What 2020 Taught Us and the Exciting Places 2021 Will Take Us

What lessons did we learn from a challenging 2020? What event or adventure plans do we have in 2021? We dive in.

Cyclist in Ireland on the Wild Atlantic Way
Cycling along County Donegal's Coast Road, Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland. Photo: Chris Case

We can learn a lot by looking back. And one of the best parts of being an athlete is planning ahead, setting goals, and choosing your next adventure.

[For more on this, check out episode 140: How to Set Training and Performance Goals.]

In this episode, the Fast Talk team, plus frequent guests, share the lessons they learned from a challenging 2020, and then declare their big, scary goals, races, and rides for 2021.

First, looking back. We ask ourselves this question: Despite 2020 being an “off” year in terms of most racing and riding plans, were you still able to set goals and hit personal achievements in 2020 that you can look back on with satisfaction? What did you learn from these experiments?

Then, looking back. Chris Case aims for the TransAtlantic Way bikepacking race. Trevor Connor aims for the Joe Martin stage race. Our Head Coach Ryan Kohler heads for the hills of the Breck Epic. Producer Jana Martin is gunning for Crooked Gravel.

We also hear declarations of adventure from Dr. Stephen Seiler, Hannah Rae Finchamp, Julie Young, Dr. Stephen Cheung, Jen Sharp, Grant Holicky, and Colby Pearce.

What did you learn in 2020? How did you make the most of a challenging year? And what are your adventure or race plans/goals in 2021? Join the conversation in the forum.

Episode Transcript

Chris Case 00:00
Hi, everyone, welcome to another episode of Fast Talk; your source for the science of cycling performance.

Chris Case 00:19
Today we have a fun one in store. We’ve got four people in the room: Trevor Connor, Ryan Kohler, and we have Jana Martin, our producer. She doesn’t talk very often, but today you might hear from her a little bit – if we convince her to speak. Today, we’re going to talk about lessons learned in 2020 and expectations for 2021. We hope this is a fun one, but we also hope you learn something about mindset, creativity, how athletes of our caliber – which range from very experienced in Trevor’s case to very new to the sport in Jana’s case, and in between from Ryan and I – how we think about things, how we think about the sport, how we think about progression, how we think about challenge.

Chris Case 01:09
The two questions were kind of wanting to answer are: despite 2020 being an off year in terms of most racing, riding plans – as we all know it was a it was a challenge – were you still able to set goals and hit personal achievements in 2020, that you can look back on with satisfaction? And what did you learn from these experiments? I want to tackle that first. And then second, we want to take on 2021. What are your adventure, race plans, goals in 2021? If you need to be hypothetical here, we understand, Ryan, I know you’ve got plans, we’ll see if they happen. I’ve got plans, we’ll see if they happen. Let’s just say right now we get it. It’s gonna be another interesting year, but let’s try to talk hypothetically as if all this stuff is going to happen. Plan accordingly

Trevor Connor 02:01
Let’s see what we can do here.

Chris Case 02:03
It isn’t just us that you’re going to hear from today. We also have reached out to a lot of our contributors and other guests in recent times to get their thoughts on lessons from 2020 and looking ahead to 2021. You’ll hear from Hannah Finchamp, an Olympic hopeful and professional mountain biker, Jen Sharpe, a coach and elite athlete herself, Dr. Seiler, Julie Young, a coach from California, Dr. Stephen Chung, a physiologist from Canada, Grant Holicky, I think you probably know him by now, he’s a coach in the Boulder area, coach some elite cyclocross racers, Colby Pearce, who hosts Cycling in Clignment…and so you’ll hear from all of us today on this episode of Fast Talk.

Chris Case 02:53
Whatever goals you have set for 2021 Fast Talk Laboratories can help you achieve them. From science based training advice to answers to your personal coaching questions to physiological testing, or a smart nutrition plan. Fast Talk Labs can be your personal performance center. Join Fast Talk Laboratories at whatever level is right for you: Listener, Library, or Live, at fasttalklabs.com.

Chris Case 03:18
Since I like to be the host, I’m going to ask you questions. I’m going to start with you, Trevor. Because you’re sitting right across from me.

Trevor Connor 03:25
How did I beat you last night on Zwift?

Chris Case 03:27
Here we go. You beat me because you’re a January hero and you’re going to be a big old March zero.

Trevor Connor 03:35
Oh boy, we’ll revisit that.

Chris Case 03:40
I think you know how to train. You buried yourself last night because when it comes to you and I we have a little bit of a competitive-something going on and we like we bring out the best/worst? We bring out the competitive in each other.

Trevor Connor 03:58
Yeah, that was a lot of the worst. I’m running on one hour of sleep here because we finished that ride at what like 6:30 last night. So, I’m thinking I’ll go home, eat some food, and then I’ll get some work done. I went home, had some food, sat on my couch and just went ‘Oh my god, I can’t move.’ I did nothing the rest of the evening.

Chris Case 04:22
This is what I do to you.

Trevor Connor 04:23
I was so exhausted, I couldn’t sleep either.

Chris Case 04:28
Yeah, you work that hard. I looked over at him at one point, I had already cracked – I cracked half an hour in because I’m a rookie on Zwift, total rookie on Zwift, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, there was a lot of mistakes made – anyways, I look over at him, his eyes are barely open, his face is all contorted, there’s sweat dripping off of him, he looked he looked like Kuato from Total Recall is what he looked like.

Trevor Connor 04:55
Oh, nice reference.

Chris Case 05:00
Anybody that doesn’t know who Kuato, just google Kuato and see that crazy creature.

Trevor Connor 05:07
Chris didn’t know until I showed him Kuato yesterday, so he had to use it.

Lessons learned from 2020

Chris Case 05:11
I had to use it. Alright. Let’s get into this. Trevor, let’s start with you. Since I’m already warmed up on picking on. No, let’s get serious. 2020 was a weird year for you. Tell us a little bit about how you dealt with the year and what you learned?

Trevor Connor’s year in review

Trevor Connor 05:31
Yeah, I’m probably going to have the most negatives about 2020 even though we did a whole episode saying set some goals, get something out of it. The reason being for me was I had years where I wasn’t racing well. I’d really say the last year I felt I was racing well was 2014. A lot of that was because I was coaching a team where I was racing with them and felt it was not my job as the coach to go into the races and try to win. I was there to help them. So I hadn’t really been focusing on my own racing for a while.

Trevor Connor 06:07
I moved back to Colorado in 2019 and said, I want to get back to some racing; to racing at my best for my age. So, I really sacrificed 2019 to be strong for 2020. I knew I needed a year to develop, not knowing what’s gonna happen in 2020. So after sacrificing a year, I went into 2020 going ‘Now I’m going to race.’ And it was the exact opposite. We said turn 2020 into a development year, well, I had just done my development year, I wasn’t too excited about yet another dev year. I really needed some racing in my legs. So I was struggling to find what to do, what to focus on.

Trevor Connor 06:52
Ultimately, I just looked for a race. I thought Tobago was going to happen, and just kept myself motivated to build towards that. And then a month and a half before Tobago, the race got canceled.

Chris Case 07:05
And for those who don’t know Tour of Tobago is early October.

Trevor Connor 07:11
And so it was cancelled in late August, early September. I had a whole big training block on the plan ahead of me. I saw the announcement. And literally the next day at the time that I was supposed to go to training, put a movie on grabbed some really crappy food, and just went, ‘Yeah, my seasons done.’

Chris Case 07:31
Yeah. Well, so there were several different disappointments in 2020. For you, you’ve had time to reflect on it, did you learn anything from such a year?

Trevor Connor 07:47
Honestly, the thing that I learned was what I knew going into the year, which is interesting to see it, which is: if you want to race at your best, how important racing is to that. Because I did a lot of training, I did a lot of very structured training, but I’m probably further away from having good race legs than I was going into last year. The reason 2019 was a sacrifice was I spent that year really working on building back my base fitness, building back my numbers, but knew I’m not gonna be doing a ton of racing. So when I go to the races, I’m just not going to have that jump, I’m not going to have that attack. Last year, when it was nothing but training, it just – there was no race legs. The little bit of race opportunity I had, I’m like, ‘Yeah, I can’t do a one minute jump to save my life.’ So my lesson from it is if I want to get back to some level of racing, I have to race. I have to put my time in.

Chris Case 08:55
I don’t want to pick solely on you, but I do have an a question that I think could pertain to a lot of people out there. And I don’t ask this question to pick on you.

Trevor Connor 09:05
Yes, you do.

Chris Case 09:06
No, I don’t. I don’t. You know where I’m going with this?

Trevor Connor 09:09

Chris Case 09:09
No? Okay. You’re getting to that age where, maybe some people would say, it’s kind of that lose it or use it scenario. And I don’t know if I’m wrong or right with that, but is it also a matter of people that have sort of missed the racing for, in your case, it’s almost a couple years now, right? Will you ever be able to get it back? Or because it has happened in this period of your life – you’re almost 50, for those who don’t know –

Trevor Connor 09:42
My racing age will be 50 this year.

Chris Case 09:45
Yeah. So just, because I’m thinking there’s probably a lot of people out there listening that are maybe in the same boat, same age groups, etc.

Trevor Connor 09:52
Will I be able to race at the level I raced at even 10 years ago when I was 40? No.

Chris Case 09:58

Trevor Connor 09:59
Some of that is simply because back then I was training 20 plus hours a week. I don’t have that time now. Could I achieve that same level if I had the same time to train? My answer would be not everything, but close. There are certain things you lose with age. You don’t really lose the endurance, you don’t really lose the stamina. Those were always my strengths, fortunately. I was never the sprinter, I was never the the big jump, which are the things you tend to lose with age. So I never was that good at what you tend to lose with age. So I probably become a little more of a tank. Back when I was training 15 years ago, I leaned into my strengths, and I had good enough a jump that it didn’t cause me to lose races. I would say the difference now is I have to do some work on that side or I am going to get popped in the races. Or more than I used to.

Dr Steven Seiler and his daughters unexpected wins in 2020

Trevor Connor 11:07
Let’s hear from Dr. Steven Siler who has a few goals for 2021.

Dr. Steven Seiler 11:13
It is definitely fair to say that 2020 was a strange year for me because I’m used to traveling. But during this year, I haven’t been outside of Norway since March. So, I’ve trained more consistently. I’ve trained more in terms of hours this year and with good consistency. I was already kind of training indoors, so that really wasn’t a big change. It was just maybe I had a little bit better conscious for being an indoor cyclist since everybody else was in the indoors for a while too. But I was using the Zwift platform, I was racing indoors, it works for my research, it’s time effective, and all these things, and I almost never fall off the bike indoors. So that’s what I was doing already.

Dr. Steven Seiler 12:01
But then in 2020, I made some very specific goals, I said I want to be top 10 in these be short B races. I want to figure out how to handle these surge-y stochastic kind of races that are typical for Zwift. And I did that. I got better.

Dr. Steven Seiler 12:22
One of the reasons I got better is I just started using races as high intensity interval sessions. So I guess you could say my heart sessions were very specific. And it worked, I got better. And the numbers, the typical power duration curve numbers, improved so I was successful in the B category, I got promoted to A – that was a bit tougher, but it is tougher. But I could say that 2020, I achieved the goals that I had in my little limited world of indoor cycling.

Dr. Steven Seiler 12:58
Now 2021 I’m taking a step back, I kind of feel like I hit a plateau. And so now I want to go back, I want to extend, I really want to work on this high intensity repeatability and get better at races that are more like two to four hours. Really push myself mentally on the indoor training circuit, as you might call it, with this long stuff. Then because I’m doing some research in that area, it’s always good for me to do those kinds of sessions a lot because it helps me to think about how to study them.

Dr. Steven Seiler 13:29
Now 2020 for my daughter, who I coach, she set a PB for the half marathon in March and then right after that it was a lockdown. It was at times good for her, but at times very tough, doing all this solo stuff. She actually ran a solo 10,000 meter personal best on the track, on a windy day, which I thought was one of the most remarkable performances she had all year, but otherwise the competition schedule was really unpredictable. When she did get to race, it was almost always with very high level performers and so she was kind of…you know, it was stressful. So 2020 she had some good come out of it, some tougher periods, but overall, I think she really learned a lot. She learned a lot about training, we learned a lot about how to – we went from the seven to nine and 10 day cycles and so forth. So lots of experiments going on for a young athlete.

Dr. Steven Seiler 14:30
Now 2021 for her, she’s moved to Oslo, and she is training with a really good club, one of the best in Norway. She’s doing some new studies. Right now, it’s digital, you know, we’re still in that lockdown situation right now. But it’s going to be an exciting transition. I’m not going to be your coach, at least not her main coach. She’s going to have a coach in Oslo and he and I – I’ve transferred the baton to him and we’ve had good discussions on that. And so she wants to train a bit more like a middle distance athlete to improve her speed, improve her short game, which we hope will extend to half marathons down the road. So that’s a goal for her for 2021. It’s going to be uncertain, just like it is for lots of athletes, still the competition schedule is really unclear. So the key is training and personal development, filling gaps, getting stronger and that’s what we’ll continue to do in 2021. I know she will, too.

Dr. Steven Seiler 15:37
And then as far as adventure goes, I hope I get to eventually travel again. But I also want to work with this team UnoX that I’m connected to. I would like to join them for some training camps or races. And I always feel like that’s a great learning opportunity for a sports scientist to get down and get dirty with the realities of the training process, the competition process, in a high performance environment. So I think that’s necessary kind of continuing education for people like me, and I hope I get to do that this year again. So that’s the plan for me. We just have to take it as it comes in 2021, but it’s gonna get better.

Coach Ryan Kholer’s 2020 experience

Chris Case 16:25
All right, Ryan, let’s jump over to you for a bit. Tell us a little bit about what 2020 was like for you. Was it as negative as Trevor’s experience? Or maybe were you a bit more creative? Did you get more out of it? What were the lessons that you learned?

Ryan Kohler 16:43
Well, you know, me I’m usually rainbows and unicorns, right?

Chris Case 16:47
Well, according to your shirt today, you’re absolutely. It doesn’t have rainbows, it doesn’t have unicorns, but it has many colors.

Ryan Kohler 16:55
It does.

Trevor Connor 16:55
And you’re not wearing shorts.

Ryan Kohler 16:57

Chris Case 16:58
Well, he’s wearing pants, let’s be clear. He’s got clothing on.

Trevor Connor 17:01
Yes, he is wearing pants. We have had days where it’s snowing outside, and Ryan shows up in shorts and flip flops.

Ryan Kohler 17:08
And a down coat!

Chris Case 17:09
He’s that kid. He’s that kid from high school and you’re like, ‘Why is he doing this?’…So tell us more about 2020.

Ryan Kohler 17:21
So, 2020 was pretty positive overall.

Chris Case 17:23

Ryan Kohler 17:24
I think I went into it with expectations to race and that obviously didn’t happen. I think I actually got one race in, in the fall, which was nice. In the year, things were fairly normal, and then they change quickly. And I just assumed, okay, this will just be a year where we’re not doing much racing. So let’s find some other things to do and then quickly became gainfully unemployed in the spring. And then I was like, ‘Well, now…Hell, I could train my face off and just see what happens.’ So we had these plans to go back to the family farm in Oregon, live on this huge farm, and I was just going to be training in Oregon all year. But then the big boy came out and said, ‘No, you probably need to look for a job.’

Chris Case 18:14
So are you saying that us hiring you destroyed your 2020 training plans?

Ryan Kohler 18:20
No! I’m saying the injury I got destroyed my 2020 training plans. I had this vision of like training in Oregon all summer and it was awesome. BUT then I decided I needed to look for work. So I ended up staying here, which meant six – seven weeks of just me and looking for work and doing that. And the family did go out to Oregon, so all of a sudden, I had a seven week training camp and I was also coaching a junior team at the time. So usually, the way it works out is I tend to race in the spring, like April, May, I’ll knock out some races, then start off with the juniors, focus on them because it’s just too hard for me to train with them, do my own training, do my own racing, and focus on their stuff. So this with no races was nice because we could just focus on ‘Hey, let’s just have fun outside, do some good training, get you guys fit. And if stuff comes up, we’ll do it.’ Toward the end of that big training block, actually, I hit my first ever over 21 hours of training in a week, so that was great. That was a big positive.

Ryan Kohler 19:33
One of the things I took away from it was, as I was kind of building up to that, and just really enjoying a lot of it, I was realizing, man, this is a lot of time only on the bike. So that was really a good way to drive home the need for cross training and other sort of recovery modalities during that time. It was a really nice kind of learning experience that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. That was great. And then as soon as I hit that big week, I was mountain biking with the kids a week after, got injured, and then took multiple weeks of forced recovery. A lot of ups and downs but a lot of learning experiences too.

How 2020 Hannah Finchamp’s Olympic goals possible

Trevor Connor 20:12
Alright, let’s hear from Hannah Finn champ who has a goal that’s going to take her to Tokyo.

Jen Sharp 20:18
Yeah, I think this is a great question because I think a lot of athletes, be it amateurs or pro athletes, will say that, for me, 2020 was the biggest training year I’ve ever had. And that’s because I wasn’t traveling for a lot of races, I wasn’t tapering and recovering, you know, it was just a year to really train. That was certainly hard, and I don’t necessarily want another one of those, nut I think that it was highly beneficial, especially for someone like me. In 2020, I was named to the Olympic Long Team, which means that I’m one of six women, who – we have three spots for the mountain bike women in Tokyo, so of the six of us, they will take three. And I’m probably the underdog in that group. And so for me, I needed this time to really work on my weaknesses, to really improve. For me this year was just that. It was time to make a big step, to put in big efforts and big hours that I wouldn’t always have the time to do when I’m traveling or racing and all of that. And so in that way, you know, in 2020, I’m on a very broad range. I’m looking forward to seeing how all of that work pays off. And very specifically, I’m excited to see what I can do in terms of trying to make that shortlist for the Olympics.

Chris Case 22:02
Yeah, I got to think that that’s the big thing for 2021.

Trevor Connor 22:08
Congratulations for making the list of six. That’s fantastic.

Trevor Connor 22:13
Thank you very much.

Producer Jana Martin shares her experience as a novice cyclist in 2020

Chris Case 22:18
Jana. Speak up, Jana! So Jana, tell us first how new you are to this sport – that you’ve quickly become obsessed with.

Jana Martin 22:31
I had never really ridden a bike – of course, who hasn’t EVER ridden a bike? I had ridden a little bit, very casually, and was so interested in all that we were talking about in the first few months of working, and I don’t know how it came up, but Chris had an extra bike laying around –

Jana Martin 22:52
– and said “Here, go ride around on this.” And so I just did. In March, I just started riding. It worked out really well with quarantine as my social calendar evaporated, and all I had to do was work and nothing. So I just started riding. And I just rode as much as I possibly could. I absolutely fell in love with it. I’m from Colorado and so I know all these suburbs and all these parts of town, but had never really spent any time in the mountains near Boulder, and really found a new love for Colorado in 2020. As I love riding the bike and just getting to enjoy the nature. And I’m really appreciative of everyone’s support, not just Chris, but Trevor and Ryan. I mean everyone – Colby has been so encouraging, giving me great advice about what not to do as I did all of the wrong things and continue to do all of the wrong things, but…It’s been cool. I’ve learned a lot. It was a fun year for me, as opposed to Trevor’s.

Chris Case 22:52
I have a lot of extra bikes laying around

Jana Martin 23:20
I’m the negative one.

Chris Case 24:13
If you look back on 2020, what were those things that you said, “Man, that was a big accomplishment.” From starting from zero, essentially, and hitting some goals?

Jana Martin 24:22
Well, I quickly became obsessed with Strava as that was introduced to me. I saw the numbers start adding up, the elevation numbers, were fun to see, and then of course, the mileage was fun. And I ended up, you know, I had no goals because I had no idea of what I was even going to do. So I ended up writing over 3000 miles last year, and I was just shy of 300,000 feet elevation of climbing for the year. 290 – something – thousand.

Chris Case 24:54
Oh, like not 290 feet, because if that were the case, I would say go for the ride on the night of New Year’s and get it done. Okay, so you were close. Those are big numbers for an absolute novice. And you completed the Festive 500.

Jana Martin 25:15
I did! Yes! I went to California for the holidays.

Chris Case 25:19
Ryan, didn’t even complete the Festive 500 and he’s been riding a bike for 47 years. That’s not true. He’s not even 47. But that’s great.

Jana Martin 25:29
Yeah, thank you.

Chris Case 25:30
But you had to go to California to do it, so you are kind of wimpy.

Jana Martin 25:34
I didn’t do it on Zwift. I’m a whimp and I don’t like riding in the cold. So yes.

Julie Young’s assessment of 2020 and goals fo 2021

Trevor Connor 25:43
So let’s hear some more goals and assessments of 2020 from Julia.

Julie Young 25:48
With this year being an off year, I actually just decided to take a breath and kind of go with the flow. Didn’t really set any serious personal goals. I’ve been racing for so many years in some form or another, trail running, road racing, mountain biking, gravel, cyclocross, exterra, XC skiing, it was kind of nice to take a break and just not be bound to a race schedule and go back to basics in some respects.

Julie Young 26:28
In that said, I definitely miss the racing, as it is, quote, “my bar scene” and way to gather with friends. I definitely love the racing because I feel that’s the best way for me to learn, my friends push me to be better in all aspects of performance. But that said, it was relaxing, just to again, not be bound to a schedule and working on logistics to get to races and in some ways, go back to basics.

Julie Young 26:58
I’ve always known since national team and protein days that I do this because I love the lifestyle, but this year really reemphasized that to me. I love it. And I loved it this year because it is that thing that I own. It’s the way I can continue to challenge myself and keep learning and improving. And for me training time is as much metaphysical and meditation as it is physical. It definitely allows me to keep balance in my life and I feel be better at all aspects of my life, my personal relationships and have more clarity and productivity in work. And I think this year, probably more than any year, it really emphasized to me that it gives me mental health as much as physical health.

Julie Young 27:59
As far as adventure and race plans for 2021 I am kind of playing it by ear. Definitely hope to jump back into mountain bike racing this spring and summer. If all goes according to plan would probably start my season at the Sea Otter Classic. It’s just a super fun venue and I love camping there with friends. Also, probably focus on some races that are in my local area around my home in Truckee like the Carson Epic. It is an amazing race. The organizers have threaded together a network of World Class trails to make the course. So that’s super fun. And then I probably will make a trip out to Colorado and up to Catch’em to see friends and probably do a race along the way. So looking forward to it.

Chris Case 29:02
Very good.

Chris Case’s endless list of personal challenges

Jana Martin 29:03

Chris Case 29:05
Oh, me?

Trevor Connor 29:06
Yeah, how was you’re 2020?

Chris Case 29:08
2020 was – well I would back up even further and say that generally I’m in this transition mode. I’m not as much of a racer as I was years ago. And when I worked for VeloNews, there was some, essentially, obligation for me to do races – which I liked because it took me to some amazing places: Taiwan, Israel, all over the US, to these great gravel races in the last few years that are really fun events. But 2020 was basically the first year where I didn’t have to do anything if I didn’t want to. And I didn’t have a plan. You know, I’ve been also sort of fading out of cyclocross; that ebing in the fall, it wasn’t even on my mind when when 2020 started.

Chris Case 30:00
I always have goals for myself. And usually they’re more personal challenges, personal records that I want to set, adventurous things that I want to do. So I have this list year round, and I just kind of roll through it. When when March hit and everything was shut down, I just kind of rolled more onto that list. I think I got a little carried away. I put too many personal challenges on that list. I didn’t really allow myself to commit to one full fledged.

Chris Case 30:38
So one of the things was, I want to – because I’m getting back into running – I want to set new PRs, beat the times that I was doing in high school. Which that was 25 years ago, when I was setting these times. And I’m not that person anymore. So that was crazy. But I got pretty close. At the same time, I was like, ‘Oh, I should see how fast I can climb 10,000 feet.’ And I did that once and I tried to go – the pacing was all wrong because I was also trying to like set a PR on the Magnolia climb, which is a brutal climb, while doing a 10,000 foot ride in as short amount of time as I could. So I was all over the place with these personal challenges. It was fun, it kept me going. It was It was great. But I never really gave it a solid whack I wouldn’t say.

Chris Case 31:36
Sure that’s a lesson learned: don’t spread yourself so thin with all these personal challenges because you’ll never reach peak performance in any one of them.

Chris Case 31:45
I was pretty happy with some of the other things that I did. I’m kind of a bike commuter too so I don’t put up big miles every year, but over a third of all of my total miles were riding to and from work, which I was happy with. I did some creative things like ride through five New England states on a single ride, which I thought was fun. Did the massive ride with Ben Delaney for the winter solstice; I have this thing for riding big events on both equinoxes and both solstices and if there’s a solar eclipse, I’d probably try to think of a good way to make that into an occasion for a big ride. So I did a lot of those things.

Chris Case 32:36
I learned overall that these things are, for me, at this point in my life, really, as satisfying if not more satisfying than a lot of the races that I could be doing. I’ve done a lot of races. Some of them I never need to do again. I like at this point in my life doing things that I’m not sure I can do. I like that. I also like being not great at things and doing that. You can make the argument of what I am great at or not great at on a bike, but I’m talking about intentionally doing something on a bike – like I bought a trials bike this year too. A street trials bike and I thought, ‘I’m going to suck at this, I will probably break something on my body doing this.’ But that’s what I want, that challenge. Starting over. Learning what it’s like to be a novice again. I think that’s a really good set of lessons you can learn from that experience. And so I took the took that opportunity in 2020 to do such things.

Dr. Stephen Cheung’s reflection of 2020

Trevor Connor 33:47
Next up is Dr. Stephen Cheung, who has a very similar challenge to Chris.

Dr. Stephen Cheung 33:53
Hey, Fast Talk Labs listeners, this is Dr. Stephen Cheung, Professor of Brock University, nd just like you 2020 certainly didn’t work out for me in any way that I expected. I had plans for a big bike packing trip in Iceland for two weeks with some friends that we’ve been planning for over a year, so that got shot down. And after an injury plagued year in 2019, I was planning on making my triumphant return to cyclocross also this past fall. And again, that didn’t happen either. But in some ways, it was a neat kind of confirmation that I was in the sport and I have been in the sport for the right reason, because even though I wasn’t training for anything, and even though all of my riding was solo rides by myself, that I actually put in more time on the bike then in many years over the last 30 years and part of it was because I wasn’t traveling anywhere for conferences and missing out on two weeks or more of riding at a time. But I just found I really enjoyed being out on the bike and just pedaling by myself. So I think that was a nice confirmation that I’m in the sport for the right reason. So that’s something positive to carry through.

Dr. Stephen Cheung 35:08
For 2021, what are my plans? In Ontario, we have already decided that there’s not going to be any sanctioned events in terms of mass start events. So that means racing is out and most likely cyclocross, this fall is going to be out also, and along with most club rides, so it’s going to be in some senses more of the same. How am I going to deal with it? What are my goals? I would love to get in a lot more bikepacking of just being by myself and, or maybe with my wife and going on backpacking trips, and I’ve started collecting bits and pieces of equipment that’s going to help me in that quest. So that’s going to be one goal, that’s something I haven’t really explored, I plan to do in 2020. So I hope to get that off the ground in 21. And if it was ever possible, I would love in 2021 to do a, something like the Oregon Gravel Grinder, a kind of an off road, multi day gravel type event where there’s some group riding, some kind of participation and kind of that vibe of being in a gravel atmosphere over multi days. So I think most of my plans for 2021 ideally is going to focus on bike packing, which is going to switch my training towards a lot of endurance and a lot of solo time on the bike and building that aerobic base.

Dr. Stephen Cheung 36:42
I hope you guys have a great year. And that first off, you stay healthy and safe throughout this pandemic, and that you fulfill your goals for the coming year.

Chris Case 36:56
Here at Fast Talk, we’re hopeful that 2021 will be our comeback year. We’ve signed up for some ambitious adventures to help motivate and inspire us to make this year so much better than the last. How about you? What are your big scary goals? What adventures have you planned for your comeback year? Tell us what you’re planning. Just record a voice memo on your smartphone and email it to info@Fast Talklabs.com. We’d love to hear from you. And to share your recording on a future episode of Fast Talk. You can also head over to the forum on our website, that’s forums.fasttalklabs.com, to join the conversation.

Looking ahead: What the Fast Talk Laboratory Team hopes to accomplish in 2021 (and how they will get there)

Chris Case 37:34
Let’s shift gears shall we? Let’s look ahead. And again, let’s say in a hypothetical sense, 2021 is going to be normal. We can say under our breaths, probably not going to be normal. But let’s just pretend it’s going to be normal and talk about what we want to do in this upcoming year. And also, we have some announcements to make. We each have chosen an event or a race that we want to do. And we’re going to build towards that race. And we’re going to document that build up, the training, the prep, and the race itself, and potentially the aftermath of that, along the way. And we’re going to be producing articles and videos – we haven’t planned this out yet, it’s a little early, but we’re going to have a bunch of interesting content that will help you learn how we’re doing it and hopefully apply it to your situation. So, anybody want to go first?

Trevor Connor 38:34
Are we including my re-kicking your butt on Zwift in March in this or…?

Chris Case 38:40
Sure, that can be one. And we’ll also put on the list the times that I get so far ahead of you on climbs outside, that I climb up onto cliffs in order to take your photograph.

Trevor Connor 38:55
Yeah, but we’re talking about looking ahead.

Coach Ryan Kohler’s plan to accomplish the Breck Epic

Chris Case 38:58
You don’t think that’s ever going to happen again do you? Alright, let’s start with Ryan. Ryan, ahat do you hope to accomplish in 2021?

Ryan Kohler 39:11
With the challenge that I’ve chosen, I’ve never done anything like it so definitely a little bit of that novice feeling in a way. Well, I guess I shouldn’t say I’ve never done anything like it, I did once but it wasn’t to this degree. So the event that I chose is the Breck Epic.

Chris Case 39:29
This full one. Not the Breck Epicurious, which is the three day, you’re choosing the dix day?

Ryan Kohler 39:36
Yes. It still scares me to say that.

Chris Case 39:39
Good for you.

Ryan Kohler 39:41
So I did do a three day stage race in 2019 and enjoyed it. It was really fun. Last couple of summers, it would be like an equinox, just long, big ride on the mountain bike, take the single speed out, do pretty much all day long on trails, like that’s fairly normal, you know, to have a challenge like that. But this one, I’ve ridden in Breck before and I’m fairly familiar with the trails and I know how hard they are. It’s higher elevation than where I was last time and it’s three more days and it’s longer and there’s more climbing…

Chris Case 40:19
But if you think about it’s only two, three days stage races, which sounds pretty simple.

Ryan Kohler 40:26
If you say it that way!

Chris Case 40:27
It’s pretty easy. For those who aren’t familiar with Breck Epic, it is high elevation, it is a lot of single track, it’s beautiful, you probably get up over 12,000 feet on multiple occasions, not every day, but on multiple occasions over the passes. So yeah, this is a big challenge.

Ryan Kohler 40:47
Yeah. And having experienced three day race in the past, it didn’t have that much elevation gain. The days weren’t as long. And I know how I felt after those three days, just pretty cooked. So I think, yeah, this will be a pretty solid challenge.

Chris Case 41:00
Have you created a list of other mini challenges leading up to this to help you prepare for it?

Ryan Kohler 41:08
I mean, there’s only one other race. I haven’t put a lot of other challenges on that list because I think for me it’s going to be more about keeping the consistency and getting the good training in. Trevor and I whenever we ride, I mean, he’s the classic time trialist, your diesel engine, and you can go forever. I’m more of Let me go out and do a 20 minute short track race, and I’m happy with tha or I can go blow myself up for five minutes and be happy. But to go hours and hours and day after day is completely not my jam.

Chris Case 41:40
Plus you have a family, which is another part of the balancing act here, I would assume?

Ryan Kohler 41:46
Yeah, two kids, family, it’s a lot. So I think, for me, what makes me feel most comfortable getting ready for this is to focus on get even more structure in. Focusing on something this long is gonna require a high focus on the training. So, in other years, if I’m doing like a single day mountain bike race, or like short track, I don’t need to be as good about my base work. I can mess up a little bit here and there, or have a little bit less structure in and not think about it because I’m focused on family things. But I think this year, it’s gonna require more of that consistency. So that’s already started. And it feels good to be able to do that. So I think just with the amount of bandwidth left over after thinking about this, then I think this is good.

Chris Case 42:33
And it’s August?

Ryan Kohler 42:34
It’s August, yeah.

Trevor Connor 42:37
Let’s hear from Jen Sharp, who’s going to tell us about her 2020 and her goals for 2021.

Jen Sharp’s “pivot year”

Jen Sharp 42:44
Yeah, 2020 became a pivot year, I would say. And I found that not only as an athlete all of a sudden the rug was pulled out from underneath you, but also as a coach, like, all of the goals just went out the window. And so it became a period of reframing and pivoting toward, ‘Okay, well, all those outcome goals are no longer there. So how can we shift this to a process oriented year where we look at the little things?’ Addressing the little injuries that we may not have had the time to do before, the mental components? I mean, there are so many actual positives that came out of 2020, personally. And I find that all of the athletes that I’ve worked with have huge gains, that I’m excited to see what they apply to 21 – if it happens in 21.

Chris Case 43:44
So, let’s turn our attention to 2021. In a hypothetical, post COVID world, what are you most looking forward to in 2021? Events, adventures, challenges, what’s percolating?

Jen Sharp 44:03
Yeah, one of my favorite series is the Tour of America’s Dairyland. It’s almost like a bike circus or bike camp. I’m really looking forward to not only race there, but also connecting with the community, because you see so many different friends from all over the country that come and convene to Wisconsin and eat cheese together. I mean, the hardest part I would say about this year has been not having that face to face interaction with your friends and your community. And it’s been distanced and sure we’re still there and sure we’re doing zoom and connecting in that way, but there’s just something about feeling someone’s energy next to you that you just don’t get through online connections.

Jana Martin’s Roll Massif Crooked Gravel race goal

Chris Case 45:00
Jana, do you want to give the reveal of what you’ve chosen first and talk about how you know what else you might have put on the calendar to prepare for it or what we can help you with to prepare for it.

Jana Martin 45:13
I need lots of help. First of all, I’ve already made a mistake. I think that’s gonna be the story of this year for me is all the newbie mistakes I get to make – and learn from. I did not register for the race that I actually wanted to do in time and filled up.

Chris Case 45:33
And it was because it was a gravel race, and they’re very popular, correct?

Jana Martin 45:36
Which I now know.

Chris Case 45:37
Yes. So you’ve picked one in its place?

Jana Martin 45:41
Yes. So I am going to do the Roll Massif Crooked Gravel race in Winter Park on July 24. There are two distances. And as a newbie, I chose the easier 65 mile version.

Trevor Connor 45:55
Which is not easy.

Jana Martin 45:57
There is a 93 mile version, which I contemplated for half a second.

Chris Case 46:03
I think I talked you out of it when I said, that’s all above 8000 feet. The 65 miles will feel like 90 miles, the 93 mile version would feel like 130 miles, so you’re not wimping out by any means by choosing the 65.

Jana Martin 46:17
And I have a teeny tiny taste of riding. I did one ride from Vail to Copper and back last year, so at a high elevation, and it was very difficult. I also have yet to do a century ride. So I was hesitant to do an almost 100 mile race when actually one of my goals for this year is to do a century ride.

Chris Case 46:41
Nice. Do you want to do that by yourself? Or do you want to do it like an event?

Jana Martin 46:47
Yes. All the above.

Chris Case 46:48

Jana Martin 46:49
Yes. That’s the plan if anybody wants to do a century ride?

Chris Case 46:54
Well, one of – I’ll get to it, but yeah, I might take you out on one. Or you can take me out on one. Or we can go together.

Jana Martin 47:02
Let’s do it.

Chris Case 47:03
Yeah, sweet. Any any other sort of goals that you have?

Jana Martin 47:08
I have some other goals. And we’ll just see how the year pans out in terms of travel and the amount of time these things take to do. And so these things might not happen this year. But eventually I would like to ride the entire California coastline. I think that California is awesome and I love the ocean and I have family there so I can see putting together some fun rides out there. And I also want to ride, and not walk, the Camino del Santiago in Spain, which is a common pilgrimage in the Catholic Church. But many people like to just go and walk that route. And as I research for this podcast, there are many different routes coming from many different locations. So I will fine tune that plan as I actually make plans. I don’t think we’re even allowed to go to Europe.

Chris Case 48:06
Right. Right.

Jana Martin 48:10
So yeah, which I think Chris knows something about.

Grant Holicky’s goals for 2021

Trevor Connor 48:16
All right, next up with their goals is Grant Hollicky.

Grant Holicky 48:21
Yeah, 2020, huh. What a year. I think I was pretty fortunate, I feel like I was able to walk out a 2020 as a better athlete. I don’t know if I’m a faster athlete and I don’t know if that’s my goal anymore at 47, but I definitely feel like I gained some things. I really gained a better appreciation of schedule and how important a schedule is, whether it be daily one or a monthly one, just having that something the following and knowing what’s coming up. And I think that this year made it hard to know what was coming up or know what that external thing that we’re training for in a race or an adventure or something along those lines. So I think I did a good job of understanding and finding a way to create that schedule and create those targets, and create that flow in a training plan that wasn’t there naturally because of racing.

Grant Holicky 49:28
The other thing I just started to find that joy on the bike again. I started finding real love of doing workouts just for the sake of a workout. Of pushing myself and seeing how far I could go and how hard I could go and I I just love the feeling of being wrecked. I love, I think that’s the former swimmer in me, that feeling of being at the dinner table and just trashed and I really enjoy it and I found myself telling myself what I tell my athletes is you’ve got to find that dog with the head out the window feeling in a workout. You know, the tongues wagging, the ears are flapping in the wind, and it’s just this giant smile. So if you can find that, while you’re going full gas, then you found something special and I think I was able to find that in a lot of workouts this year. And that was really nice.

Grant Holicky 50:28
The other thing we did is we created some of our own markers. We did some big, big charity rides; the first one I did 200K on Zwift. And then recently did a ride similar to what Chris did and rode all the hours of daylight on the solstice. And so creating something like that that was more about an achievement, it was more about completion, gave me something to work towards and gave me something to train. And that was really especially true, I think in December here, once cross shut down and it gave me something to look forward to for a month. And it was just scary enough that I had to focus on it.

Colby Pearce 51:15
2021, honestly, the biggest thing I’m looking forward to getting back to is interacting with athletes and interacting with the people I raced with. I have some great relationships with people across the country that I really love racing with; some of my fellow coaches at Forever Rndurance like Chris McGovern, just having the chance to interact with him and interact with those people that I raced with and learn from them and just enjoy myself. And that’s really the biggest thing I’m looking forward to in 2021 is that face to face contact, that ability to look into an athlete’s eyes, put your arm around them when it’s a terrible day and high five them when it’s a great day and just the people that I raced with across the country that I haven’t had a chance to see and get that opportunity to go bang heads with a Paul Bonds again. And like I said, get an opportunity to break down a race post mortem with someone like Chris McGovern. And that’s really what the highlight is going to be for me in 2021. And that’s what I’m looking forward to.

Chris Case’s 2021 bike packing challenge: TransAtlanticWay

Chris Case 52:30
When it comes to picking things you’re not sure you can do that’s where I went with my challenge this year. I am evolving as a cyclist. So I’ve chosen to do a bikepacking race. It’s 2500 kilometers. It is in Ireland. We’ll see if it happens. But hypothetically, I will be doing this in June. You know the people that take these things super seriously will be completing this in less than five days. So huge amount of riding. People that have listened to the show before, specifically the bikepacking randonneuring episode that we did, will will be familiar with this race because Matt Roy, our guest, one of our guests, has done this and he won it as part of a team. And they slept in airbnbs and bed and breakfast every night. And still won as the team. And they did it in seven days. But if you average it out, they’re still riding well over 150 miles a day to be able to do it in seven days. So this is a massive difference from racing cyclocross, which is kind of what my bread and butter was just a couple of years ago, and for a decade before that.

Chris Case 53:58
To prepare for this, I just need to ride a lot. I need to be strategic, of course, but I do need to ride probably significantly more than I normally do in January, February, March, April, May. And then we’ll see what June holds.

Trevor Connor 54:18
What you mean is more than just commuting to work.

Chris Case 54:20
More than just commuting to work. And so to that end, I’ve kind of put some things on the list of goals to encourage me to ride. I like to keep streaks alive, if you will. So one of the things I thought might help with that is I want to ride a century, at least a century, and at least one, in every month of 2020. 100 miles, January, February, March, April all the way through. I will definitely do it in June if I do this event. I did one in November and I did one in December already. I did the 150 in December so I’m already on a bit of a streak I need to fit one in January here.

Chris Case 55:01
I have this crazy idea to ride from my house to the Kansas border on gravel roads, which is approximately 205 – 10 miles. Aleep in my bivy on the border, because that would be cool with half of my body in Colorado – I’ll probably put my head in Colorado and my feet in Kansas, but we’ll see. Or maybe I’ll put my left side in Kansas and my right side in Colorado.

Trevor Connor 55:31
Sorry to any of our Kansas listeners out there.

Chris Case 55:33
Yeah, sorry. I mean, Colorado is home so. And then ride back the next day. So yeah, sure, Ale House and Spencer rode from Alex’s house to Kansas in a day, but did they sleep on the border? No. Did they ride back the next day? No. Can I actually

Trevor Connor 55:50
Do you know why nobody rides back?

Chris Case 55:52
Because of the wind and the elevation change. Oh, I know.

Trevor Connor 55:55
Riding there, there’s a tailwind all downhill.

Chris Case 55:58
We’ll see. We’ll see. This is one of those things. We’ll see if I do it. But it’s on the list. It would also be nice to ride my longest ride ever. And of course, currently that since I’ve done the race formerly known as DK200, now unbound, I’ve done that a couple times. The course is always different. I did it was 205 miles one year. So if I do this ride to Kansas, and I don’t sleep there, I’ll probably just ride around in circles on the border or whatever to get that longest ride.

Chris Case 56:34
I also have some running goals. There’s a set of trails up through the Indian peaks wilderness area, just outside of Boulder, beautiful area. And you can string some trails together to get a marathon on trails. And I’ve done some pretty long trail runs up there last fall. And I really have loved it. So I want to do that too.

Chris Case 56:57
So all of these sorts of things are geared towards making me a more durable endurance creature. So I can go to Ireland and survive and be a completer rather than a competer. I should probably mention the name of the race, it’s the Transatlantic Way.

Trevor Connor 57:18
Glad you said what you learned in 2020 was not to have too many goals on the list.

Chris Case 57:24
Oh, there’s so many more, Trevor.

Trevor Connor 57:26
I’m looking at the list right now. You just gave the highlights.

Chris Case 57:29
I just gave the highlights. Actually one that you and I think should do together is this vertical hour.

Trevor Connor 57:35
So me beat you again.

Chris Case 57:36
Whatever. We did the hour record together. You coached me. I suffer edmy ass off on the track for 60 minutes. It would be cool. This is a thing that people do. Not too often. Joe Dombroski really wanted to do this back in the days when the hour record was hot. The vertical hour reord, see how many vertical feet you can climb in 60 minutes. Now, do you do that on one climb? Or do you pick a really steep segment and do i as many times? That’s the experiment.

Trevor Connor 58:08
This could be fun. We should do this.

Chris Case 58:09
So I think that would be another cool just experiment. Obviously, you’re riding hard, but it’s also kind of a logistics challenge. What’s the best segment? How do you stay as low as possible in Colorado so that if you do that 60 minute climb, you’re going to end up pretty high and that’s going to affect you. So maybe it’s better to pick a segment down low that you can just do a massive number of repeats on.

Chris Case 58:10
That would be on the one climb – there’s some good climbs we could do here where you get a lot of vertical and it would take you an hour.

Chris Case 58:44
Yep. So put it on our list.

Trevor Connor 58:47
Okay let’s do it.

Chris Case 58:48
Let’s do it. What else have you got for 2021, Trevor?

Trevor Connor 58:52
I have not as many goals as Chris.

Chris Case 58:56

Trevor Connor 58:57
Yeah, fair enough.

Chris Case 59:00
Smarty pants

Trevor Connor 59:00
Well, I’ve already accomplished one in 2021.

Chris Case 59:02
Yeah, yeah, I know, we’ve heard all about it. If it were an actual bike ride, and not just a pedaling contest inside a room, then maybe it would be a thing that I would care about. but-

Trevor Connor 59:15
Excuses. Excuses start coming out.

Chris Case 59:18
And if that makes anybody who’s a Zwift fan out there – merrr, I don’t care.

Trevor Connor 59:25
Making friends and taking names everywhere you go.

Chris Case 59:29
Try a bike packing race through the sideways wind of the Western Ireland coast.

Trevor Connor 59:36
You’re going to be on the bikepacking ride with people insulting backpacking, “Why do you idiots do these thing?”

Chris Case 59:43
Probably. Yep.

Colby Pearce’s fitness accomplishments

Trevor Connor 59:48
Let’s hear from Colby Pierce and his goal for 2021 which is here in Colorado.

Colby Pearce 59:55
Looking back at 2020 my athletic accomplishments, I was really focused on sweeping my own doorstep. I studied Tai Chi in 2020 and completed my tai chi program, which amounted to a YouTube video where I studied the 37 postures in the Chen Ming Ching Tai Chi style. And that was pretty rewarding. It took me several months to make it through that. It’s really complicated. Now I’ve got the flow down, and I can practice that regularly.

Colby Pearce 1:00:23
I also studied further with the Czech Institute, including IMS three, which is integrative movement, specialist three. And that’s more on the coaching side of things. But it also plays into my own movement practice, because every time I do more Czecg training, I integrate more movements into my athletes programs, but prior to doing that, I learned them myself. So this is things like core assessments and range of motion assessments. And that helps me become a better coach and learn more about my own self and then pass that on to my athletes. Strength and conditioning techniques and different exercises, programming rules, things of that nature.

Colby Pearce 1:01:08
As far as my general athletic practice, I was really trying to sweep my own doorstep, looked after some strength, made some progress in my running. For me, running has been something that I haven’t been able to do real consistently without risk of injury. Maybe the last six years or so I’ve been running in the falls and in the winters to complement cyclocross, when I was actually kind of trying at cyclocross. I got to the point where I could run on trails for about 45 minutes or an hour. And most the time I was kind of wrecked afterwards. And sometimes I’d have some injuries kind of flare up. Now I’m to the point where I can run in Vibram Five Fingers on really technical rocky trail for an hour and a half and I’m good. And that’s about as long as I need to run for, I’m not out to do some mega run program. But I want to be functional enough to the point where I could do that and enjoy it. And now I can do that and be injury free. So the focus is to get a little bit faster. So that’s something I might actually continue through the summer a little more regularly for this coming season, fair bit.

Colby Pearce 1:02:09
And then I’ve just been riding my bike to enjoy it and strength. Fair amount of strength training. Been studying Mike Salamis kettlebell programs quite a bit and doing some of his workouts and he’s an excellent instructor in my experience, very well balanced, brings a lot to the table in terms of being mindful of your total practice; breath during your strength training, technique of the kettlebell swing, and the snatch and the clean. And he offers a lot of little tips on how to not crush your wrist when you do a snatch, for example. And so I’ve been working on refining my technique based on Mike’s teachings. So I’m grateful for his work that he does there.

Colby Pearce 1:02:48
I also got to test ride some cool trek bikes that are prototypes that I can’t tell you about, because I’d have to assassinate you. But got to test ride some really fun things. So there’s that. Definitely more gravel, more off road, more alternative mode of transportation type of things, meaning not road as much. My road bike is really sad. Right now it looks at me from the corner of my garage, and a little tear comes out of its little carbon eyeball because it’s neglected and dusty. Sorry, road bike, I still love you and I will ride you again come the spring. Looking forward to get back on the road bike with very carefully selected routes this spring.

Colby Pearce 1:03:24
2021, right now on my radar is the Growler, which is a big famous mountian bike here in Gunnison, Colorado, which I’ve never done. I’m going to go do that with my good friend, Don Powell. And talking to the couple athletes about doing some crazy adventure races in other countries, not sure if that’s going to happen, probably not the year to plan it…

Colby Pearce 1:03:43
But I am planning to ride the Colorado Trail with Travis Brown in June. That’s the tentative goal right now. And that’s going to be a through mountain biking experience. Full on grizzly bears and beards and all of it. Eaten wildflowers. So that’s the plan. That’s my 2021 goal.

Colby Pearce 1:04:08
If something like Steamboat gravel opens up maybe that would be something I’d be interested in or possibly there’s some good Winter Park gravel races and things like that – lesser known Colorado gravel races that’ll still be big enough for me and things that I can just go out and smash them lots and have some fun, but not take it too seriously. Just go enjoy it and be more of an experience based kind of thing. I think I’ve proven all my competitive niggles, at least for the short term. Focusing on bigger things. Also, after being in the sport for 35 years when you sign up for a bike race, it’s really easy for me to back calculate 10 months out and start to treat every day like it’s preparation for competition because I’ve been doing it for so long and I understand the ramifications of every night asleep, every dietary choice, every equipment nuance. It’s a bit I’ll say southnode to use an astrological term for me to get too involved into a bike race. I have to really constantly bring myself to a place of balance because I don’t want to foster that part of my personality anymore. Or, as Jones Carney recently said to me in a conversation, that’s a part of my personality I’d like to assassinate. I’m working to evolve and step away from that addiction to that competitive cycle that has served me enough. I really enjoyed it. I’m not saying it’s bad thing. I’m not saying that anyone who’s in that cycle of their competitive career, that warrior phase, as Paul Czech would say, is doing anything wrong. You’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing every given day. We’re all here to learn lessons. I’m ready to move into a different direction.

Trevor Connor’s big 5-0

Trevor Connor 1:05:46
So I have one goal, but it’s a big goal. This is the year where I get the big five-0 on my race license. I’m racing as a 50 year old. Now, it seems kind of hysterical to me, but when I was 35, people were telling me I was coming to the end of my career and too old and all that sort of stuff. I look back at that, and like I was just a baby, what are you talking about? But I’m sure a lot of our listeners can empathize with this, that there is a bit of a bias that certainly once you’re over 40, it’s over by the time you’re 50 it’s “Wow, you can still ride a bike? That’s amazing.” Which I just don’t subscribe to. I don’t believe that. So the thing I want to do to start out my 50s is to go and do either a Pro1 or a Cat 1-2, one of the bigger ones in the country, and prove I can still be competitive.

Trevor Connor 1:06:50
So I haven’t picked the event just because we’re waiting to see what’s going to happen. Right now I’m thinking either Joe Martin or Tour de Gila.

Chris Case 1:07:00
Yeah, Tour se Gila, oddly, not in its normal, early May slot. It’s tentatively scheduled for September I think.

Trevor Connor 1:07:10
My one issue is a might overlap with Tobago. Otherwise, I would definitely do that. We’ll see if I do the Pro 1 or the 1-2. The factor is to do the Pro 1, you have to be on a team. I’ve done this many times before, I could find a team willing to take me, but to be honest with you, this is about seeing how well I can perform. If I go guest drive with a team, I’m going to be fetching water bottles. And I want to go to compete. So if it’s a choice between being on a Pro 1 team, but fetching water bottles, or doing the 1-2 race but being able to compete, I would probably do the 1-2 race.

Trevor Connor 1:07:47
So my whole focus is going to be on building back the form that I need to hopefully be competitive. And I don’t know if we want to talk about this now. But it would probably be surprising to people what I feel are going to be the biggest issues to work on versus-

Chris Case 1:08:05
Yeah, I think I think so. I mean, this is going to be teased out in much more detail in some of the other articles and content that we put together workshops, etc. But yeah, if you want to give us just a snippet of what that will look like.

Trevor Connor 1:08:17
So the short version is, we’ve talked about this on the show, it’s not focusing on that FTP. Certainly I’m not going to have the threshold power I had 10-15 years ago, but you’d actually be surprised how close I can get. And as I said, I wasn’t really racing that hard. I wasn’t that strong, starting about 2015 through 2019. Even then I was getting my threshold power at certain points up 30 watts off of what I used to be able to do at my best. So you know, not that far off. 30 watts is about a level so good enough to be competitive. Probably not good enough to win.

Trevor Connor 1:09:06
I went to cascades, which used to be a really big stage race in the US in 2017, I wanted to go and do a big race again, and power was good. I mean, I had raced a couple cat 1-2 races, one stage race down in Syracuse building up to it, and, for example, the Syracuse stage race had a hillclimb race. So it’s just a very short race but you still raced as a field and I was leading the whole field to the halfway point of that climb then a couple people went around me but I think I finished like third or fourth so I was like, okay, threshold powers good. I got to cascades, started with a road race that was 110-120 miles. And I got popped 30 minutes in. The issue wasn’t the power. The issue was the front ferocity of the race. There was about a 15 minute climb 30-40 minutes into the race. And guys, were just going all out; everybody was fighting for the front getting ready for that climb. And where I used to be really good at riding at the front of the field, I could never get myself past the top 40. And where I used to know how to slot into the spots and keep myself protected and not waste a ton of energym I was killing myself. I was killing myself and constantly ending up at the back of the field. So by the time we got to that climb, I was already half smoked. And probably up that 15 minute climb averaged 40 watts less than I did up to 25 minute climb at Syracuse.

Chris Case 1:10:50
I bet this is – the hope here is that our experiences can inform other people’s experiences. And I bet that that is an issue that a lot of people deal with is they think that their problem is the five minute power or whatever, but really, it’s what comes before that that taps into that energy system that they think they need. And then they don’t have it when they need it, if that makes sense.

Trevor Connor 1:11:18
There’s a lot more to racing than just those numbers. And that’s what I saw. So I’m not worried about getting my threshold power to where I need to get it to, I think I’ll be able to do that. I am really worried about those other sides: that ability to navigate the field. It is scary. And everybody the first time they get into a pro race, it’s just oh my god, I never thought it could be like this and you just learn. I don’t know, if you just learn to be really dumb and ignore it, or you just build confidence or what it is. But there was for most of my career, I didn’t mind bumping shoulders, I knew how to navigate the field, I could read the field, I knew how to be where I needed to be. And I just didn’t have that when I went to cascades in 2017. I was getting bumped around, I was getting yelled at, I was ending up at the back of the field. And that, as I was talking about before, that jump, that ability to respond. That one minute effort, the short efforts, those I see as being my biggest issues for being ablt to compete in one of these events. So I will do some work this winter on trying to get my endurance back, trying to get the threshold power back, but really a lot of my focus is going to be, and we’ll see if I’m able to do this, getting a lot of racing in the legs to get used to riding in a field again, to get used to navigating the field, to get that fear out of the system. All these other things that just don’t show up in the numbers at all – that’s going to be my make or break.

Chris Case 1:12:55
The four of us have chosen pretty distinct, pretty difficult challenges, but I think we can all start riding together more and progressing together more and keeping each other motivated.

Jana Martin 1:13:11
It’s gonna be fun.

Trevor Connor 1:13:13
I am looking forward to this.

Chris Case 1:13:14

Ryan Kohler 1:13:15
I like it. I’m gonna need some of your centuries every month.

Chris Case 1:13:21
I’m gonna need some company.

Trevor Connor 1:13:23
So we’re gonna do like a whole team, little Fast Talke Labs, all go out and do a century together.

Chris Case 1:13:29
We should probably plan on that. Yeah. And Dave can well, they will probably just sit here and work while we do that. Somebody needs to keep the lights.

Trevor Connor 1:13:39
Are we gonna wait for Chris at the top of the climb?

Ryan Kohler 1:13:42
I won’t be at the top of the climbs with you. You get to decide.

Chris Case 1:13:51
That was another episode of Fast Talk. Subscribe to Fast Talk wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcast and be sure to leave us a rating and review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk are those of the individual. As always, we’d love your feedback. Join the conversation at forums.fasttalklabs.com to discuss each and every episode, and particularly the challenges that Ryan, Trevor, Jana and I have taken on. We will be available to answer any questions about how much we’re suffering through our training and preparation and so much more. Become a member of Fast Talk Laboratories at fasttalklabs.com/join and become a part of our education and coaching community. For Hannah Finchamp, Jen Sharp, Colby Pearce Julie Young, Grant Holicky, Stephen Cheung, Dr. Steven Seiler, Trevor Connor, Ryan Kohler, Jana Martin, I’m Chris Case. Thanks for listening.