The Rise of the Adventure Athlete, with Expedition Detroit’s Dan Cooke

We discuss what adventure athletes need as well as how to support emerging outdoor sports hubs with Expedition Detroit founder, Dan Cooke. 

FTL EP 313 with Dan Cooke

The class of athletes we call “adventure athletes” is expanding rapidly, and they aren’t all in it for the gold. The world is, in fact, not tapped out of possible race and event destinations—many are still being discovered, just as Detroit was recently named one of Outside Magazine’s 2024 Top Adventure Travel Destinations and the Most Adventurous State in the Midwest.  

But how is the endurance sports industry prepared for this newer and growing class of athletes with different priorities, needs, and lifestyles? How are we prepared to encourage and support the development of endurance sports in emerging markets like Detroit? Our hosts and guest delve into the endurance sports industry’s changing landscape and how it affects athletes, coaches, and even larger-scale economies. They acknowledge a bit of decline in the elite athlete market as well as the emergence of a new opportunity for recreational enthusiast athletes who are interested in running, biking, and other outdoor activities all around the world.  

In this episode, we welcome a multisport adventure athlete and Expedition Detroit’s founder, Dan Cooke, to our podcast studio. Dan’s not the only one who prefers a side of adrenaline with his endurance entrée or wants to match his athletic endeavors with coordinates off his bucket list of travel destinations. Like the rest of us during the pandemic, Dan’s out-of-state adventures came to a screeching halt and he had no choice but to start exploring closer to home—only to find that world-class adventures didn’t have to be a cross-country flight away, they were also within an hour of Detroit.  

Fast Talk Labs welcomes Expedition Detroit founder Dan Cooke to the team office in Boulder, CO, for a partnership kick-off and recording of a special episode of Fast Talk Podcast in February 2024.

Leaning into these changes to advance endurance sports and its expanding, diversifying athletes requires collaboration across sectors and interests. This is why Expedition Detroit and Fast Talk Labs—with two very different entry points into the industry—are partnering. In this conversation, we highlight the importance of offering innovative resources and services, programs, and events that cater to the unique needs of these athletes—and bringing along unexpected players who can contribute. Coach Connor points out that while the decline of the elite athlete market is a concern, the growth of the recreational enthusiast athlete market presents a unique opportunity for coaches and organizations to diversify their services and reach new audiences.  

With a mid-episode round of trivia, our hosts’ usual antics, and some historical knowledge dropped by our guest, this episode has a unique format that mimics the “for the fun and thrill of it” characteristics of the adventure athlete while giving concrete tips on how each of us can embrace these changes and the exciting opportunities they hold. 

So get outside and explore… and let’s make you fast! 

Episode Transcript

Trevor Connor  00:05

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Fast Talk, your source for the science of endurance sports training. We have a good group here. Griffin, this has been something that’s been kind of a pet project of yours. You’ve been really excited about this. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what we’re going to talk about today?

Griffin McMath  00:21

Yes, I’m so excited that this is finally coming to fruition. We are here today with Dan Cook, the founder of Expedition Detroit. He has flown in here to Boulder, Alta Denver, to have a fun ski trip and to be with us. So double whammy there. And we really get to talk today about the changing landscape of the endurance sports industry, both from the athlete perspective and from the coach perspective, and talk about a new way to look at how that change is taking place. And what opportunities lie within this change. I really am pumped because normally we have someone on who is a scientist, who wants to talk about a biochemical pathway, who wants to nerd out with Trevor and argue about the latest research. And I’m always here for that. But I think we’re bringing something new to our listeners today. Something they can sink their teeth into, that they can get excited about. And that they can partake in this change and really see where we can go with this, especially for a place like Detroit.

Trevor Connor  01:22

Tis the season for spring knee. As sunshine and spring weather inspires us to ramp up our riding mileage our knees don’t always keep up. If you got knee pain, we have the solution for you. Fast Talks Lab members can follow our knee health pathway, featuring Dr. Andy Brewer. See the introduction in the Knee Hill pathway at So what I found really interesting about this, we were talking offline before the episode started, about how are we going to introduce this? How are we going to talk about this? And you said to me, let’s start by painting this picture of what’s going on with athletes and the decline in the athlete market. And that’s certainly something we talk a lot about on the show. But our show tends to be more focused on that more elite, very serious athlete who’s trying to perform often trying to race and get results. And when we are talking about that market, we’re talking about the race scene, it is a bit of a bleak picture right now. You are seeing a decline. There aren’t as many races as there used to be. We’re seeing the athlete market go down. But if we’re talking about this more adventurer type athlete, of all age ranges, who’s just trying to enjoy these different sports, trying to get into it. Who’s probably also going to have a little bit of a difference in terms of what they want to know about what they want to learn. I actually think that’s an exploding market. So let’s talk about a shift where things are heading. Of yeah, you’re just not seeing that elite sport and dirt sport being as strong as it has been at points in the past. But you’re seeing a diversification and you’re seeing a growth of a whole new market, and how do we meet that market? So then we’ve been sitting here talking, you just got on a flight. So I feel like we need to kind of hand the mic to you and let you talk a little bit about this.

Dan Cook  03:17

That’s fair. And Griffin, to your intro, I am an attorney. So if you want to argue that’s my bread and butter. I’m always ready. Name the topic.

Trevor Connor  03:26

I have two brothers, therefore I’m ready to take it on.

Endurance Industry Changes

Dan Cook  03:29

Awesome. No, it’s a pleasure to be here. Just that topic alone about new markets and new athletes. And really the expansion of the recreational enthusiast. Especially when it comes to running, and especially when it comes to biking. That theme specifically is what we’re seeing in the Detroit area. Because not only is that a recreational type of athlete that’s growing across the market. But in these relatively nascent outdoor markets like Detroit, you’re seeing that effect amplified. Especially with reports that the DNR and the Huron clean metro parks in the Detroit area have been producing the outdoor industry as a whole. For both dollars and participation has absolutely exploded since the pandemic in Detroit. Even like based on our offline conversation for me, as someone who has always loved coming out west and experiencing this caliber of outdoor experiences. I didn’t even know that existed in Detroit until the pandemic and now that other similarly situated, adventurer athletes who aren’t professionals, but are fit and have an interest that they found those same opportunities, just based on what I’ve seen in Detroit specifically, I think you’re absolutely right on a national scale that there is this explosion and demand in that market.

Rob Pickels  04:51

I think that we can see this happening across industries right because I come from the consumer product goods side and you know, even prior, due to the pandemic, we were having discussions about how does product interact with new cyclists. And asking the questions of, does somebody feel comfortable wearing spandex shorts when they’re beginner cyclists?

Griffin McMath  05:14

No. I will answer that as someone training right now. No.

Rob Pickels  05:17

Exactly, they don’t. And it’s a barrier to entry. We think that riding a bike is so accessible to people, because oftentimes people have bikes when they grow up. But when you switch from being a ride your bike to school to being a cyclist, there’s a lot of knowledge that people don’t have, there’s cliques of people that they don’t feel like they’re a part of. And as you’re pointing out, in places like Detroit, there is not necessarily the social structure, the infrastructure, that other places maybe like Boulder enjoys a little bit more. When everybody on your street is a cyclist, it’s very easy to become one. So I’m really glad that we’re having this conversation, because at Fast Talk, it is important to us. And oftentimes we do focus on one segment of that market, right? And sometimes you have to do that so that you can educate that segment. But we always need to be aware of how different people interact with the sport.

Types of Endurance Athletes

Griffin McMath  06:14

I think that’s a great point to just set the table. You’re talking about segments of the market, especially for athletes. Can we identify maybe a few personalities that we can all kind of understand as far as the athlete market goes? We’ve talked about this before Rob, do you have a few in mind that you could – 

Rob Pickels  06:30

We certainly can. You can break down these segments in 100 different ways. And let’s be honest, we’re talking about segments. But at the same time, we’re not talking about nice, neat little boxes. We’re not talking about discrete differences between people. And something that we have always struggled with is kind of internally, people fitting into more than one box. And you can do that, especially in different sports or throughout different phases of your career. Oftentimes, and I think that we mentioned it already, with Fast Talk, we’re focusing on the racer, right? The person that is out there looking for competition. In my mind that competition does not necessarily have to lead to a podium. You can have a racer mentality. You can approach a sport in a racer viewpoint, even if you’re competing for 20th place, or even if you’re not competing against other people. You’re just competing against yourself, right? And looking at your best possible segment time on Strava. Making training decisions. Making equipment decisions. All of that is playing into this person that really looks and loves the competition aspect of endurance sports. Whether that’s your first time in a 5k or your 20th marathon, you can still be motivated by the same thing. There are other people on the other end of the market. And I hate using these very objective terms. There are other people who engage with the sport differently. And their motivation is adventure. Trevor, like you mentioned before, this is where I am right now. And I do a lot of events. But I don’t necessarily do the event because of where I come on the scorecard for the event. I do it because it’s an amazing guided adventure of an area that I don’t know. As listeners know, I rode across Portugal last year. I would never have known to find those roads or those trails without that event. They did all that work for me. I saw this amazing landscape, had an amazing time with friends that were then new to me. For the adventure or persona, that’s where the value is. They’re doing something new, trying something new, meeting somebody new, engaging in a new sport. So that setting is on both ends of the market. And Griffin, it’s up to you how sort of deep we begin defining those.

Griffin McMath  08:50

I mean, that’s great. And first off, some of the things that you just talked about are actually elements of what Expedition Detroit does in Detroit. So this is a great segue to say, Dan, you’re the best person to introduce Expedition Detroit. Can you give us an understanding of what Expedition Detroit actually does?

What is Expedition Detroit?

Dan Cook  09:05

Yeah, it was funny. I was nodding along with that entire segment, both for me personally and for what we’ve seen with Expedition Detroit and the kind of engagement that we’ve gotten with our content. For this audience, Expedition Detroit is an outdoor recreation media company. On a very high level, the goal is to put the entire outdoor industry within an hour’s drive of downtown Detroit, under one roof. So again, just talking about the different genres of athletes. If you are someone who has engaged in world class skiing, or running or mountain biking, road biking or whatever, Expedition Detroit  – and you’re either visiting or you live in the Detroit area – Expedition Detroit is your one stop shop to find the different outdoor destinations, outlets, gear providers, advocacy groups. Race organizations that provide the different outlets for your caliber of athlete, let’s call it. On the flip side, and this is extremely prominent, in especially Detroit, again, a nascent outdoor market. Expedition Detroit is also the place to find out where that trail is that you never knew existed, that’s less than a mile from your house. And go into that point about the adventurer athlete that’s looking just to experience something new, or find that element of adventure in the mundane in their everyday life. That could be Expedition Detroit’s tagline of, hey, all of these parks, all of these trails, all of these races, all of these opportunities have been hiding in plain sight. But because no one has taken a spotlight and put it directly on that trail or that town or that sport or that retailer and said “Here it is. It’s there. If you have an interest, go and find it.” That industry really hasn’t developed in Expedition Detroit or in the Detroit area. So Expedition Detroit is really the driving factor, the engine, to use Motor City terms. Hate doing that. That’s really intentionally pushing the industry forward. Another question that I was asked offline earlier, and I forgot to respond to because I’m Irish and I tend to go off on tangents, is why just Detroit, why not Expedition Michigan, Expedition Midwest, Expedition America? Although I would love to see the business scale up to that point, the reason why it is Expedition Detroit, is because even within that micro market, there’s so much value. There’s so much untapped adventure. And really untapped engagement between the five plus million people who live there that have always wanted to engage in that kind of athleticism, in that kind of recreation, but have never felt like they could. And even within that micro market, there’s enough to build an entire platform above it. And we’ve been operating for a year and a half now. And I still feel like we’ve just scratched the surface. And that’s only focusing on Detroit.

Rob Pickels  12:13

Dan, real quick I want to back up. And I hope that this doesn’t take us on too much of a tangent, but you mentioned something earlier, and that was across different caliber, or level of athletes. And I want to highlight that. Because a lot of the individuals listening to this show right now, the standard Fast Talk audience, fairly knowledgeable athlete, because you’ve been listening to us for a while. And coaches, and I don’t want those audience members to be like, how is this conversation relevant to me, right? And it’s relevant for this reason. Coaches, if you’re listening, athletes, if you’re listening to – I am contacted constantly by people for coaching. Half of them say, I don’t know if I’m worthy of being coached or not, because I’m not trying to go to Ironman World Championships. I’m not trying to win or get a podium. I don’t know if coaching is the right thing for me. And I think that both coaches and athletes, we need to understand that there is value across all different levels of athletes, regardless of how that person interacts with the sport. There is a worthiness there that makes groups like what you’re doing totally worthwhile to be involved with. Coaches, there are athletes who need to be coached, even though they aren’t trying to get a personal best. They might not even be trying to do a super epic adventure, but they still need guidance and support and love and help with the things that they’re doing. And even as they enter the sport. And athletes, if you’re listening to this, too, and you’re identifying with this and saying, “Hey, yeah, you know what I might not be trying to do anything, quote unquote, special, it doesn’t matter.” Everything that you’re trying to do is special. We love to talk about the big things that we do, Trevor, right. How many championship races have you talked about? How many times have I talked about riding across Portugal? It’s not like my life is epic every day. We love to harp on these epic things that we’ve done. Even if you haven’t been Canadian National Championships, like Trevor, or done the things that I’ve done, it doesn’t matter. There’s still value there.

Griffin McMath  14:20

As I say, we were actually having a conversation outside earlier about the risk of not taking on a coach. If you’re that athlete who’s starting to get more interested, you want to take on more adventures, you want to start getting into races. And you do this unassisted, you can risk all of these injuries that will prevent you from actually taking on these schools. I think this is a great opportunity, as we’re talking about this pipeline into becoming an athlete and you’re talking about the elite racer as well. For us to respect the age and experience in this room. Gentlemen.

Rob Pickels  14:54


Griffin McMath  14:55


Rob Pickels  14:55

I thought you were shooting a shot at Trevor, I’m not a part of that.

Griffin McMath  14:58

No, I’d think it’d be great for the two of you to share some anecdotes about what it has historically – ooh, didn’t mean that – historically – 

Rob Pickels  15:06

I was gonna say this is a Trevor segment, he’s got more history than I have.

Trevor Connor  15:10

This actually leads to the the big question I want to ask you. So let me ask this, and give me a couple of minutes to explain this. And I’m going to start with the whole age thing. We know – 

Rob Pickels  15:20

No, it’s “Four score and – “

Athletes and Age

Trevor Connor  15:23

But anyway, we did an episode a few years ago on aging, and dug into the research on aging. And looking at what happens to you as you hit your 40s, as you hit your 50s, hit your 60s. It was some of the most fascinating research that I had read, because really what they’re showing now is, all of what we believed about aging, and the decline that you see with aging isn’t true, isn’t physiologically true. And so the question is, why did we have the belief that we had? And here’s why: it was a cultural thing. And what you saw culturally, up until very recently, was if you’re an athlete, you start in high school. If you’re pretty good, you move into college sports. And then if you’re really good at the college level, you either start working with your national governing body, and you go on that Olympic track. Or you go on a professional track. For everybody else, it’s, “Hey, that was a fun thing I did when I was a kid. But I’m an adult, I’ve got to work responsibilities, and that’s kid stuff. I don’t do that anymore.” And that’s why all the old research was showing this rapid decline. It wasn’t because people were getting decrepit at 30 and couldn’t ride a bike or go on run anymore. It’s just, it was culturally, that’s not what you do anymore. And there was a shift where people started saying, “You know what, I want to keep doing this, I want this to be a lifelong thing. I want to stay in the sports.” The issue they’re now facing and look, I butted up against this myself. I got serious into cycling when I was 27. Which you kind of laugh at this now. But everybody was saying to me, “What are you doing here? You’re so old. You’re 27.” 

Griffin McMath  15:46

That hurts. 

Trevor Connor  16:21

But what you have now is all these people that are getting into the sport. But the infrastructure is still based around that older model of getting you on the Olympic path or getting you on the professional path. And so now I think you have all these athletes to say, “I’m really into this, I really want to do this. This is a lifelong thing for me.” But there isn’t an infrastructure for them. So this is the question that I want to throw at you is, what do they need? What’s the different infrastructure that gets away from that Olympic path, but allows them to be lifelong athletes and really achieve whatever level they want. Which isn’t necessarily a standing on the podium in front of a TV camera.

Dan Cook  17:50

I’ve been listening to an audio book over the last two weeks, all about the science of aging well. And I obviously had no idea you’re gonna bring this up. So I feel like I’ve been given a preview. And literally one of the chapters I just finished listening to while I’ve been driving back and forth between different parks, is about really the identity. How do you lock in someone who, not only wants to live a long life, because just the quantity of years is not important at all. It’s not the health or the lifespan, it’s the health span. It’s the quality of those years. What do you do to get yourself or to become the kind of person that is still able to run marathons if that’s what you want to do in your 70s or 80s. There is actually, you guys probably know the name of the French cyclist who, in their hundreds beat their own record.

Rob Pickels  18:44

I don’t know this

Dan Cook  18:45

At 101 they set the record, decided they could have done better, and at 103 beat that after implementing a training regimen.

Rob Pickels  18:53

That’s awesome. 

Griffin McMath  18:53

The trivia knowledge in this one just will astonish you.

Dan Cook  18:59

I wish I remembered the name. But the point being that person was not only, from a physical perspective, healthy enough to do that. From a mental perspective, they were cognizant, or had the cognition to put in a training regimen to discipline themselves to knock that out. And that person didn’t get the desire to do that in their hundreds or their 90s. That was a lifelong, decades long, intentional effort. And what the author speaks about here is you really need to lock in, again, on the athlete theme, that life is a decathlon. You don’t need to be the best in every single sport, when it comes from a physical perspective. You just need to be really good in all of them. You need to lock in that identity of being a well rounded athlete. So maybe your goal is to do an Ironman. Sure, that’s fantastic. And if you have the caliber to be competitive in those world class races like you guys have throughout your careers, God bless you. But if your goal is to be healthy and active, and that end goal is when I’m in my 80s, I want to be as fit as most people are in their 40s, or their mid 50s. You can do that by locking in that identity with small, incremental changes to your fitness. How you approach your diet, how you approach, even today, when I was in the Denver Airport, 90% of the people walking past me were taking the escalator. I decided to take the stairs.

Rob Pickels  20:31

It’s faster.

Dan Cook  20:31

It is faster. But just dialing in those little tweaks here are there to your everyday life. Let alone your training fitness. Let alone what goals you have, I think is one of the key components to at least just locking in that identity of the sport I’m pursuing on top of these finite goals is to be the best version of me that I can be well into my elder years. Well, until I’m supposed to have retired from the sport.

Trevor Connor  21:03

So how do you support those people? I mean, you’ve brought a lot of them into Expedition Detroit. So what is the need that you are serving? What is it that bringing them they’re saying this, this is what I need to be exactly what you just talked about?

Expedition Detroit Inclusivity

Dan Cook  21:17

That’s a great question, because there’s so many points. The nice thing about Expedition Detroit in this industry, and I’ve had people say “I want to write for you, I want to make a video, I want to do this, what should I write on?” And I say pick a topic. One of our most popular articles last fall was written by one of our guest writers, Katie. And it was about biking to apple orchards. Because you know, Midwest, that’s a big deal in the fall. So taking something that people are already interested in and add in an ingredient of fitness, of adventure. So I think, to your point, one item is just creating the ecosystem that can support whatever that interest is, however they want to tweak their lifestyle a little bit. At least in our platform. Number one is just making it a reality. Taking it from being an idea, putting it in tangible form, where people could read your article. They could watch your video. They could buy the gear at an affordable price – shameless plug for the merch – to actually be able to feel comfortable recreating and going out and doing it. And then another item is creating the actual experiences. One of our clients is a woman in her 50s. She’s now gone on five guided hikes, including a night hike. She’s done two night hikes. One was in nine degrees. And everyone else bailed. She signed up.

Rob Pickels  22:41

And Trevor, he’s talking Fahrenheit or Celsius. Nine degrees Fahrenheit is very, very cold. 

Trevor Connor  22:47

It’s by the border.

Dan Cook  22:50

And I call her, I’d said, “Hey, you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, we can postpone when it’s a nice tropical 20 degrees in a week.” And she said, “No, I want to do it.” And she’s left a lot of reviews. And a lot of the reviews are simply even though her fitness is phenomenal for age, saying if this weren’t a guided experience, if the website wasn’t here, if Dan, the guide wasn’t here, if I wasn’t with someone to just bridge that zero to one of comfort level, I would have never done this. It does require a degree of intentionality on the part of people like us who are in the greater outdoor, athleticism, recreational space, to really be intentional in engaging an audience that may have an interest, but doesn’t even know what step one might be. Sometimes you have to cater at least that little bit of a step one, and then they take care of the rest. 

Trevor Connor  23:48

Just to clarify, have you done that expedition on the other side of the border where it would have been negative 10 Celsius? The question wouldn’t have been, “Are we still going?” The question would be “Do I wear a t shirt or I bring a jacket or a tank?” Of course, what you wear could have nothing to do with temperature. It could be 30 Celsius and you’re wearing a tank.

Rob Pickels  24:07

Dan, I want to expand on something that you were bringing up there. The intentionality and the opportunity side of things. And I think, Trevor, you had asked, “How do you support people to remain fit, to remain engaged throughout life, especially with aging?” And it goes back to, Trevor, kind of what you had talked about. At some point, oftentimes, people begin to adult, right? Adulting is a thing. And I see the people who are most successful when they set themselves intentionally. When they set themselves up for success. What does that look like? I grew up in the Northeast, very common for people to live in Southern New Hampshire and commute to Boston or to Massachusetts for work. And you’re spending 45 minutes to an hour and a half in a car every day. That’s an hour and a half to three hours a day that you could certainly be doing something else. And oftentimes that’s exercising. And I know that a lot of people will end up in places like Boulder and other places throughout the country with that intentional thought of, I’m going to move to where there are recreational opportunities. I’m going to live and work in very close proximity to each other so I don’t have this commute. COVID was very helpful, I think, with a lot of people beginning to work from home. But it opens up time in your day where you can still be an adult, where you can still take care of your kids, right? Because we can’t just forget about our kids. Where you can still get your grocery shopping and your chores done and all of the adult things, but you can also have time for yourself. Now, Dan, what you’re doing that’s really special is the second part of this. It’s showing opportunity in a place like Detroit, where as you had mentioned before, it doesn’t seem like you should have these opportunities in Detroit. Detroit is not synonymous with outdoors Mecca. But as you know, and people are learning there are amazing opportunities, you just have to step outside your comfort a little bit and see and experience them. And you have built a program that has really brought that opportunity right to people in an easy, consumable, digestible manner. That feels safe for people who aren’t used to hiking at night in the cold. Who maybe want and would love to do something like that. But they’re a little bit afraid. And frankly, maybe they should be because they could get themselves in trouble. With somebody like you with somebody like your organization, you’re really bringing that opportunity so that they can engage with sports in ways that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.

Griffin McMath  26:39

You know, I had the honor, the privilege of meeting Dan a couple of years ago, but before that, I grew up in the environment that Expedition Detroit incompasses. And I knew for that however many decades, a fraction of the parks, the trails, the opportunities outdoors that existed and in academia, they talk about the brain drain of places like California, right? Like you educate, you incubate and you export. It’s brain drain. And I think that’s kind of what we’ve talked about before, what happens with the adventurous and the athlete in Michigan, or at least in Southeast Michigan. Where there’s this passion, you just think I am developing this passion that I have to leave a certain place. And so going back to your question, Trevor, of what does this athlete need, we’re talking about the ecosystem that’s developed. We’re talking about the knowledge and expertise to take that first step. And that I don’t wanna say hand holding, but the guide, point you in the right direction, to know how to do something safely so that you can maximize your enjoyment. The next part, I would say, is integrating into your normal, everyday routine or lifestyle as a start. So not just working for the weekend, but living your life Sunday through the next Sunday, and incorporating it in small bits and pieces. And then we’re looking at something like okay, how do I take this to the next level? Because as soon as you start scratching that itch, you’re gonna want more. You’re gonna want to see what’s next. You’re gonna be this person in their 50s saying, “No, I want to do the nighttime hike. No, I want to do this, I want to push myself. I want to bring other people that I care about along for the ride.” And then I might start looking at these big races and doing something else. So I think it’s this really beautiful slippery slope, right? You bring someone into the fold, you start to give them the basic information. You help them feel safe about it. You help them feel a bit more familiar, so that you’re not cruising around in spandex constantly wondering how does this look or like this feels weird. And then you help them push the limits. And I really think those components are things that Expedition Detroit try does such a good job of really bringing to the athlete market and to the future athlete market. We’re really developing this pipeline here. So on that note, I would love to do a little bit of a flashback and have one of our team members come on and quiz the three of you notice that yes, I will not be participating. And just quiz on what has happened for the athlete pipeline in the history of an endurance sport. So we’re gonna bring on Andrea, she’s gonna quiz the three of you. The way that you will answer is – 

Rob Pickels  29:19

Do you have papers and read cube on this strategy that we can?

Griffin McMath  29:22

No, you’re just taking this. 

Trevor Connor  29:24

I was not allowed to bring my science.

Griffin McMath  29:26

No. You’re gonna be quizzed. There’s no buzzer button though. We do have that bulls— button downstairs.

Rob Pickels  29:31

I was gonna say, can we get the bulls— button?

Griffin McMath  29:32

I thought about it, but the idea of you jumping around the microphone – 

Trevor Connor  29:35

Maybe the awesome button. That’s over on Belle’s desk.

Griffin McMath  29:37

It’s on Belle’s desk. We can grab the awesome button.

Rob Pickels  29:40

I’ll take the bulls— button. 

Griffin McMath  29:42

Alright, we’ll go grab the buttons. Andrea’s gonna take my place and ask you some questions here and we’ll get started.

Rob Pickels  29:53

Pathways from Fast Talk Laboratories are a new way to explore concepts, master skills and solve training challenges. Our new cycling interval training pathway begins with the basics of interval workouts and progresses to more advanced details. How to flawlessly execute interval workouts, which intervals bring which adaptations, and how to analyze your interval workout performance. Over 21 articles, interviews, workshops and workouts. Our new cycling interval training pathway offers you the chance to master cycling’s most critical and nuanced workout format. See this pathway at


Sports Trivia

Trevor Connor  30:38

Andrea, welcome to the show. This is the first time having you.

Andrea Dehnke  30:41

Yeah, thank you for having me. 

Trevor Connor  30:43

Well, this is exciting. So tell us, what are the rules here? How do we play this game?

Andrea Dehnke  30:47

Well, I’ve brought you guys 10 questions. Most of them are historical. Some are a little oddball.

Rob Pickels  30:52

And she’s hiding and protecting them like you wouldn’t believe right now.

Andrea Dehnke  30:55

I’m making sure that Dan cannot cheat.

Dan Cook  30:57

It’s very much angled away from me.

Andrea Dehnke  31:00

I’m that kind of person. When I play card games, I have to keep them close to my chest. So this is what I’m doing. I have 10 questions. Dan has a buzzer and you, Trevor, and Rob, you each have your own buzzer. So we’re gonna play Jeopardy rules. If you hit your buzzer before I’m done answering the question you still have to answer. Are you guys ready?

Trevor Connor  31:20

I’m about to win.

Andrea Dehnke  31:22

All right, our first question. What river runs through Detroit? All right. That was Dan. 

Dan Cook  31:33

I forgot it was multiple choice. Go for it.

Andrea Dehnke  31:36

No, you hit the buzzer so you have to give your answer.

Dan Cook  31:40

Cool. Detroit, it’s a little bit of a trick question. But I think you’re referring to the Detroit River.

Andrea Dehnke  31:45

Yes. That is the answer I wrote down. This is not entirely endurance themed, but there are plenty of water features around Detroit.There are plenty of ways to enjoy them. 

Rob Pickels  31:53

Is this rigged so that Dan knows all the answers? And we know nothing?

Andrea Dehnke  31:57

No. There’s plenty of endurance questions for you.

Rob Pickels  32:00

Do you ask about PGC? One Alpha?

Dan Cook  32:04

Never. I wrote her a check. 

Trevor Connor  32:04

I’m ready for that.

Trevor Connor  32:07

Next question.

Andrea Dehnke  32:08

Next question. What year was the heart rate monitor invented? A. 1957 B. 1967 C. 1977 or D. 1987.

Rob Pickels  32:22


Andrea Dehnke  32:24

You’re correct.

Trevor Connor  32:25

Dammit, you were faster than me.

Rob Pickels  32:26

Snuck right in under there, man. But that hand held too long.

Trevor Connor  32:29

I had my hand over the button.

Rob Pickels  32:33

Trevor hover hand Conner over here.

Trevor Connor  32:35

I wanted to respect, let her give all the options before I answer.

Andrea Dehnke  32:39

So fun fact, the first wireless heart rate monitor was actually invented to help the Finnish National cross country ski team with their training. So it relates back.

Rob Pickels  32:48

How did they finish?

Andrea Dehnke  32:52

Alright, next question. How did the first Ironman Triathlon race get started? Is it A. to find the toughest endurance athlete out there? B. on a dare or C. to combine the profits of the Waikiki rough water swim the around a wahoo cycling race and the Honolulu Marathon.

Rob Pickels  33:11

I respectfully gave both of you time before you answered the correct answer, which is C.

Andrea Dehnke  33:17


Trevor Connor  33:18


Andrea Dehnke  33:19


Trevor Connor  33:20


Andrea Dehnke  33:20


Dan Cook  33:23


Andrea Dehnke  33:24


Rob Pickels  33:25

I respectfully gave the first wrong answers so the Dan would eventually get the right one.

Andrea Dehnke  33:30

So it did combine those three races that I mentioned. But this was created by John and Judy Collins after they saw Eddy Merckx was named the world’s fittest athlete by Sports Illustrated they decided to combine these three events to see who is the toughest endurance athlete out there because it can’t just be a cyclist. 

Rob Pickels  33:47

So triathletes, were always jealous of cyclists. Yeah, got it.

Andrea Dehnke  33:53

All right, which sport we’ll be making its Olympic debut at the Paris 2024 games? Is it A. dodgeball? B. breakdancing? C. pickleball or D. chess?

Trevor Connor  34:08


Andrea Dehnke  34:09


Rob Pickels  34:10


Andrea Dehnke  34:11


Rob Pickels  34:11

Don’t say pickleball.

Dan Cook  34:12

I’m gonna go with chess.

Andrea Dehnke  34:13

It’s actually breakdancing. 

Rob Pickels  34:15

Break dancing? 

Andrea Dehnke  34:16


Rob Pickels  34:16

What? No. No.

Andrea Dehnke  34:17

Break dancing will be making its debut at the Paris Olympics.

Rob Pickels  34:21

Is this like underwater breakdancing?

Andrea Dehnke  34:25

No, but all the other three ones that I mentioned, their International Federations are actually vying to be at the Olympics in the future. So we might see dodgeball or pickleball in the future.

Dan Cook  34:35

And yes, cyclocross isn’t an Olympic sport.

Trevor Connor  34:39

Is this Paris 1984?

Andrea Dehnke  34:41

This is Paris. They’re trying to get more people to watch. People just aren’t really watching the Olympics anymore.

Rob Pickels  34:48

So if you’re a breakdancer, you’re an athlete and we can train you.

Trevor Connor  34:51

I can see how chess would not help that cause.

Andrea Dehnke  34:53

Yeah, I don’t have much hope for chess being in the Olympics, but we’ll see.

Dan Cook  34:59

Isn’t skateboarding supposed to be at this Olympics?

Andrea Dehnke  35:01

It was the last one. All right. Next question. What year was the power meter invented for cycling? A. 1978 B. 1980 C. 1987 or D. 1988.

Rob Pickels  35:19

Come on, Trevor.

Trevor Connor  35:20

Well it’s got to be 87 or 88. So I’ll go with 87. 

Andrea Dehnke  35:24

You’re correct. And SRM was the one who got the patent and created the first power meter. Next question. Which one of the following experiences is offered by Expedition Detroit? Is it A. night hike safaris B. guided snowshoe tracks C. guided backpacking or D. all of the above? 

Trevor Connor  35:47

I don’t know. I just want to beat him to the buzzer. But I’ll go with all the above.

Andrea Dehnke  35:52

You’re correct. They also offer guided hikes and trail runs and probably more that I’m leaving out.

Dan Cook  35:59

No, that’s about it right now. More are coming down the pipeline now. So stay tuned. 

Andrea Dehnke  36:04

All right. So who was the first winner of the Tour de France? Is it A. Henri Cornet B. René Pottier C. Maurice Garin D. Lucien Petit-Breton.

Rob Pickels  36:22

The second guy. The second guy was the first guy.

Andrea Dehnke  36:25

Rene? No.

Trevor Connor  36:28


Andrea Dehnke  36:29


Trevor Connor  36:30

Ah, dammit. 

Dan Cook  36:31

The first guy.

Andrea Dehnke  36:33

Henri? No. It was C. Maurice Garin. He won in 1903. And he won in 1904. But he got his title taken away in 1904 because people thought that he was being transported by car.

Trevor Connor  36:49

I thought he lost because he, there was somebody else who broke his fork had to carry his bike to a blacksmith shop. So the rule was you couldn’t get any help. You had to do all your repairs yourself. So he welded it back together. But he had the blacksmith running the bellows. And that was considered getting help. So he got disqualified. Who is that? Somebody else?

Andrea Dehnke  37:16

Some other cyclists. All right, next question. What year was the power meter invented for running? A. 2015 B. 2010 C. 2005 or D. 2000. 

Dan Cook  37:32

I’m gonna guess 2015.

Andrea Dehnke  37:33

Yes, you’re correct. Stride had a kickstarter campaign. I believe they reached their goal in 12 days, but they didn’t have a product because they didn’t know how to value it or calibrate it.

Rob Pickels  37:45

So that initial work what I was a part of at Boulder Center for Sports Medicine was behind the scenes of the prototype, Stride Power Meter, trying to correlate it to metabolic data. 

Andrea Dehnke  37:55

That’s very interesting. You almost never hear about them. So next question, who was the first woman to participate in the Boston Marathon? A. Katherine Virginia Schweitzer B. Bobbi Gibb C. Joan Benoit or D. Nancy Ditz.

Rob Pickels  38:13

D? C? 

Andrea Dehnke  38:17


Dan Cook  38:18

I think it’s D. 

Andrea Dehnke  38:20


Trevor Connor  38:21

A or B.

Andrea Dehnke  38:24

You got to pick one.

Trevor Connor  38:25

I can’t remember what they were. 

Andrea Dehnke  38:27

Catherine – 

Trevor Connor  38:27


Andrea Dehnke  38:28

Okay, B? Correct.

Dan Cook  38:30

There’s that really famous photo of all the guys trying to rip her out.

Andrea Dehnke  38:35

Oh, this is actually an interesting story. Because when you Google the first woman, Catherine’s name shows up. But Bobbi was the first person around. Bobbi ran in 1966. And Catherine ran a year later. And Catherine has just been more vocal about running in the marathon. And she was one behind that photo. So she gained more notoriety for that. But oddly enough, Bobby also ran in 1967. And she beat Catherine by at least an hour. So obviously, the OG and she deserves props. All right. This is our last question.

Rob Pickels  39:09

We’re not doing very good.

Andrea Dehnke  39:14

I knew I couldn’t be like, “What is lactate?” Or anything like that. I had to get you guys some really hard trivia.

Trevor Connor  39:20

Here comes the PGC One Alpha question.

Andrea Dehnke  39:23

So this one is for fun. Which one of these sports is not real? A. ice skating,barrel jumping B. ski drawing C. mountain bike bog snorkeling or D. tightrope racing.

Trevor Connor  39:38

That’s not fun at all. The mountain bike, something –

Andrea Dehnke  39:44

That is a real sport.

Andrea Dehnke  39:46

I was gonna say I really hope that’s a real one

Andrea Dehnke  39:50

I think they do it in the UK. 

Trevor Connor  39:51

Is bog snorkeling a real word?

Andrea Dehnke  39:53

You put on a snorkel mask and you just go through a trench.

Rob Pickels  39:55

You just go through a trench like it’s no big deal. 

Dan Cook  40:00

I’m gonna guess D because it sounds like it should be a sport, which makes me think it’s not going to be a sport.

Andrea Dehnke  40:06

Yes. D is not actually a sport. 

Rob Pickels  40:09

Well, look at you and your lawyer logic.

Andrea Dehnke  40:11

So ice skating barrel jumping is actually a different discipline of speed skating. It was more popular in the 5.

Dan Cook  40:19

Isn’t that the Canadian national sport? 

Rob Pickels  40:24

That’s curling barrel jumping. 

Trevor Connor  40:27

Here’s another trivia question for you. What is the Canadian national sport?

Rob Pickels  40:30

It has to be curling. 

Dan Cook  40:32

It’s lacrosse.

Andrea Dehnke  40:34

Yeah, I was gonna say tapping maple trees for syrup. I don’t know.

Dan Cook  40:39

Yet I couldn’t remember anything about constitutional Criminal Procedure during the bar exam. But I know that lacrosse is the Canadian national sport.

Andrea Dehnke  40:48

Alright, so those are all the questions. Thank you guys. 

Trevor Connor  40:51

Fantastic. Thanks, Andrea.

Rob Pickels  40:52

Thank you for pointing out our lack of general sporting knowledge.

Andrea Dehnke  40:57

Hope we’ve all learned something today.

Trevor Connor  40:59

I have learned that there is a mountain biking – 

Andrea Dehnke  41:02

Mountain bike bog snorkelling.

Trevor Connor  41:04

Bog snorkelling. 

Dan Cook  41:06

What would it be? You ride as you can into a bog? 

Andrea Dehnke  41:10

It’s just in the mud. I just saw this like yesterday, but if you Google the photos it’s hilarious.

Rob Pickels  41:17

In the Netherlands there’s a Dutch National Wind riding championship and they wait for like the windiest day of the winter and then everybody is out riding their bike like two and a half miles an hour into this gale force headwind, falling over. It’s great.

Trevor Connor  41:32

I thought it was gonna be the other way.

Rob Pickels  41:33

No, no, it’s the Dutch, man. They’re tough.

Ryan Kohler  41:40

The more you measure training data, the more important understanding it becomes.

Trevor Connor  41:44

In our advanced performance data analysis pathway, we move beyond the basics to explore more complex data analysis. We help you navigate complex techniques so you don’t get lost in the numbers.

Ryan Kohler  41:54

This pathway features Tim Cusick, Dirk Friel, Armando astrology, Coach Dean Golich, Joe Dombrowski, Trevor Connor, Dr. Steven Sown, and me, Ryan Kohler. We also explore advanced features of WKO, training peaks, exert, and intervals that ICU.

Trevor Connor  42:09

We use the term deep dive a lot around here, but this is our deepest dive yet into performance data analysis. Follow our advanced performance data analysis pathway at

Endurance Sports Barriers

Griffin McMath  42:23

So when we talk about this pipeline of athletes who maybe started out as enthusiast or epic adventurers, I would say several of us here would self identify, we look at what are the barriers to expanding this market. So let’s really get an understanding of what they are so that we know how to address them, right. Can we think of any barriers that come to mind right now that are pretty blatantly obvious?

Rob Pickels  42:49

I think for endurance sports, safety comes to mind first. And I think that this is first and foremost, for the majority of athletes out there. In a lot of other sports, I think that your safety is of your own volition, so to say. But oftentimes with endurance sports, because they have to be done on roadways, sidewalks, or in the vicinity of other people in cars, your life is not necessarily in your own hands. If we take cycling as an example, but running as well, road running and road cycling were the primary forms of cycling for years. I think that with the, I’ll say, the advent of gravel, that’s not necessarily the right word. But with the uprising of gravel, the reason it is growing so much is safety. And so I think it’s important that we show that there are opportunities for people that they are able to be in control of their own safety while exercising safety.

Griffin McMath  43:49

Definitely. And actually, I was reading in preparation for this a report from 2022, where Colorado I think, is the sixth most bike friendly state and I believe Michigan – does anyone want to guess where Michigan was on this?

Rob Pickels  44:04

I’m actually sure, it’s probably pretty good. 

Griffin McMath  44:06

I think it was 11, which was really surprising to me. And then I remembered all of my friends after college moving to Detroit, and really getting into Fixies. And into bougie coffee, so I was like, “Oh, that checks out.” I guess they were part of that movement.

Rob Pickels  44:19

There were bike paths at the coffee shops.

Griffin McMath  44:22

Exactly. There you go. So safety is a huge one. And actually, there was a Fast Talk FEM podcast episode recently on the group effect. Endurance sports so often being an individualistic sport, right? But then how do you develop a sense of community and do this with other people, and one of the things they talked about was a little bit of the safety nuances of endurance sports. And one, you know, you put kids together in a group ride and you just pray to God that they’re not going to get in a crash and the coach is liable, right? So there’s safety aspects like that when you’re partaking not just because of the infrastructure but around other people as well. And then just the kind of internal safety, feeling of endurance sports, as I’m doing this alone. I don’t have, if I’m playing soccer other people who I can pass the ball to, and suddenly I’m out of the limelight. You are in your own limelight as an endurance athlete from start to the finish line. And it’s just you. So I think that sometimes that can be a scary thing to people, because you’re really challenging that relationship with yourself, the limits of yourself. And so there’s that type of safety you have to foster within yourself as well. I think, Trevor, we were talking about this a little bit earlier, kind of tagging off of safety more into the accessibility capacity here.

Trevor Connor  45:36

Well, the two that I think of that can really limit people is accessibility and culture. Accessibility is simply is it available to you? Do you know what’s available to you? You can expand on that? Do you have the equipment? Do you have the resources to be able to do it? But I would say the biggest challenge I see with people who are particularly new to these sorts of sports, can actually be that cultural side. It can be intimidating. I see people all the time they show up to a group ride or a group run or whatever it is. And they’re new, they want to explore this and see all these people, they’re in the top gear who seemed to really know their stuff. They’re intimidated by it and feel like I don’t belong here. This isn’t right for me. They either kind of stay at the back and then disappear and never come back or just never really participate in the first place.

Griffin McMath  46:27

How do you address that then? How do you break into that?

Trevor Connor  46:30

To me, it’s whoever is putting on these events to make sure that it’s very welcoming. When the people get there, you need to identify those people who look intimidated, and go, “Hey, you are welcome here.” Ignore the guy over there with the $5,000 bike and the $500 kit, and just come enjoy. It’s gonna be just as fun for you.

Rob Pickels  46:49

Something that’s really unique about endurance sports is this, they are very social. Other sports are also social, but you’re grouped into teams. And so the uniqueness on the endurance side is that while they’re social, it’s oftentimes this solo effort, it’s individuals coming together to be social. So as an individual joins the group for the first time, and they’re not part of the group, they’re not part of the clique, then I can see how you very much feel like an outsider. We’ve all been there, right? But I know for me and my friends, we’re always talking, we’re always chatting when we’re riding or running next to each other or skiing or whatever it is. It’s actually something that’s really nice because you can converse with people while partaking in the sports, as opposed to playing soccer. You’re not talking about what you did last night when you’re shooting the ball with a net. I think that some of the biggest strength is also one of the hurdles, the barriers to entry.

Dan Cook  47:47

In the Detroit area the trail running community, especially the competitive trail running community, is really growing post pandemic. In the 2022 season, I wear Hoka speedgoat fives, and I saw this guy in front of me wearing the exact same shoe. So I before I passed him, I was like, hey – 

Rob Pickels  48:07

Before. I love it.

Griffin McMath  48:08

Before I left him in the dust.

Dan Cook  48:10

I was like, “Hey, nice shoes.” He’s like, “Yeah, you too.” We started talking. And I just launched Expedition Detroit and I was running the race as part of Expedition Detroit so I pitched the company. He was like, “Oh, yeah, that’s great.” We had this awesome two mile conversation and it ended with him going, “Hey, man, I’m kind of tired. You just keep going.” I’m like alright, so I went past him. This year, I’m running. I see his shoes again. I hadn’t spoken to him in a year, same event. Get up right behind him again and go, “Hey, man, how you been?” And we just continued the conversations for a mile. So there’s absolutely a community. But building off that idea of community and accessibility, a big barrier to not only endurance sports, but outdoor recreation sports as a whole is DEI or diversity, equity and inclusion. Last fall, I was at the Michigan outdoor summit up North. Which was really cool, because it brought businesses, stakeholders, government agencies, nonprofits, corporations, from all corners of Michigan and outside of the state together under one roof to meet for 48 hours. It was awesome. But I’ll never forget one of the presenters getting up on stage and saying, “As I look around this room at every industry leader we could hope to have, from our state, I see a lot of white men in flannels.” And I looked down and I was wearing a flannel.

Rob Pickels  49:35

Just so you know, you’re a white man, too.

Dan Cook  49:38

Thank you. And that’s not only a Michigan problem. That is a North American and really, especially a US specific problem. I mean, even Detroit specifically, we’re an extremely diverse market from a demographic perspective. From you know, beliefs different races. We have the largest, in Dearborn, the largest percentage of Arab Americans in the entire country, but I think it’s the largest proportion of people of Middle Eastern descent outside of the Middle East anywhere in the world. And that city has been under a lot of very unjustified scrutiny as of late. In the city of Detroit with racial problems, the outdoors for generations were outlawed. Or were only preserved for certain groups by either law or economics. What that has created is this culture. This identity for a large proportion of specifically Detroiters, but really outdoor recreationists is across the country that because I look the way I look, or I believe the way I believe, or whatever, the outdoors are not for me. And that couldn’t be the farthest from the truth. And it’s really important, especially for the top tier, world class, Portugal biking, Canadian running athletes that have a platform and have an ability to actually effectuate change, to really step into that role. And to be leaders and not shy away from potentially uncomfortable conversations or uncomfortable topics. In Detroit, specifically, there are a lot of great organizations. One of them is called Black to the Land Coalition. And their mission is to get people of color outdoors, and to recognize that you belong here, we all belong here. This is a shared space for all of us. And that’s really important just for people to feel safe and feel comfortable in these new sports. It’s important for the sustainability and the viability of these sports in these industries that we love. So I think DEI is extremely important for the long term sustainability, and growth of all these pursuits that we love.

Griffin McMath  51:48

We’ve talked about breaking barriers when it comes to diversity, equity, accessibility, inclusion. And we saw so much of this during the pandemic. You talked earlier about how when the pandemic happened, many more people went got outside, or they started taking up a sport. They became more active, more interested. So you had a variety of people who may not have been running outside previously who now are, where cops were getting called. And you know, depending on the color of their skin, or if they had a hood up or something else. And they were just out, right there was a huge movement of black well birding, and then we move to gender and inclusion in endurance sports. That’s been a huge topic, now for quite some time. And within the craft of coaching, we had some really great interviews and conversations. Gravel cycling, being a little bit newer to the scene doesn’t have as strong of ivory towers to try to reconfigure. And so that’s an example of an endurance sport that is embracing more inclusive practices within the sport overall. By utilizing pronouns that match what the athlete identifies with, and doing that when they’re calling out the athletes as they cross the finish line, bathrooms, all of these different things that are being incorporated. So I think, as the endurance sports community continues to grow, as it continues to expand, that’s going to be another thing that we see people really advocating for. So we’re breaking down barriers. After we’ve broken down barriers, it’s time to build. It’s time to build bridges, connections. Really foster that ecosystem that you were talking about earlier. And one of those examples is what we’re doing right now, between Expedition Detroit, and Fast Talk Labs. Where you have an organization that is really fostering that local, that regional ecosystem. Creating opportunities for guided expeditions to really get out there and try trail running, to try gravel cycling, and to try even getting ready for the Detroit marathon in the fall. Outside of that you have someone like Fast Talk Labs, who says we can help fuel you and we can help fuel Detroit with the knowledge you need. So that’s an example of a bridge where Expedition Detroit has one thing to offer –  this expanding athlete market. And Fast Talk Labs can meet them and say, we’ll give you this to take you further, faster. So that’s I think another a great example of, how are we building bridges? I know Dan, speaking of building bridges, I hear something’s happening in Detroit as we speak.

Building Bridges

Dan Cook  54:22

Yes, there’s something extremely exciting in the works. Speaking of literal bridges – and I love that we have an American and Canadian right here.

Rob Pickels  54:30

Can you hold hands?

Dan Cook  54:31

The Detroit region is not just Detroit, Michigan, United States of America. It also includes Southwest Ontario. And that’s not only because of geographic proximity, that’s because of shared values. A lot of shared geographic features as far as where you can recreate. And what I’m most excited about is launching in 2025. Another great Canadian Gordie Howe, the legendary Detroit Redwings hockey player, there’s a new bridge being named after him. And that bridge will not only facilitate transportation between the two countries, it will also include for the first time on that border, a pedestrian only lane where you can run and you can bike. And it’s not only just a lane for pedestrians on either side. It also connects to the Trans Canada Trail on the Canadian side. And indirectly the North Country trail through the Iron Belt trail on the Detroit side. So for anyone looking to get an international trail experience, without having to completely take weeks off your calendar, the Detroit region is really spearheading this new era of international recreation in North America. Especially for road runners and road bikers. That’s really exciting.

Rob Pickels  55:47

I mean, ultimately, that’s opening up 1000s of kilo miles of trails that people can access. 

Dan Cook  55:52


Trevor Connor  55:53

Kilo miles?

Rob Pickels  55:53

Kilo miles.

Griffin McMath  55:55

I wasn’t gonna touch it, but I’m so glad they did.

Trevor Connor  55:58

Is like merging metric and imperial?

Griffin McMath  56:02

Oh, were you bridging?

Dan Cook  56:04

He’s a bridger.

Rob Pickels  56:05

Wow, somebody gets the depth of my soul. And is not you, Griffin. It’s Trevor. While we’re talking about bridges too, I think that we need to be thinking about bridges within sport. Oftentimes, I think that there’s a lot of division among users and how people are seeing. I think that the racer sometimes looks at the adventurer, and they say, “Oh, God, they’re not engaging for the podium, that’s not a cyclist.” And we can take that thinking and go all the way up even into NGO’s, right. And this is something that I’ve asked of USA Cycling, and USA Triathlon. Even USA TF, USA Track and Field. You are leaders in this space within our country. But oftentimes, these NGOs, these organizations, they’re serving one very specific set of the users and the community that’s out there. And I really push and encourage these organizations to think about how people are engaging with the sport and what value they can bring. Not necessarily from a monetary standpoint. And I think that these organizations are not doing as well as they have been previously because of the decline in the race or in the more traditional interaction with the sport. But ultimately, for the betterment of the community, which is ultimately what’s important. So to really think about how there’s value, regardless of how the person is interacting there.

Griffin McMath  57:33

I think that’s where organizations like Expedition Detroit become immediately more approachable. And that’s where I think Fast Talk Labs also could be really instrumental in bridging that gap because of the connections that we have to these organizations. And so, really looking forward to that as a sneak preview. Okay, so we’re breaking down barriers, we’re building bridges within the community, and with an infrastructural capacity. Now, we have something new ahead of us. We’re blazing a trail. And for organizations like Expedition Detroit, there actually might be some blazing of trails happening. But what needs to happen now moving forward? What is the new, innovative, creative ways that we’re bringing more athletes into this space?

Rob Pickels  58:18

I’m just gonna go out there and say, I think that people, individuals need to get involved in supporting these sports, these organizations in these activities. And Griffin, you brought up blazing trail, an amazing way for that to happen is to literally get involved in volunteer trail building. More opportunity closer to home for people gets more people out there. But also, if you are in this sport, and you’re a listener of Fast Talk, a knowledgeable individual, you can take that knowledge and you can bring it to somebody who doesn’t have that knowledge. Who doesn’t feel safe and secure because they don’t have the knowledge. I’m sure that you would love people volunteering in your organization to lead hikes or whatever it is. Or even for smaller organizations. If you know something about marketing, and you don’t know a lot about mountain biking, you can help with your marketing skills. It doesn’t always have to be about the sport.

Trevor Connor  59:10

I don’t think we need to focus so much on getting people into the sports. Because I think we have a lot of people that are getting into it saying I want sport to be part of my life. And I want to be part of the long term for the rest of my life. I think it’s more about helping people to see the opportunities out there, giving them the guidance, given them the help that they need, because it is daunting. You just bought your first bike or  – everybody’s had running shoes. That’s a bad analogy. But buy your first bike and you want to go out and see what’s out there. Try some mountain bike trails, whatever it is, it can be really daunting if you’re that new person of where do I go, how do I do this? How do I handle just even the basic situations of taking a corner, going through lights, being around other cyclists. All these things that we take for granted can be very difficult and very tough for other people and they need that guidance.

Griffin McMath  1:00:01

In the health field, we would sometimes talk about food deserts, right? So where we don’t have access to fresh foods and people are getting most of their foods as processed packaged goods at the local bodega or convenience store. And I think about that a little bit with endurance sports as if here in Boulder, it’s a hot pocket. I know the bike lanes that the paths are right there. Heck, with the first day at this job, there are stands in the front room to bring your bike and your gear. It’s the culture, the system, the city itself is designed to support that lifestyle. So when I think of blazing trails for what’s next, we’ve got the people. We’ve got the interest. Are we developing areas where people can actually make good on that interest? And again, to continue to beat this drum. That’s where organizations like Expedition Detroit, that’s where efforts of expanding the knowledge go in and can help alleviate these drier areas where that’s not so accessible.

Dan Cook  1:01:02

Yeah, and kind of further in that point. Another key component is just reimagining spaces. Especially in a city like Detroit that has had so much blight over the last 50 years as the population has been decimated. And a lot of neighborhoods that are once thriving and flourishing have quite literally been reclaimed by nature. And the city has done an amazing job clearing out those old burnt out or just decayed houses. So then you have all of this reclaimed green space, literally a gift from Mother Nature. And it’s like, okay, what do we do with this? And it can be literally just blazing a literal trail right through it and creating your own community park. Or it can be the actions of larger philanthropic organizations and government agencies of completely transforming the Detroit riverfront. From warehouses to the three time USA Today, best riverwalk in the country. Which is true, I think they’re going for their fourth right now.

Rob Pickels  1:02:02

And it’s along the Detroit River.

Dan Cook  1:02:04

It is along the Detroit River.

Griffin McMath  1:02:05

Which we just learned in trivia.

Dan Cook  1:02:09

So when you have spaces like that, that for most of their at least recorded history have been geared towards one specific purpose. And that purpose, let’s say it’s innovative, or whatever failed it. And now you’ve got this population that’s looking for this athletic or recreational outlook. It starts with just having really the bravery and the foresight to reimagine that space and make it accessible. Make that trail where none exists, where it could exist, and to be bold, and go forward with that. I know that sounds very like, rah, rah, let’s get it. But it literally starts with that. And when you have a place like Detroit, where that ecosystem hasn’t existed for most of its history, you can do that. You can do that almost immediately, and do it well. So I’ve seen it happen too many times. But know that that’s not just a mantra, you can really imagine these spaces that immediately enrich people’s lives. And it’s beautiful.

Rob Pickels  1:03:08

The other side of this too, is you’re talking about something on a larger, grander scale. But Griffin, I want to tie back in something that you had said. Where Trevor, you have done a great job of transforming this space into supporting people and activity with having things like bike storage, and showers and lockers. Those make riding to work or running and riding after work or over lunch, it makes that accessible. Because now I’m not sitting in my office sweaty, I’m not gonna do that. Because I don’t want to be stinky going to my next meeting. I don’t have a place. I don’t want to lock my bike up outside, it’s gonna get stolen. And so even as individuals, we can transform spaces just like you’re talking about.

Griffin McMath  1:03:54

I do want to say rah rah though because I love when people can take these brave steps. I spoke to someone who is called the Try Doc. And this is an emergency medicine physician – Jeff’s great – who partway through the pandemic, I think was just so burnt out by the practice of medicine. Had this desire within triathlon and within endurance sports, and became a coach. And is now feeling so fulfilled. Feeling so alive. And is able to work with people, not necessarily in a doctor patient capacity, but in a similar I care for your well being capacity. With so much more fulfillment and just it’s such a different relationship. And so that’s an example of someone who on their own is blazing a trail. It’s toward endurance sports, and that’s the way that they can show up to it. Which I think is a really beautiful thing too. So you have this big infrastructural reimagination of urban and green space down to the individual, what can I do in my life right now? And so I think connecting all of that I would love to pivot to some final projections. Our individual perspectives of what is next in this newer wave of athletes and coaches and endurance sports. So, rather than doing our take homes, I would say let’s take it outside. But can we take a home? What are our predictions here? And what can people take with them?

Rob Pickels  1:05:18

Well, as we know, breakdancing is becoming an Olympic sport. I say that in somewhat jest, but not necessarily. Because the point is this. We have seen how sport has evolved, and how it has allowed different people to enter into endurance sports or activities. And I believe that we’re going to continue to see it. 15 years ago, we would not have predicted gravel cycling becoming what it was. What’s the next thing? And in some regard, I don’t necessarily know. That is going to come from the new people that are now in the sport and shaping and evolving it as it is today. Do you need a hard prediction from me?

Griffin McMath  1:06:06

Yes, I’d love it. Be bold. Make it wild. 

Rob Pickels  1:06:10

Give me a moment. Other people can jump in and save my ass right now.

Trevor Connor  1:06:14

That was awesome. I like it just gave the short awesome answer there, I like that.

Dan Cook  1:06:21

Not gonna hit the 30 second bulls— one.

Trevor Connor  1:06:23

What resonated for me it was you brought up, jokingly, the breakdancing at the Olympics. But I think that actually ties into my prediction. And what we talked about very early on in the show, which was if you go back 40- 50 years, it was very clear pathways. And there weren’t a lot of pathways. In the cycling world, you had road cycling. 30 years ago, 40 years ago, you just had started mountain biking. So I think traveling was just starting to come into existence. So you just had a couple of options. And there was only a few ways to do it. And those pathways are very, very clearly defined. And you either did it or you didn’t. There weren’t a lot of other options. Now every year it seems like there’s new disciplines and new ways of doing these different sports that are being introduced, that it’s almost impossible to keep track of it. And that NGB professional pathway is one way to enjoy the sport. But now there’s hundreds of other ways. Many of them don’t involve results. Many of them don’t involve getting a contract or anything else like that. So to me, the future is just diversification. And how do you manage all the different ways that you can do this and all the different approaches you can take to sport and just enjoying being part of it.

Dan Cook  1:07:45

Yeah, I like that. Diversification. I think that’s a really nice heading. I think, in the next 10-15 years, you’re gonna see diversification of really what it means to be an outdoor destination. And that’s not only a plug for Detroit. I think Detroit is one of many places, many markets that, as this post pandemic inclusive momentum continues, I think a lot of places that have been written off by the, for lack of a better term, elitist mindset of a lot of the outdoor recreation industry are going to become the new hotspots. And they’re not only going to become the new hotspots, because of trail infrastructure and government or business activity. They’re gonna become hotspots, because of the people who live there. And the people who recreate there. And the people who decides to become the best runner, the best cyclist, the best triathlete, the best swimmer, the best whatever that they can be there. In those markets, rather than getting that what’s called athlete drain, to other hot markets. I think you’re gonna see places like my hometown, really rise quickly in the world’s eyes. And of places where you can live a full, athletic recreational life. And I’m really excited for that.

Griffin McMath  1:09:06

I think in the last five years, just the absolute rise in – partially due to social media, and people wanting to live their life based more on wellness, what it looks like to have a whole and balanced life. Not just their job, but what they do outside of it. How they engage with the outdoors and their fitness as well. I think that this is just the beginning. And I really see this as a continuation of incorporating what used to seem like a luxury into the everyday aspect of their life. And because of that, I think people will get hooked. And I think people will continue to want to delve into something for themselves. It’ll become more than a hobby, it’ll become a way of life. And so I think that’s how that will develop. And then I think that cities and larger areas and infrastructure will have no choice but to accommodate that growing passion. So I really think cities will have to respond to the demand. And you’re seeing organizations like Expedition Detroit parade along that momentum and make it more accessible. But I’m excited. I think rather than just the PCT trail on the West Coast that gets a lot of attention, you’re going to start to see that with bikepacking. And you’re gonna start to see these other adventures beyond just hiking. Where someone really is exploring their own relationship with what it means to endure. And I think endurance sports are such a great way to do that. So my take home and take outside is to get involved. And all these kind of tertiary unsung heroes that are making endurance sports possible outdoors. Because that really does seem to be the gateway moving forward. 

Trevor Connor  1:10:44

Awesome. Awesome. 

Griffin McMath  1:10:47

I thought you’re grabbing the bulls— one and I was like, “What? How?”

Trevor Connor  1:10:50

I’m the one who always says bleep the show. So no, I’m not getting that button anywhere near the mic.

Griffin McMath  1:10:56

So that being said, I think we should sign out. I don’t know if Dan knows the sign out. I feel like we should have him do it.

Dan Cook  1:11:02

I do not know the sign out.

Rob Pickels  1:11:04

You have to put on your best announcer voice. 

Dan Cook  1:11:07

That was another episode of Fast Talk. Subscribe to Fast Talk wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcasts. Be sure to leave us a rating and a review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk are those of the individual. As always, we love your feedback. Join the conversation at or tweet us at @fasttalklabs. You can head to to get access to our endurance sports knowledge base, coach continuing education as well as our in person and remote athletes services. For myself, Dan Cook of Expedition Detroit, Trevor Connor, Rob Pickles, Andrea Dehnke, she’s Griffin McMath.

Griffin McMath  1:11:51

Thanks for listening. And that’s a wrap.

Rob Pickels  1:11:55

You’re listening to WAA Fast Talk, coming to you hot over the airwaves.