They say age is just a number. That’s exactly it: Age is nothing more than digits, and certainly shouldn’t be seen as a barrier or a dirty word. We can age successfully, but it requires changes to how we train and perhaps to the types of races we target.
Of course, there are some physiological changes—you might call them declines—that come with age. Yet, there are also things that improve as athletes get older. Sometimes they are truly physiological and psychological adaptations, and at other times they are a matter of perspective, mentality, or choice.
This episode begins with a deep dive by Trevor into some recent research on the effects of age and performance. Then we jump into a great conversation with the timeless Rebecca Rusch, a seven-time world champion, mountain bike Hall of Famer, and ever-evolving, age-defying cyclist and adventurer.
In that conversation, we touch upon everything from training changes to nutrition tips, from off-the-bike work to the work it takes inside the mind to stay motivated, energized, and ready to push.
All that and much more, today on Fast Talk. Let’s make you fast!
[For more on the effects of aging on performance, listen to Fast Talk, episode 39: The Secrets to Staying Strong as You Age, with Ned Overend.]
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- Borges, N. R., Scanlan, A. T., Reaburn, P. R., & Doering, T. M. (2020). A Comparison of Heart Rate Training Load and Perceptual Effort Between Masters and Young Cyclists. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 15(5), 759–762. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2019-0413
- Borges, N., Reaburn, P., Driller, M., & Argus, C. (2016). Age-Related Changes in Performance and Recovery Kinetics in Masters Athletes: A Narrative Review. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 24(1), 149–157. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1123/japa.2015-0021
- Jackson, M. J. (2020). On the mechanisms underlying attenuated redox responses to exercise in older individuals: A hypothesis. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 161, 326–338. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2020.10.026
- Joanisse, S., Ashcroft, S., Wilkinson, D. J., Pollock, R. D., O’Brien, K. A., Phillips, B. E., … Philp, A. (2020). High Levels of Physical Activity in Later Life Are Associated With Enhanced Markers of Mitochondrial Metabolism. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 75(8), 1481–1487. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glaa005
- Laurin, J. L., Reid, J. R., Lawrence, M. M., & Miller, B. F. (2019). Long-Term Aerobic Exercise Preserves Muscle Mass and Function with Age. Current Opinion in Physiology, 10, 70–74. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cophys.2019.04.019
- Lazarus, N. R., & Harridge, S. D. R. (2017). Declining performance of master athletes: silhouettes of the trajectory of healthy human ageing? The Journal of Physiology, 595(9), 2941–2948. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1113/jp272443
- Lazarus, N. R., Lord, J. M., & Harridge, S. D. R. (2019). The relationships and interactions between age, exercise and physiological function. The Journal of Physiology, 597(5), 1299–1309. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1113/jp277071
- Lepers, R., & Cattagni, T. (2018). Age-related decline in endurance running performance – an example of a multiple World records holder. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 43(1), 98–100. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2017-0298
- Lepers, R., & Stapley, P. J. (2016). Master Athletes Are Extending the Limits of Human Endurance. Frontiers in Physiology, 7, 613. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2016.00613
- Louis, J., Hausswirth, C., Easthope, C., & Brisswalter, J. (2012). Strength training improves cycling efficiency in master endurance athletes. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 112(2), 631–640. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-011-2013-1
- Louis, J., Vercruyssen, F., Dupuy, O., & Bernard, T. (2020). Nutrition for Master Athletes: Is There a Need for Specific Recommendations? Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 28(3), 489–498. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1123/japa.2019-0190
- Peiffer, J. J., Abbiss, C. R., Chapman, D., Laursen, P. B., & Parker, D. L. (2008). Physiological Characteristics of Masters-Level Cyclists. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(5), 1434–1440. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0b013e318181a0d2
- Piasecki, J., Inns, T. B., Bass, J. J., Scott, R., Stashuk, D. W., Phillips, B. E., … Piasecki, M. (2021). Influence of sex on the age‐related adaptations of neuromuscular function and motor unit properties in elite masters athletes. The Journal of Physiology, 599(1), 193–205. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1113/jp280679
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Chris Case 00:12
Hey, everyone, welcome to Fast Talk your source for the science of endurance performance. I’m your host, Chris Case, they say age is just a number. And that’s exactly it. Age is nothing more than digits, and certainly shouldn’t be seen as a barrier or a dirty word. We can age successfully, but it requires changes to how we train and perhaps to the types of races we target. Of course, there are some physiological changes, you might call them declines that come with age. Yet there are also many things that improve as athletes get older. Sometimes they are truly physiological and psychological adaptations, and at other times, they are a matter of perspective, of mentality or of choice. We begin the episode today with a deep dive by Trevor into some recent research on the effects of age and performance. Then we jump into a great conversation with the timeless Rebecca rush a seven time world champion, mountain bike Hall of Famer, and ever evolving age defying cyclist and adventure. as we speak. The 52 year old rush is taking on her third I did rod trail Invitational in Alaska. In our conversation today, we touched on everything from training changes to nutrition tips from off the bike work to the work it takes inside the mind to stay motivated, energized and ready to push. We also hear from Dr. Andy Pruitt, the world renowned sports medicine consultant, and Colby Pierce, coach, athlete, bike fitter and host of our cycling in alignment podcast. All that and much more today on fast talk. Let’s make you fast.
Dr. Stephen Seiler 01:50
Hi, I’m Dr. Stephen Seiler of the University of Alberta in Norway, and I’m a longtime contributor to and a fan of fast talk and now fast talk labs. So I’m really happy to be involved in I think fast doc labs with Chris and Trevor and their team exemplify some aspects of the coaching and the process that I value. One is his science in being evidence based. But another is communication, communication between coach and athlete communication between coach and other coaches. And then finally, trust building trust in that communication in that forum where everyone wants to learn and work together to be better. And I really believe that’s what you’ll find with fast doc labs. So I’m proud to be part of it. And I hope you will enjoy it.
Trevor Connor 02:43
That was Dr. Siler from fast talk, Episode 139 when we introduce fast doc laboratories and our new virtual Performance Center, if you enjoy Dr. Sadler’s appearances on our show, we have really good news for you. We just unlocked all 40 of Dr. schuyler’s webinars, lectures and interviews on our website fast talk labs.com they are now free for members. Join at fast talk labs.com and you can get Dr. Sadler’s pioneering work in one convenient place. Sign up for a free listener membership today at fast talk labs.com.
Chris Case 03:19
Well, welcome back to fast talk. Rebecca rush. It’s a pleasure to have you on again. We haven’t had you since. Do you need a coach with Neil Henderson and Rebecca rush? That was Episode 61. Way back in 2018. And that law
Trevor Connor 03:33
right. Yeah, that was a good one.
That was a good one. Well, welcome back. The
answer is still yes, the
Chris Case 03:38
answer is still yes. And I bet we’ll touch upon that a little bit in this episode today when we talk about, you know how to effectively modify your training racing as you age. What can you do? What, what? What does change what maybe even improves with age? We’ll get into all of that today.
Awesome. I can’t wait. It’s
Trevor Connor 03:58
great to have you back on the show.
Chris Case 04:00
Let’s really get into that topic of age here. There are things that decline with age and we should probably start there. So Trevor, why don’t you give us a little bit of an overview of the things that decline with age.
Trevor Connor 04:15
So it’s been a few years, I actually to get ready for this one, went back and said, Well, is there any new research that’s come out? And I can tell you often when I’m researching for an episode, I’ll spend two hours doing searches and might come up with three decent studies. The nice thing about the research on aging in athletes is I did one search and downloaded 20 articles and said okay, I got to stop because I can’t read that. There is a ton of research coming out about it. And it’s there’s some really interesting new stuff since we did that episode. So maybe I’ll just give the the five minute of a couple of the interesting things that I saw. If you remember we talked about in that episode, that the effective of aging is not
Chris Case 05:03
what we believed it was this fall off a cliff when you hit a certain age type effect.
Trevor Connor 05:08
So they really felt you decline a lot with age. But all the research that was backing that, if you remember from that episode was cross sectional, meaning they were comparing current seven year olds to current 20 year olds and the current 20 year olds have all the benefits of years and years and years of science and experience in training and keeping athletes healthy. So it’s not really a fair comparison. And when they started coming up with more creative studies, because obviously, you can’t go what happens to somebody over 60 years, let’s do a 60 year study, they found other creative ways to figure this out, and said, you know, what, a lot of what we thought was aging was more either poor training, or sedentary behavior. And that’s coming out more, but there are some interesting areas that they that some of the really recent research I’ve downloaded. And I have in front of me three studies that were all put out in the last few months. Well, that really caught my attention. So one is titled, high levels of physical activity and later life are associated with enhanced markers of mitochondrial metabolism. So they, they basically looked at protein expression of the key proteins that that help with mitochondrial development, and maintenance. So and of course, PGC, one, alpha was one, of course, and they compared very high level cyclists in their 70s to recreationally active, elderly of about the same age. And then recreationally active younger people, so in their 20s and 30s. And actually found that the highly trained older athletes had much higher protein expression than either the other two groups. And they showed that they were much better able to maintain mitochondrial function. So there’s something even you’re getting into your 70s, you’re seeing now doesn’t decline quite the way that we thought it declines. But the thing that I found really interesting, and this is almost a we should do an episode on this sometime. So I’m just going to really touch on it right now. Influence of sex on the age related adaptations of neuromuscular function and motor unit properties in elite master athletes. Yes, I don’t want to dive too deep. But the very short explanation here is. So in our you, when you think of your quad, within your quad, you have a whole bunch of fibers, those fibers are grouped together into into motor units. So you’ll have one main nerve that will come down and then split apart and it will innervate several fibers. So it’s not a you have one nerve for each fiber, you’ll have multiple muscle fibers per nerve. So that’s called a motor unit. And what you see actually over time is, there’s a lot of remodeling, because you’ll see damage occur, a muscle fiber will lose its innervation, which in the next study I’ll talk about can actually cause a lot of
Trevor Connor 08:21
oxidative stress. And so what happens is, other motor units will go Oh, well, that fiber needs to be innervated. And they’ll kind of reach out with a new spindle, connect to that, that fiber and make sure it’s re innervated. So one of the theories here is that’s why as we age, we start going more and more towards slow twitch being dominant in slow twitch muscle fibers, because it seems the motor units that are primarily for slow twitch muscle fibers will reach out to fast twitch muscle fibers that have been de nerve ated re innervate them and then they’ll convert to slow twitch. Interesting. The issue is as that happens, if it doesn’t happen, well, you see an older people, fewer units, but a lot more fibers per unit that affects your ability to effectively recruit muscle fibers, it’s gonna affect your strength. So it’s actually not something that you want. And what you see is in younger people this, this denervation happens in younger people, but they seem to reincarnate very well. You don’t see it as effectively in elderly but this one study said, No, when you look at elite masters athletes, they tend to reincarnate very well, you still see some age effect, you still see some increase in motor unit size, but it’s not like you see in sedentary, it’s pretty equal men and women but that it’s a influence of sex. So one thing that they saw is in female athletes, you tend to see a slowing down. So basically, my interpretation of it is they become really slow to slow twitch muscle fibers. dominance and you don’t see the same effect in men. The last one to point out, and I’m kind of getting to this, which is really cool is this just came out and it’s even listed as a hypothesis. It’s on the mechanism underlying attenuated redox responses to exercise in older individuals, hypothesis, titles roll off your tongue, let me tell you. So they go into this whole denervation and re innovation, they basically say, you have this issue that when a fiber loses its its nerve connection, you start to see a whole lot of oxidative stress in his head, if it’s not handled well, if you don’t re innervate very well, what actually happens is your your muscles adapt, to try to prevent damage, and really, actually ramp up the your antioxidant systems. So what you’ll start seeing in the cytosol of muscle cells is a actually struggled to produce any sort of oxidative stress. And again, I’m really trying to simplify this as well, you hear me struggling a little bit with the words is a very long hypothesis. But basically, they struggle to produce oxidative stress. And we’ve talked about this that oxidative stress is one of the major promoters of muscle adaptation of promoting increase in muscle strength and increase in fiber size. So if you lose that ability to produce oxidative stress, you can’t really adapt the muscles anymore, and that they’re starting to say, or at least their hypothesis is that that’s what’s causing sarcopenia. That’s what’s causing older people to lose muscle strength. So their explanation is, is this desensitization, it’s almost like insulin, where if you have too much insulin flowing in your in your system all the time, you eventually become desensitized to insulin, and that leads to type two diabetes. So they’re proposing a similar theory in untrained individuals, or sedentary individuals where you see this loss of ability to adapt, or to use oxidative stress as an adaptive signal. And again, in highly trained athletes, you don’t see that as much. So they’re basically they’re saying lifelong endurance sports, are a lifelong training, you’re going to have better muscle unit retention, and better ability to respond to oxidative stress to produce an adaptive signal. And that continues into into your 70s.
Chris Case 12:45
well, let’s let’s talk to one of those highly skilled athletes now and say and turn this question. Over to you, Rebecca, you’re not you’re not even close to 70, you’re 52? Does any of this relate to you? Do you feel any of these declines?
Yeah. And Trevor, I was really trying to like, Listen to the science and listen to everything you’re saying. And there are a ton of studies on this stuff. I guess I’m a experiment of one myself. But obviously, there is a ton of support for basically use it or lose it, you know, and, and people will ask me all the time, like, when are you going to retire? When are you going to stop doing this long distance stuff? And really, it’s, it’s never I’ll do this as long as I can. Not just because I’m motivated by competition or setting personal goals, but because I want to be a healthy, happy human. And I know that the science and my sort of anecdotal experience, I feel better when I move and so yeah, this is hitting home a lot. You know, and I’ll say to anyone who’s tuning in right now, you know, you hear the word aging, aging athlete, you know, master’s athlete. And I really like to flip that conversation, because because here’s the thing, none of us can escape age, even if you’re listening this and you’re 25 or 35, or 45, or whatever, or 75. It’s it’s a fate that none of us will escape. Hopefully, we all grow very, very old, gracefully and keep moving. And so I really like to use the word evolution. Because we’re all changing all the time. We’re getting older, we’re getting either less flexible, more flexible, stronger, weaker, we’re always evolving, and we have a choice on how we handle that evolution and the one body we’ve been given. And, as Chris mentioned, yes, I’m 52 I’m still a very active athlete. And I like to also call that version 5.2. And it kind of goes along with the evolution of and what I have found, you know, I’ve been an athlete since high school and you know, if you told me, you know, someone that 52 seems ancient at that time, but I don’t feel that way. I’m like, why I still feel really good. I’m still doing a lot of cool stuff. I’m still actually hitting on markers in my training and an empower, you know, an FTP, and some of those sort of scores body, you know, measurements. Those are all still right on par with some of my top performances. And so I do agree with some of the science that that Trevor’s stating is that, yes, there are things that decline with age, I needed to take a little more time to recover and to stretch better, it’s kind of, I have to pay attention to what I call the spaces in between the time off the bike or off the skis. Whereas in my 20s, or 30s, or even 40s, you know, I could kind of blow off stretching or blow off hydration, and I knew I should do it, but I just didn’t do it. But I find that if I really pay attention to the spaces in between and all that extra stuff, like nutrition, hydration, that there really isn’t the massive drop off the edge of the cliff. Like you said, Chris, I mean, I’ve obviously noticed changes, but I also find that I can come back a lot of those with lifestyle changes, and just more attention to some of the detail.
Trevor Connor 16:08
We show regular Dr. Andy Pruitt, his thoughts on aging, he does feel that aging is something that we can all do very well and stay active throughout our lives. But he feels that the starting place is a recognize that you’re getting older, and you need to make some changes.
Well, you know, as an aging and endurance athlete, myself, I look in the mirror, I can answer this question or I can look over 40 years of patient notes to answer this question. I think it’s really about not recognizing the fact that you’re aging, and attempting to carry on as you have. And I think the really good example of this is nettle burns, a good friend of mine. And we have written together over the years and, and he’s still winning national championships in his 60s. And I said Now, what’s the deal? He said, I do the exact same program I have done my whole life. I was a little startled. And I said Really? He goes, Yeah, the four week, block now takes me eight weeks. Right? So he does the exact same intervals. He does all the work he used to do, obviously less of it, but more recovery time to get that block in. And it was a really Stark realization that I think that is the common mistake that I’ve made. And all my patients have made, is trying to be something we’re not anymore. You ultimately have to mourn the loss of who you were, accept who you are as an athlete. And make sure you do a good job of all those normal things, hydration, the rest all those things, but really is yes, you can still do those overs, unders like you used to do. But you just got to rest more afterwards.
Chris Case 17:57
Let’s flip it around. What would you say that there have been some improvements with age in certain areas?
Yeah, I mean, well, I will say I, you know, we talked, I think it’s mentioned maybe in one of the studies, but there’s definitely muscle mass loss. And, you know, I have noticed, you know, I have to stretch more, like I said, I’m less flexible, but the positive changes that have happened is, you know, and I think there’s a famous quote, I think it’s George Bernard Shaw says youth is wasted on the young, and the the maturity and the level of experience that I have, and just having been in these challenging situations before, there’s a level of add up to adaptability that I have as an athlete and confidence that I have as an athlete of like, yeah, you know, I’ve written the lead one Leadville, 104 times, like, I know what that’s like, I know it’s gonna hurt. I know, it’s hard, but I know I can do it. And each time you do something hard like that, you build that level of confidence, or each time you fail, you learn something else. And so, you know, I didn’t have that when I was 25. And a people kind of ask all the time, like, how are you know, beating people in their 20s? or How are you, you know, achieving these things and and experience goes a really long way. And I think if you look at any really good mountaineer Diana nyad is a great example. She’s an ultra endurance swimmer and had her her best results of her life at age 60. So I think if you look at some of those really intense endurance sports, you see that at least there’s another one yeah, mountaineers especially because there’s a level of experience and maturity that that actually really does improve with age.
Trevor Connor 19:48
So this is something that I have been trying to figure out how to best say to the athletes, I coach because I agree with you. You don’t at our age, and I’m just two years behind you were basically The same age, you don’t at our age get away with neglecting, stretching or neglecting you’re off the bike work for very long before you know it. And we always talk about well, you could do that in your 20s. But what I try to explain to athletes in their 20s, I’m interested in how you feel about this is, you still get a pay for it, who’s gonna pay for it later. So if you neglect all that work, when you’re 20, by the time you’re 2526, you’re probably going to start seeing the negative effects of that almost a nice thing for us is, we pay the price right away. So we get the reminder very quickly of oops, I haven’t been stretching lately, I haven’t been doing my back work. I haven’t been doing my strength work.
You know, I really like that concept. Because Yeah, it’s like, you know, we’re all told in our 20s, you should start investing now, you know, you should put away $50 a month or whatever. And by the time that you’re 55, or 70, you’re gonna have a million dollars. And none of us did it. I mean, some of us did it. I didn’t do it. I was like, you know, what, no, I, you know, I’m gonna go rock climbing and spend that money doing that. And yeah, we we are told that when you’re, you’re young, but you’re right, you’re putting money in the bank. If you as as a younger athlete, if you start really paying attention to those things, and I think we’re seeing that transition. Now, people are really getting into mobility and wellness and mindfulness. And it’s kind of a really cool evolution that you’re seeing with athletes of all ages. And what that just means is, is those younger athletes that are starting all that stuff, now, they are going to be doing things that nobody ever dreamed of when, you know, in 10 years, or 20 years or whatever. So you’re exactly right. They’re putting money in the bank if they’re doing it now. And hopefully they’re investing too.
Chris Case 21:45
Right. Right. Exactly. Yeah. And I would say that this thing
in yourself, I guess that’s a way of putting it, yeah, you’re investing in yourself.
Chris Case 21:53
I was just gonna say, I think you have a two year point, Rebecca, they, you couldn’t probably quantify it. But in the short term, they’re going to be better athletes for all the things that they do, but then their careers might just extend out, be much longer be like yours. Maybe you’re in a bit of an anomaly. Rebecca, right. We’ve had Ned over and on the show before, he’s a bit of an anomaly. But maybe there will just be plenty of athletes in racing as at the highest of levels into their 50s. Just like you are.
I hope so. I mean, I hope that’s what Ned and I, you know, I hope that some of the legacy that we leave is that it’s, it’s entirely possible to be a lifelong athlete, if you take care of yourself, and you start early and, and you diversify, you know, I think something that’s really important is, is yes, I’m primarily a cyclist right now. But I just got done cross country skiing, I run with my dogs, you know, I do weights, I do a lot of different things. And that is probably what I would say is part of my not so secret sauce is that I have diversified. And you do see athletes that are single sport athletes running or cycling, that that they do tend to get overuse injuries. And there’s quite a few runners who found cycling, because you know, they got injured running and, and then got put on a bike for their recovery. And so that would be kind of one of my main takeaways for everyone here is that, mix it up a little bit. And if you’re on the bike all the time, do something where you’re standing up straight, and something that’s weight bearing, because that that will actually pay dividends as well.
Trevor Connor 23:34
And you touched on something earlier that I think is really important. That’s also to me one of the big messages of the the giant Science,
Chris Case 23:44
Science bomb bomb, I
Trevor Connor 23:45
just gave a call it
Chris Case 23:48
moms are nice, but that was pretty much a science bomb.
Trevor Connor 23:51
But you said it’s so the expression is use it or lose it. But the the important message here is, if you want to be a lifelong athlete, you really always have to stay at it, you can change what you’re doing to keep it interesting, but there are the research is very encouraging and saying if you are constantly training, you’re actually the the age related decline is not going to be nearly as much as we used to believe. But if you become sedentary for an extended period of time, you are going to see some negative effects. And some of them such as that increased size and the motor units is not something you can reverse.
Yeah, and I totally agree with you, Trevor, when I first connected with my current coach Tim kusik. That was the first thing he said to me is like, you just have to be consistent. You have so much experience in the bank. It almost doesn’t matter what we do. I mean, of course we have a training schedule. And it’s it’s, you know, scientifically planned and he’s a super smart guy. But really like the bottom line is is you just have to you have to be consistent. You have to just get out the door or be on your bike and do something even if it’s not exactly what Plan crew. And I think that that’s really important for people to, you know, accept or forgive themselves or know that like, Hey, I don’t have to do, you know, intervals seven days a week, or I don’t have to do, you know, 20 hours a week of training. But you do have to be consistent and not miss too many days in a row.
Chris Case 25:19
Perhaps this is a silly question. But, Trevor, maybe you have some insights. Maybe Tim has mentioned this to you, Rebecca. What’s that period of time? That’s too long for somebody at an age where they would see declines if they took, say, six months off? Is it six months is it they have to take an entire year off? Do you know what I’m saying?
I think it’s far less, Trevor probably knows the science. I know. For me personally, if I take you know, more than a few days off, I kind of get out of that rhythm and I kind of start to my body starts speaking to me, my mood changes a little bit, which is a little hard when I do big expeditions. You know, I come back home and you know, something like I did rod trail Invitational that’s seven days long, I come home and really, I just want to lay around, and you know, eat cheese and salami and drink coffee. And, and that’s what I want to do. But I find the faster I actually get moving, even if it’s a dog walk, even if it’s just simple blood flow, you know, the faster I get moving, the better. And so for me more than a week, and I start not feeling very good. And, and I will say you lose your fitness a lot faster than then you gain it. And I’m sure Trevor has some stats on that. But really, for me, it’s you know, something almost every day, even if it’s just a dog walk, like I said, People get caught up on I have to do all this really intense training, but really, you need to move, and I count those dog walks, you know, if Tim’s like, you know, recovery day, you know, I’ll go walk my dogs for an hour and a half for two hours. And, and that is having a great benefit on me physically, emotionally, and my dogs are happy to
Trevor Connor 27:00
I think you’re spot on. And to tell you the truth. I didn’t see a study on this. I think some of that’s because, really in the last four years, they realized, well, we got a lot of the research on aging wrong. So first, we need to see what what is truly aging effect versus just being sedentary. And then they’ll probably get to the so what happens if you take a certain length of time off. But I would agree with you that i think it’s it’s pretty short. I mean, when you’re some of these studies, we’re looking at protein expression that changes within 24 hours, you look at detraining effects. And true detraining is four ish weeks, four to six weeks. And my guess is when people are older to retrain, to get back to it is harder. And you might see more negative consequences that time off. So I agree with you completely that, no, you don’t have to be doing intervals all the time. But even when you’re taking a rest or taking a little time off doing something active, it’s going to help you a lot.
My former coach Dean golic, used to say, stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready. And I really like that, because a lot of times I’m invited, go do an expedition or go do something that it’s like, oh, that’s in a few weeks. And so what I think is if people just kind of maintain this baseline, you know, slow burn, general level of fitness, that’s, that’s really great. Because you’re not starting from zero again, you haven’t taken six months, totally completely off, and then you try to get back on and it’s also a life, it’s a lifestyle thing, if you don’t aren’t prioritizing movement in your life or training. It’s really hard to implement that back in and you know, I’m using air quotes, but find the time if you haven’t made the time and made that choice for that kind of self care.
Chris Case 28:58
Should we dive a little bit more into the specifics of some of these items and how you’ve changed your, your, your training to adjust to the things you’ve seen over the course of your career?
Yeah, sure. I mean, I will, we’ve talked about it in a previous podcast. But for me, having a coach or accountability or some sort of a training program really helps me with accountability of just showing up and, you know, have collaborated with my coach on offering, you know, base camp programs and programs for Private Idaho that are that are group training programs that really just help people kind of gather together and show up and do the work because it’s often you know, intrinsic motivation doesn’t happen every day of every week of every year. And we all need a little bit of extrinsic motivation. And so how I’ve, I guess how I’ve changed my training over the year is I’m pretty religious about needing a coach or training program. Because I’ve found left to my own left to my own sort of choices, I don’t always make the best choices. But like Trevor said, as my body is speaking to me, it’s a lot easier to listen because it does speak a little more quickly. And Amber neven is a friend of mine, she’s obviously a pro road cyclist, amazing athlete. And she she mentioned at one time that through the space program, base camp program, she said, you know, your body will first whisper to you, and then it’ll talk to you, and then it will yell at you. And, and it’s a really good point to learn to listen to those subtle cues. And so with my training, really a lot of the changes that have been made or listening to my body whisper sooner. And so I’ve added in a lot more stretching and yoga, I’ve added in mobility training with a friend of mine from the readystate Kelly star at, you know, 10 minutes a day of like, rolling my feet or ankles. And you know, when I say stretching or yoga, you know, we all get on the floor, and you stretch your hamstrings, but I’ve gotten a little more more sort of fine tune on if my body is speaking to me, oh, my feet are kind of tired, I did a run yesterday, my feet feel sort of sore, or, oh, I went back country skiing and my calves are sore. And you know, Kelly’s suggestion is find one place on your body a day that is speaking to you, and put your attention there because often we’re like, I need to stretch everything, you know, it like it all needs it. But But really, if you just kind of choose one thing a day, for me, that’s been a little bit more palatable. You know, if you don’t have a chronic injury, then you’re just you’re just listening to a few things that are that are talking to you, whether it’s hips, or knees or shoulders, or whatever. And I have taken a lot more time over the years to make sure that I am cross training a lot. I mean, I got really heavy into cycling for a while and running took a backseat. cross country skiing took a backseat, but I really, you know, at least two or three days a week I’m out doing something other than cycling. And what else have I done, I’ve really started focusing more on nutrition. You know, in my adventury seniors it was I call it the Swedish Fish and Cheetos years,
Trevor Connor 32:23
right, you’re out of the sweetest fish ears.
I mean, there’s nothing wrong with Swedish Fish or sugar, any of that for sure. And I used to have this theory that like, Look, I’m doing so much work that I can put anything I want into my body. And I deserve it because I’m working so hard. And and obviously, we all know that that you know you put garbage in and you’re going to get sort of garbage out as far as the energy expenditure. And so I have started focusing a lot more on on the macro and micronutrients and even make some of my own food for some of my expeditions so that I can really control what’s in there.
Trevor Connor 33:03
I think that’s very wise. And as much as I joke about the whole Swedish Fish thing, I admit, you know, 20 years ago, I go out for a six hour ride, go, I can eat two bags of Swedish Fish, this is great. It was kind of hard as you were saying, I am more and more going, yes, I could reward myself but I feel better I recover better. If I’m a little more careful about my nutrition on that ride.
Chris Case 33:26
One of the things that comes to mind, Rebecca, when you are describing all these changes is the fact that you’ve whether through fortune, good fortune, or otherwise good to hard work, you’ve been able to surround yourself with amazing people that friend, or have great coaches, befriend other great athletes seek out other experts in their field to help you and I got to think that that is something you’ve done more and more over the years as you’ve progressed through your career. And that’s got to be extremely important.
It’s huge. And you know, like I said, we’re all a work in progress. We’re all evolving, and nobody ever figures that figures it out. And there’s always new, new ways new technology. And I feel really fortunate that, you know, really through through mostly through Red Bull, you know, that I’ve had, they’ve been a 20 year partner of mine, and I’ve had access to World Class athletes who are, you know, racing cars or jumping out of airplanes or skiing or swimming. So I’ve been able to kind of rub shoulders with some really high achieving athletes, but also some really high achieving, you know, neurologists, scientists, you know, my coaches both have come and work through Red Bull. And so I’ve been able to have access to a lot of tools that have really just helped me educate myself. And I’m really lucky to have access to that but honestly, so does everybody else through the internet through social media through Questions of, you know, athletes that you admire, through programs like the one I’m doing with my coach, Tim, the base camp program, there’s so much more access to knowledge now than, you know, when I started running in high school, it’s like, you did what your coach said, and you use sort of hope that that was the right approach. And now I mean, with in the digital world, we have so much access to knowledge. And I would say that’s the big difference as you’re seeing performance for people is, athletes are just smarter, and they’ve learned more about their own bodies, you know, and taken even from DNA testing, to blood work to see, you know, inside what have you made of? And what kind of food can you eat, that will be the best for you? Or, you know, what kind of training does your body adapt to the best? What are your pros and cons that you have, you know, the things that you need to work on are the things that you’re naturally gifted with. And so the knowledge that is available to people is really amazing. But yeah, I’ve been lucky to, to chat with a bunch of athletes and bring people in, but, you know, I really want to share all that too. I feel like, like I said, with, you know, my legacy is hopefully to pass on 40 years of being a professional athlete, to to everybody else, no matter what age you are. And I’ll say for the people listening to this, if you’re older or younger than me, or whatever, I’ll tell you I started mountain bike racing at age 38. You know, have world championship titles in that, you know, tons, you know, mountain bike Hall of Fame, and I didn’t start till 38 doing that sport. And so it’s never too late to be a better version of yourself and to take on a new sport. If you’re thinking about it.
Chris Case 36:43
Are you encouraging all of us to go try? I did, Rod No.
Well, it’s taken me I did write, I will tell you I’m doing this winter bike expedition and I swore I you know, when we talk about, you know, genetic gifts or not genetic gifts. I’ve never been gifted in the cold. I’ve always hated the cold. I was been terrified of winter expeditions, and I’ve shied away from them. If you look at my resume, you know, I didn’t ice climb. I didn’t go mountaineering because because I my body is just not built for it.
Chris Case 37:11
But you live in Idaho.
I live in Idaho. It’s a cold place. I do have a house that I live in. Now. But a few years ago, I realized I needed a really big challenge for myself as an athlete, you know, at age 49. I went I you know, I signed up for the scariest thing I could ever think of which was the I did road trail Invitational and it’s a self supported bike packing expedition in the middle of Alaska in the winter, and it scared me enough that I sort of, I kind of needed that challenge I needed to the commitment, you know, I’ve done a bunch of hard stuff. But I realized I hadn’t been truly committed in a number of years. And and that was missing. And I think as we talked about evolving, as an athlete, I think it’s so important to listen to that little voice in your head. It’s like, Hmm, I wonder what, you know, fill in the blank. And when people asked me, you know, you were a rock climber paddler adventure racer, then you did 24 hour racing, and then you did levels, then you now you’re doing backpacking expeditions, you know, and people ask me about the evolution of that. And it’s really listening to that little small voice in my head that just says, I wonder that curiosity of like, I wonder what is over there. And that’s what I did. rod is about, I wondered if I could do it, if I could survive. And I’ve proven to myself that yes, I can survive it. Yes, I can do well at it. And now I’m going on my third year of of doing that race, I’ve finished twice. And you know, I’m now comfortable spending time, self supported out in the Alaskan wilderness and knowing that I can take care of myself. And really, what’s cool about that is, I know if I can survive, that I can survive, you know, 2020 I can survive the challenges that are presented to me I really feel like on the trail is where I learn how to be resilient, how to handle fear, how to handle you know, things that go wrong, how to get up off your bike, get up off the ground after you’ve fallen over. And so it may be it sounds a little cliche, but you know, I thought I was training for races all my life. And now I realized after I did a ride last year, I came back and realize the races I’ve been training me. And so that’s why you know, if I find out who I am out there, I learned out there and so yeah, I’m going back again, in just a few weeks to spend more time in the snow.
Chris Case 39:42
And I you know, there the lesson here is it does it doesn’t take a world class athlete to take on new challenges. Anybody can do this at any at any time in life. And if you want to keep it to cycling, maybe it’s get a just You don’t have to buy gear but try something different take on a new challenge. Maybe make yourself a little uncomfortable, do something you’re not so good at break out of that. And that can help you develop.
Trevor Connor 40:12
So I have a question about this. But first, I have to say I take just slight offense to this. Because I’m from Canada. cold, snowy, uninhabitable places. That’s our thing. Yeah. We got the Northwest Territories. We got the Yukon. Ellesmere Island. Nunavut. Yeah. And you put the race in Alaska.
Chris Case 40:34
You Canadians, if they were creative, they would have come up with something to rival. I did a rod but I don’t know.
Yeah, you know, there’s a very cool history of that race of the, you know, historic dog sled race and the Historic Trail of you know, delivering a life saving serum, you know, up to the town of Nome, if anyone hasn’t looked at the history of the Iditarod trail, it’s actually pretty fascinating. And that was part of the reason that drew me to that winter, there’s lots of winter bike expeditions. But I was really drawn to that one. Kind of, because of the sort of, you know,
Chris Case 41:09
the story of
Oh, you’re in the story, and you know, the history of it. And I really like being able to take my bike on places, you know, like the human trail that that I wrote of like riding through history and learning about a place by being there on my bike. So no offense to Canada, Canada’s amazing. And I’ve been up on the Yukon. That’s a really cool area. But yeah, that’s why I’m going to the I did rod is because of the history of it.
Trevor Connor 41:35
Do you think one of the secrets to longevity is this trying new challenge, changing it up? And I’ll just say, you know, me personally, I love stage racing. But I’ve been doing stage racing so long, I do find it can be hard to stay motivated, especially knowing that I just can’t race as well as I used to race 10 1520 years ago. Do you? Do you find that that changing up taking on the new challenge is very motivating and keeps you going?
Yeah, I absolutely. like think about all the things you’ve done in your life, if you did the same job your whole life, it probably get kind of boring, you know, or if you ran the same trail over and over again, you’re like, Oh, I want to run a new trail. And so that’s just normal human nature to have a curiosity. And I do think it’s really important to listen to that. And my coach Tim has said, you know, one of the things that wanes with age can be motivation. But I think the the remedy to that is variety, and changing things up. And you know, whether it’s getting a gravel bike, I know a lot of people right now are sort of they’ve been roadies, their whole life. And they’re finding gravel and off road riding for the first time. And suddenly, they’re really excited about riding their bike again. So absolutely. Change is essential for motivation. And you may always go back to you know, your tried and true trails are the things that, you know, our comfort food, so to speak. But But yeah, for me changes, absolutely super motivating, and an essential part of longevity. And there’s so much to choose from out there. And I think we’re seeing what’s really exciting evolution right now, you know, it’s lockdown and COVID is, is people are exploring their backyards in different ways. You know, they’re, they’re going to different places, they’re finding all these cool trails and, and they’re mixing it up a little bit. There’s a lot of new cyclists, there’s a lot of new runners who are finding outdoors for for maybe the first time. So if anyone in here listening to this is struggling with motivation, you know, two things variety and, and a community to motivate you. Those are really, really kind of the essential items for me.
Chris Case 43:52
So Rebecca, I know, let’s shift gears, I know your coach Tim kusik sent, sent over to us a little bit of an overview of some of the changes that you have or have not seen, as you’ve aged, the quick thoughts on on menopause. So this brings it right down to, to you specifically. Tell us a little bit about what he’s found in you.
Yeah, I think it’s really interesting. And a lot of people you know, menopause is a dirty word or people just it’s not something that people talk about. But what we’re seeing is athletes are, you know, as Trevor said, we’re competing, and hopefully training well into our 70s and beyond. And so, yeah, you know, we used to think 50 something was like this ancient athlete, but you’re seeing really high performing athletes, men and women well beyond that age, and so I was really interested in the changing changes that were happening in my body and asked my coach Tim kusik, to kind of like put together some thoughts on pre and post menopausal training and it was pretty cool. It’s a pretty brief little study. But for everyone, there’s going to be changes in your hormonal changes male and female as you age. And so for women and such a decrease in estrogen decrease in da ga. And then you know, there’s other things that aerobic capacity can decline faster. bone density can decline, lean muscle mass can decline and flexibility can decline. And I have noticed, you know, for me, flexibility for sure, and but the good news is, it’s easy to work on it. And so, you know, once I pay a little bit of attention to it, I don’t feel any difference. And the same with lean muscle mass, we have put more strength into my workouts, you know, even doing workouts right now for I did a ride where, because the bikes are quite heavy and loaded down, you’re pushing them through the snow, so you need a lot of upper body strength as well. And so I’m doing workouts now where I’m on on the bike trainer, I’ll get off in the middle of the workout, do a bunch of push ups and pull ups and get right back on the bike again, and kind of do sort of like strength intervals in the in the middle of my bike rides. And that’s been that’s been kind of a fun way to mix it up. Other things that happen postmenopausal are disrupted sleep, which I absolutely have noticed, and how and I used to be a world champion sleeper. And, and I’m still a pretty good sleeper, but I noticed I wake up a lot more. And so how I’ve adjusted to that is wearing an eye mask, you know, I use my Garmin watch for actually tracking my sleep, make sure I’m on a pretty regular get to bed at about the same time. And again, it’s all stuff that we know, but you don’t pay attention to it. So I have prioritized my sleep. And that’s, you know, if anybody’s looking for the magic pill of performance, sleep and recovery, that’s it, that’s the one. And he also, you know, Coach Tim says that motivation can wane which we already talked about. And but his his sort of like tips for it are, you know, the better your fitness leading into, you know, a change in life or menopausal change or hormonal change, the better off you are post, because you’re just ready for it. And nutritional management has become more important. And we already talked about how I’ve started making some my own food, being a little bit more disciplined about the supplements that I take about my hydration. And you know, adding strength and flexibility, those those aren’t a big deal he did do what was really cool. And I’ve had some the fun part about tracking training, and your power and you know, having training peaks and having all your stuff logged as you can go look back a number of years and see see where you were what was the snapshot of it all, and I love the technology in that way. It’s pretty fun. And, and Tim did a he did kind of a little graph of pre and post menopausal for me which he he compared one minute power two years pre in two years post.
And it was essentially the same. And then anaerobic power actually went up. And so that was kind of interesting, an interesting stat stat and aerobic steady state stayed the same. And so his findings were basically that, you know, I’m as strong if not stronger, post metal pause, then pre. And so that’s, you know, that’s really exciting for me. And the reason I share this stuff is that, you know, like we talked about at the beginning, you hear Oh, ah you know, age is a dirty word and but it’s the one thing that none of us will escape. And so the exciting thing and the reason I tell people I’m on version 5.2 is not for anyone to be impressed with what I do. But to show people that high performance at any age is right at your fingertips. If you just put a little more attention into your nutrition, you’re stretching, you know, some of the like I said, the spaces in between, not just specifically the bike workout or your running workout, but everything else that you’re doing in your lifestyle changes. And you’re going to be better on the bike or the same on the bike. And you’re just going to feel better as a human being moving through the world and performing in your family life, your work life and the whole rest of the time.
Trevor Connor 49:31
A thank you for sharing that. And I’m really glad you you’ve pointed this out, and we’re so willing to share that because I’m thinking back to my college days back my graduate program and that was really where you saw a very bleak picture painted of, once you hit menopause, you’re gonna lose bone mineral density, you’re you’re you’re gonna lose muscle mass. It was really not a pretty picture. They painted in school. But I have really wondered if that is a particular case where it’s more sedentary lifestyle than an inevitability. And I think you’re proven that
I think it must be. I mean, I’m living proof hopefully of that. Anyway, I think it’s great. Yeah. Nobody has to be scared. They just have to stretch sore.
Chris Case 50:22
Easy. Let’s see, it’s not that big of a deal and get a mask to sleep.
Yeah, yeah, please ask.
Trevor Connor 50:33
We show regular on the host of cycling and alignment, Colby piers, his thoughts about aging.
Colby Pearce 50:41
The most common advice I will give my athletes when we have conversations around aging and the aging athlete and the challenges they may be experiencing, are I really try to reframe things. And this comes down to self talk for me with a lot of athletes, I think. colloquially, there are a lot of expressions that get tossed around that are very, it’s really easy for us to parrot each other, we being humans, and one of the things you hear all the time is man getting old sucks. And that expression really drives me nuts. You might as well stick me in the ribs with a fork. Because I don’t think that’s accurate. I mean, for me, I don’t see this is Disney thinking this is this is baby talk, this is grade school, thinking, getting old, as bad, being young as good. Come on, let’s think a little deeper, be more discerning people, like get rid of the grade school talk. What everything is pros and cons, there are benefits to everything. Yeah, when you’re young, you’ve got great skin and, and you can stay up all night and party and then get up the next day and seemingly be fine and you can eat crappy food and your digestion doesn’t really seem to have a consequence. It does, it’s just that you haven’t registered that consequence yet, and your body’s younger and more robust, so it can handle more load. But then there’s also this downside to that where people extrapolate that paradigm to the nth degree, and they assume that every workout they do now takes them longer to recover from. And there probably is some truth to that. But there’s also truth in language and words and our own focus. I mean, remember what Yoda taught us, you know that what you focus on is your reality. So if you’re telling yourself every single day, man, I’m old, getting old sucks. Every time I do intervals that I used to do all the time, I’m throttled for five days instead of two. And you just repeat that cycle over and over again in your brain. I mean, science has shown us pretty clearly, you keep telling someone something long enough and repeated often enough, they’ll believe it. So here’s one a one, stop the mental chatter in your head, take out the trash, do a little introspection about your own thought processes and have some awareness of that. And so I try to encourage my clients to think about their own thought habits and give themselves a little bit of a break or maybe stop recycling or parroting some of the stuff that their coffee shop. But he’s been saying for years, because I don’t necessarily believe that as we get older, our cycling performance has to take a huge nosedive. And I’ll mention also there’s a relationship between the global holistic care you take of yourself and the consciousness you have those things and how much of an impact your hard training will have on your recovery. So what I’m saying is get smarter about how to recover, understand more about how intelligent hydration strategies can really benefit you and help you bounce back from a workout more quick, more quickly and more effectively. Understand how smarter fueling has a positive impact on your desire to go ride your mountain bike hard for three hours every Saturday or whatever, right? I mean, back in the day, we eat Taco Bell and Pizza Hut or pizza bagels. Yeah, that kind of worked. But it also gave us a bunch of inflammation. Now we can be smarter about our nutrition choices. Now we’re smart enough to know that certain foods don’t agree with us. And so that’s the the pros and cons of aging. Well, the pros are, I am so much wiser than I was when I was 17. I know so much more about my own body. I’ve learned so much from other people about how to recover from these modalities and also went to be smart about applying load and not just blindly bludgeoning myself over and over again, because my buddies are going riding hard for 80 miles. And I’m going to jump on the bandwagon. I’m smart enough to say it’s cold today. I slept like crap last night. I just had two constructive days of training. And I’m pretty tired. So I know that that rides not going to serve me. So I’ll all maybe I’ll make a compromise. I’ll meet you guys at the coffee shop. I’ll I will skip the croissant and the bacon and I will ride out of town with you. And then after 45 minutes, I’ll say I do and go home and enjoy my Saturday afternoon. And that’s the wisdom of age helps us discern when training serves us and when it doesn’t. And so we use the wisdom of age to help us make those decisions. By We also have the patience and self discipline to apply training and the right loads at the right moments. And all of these are benefits of being an aged athlete, not to mention, you get to teach all the young whippersnappers a few of the lessons you learned. And when you do that, you should always start every lesson with back when I was your age. And then in there, you have to insert a sentence about uphill both ways, and no shoes and snow. And you’re getting it done. Right.
Chris Case 55:31
I heard you mentioned in there being on the trainer, do you use zwift? Do you use some of these online training tools, virtual training tools? And is that a result of where you live, or the fact that maybe you used to that maybe this is silly, but you used to take risks and ride in the snow more, and now you’re just like, I want to get my session in and I’ll do it on Swift.
I do use swift and I, you know, I attribute it’s really the last couple years that I have embraced training indoors because for anyone who’s know me, you’re right, like training indoors used to be this sort of like torture session that someone would have to strap me to the bike, and it was awful and only about it so much. And really that has changed for me with with a couple things, one with the sort of getting a smart trainer, I use the tax Neo. And that’s pretty awesome. And so and using a app like swift has really changed indoor training for me. And so my, my training is loaded, you know, I’m actually meeting people online, I mentioned the base camp program are ready, I’m riding with people, Tuesday and Thursday mornings. So so there’s a lot of factors in there. One, it’s more motivating, because there’s a group setting to the technology is better. So my trainer is actually loading my workouts. And you know, if I’ve got to do intervals, you know, there’s no cheating on that trainer, it actually, you know, the erg mode actually controls the power, and you’ve got to do it. And the third thing is, you know, one thing we haven’t touched on, as you know, anyone who has, you know, isn’t 20 years old living out of their car like I was and just rock climbing all around, we all have job commitments and life commitments. And our, you know, a lot more commitments during our day. And so just being able to knock out an hour quickly in the morning, with an indoor trainer is actually very efficient for me with with the other demands on owning businesses and stuff. But that said, You know, I do also really make a point of, you know, there’s two days a week indoors, and the rest of the days that week are outdoors for me, because for me, there is definitely a sort of emotional motivation vation to being outside seeing the snow, you know, you know, seeing the trees and mountains So, so I mix it up, use both and both tools are totally amazing. And I never would have thought I’d be looking forward to my Tuesday and Thursday morning workouts on zwift. And on my trainer, but I really do because they’re efficient, and I’m meeting people there and so I save basically I really specific interval workouts I’ll do indoors in the winter. For for all those reasons that I just mentioned. But yeah, are you are you getting on? swift? Maybe we can meet for a ride.
Chris Case 58:21
Yeah, well, let’s i was i was very much like you and I’m, I’m not gonna say I’m doing it consistently. But I’ve probably been on it five times in 2021.
Trevor Connor 58:35
For a year, we could not get Chris on zwift like this. It was Satan. He wouldn’t touch it.
Well, here’s the deal. Let’s Let’s do it. So every Tuesday, Thursday, I host a ride that’s presented by live and it’s a progressive training, right? It’s been a 16 week program. We’ve got six weeks left. And they’re very progressive specific intervals. So if you you if you want to join me in the next six weeks on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at eight o’clock Mountain Time. All right. There you go. Anyone can anyone who’s listening to this? I’d love to have you join me for some intervals.
Trevor Connor 59:10
I want to see this. I want to see Chris come and join you. I know volunteering for right. Well,
Chris Case 59:14
you know, there was a ride on our schedule that was called Batman intervals. I couldn’t pass that one up. There was there was another one that was basically it was a gonna turn into a race between Trevor and I and we have this you know, friendly rivalry. So I had to do that one. But we
Trevor Connor 59:28
did have the race. Yeah, I didn’t sleep that night. And I was so destroyed from it.
Chris Case 59:33
Yeah, well, that’s your
Trevor Connor 59:35
friendly rivalry is quite the right word.
Chris Case 59:40
Aggressive rivalry, we’ll call it
Trevor Connor 59:42
we sat in the same room together and for 45 minutes. Neither one of us said a word couldn’t talk.
Chris Case 59:48
Oh, well, you know, that’s the best
Thursday everyone stays together. It is a specific workout. But it’s it’s set. So
Chris Case 59:55
ya know. You’ve got the Yeah. Together, right. Yeah. No, I will. I will consider it, Rebecca, but it you know, I’m like you I love the outdoors? And if I can I’ll do it outside.
There’s a there’s really a beauty in both. Yeah. And if you have the choice and come summer, I don’t spend as much time and I won’t spend any time indoors probably. But yeah, for the winner, it’s it’s actually been really it’s been a really awesome tool. And I think for people you know, during lockdown, it’s been an amazing way for people to connect on the bike, as you know, with their own community and with other riders.
Chris Case 1:00:33
Have you I this is changing the subject. Have you had to modify? Have you strategically modified the types of races you focus on given any of these changes that we’ve talked about? Aside from the motivational aspect of just trying something new? Is it? Is it something that goes along with your physiology? Now?
You know, I? That’s a super good question. And I have, you know, since blood road, you know, my ride on the human trail, and really doing that sort of big bike expedition. Since then, that was a real eye opener to me that I missed expeditions, you know, I miss the adventure racing, I missed the multi day planning with a map and compass, you know, really going on an adventure and blood road, really opened my eyes to that, I’d been lacking that. And so since then, I’ve been gradually trending more towards bikepacking and expedition type rides, and ultra endurance rides, you know, even longer than what I had been doing. And really, I think, because my heart and soul wanted to do it. But you’re probably right, it does fall in line with, with sort of where my motivation is, and, you know, training for Leadville, and you know, 100 mile race for me is really short. And those years of like the hyper focus training for Leadville, were really cool. But I actually feel like that was a stepping stone to to get to where I am now. And, and the type of riding I’m doing now I actually feel like it is a combination of all the skills I’ve been developing for so many decades of Yeah, navigation, sleep deprivation, the planning for an expedition, going overnight. And then the super hyper focused bike training now is taking me into these bike expeditions. And, and so I think it’s a lot all those things combined. And like I said earlier, is really listening to what was exciting me and what was exciting me was wanting to do bike packing and bike expeditions. And so I have to listen to that. And the good news is, is that that’s what my body’s really good at is going long. And I have the experience and the know how for it. So it really is capitalizing on what I want to do and what I’m good at right now.
Chris Case 1:02:57
What are some other things that help? You know, this is a strange time that we’re dealing with now. People are more isolated than they’d like to be more isolated than there used to? How have you been helping people get involved in sport or stay involved in sports so that they don’t lose some of that stuff that they they have as they get older?
Yeah, thanks for asking that. And I mean, I was suffering from the same thing of like, I need a challenge. I need something to do and, and really spring of 2020 after coming back from my Diderot, I was really unmotivated and not training consistently. And in my coach Tim asked me, he’s like, what’s it gonna take for you to get off the couch, basically. And I was like, I need a big scary goal. And I started thinking about what that could be. And really, I designed a new challenge. It was something called the giddy up challenge that we did last year. It was an interesting challenge. And so I set myself out to do you know, in Everest on my bike, I’d never done it on a gravel bike, but set up a program where anyone anywhere could run or bike and Everest or half Everest or a quarter Everest. And we ended up raising $130,000 for COVID relief with that giddy up challenge last year. And so it really kind of showed me that one people want to feel connected, they want motivation and they want to ride with purpose. And so I brought back the giddy up challenge this year that’ll that registration will open on the 15th for anyone everywhere. And also Private Idaho, which has been my signature event for going on nine years now. 2020 we had a remote Rebecca’s Private Idaho. So people design a course at home. And again, it’s fundraising for the good foundation. And so this year, we’ll have a base camp RPI, a training program, we’ll have a remote RPI and then hopefully we’ll have RPI in person and really the the importance of all of these challenges for people is not the actual challenge of like, did you climb Mount Everest or did you put out a billion watts or how fast did you go? It’s the fact what we’ve all been talking about is a challenge in front of you. That’s kind of big and scary and hairy and audacious. What that does is that allows you to have that daily lifestyle choices of getting on the bike doing some training, you feel like you’ve got something coming up. And there’s this amazing spiral effect of you’re going to sleep more better, you’re going to drink your water, you’re going to do your training, because you’ve got something you’re working towards. So for anyone who can or can’t travel, you know, and we’ve talked about it before people ask when are you going to retire waiting to stop doing races? And the answer is never, because not that I really care about the race itself. It’s that I care, I need the motivation and want the motivation to have those daily lifestyle changes to be the best version of myself that I can. So if anyone wants to join me giddy up challenger, RPI. And I really have my goal is that with those programs, I’m opening up my network of Redbull high performance people, scientists, my coach is actually designed to training programs, the goal is to open up that world that’s typically available to a pro athlete to anyone. And so you know, that is really what I want to do is bring people into my world and ride together with everybody.
Trevor Connor 1:06:14
That’s fantastic. Yeah, I attempted your giddy up challenge last year. Yeah. Awesome. went out to do it on on Flagstaff climb here and boulder got to the top. And then it started this mix of ice and rain coming down. tried to do this and almost slipped out and went, Okay, this is gonna work.
Chris Case 1:06:33
Today’s not the day
Trevor Connor 1:06:34
went and finished it on zwift. But because it was two different climbs in one was virtual one was real. It never registered.
Yeah, but good for you. That’s awesome that you actually went and finished it. I love that story.
Trevor Connor 1:06:48
Oh, thank you, I have to
this year, you’ll get to get to do it. You’ll get to do it on flag stuff.
Trevor Connor 1:06:54
Yeah, that would be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to that. I thought it was a great challenge you put together and you really promoted? Well, you made it a lot of fun.
Trevor Connor 1:07:03
So I’ve got one question that I have to ask or something I have to point out here. This has nothing to do with today’s topic, but I am looking at the data that Tim sent us. And really just want to point out something that struck me, which is your first I’m looking at your your annual training volume. And I won’t share the numbers here. But it is quite impressive, you are training quite well. But then I look over and I love seeing this, I look at your CTL. And I think a lot of our listeners would grant that it’s February 2, but I think a lot of our listeners would be surprised by how low it is. And I love that. Because I see so many athletes who think fitness is about seeing how high a CTL you can get. And here you are coached by one of the guys who invented CTL. And he’s training you right and say no, we don’t want to have you at a crazy CTL right now.
You know, and that is a point that so many, like I love technology and measuring all of this. But it’s something that that can be a detriment to some athletes who are just obsessed on the number and, you know, won’t actually take rest days or take a break or you know, let yourself slide a little to come back up again. And it’s it’s a very hard concept when you’re looking at those numbers. And, and I do too, I’m like, I want to be this CTL by the time I get to Alaska. And I try not to obsess with it. But really the number I focus on more is if he’s put the the you know, the amount of work I’m supposed to do that week, the TSS, you know, I trust him and I trust the science and so I do the work, he says, and I trust him enough to know that he’s a lot smarter than I am. And I think that’s important to tell people and especially writing on zwip quiz, she talked about it, you know, people can see your power. And mine is not that impressive. It’s not that great. Like it’s okay. You know, but there’s lots of people in Basecamp who have higher power than me. And that’s where we talk about what we’ve talked about is your you perform as as a whole unit and your brain. The watts you put out the nutrition you’ve had how good of a night of sleep you have the experience that you have your mental, you know fortitude, your maturity, all of those things go into your performance far more than a wattage number or a CTL number on your training peaks.
Chris Case 1:09:37
Well Rebecca we like to close out every episode with giving our guests giving ourselves and our guests one minute to sort of recap the the core message and we’ll start with you today. What would you say is the biggest take home from the episode today.
consistency and the spaces in between and science is amazing. But it’s not it’s not everything. And and I’d really say that you know, feed your your mind and your spirit as much as your train your mind and your spirit as much as you’re training your body. And ultimately, that will lead to really great performance and that, you know, whatever version you’re on in your life, you always have the opportunity to make choices today and tomorrow and the next day to be the best version of whatever version you’re on. Trevor,
Trevor Connor 1:10:31
what would you add? I’m going to start with a maybe this is wishful thinking, but I love what all the science shows, agent is not what we thought it was. And we can all age very gracefully and very well, I think there were, there were two things in the conversation that really stood out to me. One was to age gracefully. And to stay competitive and strong for a very long time, is consistency. You can maintain strength and fitness very well. But if you take a couple years off, if you take a long time off, that’s where you really start to see the declines that they think of with aging, and some of that you can’t reverse. So you don’t always have to ride a bike but do something. And that brings us to the second point, which you really got me thinking about. And Rebecca, I thought it was a really great point of find new challenges. Find other things to do. You might love a particular bike race right now. But if you do 30 years in a row, it might get a little tiring after a while you need some you need a new challenge.
Chris Case 1:11:41
Yeah, Trevor, you need to do Leadville.
Trevor Connor 1:11:43
Yeah, do actually really do
Chris Case 1:11:45
or unbound or something lot. You know, you’re built for long distance to short events, I think you could do really well at some of these very, very fun events that are not on the road.
Trevor Connor 1:12:00
Yep. Oh, I agree. So Chris, what’s your one minute?
Chris Case 1:12:04
Well, I don’t know anything about aging. Because I’m so young,
you’re evolving, you’re still evolving.
Chris Case 1:12:09
I’m still evolving. What I what I like most out of this episode, and it doesn’t matter how old you are, is, is that notion of listening to your body and don’t ignore even the whispers that your body is your body. This sounds silly, maybe but your body is kind of smart. And it’s giving you those signals that you should not ignore, whether they’re whispers whether they’re spoken to you whether they’re yelled, certainly if they’re yelled at you, then you should be paying attention. And that that is going to take you that’s going to do a lot for you and help you understand what your body is in need of. Hopefully it doesn’t get to that level of craving. That I think is when you’ve waited too long. But I think that notion of listening is a great one. Well, Rebecca, it’s always a pleasure. Thank you for your wisdom today. Thank you for joining us on fast talk.
I look forward to riding with you all digitally or in person really soon.
Chris Case 1:13:15
Yeah, I can’t wait. That was another episode of fast dock. Subscribe to fast talk wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcasts and be sure to leave us a rating and review. thoughts and opinions expressed on pastime are those of the individual as always we love your feedback. Join the conversation at forums dot fast Doc labs.com to discuss each and every episode. Become a member of fast talk laboratories at fast talk labs.com slash join and become a part of our education and coaching community. For Becca rush, Dr. Andy Pruitt, Colby Pierce and Trevor Connor. I’m Chris case. Thanks for listening