Is Virtual Racing the Future? – with Ben Delaney

Road racing has been on a decline, while virtual racing has been accelerating as a legitimate type of racing. We discuss what this means for both sports.

Cyclist on indoor trainer

There was a time when a virtual race was something that just tided you over in the winter until the “real” racing began in the spring. But now, platforms like Zwift and RGT have race leagues, national championships, and prize purses in the tens of thousands of dollars. They have become a legitimate form of racing in their own right.  

In this episode, we talk with Ben Delaney, who has just launched The Ride with Ben Delaney on YouTube. He talks about what’s going on in both road racing and virtual racing in order to find out if the two are having an impact on each other. With years of experience as a journalist and editor at VeloNews, Ben is the perfect person to discuss these trends in racing – even new forms of racing like Zwift.  

Joining Delaney is a host of experts including coach Alec Donahue, the founder of Cycle-Smart, Bruce Bird, a high-level amateur rider in Canada, CTS coach, and six-time Masters National Champion. Renee Eastman, Dr. Andy Pruitt and Colby Pearce (who really need no introduction), and Chris Carmichael, the founder of CTS coaching will also be guests on this episode.  

So, pull out your trainers, get your game face on, and let’s make you fast! 

Episode Transcript

(Please excuse any typos as this transcript is generated automatically through A.I.)


Trevor Connor  00:04

Welcome, everybody to another episode of Fast Talk Rob has graciously let me do the welcome here.

Rob Pickels  00:13

Well, Trevor has been in my shadow for a long time. It’s time zone.

Trevor Connor  00:20

Let’s see if I can do that.

Rob Pickels  00:21

Let’s see what you got, you know, listeners, you can vote if if Trevor really should be the host of this let’s let’s see if he can do it today bonking on race day socks, and we’ve all been there, having the proper nutrition is essential for you to perform at your optimal level. Don’t wait until the last minute to think about race day nutrition. Now is the time. Our race day nutrition plan will help you create a unique eating and drinking strategy that focuses on the way your body burns fuel so that you never bunk again. Today’s fuel is tomorrow’s win. Get your race day nutrition plan now at fast talk

Trevor Connor  01:09

So looking at the exit and trying to figure out how we can sneak out right now is Ben. Welcome to the show. Hey, everybody. And Ben, so you have something to announce. I know this is early phases, but you’ve got your own project go on. So can you tell us a little bit about it?

Ben Delaney  01:26

Yeah, absolutely. Thanks. Thanks for having me on the show. longtime listener second time joiner to the pot. Yeah, I’ve got two things going out. Some folks may know me from my VeloNews days or my bike radar days. Now I am doing two things. I’m working with our buddy Frank Overton at fast cat coaching, where I’m content director as of mid July. And looking forward to doing that doing podcast and stories. And then also I’m launching my own thing on YouTube, which is called the ride with Ben Delaney. It’s featuring mostly gravel bike and rode bike reviews done inside events. So for instance, this past weekend, I was up in Nebraska did the Aruba do rendezvous, tested a check checkpoint with the arrow bars and lip shifters and then went up a Sunday to the Big Horn gravel where I tested a BMC urs. So if you’re interested in seeing how bikes fare from the perspective of a guy who’s been at it for many years, yeah, check out the ride with Ben Delaney. And thanks for letting me plug my bit. Of course,

Trevor Connor  02:23

I’m looking forward to watching it. So my first year working at VeloNews was your last year as editor in chief didn’t actually really get a chance to meet you. But for the next what, eight years that I worked at VeloNews. Everybody talked about the golden era VELENA that was the days you are Editor in Chief.

Rob Pickels  02:44

So good. I will say Ben, the you know, the moment that you told us about this new YouTube channel with the ride with Ben Delaney. Right. I went on and I subscribed, I thought I was gonna be like subscriber number two. And there’s already hundreds of people that are subscribed to it. So I’m, I’m already impressed. Thanks. Appreciate the sport. With that said, It’s funny though, to me that boulder is used to be the bike capital of the United States. And it’s becoming like the bike media capital of the United States. This is a crazy shift that’s going on right now.

Ben Delaney  03:11

Yeah, there’s a lot here. And that’s one thing that I love about the bike businesses is that it’s small and familial. And, you know, like, Kaylee was an intern back in the day, and now he’s leading the charge of cycling tips. And yeah, we’ve all been in the same orbit at different points. And I really appreciate that. So that’s a cool thing about the bike business in general. Yeah, a lot. A lot of media here. You got people from bicycling cycling tips, fella news outside, et cetera. And, of course, fast talk labs.

Trevor Connor  03:38

Yeah, we’re the new upstarts in the area. But it’s a good family. It’s a lot of fun, you know, go to the Super Training last Sunday of every month, and we all just go out and ride one another and beat each other up.

Ben Delaney  03:50

Sure. Or like, you know, you and I were going around in circles there. It’s just this past Tuesday night pro zoom was going to a criterium series Tuesday night thunder Tuesday

Trevor Connor  03:59

night. And I was going to bring that up, because that strangely is is how I’d like to introduce our topic today, which is about virtual racing, because you pointed that out on Tuesday, you and I traveled relatively far to go and do this little local weekly race out in a kind of an industrial park

Rob Pickels  04:21

relatively far you rode your bike

Ben Delaney  04:27

most people in America would object to what far is I remember like living in New Mexico when I hear people from the Front Range talk about what acceptable travel was, it was like, Yeah, I’ll do I’ll drive like 20 minutes where I was like, I just drove up from Albuquerque. It was seven hours. Yes. You’re spoiled rotten. Shut your faces. Yeah.

Trevor Connor  04:43

Well, to your point, it wasn’t 30 minutes. I thought it was 30 minutes. It was actually 45 Which is why I had to pin my number really

Rob Pickels  04:50

quickly. spray glue for the win.

Trevor Connor  04:54

But so here’s my question. That was a lot of fun. But why did we do that verse says stay at home hop on a Zwift raise because there’s one going on every 10 minutes, get our race fixed, don’t pay the $10 don’t have all the travel. But what was the reasoning?

Ben Delaney  05:10

I’d have to say I’m a little bit gobsmacked here this, your question is in the exact opposite direction of what I was expecting it to be. I thought you were when we’re going to talk about Zwift I thought you were gonna say why would someone do online racing when you have the beauty of outdoor riding in race?

Trevor Connor  05:26

And that leads me to the theme? Because four years ago, five years ago, maybe that would have been my question, why would you hop on Zwift when there’s a an actual race, but more and more people are thinking the other way? I have a lot of friends now that even though there are local weekly races they can go to they’re not going to them anymore. When asked them why they go? Why would I can just go down to my basement get the same fix? It’s safer. I don’t have the travel. Yes. So I’m just going to do that. And that is I think the trend that we’re seeing and what we’re going to talk about today?

Rob Pickels  05:59

Well, it’s a question of the default state, which is what you sort of implied right? And it’s almost as if the default state of racing right now is whiffed, add up the number of participants in in person races across the US across the world. And I bet you it pales in comparison to the number of people that are actually competing on Zwift in terms of participant numbers. And I think that that’s incredible. And I think the conversation is why why is that? Should it be that way? But why is that ultimately?

Trevor Connor  06:27

And so why don’t we start by talking about the changes we’re seeing in the race scene. And Ben, I think you can talk a lot to this. But so I remember back when I was racing full time, believe it or not, there were so many races on the NRC. So this is the professional North American calendar. There were so many races on the NRC calendar racers were complaining, they couldn’t go to all of them. Now, there’s so let’s separate stage races and credits. There’s still a phone number of credits. But back in 2007, there were I think 28 stage races on the calendar. Now there’s three or four. So you’re really seeing this dying off. I feel of road race and even around here in Colorado. I remember, you could go to a race every weekend. And that’s not the case anymore. Yeah. Like there’s

Ben Delaney  07:15

a few things at play. There’s the general trends. Gravel is a cool thing as whiffed is a popular thing. perception of safety is a thing, whether that’s just riding on the roads or racing in road events. That’s a thing. But then the another undercurrent is the cost and the logistical brain damage of putting on road events. So if you’re a road promoter, getting permits, and paying for police for a road event is a substantial hurdle compared to putting on a gravel event where you’ve got much fewer hurdles, fewer costs, or doing something online where it’s free 99. So I can’t point to one single thing is like, this is why it shifted. But yes, I absolutely agree that there are far fewer road races, both from like a prestigious pro situation from years ago. And from a participatory standpoint, in terms of like number of events and number of participants at set events.

Trevor Connor  08:15

Knowing a bunch of race organizers, I think you really did hit on one, though, is the difficulty of organizing races. I’ve heard from many race organizers that it’s getting more and more difficult when you go to the towns to get the permits that towns don’t want you there. You know, people in the community complained about the bike race, it’s disruptive, it shuts down roads. So it’s getting harder and harder to get the permits, you have to pay more and more to get them to do it. You have to have the police there and pay them double time to work on the weekends. And it really has gotten to the point to organize a road race. At the very best you’re going to break even generally, you’re going to lose money.

Rob Pickels  08:52

Is this a chicken or an egg situation, though? Because I think that what, you know, the current argument that’s being made is well, it’s from the event side, there are fewer events, because events are getting harder to put on and all of these things. But my question and the thing that I’ll champion is, it’s the other side of the equation. It’s the riders for me Road in general. And what we’re talking about currently is road racing, right. But Road in general, as a sport as a discipline is shrinking. And I think that the decrease in events road racing events is because of the decline and people that are interested the change in the ridership for me is the bigger driver more than anything else.

Ben Delaney  09:36

Yeah, unfortunate. We don’t have a way to quantify that, you know, it’s a lot of it’s just conjecture, like what’s what are our total numbers of participants and I mean, we can look at like bike sales that spike during COVID until there were no more bikes to be had. Yeah, you know, we can look at and the United States USA Cycling licenses. Yeah, that’s certainly been trending downwards. But does that mean that the interest level and people competing on bicycles is trending downwards. Again, the gravel folks would tell you Heck no, we’re just wanting to do things differently. The online crowd would also probably disagree with that, that the interest in competing in pedaling is going down. But yeah, it’s it’s hard to hard to know beyond like our personal anecdotes what the total numbers

Rob Pickels  10:19

look like, Oh, come on, Ben, just make wild statements that have no facts to back them. It makes.

Ben Delaney  10:25

Let’s make this a political show what is absurd things with great confidence and nothing to back it up.

Trevor Connor  10:30

I’ll give you an example. I have a friend who’s a race organizer up in Buffalo, New York. And he still puts on multiple events a year. So actually, Buffalo, New York has a good road scene. I just received an email for him, actually, this week, talking about the fact that they’re getting no women to come to the races at all. So they’re actually changing their rules. And all women racing is going to be free. You don’t have to pay anything, just to get to kind of give it that bump to get women back racing. So it’s not there’s a lack of races going on. I’ve been to all these races and buffalo. They’re really good races. I used to drive down from Toronto, because I looked forward to great races, and they just can’t get people to show up. Coach Alec Donohue, the founder of cycle smart has seen the decline in road racing. But he feels that virtual racing will actually light the fire under race organizers.

Alec Donahue  11:25

I don’t think it’s having a negative impact. I think it’s it’s drawing a larger group that we can, you know, draw on going forward. So I think it’s up to promoters like myself to keep on progressing. I think anything we’re seeing as a downturn and cycling is kind of, I’m not saying my fault. But as a promoter, we need to keep on evolving our events to keep them attractive. And so I think virtual racing, or I know virtual racing will light a fire under our feet to actually get better at what we do. Because if we can’t be out, you know, hanging out in your basement by yourself not meeting with people, then it’s our own fault if we lose those clients customers. So I think it does have an impact, but it’s a good impact, because it’s bringing more people in. It’s really cool. It’s new, and it motivates old school promoters to kind of like liven up their game.

Rob Pickels  12:18

And, Ben, I think that you’re right, in that you said, it’s not like people aren’t interested in competition. Right. But I do think that road competition isn’t necessarily aligned with where the consumer where the rider wants to be today, it’s almost kind of going back to this technology debate. We were having, you know, earlier this morning, right. And is road racing the Betamax is it VHS is it was great for a long time and the best that we had, but is it dying out? And is it going to be kind of lost,

Trevor Connor  12:48

you could take my Betamax and you pry it from my cold dead hands.

Rob Pickels  12:54

As the guy that was at a road race this week,

Trevor Connor  12:57

I think I had been on the wrong side of every single debate. Right from when I was a little kid there was the Atari Intellivision debate and I went and television bad choice. You heard

Rob Pickels  13:07

it here first, folks, if you’re looking for stock trades do the opposite of what Trevor does.

Trevor Connor  13:11

Oh, literally. So this is a tangent. But I actually read this article about marketers are looking for these particular type of people that whatever product they choose, that product is going to flop. Because there’s a value in watching those people and their choices, because you don’t want to invest in whatever they pick. I read the whole article. I’m like, damn it. I’m one of those people.

Ben Delaney  13:36

Listen carefully to the device kids and do the exact opposite from this is

Rob Pickels  13:40

like the summer of George, right where George did the opposite of what his first instinct was,

Trevor Connor  13:44

when it comes to buying products, like even food products. If there’s a company that puts out multiple flavors of a particular food, the flavor that I like that I pick, that’s the one that they discontinued, because nobody else buys it. I love it. I love it. I am that consumer.

Ben Delaney  14:01

So will swift replace road racing or outdoor events. I say absolutely not particularly now that the weather in the northern hemisphere is lovely. And it’s probably 95 degrees in my garage, and I discontinued my swift membership for the summer. So that’s, I can argue both sides of the equation. And as you guys know, I’m a huge proponent of Swift racing, particularly in the winter for a number of reasons. But am I going to abandon riding a bike outside? No.

Trevor Connor  14:29

Let’s talk a little bit about the rise of Zwift. What is brought that about? And I think one of the obvious things here is Zwift. And virtual, you know, we should talk about virtual race, and there’s RGB, there are other tools where you can do online racing, but it seems like this came out right at the right time that they had figured out the technology. They had really gotten their momentum and then COVID head. Yep. And there was no on the road racing. So I think you saw a big jump and so here’s the question is did that accelerate something? Or now that right icing on the road is coming back and gravel racing has come back. You know, we’ll talk about the different forms. Are you going to see the decline in the virtual racing? Or is it here to stay? And is it going to continue to grow?

Ben Delaney  15:11

Yeah, COVID was a huge bump for us with for sure. Not only was there not racing, but for a while many of us were had been told over and over do not congregate, don’t go on group rides. So it was with became a social platform. And many of us were using the, you know, the in game chat function as a social thing, or using discord to chat with people. And that’s something that I really appreciate and can attest to the benefit of that, like, this is a social connection thing. I can sit in my garage, and every week look forward to racing with my teammates all over and chat with him. So that was a social thing. And definitely COVID times were, like peak for that. But now I think now that we’ve had that taste, we’re not going to be doing it year round. But once it gets cold again, yeah, I’m absolutely looking forward to that. I think I’m pretty representative, that it will be a year round thing for some people, and it will be a winner thing for a whole lot of people. That’s my take.

Trevor Connor  16:03

But here’s the one thing I want to throw at the two of you is kind of a counter argument that Swift is here to stay on on the rise. So I remember when cycling road cycling was at its peak here. I would go to races like cascades, which was one of the biggest races in the country Altoona, all these really big races that all the top pros came to, and you would look in the race Bible at the prize breakdown. And the winner of cascades can’t win the biggest races in the country, I think got $2,600 It was tiny. I have been hearing about races on Zwift, where there’s 50,000 Plus purses, there’s a huge amount of money in some of these whiffed races. So that indicates to me that this is not a let’s do this, if there’s nothing out on the road. But this is now a very legitimate form of racing.

Rob Pickels  16:53

Well, I think that there are definitely people in teams that are dedicated to Zwift racing itself, right. We had somebody on our podcast earlier Gen rail, who did a q&a episode, and they are primarily a Zwift racing team. I think there’s a little racing outside, but it’s secondary to them. You know, and I think that there’s always going to be the split of consumers, right? You have, you know, Ben, I think that you represent more of that traditional road racer, you’ve been doing this for a really long time, you’re very good at sort of that outside road racing. And you’re viewing Zwift as maybe a secondary thing that helps you ultimately achieve what you want to achieve, which is sort of that outside performance, or that outside phone or whatever else. I do think that there are people on the other end of the spectrum, though, who views with and I hate that we keep using the term Swift, I apologize to everyone out there, because it’s sort of the Kleenex of the of the situation, right, who use indoor riding, indoor racing, virtual racing, whatever we call it, that for some people, and maybe for other people, it’s hard to believe and understand this. But for some people, this virtual world racing is their primary activity, sure that they’re they’re doing 10, you know, 15 hours a week of virtual racing, sorry, maybe not racing itself, but riding, you know, and I think for a lot of people that’s based on location and everything else. But you’re right, Trevor, with where you’re going in, there are some people who are incentivized to specialize because of these big prize purses. And I think that, you know, there’s a learning curve to online racing, if you’re going to truly be good at it, you got to be doing it, you got to be putting in the time learning the tactics, learning how the game works, learning how your trainer works, and everything else. So for some people, 100% those big prize purchases are really driving people to be specialized in this area.

Ben Delaney  18:38

I think we just did, there’s a key distinction between professionals doing something to make money and ostensibly to entertain others, and then the rest of us as participants doing something for the enjoyment. And there I think there’s a pretty clear distinction between in person events, like you mentioned, races, like cascade or any stage races where there’s there’s a pro field, and there’s an amateur field with Zwift racing, often the pros who are there are there at the incentive. They’re incentivized by Zwift with start money, like it’s a promotional thing. Because watching Zwift racing is not the same as watching a live sporting events. I don’t think anyone would argue that. I think there’s room to grow and having ironically, like in person, virtual events where you put some of the world’s best up on the stage that are all on the same trainers to standardized equipment, and then you can watch them in person, you know, cranking out eight Watts a kilo or whatever, while they’re racing each other. But very few people like those whiffed World Championships, the viewership on that the biggest online race in the world UCI sanctioned pales in comparison to watching any normal outdoor events so and I know that sounds really bad thing but but that’s that’s a key distinction between the two and yeah, there are very few races where there’s pro money being offered for events but for the most part, it’s it’s a participatory anything, and that’s cool. There’s nothing, nothing wrong with that at all. But it’s a very different thing.

Trevor Connor  20:05

But when you look at it from a sponsor standpoint, I do see the appeal of wanting to sponsor something like swift cascades. As I said its peak was when the biggest races in the country, but it didn’t get television coverage. And I will point out part of the reason the prize versus were so small is because most of the money went into organizing the race, everything we were talking about getting the police, the road closures, that sort of thing. So if you don’t need any of that, any money that you can put almost any all the money towards towards the purse. But if you’re a sponsor, a new sponsor cascades, because there’s no TV coverage, the only people that are going to see your sponsorship are the people in the local community who are standing on the sidelines, you aren’t going to get that much exposure, you can go to Zwift sponsor a race there, and they’re probably going to put your banner all overrides and get exposure to what’s the membership is worth 200,000 100,000 Plus, no, I’d say it’s in the billions in the millions. So you’re gonna get much, much more exposure if you go on sponsor Zwift event. So I can see certainly for sponsors, which I think is a big factor. And I do think part of the reason roadracing is on declines because of loss of sponsors, I can see the huge appeal to a sponsor to get involved with something like Swift, Bruce bird does a lot of racing on the road and on Zwift, let’s hear his thoughts on the role both play for him. Before we dive into the question of whether we use virtual racing to race or more for training.

Bruce Bird  21:29

There’s no way to replace the feeling of riding outdoors, there’s just me that is always going to be there. That’s a huge draw the amount of people during this COVID and lock downs and various, you know, degrees around around the world, people have been buying up every type of bike equipment so that they can ride you know, there’s a small percentage of people who ride bikes who race and even the world tour has been doing everything to show races to again, it’s like keep have something for people to share about to look forward to. So virtual racing. No, it will not replace Real Racing. There’s no way but you know, we’ve got a lot of winter months, and there’s some days where you’re Oh, hey, you know, you’re a strong man or woman you’ve gone out and ridden your bike and snow and ice for you know, however long and you’ve saved like in the eye without any you know, leg warmers on, but you have arm warmers on it like Oh, my legs didn’t feel cool enough. Like there’s a cost to all that physically of training in those tough, you know, and it’s great to accomplish some go out there with a group of people accomplish some some great things, some tough things. But still, virtual racing has a big draw as well. And at this point, I’m racing on four different platforms. So I’ve seen that evolve quite a bit.

Rob Pickels  22:51

To throw this back a little bit. Ben, I think it’s really interesting that you’re making a distinction between the professional and the amateur and how they’re engaging with virtual racing. Because it really brought up a distinction in my mind that I think’s important as well. Were lumping virtual racing in general all into one bucket. But for me, I’m I’m not even sure that that should be done because 99% of the races I’ve ever done in the virtual world. In my opinion, they weren’t really racing, I would not have approached racing this way. And what I mean is, oftentimes, it’s a Tuesday afternoon, I just got home from work I have limited time and I’m like, oh, there’s a race starting in 15 minutes, I should have run out to the garage and do it. And it’s it’s almost like an augmented workout for me you know, that has a little extra motivation because I have some other people I’m trying to be whereas in my mind racing is normally something that I try to be fresh for well fed for I would investigate the course ahead of time I would be doing all of these things to have my best personal performance and most of the time when I’m racing in Swift, I don’t really care that much. I’m just looking to go out and get a good hard effort to sweat and to be motivated and push sir

Ben Delaney  24:04

it’s like a game of five group ride yet where you’re not going to peak for it. You’re not going to show up an hour in advance you’re going to get there come squealing ended a few minutes ahead of time and it’s a fun way to get in a hard workout. And if things go sideways, who cares? Even like if your game crashes or you got to drop or you need to get your kid another cup of juice or whatever you can stop and then restart at a different event. That’s you know, the next train leaves the station in 15 minutes Yeah, that’s one of the beauties of Swift is it’s it’s low stakes for sure. I will say and I’ve dogged out and treated swift racing like regular racing. Like getting looking for the Tuesday night WBUR series was doing with the stages guys look forward to that all week long and would get psyched up for it would have an extra cup of coffee and make sure I was good warmed up and was like get on Discord and talk with him about strategy ahead of time and for a while one of the lead cuz we’re in there was a legion Los Angeles team in there. And yeah, they were treating it the same way as you describe. Yeah, it’s a fun workout, whatever, like our sponsor Zwift. Once Yeah, I’m saying our sponsor Legion sponsors whiffed, one of them to be on there, and just like show up to a group ride with a legion riders in the real world that just elevates the whole game for everybody else. So I think you can take it seriously, for sure. But yeah, there’s no danger of crashing, you’re not losing any money. And so I think you can treat them both ways. It’s just a casual fun thing or, okay, let’s do this.

Rob Pickels  25:34

Do this. Yeah, comparison to a group ride, I think is really on point. Because the moment that you said that it was like, Wait, yeah, that’s exactly what I oftentimes see quote, unquote, Swift racing like Trevor woodier. have used swift race much, Trevor, I’ve never seen used swift raise. No, I’ve

Trevor Connor  25:49

done a bunch. But you bring up a good point, which is, when I go to a race on the road, I paid for it. I often have to drive there. When I get there. I’m like, I am here to race. And I’m, you will carry me off on a stretcher before I stop racing. Zwift it’s completely different for me. I mean, I love doing the races. But I think I’ve finished 25% of the races. I start because for me, it’s a workout. I hop into the race, and I race until I go, I got my workout. And then I’m done. Because I don’t feel personally, sometimes I do. But most of the time, I don’t feel like okay, this is something I have to win, I have to get my result. It’s this is a workout for me. And just a fun way to get a workout. Yeah,

Ben Delaney  26:33

I think for so many of us who ride bikes, or run or swim or whatever. The main point of it isn’t to try to win something, you know, especially those of us who are adults who have now realized, okay, we’re not Olympians, we’re just regular folks. But you want to push yourself and you want to get the endorphins. And you want to do that with others and have others challenge you. I think that’s why you know, group rides are so popular or events where cycling events that aren’t races, like here in Colorado got things like the triple bypass, where’s the you know, the course and the duration is the challenge. And that is that is very enticing for a lot of people and there’s the safety factor feels better. So I think that’s another checkbox in the Zwift column is a day you can get all the positives of a group activity. Without it all being about where where’s your name on the result sheet.

Trevor Connor  27:24

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Trevor Connor  27:50

The question I want to ask here, because it’s pretty clear on the road racing. Well, it has diversified as you point out gravels on the rise, mountain biking seems to be back on the rise. road biking has definitely declined. The I don’t think there’s any argument there. At the same time, this virtual racing has been on a pretty dramatic rise. So is this just coincidental? Or has the rise of virtual racing bend the demise of on the road racing?

Ben Delaney  28:21

No, I don’t think it’s the latter. I think the societal factors are the same. But I don’t think his whiffed is killed road racing. I remember being at the launch for swift in San Francisco in 20. He’s 2017 or something like this. They were explaining the concepts. And there were two distinct groups in the room, you could tell by their facial responses reaction to it. The parents, and the people who lived in big cities, their eyebrows were up and they’re like, Yeah, I could see this, that people who are single that have kids and lived in warm climates or like, I don’t get it, man. Yeah. And so many of us have busy lives and don’t live in cycling paradise is where you can roll 100 miles out the door without a single stoplight and sign those factors are a boon for for Zwift. If you’re looking to get a hard 45 minutes in without having to coast, much less stop yet, try doing that outside in most places in the world, if you live in a city, like that’s just not going to happen. So and at the same time, like you were talking about with promoters having a hard time putting on events, because in dense cities, putting on a bike race is not the top priority of the of the local officials. So yeah, I

Trevor Connor  29:27

fully agree with that, that I think region by region, you’re gonna see different responses, as you pointed out here in Colorado, right? It’s great. You’re not gonna see the death of being out in the road. We all want a race out there. I lived up in Toronto when Zwift was really just coming out. And I was told by a sales rep at swift that Toronto has the highest density of Zwift racers per capita of any city in the world. And it makes sense to me because Toronto is cold a lot of the year and even when it’s one arm, it’s not a safe city to ride in, or that safe, you know, there’s a couple paths you can do. But if you’re a serious cyclist, trying to get some good hard riding, it can be tough in that city and I saw a lot of people get on Zwift and I have a lot of friends that bulls Zwift all summer, even when it’s warm outside. And I think of in particular one case. So we had this the way we did our training races as we got up at 5am. And went to a little neighborhood before anybody’s awake to race. But a couple of years ago, a bunch of guys were doing one of these races on one of our favorite routes and had a run in with a car for five guys went down, several of them got injured. And some of those guys are like done. They don’t show up to that morning, right at all. But you see, I see him every day on Swift and that was the response. This is not safe, and Swift is safe. I get my racing kick. So I’m gonna go there.

Rob Pickels  30:53

Don’t normally associate myself with the millennial that I am. Are you read millennial? I technically am like one of the oldest millennials, the world’s the world’s oldest millennial. Gosh, do I feel like a millennial right now because Trevor hearing you wake up at 5am to do a training race in a neighborhood I’m like, or so I don’t know, I think it’s really interesting how different people are interacting sort of with the sport, right. And you know what I’ll say right now, I know my life is a lot of convenience. To tell you the truth. You know, I hate to say it, I get my meals delivered to me at home, I just got a prep and cook them and kind of my writing gets delivered to me at home sometimes to you know, in the hour I have before that meal that got delivered to me that I have to cook, you know, I’ll run out to the garage, and I’ll get a quick ride. And I don’t have to put air pressure in my tires. I don’t have to deal with stoplights or whatever else. It’s very convenient for me, you know, and I have to wonder if you know if other people are in that boat, too, if that’s in general, if that’s people who are like me, millennials are a little bit younger, and kind of in the middle of our busy lives with kids and everything else. Maybe these different forms of riding and racing appeal to people in different sort of manner. But I think that we have to sort of recognize everything is going to ebb and flow at some point road and road racing is going to come back with reckless abandon, right that everything has peaks and troughs. But I think in cycling at this point in time, just because of some market forces and consumers, it’s a little bit of a tumultuous time, which I think is creating some of these opportunities, right? That’s why we’re seeing the rise and gravel, the rise in Swift. You know, we have a lot of new influx of people into the sport because of COVID. And they’re interacting with the sport in very different ways than it was interacted with 10 years ago. And so it’s really interesting to sort of watch this bubbling cauldron, and what’s going to grow out of this in terms of participation for me, you know, but maybe that’s just me sort of coming, you know, from sort of that selling that soft goods world and thinking about consumers in that manner.

Trevor Connor  32:58

My only response to that is I used to believe in the ebb and flow. And I hope you’re right. But I remember when I was managing team Rio Grande, which was the early 2000 teams, I used to give this speech to the team at the beginning of each year saying that cycling’s on a bit of an ebb right now, we’ve taken a bit of a hit. Because the things that happened back then, and I said, You guys just need to survive this. Because the nice thing is, all those older guys who have been racing at the height, they’re now thinking about now it’s time to move on with my career. Which means in a couple years, when it comes back up, they’re gonna be you know, the big names are going to be gone, and they’re going to be looking for the new talent, and you guys are going to jump in. And that rise back up. Still hasn’t happened, where it’s been declining since then.

Rob Pickels  33:47

When was the peak of road cycling and road racing in the US? Do you think I would

Trevor Connor  33:53

say it was that 2000 Rent starting around? Plantera? Go? Yeah, it’s a kind of early 2000s to I mean, it was on a height until about 2010 2011. And that’s, I hate to put it you brought up Lance, when he admitted to doping. That’s when you start to see the decline. Certainly what sparked that, because I was working with a few race organizers and talking with them. And they said, when Floyd got busted, when Lance admitted to doping a bunch of their sponsors just went I’m out. I don’t want anything to do with this sport,

Rob Pickels  34:27

is so when was road cycling on the rise? Right? If what the 80s that was sort of like red Zinger days, if I remember, right, you know, and so, from the 80s, to your 2010, that’s 30 years, right of moving on the way up. If we go from 2010 30 years, I think that we’re heading down for a few more years because we’re in the 2020s right now. But I bet you in another eight years or so we’re going to start to see the resurgence of road cycling and I do think that the trends take a long time. like that. And, you know, we saw this, I think in winter sports, right, where skiing was the thing for a long time. And then snowboarding came in and skiing went down, down down for a solid 20 plus years. And I think just now skiing is on the way back up because people are seeing you can have fun with skiing that they thought was only reserved for snowboarding before. So I do think we’re on a cyclical cycle. And my opinion is just a longer cycle.

Trevor Connor  35:25

My one counter argument. And Ben, I mean, you’ve identified this look at the show that you’re doing, where you’re focusing more on types of racing that didn’t exist 10 years ago, back even 10 years ago, 15 years ago, there were two types of racing, road racing and mountain biking, and you are now seen a diversity, you’re seeing the rise of gravel racing, you’re seeing Gran Fondos become increasingly popular. I personally think that triathlon is back on the rise. So you’re seeing multiple different options. And virtual racing, which we’re talking about today is become part of that, I think, maybe the size of the pie might change a little bit, maybe the pie has shrunk a little bit, and it’s going to increase again. But now you got a lot more different forms of on the bike racing, that are competing for that pie. And I don’t, I don’t know if roadracing will ever have as big a piece of that pie as it used to have.

Rob Pickels  36:19

I think that’s up to road racing and road riders to tell you the truth will road racing adapt in the way that it needs to, to regain the participation of who the consumer is today. If that doesn’t happen, I think road racing dies. Right? Because people are still racing, we’ve identified it. Gravel is on the way up. I mean, gravel and road racing are relatively similar in the whole scheme of things. They’re both on drop our bikes, blah, blah, blah. But why is gravel on the way up and road is on the way down? What are those factors and can road can tarmac based racing adopt those. And then I think that we see the rise and popularity again,

Trevor Connor  36:59

the number of genres of cycling disciplines is definitely increasing. Renee Eastman sees virtual racing is just another genre. Let’s hear her explain.

Renee Eastman  37:09

That’s a good question. I’m stumped, because I hadn’t really thought about is it changing athletes. So maybe relate some personal experience with it is that it is a whole different genre of racing. You know, just like road races are different from crit. And pursuit races are different than points races that are different than, you know, hillclimb races, you know, the virtual races tend to be just flat out hard to set the start, hold on for dear life for a relatively short period of time. So that would change how you might approach your training to get good at that, or certainly approach your race tactics, if you will. Because, you know, in most races, let’s say it’s a road race where you want to save our bullets for the end, not in virtual racing, you can’t save your bullets for the end. So maybe I could answer it to say it should change the way that we are training if you’re trying to be good at an unpaid, fast start kind of effort.

Ben Delaney  38:27

Road Racing, by definition of its format is elitist, right? Like the people off the front of a road race are doing one thing that people in the pack or do another thing and the people who got dropped in and out wondering why they got up early and drove two hours of payment and to feel bad about themselves. They’re having a fundamentally different experience. And so you have to be at a certain level to participate in road racing and have it be a fun thing. We’re like, Yeah, that was cool. I want to do that again, right. And we see this most dramatically in women’s racing, where, you know, often in so many parts of the country, there’s just two fields, there’s the beginner field where, okay, that’s doable. And then all of a sudden, you’re racing and gets national champions, and then that can be quite discouraging. So with gravel racing, yes, it’s called racing and there’s time chips on your little number plate, only a minority seen a single digit, I would say are actually there to race. We would identify with Trevor’s mentality like, right, we got to show up and we got to get results in here that most people are there to finish it more like a running marathon, that’s a big part of the draw is that your life can be getting sideways, you haven’t been training as much as you wanted to, but you’re still gonna go there with your friends, you’re gonna do the thing. It’ll be a big challenge. And wherever you finish up, it won’t be a disappointment. So I think that’s that’s a fundamental difference between a gravel event and a traditional road race, whether that’s a criterium or hillclimb or road stage.

Rob Pickels  39:49

I think that road racing is very much about competing against other people, right? I mean, the, the order of your thing, you’re categorizing yourself based on your ability I should be able to beat all of these As people, why am I not beating them? I think that in the gravel as you’re pointing out, there are definitely some people, they’re competing against other people, the very tip of the, you know, maybe the top 10% of people or whatever. But the majority of people are engaged in that event, because they’re competing against themselves. They want to complete this challenge, whether it’s just finishing a big ride, whether it’s, you know, trying to just have the best performance they can have. That is a fundamental difference there.

Trevor Connor  40:24

But you brought up a good point of most people are doing this to challenge themselves. Ben, you brought up the point about elitist if you’re in a road race, it’s not about challenging yourself. If you can’t hang on in the peloton, if you can’t hang on in that Breakaway, you’re done. So it’s how you compare to the people around you, because it’s the group that fundamentally makes a road race. It’s not an individual event. If I just want to challenge myself, I’m going to go on a gravel race, or I’m going to go in a grand fondo, where you can just go your own pace and see how you finish, though that in itself is an argument for these other forms of racing being on the rise.

Rob Pickels  41:03

Can we tie that back to the virtual world? Does the virtual world does this help explain some of the rise? They are? Does it have similarities with that gravel racing, and how people are approaching it?

Ben Delaney  41:13

Yes, one interesting thing I hear coaches not complain about, but with maybe complaining about is people who do a lot of Swift who can get fixated on numbers like watts per kg, right like that. That is how they measure that self worth but how they’re improving or not. So they’ll be doing events for fun like a group ride. But if the if they’re seeing their watch per kg number go up, then that means success. That’s that’s a positive thing.

Trevor Connor  41:42

I think it was Lance Armstrong, who said if racing was just about power, we’d put everybody on a train or on the start line. That’s the best wattage virtual racing is literally everybody sitting on a trainer at the start line seeing who can put out the best power. I’m not the only one who remembers this analogy of putting trainers on the start line. Let’s hear for Dr. Andy Pruitt and Colby pierce with their thoughts and virtual racing.

Dr. Andy Pruitt  42:07

For me in practice, before I retired, the spin studio was the first big indoor thing. And it had an epidemic of injuries associated with it. And I think each one of these new Bogue things brings with it its own set of problems. I think being attached to your bike, in a way without the fluidity of the open road is going to lead us to some potential overuse, overuse injuries. And that was my experience in clinic.

Colby Pearce  42:36

You know, because the bike is so locked down. It downplays the importance of biomechanical efficiency, right, you can basically x chop the pedals and still make some pretty good power. But that would hurt you in a real world race performance because you got to do things like go around corners and jump out of corners and accelerate, you know, at random moments to deal with more stochastic power production. survive in a peloton be aerodynamic, you know, handle your bike, not fall off in the corners, all those things that come together to make a complete picture of a cyclist who can win, you know, a long hilly road race with some rain and some sunshine and all the things. So I think indoor training sort of magnifies the raw engine part of it. And unfortunately, that’s sort of where a lot of people are thinking right now, they tend to solve a lot of problems with a blunt force instrument, you know, but for those of us who’ve been in sport a long time, we know that one of the most beautiful things about cycling is that when everybody signs up for the race and arrives to the start line and pins on a number, even though you in many cases, you can point to one rider in that peloton and say this is the strongest rider most likely on this day. It’s not that often that rider wins, right? I mean, depends on the parkour and everything. But that’s the beauty of cycling. I mean, if it was all just an odometer test, then we might as well remove all racing indoors and just call it an engine test.

Dr. Andy Pruitt  43:46

So I think there’s a difference. You talked about indoor training turbos, question was about indoor racing. Yep. I think there is a place for indoor training. Yep. Agreed. In a structured program. I think there’s a really good place where it’s that’s a separate

Colby Pearce  44:01

server. Yeah. Yeah, I would agree. Andy, I’ll add to that and say, the writers who are really going to benefit from that are training tend to be the functional, the people who don’t have a lot of functional challenges, because then you put them in that isolated environment, and you get very structured workouts. And you can, you’ve got two advantages. One is like Sylar talks about how there’s truly no steady state except maybe on the trainers where you can really see the clear decoupling Right, right. So you can very precisely control load, you can also very precisely analyze how the riders respond to that load. You know, you go out you compare three early spring, five hour road rides, between riders, you’re trying to look at hurry drift, like one day there are wearing you know, four pounds of extra clothes. And the other day, it was super warm and they overheated, and the next day they bought so it’s like, there’s way too many variables but on the trainer, you can isolate all those. And so, that gives you that environment but the rider who is functionally challenged, they might run into some roadblocks if they try to do too much intensity too much building a fitness on the trainer.

Dr. Andy Pruitt  44:57

So talent identification, there has been and some significant talent found in this indoor racing world that would have never been identified by Federation’s or teams. So there’s a benefit there.

Rob Pickels  45:09

Yeah, I think it’s it’s interesting to Ben is, as you’re talking, it’s reminding me of of racing that I’ve done. It’s almost hard, in my opinion for me to compete against other people in Swift, because I don’t know them. They’re almost not people. They’re just this little name. And this little avatar, it doesn’t have that same person a situation. And I actually spend a lot of time when I’m swift racing, trying to think of what that person’s name is, because it’s always like, B Delaney. And I’m like, oh, Brandon, I’m like, I’m like going through all of these B’s you like what B names? Do I know? It’s funny, you know, you don’t actually have that person there that you want to like, oh, I want to see them suffer.

Ben Delaney  45:54

Yeah, I mean, I love the WT RL series, which is a weekly series, same set of teams every week. And you would get to know the people know the people. Yeah, a little bit just you know, chatting there and the starting PIN before you get going and, and many writers would sort of Strava stalk each other. Yeah. Like, who is this? Be David be our pickles guy? Yes. Yeah. Yeah, just go look on Strava is with power. You can see okay, this person lives in Canada, this person lives to see love or this. This is Alex, how’s up at 8000 feet? Why is he writing circles around us? Oh, because he’s Alex house. Okay.

Rob Pickels  46:28

Interestingly enough, I found a way around this on Zwift. If anybody wants to find me, my name is that my first name is just our and my last name is odd pickles. And so it shows up on Zwift as my full name, rum, pickles, but it’s our period of pickles. So everybody knows who I am. You can find me out there if you want.

Trevor Connor  46:49

And you call me a dork. So this brings us to one of the things that we wanted to talk about, which is what are the pros and cons of virtual racing? And what are the pros and cons of on the road racing. So which one do we want to start with?

Ben Delaney  47:04

Let’s start with Swift. So I think we’ve identified a lot of the pros, right? It’s convenience, safety, accessibility, there’s an event every two and a half minutes.

Rob Pickels  47:14

anonymity, anonymity,

Trevor Connor  47:16

if you’re by yourself, people’s,

Ben Delaney  47:21

you know, high barrier of cost it you know, if you’re wondering, a smart trainer, that’s not cheap, but they’re getting manageable. Yeah. But once you’ve got the stuff, it’s just your $15 a month fee.

Rob Pickels  47:34

Yeah, it’s a high cost of entry, but otherwise low barrier to racing, right? Because it is so convenient. Yeah,

Trevor Connor  47:40

I was helping this kid at sea, you, too, was your classic, living in a basement eating ramen because he had no money. And he wanted to get on Zwift and experience the whole thing. And we got him set up for about 300 bucks, you can do it cool. The barrier to entry is getting less and less now.

Ben Delaney  47:59

Yeah. And then another positive for me was just connection with other people. Yep, both folks here in my hometown, or in or in and around my hometown. But then also ended up writing with people around the world and enjoyed friendships because of that. So that’s a, that’s a definite plus,

Trevor Connor  48:16

to flip it around, I would say the benefits of on the road. And this means these are things that swift racing doesn’t have is what we talked about before that sense of commitment. If you pay for that race, and you drive to that race, you’re gonna feel a much bigger obligation to make something of that race to race it hard.

Ben Delaney  48:36

And not just in that day, but in the weeks and months leading up to it. Like I’m a big proponent of putting something on the calendar, just anything on the calendar. So you’ve got something to look forward to and work towards, and gives you a bit of structure. Whereas if you’ve got something I don’t ever put besides the Tuesday night race seriously, you don’t really put a Zwift event on a calendar three months out like okay, here’s the thing.

Rob Pickels  48:55

Yeah, I think that’s a great point. I would love to hear from people definitely hit us up. Does anybody put like in a race on the calendar six months out as as Zwift race I would have never considered to do that all of mine are like in person events.

Trevor Connor  49:08

Yep. Yeah, that would be interesting here, people are starting to do that. You know, the other thing and I know a bunch of Swift racers are gonna get angry at me for saying this. But I’ve done a bunch of Swift racing, I’ve done a bunch of on the road racing. And while there are pack dynamics in Swift, the subtleties, the details, the the amount of strategy that you can do in a pack, that’s actually people that you can’t ride just ride through those people literally ride through them and push them out. There is so much more to it. And I enjoy that I really enjoy that strategy side and you get some of that on Swift, but it’s not the same.

Ben Delaney  49:44

Well, yeah, and you’re not riding a bike on Swift. I mean, that’s the biggest thing is like riding a bike outside is read and racing is a thrill and yes, it can be dangerous, but that’s, you know, bombing through corners and in tucking behind people that that’s a fun thing that you’re in Not doing on the trainer. So that’s the that’s the obvious 800 pound gorilla. Yeah,

Trevor Connor  50:04

it’s that danger element. There certainly adds a bit of excitement. I will say swift experimented with adding crashes. I didn’t know that and I got so it was very short lived, or whatever got hit by a car. I was in one of those crashes in his whiffed race. And I was so upset, like, I have hit the pavement a whole bunch of times, part of the reason I do Zwift is because I don’t want to hit the pavement, right?

Rob Pickels  50:31

It’d be funny, they should eject your bike out of the trainer. So like in real life, you’re falling down.

Trevor Connor  50:38

And the best part was the way they did the because I think they’re experimenting. So they didn’t do a ton of programming to show great crashes. So what happened was those of us who crashed, they just flipped the avatar on its side. So you were still pedaling the bike. You were just on your side spinning in a circle.

Ben Delaney  50:57

That’s funny. No, that was a thing.

Rob Pickels  50:59

I think, gosh, we should make it fully immersive. We need trainers that splash water on you that nudge you that if we want, we could make virtual racing the thing we just need to put more technology into it.

Trevor Connor  51:13

Look, I’ll point out another benefit to virtual racing versus on the road racing right now, which is you have more selection. We don’t have a ton of selection with the road races even here in Colorado right now. So you kind of go to whatever events going on and sometimes not a race that suits you at all on Zwift you can take a look and go Well there’s a flat race there’s a crit there’s a climb up out the Zwift I’m a climber I’m gonna go do the hour long climb. Oh for sure.

Rob Pickels  51:41

Yeah, for me, I know I definitely choose events like let’s find a crate with like one punchy climb on it because that’s about all I’m good at so works for me. For many of us in North America, the road racing season is winding down, you can test your end of Season fitness with fast talk labs just scheduling inside Advanced Test with us, you’re inside test results will reveal your VO two Max up to date training zones anaerobic threshold, carb Max fat Max VLA Max, then it will suggest a path forward for better training and fitness. Learn more at fast talk

Trevor Connor  52:22

So, as we start to close this out, this brings us to the final question, which is what is the future? Where do we think this is all gonna go? And this is entirely opinion, I know.

Rob Pickels  52:34

This is entirely opinion, I’m going to take a bigger picture. I think that the future is that road and to bring this bigger than road racing. I think road needs to be redefined. I think that road needs to really investigate what it is why we’re seeing the decline. What is it about these other disciplines of cycling that people find appealing, and that road can incorporate some of those when those are road events? Those are road riders, I’ll say, you know, Evan Weiss, who always has an interesting opinion, whether you agree with it or not wrote a nice piece that I read recently about sort of that reinvention redefinition of road. For me, that’s the biggest takeaway is that this is a road problem and not necessarily a road event problem.

Trevor Connor  53:17

And what’s your feeling on this?

Ben Delaney  53:19

I think all the things will continue. I think, USA Cycling, or another major entity is needed in some ways to make road racing great. Again, I know that’s a highly unpopular opinion. But you know, once upon a time, you got an unattached fee if you did an event, and you weren’t part of a club, because all clubs were required to put on events. And that’s where events came from was like everybody had to take a pool, right? Everybody had to put on event. And now that’s no longer the case. And so now we’ve got a lot of people wanting to do events and much fewer events being put on so I think, as unpopular as is to have a federation, regulating and enforcing things, I think that is a necessary thing. I see gravel only continuing to grow because it’s a riot. And you can get in where you fit in. If you want to scratch the competitive edge and race at the front. You can if you want to treat it like a marathon you can, as with I don’t see getting bumped from its perch in the online space at all like there. Yes, there are other platforms, but Zwift has the masses. And that’s the other key piece that we didn’t talk about is just the sheer number of participants there. It’s not like there’s just events like for years be cool had events that would start but you get in there that’d be for people, right? Who cares? So just the Zwift Critical Mass isn’t going to be erased.

Trevor Connor  54:41

Yeah, I think I agree with both. I don’t think non virtual racing is going anywhere. But I do think what we’re seeing is more and more types of racing and types of events sharing the that pie. And so I think you’re gonna see each type of event even road racing and Mountain biking, getting a smaller piece of the pie. In terms of virtual racing, I think Zwift. And some of these other virtual cycling tools have done a really excellent job of promoting them. And I do think they are going to legitimize it as a form of racing, not just as something you do when there isn’t a quote, real race going on somewhere, I think you’re gonna see more and more people seeing this as this is my racing. And I take this as seriously as people used to take out in the road racing. And I give full credit to Zwift for the work they’ve done to legitimize it as real racing.

Rob Pickels  55:39

And I give full hope to other entities that they’re going to make something that’s awesome. I know that there are some other things out in the wings, I would love to see a competitor to Swift to really be pushing this segment forward and increase that user enjoyment.

Trevor Connor  55:54

Before we close out the episode. Let’s hear from Chris Carmichael and his thoughts on the future of virtual racing.

Chris Carmichael  56:00

Wow, there’s quite a bit that’s different, you know, from the events themselves are really different than, you know, in person kind of events, you know, or, you know, live events, I shouldn’t say live, what would suppose to in person, I guess this, you know, whether it’s an influence of heat, when you’re doing these indoor races, virtual races, the demands are are many times greater than what you’re seeing outdoors, they’re relatively shorter. So they’re usually much more intense, equipment wise, though, there’s a lot to consider on that as well. You know, it’s, it’s a whole new world. And I don’t think we’ve got anybody’s got all those answers put together. I think, anything that’s new, and you start diving into it, you start getting some answers pretty quickly. But a whole new set of questions develop. And I think those are the things we’re starting to see is all the new questions that are coming up as we as we get answers to some of them.

Trevor Connor  57:04

So we’re really more in the question phase, and then having the answers. Yeah, just what you’re saying?

Chris Carmichael  57:10

I think so I think we’ve got, you know, it’s like when I remember when power meters first started getting out there. And we started looking at measuring, you know, having them in racism and on athletes and races in the early 90s. And, wow, we were able to answer some questions that we had right away, as we as we got this data, but their whole new set of questions that developed and I think that’s, as always seems to be the case and new technology is you get some of your questions that you always wondered about. But then all these new questions are, are, are thrown up that that you got to do a deeper dive on, like, the continuous glucose monitors, you know, I mean, we’ve now got a much better idea about fueling and the individual aspect of fueling and things like that. There’s a whole set of new questions that are now out there, that we’re still trying to get our arms around.

Trevor Connor  58:10

All right. Well, Ben, thanks for joining us. Yeah, it was a fun episode.

Ben Delaney  58:15

Thanks for having me, guys. I’ll see you on the road and on the Zwift, but probably not for a few months.

Trevor Connor  58:20

You killed me on Tuesday, before we close out here. So we went to this Tuesday, rice and there’s a B and a C field. So a goes last I arrived. I see Ben in the B field. And I’m getting ready

Ben Delaney  58:33

for sandbagging, which is legitimate. Well, I was about to really

Trevor Connor  58:37

give them crap or like Ben, what are you doing in the beef field, but then he lines up beside after racing. 30 minutes on the beat field lines up beside me in the field was like, I’m just gonna hang in as long as I can. And at the end of the race, and it was a hard race. There were like five guys left and Ben’s up there at the front. Gotta give him credit. It’s all that

Rob Pickels  58:57

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