Potluck Discussion: Is It the End of the Road for the North American Racing Scene?

In this week’s show, we talk about whether gravel racing can save North American racing, if adding a Zwift race to your interval work is still good training, and techniques our hosts use to keep in balance.

Racing at the annual Joe Martin Stage Race, Fayetteville, Arkansas. Stage races like this one are on the decline. Photo: Shutterstock.

Welcome to another potluck conversation with regulars Grant Hollicky, Trevor Connor, and Rob Pickels. In these discussions, we pick topics that we find interesting and break them apart using a mix of science, humor and our own experience.  

Can gravel save the North American race scene? 

There’s no doubt that unfortunately the North American professional road scene is on the decline. In 2007 there were over 25 major American stage races. Now we’re down to three. Coach Hollicky asks what has caused this decline and what might save it. Is the rise of gravel racing the answer? 

Is your workout still beneficial if you kill a few intervals and add a Zwift race? 

You’re halfway through a hard set of intervals and you’re not enjoying them. You pull the plug and jump into a 30-minute Zwift race to finish your day. Technically you’re doing more work and generating a higher TSS, but Coach Connor asks the question of whether this is a better or worse way of doing your training? 

How do you find balance?

We’ve talked frequently on this show about the importance of recovery. Our most important tool is simple—getting enough sleep—but there are other tools that aid recovery and keep us in balance. Pickels asks our other hosts what they do to keep in balance. We discuss not only techniques, but the importance of timing and adjusting over time.  

We’re sure many of you have had similar experiences. Please share with the rest of our listeners in the forum discussion. 

Get ready for some interesting conversations—and let’s make you fast! 

Episode Transcript

Rob Pickels  00:04

Well, we are back in the saddle again the Three Amigos here for another potluck. This time though we’re coming from a new location. It’s nice dig so we’re going to be extra spicy today are we going to be nice and mellow look, look around. How does this room make you feel? Great.

Grant Holicky  00:21

You know, it’s interesting. There’s a very, very old school feel with it, you know, wood floors, brick walls, but then there’s a lot of glass. It’s like very high class, right? So maybe a lot like you kind of old but little, it

Rob Pickels  00:35

looks a little little bit,

Grant Holicky  00:36

a little glass polished on the outside.

Rob Pickels  00:38

Do what you can.

Grant Holicky  00:40

I don’t fit in that. I’m just all

Trevor Connor  00:45

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Rob Pickels  01:21

Well, we got another potluck episode for you today. Each of us have our own topics. As always, we don’t really know what everyone else is going to talk about. We’re gonna shoot from the hip is always on this one. But yeah, hopefully it’s a great conversation. And all all the listeners are entertained and maybe maybe learn something, maybe learn something today. We’ll see. Yeah,

Grant Holicky  01:41

so I guess the kind of the pattern is for me to go first on these I guess, right? Oh, well

Rob Pickels  01:46

cycling and sports in general. And nothing if not traditional. So

Grant Holicky  01:50

yeah. So we’ll go with it. Right. That’s

Trevor Connor  01:51

a completely unstructured, intentionally unstructured show, we’ve kind of built a structure. First, I’m second. Then Rob, I always ask a training question. You always have something unique. And Rob gets into that more inspirational side

Rob Pickels  02:05

of fluffy stuff, the fluffy stuff, fluffy guy,

Grant Holicky  02:08

you know, whatever works for inspiration AI that we’re gonna get from you today?

Rob Pickels  02:13

Maybe Maybe always trying to make people’s lives better.

Grant Holicky  02:16

Okay. I like it. Well, here’s my question. My question is, is kind of about the American racing scene. I got a I got a text today from one of my riders who’s looking at coming back and doing more in the states instead of in Europe, and was lamenting a little bit that on one one hand, there’s he’s like, yeah, the the stage races in the states don’t interest me. And there’s only three left, right, Redlands, Joe, Martin and healer. That’s all we’ve got. Yep, on the men’s side, on the men’s side. And this was a male rider talking, but then he was also trying to decide do I do some gravel? Do I do want to just do a bunch of crits? So I guess my question is, where do we go from here with American road cycling? Does gravel save American road cycling is gravel, ending American road cycling, we’re going to take a pundit, we’re going to be pundants for a minute. This is like talk radio for cycling.

Rob Pickels  03:13

Welcome to 99.5.

Grant Holicky  03:15

Exactly, exactly. That’s what we’re looking for.

Rob Pickels  03:18

Yeah, I mean, I don’t know I, I’m interested to hear the conversation that the two of you have, because I don’t know that I have too much to contribute to this because I personally, I am so far outside of the American road racing scene, that you’re listing off the stage races, and I’m like, I have no experience with them. I am the guy that went to gravel years ago. So maybe I’m the future. Maybe that’s what I am in this.

Grant Holicky  03:46

But I think that’s exactly the point. You know, what is it? Okay, but what is it for you as a fan? What are you interested in looking at? Are you interested in what we’re doing from a roadside at all in the States? Are you just interested in gravel? Are you not interested in any of it? Unless you’re participating in it?

Rob Pickels  04:04

Yeah, yeah. And I hate to say it, I’m, I’m not a fan of cycling. I’m a participant of cycling. And I’ll watch the tour. Right? It’ll be on in the background. I’m doing some work or whatever. But I don’t really go out of my way to watch anything but European cyclocross, you know, that’s, that’s what I’m a fan of to tell you the truth and we watch every European cyclocross race and I definitely do not have a VPN or anything that allows me to watch these things in the US because it’s difficult right? I definitely don’t jump through hoops you know? But I don’t even spectate gravel races or anything else I can you spectator gravel race, I mean remotely is not

Grant Holicky  04:48

a ton to consume because I mean, flow bikes was supposed to cover a bunch of the races and then they literally pulled the plug on that. Yeah, because it was the logistics of it. Were too hard to cover.

Rob Pickels  04:58

Incredible. Yeah. In that that’s a question for me is participation based versus spectator based, that makes you American. It makes me American but a clear spectator base, I think is really important for the health of sports. Think of American football, American baseball, all of those things are ultimately spectator sports in the whole scheme of things. You look at the number of people participating in those sports, it’s a heck of a lot lower. But what do you have, then you have a lot of spectators, and you have a lot of companies who are vying for their eyes who are sponsoring who are trying to get in front and that pumps a lot of money into these sports. And is that what’s happening in road cycling? No.

Grant Holicky  05:38

Well, that’s essentially the difference between American cycling and European cycling. American Cycling is a participation based sport. So people go out and they do it. They do it up to our age and they do whatever. We talked about this for cyclocross forever, who’s at a cyclocross race in America, people are in North America, it’s the people that participate, correct. It’s not a lot of people there that are fans. So maybe they’re watching their friends, maybe they’re watching their families. But even in the old days of say, Boulder cup when they made a big deal of it, and they got on the radio, and they announced they put up flyers all around town. Chris Grealish did a great job at that. Some people would show up for a good beer garden and watch it but this is a very unique town. So the majority of the places we go go to Roanoke, Virginia, people aren’t coming out just to watch the bike race.

Trevor Connor  06:24

So look, there’s different definitions of what makes a pro team and what makes it pro race. technical definition, you get a pro card if you are on a pro team, and that makes you a pro. Right? And if they a ray says it has a pro one race at at that as a pro race. That’s how some people define it. I think the way you’re gonna see more people define it is that spectatorship side is think of other sports like baseball or NFL. If there’s an NFL game where it’s not on TV and nobody comes to the game. Is it really a professional right ballgame, right? And by that definition, no, there is no professional racing in North America.

Grant Holicky  07:02

And this takes it to again back to the cyclocross thing. If you go to a cyclocross race in Europe, there’s no amateur race. No, there’s no amateur race within 50 miles. That was one of the unique things when they started masters worlds is that they didn’t have them in Belgium very often because there weren’t a lot of participants in Belgium. Yep. Right. So, cyclocross and cycling in general in Europe is NASCAR in the States, nobody really does it. Maybe they go out and drive their car or ride their bike to work. That’s what they do. But they’re watching the party. Precipitation, wow.

Rob Pickels  07:41

Precipitation, that’s a

Grant Holicky  07:42

Porky Pig precipitate. It rained a lot like that reference. So that’s one of the major differences of the sport from the beginning. Right? We haven’t had maybe we did briefly with things like the chorus classic with toward a Trump, we had some of those elements briefly back in what was that late 80s, early 90s. It got really popular around Lemond. But it never has picked up again. And so what are we gonna

Trevor Connor  08:13

say we had another spike a big spike in the 2000s. So I’ll give a little history here. And that’s because of the popularity of Lance Armstrong, you really were a midst of this. I was in the midst of this. And here’s what will just blow your mind. I remember. So I raced most of my racing was in the 2000s. You know, I was still going to a few pro races up to kind of 2016 2017. So I actually saw the decline as it was happening. I remember in 2007, the teams in the US were complaining about the number of races on the calendar, the NRC calendar had over 50 races. And I think it was 26 or 27 significant stage races. And it was impossible for the domestic teams to get to all them and they were actually complaining about that many races. So back then it felt professional back then you had European teams, international teams that were coming over to do the the North American circuit. I remember being in races with a helicopter filming. So we actually had the TV coverage. Yeah, that’s not what exists anymore, you start to see that decline. And so here’s a bit of history. I’ll give him my interpretation of it. It started with the race organisers, you saw race organizers, and this was particularly after all the doping scandals. You saw all the race organizers, it was getting harder and harder for them to bring in sponsorship. And so they were starting to disappear. I forget his name, but the guy who organized Mount Hood and cascades to the big races. He was struggling more and more. He was a major race organizer in North America. I am going to blame the writers a little bit here too, because there was this movement to really paint race organizers as bad guys who are just trying to make money. You Here’s the truth. When you’re organizing road race at best, you’ll break even these race organizers were killing themselves. They weren’t making any money. And then you had athletes that were complaining about them painting them as bad guys that didn’t do good enough a job. They’re just out for money. And eventually these race organizers just said, Well, I’m a bottom. And that’s what happened with Chris Grealish. Putting together a bunch of good races around boulder. Yeah. And they just said, Why am I doing this? Why am I killing myself to put together these events just to be painted as a bad guy?

Grant Holicky  10:30

Well, and eventually, there are a couple race organizers that can make money doing races, but most of the money they’re making that a triathlon? Yep. Because you got a ton of people on it.

Rob Pickels  10:41

And again, you know, what, what is driving this? Is it the spectators? Or is it the participants? And I think that that’s what we’re seeing. On the gravel side of things, participation in gravel is way up. So if there’s going to be any money anywhere, and it’s not going to come from spectators and sponsors, it has to come from participants. And if you’re chasing participants, gravel is the only place that really has that. I shouldn’t say it to that extreme right. But road participation, I think is down. Yep, gravel participation is up.

Trevor Connor  11:08

Well, here’s, here’s my opinion, I think gravel has the potential to save North American racing. Because as you pointed out, a race organizer can make money doing a gravel race, right? People seem to be a little more relaxed and kind of accepting of gravel races, if they’re not organized perfectly, which means a race organizer is going to have a better experience. I think gravel is going to bring back race organizers is going to get them more excited, more interested. And if we get the race organizers back, hopefully some of them are going to start saying, hey, let’s try something else. Let’s put together a road race. Let’s put together stage race.

Rob Pickels  11:44

Let me ask a maybe difficult question. Do we let road racing die? Do we understand that? A lot of race organizers we’ve tried to do this for decades people have come they were supposed to be the next best thing. They had the great idea that was going to unlock the secret to success. And they fizzled out after a few years. And the big racing happens in Europe, the spectators are in Europe, the best competition is in Europe. Do we maintain an amateur racing series here in the US? But do we kind of just let pro racing in the US die?

Grant Holicky  12:18

I think we already have. I mean, I choice? I don’t? Yeah, I don’t think there’s anything else that we can do. And I think Trevor makes a really good point. Listen, gravel is very similar to triathlon or running in the 80s or 90s. Right? People are gonna come to gravel because there’s a completion element to gravel. If you go to unbound and you complete it. That’s a really good, it’s why most people are there, right? And you did something special, right? That’s hard to do. We got to the point with marathons. And this is why there’s so many shoe contracts and running, right? Like marathons, you can go out how many people are in the Boston Marathon, how many people are in the Key West marathon, how many people are running these really, frankly, pretty small marathons around the country, there’s a ton of people in them. That way the race organizer can make money, then they can put some prize money into it. Now maybe they draw some sponsors, because it’s it’s good to look at and it’s good to see, gravel can do all of those pieces of the puzzle, right? We can have enough people in that we get a prize purse. Now we have enough people in that we’re gonna have some sponsors walk into it. And it’s just piles on in Trevor may be right. I mean, these are people that like cycling, right, so maybe they’d come to this point where they’re like, Well, I want race organizer, I want to bring back a major stage racing United States. So I’m going to try to revive Tour of California or tour Colorado. That’s the kind of stuff that you can do. I’m going to be really interested to see what happens in Maryland at that Maryland cycling classic that’s happening here in a couple of weeks. That’s a UCI race in the States, we’ve been waiting for it to happen for two years. It’s got a big element of it in downtown Baltimore around the Inner Harbor, which is going to look great on TV. So we’ll see that can get me on a whole nother soapbox, of the fact that we don’t develop one day racers in the United States. We try to develop the stage racers and climbers, and maybe having a one day race like Philly was and is this something we can keep in Maryland for a long time. I’m curious to see how it goes. I’m curious if anybody watches it, serious fans come out.

Trevor Connor  14:21

Here’s the other thing to throw at you guys that you might totally disagree with. And I’m gonna I’m gonna take some hard stances here and I’m talking more as a race to remember what the scene was like.

Rob Pickels  14:30

I disagree.

Trevor Connor  14:32

He’s already there. About to say Rob is a beautiful, wonderful person and he disagree. I disagree. With that, so here’s my statement. We do not need to bring back Tour of California or to Aurora, Colorado. I think those races hurt North American racing. I don’t think they helped and here’s why. The idea behind those was to get that maybe not quite the Tour de France level stage race but like a dope and a level race in Europe, you can have races that level because Europe lives and breathes cycling. They have the spectatorship. We don’t have that in North America, we just you’re not going to get all Americans behind. Let’s have this giant stage race. So it would be great. They’ve tried a couple times to have a grand tour in North America. It hasn’t worked. I think we need to look at what is the size of our spectatorship here and we have a decent spectatorship. And two, if we wanted to rebuild North American Racing, right, let’s get back to let’s have those five day stage races. Let’s have the the mount hoods the Cascades, the El tunas, and accept the fact that North American Racing will always be a level below European racing, but build a really good system for developing North American riders that we can then get them to the top level of European racing.

Rob Pickels  15:49

Trevor, I’m glad you said that. Because what I was thinking of is, what is the purpose? What is the goal? Why do we have pro level North American racing? Is it so that our pro level riders can race continentally? Here so they don’t have to go to Europe? So they’re not away from their family? Is that the goal? Is it so that we can develop talent? Or is it so that we have entertainment for spectators? And I think that the answer to that really helps us flush out exactly how we should approach North American racing. And ultimately, what the value is?

Grant Holicky  16:22

Well, I’ll I’ll leave this with my last maybe controversial take. I don’t think any of that matters. I think we didn’t develop talent, you 23 talent in the United States to get to the point where we develop the next great American writer, because until we develop the next great American writer, nobody’s gonna care about watching cycling in the United States, United States is all about what we’re good at. We will watch what an American is good at. Americans don’t watch sports that they don’t participate in. This is why soccer has been such a brutal developing sport in the United States. It has helped immensely when the women win the World Cup that has been the driver of development of soccer in the United States. And this is why that whole debate over equal pay was ridiculous. The American women’s team drove American soccer the men’s team has done nothing. MLS has helped somewhat. So now we have some of that American talent. But until we can go out and win a World Cup on the men’s side, it’s not going to grow much more because that’s American sport is chauvinistic, and Homer based. So we need to develop more American talent that can win the biggest races.

Trevor Connor  17:41

Here’s my take on that I agree with you, we need to develop the North American talent. And so we ever want to I’ll get emails on the show of You’re talking too much to pros. The training advice that we give in the show is actually not designed for pros. If you are a pro trying to get to the top level, here’s what I do. Don’t listen to what I can tell you. Here’s what I’m going to tell you, you need to train up to a certain level, once you get to that level, what you can accomplish with training. To get to that highest level, you need a couple years of doing 100 Plus race starts per season, you just need experience. You need to be racing every weekend, you need to be doing constant 567 days stage races to be able to hit that highest level training can’t give you that intensity can’t teach you to tolerate that sort of pain. So we can’t develop those top level riders until they can get those restarts.

Rob Pickels  18:34

Trevor, why don’t I’m training question.

Trevor Connor  18:36

I have a training question.

Grant Holicky  18:38

Well, that’s a good segue, right? Because we just you just talked about training and getting to the next level for somebody. So let’s go to a training question.

Trevor Connor  18:46

Okay, so this is a I want you to justify what I’m doing, which I know is wrong.

Rob Pickels  18:52

Hold on, hold on. Hold on. We’re radio. We’re a radio station today. So thanks for calling 99.5 caller number two, you’re on the air.

Trevor Connor  19:00

So this is my calling and saying my girlfriend’s cheating on me. She never comes home. Tell me that she still loves me his dog

Rob Pickels  19:08

bid on his truck broke down.

Grant Holicky  19:11

So it’s a country song. Yeah, there

Trevor Connor  19:13

we go. We’ll do a country song about my training. So look, let me just start this by saying I have had a pretty lousy season. I have not been motivated this season. So I have been finding it hard to go and do my intervals go and do my work. So I have been doing something more and more and I just did this on Tuesday, which I am convincing myself is a good thing when I probably No, it isn’t. And I’m interested in your tics, which is I get on Zwift to do my intervals. So Tuesday I was going to do my five by five minute intervals. I got through the first one and said I don’t want to do any more. So I made a bargain with myself get through two or three more. And then I can hop in his whiffed race, and then I’ll get all my intensity out. Matter of fact, I’ll get more intensity because I’ve done some intervals. And then I’ve added 20 minutes of racing. And this will all be great. And I did that. So I got through three and a half instead of my five, and then jumped to a Zwift. Race spent 15 minutes in the Zwift. Race. That was a great workout. I think I’m deluding myself. And I have been doing this all year. So what’s your take on this?

Grant Holicky  20:28

I I’m sorry. I think this is hilarious. I was looking at Rob’s face during some of this, and no,

Rob Pickels  20:34

no, no, no, no, no. This might need to be Off mic. But the reason I was laughing is, Trevor, if you can’t see this, but if you recall, Grant’s phone was just vibrating. And so what did he do with his vibrating phone? He is now sitting on it. I’m sitting. And I was looking for my phone. So I could call him because I wanted to see.

Grant Holicky  20:57

Oh, you know, what would happen? Listen, if there’s anything that can muffle sound, it’s my

Trevor Connor  21:04

I’m basically asking for a therapy session. Myself and your answer is not paying attention.

Rob Pickels  21:13

Let me let me ask this question. First, before we kind of dive into the training side of it, you haven’t been performing as well as you normally do. Your motivation is down. You know, I’m sure that stress is probably high. Are you in a place where you’re overreaching or overtraining? Is that a possibility at this point in time? Okay. So even considering that life stress and whatever else, that can be a huge factor, even though your training isn’t as hard as it was, I just want to,

Trevor Connor  21:45

so I know why my motivation is low. And we won’t go into that today. We might have that as a different conversation. So no, I mean, I know it overtraining feels like this is the furthest I’ve ever felt away from overtraining. In probably 15 years, I have been feeling all season undertrained. Yes, because I’m just not putting in the time and the training

Rob Pickels  22:05

perfect. And I think that everybody needs to ask that question first. Because oftentimes, you can end up in this situation, not realize how you got to that situation. And people can just push harder, and it makes it makes it a worse situation. So now that we’re clear on that, Grant?

Grant Holicky  22:21

Well, yeah, so that’s typical response, right? Like if if you’re overtraining, you’re not performing. So you train harder. Okay, that’s not what’s going on. Now. My side of the world goes, Why is the motivation down? Right? There’s three things that drive motivation. We’ve talked about this autonomy, competence and relatedness, right? So I’d look at Trevor, if I, if I was doing a session with you, Trevor, I’d sit there and go, Okay, it’s probably the competence piece right now, you’re used to racing at a very high level, you don’t feel like you’re necessarily can race at a very high level right now. So that beats up motivation. My take on the world is and maybe I don’t know, if I’m helping delude you or not. If it’s something you’re willing to do, do it. If that’s a way to work hard. If that’s a way to get some training in, that’ll get you back in the door. I experienced a ton of this last year. And and I don’t know if it was top of the race age group. So and I was super busy during cross is trying to run the team. I was trying to do all this stuff. I didn’t care. I literally didn’t care. I didn’t train very hard. I’d get on the bike. I didn’t race very hard. I didn’t do much at all. It just was like kind of hanging out. So you know, this year has been totally different for me. I think it’s because part of it is I’m 50 right race, age 50. I can be competitive the kids in full day, because he’s the youngest of the old people. Yeah, kids in full day preschool. Oh, I got all that stuff. I’m out of grad school. Oh, my God. So for me, I think it really is what whatever works for you. You’ve got to start with that. And then maybe build a training plan around that do something different,

Trevor Connor  24:03

which is fair. But so let’s move beyond the motivation side. And I want to ask the pure training question. Is that training as good? Or even better or worse than if I had done the original plan of just getting my intervals? is mixing this up? Still good training? Or should? Is this like your plate? You should keep your meat and your peas separate?

Rob Pickels  24:23

Well, I think that that that’s a value judgment. And I don’t know that the value judgment is appropriate at this point in time because something is better than nothing. And what is the saying? Like perfect is the vein of good or so you know what I’m, you know what I mean? I was

Trevor Connor  24:41

I always I always tell my athletes don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good enough. I’m just not certain this is good enough. So, as a coach, I’m addressing your team. Here’s

Grant Holicky  24:51

my answer. And my answer, unfortunately, is nine times out of 10. It depends. So what were you were doing the other day? I think that’s probably fine. because you were what were you going to do? 565?

Trevor Connor  25:02

It’s going to five by 553 and a half kind of crappy. And then, okay, five by five threshold, right? So

Grant Holicky  25:09

you’re going to go low rest, get 25 minutes of work in and go from there. Well, instead. All right, maybe you did a little bit of tempo and before that, but you know, as what phrase to me is just the threshold workout. You’re just sitting at threshold for a period of time, pretty much.

Trevor Connor  25:26

Yeah, I agree with and I’ve thought about that. And that’s why I hopped into crit, which was not a threshold workout at all.

Grant Holicky  25:35

But even even to me, now you guys know me, I love spiky stuff. I love it the way above or way below, even to me the crits in Zwift are pretty moderate. They know that in a level, right? They’re not that spiky. Because even if you wind it up, you wind it up for a period of time. All right. So if it were me as a coach, I’d be like, Yeah, that’s great, because you got a bunch of threshold time with some spikes of higher effort that forced you to recover out threshold or just below threshold, right? So I like to mix and match efforts. And this is one of the things that you’re struggling with because you don’t like your peas to touch your potatoes as a coach. I don’t care if the peas are in

Rob Pickels  26:17

potatoes. What about the Franks and your beans.

Grant Holicky  26:20

I’m the guy that with my ice cream, puts everything in the ice cream and then waits a minute and then mixes

Rob Pickels  26:26

his peas, potatoes and ice cream are all the same point.

Grant Holicky  26:29

Oh, potatoes and ice cream. That’s a great flavor.

Trevor Connor  26:31

This is good to know. I’m gonna throw some jalapenos in your ice cream. Watch your face. Have

Grant Holicky  26:37

you ever had jalapeno ice cream? It’s quite good.

Trevor Connor  26:39

I have not neither such a thing. Yes. Yes. Such thing.

Rob Pickels  26:43

You know getting back on topic here. Why not? Because Because Trevor needs to hear Trevor needs

Trevor Connor  26:49

us know your Give me your ads, your answer is got the job done?

Grant Holicky  26:53

My answer is this. My answer is if you’re trying to do threshold or threshold with spikes that are trying to get you to recover a threshold, the Zwift race is always going to work. If you’re trying to get true vo to max work, or true extended tempo work, those things aren’t going to work in a swift race.

Rob Pickels  27:10

No, they’re not going to answer. The other side of this is I think that you came out of this happier and in a better place. And if that is the path that you need to take to help you get back into the full motivation to enjoying riding. Because you know what, maybe this workout wasn’t the best workout physiologically, if we studied it in a lab, I’m sure it doesn’t get you the best return. But that’s okay. Because you might be feeling better. You seem happier after doing that. So does next week, are you able to go and you’re motivated, and you’re going to do that full workout and you’re not going to have to take this sort of shortcut out of it. I think that all of those things are very important because the best workout for an athlete is not the best workout on a piece of paper. It’s the best workout that that athlete is able to do to complete, to feel motivated to feel happy to feel encouraged. All of that is really, in my opinion, incredibly important. More so than the perfect like to the second to the watt workout.

Grant Holicky  28:09

I will always, always say what you just said. And that’s my starting point. Now Trevor asked me as a pure coach and a training piece. Yeah, I think it worked for what you were doing. I think it is not well rounded enough for an entire training plan.

Rob Pickels  28:29

This is how would you rate this in training peaks? Give up halfway through your workout do his whiffed race?

Grant Holicky  28:41

Well, I’ll give you what you did last Tuesday,

Trevor Connor  28:44

I will give you my take on it, which is looking at it as a coach, if one of my athletes was doing this, if an athlete if I signed them, the five, five let’s say I their routine right now was five by fives twice a week. And one of the you know, so I’m looking at their report for the week and on Thursday, they had the five by fives and they did exactly what I did and just had just having a low motivation day on so you know, I hopped into a race and and got you know, just helped me stay motivated. I go fine. You’ve made the right choice. If I gave them five by fives twice a week, and every single time they were doing two three intervals and then hopping into Zwift arrays. I would go this isn’t working and let’s have a talk. So maybe the five by fives aren’t for you. We need to find something else but you can’t be doing this every time.

Grant Holicky  29:33

Yeah, and honestly part of the reason that I like indoor riding or indoor riding works for me is because how I train and what I like is shorter, harder, more intense intervals and I feel like I have an easier time knocking those out on the trainer. I can’t wrap my head around a minute on the trainer. I can wrap my head around two minutes on the train or 32nd Sprint’s on the trainer. I have a hard time wrapping my head or Around 10 minutes of LTE on a trainer, really? Yes, you don’t have that exact offset. I know I know and different people are different ways and this is what kind of Rob was alluding to the uniqueness of an individual is super important. Go look at it and go minute on minute off on the trainer. sweetspot man like that. That’s like my sweet. I will nail that all day long. I’ll do 20 of them. I feel great doing that. That was the old suffer fest workout. Just knock them out. Thank you Neil Henderson. Yeah, Neil revolver. You know,

Rob Pickels  30:33

and I remember revolver before it was actually revolver. That’s how old we are. Oh, geez. Have that work?

Grant Holicky  30:39

Yeah, yeah. And I love that workout. Like, that’s if I have a low motivation moment. That’s what I load up. Just like, I’m just gonna knock this out. Because I feel good doing it. And I think that’s part of what you’re kind of getting at to where do you feel good, right, you can feel really good in that place. And to come back to Rob’s point. And I don’t think Hey, like, I think you guys talked to somebody about this recently. You can’t separate the training from the mind. Right? Right. They don’t get pulled apart. There is absolutely no way to pull those two things apart. So how do you make somebody feel competent? You hopped in his swift raise probably came out of that swift race and went I did all right.

Trevor Connor  31:19

It was a credit. But it was

Grant Holicky  31:23

right it’s it’s like you’re you’re in this box. And as with credit, well the

Trevor Connor  31:28

worst part of it is I’ve done the Zwift correct course a few times but always counterclockwise direction. So the for the first time I did it clockwise and didn’t realize there’s a hill

Grant Holicky  31:39

Oh, yeah, there’s a hill hard goes like stair steps up the hill. And you got to like rip it up that hill

Trevor Connor  31:46

I got pop first lap. So here I’m hopping into it to get motivated. I’m like, I’m permitted app and I just got popped.

Rob Pickels  31:53

Yeah, you gotta be at the front of the field at that. And then I usually drift backward on most laps, so that I’m controlling a little bit while back

Trevor Connor  32:01

course. But that I did allude to that when I was saying what I would do with one of my athletes and putting aside the first question of Are you overtrained, right? If you’ve addressed that, if I give an interval workout to an athlete, and they’re consistently not doing it, and hopping in a Zwift race? I don’t go I’m not gonna yell at the athletes. Hey, you got to do this. I look at that and go. They don’t like these intervals are non directional. We gotta find a better direction for you. All right.

Rob Pickels  32:28

I mean, so that enjoyment factor, you know, seems seems like is really a big important thing, right?

Trevor Connor  32:35

Intervals hurt and look, there’s no way to get around that. If you do good intervals, they’re gonna hurt. Right? There are some intervals that people are okay with saying I’m going to hurt doing these are other intervals where it hurts. I hate these intervals. It sucks. I don’t want to do this.

Grant Holicky  32:50

And everybody has their wheelhouse. This is what I was talking about. One one on one offs. my wheelhouse. lt is Trevor’s wheelhouse. going really really hard for a short period of time is your wheelhouse. I don’t like doing that on the trainer though. Okay, so going really you don’t like anything on a trainer.

Trevor Connor  33:07

He likes doing.

Rob Pickels  33:10

I love doing my base rides and ERG mode of the trade.

Trevor Connor  33:16

Two hours, a ride in ERG mode is on

Rob Pickels  33:19

a steady state it fluctuates up and down. But the computer controls that for me and I don’t have to look at it. What are you looking at? I don’t like watching Netflix here. Okay, and this is a brick wall. Yeah, we’ve talked about this before. I if I’m not in ERG mode, I have to actually watch the course which means I need to shift and everything else. I can’t focus on the Great British baking show. You know.

Grant Holicky  33:41

You’re you’re a child of the coffee trainer.

Trevor Connor  33:45

Right? And the fact that my question ended with the great British baking show. I think we’re done. Good. We are good here. I have nothing left to ask.

Rob Pickels  33:58


Ryan Kohler  34:01

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Rob Pickels  34:31

Well guys, you know all of my questions come from inexperience and this time there I was just laying on the massage table. And it came to me I have not had a massage in a long time and b Did it feel good. Anyway here here’s my question is my life is often very hectic, work, writing kids, wife that travels and races herself. Grant you’re in a Pretty similar situation, I know you were sort of saying how busy you guys are right now. And so my question is this and Trevor, you’re you’re owning and running businesses and training and whatever else. So we all have a lot and everyone out there has a lot going on as well. What is it that you do for self care? What emphasis do you place on yourself to help balance all of the things that are going on in the world around you. And I’ll just kick this off by saying massage for me is oftentimes more about my mind than it is my legs. If I want my legs to feel good, I got my percussion massager. And that really helps me recover from a workout, I can’t get a massage every day. But I know that taking that moment for myself, helps calm everything inside of me when the world is a lot when it’s too much. And I can judge when things feel too much when I stopped doing these self care things, you know, like it pushes them down. And so, you know, Grant Trevor, and this is something I’d love to hear from from everyone out there. What is it that you have in your life that helps you balance? And if you don’t have something, then then maybe let’s get some inspiration going for people? And what could it be?

Trevor Connor  36:11

You’re gonna go first?

Grant Holicky  36:12

Sure. For me, it’s it’s training. And but but I don’t look at training, as and maybe this is why I wasn’t motivated to race very hard last year, like I’d hop in races because I wanted to see the course I wanted to help out my athletes, but like, I wasn’t going as deep as I’d gone in the past. But for me, training and racing is my break. It’s that time that I get to step away from everything else. I’ve, I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I don’t look at training as a half, two, I don’t look at it as I got to, it’s a I get to, Hey, man, like, this is my hour, I get to tune everything else out. And I do a lot of meditation on the bike, whether that is on my long rides outside, where it’s just making an focus point to look at the mountains, look at what’s around here and have some gratitude for where I live, what I’ve done what I’ve done with my life to I could get to this point. So it’s self gratitude to its gratitude to the people around me. And then intervals for me or meditation, I think I’ve talked about this before, I’m a big believer in that retiring athletes need to find a replacement for natural meditation that they did in their training. Hey, if you’re going to five minute interval, and you’re outside, what are you doing? What are you thinking about? You’re not thinking about anything, you’re thinking about your breathing? Maybe occasionally, you’re looking at your watts, and everything else that comes into your mind? What are you doing with it? I’m just gonna put that away for the next four and a half minutes. Oh, man, you didn’t pay your bills, I’m gonna put that away for the next three minutes. That’s meditation. And so we’re doing that naturally, as athletes, I’ve just really that’s what I rely on. And when I don’t have that I really, really struggle in my life.

Rob Pickels  38:11

Grant, do you think that does this happen just naturally for you? Or is this something that you’re purposefully engaging with activity to elicit this response?

Grant Holicky  38:23

I think a little bit of both, I think growing up a swimmer, you don’t, there’s nothing I mean, you’re staring at a black line on the bottom of a pool when you’re doing intervals, right? If you’re going really, really hard as a swimmer in the water, what you can think about as you’re breathing, because otherwise you drown. So like that natural meditation of interval style workout that got built into me as a swimmer, as an adult, it was a lot of intention, really taking a step away from the results defining what I was trying to do. And coming to a place that says, Hey, man, athletics is something that I have the pleasure of doing at 40 years old. It is not it doesn’t define me, it doesn’t make me good or bad. If I win this race, or I get 10th in this race, that doesn’t matter. I get to race. And I think gratitudes become a huge aspect of my life. And so as you know what you’re saying, if I go out for a base ride, and I’m alone, I like riding alone. But I really will force myself at an early point in the ride to stop and look around. And really take a moment to take that in and go you know, this is a really cool place to live. Or this is a really cool place to ride or, I mean, I’ve done bass rides in awful places and gone. Well, this is a really particular play. Yeah. And so I think those things for me, yeah, there’s a lot of intention. And then there’s a lot of awareness of that natural piece of it that just got built into my life. And now I do that with intention,

Rob Pickels  40:01

yeah, I think the intention and the awareness is important. Because if you rush home from work and you rush out to the garage and you rush onto your bike, and you rush through your workout and you rush home and you make dinner, you’re not getting these positive benefits. But if you break that cycle, if 10 minutes into your ride, you stop and you look around you say, Man, the sky is pretty today, or listen to those birds or you wave at people going, you have the intentionality that I think can really change. And that’s really important to do, because it changes how you’re engaging with the writing. And it can make writing a self care situation as opposed to a I have to I need to

Grant Holicky  40:39

Yeah, to me, that’s the key, right? I really, and honestly, I’ll have this conversation with professionals who are living and dying on the result. If you’re looking at your training as an I have to, you’re gonna struggle at places you’re gonna have a hard time. I mean, the same thing with anything. That’s, you know, if you if your job is a, it’s a dredge, you just got to get through it, I just have to do it. This is how I make money. lives go by really quickly, right? The old fares if you don’t stop the look around every once in a while, you just might miss it. And I think, how do you find some fun? How do you find what makes it joyous? I mean, we’ve all had this experience, I have an hour that I have to get through dude that our takes for ever. I remember walking on the pool deck. Early on in my coaching career, and I was teaching, I was coaching, I was barely making any money I was hanging on for dear life, right? And I remember getting on the pool deck and going I gotta get through this two hours, and it was miserable is the slowest two hours, right? But if I made a choice to actively walk in and engage as much as I could, this is why it became such a technical swim coach, because otherwise what do you do sit back, you give a set and you read the paper. Right? So become a technical swim coach the two hours with fly by because there’s always something to do. And you get engaged with people. And it just I mean it just live in life up to a man I’m sorry, I got like real deep

Rob Pickels  42:06

down let’s good tea dog, I thought that you would be the training dog. Yeah, tea dog today.

Trevor Connor  42:13

That’s a new one.

Rob Pickels  42:15

I thought that you would be the trading person in grant I pegged grant as a as a meditation person. So Trevor, you’re going to surprise me with how you implement some self care here,

Trevor Connor  42:26

I probably am. So look, I am that guy who got really out of balance. I do work long hours, and got to a point where I was working till 1130 12 o’clock at night, getting up in the morning exhausted trying to get my training in when I could get to work work another long day. And it got to be a grind, and found myself getting less and less effective. Because the way I described it to a friend is you know, think about school exam week. And those exam weeks there, you can kind of be fun, or you can you can do them for a week. But then you get a rest and I kind of went every week because that was am weak. And my body is finally saying I can’t do this. But the interesting thing I have found trying to get myself into balance is there a lot of factors. So you can say, Oh, I’m going to try meditation or I’m going to try writing or I’m going to do this at this particular time. What I found is a that can change be that might work for somebody else, it might not work for you, or it might even change what works for you. So let me give you an example. I think back to 10 years ago, when I felt really imbalance I was a night owl. So my favorite thing in the world to do at this coffee shop that I loved it was a 24 hour coffee shop, I would go there do all my reading, do all my research, I would leave there usually 1130 12 He

Rob Pickels  43:50

knew he was a 24 hour coffee shop because he was there all 20 So,

Trevor Connor  43:56

you know I would never get out of there before 11 often get out about midnight, go home, relax for an hour, hour and a half Get to bed about 130 You know wake up in the morning, get back to my routine. And I would do my training kind of mid afternoon and actually felt really imbalanced. Training was part of my relaxation. But actually sitting at that coffee shop is a relaxation for me. I found an interesting thing with COVID is I didn’t have my coffee shop anymore. I tried to keep my routine but do it at home. And what I found was what was a joy at a coffee shop was a struggle that drained me at home and I would wake up in the morning feeling like I got hit by a truck and I just slowed down more and more and more. So I’ve actually switched my routine to I now shut down about 10 o’clock because I know I’m just not productive after 10 All the stuff I used to like to do at night I’m now finding I actually enjoy more in the morning like I would do a stretch routine at night watching TV. I actually now like doing that in the morning. So even that that is something that kept me in balance. The timing of it was important. And I had to shift it to the morning. So now I go to bed earlier and I get up much earlier. In my time to relax. I have a couple hours before I come into work where that’s I do my stretching, I do my exercise routine. I’ve tried meditation, and I use a first when I tried meditation. I was doing it right before I went to bed. And a hate it. Yeah, I’m really medication sucks. And finally, one morning I woke up. I’m like, why they’re trying in the morning? I did the routine in the morning went, Oh, I love this. Yeah.

Grant Holicky  45:28

Yeah, I think timing is really important with that. And I mean, yeah, it really interesting point is it is so different for every individual 100% and how things change. Like, I totally agree with that with a massage. Right? And I used to go in and get a massage and go, I don’t really need you to fix anything I

Rob Pickels  45:47

know, just just just give you a rubdown.

Grant Holicky  45:50

And I’ll zone out for an hour. Yeah, I am to the point now where I do the opposite. The person who does my body work is a friend, we talk for the entire hour. And honestly, he’s just fixing stuff, right? Like I drove back from Montana. So I spent 10 hours in a car, please fix me. Yeah, right. So that’s really shifted in my life, I don’t have that luxury, whatever it was. And so I don’t do it, it’s so much about, I think there’s there’s a lot of value in routine, I think there’s a lot of value in what feels good, and what feels safe to you and what feels like I have control over this. Yeah, I can do this. And you made a point earlier. And I always like to touch on this transition time. To me transition time is everything for everybody. And we’ve lost transition time, when when I take my kids to school, they have to be in the school by 750. They don’t start anything till eight o’clock. They have a 10 minute transition time. You were at home. Now you’re in school. And I find myself doing this all the time. I’m going to do this podcast until this time, and then I’m going to start the next thing back that same time. We can’t do that you can add one thing and 11 and start the next thing. It’ll add 11 Yeah, so building in a half an hour of just time. I don’t have time for that you can if you build it in, and what do you do, sometimes you get through 20 minutes of it, and you’re like, Okay, I’m ready, I’m gonna go to the next thing. But I talked about this with athletes all the time, get away from the rest of your life. Take a moment to leave that behind, step into the workout, do the workout, take a moment to leave the workout behind, go hang out with your friends or your family or your loved ones. And I

Trevor Connor  47:40

think you bring up a really important question about time. And now we’re getting way outside of the training world. But just general advice I have certainly seen. So going back to when I said my routine didn’t work anymore, and I was getting drained. I was even though I was trying to get as much time as I could. I was probably doing about a half an hour’s worth of work in an hour. So I really wasn’t gaining time. Yeah, when I find myself in balance and rested and in a good place. You know, I’m one of those. There’s no such thing as given 120% You can only give 100%. So I’ll say you can get an hour’s worth of work in an hour’s time. Yep.

Grant Holicky  48:17

Well, and that’s unusual, right? I mean, that’s hitting your potential. That’s one of the I joke about this all the time, like my brother, I hope he doesn’t listen to this. But my brother has a desk job. And you know, he’s an architect, and he’s busy. But he talks about how busy he is all the time. But I got I get so much random crap from him in the middle of the day. Cleveland Browns are the guardians are like, just by grazing. Did you see this? Like, what are you doing? I thought you work 24/7 Yeah, and and so the distractions within our lives in our workspaces right now are so extreme that it’s very rare that we’re doing an hour worth of work in an hour.

Rob Pickels  48:51

And that’s I think the effectiveness that you both are pointing out right now is the reason for this. Oftentimes, we feel overwhelmed, we stopped taking care of ourselves, we stopped doing the routine that works, we stop getting our massages, or going for our rides or having our intentionality. And we get progressively worse at what we do, which means it takes progressively longer, which means we have less time, which means we’re less effective, and it feeds this cycle. That’s why I think that it’s important and why I bring this up, what is it that you do to make sure that people are doing it because it can be so hard to take that moment out of your day or to put that thought into what your routine is. But taking that even though it feels initially like it’s going to be counterproductive, like it’s taking you away from what you have to do, ultimately can make you more effective and give you more time in the future to do things you want to

Trevor Connor  49:42

when I set up these businesses. My dad is also run a business. So I went to him obviously and said, Dad, what’s your advice here? And one of the things that he told me that really resonated is he said too many bosses focus on the time that their employees are putting in What you need to focus on is what they’re getting done. Yep.

Grant Holicky  50:03

And that, and that’s a great point coming out of COVID. Right? We want to get everybody bosses want to get people back in the office. It shouldn’t be about where it gets done. It should be about productivity. Yep. The other thing that I think and I’ll, my final point with this is one of the things that I’m a big believer is in self forgiveness. Give yourself a break. Just take that second and go, it’s okay. Maybe I messed up today. But you know what, it’s all right. And I get part of this for me is that transition time i There’s a lot of times that I said I was gonna get on the bike at five. And I end up getting on five at night. I’m gonna don’t end up getting on the bike till 530. Well, I gotta be off the bike by 630. Because that’s when we all sit down for dinner. Right? So I only got an hour and I can punish the heck out of myself for missing that half an hour. Or I can go you know what I needed it. That was appropriate today, I needed it. I get an hour and I’ll go hard for an hour. Dude. I’m a 50 year old bike racer, What’s it matter? Like, enjoy your an hour, instead of spending 30 minutes of that hour? being mad that you missed the 30 minutes from earlier. And there’s so much of this stuff that we do so the self care? Yeah, like, self forgiveness is huge. And gratitude is huge. And self gratitude is huge. I think we don’t do enough time of that. Hey, you know what? Right wrote in a bed, you did a good job today, Grant.

Rob Pickels  51:34

I thought I was the fluffy guy grants. From the back. Listen,

Grant Holicky  51:38

I’m a huge fluffy guy. Like, I think we need so much more time in our lives to take a second to tell everybody else good job and to tell ourselves Good job. And we don’t do it enough. And the more we do that, I do talk about trotting out studies, I could try it out study after study after study on gratitude. And how it changes perspective, how changes mood is fantastic. And that’s a whole show on that kind of stuff, simply and

Trevor Connor  52:06

I will add to that, find something that you love that rejuvenates you and make sure you do that regularly. And you protect that. So for example, mine is when I was racing full time, I would after every ride, sit down and do a 45 minute stretch watching some sort of some show that I really liked and I love that time again.

Grant Holicky  52:30

Great finish. Now even

Trevor Connor  52:32

slightly missing out man so every weekend, usually on Saturday, I go for my ride and then I come back and I have my now our full stretch watching the show and so this summer it has been Stranger Things. Oh, okay. And even though I absolutely want to binge watch that show and see what happens next just for us it’s such a great hour for me yeah, it’s it’s I will only say like I’m on the final episode now which is like two and a half hours long. And I finished my stretch in the middle and like have to stop it. I’m not gonna make it because I want this so much next week and I got my wife away. He’ll you

Grant Holicky  53:12

were watching Game of Thrones right now finally watching that show. And we’re getting to the point where I you know, we finish an episode. And she looks at me and goes, we got to start another one that No, it’s 10 o’clock at night. We’re gonna go to bed. We have to do it now just got started. She’s she’s not a patient woman.

Rob Pickels  53:32

We love you breeze.

Trevor Connor  53:36

But now that we’ve ruined grants merge, I think we’re

Grant Holicky  53:39

gonna play this for her for sure. Go.

Rob Pickels  53:41

Well, Grant, Trevor. I just want to say great job today, guys.

Grant Holicky  53:46

Yeah, I think we did a really nice job today. I think we should be really proud of ourselves.

Rob Pickels  53:50

I’m proud of you.

Grant Holicky  53:51

I’m proud of you, too. Thank you.

Trevor Connor  53:54

Do you guys want me to leave? You can? No. You to Trevor, you

Grant Holicky  53:58

did really, really well. And I’m really proud of you for doing that to a phrase the other day are you I am now you could have been easy to just bail and instead you got something out of it. I think that’s important.

Trevor Connor  54:10

words or phrase. Like do we need to do a big group hug here? Are we getting into that that phase? No,

Rob Pickels  54:16

no, no, no, no, we don’t have to touch each other.

Grant Holicky  54:19

That’s why we’re all separate. Oh, that was good. That was Bastok

Rob Pickels  54:27

Keep going Keep going. Keep going. I don’t know it doesn’t matter. Just say whatever you want. None of us know it. Rob. That was another episode of fast talk. Please like and subscribe because we’re awesome. And you love listening to us. Join the conversation at forums dot fast Doc labs.com. And Trevor’s opening his computer the

Trevor Connor  54:45

finishing my intervals. Okay, we’re doing this right.

Rob Pickels  54:47

For Trevor Connor and grant colicky I’m Rob pickles. Thanks for listening.

Trevor Connor  54:52

No, not acceptable.

Rob Pickels  54:53

You’re going to forgive me.

Grant Holicky  54:55

The attitudes conversations expressions in moments of joy expressed on this Episode are not indicative of fast talk as a whole they are those of the individual not as the company I don’t know don’t sue us to Trevor don’t say I’m an independent contractor.

Rob Pickels  55:14

You’re really protected unless you do you have your own insurance I

Grant Holicky  55:17

hope I do. I do I do. I do. Well then sue great because he’s don’t sue me.

Trevor Connor  55:23

That was another episode of fast dock. Subscribe to fast dock wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcasts. I’m amazed you guys aren’t talking over me on this. Be sure to leave us a rating and review the thoughts and opinions expressed in fast talker those are the individuals.

Rob Pickels  55:37

We said all of this just as always,

Trevor Connor  55:39

we love your feedback. See, join the conversation on stock phastar glads.com Tweet us at can read Tweet us tweet at well, it’s horribly written had to get access. But we need to work on your English to get access to our endurance sports knowledge base coach continuing education as well as our in person and remote athletes services or brand policy. And Trevor Connor. I’m Rob pickles. Thanks for listening