport at an entirely different level, but one that afforded him the chance to do things he couldn’t do before, and therefore express things he needed to express.

His career has only gone up from there, and now he balances WorldTour racing with other feats of endurance, like ultra-endurance racing and FKT attempts.

In essence, he has gone through significant, you might even say, massive changes in the 15 years since he started racing a bike. And while it may not be entirely explicit in this conversation, his evolution as an athlete holds valuable lessons, because it contains a universal truth: Ultimately, being an athlete is about loving what you do, and doing what you love. Hopefully, this episode will help you find even more love.

Episode Transcript

 

Chris Case  00:12

Hey, everyone, welcome to Fast Talk, your source for the science of endurance performance. I’m your host Chris Case. If you consider yourself an athlete, and presumably you do since you’re listening to this show, then your definition of what that means has likely evolved through the years. Think about your lifestyle, your mental health, your training routine, even your friends and community. To what extent are feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment connected to your definition? Think about the arc of your involvement in sports, the positive and negative aspects of what that has meant for you as a person, and the place athletics has and hopefully continues to hold in the greater context of your life. Are you aware of the fortunate brings? Do you take it for granted? Lachlan Morton, who now rides for the Education First Nivo World Tour team, has been fortunate throughout his career to have something most of us don’t have, and that is immense talent. Yet, that talent hasn’t always been enough to make him happy with his career. It hasn’t always gone smoothly. It hasn’t been always comfortable. Lachlan, who is full disclosure friend of mine, has gone through a very public and well documented evolution as an athlete. He started long ago as a young kid with huge potential, then quickly became depressed and disillusioned at the pro level, ultimately turning into a bit of a rogue vagabond. Then he rode across the Australian outback and was able to rekindle the fire so to speak, returning to the sport at an entirely different level, but one that afforded him the chance to do things he couldn’t do before, and therefore, express things he needed to express. His career has only gone on from there, really up from there. Now he balances World Tour racing with other feats of endurance like bikepacking races, fastest known time attempts, and other alternative races. In essence, he has gone through significant, and you might even say massive changes in the last 15 years since he started racing a bike, and while it may not be entirely explicit in this conversation, his evolution as an athlete holds valuable lessons, because it contains a universal truth. Ultimately, being an athlete is about loving what you do, and doing what you love. Hopefully, this episode will help you find even more love with the sport you enjoy. Let’s make you fast.

 

Chris Case  02:45

By now you’ve heard that Fast Talk is much more than a podcast. At Fast Talk Laboratories, we have hundreds of new ideas waiting for you to explore in articles, videos, and interviews with top experts and Fast Talk Podcast guests. We’d like you to join Fast Talk Baboratories free for two weeks, you’ll get full access to everything. All our online articles, video workshops, webinars, guided workouts and our forum. If our membership isn’t for you just cancel within 14 days and you won’t be charged. To get your free two-week trial membership, visit fasttalklabs.com, choose library membership and check out with the discount code “podcast.” Hurry, our offer ends March 31st.

 

Chris Case  03:33

Welcome Lachlan Morton, to the show, to Fast Talk. We’ve known each other for a long time, I’m surprised we haven’t had you on the show before, But Welcome to Fast Talk.

 

Lachlan Morton  03:43

Thanks for having me.

 

Chris Case  03:44

You know, Yeah, I have known you since you were well, I didn’t really know you, but we raced against one another when you were 14, and I was probably twice that age, but you came over here to the United States, real ozzie kids.

 

Lachlan Morton  03:59

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  04:00

Your journey as a as a cyclist had already begun.

 

Lachlan Morton  04:04

Long time before that, yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton: Obsessiveness in Training

Chris Case  04:06

Yeah. Well, yeah. You know, and we’ve had a lot of conversations over the years about the, you know, from the outside, it seems like these, these very, they’re these distinct chapters in your life and your career. Probably to you, it doesn’t feel necessarily like that, but that’s kind of what I want to explore, that we want to explore. So, one of the conversations we’ve had in the past that I want to revisit, is this kind of obsessiveness that you brought to your training when you were a kid.

 

Lachlan Morton  04:40

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  04:40

I remember you telling me at one point that it got to the point where you would have a plan to leave your house, in Port Macquarie, Australia where you grew up, at five o’clock.

 

Lachlan Morton  04:56

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  04:56

But if you missed that mark, you couldn’t leave the house at 5:03, you had to wait till 5:15 or something like that.

 

Lachlan Morton  05:08

I very rarely missed it.

 

Chris Case  05:10

Okay, so let’s just explore what you know why, tell us about that obsessiveness, why was that there has a kid?

 

Lachlan Morton  05:19

I couldn’t tell you why, it kind of developed out of like, I want too just be better. So there’s probably like a control element, I imagine, like, I’m not a psychologist, but I can say from my perspective. Like, I mean, I started, like, just racing on the weekends, at the local club, and it was just like a fun thing I did after, like playing soccer in the morning, you know? And then when I was, I think 10? I saw the Tour de France, In real life.

 

Chris Case  06:02

Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  06:04

And like, I made the decision, like, then I was like, that’s what I’m gonna do. Because I, like cycling was just a weird sport still in Australia.

 

Chris Case  06:13

Sure.

 

Lachlan Morton  06:15

The idea of doing it professionally wasn’t, it didn’t seem like a real reality, and then you saw and it was kind of this sport, that was like, a big deal. That’s like, that’s what I’m going to do, because I had like an ability, I mean, it came to me more naturally than other sports, for example.

 

Chris Case  06:35

Yeah. This is not unlike a lot of pro athletes that have this story of the moment when they maybe saw race or saw a person that they idolize, and we’re like, that’s what I want to do, and I’ve heard that a lot from people, And most of the time, I’m like, “Yeah, right, thats not true.” But yeah,

 

Lachlan Morton  06:54

No, it really is very much like it from that point, that’s what I told people I was gonna do as well.

 

Chris Case  06:59

When you were 10?

 

Lachlan Morton  07:00

Yeah. So that’s when I started training. So that, like, for me involved, like, waking up early, and I wasn’t all that, like to start with, I couldn’t ride more than 10K’s from home.

 

Chris Case  07:19

You call it the Outback?

 

Lachlan Morton  07:21

Well, I used to say, to the dirt road and back.

 

Chris Case  07:23

Okay.

 

Lachlan Morton  07:23

Like we lived on a weirdly, this small island in a river, like a farming Island, and you could ride, It was like a 5K loop, so 2.5K’s out, and then you got to the dirt road, and then you come back, and so I would do like four laps or something. And then immediately, like, I was better, you know, like, so I went from D grade to B grade. And then it’s like, “Okay, this sort of works.” And then I did like my first races away, and you can see other kids, like kind of doing the same thing, a nd it felt good to win, you know, and like be better than people, especially like when you’re young like,

 

Chris Case  08:10

Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  08:10

It feels good to be better than people.

 

Chris Case  08:13

Do you think that, I don’t want to put words in your mouth or anything, but looking back now, do you call it obsessive?

 

Lachlan Morton  08:26

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  08:26

behavior? Was it to the unhealthy level?

 

Lachlan Morton  08:30

Probably, Yeah. For that age, for sure. Like, if I had that attitude now, and you’re trying to win like the Tour de France, probably help you.

 

Chris Case  08:39

Yeah. Right. And we’ve talked about how, how things in the pro cycling world that are considered normal are wildly abnormal.

 

Chris Case  08:48

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  08:48

From the quote unquote, real world, right?

 

Lachlan Morton  08:51

Totally. Yeah. And like, I mean, it’s, it would come to the detriment of a lot of things, but it would help you in getting faster at riding.

 

Chris Case  09:00

And that’s all you cared about.

 

Lachlan Morton  09:01

Yeah. So it was just kind of like a slow process, I guess, is what I’m getting at, to when I was like 16, and like, I was national champion in everything.

 

Chris Case  09:11

What do you mean by everything? I don’t know that I know. Cyclo-cross?

 

Lachlan Morton  09:17

Everything on the road.

 

Chris Case  09:18

Okay.

 

Lachlan Morton  09:19

And I used to race on the track as well.

 

Chris Case  09:22

Of course.

 

Lachlan Morton  09:26

But yeah, I mean, that’s when I was, I would like do, close to like 30-hour weeks, like when I was at school.

 

Chris Case  09:36

Wow.

 

Chris Case  09:39

When you’re when you’re 15-16 you were doing 30-hour weeks?

 

Lachlan Morton  09:42

Yeah. And like a full week at school, and then travel on the weekends to race or whatever.

 

Chris Case  09:48

Do you think you would have been able to become a pro, ff you hadn’t done that? Is that what it took for you to reach that goal?

 

Lachlan Morton  09:56

For me, I think it did. Yeah. Like I don’t think I had like the raw talent that someone or that a lot of really good guys have, like guys who come to light or whatever. I kind of like trained that talent into myself.

 

Chris Case  10:12

Legend it into yourself.

 

Lachlan Morton  10:14

Yeah. I think it served me well in that like, at that time if you want and I wasn’t like in the Australian National Team, like, Umbrella, so it was a hard jump to make. So you had to be like, you have to be really good to sort of get noticed, and yeah, I got really good when I was young, and then helped me make that jump. I think like, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t change it now, if I was trying to like, go back to like this 16-year-old me, with the idea of still like trying to win the Tour de France, like I would say, “Okay, cool.” But like, I wouldn’t change it now. At the time, it was just kind of what I was doing, because my older brother was very similar, and he was two years older than me, still is.

 

Chris Case  11:14

How about that?

 

Lachlan Morton  11:14

But he was really good, I was trying to beat everything he did. I would just kind of take whatever he was doing, and just do it.

 

Chris Case  11:23

And just double it?

 

Lachlan Morton  11:26

So yeah, I think that’s kind of how it morphed.

 

Trevor Connor  11:34

So what was the motivator for you? What drove you to be this obsessive put in this much time? Was it that you just absolutely, you saw the Tour de France, you fell in love and you want to get there? Or was it more this is just part of your personality, and you needed something?

 

Motivators

Lachlan Morton  11:50

It was a bit of both, I think to start with, it was like, that was what I wanted to do. And it was such a ridiculous thing to like, tell your high school teacher that like you wanted to prove it.

 

Chris Case  12:03

Also a little added pressure on yourself there.

 

Lachlan Morton  12:06

Yeah, but I enjoy the discomfort and sort of like just constantly putting yourself under a bit of pressure, so that was definitely my personality. I think most, like my dad has that my brother has that, like, it’s just something in the family as well. But yeah, it’s definitely a combination of both, but like, it wasn’t like I enjoyed when the alarm went off at 4:30, and like getting out there on the bike.

 

Chris Case  12:39

That’s a strange kid that likes to get up at 4:30 in the morning.

 

Lachlan Morton  12:42

Strange. And I used to love getting to school at like, nine o’clock. Felt like you already had a whole day.

 

Chris Case  12:49

Right.

 

Lachlan Morton  12:50

You know, you’ve been out for three hours, seen a bunch of stuff, kind of like ticked all the boxes, and then go to school. Like everyone else is just starting, I like that feeling.

 

Chris Case  13:01

Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  13:03

So yeah, I mean, it was it definitely started as a competitive thing, but then it was just something I enjoyed.

 

Chris Case  13:13

If you look back on that time now, and maybe you don’t, but if you do, do you draw any lessons from that time in life? Positive things that you draw from?

 

Results of Hard Work

Lachlan Morton  13:30

Yeah, I think there’s a lot of positives in that, I think like I created like a work ethic, so I don’t mind working hard.

 

Chris Case  13:43

You saw the results of working hard, that probably helped, right?

 

Lachlan Morton  13:46

Yeah. And I think I also just kind of normalized this really high level of work. If I’m not doing a lot, I feel lazy, which serves you well and a lot of things, not all the time, like, that’s a positive that came from it. But I mean, at the same time, though, I wish I had like maybe branched out a bit. Like, especially in riding, I was so focused on just riding my road bike, like, I wish I started riding a mountain bike back then. Or like, you know, spend more time on my dirt bike or just like doing different things, or like I grew up on the beach never learned to surf, because like, I was always riding. Things like that, I’m like, I probably I wish I’d done that.

 

Chris Case  14:41

So too narrowly focused.

 

Lachlan Morton  14:43

I also like, I realize now, that like everything I thought, anything I was doing that wasn’t riding, in my opinion, was like slowing me down.

 

Chris Case  14:54

Yeah, that goes hand in hand I think with obsessive quality.

 

Lachlan Morton  14:58

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  14:58

Especially as junior, like Just disregarding all that other cool stuff you could be doing, that your friends might be doing, and just being like, bam, if I’m not riding my bike, I’m getting slower.

 

Lachlan Morton  15:09

Totally.

 

Chris Case  15:09

Right?

 

Lachlan Morton  15:11

But then again, like, maybe if I hadn’t done that, like, things would have turned out differently, so I’m not like,

 

Chris Case  15:17

Yeah, you don’t have regrets.

 

Lachlan Morton  15:19

Don’t have regrets.

 

Trevor Connor  15:19

That was going to be my question for you. If you went back and made these changes, do you think you would have been a better cyclist for it? Or did you need that obsession back then?

 

Lachlan Morton  15:29

I think knowing what I know now, if I could apply it like, yes, but I wouldn’t have and none of us did. So like, I think, to like, achieve what I did, at that young age to get noticed, to be able to race now, in the World Tour, like, maybe I don’t think it would have happened if I wasn’t, that’s just me personally, because I was like, all on nothing, you know. So I think I needed that. Like, as I said, like that serves you well, a lot of the time, to performing, because that kind of like your whole lifestyle becomes very structured and rigid, which like, I think, to be like an absolute top level performer, in most professional sports, you kind of need that. But I think that’s also why you see a lot of like, dysfunction in people in high performance.

 

Difference Between High Performance and High Health

Chris Case  16:33

There’s a difference between high performance and high health.

 

Lachlan Morton  16:37

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. And just like, I know, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t have space for a lot of the things I have space for in my life now, if I still had that trait, as strong, I still have like a bit of that trait, but like, it’s not nearly as strong.

 

Chris Case  16:58

You probably need to have that trait, but you also have a bit of wisdom and other priorities, right?

 

Lachlan Morton  17:05

Yeah. Exactly. It’s like, it’s just becomes a balance, right? And there’s just more, there’s more people for me to consider in my life now as well, which is a big, big part of it, but also just like, I think, like, coming back to longevity, you know, like, I don’t think I would have lasted nearly as long. I don’t think I would enjoy cycling as much as I do now, if I followed that route.

 

Chris Case  17:41

Yeah, if you maintained that level.

 

Lachlan Morton  17:43

Yeah. Yeah.

 

Chris Case  17:44

Well, let let’s jump ahead to this other one of the other times in your life that I wanted to address, which was basically you jump from high school into graduate school, you go straight into the World Tour, and get thrown into the deep end, or so it seems.

 

Lachlan Morton  18:04

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  18:04

Go over to Europe, not having a lot of fun, I would probably even say that you were depressed and struggling over there by yourself.

 

Lachlan Morton  18:12

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  18:13

Would you mind just describing that a little bit more? Why why that felt that way?

 

Lachlan Morton  18:19

Yeah, um, that was a hard one, it was like, I think the biggest thing was, like, I kind of achieved that goal, that 10-year-old me had.

 

Chris Case  18:34

How old were you when you first made it over to Europe?

 

Lachlan Morton  18:37

I think I was 20.

 

Chris Case  18:38

Pretty young.

 

Lachlan Morton  18:39

Yeah. Like very young. And, also, so like, I achieved this goal, so there’s already like, okay, a little bit of like, What now? Especially when I got there, and I was kind of like, It’s not really it, like, I’ve been chasing this, and then you sort of get there and you’re like,

 

Chris Case  19:02

The dream isn’t so much of a dream.

 

Lachlan Morton  19:04

Yeah, like the shine comes off, you know, like, the buses are nicer from the outside.

 

Chris Case  19:10

Right.

 

Lachlan Morton  19:11

Like, the bag full of like, nice kid, and like, you know, supposedly great couch, like it doesn’t really fulfill you as much as you think it’s going to. So then the focus becomes like, alright, well I need to start winning, because like, that’s how I know to make that, you know, happiness like teak. And I like tried to take it on myself, because that was also my personality then, so I just kind of isolated myself, and like, I would go for months without speaking to mom and dad, and like my brother, because I was kind of focused on this goal. And then for the first year, the first half of the year, nothing was working, and, that’s normal for any like professional who starts.

 

Chris Case  20:08

Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  20:08

Yeah, but that wasn’t really explained to me.

 

Chris Case  20:13

So you didn’t have a support system, is what it comes down to.

 

Lachlan Morton  20:17

Yeah, yeah. And so like, yeah, like it became this, it seemed impossible, you know, I was like, well, the only way I’ll be happy here is if I’m winning and like, this level is too high. And then I wanted to stop, and then right when I want to stop, I just like, fell into good form, and like won in Utah, and wore the other jersey in Colorado, and I was like, “well, that takes care of that.”

 

Chris Case  20:51

That was one thing that you mentioned to me, I think it was 2013.

 

Lachlan Morton  20:55

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  20:56

You stood on the podium in Colorado.

 

Lachlan Morton  21:00

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  21:00

But then you went back to the hotel, and you’re in the shower, and you’re kind of like, “this is still sucks.”

 

Chris Case  21:06

Yeah. Yeah, there’s like an emptiness. It’s kind of a, it’s that same thing, because you think winning going to like settle it, and then you sort of find yourself like, in a surrounding, where you’re still like, “Oh, these aren’t really like my people.” Then you’re like, “I don’t really have like any good friends anymore.” Like, my relationships aren’t great.

 

Chris Case  21:31

Because you’ve had to sacrifice a lot to be at that level, or you felt out of your element, or both?

 

Lachlan Morton  21:39

The people who were in professional cycling, at that time, like I didn’t really resonate with, and then also like, if you chase this strange goal, it’s a really long way from where you came from, so you’re sort of just like a bit lost. And then I went from there, and went back to Australia, and then did the ride to Uluru, with my brother.

 

Lachlan Morton  22:08

Right, Thereabouts.

 

Lachlan Morton  22:09

Yeah. Which was like a big relationship change with cycling, and in one way, it like made me love cycling more, but it was in the total opposite direction that I was going.

 

Trevor Connor  22:31

Former World Tour racer turned gravel rider, Ted King, also started out a cycling career in school, but his experience coming out of school is a little different. Let’s hear what he has to say.

 

Ted King’s Cycling Career

Ted King  22:41

My career has been an evolution as much as anything, and it’s been a series of doors opening, and deciding to take the step through them. I’ll walk you through my career real quick. I got into cycling because my older brother was it was a collegiate cyclist, and I got to college, and I was thinking about what’s a thing I might do to occupy my time, and collegiate cycling entered my realm of consideration. So I got into collegiate cycling, and then I ran with that, and that allowed me to race on the US national team. I remember, senior year of college, my classmates and friends were applying to jobs on Wall Street and in finance, and I was applying to race on domestic proteins, and so I ran with that I did that for a couple years, and then the opportunity, the door opened up to go race in Europe, and race with the Cervelo TestTeam, and it was unexpected at the time, and I took it and I went for it. And then racing for Liquigas, I mean that is, there’s no better word than foreign, but the opportunity was there and I took it, and it was a challenge and one that, especially in hindsight I can appreciate and loved doing, but big challenge at the time. And then come the end of 2015, that was my final year racing the World Tour, 2016, I had no idea what I was going to do, I assumed that I was going to go back to the world of finance and use my degree in economics. And the opportunity presented itself to be, at that point like 2016 we weren’t using a term ambassador, there was no such thing as a gravel racer, so it was it was looking at what what somebody like Tim Johnson was doing, and Jeremy Powers with his independent cyclo-cross program, and doing a privateer wasn’t the term at the time, but is this privateer independent program, and at that point, competition really wasn’t part of the part of the conversation, but that has been an evolution over these past five years too. So it’s looking at the viability of it, it’s making, I’ve never sat down and made a pro-con list, but you know, it’s internalizing and saying like, “what are the possibilities of this next pretty big decision?” It’s having conversations with friends and confidants and family and saying, “is this viable?” So Yeah, it’s I’ve had a wild ride in cycling, and here we are now more than 20 years in, and I wouldn’t, I really wouldn’t change a thing, I mean, maybe I’d be like, “Oh, you know what? I should have gone on that breakaway instead of sitting in when I could have followed the guy’s wheel.” But it’s been a, it’s been a pretty awesome ride. There are far more fun moments now than there were in, in a World Tour race career, that is a job, and there are moments of fun, but there are fewer and further between. It’s a job and its work, and those are those are colleagues, and you know, no different than when you’re at the office, you have your friends and the folks you get along with and the don’t get along with and, it’s a job. Whereas now, my job is to ride my bike and to get people excited about riding bikes and to talk about really cool products that I get to that I’m excited to be working. The motivation now like I don’t, I don’t need the motivation now, my motivation is because getting up every day is just fun. In a in a competitive period in my life, and I’m not trying to poopoo the competitive side of it, because bike racing was fun, and then you’re thinking of the alternative, like, “you know what, you’re gonna hang it up and go do something else.” That’s not really a decision because you’re so far into the sport, you’re so involved and certainly you haven’t made it to whatever professional level, without a huge aspect of devotion and fondness for the sport, the good moments outshine the bad as much as anything so you can get through a lot of tough, really low moments knowing that there is something a little bit shinier on the other side.

 

Lachlan Morton: Story of Thereabouts

Chris Case  26:57

So for people that don’t know the story of Thereabouts, you basically quit professional cycling and said, “I’m done,” hatched this plan with Gus, your brother, to ride from your house, was it your parents place?

 

Lachlan Morton  27:13

Yeah, our old place, where we grew up.

 

Chris Case  27:15

To Uluru, some people might know it as Ayers Rock, in the middle of the desert in Australia, which is a couple 1000 kilometers?

 

Lachlan Morton  27:24

Yeah. I should know it.

 

Chris Case  27:27

Yeah, it’s, it’s a long way, and it’s hot, and it’s dirt.

 

Lachlan Morton  27:32

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  27:32

And what it is, is not professional smut cycling in Europe, is what it is.

 

Lachlan Morton  27:41

It was like, at that point, it was very different than anything I’ve ever done riding, because I’d only ever like trained or raced.

 

Chris Case  27:50

You turned around when you got to that dirt road.

 

Lachlan Morton  27:52

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  27:53

Now, you’re heading straight for it because that’s what you craved.

 

Lachlan Morton  27:56

Yeah. And so that was like a big shift, and I still had one year on my contract with Garmin.

 

Chris Case  28:05

Garmin, yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  28:06

And I went back to Europe and just hated it. Then I really just hated the racing, and couldn’t bring myself to like, go training or do anything.

 

Chris Case  28:20

This is when you went rogue and started mountain biking in Andorra.

 

Lachlan Morton  28:23

Yeah, exactly. And like bought a bunch of camping stuff, I had this trailer, and I would just like go to the Pyrreneese and go camping.

 

Chris Case  28:33

You basically gave birth to bike packing.

 

Lachlan Morton  28:37

It was alive well before then, I don’t think I did.

 

Chris Case  28:39

I know. I know.

 

Lachlan Morton  28:40

I’ve brought it into the roads for you. But yeah, then, yeah, I even snuck home, like at one point, I’d started seeing my now wife Rachel, and she was at university in Sydney. And it was like May on April, it was just before Tour of Romandie, I remember, I like just sitting in your own home, I was just like, this, isn’t it. And then I just like, at the cafe, I was sitting I just booked a flight for like that night, and I just left and went back to Australia for a week, and then flew back and got back the night before, and I was rooming with Rohan Dennis, and I remember I just had to tell someone, I have not ridden, I got back from Australia last night, he couldn’t believe it.

 

Chris Case  29:43

I’m sure you had a good laugh over that.

 

Lachlan Morton  29:45

I was on my hands and knees in that race. Yeah. But yeah, that was kind of like how that year was, and it was very clear to me like pretty early on that season that I was going to can World Tour racing, just because like, I just hated it, I was like if this is how I have to feel to race here, like, I don’t want that, I’d rather not ride ever again then just continue to live like this.

 

Trevor Connor  30:19

What was it about cycling, you might not be able to explain this, but what was it that made you just say I hate this, I don’t want to be part of this?

 

What Made Lachlan Morton Take a Step Back From Cycling

Lachlan Morton  30:29

I think it was sort of like, I mean, there’s so much of my, like self-worth was attached to how I performed riding, like a number or a result or like, and so much of how the people I was surrounded by also valued me was dependent on like a result or like a number I could produce, so every day like you go training.

 

Chris Case  30:57

You didn’t feel human, sounds like.

 

Lachlan Morton  30:59

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  30:59

Like a number or statistic or something else.

 

Lachlan Morton  31:02

And also like you kind of inherit that, like idea that you need to, training out of the park every time. Or like, every time you race, you need to do X result otherwise, like, I’m a piece of shit, right? Like the fact you have a bad ride, a bad training session, and then have this ruin your whole day, and that was a snowballing of that. And the more I hated it, the harder, you have to love it if you want to perform well or if you’re going to perform well, so it’s kind of just a spiral. So yeah, it got to the point, I just didn’t even want to watch racing, didn’t want anything to do with it. And also, the environment, I was in, Gerona is like professional cycling, sort of like you’re in this like kind of pressure cooker of it, but you can’t really get out of it. So yeah, it was not a good spot.

 

Chris Case  32:04

Yeah, I mean, this reminds me of something we’ve spoken about too, which is this notion that, and I think it speaks to this point, that kind of the day you sign the contract to become a professional cyclist, your body is essentially your job, and that is a level of commitment and pressure, whatever word you want to put on it that changes the dynamic completely.

 

Lachlan Morton  32:31

Yeah, absolutely. It’s like, it’s a 24-hour job, right? Because like, you know, just getting paid to ride, you’re getting paid to sleep eight hours a night.

 

Chris Case  32:43

Yeah, you can break it down. You’re getting paid to eat this instead of that, and not go out with your friends and stay in and keep your feet up.

 

Lachlan Morton  32:53

Exactly. And it’s an age where like that all that stuff is so quantifiable now. So yeah, like, you kind of you’re doing it for someone, a lot of the time, you feel like you’re doing it for someone else, at that point I did. Because like someone’s paying you, and they’re expecting something, and you feel like you owe it to them, or at that point I did. So that’s when you don’t have internal motivation, you know, to me, external, and for me, that just doesn’t work. So I had to, like, remove myself from that environment, like completely, to like work out, alright, is this something I even want to do? Like, I was so far gone from my initial motivations, and I was like, “do I even want to do this at all?” And then if I do, like, why? You know, and it has to be on my terms, and for my reasons. I was very, I was very lucky that I had like the situation that I could sort of do that, because I left racing in Europe to come and race in America, and my parents had moved to the States for their job at that time, so I could go back and live with them, which was amazing, because I hadn’t been home since I was like 18. And just to be in that environment, for one was like, oh, you know, like, I missed, like being around my family. And I could do I could sort of find my own way, without the pressure of being like alright, I need to move on to the next thing, which I was very lucky to have that situation. I ended up riding with Jelly Belly, with Danny Van Haute, which was like, the best best career move I ever made. I remember leaving Gerona, I was good friends with Dave Miller at that time, and I still am, and he was really, he really wanted me to try and get on to Sky, like, that’s what you need.

 

Chris Case  35:30

I don’t think so.

 

Lachlan Morton  35:31

I don’t think it’s what I need, but that’s when I was like, “I don’t know what I need,” and I was like, I think we’re gonna go and race with Jelly Belly, He was like, “I think if you do that, you’ll never, you’ll never get back.” And I believed him, and was still like, I couldn’t do it.

 

Chris Case  35:53

Sorry to cut you off, but I think that’s an awesome lesson. So eventually, you just went with your heart or your gut or whatever you want to call it.

 

Lachlan Morton  36:01

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  36:01

And you said, I don’t, you just kind of have to make the leap, right? Sometimes.

 

Lachlan Morton  36:07

Yeah. And looking back at it, it seems like it was a big decision, but to be honest, at the time, I was so unhappy that like there wasn’t it wasn’t even a decision, you know, I was just like, this is what I got to do.

 

Trevor Connor  36:20

What year was that?

 

Lachlan Morton  36:22

2014? Yeah, then I had 2015 with Danny at Jelly Belly, and I racing with my brother again.

 

Chris Case  36:29

Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  36:30

I was living back with my parents, I got married, I got a dog. And like, I kind of just, it took it was just a process of like falling in love with racing again.

 

Chris Case  36:44

You can see it too in the way you race. I mean, you.

 

Lachlan Morton  36:47

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  36:47

Stuff you did at Utah, and just the,

 

Lachlan Morton  36:51

Yeah, I was just having fun again.

 

Chris Case  36:52

Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  36:53

And because like, everyone was motivated for the love of it at that level, because like, everyone’s barely getting paid. And you’re sleeping on the floor and host housing and like, it’s great, like, it’s like it’s real, it’s real passionate, and I hadn’t had that since I was like, you know, 15.

 

Chris Case  37:14

Reality kids.

 

Lachlan Morton  37:15

Yeah, exactly. And it just kind of it was inspiring to see other people who, like, were so hungry for it, from like, a place of just loving it. That was, like, inspiring, and sort of made me think of like, what am I trying to achieve here? And then over the course of that year, I just reassessed the whole, my position in the sport, and like, try to work out if I was going to chase it again, like how I would go about it in, A I would be happy, but I could sort of maintain that new sort of environment that I created. It took like a whole year to really work that out, and then the next year, I was like, alright, I’d like to try and get back to the World Tour on my own terms, because I knew if I never chase it, I was like, it’d be a part of me that sort of regrets not going and like chasing that, even if I just go for a year.

 

Chris Case  38:27

Yeah. I really like to hear you explain this. I was on one of the big World Tour Teams, and I hated it, and I went and slept on some floors with Jelly Belly, and a bunch of other dudes who just love to race their bike, and that was one of the best decisions I ever made in my career. I think that’s awesome, that more people probably should do that. Make those choices.

 

The Demand of Being a Professional Cyclist

Lachlan Morton  38:54

Yeah. And I think ultimately, it just gave me ownership over my whole career, I guess, but also just my relationship with riding, because I started to enjoy the stuff outside of racing more. But I realized the racing could enable me to have that lifestyle, and just the realization like that’s like, the dream lifestyle, you know, and I got, I’d had it in a lot of ways, but just didn’t realize it, and it was all just a mindset, and yeah, it went from being a chore to like a privilege, you know, to do it. So that’s, I think, ultimately, what sort of gave me the motivation to go back into the fire. Like, in a lot of ways. I mean from I’ve never, like I’ve had moments in Walter races again, of just sort of questioning like, why? And then when I have enough experience now to be like, actually, this is like four hours of your life.

 

Chris Case  40:14

And I’m sure there’s a lot. Yeah, some days you’re just not going to feel it.

 

Lachlan Morton  40:20

Yeah. That’s like any job, Right?

 

Chris Case  40:22

Exactly. Exactly.

 

Lachlan Morton  40:24

And it enables me to do a bunch of things, you know, not I mean, I enjoy most, 90% of racing, I enjoy. And then, you know, everything I do outside of racing, that really love and like, that’s kind of I do one to be able to do the other.

 

Trevor Connor  40:51

So year you were racing for Jelly Belly, I was actually managing team Rio Grande, and we were talking to Jelly Belly about a partnership. But I know exactly what you’re talking about, because that was important to us, that engendering that, building that passion that this is about the racing, we actually had a really good budget, but quite intentionally bought a crappy van.

 

Lachlan Morton  41:15

Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  41:15

Eventually, we made sure we were doing the host housing, and we could afford to do better, but we just wanted to communicate to the guys, that’s not what it’s about. You want to be sleeping on the floors, you want to be in the van that breaks down on the side of the road, this is all about the racing.

 

Lachlan Morton  41:31

Yeah. Yeah. And like, it’s a really great way to develop as an athlete and as a person, I think to be in those situations, you know, I got a group of like-minded people just kind of like scrapping through it all, like, actually achieve something, or, like, on your way somewhere.

 

Trevor Connor  41:53

I think it’s cool.

 

Lachlan Morton  41:56

They used to let us borrow, big Jelly Belly had like a big bus.

 

Chris Case  42:03

Oh, looks like a Jelly Bean?

 

Lachlan Morton  42:04

No, it looks like a World Tour bus, you know, and we used to get to borrow it for California, except there was an old couple, who that was the job, they drove everywhere, and they were like, they were old. And constantly argue about like which way to go, but also, we weren’t allowed in the in the back, like two thirds of the bus. That was the that was their space. we had to set up like chairs in the hall, anyway, it was just, it was so much more uncomfortable than like the regular. That’s a different story.

 

Trevor Connor  42:50

It’s pretty funny. I saw exactly what you’re talking about, and when we were trying to develop athletes, and particularly when riders would come on Rio and say, you know, “I want to go out of the way, I want to be Pro.” The questions weren’t, do you have the strength? Are you putting out the numbers in the physiological test? Because usually it’s you got here you have some talent, you can be developed it, it’s, Are you up for the lifestyle?

 

Lachlan Morton  43:17

Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  43:17

And I learned very early on, is test that, because a lot of guys when they start to get into into that lifestyle, they go, “I don’t want to do this.”

 

Lachlan Morton  43:26

Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  43:26

I had an athlete who was on Rio, and we were developing him, phenomenally talented kid, he was brand new, it was U23, but he won the CAAD12 race at Hila.

 

Lachlan Morton  43:38

Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  43:38

And that was his last day as a racer, because he said the same thing, he stood there on the podium, he had just won the race, looked around and said, this is it.

 

Lachlan Morton  43:47

Yeah, right.

 

Trevor Connor  43:48

And was just done.

 

Chris Case  43:49

Such an anticlimactic moment.

 

Lachlan Morton  43:51

Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  43:53

Yeah, it’s funny. I won on the same stage in Utah, once on Garmin, and then the exact same stage I went on,

 

Chris Case  44:02

The one over Empire Pass, correct?

 

Lachlan Morton  44:05

No, Neba.

 

Chris Case  44:08

Oh, right. Yes.

 

Lachlan Morton  44:09

Earlier in the week.

 

Chris Case  44:10

The long, long flat stuff, and then you hit Neba, and you went up and over.

 

Lachlan Morton  44:13

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  44:14

You had Zabriskie working for you one year.

 

Lachlan Morton  44:16

Yeah. And the next year it was Taylor Shelden from Breckenridge.

 

Chris Case  44:20

Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  44:21

And they just destroyed the mountain, and then I went away with Talansky and Adrian Costa.

 

Chris Case  44:29

Yep.

 

Lachlan Morton  44:30

And that begged a minute, the three-hour finish. And it was like, it was much, it meant so much more to do it with Jelly Belly, and like, with a group of people, you know, because there was so many people involved with them, whereas before it just been me training, like doing my like, old me thing. So there was like a really good contrast, and when I won that race, the last stage in Park City, I knew that, I was very aware, but I was lucky because it was a descent, you descend like 10k to the finish.

 

Chris Case  45:10

Yep.

 

Lachlan Morton  45:11

And, like, so I could sort of think about it, and I was very aware, I was like, this is probably gonna be the best win I ever had, for like, all of those reasons, you know, like it was, it was coming back, like the people who had been involved in those last two years, it was kind of like, this permission of it all, and I was like, fine with that, like, it’s a got my family were there, everyone was at the finish line. Like, it’s still like, I still coming out like, I don’t think I could win a stage of the Giro, and I don’t think it would compare to that, you know?

 

Chris Case  45:14

Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  45:15

And I don’t know, to know that and still be like, I still want to do this though, like that was the difference.

 

Chris Case  45:58

Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  46:02

Veteran World Class ultra endurance cyclists, adventurer, and recent self-supported Iditarod winner, Rebecca Rusch, talked to us about the importance of keeping it in balance and keeping it fun. Let’s hear what she has to say.

 

Rebecca Rusch: Importance of Keeping Cycling Fun and Balanced

Rebecca Rusch  46:15

In some ways, I haven’t evolved because I remember being a kid growing up in Downers Grove, Illinois, and, you know, going into my backyard, or like, camp out and to like, ask my mom, “can I camp out in the backyard?” You know, we go on camping trips, and I love going exploring, and so that sort of curiosity and wanting to be outside that hasn’t changed, and that’s the part that I would encourage people, you know, don’t evolve. You know, think about what, what was fun for you as a kid, and why not carry that into your adult life. So that hasn’t evolved. What has evolved is my, my knowledge of obviously, my knowledge of science and training, and what I’m capable as an athlete, and combined with listening to that inner voice of that kid who’s like, I wonder, you know, what’s over here? Could I try this or try that. So you evolve in your in your brain, but hopefully, you don’t evolve in kind of your spirit and your heart and that motivation, that childlike motivation that was there, from so long ago. Hopefully, people never lose that even as they get smarter as athletes.

 

Chris Case  47:36

You hinted just a second ago, about the fact that you love 90% of the World Tour racing you get to do. Everybody has their days when they’re just, you know, chewing on the stem or whatever.

 

Lachlan Morton  47:52

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  47:53

But it affords you the opportunity to do all this other cool stuff that you have discovered, I guess, in recent years that you love to do. Let’s jump over there. When did you realize that you needed those two things to make this all work, but the other things being, Lachlan decides he wants to do a FKT on the Kokopelli Trail, Lachlan decides he wants to do Badlands ultra-distance bike packing race in Spain, you know, some of these other things, DK200, you’ve done with Alex. Just these, Rapha and EF called the alternate calendar.

 

Lachlan Morton  48:35

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  48:35

But I feel like it’s kind of Lachlan’s alternate calendar in a way.

 

Filming Thereabouts

Lachlan Morton  48:41

Has been up until this point. Well, yeah. No, it kind of, I think it came out of the their best rides I was doing, and for a long time, it was just two separate things. So I kind of race the season, and then in the offseason, go and do a trip somewhere. And sometimes that was by myself, sometimes that was, you know, with Gus, and we’d film it.

 

Chris Case  49:13

Yeah, and sorry for those who don’t know, the Thereabouts, the original one was the one in Australia to Uluru.

 

Lachlan Morton  49:19

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  49:20

Second one, you guys rode from Boulder to Moab, with Finney and,

 

Lachlan Morton  49:24

Kenworth.

 

Chris Case  49:25

Yep.

 

Lachlan Morton  49:26

And then we went to Columbia.

 

Chris Case  49:29

Columbia was three, and then Eastern Europe was four. Don’t forget that one, Macedonia and Albania and all those places.

 

Lachlan Morton  49:40

Yeah, so it kind of, I was doing that as kind of a bit of a an outlet, and it worked pretty well. Like, I could race and then be like, alright, now I’m gonna go.

 

Chris Case  49:55

Check out and just do this thing.

 

Lachlan Morton  49:57

Yeah. And then I was just also, sort of finding myself riding more and more, off road, and different bikes, mountain bike or like a cross bike and just like in, in my training or just riding.

 

Chris Case  50:15

Exploring a bit.

 

Lachlan Morton  50:16

Yeah. And that was sort of like a growing passion, and I was kind of fine with doing them separately, and then the opportunity came to kind of, like, combine it, and be sort of enabled, I guess, and have, have people sort of see the value in it, and that was with Rapha and EF.

 

Chris Case  50:48

What, for me to jump in here for a second, what do you see as the value of that?

 

Lachlan Morton  50:53

Um, I think like, cycling is a big sport, like, there’s a lot under the umbrella of cycling, and a very disproportionate amount of the attention is on like, men’s elite road cycling, and I think for quite a long time, people saw that as, like, what cycling was, and the rest are all kind of fringe activities. When I think from my perspective, a lot of what you would call like fringe riding, like, you know, bike packing, or just being off road in general, mountain biking, a lot of those activities are probably better recreational activities, and they are activities that I think are more accessible, and enjoyable for the majority of people who take part in cycling. So I thought, like, my idea of the, the value of it is that it kind of helps to shed a bit of that attention from men cycling onto like, these other disciplines that exist. And through that, I’ve got like, credit for a lot of things that actually, you know, like, people like are you the first guy to race gravel bikes.

 

Lachlan Morton  52:19

Just the first guy came from rode bikes to go as gravel bikes, you know?

 

Chris Case  52:24

World Tour. Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  52:25

Exactly.

 

Chris Case  52:27

No, not down to gravel racing, over to gravel racing.

 

Lachlan Morton  52:31

Yeah, exactly.

 

Chris Case  52:31

You don’t want to say it’s less, lesser, right? Just a different thing.

 

Chris Case  52:34

Totally, just totally different discipline. So yeah. And to have like a group of sponsors who could also share that vision, and see the value in it. I didn’t think I would ever say that were a Vuelta team. So that was like an opportunity that like, way too good to be true. So yeah, that’s been the last two years for me, and so I’ve just sort of taken it with both hands and tried to do as much as I can do, like on the road and, and off the road.

 

How Lachlan Morton Comes Up With The Projects He Enjoys

Chris Case  53:12

How do you come up with the things that you want to do?

 

Lachlan Morton  53:16

It’s not, it’s not just me.

 

Chris Case  53:18

There’s a strategy behind it.

 

Lachlan Morton  53:20

And I get to kind of throw in a few ideas that like I have, and those things generally just come from things that are motivating me, because on like a very selfish level, there’s a lot of things I just want to go and do.

 

Chris Case  53:36

Grab it by both horns.

 

Lachlan Morton  53:38

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  53:38

Let’s make this happen, right?

 

Lachlan Morton  53:39

Um, and, but I think in that, that’s what makes it authentic, you know when just like a bunch of guys who are like, “oh, let’s go do this gravel race, because EF wants us to.”

 

Lachlan Morton  53:54

You know, like, that’s not,

 

Chris Case  53:55

It’s not forced in any way.

 

Lachlan Morton  53:57

Yeah. And if it became that I’d be like, disappointed, you know. So, yeah, it’s kind of a mixture of like, things I found and then, like, just events that have like, become big deals, you know, like, like Leadville, and like, there’s a there’s a bunch of events that have grown to the point where like, for sponsors, they’re a big deal. So it’s, it’s nice, because they can see the value and return in like, that going to, like a seemingly insignificant race in compared to, you know, a Vuelta event, but they can also see like, oh, wait, this is this is emerging, this is something different. So it’s kind of a mixture of like events that they’ve kind of identified that they’d like to be involved with, as, you know, as sponsors. And then also just sometimes like do this. So I had a bit of a mixture.

 

Trevor Connor  55:05

You said earlier on the part of what really demotivated, you initially when you signed a contract, you felt like you were signing yourself over your loss of control over yourself, does this provide some motivation that you get to do these kind of fun things, and invent them to a degree?

 

It’s Fun Not to be Expected to be Amazing

Lachlan Morton  55:21

Totally, it’s like, one, you sort of have a bit of a bit more control over what you’re doing, but it’s also like, they’re really motivating things because they’re, they’re new and they’re fresh, and like, a lot of them I’m just not good at, you know, I mean, it’s fun to not be expected to be amazing. And also, like, when you,

 

Chris Case  55:49

Take some of the pressure off,

 

Lachlan Morton  55:50

Yeah, and also to have like, a chance to get better at something again, you know, because, essentially, you get to a level, riding a road bike, or in a World Tour, and, you know, you start like, I mean, when you start you’re 12, you know, you improve 20% energy, or whatever, it it’s kind of exponential and you get to the top and then it’s like, alright, I’m improving 2%, 3%, and then if you really want it, right, you know, if you really like, on that grind. Otherwise, you get to a point and you try to stay there, you know, you try to be as good as you were.

 

Chris Case  56:29

The ceiling.

 

Lachlan Morton  56:30

Yeah. And so I don’t like to get on a mountain bike, knowing you have to go to like, Cape Epic in three weeks, and then be like, I’m pretty useless at this, and then watch that, like, you know, have that progression. It’s very, like, it’s nice, because it’s kind of that’s why you got into it, you know? And it’s fun to like,

 

Chris Case  56:52

To love the progress.

 

Lachlan Morton  56:54

Yeah. And also, I think, like, getting a bit uncomfortable, like, like, frequently is, yeah, I mean, like,

 

Chris Case  57:06

I’m with you. Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  57:08

Like, I try and do something a little bit uncomfortable, like, every week. Like just something whether it’s like, something longer than, you know? I kind of feel like doing, or something maybe a bit more remote, or like riding something on my mountain bike that scares me, or like it’s nice to like, have that kind of like just pushing yourself a little bit constantly.

 

Chris Case  57:37

Stuff that doesn’t show up in TrainingPeaks, or data.

 

Lachlan Morton  57:39

Yeah, exactly. I can still go at my job.

 

Chris Case  57:45

Yeah, it’s still a worthy, a very worthy goal that motivates you.

 

Lachlan Morton  57:49

Yeah. And then also, like, I think, now, like, I can contribute more to the sport by doing like, these alternate races that I came by, like, trying to chase like, top 20 of the tourist with, you know, because not to, like, take away from the top 20 of the tourist squeeze like, anyone who could do that is an amazing, you know, and like, he’s really good at what they do, but just from, from my perspective, like what I’m trying to do, I think like, I can give more by just sort of doing things that aren’t traditional.

 

Chris Case  58:36

You can say it, they’re inspiring people.

 

Lachlan Morton  58:38

Sure, if you.

 

Chris Case  58:40

Absolutely, I mean, look at the people that come out, the Dot Watchers that come out and meet you in the middle of nowhere and during the GBDURO, and play music for you, or try to give you weird food items, or ride with you, people love watching you do this stuff. And because they’ve seen you do it, they’re gonna do it

 

Trevor Connor  59:03

It’s also accessible.

 

Lachlan Morton  59:05

Right.

 

Trevor Connor  59:05

Somebody can watch you do the Tour de Suisse, and go, that’s amazing, but I’ll never be able to race a Tour de Suisse, they see you do an Everest Challenge, and they go well, “I can’t do that fast, but I can do the Everest Challenge.”

 

Lachlan Morton  59:17

Totally. I mean, you could do an Ultra tomorrow, if you wanted to, like you just got to leave your home and decide you’re gonna go ride a really long way.

 

Chris Case  59:26

And don’t worry about what bags you’re going to get, just work it out.

 

Lachlan Morton  59:32

Like there were established routes out there, like you know it’s only like a Google search away, you can find a lot of these GPS files and whenever you go and get into it. And it’s also just like, I don’t know if it gets more people riding bikes because they kind of, because now I can say like road cycling is like, it’s intimidating from the outside, and there’s a lot of barriers to entry, and I never realized that when I was coming into it, because I grew up, you know, with like road cyclists. So I think the more you can, I think it’ll be better for road cycling long-term, because you’ll get more people into that. But it’s just nicer community, you know?

 

Chris Case  1:00:28

Is there any prioritization, and maybe this gets into the politics of your team, if you don’t want to talk about it, you don’t have to, but are there any like World Tour, Laughlin, World Tour races do come first, and we’re gonna allow you to do this other stuff in your own time, but we don’t really want you, we want you to prepare for the Giro, and not for your everlasting challenge, or is it not like that?

 

Prioritization, What Comes First?

Lachlan Morton  1:00:51

No, it’s like, I’ve never had that feeling, which I kind of felt the very first year I felt like, it was up to me to sort of prove that I could do both, so that for the longevity of like the program, in a way, you know, and was able to do that. And since then, like, I mean, even before then, but kind of proved to myself and to them that I could show up and do both, and I know when I go to road races now, I feel fresh to it. So like I’m always motivated.

 

Chris Case  1:01:35

So in some ways, this could be a benefit.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:01:37

Yeah. And I think they, they can see that. But also, I think like I’m lucky in that, as I said, they’ve kind of seen the value in doing alternate races, and to be honest, like, it’s probably better for them that going and doing well in these alternate races, as I say, because there’s a lot of, we have a lot of guys on our team who can ride fast and want to race. Like there’s no one who has to pick up my slack, you know, like, there’s, there’s enough good guys in there to like, fill that, that void if you have to go and do a Ultra race instead of a Vuelta race. There’s none of that, if anything, it’s kind of I have to put my hand up and be like, “Hey, I really want to go and do this Vuelta race”

 

Chris Case  1:02:36

They have forgotten about you. We could put Lachlan in, but he’s probably out bike packing.

 

Trevor Connor  1:02:47

So the question I’ve got to ask you, why, why, why, would you use the backside of rist for an Everest Challenge? And I gotta preface that with that is possibly my least favorite climb in the world.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:03:01

Yeah, I think it goes hand in hand.

 

Chris Case  1:03:04

Rist is probably the base of what segment you climb for. You’re ever seen challenge was about 7?

 

Trevor Connor  1:03:10

7,500 feet is the bottom of it, it goes up to 8,000.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:03:15

Yeah. I mean, I think like any hill that you want to Everest on, it should be miserable. Like, it’s kind of a requirement.

 

Chris Case  1:03:24

He likes to get uncomfortable. He’s already said that.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:03:27

Yeah. And like, it was kind of, we’re trying to stay very close to home, and there’s some steep hills around here, but not many straight ones.

 

Trevor Connor  1:03:38

It’s pretty straight and steep.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:03:40

Yeah. And then it just sort of, I was thinking one day, and I remember that we raced up there, and the Tour of Colorado, a couple of times. I remember being state.

 

Trevor Connor  1:03:49

Yes.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:03:49

So I went out there and looked at it, and I was like, I think I could do it here.

 

Chris Case  1:03:53

Here’s a way back memory, one of the one of those races that I mentioned at the top of the show,

 

Lachlan Morton  1:03:59

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  1:04:00

You and I raced at, we went down that, what was that?

 

Trevor Connor  1:04:05

The Fort Collins Festival.

 

Chris Case  1:04:07

Stage race or something like.

 

Trevor Connor  1:04:09

I think all three of us were in that race.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:04:11

That’s the first Part 12 race I won.

 

Chris Case  1:04:15

There you go. There’s sentimental value to this canyon as well.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:04:20

I think.

 

Trevor Connor  1:04:21

So that was a little before I moved out.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:04:23

There was the road race.

 

Chris Case  1:04:24

Yep.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:04:25

And then the next time it was a hill climb.

 

Chris Case  1:04:26

Hill climb, up the fronts of the eastern side.

 

Chris Case  1:04:29

Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:04:29

In the road race, I came over the top of that just as he started trying to climb, and that was that was a guy, local guy, super strong, Keith Nicol.

 

Chris Case  1:04:37

Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:04:38

And yeah,

 

Trevor Connor  1:04:39

Nichols.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:04:40

Blake Caldwell.

 

Chris Case  1:04:41

Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:04:42

And they were like, maybe 10 seconds ahead of me over the top, and I came back on the downhill, and then beat him in the sprint.

 

Chris Case  1:04:49

Scrawny guy.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:04:50

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  1:04:50

Descending.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:04:53

Yeah, I’d actually forgotten that was the same year.

 

Chris Case  1:04:56

Yep.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:04:58

I can’t remember how many times I did it that week, 80 times or something.

 

Chris Case  1:05:06

Way to many.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:05:09

The thing was, like, it was a fun thing to do, because it has nothing else to do that, like, I often get asked now because like, you know, someone’s beating the record, and like, you’re gonna go get it, I’m like, no. I contributed my bit.

 

Trevor Connor  1:05:27

I still put it it’s like,

 

Chris Case  1:05:29

Yes. Doing the hour record, he’s done his bit, he’s spurred a bunch of other people.

 

Trevor Connor  1:05:38

Look, I also put an Asterix on your name, because he only beat you by like, a minute and a half, and you did the whole thing above 7,500 feet.

 

Chris Case  1:05:46

And on back to back weekends.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:05:49

Yeah, and in my mountain bike shoes.

 

Chris Case  1:05:51

Really? I didn’t know. I didn’t know that part.

 

Chris Case  1:05:53

Yeah. But like, I mean, that’s kind of, I think it’s the idea of like, chasing a record like that and trying to put it out of reach out of range is like, such a demon. What you want to be like be the best forever?

 

Chris Case  1:06:12

I don’t know if this is what motivates you, or how you think about these things, but I think that you do know what makes a good story.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:06:21

Right. I mean, if it’s interesting to me, not always. But majority of the time, I’m like, if I think oh my God, that could be interesting, other people might be like, Oh, yeah, that’s maybe interesting.

 

Chris Case  1:06:35

And you’ve probably been encouraged over the years, you’ve tested the waters and you found out, Yeah, I’m not as there are other weird people like me that, that respond to this type of stuff, and you just kind of gone and push the envelope a little bit here.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:06:48

Yeah, if my dad gets excited about it. Yeah, but I even like a Kokopelli, Kurt beat that record again.

 

Chris Case  1:07:01

Yep.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:07:01

Couple months ago.

 

Chris Case  1:07:02

Yep.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:07:03

And I was really glad to see it.

 

Chris Case  1:07:05

And you knew that you left stuff out on the table.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:07:08

Yeah. Like,

 

Chris Case  1:07:09

You’re saying, like,

 

Lachlan Morton  1:07:10

Not saying purposely, I wasn’t out there being like, I’m gonna leave five minutes here, like, you’re still going on that, but ultimately, you finish, and you say, “Okay, I left time here, here, here.”

 

Chris Case  1:07:20

Sure, you always analyze after.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:07:23

I could go back and do it again, or I could go do something else, and then ultimately, there’s a guy like, like Kurt, who took the record back off me, and he’s, the guy that should have it, you know, like, he that’s his thing. That’s his thing. And he’s also like, contributed so much more to bike packing.

 

Chris Case  1:07:40

That’s a very gentlemanly way of thinking about it.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:07:44

He’s also done a lot more for like, creating routes and like, he’s kind of before I did it, he was the one giving me advice. You know, like, yeah, so.

 

Chris Case  1:07:53

Connection there, Kurt Refsnider, and I used to be cyclo-cross rivals, back way back before, before he revolutionized himself into this ultra-distance guy. Yeah, he used to live here.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:08:06

The crazy thing is like, also by doing these other events, like, hopefully people realize how good he is.

 

Chris Case  1:08:14

Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:08:15

At what he does.

 

Chris Case  1:08:16

Absolutely.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:08:16

Even when I beat his record, like, initially,

 

Chris Case  1:08:22

He had it, you took it away from him, he went back and took it from you.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:08:25

Yeah. And like, comparatively, like, he was close, like, I mean, he only beat his record, I beat his record comparatively by less than a built beat, he’s like, he’s really legit.

 

Chris Case  1:08:46

Yeah, absolutely.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:08:48

It’s cool to go and see people who are really good at what they do, you know, like, you can go to like the Three Peaks Cyclo-Cross race in Yorkshire, and just get like,

 

Chris Case  1:08:59

You came in fourth? Right?

 

Lachlan Morton  1:09:01

Yeah, and like a 45-year-old just smokes you. And you’re like,

 

Trevor Connor  1:09:06

Yo, Chris.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:09:07

Not disappointed, your just like this guy is incredible at what he does.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:09:13

Which is cool to see, because it’s like, you know, otherwise, you can walk around for like 15 years of your career thinking you’re like a God on a bike, and then like, you know, the reality is like, you can get into Left Hand Canyon and ride some trials with some guys here and realize that you know absolutely nothing about riding bikes.

 

Chris Case  1:09:40

Where do we want to end this conversation? I want to ask you sort of those philosophical questions, that maybe help people understand the lessons you’ve learned throughout this interesting career of yours, that isn’t over yet, and we’ll see where what turns come next but, I wonder, you know, when we spoke, when we’ve spoken previously, we’ve addressed this issue of having a good, or healthy, why? The purpose, the reason behind why you ride, or why you do what you do, and through this conversation, we’ve seen it go to very unhealthy places, I guess you could say, very healthy places, are you aware of that at when you’re in it? Or is it only after the fact that you try to define a good, so to speak, why?

 

Having a Good and Healthy Why

Lachlan Morton  1:10:36

No, I think I’m aware of it, just because I guess I’ve had both extremes.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:10:43

And, yeah, it’s not something that you just solve the, the, you know, the problem, and you’re like, okay, I’m good forever now.

 

Chris Case  1:10:54

Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:10:54

Like, you might have, like, changes lanes every day, like, there’s a different motivation, or, as long as I think it comes from that good place, and the direction is kind of, you know, from that place, then you can keep yourself in check in, like, if you sort of dip into negative territory, you know, and, actually, through the, like, racing, the few Ultras that I’ve done, you kind of forced through that process, like, because you do have these positive moments and these really negative ones, and you kind of forced to have your own mechanisms to sort of overcome it, and I think that sort of helped me a lot, like have a lot more control over my emotions and your why.

 

Chris Case  1:11:55

Ultra, Ultra riding as a therapeutic device.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:12:00

Yeah, I can’t speak enough about it. I always tell everyone I gotta do one. Or if it takes more than one.

 

Chris Case  1:12:09

Right, do it until you find the answer.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:12:11

Until you get to that place. Um, but yeah, I mean, I also am lucky that I have a lot of good people around me, who, like I listen to now, because I don’t think, I mean, I occasionally still think I can do it by myself. You need those people around you, who know you well enough to know, if you’re in a good place or a bad place, or if you’re like, why you’re doing what you’re doing, because like, I could still go and do something that maybe is not coming from a good place, and sell it to the team and be like, I’m ready to do this. You know? But if like the people around me sort of, Dad’s not excited about, yeah, so I mean, I think I’m more aware and I listen to the people around me more.

 

Chris Case  1:13:17

Do you think that that is the most important thing is having that support system to help you navigate all these ups and downs, whether you’re an amateur or pro?

 

Lachlan Morton  1:13:29

Yeah, that along with just being like honest with yourself, you know, occasionally there’s that training session that you have to get done, and like, you go, and you do it anyway. The motivation is not there. Yet, if that, if that’s happening more than once every couple of weeks, like, maybe you need to think about why your doing it. So yeah, that honesty, and I’m sure everyone has their own, or needs to find their own way to, to work that out. But it should be fun, like, I feel like bikes need to be like, majority of it needs to be like bike play, you know? Like you need to have a fun element, and I mean, I don’t think there’s even if you look at professional cycling now like the most successful guys, like Van Der Poel, you know, Sagan, even like where to pick up once he starts going, they spend half the time playing.

 

Chris Case  1:14:33

Yeah, yeah, that is very true, those three guys in particular, they’re in their own little world, kind of dancing with the bike, and enjoying themselves.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:14:45

Exactly. And they’re Jumping the mountain bike.

 

Chris Case  1:14:47

Yeah.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:14:48

Like, and I think that way of thinking and also just that freedom, within like what has been such a structured sport is what’s going to and is enabling them to like, really break through.

 

Chris Case  1:15:05

Kind of goes back to your point about longevity.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:15:07

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  1:15:09

You could be very rigid, you could put your head down and do all the intervals you want, and be really good, but your career might be half the time, or your mental health or your happiness, fulfillment might be a quarter of the size.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:15:26

Exactly. And that’s not to say everyone.

 

Chris Case  1:15:30

Sure.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:15:30

you know, I know a bunch of people who just love to do the effort, see the number, and like that makes them happy, you know, and then they can go and perform, put on that, you know, put on the line the race, and that’s great for them. But that’s not the only way.

 

Trevor Connor  1:15:47

What I really like is you found your own motivation. I’ve seen so many athletes who have the talent, want to see what they can do on this sport, they see what it’s about and go, okay that’s not motivating for me, and they quit. I’ve had that experience, instead of saying a game done and moving on, or you had that briefly, you then took a very unique approach of saying, “How can I still do this, but shape it in a way that is motivating and fun for me?”

 

Lachlan Morton  1:16:14

Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  1:16:14

Created a more unique career path where you go, but this gets me up every morning.

 

Creating a Career Path That Gets You up in the Morning

Lachlan Morton  1:16:20

Totally. And it used to be that thing of like, you’d have like, those two rides every year, you know, like, those two big epic rides, but like, and I can still remember them from when I was a kid like, but there was only usually two every year. You know? Like, where like, he took the wrong turn, and like, oh, you ran out of food or like, that storm came or like whatever it was, you know, and like, you remember those two, or if you’re lucky, you had like five, and then the other 300 were just like, oh, they can’t afford to give it, you know? And so now, I try and have as many of those rides, and like, each day, I try and put together a ride that I’m like, that was fulfilling, somehow. And I remember this for whatever reason, whether that’s by perfecting a loop that I already have, whether it’s like, exploring a totally new spot, or like, whether that means like riding three bikes in one day, like, that’s kind of what I’m trying to like, get that’s what I try to do most days.

 

Chris Case  1:17:32

Get creative.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:17:33

Yeah, exactly. And like create rides that I remember. Because, like, for me now, that’s still that’s the most enjoyable day I can think of involves riding, for most of it.

 

Chris Case  1:17:52

Yes. If not all of it.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:17:55

Yeah. And once like, if that becomes something different, I like to think that i’ll chase whatever that is, but there’s nothing else for me right now. That’s kind of what I’m chasing.

 

Trevor Connor  1:18:10

Don’t you love those rides that you come back and try to tell your wife or your friends about it, and they just have this look of shock on their face? Like why do you do this sport? That’s horrible, and you don’t get it, that was amazing.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:18:23

It’s like when I come back down from like, like Badlands or something, and it’s like, for Rachel, it’s like, I’ve just gone away again for like, a week, and we come back and I’m kind of like, “Hey, I got what I needed out of it”. Like she doesn’t need to know the whole thing, but then now there’s like a video that comes.

 

Chris Case  1:18:44

That the thing about your life, half of it, not half of it, but some of it is documented.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:18:48

Yeah. I’m super lucky to have, she will see and be like, “Woah.”

 

Chris Case  1:18:54

For those who don’t know, that was a 43-hour bike ride.

 

Lachlan Morton  1:18:59

Yeah.

 

Chris Case  1:19:00

Something like that. There’s probably moments you don’t remember and never will be able to access, but well, always a philosopher, Lachlan Morton, it has been a pleasure to have you on Fast Talk today.

 

Chris Case  1:19:20

That was another episode of Fast Talk. Subscribe to Fast Talk wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcast, 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, so join the conversation at forums.fasttalklabs.com, to discuss each and every episode. Become a member of Fast Talk laboratories, at fasttalklabs.com/ join and become a part of our education and coaching community. For Lachlan Morton, Rebecca Rusch, Ted King, and Trevor Connor. I’m Chris Case. Thanks for listening.

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