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The Gravel Ride is a cycling podcast where we discuss the people, places and products that define modern gravel cycling. We will be interviewing athletes, course designers and product designers who are influencing the sport. We will be providing information on where to ride, what to ride and how to stay stoked on gravel riding.

Craig Dalton

    • Jan 18, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekly NEW EPISODES
    • 37m AVG DURATION
    • 136 EPISODES

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    Chris Schroeder - Gravel Racer and Gravel Team Manager

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 18, 2022 46:43

    This week we sit down with Dimond Factory Racing's Chris Schroeder. We learn about Chris' transition from professional triathlon to that of a gravel racer. We also look at his decision to start a racing team versus continuing as a privateer. Dimond Factory Racing Instagram Join The Ridership Support the Podcast Automated transcription, please excuse the typos:   Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. This week on the podcast, we've got Colorado based professional gravel racer, Chris Schroeder. Chris is not only a racer, but he's also the manager of the diamond factory racing team. His path to gravel racing was from that of, uh, as a professional triathlete. Interestingly, I learned that the private tier model, as it's known. It's something that's quite prevalent. In the triathlon world. But Chris didn't really want to take that model forward. He really wanted to build. Uh, professional gravel racing team. So i thought it'd be interesting to get his perspective to hear about his experience in the gravel world thus far and more importantly hear about what his plans are for 2022 with his teammate. Before we jump in, I need to thank this. Week's sponsor athletic greens. Athletic greens is literally a product I use every single day. I've been an athletic greens user for many years prior to actually starting the podcast. I really didn't have the time nor inclination to take a bunch of pills and vitamins. To get some of my nutritional basis covered. So when I found out about ag one, was stoked about how convenient it was going to be for me. So what's in this stuff with one delicious scoop of athletic greens, you're absorbing 75 high quality vitamins minerals, whole food sorts, superfoods, probiotics, and APTA Jens. To help start your day. Right? The special blend of ingredients supports gut health, your nervous system, your immune system, your energy recovery focus and aging. All the things. This is particularly poignant at this moment, as I just got back from two back-to-back 90 mile days. Uh, riding down to Santa Cruz, California, and backup to my home in Marin county. Athletic greens. I brought one of their travel packs with me to take on Sunday morning as I got up and started my second big day. And when I got home, I blasted another one simply because I needed a little bit more. I knew I'd run the battery down pretty darn low with this weekends, riding and athletic greens all is gives me the confidence that I'm at least covering my baselines nutritionally. Build on top of that a healthy diet and you've got yourself a winning combination Athletic greens will cost you less than $3 a day. You're investing in your health and it's cheaper than your cold brew habit. Athletic greens as over 7,505 star reviews. And is recommended by professional athletes. Right now it's time to reclaim your health and arm your immune system with convenient daily nutrition. Especially in the middle of cold and flu season. It's just one scoop in a cup of water every day. That's it. No need for millions of different pills and supplements to look out for your health. To make it easy. Athletic greens is going to give you a free one year supply of immune supporting vitamin D and five free travel packs with your first purchase. All you have to do is visit athletic gravel ride. Again, that's athletic gravel ride to take ownership of your health and pick up the ultimate daily nutritional insurance. Would that business out of the way. Let's jump right in to my interview with Chris. [00:03:15] Craig Dalton: Chris welcome to the show. [00:03:17] Chris Schroeder: Great to be here [00:03:18] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I'm excited when you reached out to me, I think this is going to be a really interesting discussion. The starting point for all my conversations is always to get a little bit of your background as a cyclist, how you came into the sport and how ultimately you started riding. [00:03:31] Chris Schroeder: So it's hard to say how I came into cycling. I came into cycling and triathlon at the same time. About 15 years old, my family relocated from Telluride, Colorado to New York city. And at the time New York city is has a giant cycling presence. Contrarians are a very big thing there. They do a lot of races in central park and the surrounding area. So as a way for me to find something to do when I was there, I started running of those, the local cycling club. It wasn't a race club. It was. A website or a form, or you just go on there and they say, right, we have a group ride every couple of mornings and you know, it was fun. I had a old road bike and then the same exact time I was getting into that, I also equally wanting to get into triathlon. So that was a great like way for me to start training and start preparing. And as that grew, I did a couple of bike races and at the same time training for triathlons eventually just kept going into triathlon and kept doing more of the. And at the same time, I was always a very big fan of cycling. I would always watch the races. I would always follow the riders and that was like a restaurant, but I was a fan of cycling. So I just kept coming up and triathlon. Eventually I went to college at university of Colorado here in Boulder, and Boulder is a great community for pro triathletes and cyclists of all kinds. It's just a Mecca for it. And I ended up eventually becoming a professional in, I believe 20. 15 though, like end of 2015, I went on and raised five years, professional triathlete, you know, I got a lot out of it. I traveled the world. I raised on like six different continents. I met amazing people like throughout the whole way, but at the end of the five years, I just, I wasn't content with where my career was and I wasn't really, I think it plateaued. I just wasn't moving. I wasn't getting the results. I needed to continue doing the sport. And I just stagnated and going into 2020, I had this mindset and I had signed up for, to just a way out. I was like, know, I'm going to finish this sport by dating my first full iron man. So I went to go, the plan was all right, I'm going to go do Ironman, New Zealand. And a couple months before that there was a race in Oklahoma called the Oklahoma gravel Gower at the time. And I kinda knew that I got this sport gravel. I really liked it because it reminded me a lot of the monuments in cycling, like cargo bay, the dynamic just of the just bad-ass like let's get out here and get dirty and strongest man wins kind of mentality. So I knew going into that race. Not really know anything. I was like, didn't have a gravel bag and laid that on my road bike with the biggest tires I could fit. And I ended up having a great race. So early on, I got a new move of Ted king. We went on for a while. Like I eventually got dropped. I got picked up by two guys behind and then ended up beating both of them in the sprint to finish second. So all of a sudden I had this hot iron. What I use then to go on to use, to create this transition to gravel. [00:06:48] Craig Dalton: Interesting. Yeah, for me, it's not super surprising that you had a great cycling experience in New York. It might've been. 10 years ago before I knew a bunch of people from New York and realized like how great the scene is there for a road racing. It's maybe a little surprising that you got into triathlons out of New York, but obviously there's a lot of great road running there and triathlon. There's a few good races in that neck of the woods. [00:07:14] Chris Schroeder: Yeah, we'll come back to that. When we started talking about diamond and stuff like that. But when I, because I had that result in Oklahoma, when I went on to do Ironman New Zealand, you know, the race went, it was a good way to end the closing. On my drunker and made me feel very contented, very like, all right. I did everything I could and I got what I got out of it. And then I'm probably the only person in the world who this positive came from. COVID where the world's shut down. As soon as like, before I even left New Zealand, the world's start shutting down. It's a miraculous, I even got able to leave the country, the roads shut down. All these triathlon races got canceled. All of a sudden the sport that I don't want to do isn't happening anymore. But I have all these sponsors that need me to do something. So when I was able to do with all my current sponsors to say, Hey, I can't race a triathlon because there was no triathlons. I can go do another gravel race where I already had this giant buzz, this giant pop and a good result or this year. So with that, I was able to just start doing gravel races with all my sponsors, still supporting me. They were just supporting me as they were and things just went well. And then. Mid 2020, we just started really committing to, we're just going to start a team. We're not going to have minimums or anything like that. We're just going to work at the end of the January 1st. We're announcing this team and it can be big, small, whatever, wherever we land, we're going to go with. You know, we were very fortunate in having Jared come on, board, our videographer, and he really is the only reason this team was able to exist in 2021. I did Belgium wall fried Cedar city September, 2020. He came out made. What I think still to this day is his best piece of work, which was a video covering my experience. There really just raw showing that experience. I was able to then all these sponsors I was talking to at the time that were like, eh, we don't really know. I was able to send them this video. And it was like talking to a different person. All of a sudden the conversation went my way and we were able to close a couple of deals with at the time Kenda tires and vision components, both of which were huge. I, we desperately needed both of those contracts. Eventually a hybrid clothing and Lin helmets came on board to help us out. And then we had. We had the support. We had the writers, we had a product, which was our video production and assets, and that kind of launched us into 2021. [00:09:48] Craig Dalton: That's a super interesting story about how athletes need to package themselves up in order to be successful in this. I want to go back a little bit to that transition period. And as a quick side note, I also retired as a triathlete from Ironman, New Zealand, not professional, not fast, but it was my last iron man. And I agree. It's something, if you get into the sport of triathlon, regardless of the level, having that iron man experience is just it. I think it is very similar to these epic gravel events. We're just getting across the finish line can be such a magic. Thing in your history that everybody should try to do it. [00:10:24] Chris Schroeder: Yeah, absolutely. I I it's just like in the moment I was just miserable. Like I was. A lot of stuff, like just in my life and where I was my career, but I, because I finished it. I can just, I don't have to look back cause I'm just I'm so much more content than I would be. Had I not done that? [00:10:41] Craig Dalton: Yeah, a hundred percent. I'm also curious, you know, it sounds like the 72.2 distance was a strong suit of yours. Then you moved up to the Ironman distance. When you started going to these long gravel events, what kind of parallels did you see from the endurance and mental strength required to complete an Ironman or a long distance triathlon to what you were seeing at the gravel of. [00:11:04] Chris Schroeder: Well, it's hard. I don't think 70.3 is Ironman. You can draw a lot of parallel parallels, the 70.3 distance. Not as much because those races are dynamic. You are racing. An Ironman is a lot more similar in the sense you. Not raising, you're all just trying to finish. And one of you happens to finish before the others. Definitely the mental attitude that you have in an Ironman of when you're just trying to finish it. I've nothing else to do today. If always I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I will eventually cross the line. That's like the unfortunate gravel mentality for a lot of these 10 plus hour events or. Even the comment, I feel like 125 miles is the common distance for gravel. You're still looking at a seven hour day for the fast guys. Like it's a lot of time out there versus the 71 is really four hours. Most professionals go way under that now. So it's hard to say, like, I think honestly my biggest asset transitioning to gravel was just the amount of time has been being a fan of cycling and why. Professional races and just admiring the tactics. [00:12:09] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think one of the things that has come up on a number of occasions and in my own personal experience with triathlon was just. Stuff's going to go wrong and you just gotta move forward and get on with it. And the events are long enough that you can have a really bad nutrition or hydration moment and come back around. If you just fuel the system in the right. [00:12:28] Chris Schroeder: absolutely. I think in gravel, The gravel, you can get a little more catastrophic with your failures. You're talking about just breaking everything is breakable on a gravel race tire wheel by Canterbury's yourself. Like it's all up in the air. In a triathlon you can bonk or you can get a flat like those. Those are really the two bad scenarios and the gravel is just, you just don't know what's going to go wrong. There's so many options. [00:12:50] Craig Dalton: Yeah, a hundred [00:12:51] Chris Schroeder: Like for Unbound with, you have to basically be able to rebuild your entire bike is rather than. [00:12:57] Craig Dalton: Speaking of Unbound. So 2020, you sort of get your gravel legs underneath you. You have the good fortune of having sponsors that are willing to pivot with you because gravel was going off more than the triathlon world was you fell in love with it 2021, you register from Unbound. And there's a great video of your experience there. So why don't you talk to us about your experience? What was your. Expectations and goals going in and how did it play? [00:13:22] Chris Schroeder: Unmanned was definitely a little emotional. Like it's a, like, it's a lot that goes into it. It's really very parallel to the Ironman world championships in terms of prestige And just the hype around it. I definitely went into it a little ignorant of just like what's about to happen. I made some just blatant mistakes, but ultimately I just wasn't trained properly for it. And completely just melted in the, it's hard to describe for people that haven't done Unbound it's 200 miles. I think the winter did like 10 hours and 30 minutes this year. So you, would expect this, the race to play out in something in a way that would, you know, relate to someone trying to pace themselves for about long race. In the beginning, like three hours of Unbound are just you're on the pace [00:14:20] Craig Dalton: Did you enter that race thinking I'm going to stick with the lead group? You know, this is going to be my tactic in those first three. [00:14:27] Chris Schroeder: yeah, I just didn't do a couple blatant things. I didn't preview enough of the course. I preview maybe the first like 20 miles and then like mile like 25, we entered this just ridiculous Doubletrack section. Bodies everywhere. And it's like, as a easy tactical error, I was 58 wheels back when we entered that section. And this is probably my biggest advice for anyone racing gravel is it's not ever the effort of being in the front group. That's going to get you. It's the effort of having to chase back onto the front group. That's going to kill you and having to do that twice. Cause there was two Doubletrack sections and both of those sections I wasn't prepared. I was out of. And then leaving them. I had to chase back on. And then those efforts are the ones that really take it out of you where you're doing 10, 15 minutes, just like everything you've got to try and chase back on. That's the effort you can't recover from. And that's also the same effort that you're burning. Very precious fuel. You're brewing your body's heating up, like, you know, the internal temperature and all that's just going up and to ever recover from that. Like you almost have to completely just start going easy to even recover from it. So that's like the thing that kind of like led to the, my, a larger downfall in that race was just those big efforts from just not being prepared with the course that resulted in just like catastrophic kind of blow up that I had. It's hard to say like 200 miles is a lot. It's a lot to train for, to being competitive. And I think that perhaps for 2022, I might actually pivot and race the a hundred mile and Unbound with the thought process of just being like at, in the 200, you know, what's realistic from results standpoint. You know, everything goes well, like my best day, where am I finishing? You know, perhaps on my best day, I'm finishing ninth in the laundry. That's a huge result. I think on an average day I could win the hundred. So from an athlete perspective and a business perspective, I'd have to think, all right, where's the optimal value right now? I'm seeing it in the a hundred, you know, the a hundred got a lot of press still. The winner was on a lot of the magazines are not, he's like the news articles that we came out about it. I think that I might be taking a step back from doing the 200 Unbound this year to refocus and prioritize the a hundred and really go after a result there. [00:17:04] Craig Dalton: Yeah, it is interesting, you know, a hundred is a lot more racing distance than a 200, as you said. I think the top men and women, like they know how to handle that a high-octane three hour, first, three hour of Unbound, and then go back to a more comfortable level and then race, you know, another six hours later. But at least [00:17:23] Chris Schroeder: Absolutely. I think that 200 miles, the thing is this, I think eventually Unbound will suffer from this is that it's not dynamic watching 200 miles race. Ironman has the same problem. It's not interesting watching any of our race because not enough is happening to keep you entertained. Unbound is the same thing. The last five hours of it, or even more boring than the first five we're watching the more boring Bard, because everyone's just dying at that point. And they're just dying in a direction towards the finish line. A hundred mile raising is completely different, you know, it's completely dynamic the whole entire time. You're because it's shorter. People are able to stay together longer and makes for more interesting race. And that's where I think the. I get the gravel has this mindset of like longer is more gravel or something along those lines, but there is a line where you need to just like adding miles for the sake of adding miles is just not like, what's it doing? I had this conversation with Jim Miller at BWR at Cedar city where this year they, it used to end where you do. Like a mile, like 105, you'd go from do like five miles of single track. And then you get on a bike path and it was like three months to finish line and they added like 17 miles of like, you face the thing on track and then just do 17 miles of like nothing gravel and an around like construction sites. Like you're on the road going through like neighborhoods, like you're on the road going through an industrial park. And I was just like, why did you add that? Like, it did nothing for the race. You have this beautiful. You know, you're struggling. You Google, these climbs, you get to the single track, just getting there is such an accomplishment. You've finished this very hard tangled, downhill, single track, and then you're on a bike path to the finish line. And that was like, when you think of a race and you're no, one's saying you have to have a certain distance, so you should just try and have the best race course you can. And by adding those extra miles, you didn't really do. You did the opposite. You made us all finish with the last hour of stuff that we saw. An airplane hanger and a construction site and utility soft. Like I just think that some of these race directors need to not have the mindset of longer is better. [00:19:42] Craig Dalton: Yeah, it's interesting. It's interesting to get your perspective as someone more towards the front end of the race, because I've got the mid pack perspective. And, but I tend to agree with you. Like, for me beyond a hundred miles just is not something I really can ever get fit enough for being, you know, a professional and a family man. Like that's just not happening in my world. So I'm not. Super pro those things and I can in talking to you definitely get it that you're not going to get a very dynamic race with 20 people battling it out. If it's 200 miles, because half of those people are going to drop out from mechanicals. Others are going to drop out through nutrition, and you're going to end up with this battle of attrition that maybe leaves it as we've seen in the last couple of years, two or three people duking out a little bit. Towards the end of the 200. And then maybe if you're lucky it's a sprint finish. [00:20:38] Chris Schroeder: Yeah, I'm the same way. Like I just visit logically like that a hundred mile to like a fast, 125 mile course. That's my sweet spot. And I think that, I don't know if I would say, like, it was a hard lesson to learn that I'm not in this current state of 200 mile racer. I'm a lot better at that a hundred, 1 25 kind of range. Yeah, accepting, like, look, I'm at a couple of these events, like take gravel worlds, for example, like it's just not, it's not great for me. I can do, you know, really well on a faster, less climbing, 125 mile course, but longer than that, I'm just not ready. Like I just don't have the years and miles of this intensity in the legs. Like, even though it triathlon. Obviously still very bike heavy. I don't have the intensity that these races are run out for that long a time. [00:21:29] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. So speaking of that, What, when you transitioned you talked about this a little bit, but how would you care to characterize your gravel skillset? Are you feeling technically strong or is that still like, you're a horsepower guy from your triathlon days? [00:21:46] Chris Schroeder: it's a hard one. It's definitely something I'm I work really hard to improve. Is my technical skills, not just like Unbound and it's a good example of well early stages. And I would say like the first 30 miles on a mountain, you are in a giant group and you need to be 10. We still don't have to move within that group in a very comfortable way. You need to be really comfortable, bumping elbows and shoulders. And I did a lot to help myself with that. I raised a lot of like criteriums on the local scene. I did a cyclocross this season, all with that in mind. Not only do I want to get better at it. I want to be known as someone who is very proficient at my handling and my positioning, because I think that's one of the biggest gaps in gravel where you can take advantage of is a technical skill, especially for descending. It's very hard. It's not like the road at all. Cause there's so many things going on in any given turn. So just getting better at that skill is something I really wanted to invest in, in the off season. And hopefully that kind of. Pays for itself, this coming season. [00:22:49] Craig Dalton: Yeah, that goes into another one of my sort of desires for the sport. I love when event organizers do throw in technical elements of the course. Cause I do think the best gravel racers that I want to see that I admire. They've got that full bag of tricks, right? They can go well when it's a basic gravel road or pavement, but they also can thrive in the technical elements of the sport. And you definitely see, and it sounds like you're very attuned to. The types of events that are going to suit you well, so maybe you're not going to a super single tracky event today, as you're continuing to build that skillset. [00:23:23] Chris Schroeder: And you're also not going to see me doing like I'm 63 and like 170 pounds. Like I'm not going uphills quick. Like you're not gonna see me a Toshar. I did that race this year and I was like, this is awful. This isn't for the big boys. So like knowing also like, what race am I realistically going to be competitive to that person? What race do I just not like, don't just, don't go do that. Like just don't do that race. You can just skip it. Like there's nothing wrong with skipping a race. So I think it's just a lesson where you have to just sit and go, let's take an honest look at things. This is what I'm good at. This is what I'm horrible at it. So we shouldn't go to races that have a big emphasis on stuff that I'm bad at. I. I definitely agree with you where I think that in gravel, every race should have like one call it feature of just ridiculousness. Like each racing I'll throw in a single track section, throw in some river crossings, you know, something like that. Just to I think it's always fun just to have that one kind of obstacle that race will then become known for. [00:24:20] Craig Dalton: Yeah, it's like a preeminent criteria. It just spices things up. And in this scenario you'd know about it. Right. You know, there's the technical, single track coming up and that it may create a, a. that might be someone's opportunity to take advantage of their particular skillset, knowing full well that, you know, they're less proficient in another discipline. I remember hearing pace and McKelvin talking about the rule of three and racing against the in Boswell. And he's like, you know, Ian's got me in so many different ways, but I did know when, as someone with a mountain bike background, when I hit that single track, it was going to be a huge advantage for me. And I could likely take that to the finish line. And that proved to be. [00:25:01] Chris Schroeder: Yeah, I think that, I think I've even listened to that. Pacing and Ian, where it does, it makes us it up, which keeps gravel interesting. It means that mountain biker has an advantage on the road cyclist. And you know, the flip side of that, of the road psychos has the advantage on the mountain biker and all these different sections. And it just it goes on like BWR, Kansas had like a cyclocross specific section, which favored a bunch of guys from that background. So it just it helps keep grappled fresh. Giving people from all these different disciplines, their chance to shine. [00:25:36] Craig Dalton: A while back, you mentioned your cycling team and the formation of it, the diamond factory racing team. I thought it was interesting as you and I were talking offline. Obviously the director. Professional attitude towards gravel racing is I'm going to become a private tier and I'm going to cobble together my own personal sponsors. And I'm going to overtly take that positioning. You've taken a different approach and you're looking to build a team. And I'm just curious to hear in your own words about that process and why team versus private two year. And what's the vision for the. [00:26:08] Chris Schroeder: That's a hard one to say, like triathlon. It's funny. We talk about private here so much in gravel. All triathlon is private here. That's all you do. So I private tiered for years, five years of private area. I loved it. But the thing when you're a privateer is you have nothing to point at and say like this won't all be gone tomorrow. If you're a privateer, you can wake up the next day. Every single sponsor you have could be gone. It, you know, it sucks to say like, and that's just the business I wanted to. And then when you're done racing, it's all gone completely. It's not coming back. You're if you're not racing, providing them what they want before. Your job's done. So part of the team was I really enjoy the business process of the sport, and I wanted to build something where I can actually transition from being a racer to just being the manager. So the goal was always this long-term vision of, I want to build a program. That's my career. I want my career to be building this team and I want it to be pursued that way. When I talk to people now, I say like the honest truth is I'm in the gravel business. I'm not in the gravel hobby. I'm not in the gravel fitness, I'm in the gravel business and everything I do has somewhat of a business perspective on it. Cause that's just the mindset I have to have for me to ever get this program where I want it to be. And I have, you know, call it a five-year vision board for this team. It's hard to map out because we just don't know what is going to look like every year. It's changing a little bit different regulations that UCI has coming in politics. Drama, it all kind of changes in affects the way that the outcome is going to be. But I know like deep down that I want this program five years from now to be the absolute forefront of this. On the professional scene. I want people entering the sport young age or any aspiration to always be looking to us as that pinnacle of this is what it means to be like a true professional at the same way. Any of us is in cycling or was I guess now it's shuffled a little bit at the. top, but having that team where everyone wants to be on this team means that you've made. [00:28:32] Craig Dalton: So what's step one in that journey. What does 22 look like? [00:28:35] Chris Schroeder: Well, step one was the hardest one. Step one was Brittany and I and Jared coming together and saying, we're just going to start a team. And this was a back in when we first started the program going into 2021, I'm saying we, we decided the biggest thing that we had to put away in our minds was were we had this mindset of rolling to start this team. If we did. Filling the blank. We had to take that away and just say, we're starting a team, no matter what, and we're just going to go with it. So changing that is what led us to step one. And then in 2021, our big gamble, you could say it was, we ended up investing 80, 90% of our budget into content creation. We just said to Jared, and we want the absolute, highest quality possible consistent. I don't care about views. I'm here about likes. We just need consistent high quality content. And that's the investment we're going to make, because we think that's where the value is that we can show it's tangible. We can always point at it and say, here's a product. A sponsor comes, you know, we can show them. This is our asset. A lot of people don't understand when you're talking to sponsors, you need to have definable assets for them to understand for them to latch onto and create value. And that's where the party has been cycling and triathlon where the modern scope of what that is very different than it was five years ago, 10 years ago, simply going to a sponsor saying I raised 20 times a year and I post on Instagram every other week. Do you not really creating value? You're just there. You're just pack fire at that point. [00:30:21] Craig Dalton: Do you have a vision for the type of content that you're aspiring to produce? Is it giving people a closer look at what racing some of these big races is like? Or are you thinking otherwise. [00:30:34] Chris Schroeder: Well, our biggest asset is our series. It's called the equal rod. It's on my YouTube channel and the team's YouTube channel. And that's where we're diverting all of our budget and supporting to creating this series. And we just want it to be a YouTube series. And it's hard to say, like what it shows. We just say that it shows an honest look because you go to these races and everything will go different than you think it will. So we just tell Jared whatever happens, just film it. And it sucks when you're dying on the side of Unbound and you have to DNF and there's a camera in your face and you have to narrate your own misery. It's awful, but that's what we decided to go with it. And it just katelyn Andrew. And you know, there's the flip side of it. I don't know. I had a great race. I'm so happy to talk about it. So we never know what an episode's going to be. We just know it's going to be honest. It's going to be misery. It's going to be glory and everything in [00:31:30] Craig Dalton: gotcha. I'll point people to the YouTube link for that failure in 2021, because I do think it is interesting and it's so real it's truth, right? [00:31:39] Chris Schroeder: Yeah. And that's just the thing is that you have on one of these professionals that will have a bad race and they'll bury it, you know, they'll, they won't post anything about it. Then we'll talk about it. They'll post 10 other things about blah, blah, blah, motivation. And you're like, wait, I saw this build and all of a sudden there's just a gap. And now you're back on this train. Like what happened? Like I want to know, like, I'm following you for a reason. And that's the story. Like I'm not following you. Cause I think you're going to win. I felt like, cause I just want to see your story and your perspective. So we really want to be true to the audience and give them what really happened. [00:32:13] Craig Dalton: that makes sense. So the title sponsor, the team is a company called diamond by. And I wasn't familiar with them. And after doing a little research, I see that they were big in the triathlon world, but they do have a pretty impressive looking gravel bike. Do you want to talk a little bit about the company where it's based and the bike you'll be riding this year? [00:32:35] Chris Schroeder: It's quite the story of how diamond and I came together when I was back living in New York city as a kid at the time before I'd even done my first draft. Ironman hosted iron man, New York city, which was a gimmick. The entire triathlon took place in New Jersey. And then the finish line was in New York city and it was a joke, but I was a kid I volunteered the entire day. I was up at like 3:00 AM. I was just buzzing. I saw all this stuff. It was fantastic. I, you know, it was at the finish line start like, Hey, people that are swim bags and then everywhere I could go, I was, and then at the end of the day, I ended up at the finish line. And if anyone's ever done an Ironman or triathlon, you know that when you cross the finish line, give them more or less just collapse, emotionally, physically, however, they feel like it. So they have volunteers literally there to catch you and you stand in line and they're just young people come in and whoever's first in line catches them one. I was there and you know, this is just 15 year old kid. This pro called TJ Alex and came over in the line. I caught him. I think he finished fifth on the day. One of the coolest experiences of my life. You know, I'm a kid, I just touched a fro. And to me it was just the coolest thing in the world. You know, follow TJ, enjoyed that eventually, you know, a couple of years later I became a pro and then a couple years after that, I went and did a Ironman 70.3 in Argentina. It was in Berlo Chang. One of the prettiest towns I've ever been to. And these races, you know, what they do is they'll put you up and they'll just assign you a hotel room. And I happened to be assigned or hotel room with TJ. So we shared a room in Argentina and we just became friends through that story. And we ended up doing quite a few races together. We raced all over the country. I think TJ, we raised in Argentina, we raised in Peru, we first in the United States and then towards the end, he eventually retired from racing. I went on raised a couple more years, and then eventually I have stepped down from triathlon to gravel and we'd always come in contact. We've always been friends and it was a great relationship. And then he watched what we did in 2021. And then I went to see Otter and I went there pretty much from a business perspective of like, all my sponsors are here. I can sit down and crank out two months worth of emails in two days. Also just a great event, iconic. I highly recommended only considering going, doing that race says any race you want, they have it. And I went there and I saw DJ and it was great. You know, we bumped into there. He showed me the gravel by, we talked, you know, all was good. And we went our separate ways. And then a couple weeks later I kinda got a text from him saying, Hey, I got a idea for you. Let's chat. And six weeks of hardcore negotiating later, we ended with. A multi-year title, sponsorship deal with diamond, and it's become really the linchpin of this team now because of the ability where it guarantees our ability to grow, no matter what happens, we can grow going to 20, 23 now. And that's what this team needs. I need to always have a perspective of what's the next step. If I'm not looking to grow we're stagnating. So closing this deal and being able to have this. Guaranteed to athletes coming on, going to 23, 3, nothing else matters. Everything else can go with that. [00:36:02] Craig Dalton: Yeah, that's pretty unheard of level of security. I imagine for a lot of gravel rates. To put a little bit more color around the brand they're located in Iowa. Is that correct? [00:36:15] Chris Schroeder: Yeah. So this is an American brand, the factories in the morning. I, the bikes are made in Des Moines, Iowa. They're handmade. It's super bespoke, experiencing, if you go on their website, the first thing you're gonna to see is that just like actual diamonds, no, two diamond bikes look the same, every single diamond bike, you get a custom paint job. However you want it funky, traditional everything in between. You work directly with the owner, TJ when you're buying and ordering. And it's just a great experience. I think it's also just unique, you know? You're going to stand out with a diamond. Yeah. They've they launched their gravel and their road bike, their ground bike. The carbide is very new. They launched it mid 2020, and it was a it's interesting. I, when I first saw it, the diamond for the triathletes who are aware of the brand, they made make the fastest triathlon bike on the market. It's non-traditional, it's a beam bike. Pretty much the pioneer for that whole industry of the beam bikes. And when they came to gravel with anything that you said, all right, how can we be the forefront of this? And that's what went into the carbine and just the way that it's laid out the geometry, it's all race focused. Like this bike is a thoroughbred, it's there to win races. And I'm just the thing on top of it pedaling. So That's an interesting perspective. This is probably my first time where it's a lot to say this. I think that we're going to have the fastest bike in gravel. I think the way that our diamonds are built with visioning the mountains, it's weird to say, but I think we are going to have the fastest bike in the sport. [00:38:02] Craig Dalton: That's confidence inspiring. I'm sure. To look down and feel that way. Yeah. It's an interesting bike and I'll make sure to link to it in the notes as well, and fascinating to learn that there's another. Us carbon manufacturing brand out there. Cause there, you know, there's probably only a handful of them in existence in the United States. [00:38:22] Chris Schroeder: Yeah. it's a dynamic that you mainly hear about, like, you always hear like these legendary oh, Italian brands. Five bikes and they cost a million dollars. And I think that was the normal introduction than people think when they think small bear brands, but this one being American, it's just, it's very different. It's very American brand. TJ is American. He tries to be more flamboyant than he is, but he's just a hardcore American and he's a blue collar, hardworking dude. I it's weird. Like he's my boss now, but we've been, we were friends for so many years that it's hard to have. Transitional of like thinking of him as a boss. When I just think of him as like this guy I've traveled the world with, and then he's told me stories about everyone I can think of and you know, we'd sit down and he tells me about his kids and stuff like that. It's just, this guy, when I proposed my fiance and we had a business call and it was like right after I had. We talked, it was like an hour long heritage. We talked five minutes a visit and he, it was like 55 minutes of just mind shattering advice for marriage and life. Like it was these perspectives that just gave me this feeling of someone who really cares about me. He basically talked me into wanting to have a wedding when I really just didn't care. Like he just completely changed my perspective on it. And to have that relationship is really special. [00:39:44] Craig Dalton: Yeah, it sounds like it's going to be an amazing thing to have in your corner this year. And the fact that you guys are building something together confirmed over the next two years, they're just going to be great. It's going to be super interesting to see where it goes. Speaking of this year, what's your, what are your goals this year? Are there big events that you're really thinking about? [00:40:05] Chris Schroeder: It's a little bit up in the air. I just got confirmed for led boat. Like yesterday where I got my Leadville charge on the credit card. Cause that's how they tell you. So that's gonna be a major goal on down. We'll be a major goal in terms of like peak performances, fitness, every race I go to, I'm trying to, when I'm not going to races anymore, that I don't think we're gonna win. I'm gonna win some. Mid-South Unbound SBT, and then a fake sugar and Belgium welfare. I Kansas are all like my main events, but I'm also going to hit a lot of like local grassroots events. I'm starting off my season at gravel, Miami, which is a new event in Miami. And I'm really excited to do that one. It's a flat course, which I'm really excited about a hundred miles. I'm just excited for that race. They're putting us, it's sponsored by Miami brewing company and they rented like three rap video level mansions to house the pros in. [00:41:09] Craig Dalton: Only in [00:41:09] Chris Schroeder: And yeah, it was only in Miami. and it's, you know, it's the treatment that I always dreamed I would get it every race. So I'm going to be a little sad when I come back from it and I realized. Van life and all these events. And I'm really excited for that one. We do, we'll do a couple of other the robot do rendezvous is a hundred mile race in Scottsbluff, just some smaller ones. Like there's something in gravel that is special, that everyone jokes about dying. They call it the spirit of gravel. If you go to these small races, you'll experience that it's special. It's unique and it's weird, but it's still out there, but it's only in these small races. So for me, you know, if I go to Unbound, it feels the same as when I was a professional Ironman. Everyone is, you know, a little tense, a little uptight they're there, everyone's on their peak form. No one really wants to talk and hug and all that. But then you go to these smaller grass root events and it's the opposite of all that. It's, everyone's relaxed. Everyone's just there for the community and the experience and beer. It's great. So I really want to make sure I continue to have those in my schedule to keep me grounded into what I love about the sport. [00:42:23] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. I think those are there. It's a key thing that's going on in gravel that how races are changing and evolving and no one wants to lose that intimacy and camaraderie, but inevitably like as these races get bigger and more important to people's professional careers. It's undoubted bull that the tenor is going to change at the start line. So yeah, long live the community event. [00:42:48] Chris Schroeder: Yeah. exactly. That's just how it is. And we're actually trying one thing I do. From a business perspective as I try to pull from other sports and it's something, this is unique. And I think that's hopefully going to be a good success that we're going to be trying this year is that at certain races, we're actually going to have a diamond booth in the expo where we're going to have, you know, this year will be a little different cause there's just myself and Brittany and Jared we're in, you know, we're going to be there to try and interact as much as possible. We're going to have team bikes. We're even going to have some demo bikes come by. You can chat with us. And we want to grow that very similar to like motorcross or NASCAR, where people get the experience to come into the pits and they get to look at the garage and see the driver and the mechanics, all working. We wanted to bring that as a way for people to interact more of us on a personal level. And especially in a approachable way, you know, we've all been that fan boy at the expo that sees someone we want to talk to, but you know, they're walking around and they're doing their thing and we don't want to interrupt them. So we thought, how can we. Creative approachable environment that is friendly for the fans. And it's a great way for us to really talk to our fans of our sponsors and say, Hey, you know, this is our bike and you want to here's the demo one, go take it around the block, [00:44:05] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. [00:44:05] Chris Schroeder: Touch it. [00:44:06] Craig Dalton: I think that'll shine through if you set that intention, which is great. And I think based on this conversation, fans of the sport will have a great way to follow you and your team throughout the year on the video series, and hopefully be able to connect with you at some of these events. So I, Chris, I appreciate all the time today. That's a great conversation. I wish you best of luck and really do look forward to seeing your name up there at the front end of these events. [00:44:31] Chris Schroeder: Yeah, fingers crossed that it eventually gets to that. And for anyone watching, like you're going to see me at an event or two this year, come up, give me a hug. I want to interact with you guys as much as you perhaps wanna interact with me. So just don't be a stranger. [00:44:46] Craig Dalton: Right on. Thanks Chris. So that's going to do it for this week's podcast. I hope you enjoyed the conversation with Chris and I encourage you to follow the diamond factory racing team on social media. I know they've got big plans to show you behind the scenes about what it's like being a professional, gravel racer. In 2022. If you're interested in joining the conversation, I encourage you to visit the ridership. It's our free online community. Within the community, you'll find gravel, cyclists of all kinds, whether they be backpackers. Racers commuters, you name it. They're all in there. Everybody in the community shares a common goal and it's just to elevate one another. So, whether you're looking to answer some of those hard questions about what tire to buy or what equipment, what bike to buy, or just need some moral support, the community is there for you. I'm always impressed with the level of interaction and comradery that I see happening that I've got nothing to do with. It is also a great place to get in touch with me. So, if you have any feedback for the show, please just hit me up directly in the ridership. I found inspiration for many, a new episode from the questions that I've received. Through the ridership. So remember that's just to get started. If you're interested in supporting the podcast. You can visit me at buy me a coffee. Dot com slash the gravel ride. I appreciate any and all support you can provide to my efforts. And hopefully the journey that I've been on as a gravel cyclist has been useful to all of you. Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels

    Craig Calfee - Bicycle Industry pioneer

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 11, 2022 70:45

    This week Randall sits down with bicycle industry pioneer, Craig Calfee. Craig has been an industry leader for decades with his work on the Calfee brand and many other collaborations throughout the industry. You cannot find someone more knowledgable about carbon (or bamboo) as a material.  Calfee Designs Website Join The Ridership Support the Podcast Automated Transcription, please excuse the typos: Craig Calfee Randall [00:00:00]  [00:00:04] Randall: Welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Randall Jacobs and our guest today is Craig Calfee. Craig is the founder of Calfee Design, the innovator behind the first full carbon frames to race in the tour de France, the originator of numerous technologies adopted throughout the cycling industry, and on a personal note has been a generous and consistent supporter of my own entrepreneurial journey. I am grateful to have him as a friend, and I've been looking forward to this conversation for some time. So with that, Craig, Calfee welcome to the podcast. [00:00:32] Craig Calfee: Oh, thank you. Nice to be here. [00:00:34] Randall: So, let's start with, what's your background, give your own story in your own words. [00:00:40] Craig Calfee: Well, I've always written bikes. I mean, as a kid, that's how I got around. And that's, as you become an older child, you, uh, find your independence with moving about the world. And a bicycle of course, is the most efficient way to do that. And later on, I was a bike messenger in New York when I went to college and that kind of got me into bike design as much for the, uh, desire to make a bike that can withstand a lot of abuse. And later on, I used a bike for commuting to work at a job, building carbon fiber racing boats. And during that time I crashed my bike and needed a new frame. So I thought I'd make a frame at a carbon fiber, uh, tubing that I had been making at my.  [00:01:29] Randall: my job  [00:01:30] Craig Calfee: So this is back in 1987, by the way. So there wasn't a, there were no YouTube videos on how to make your own carbon bike. So I pretty much had to invent a way to build the bike out of this tubing. And at the time there were aluminum lugged bikes, and I just, I knew already aluminum and carbon fiber don't get along very well. So you have to really do a lot of things to, to accommodate that. And the existing bikes at the time were, uh, I would say experimental in the fact that they were just trying to glue aluminum to carbon and it really wasn't working. [00:02:05] So I came up with my own way and built my first bike and it turned out really well. And a lot of friends and, and bike racers who checked out the bikes that I I really should keep going with it. So I felt like I discovered carbon fiber as a, as the perfect bicycle material before anyone else. Uh, and actually, uh, right at that time, Kestrel came out with their first bike, uh, the K 1000 or something. Um, anyway that was uh, that was in 87, 88. And, uh, I felt like I should really, you know give it a go. So I moved out to California and started a bike company. [00:02:48] Randall: So just to be clear, you were actually making the tubes, you weren't buying tubes. So you're making the tubes out of the raw carbon or some pre-printed carbon. then you came up with your own way of, uh, joining those tubes. [00:03:01] Craig Calfee: Yeah. I worked on a braiding machine, so it was actually a a hundred year old, uh, shoelace braider, uh, from back in Massachusetts. There's a lot of old textile machinery braiding is, uh, you know, your braided socks and, you know, nylon rope is braided. So this is a 72 carrier braider, which means 72 spools of carbon fiber. [00:03:25] Are winding in and out braiding this tube and you just run it back and forth through this braider a few times. And now you have a thick enough wall to, uh, I developed a and tape wrapping method at that job and came up with a pretty decent way to make a bicycle tube. So that was kind of the beginning of that. [00:03:47] Uh, and since then I've explored all kinds of methods for making tubing, mainly through subcontractors who specialize in things like filament winding and roll wrapping. And, uh, pultrusion, you know, all kinds of ways to make tubing. And that does relate to kind of an inspiration for me, where I realized that, uh, carbon fiber, you know, high performance composites are relatively young and new in the world of technology where metals are, you know, the metals have been around since the bronze age. [00:04:21] I mean, literally 5,000 years of development happened with metals, carbon fiber, uh, high-performance composites have only really been around since world war two. So that's a huge gap in development that hasn't happened with composites. So that to me felt like, oh, there's some job security for a guy who likes to invent things. So that was my, a kind of full force to get me to really focus on composite materials. [00:04:51] Randall: Were you that insightful in terms of the historical context at the time, or is that kind of a retro or retrospective reflection? [00:04:58] Craig Calfee: I think, I don't know. I think I may have read about that. Um, I a friend who had a library card at MIT and I pretty much lived there for a few weeks every, uh, master's thesis and PhD thesis on bicycles that they had in their library. And I think somewhere in there was a, uh, a topic on composites and comparing the technology of composites. [00:05:23] So. I probably that from some reading I did, or maybe I did invent that out of thin air. I don't remember, uh, nonetheless, uh, the fact of it is, you know, not, not a whole lot of mental energy has been put into coming up with ways of processing fiber and resin compared to metal. So to me that just opens up a wide world of, of innovation. [00:05:49] Randall: Um, and so the first frame was that, um, you're creating essentially uniform tubes and then mitering them, joining them, wrapping them as you do with your current bamboo frames or what was happening there. [00:06:02] Craig Calfee: Uh, it's more like the, uh, our, our carbon fiber frames were laminating carbon fabric in metal dyes, and those are not mitered tubes fitting into the dyes. And that's, that's a process. I got my first patent on. And it, uh, so in the process of compressing the carbon fabric against the tubes, you're you end up with these gussets in what is traditionally the parting line of a mold and rather than trim them off completely. [00:06:31] I, I use them as reinforcing ribs. [00:06:35] Randall: Yep. Okay. So that explains the, the, that distinctive element that continues with your, um, some of your, uh, to tube, uh, currently  [00:06:48] Craig Calfee: them  [00:06:49] the hand wrapping technique from that you currently see on the bamboo bikes came from developing a tandem frame, or basically a frame whose production numbers don't justify the tooling costs. Um, so that's hand wrapped. That's just literally lashed to. Yeah. And a point of note, there is I was a boy scout growing up and, uh, there's this merit badge called pioneering merit badge. [00:07:16] And I really enjoyed pioneering merit badge because it involved lashing row, uh, poles together with rope and the pro you had to do with this one project. And I did a tower and it was this enormous structure that went just straight up like a flagpole, but it was it involved a bunch of tetrahedrons, uh, stacked on top of each other and lashed together. [00:07:41] you know, culminating in a pole that went up. I don't remember how tall it was, but it was, it was really impressive. And everybody, you know, thought, wow, this is incredible of poles and some rope. And here we have this massive tower. So anyway, I was into things together since a young age. [00:08:00] And so I immediately came up with the, uh, the last tube concept. Which is where the, now the bamboo bikes are. course there's a specific pattern to the wrapping, but, um, the concept is basically using fiber to lash stuff together, [00:08:16] Randall: When it immediately brings to mind, what's possible with current generation of additive production techniques. Uh, whereas before you could make small components and then lash them together to create structures that otherwise aren't manufacturable. [00:08:31] Now you'd be able to say, print it out though. Those, you know, those printed out materials don't have the performance characteristics of a, you know, a uni directional carbon of the sword that you're working with currently. [00:08:42] Craig Calfee: right? [00:08:43] Randall: Um, so we've gone deep nerd here. We're going to, I'm going to pull us out and say, okay, uh, lots of time for this. [00:08:49] This is going to be a double episode. Uh, so next up, let's talk about those frames, uh, saw their big debut. [00:08:59] Craig Calfee: Yeah. So, um, we started making custom geometry for a. In 1989 and selling them and so big and tall, and that the idea of custom geometry frames was, uh, you know, pretty esoteric. And the pro racers were, we're using a lot of custom frames. So Greg Lamond, uh, was in search of a carbon fiber, uh, custom frame builder in, uh, 1990. [00:09:31] And, uh, no one really was doing it. We were literally the only company making custom carbon frame bikes. So he, uh, found out about us, uh, effectively discovered us, shall we say? And, uh, it didn't take long for him to order up 18 of them for his, his, uh, team Z, uh, teammates. He was sponsoring his own team with a Lamont brand. [00:09:56] So we didn't have to sponsor him. He basically paid for the frame. Put his name on them. And, and, uh, now we're now we're on the defending champions, a tour de France team. So that was a huge break obviously. And it was really a pleasure working with Greg and getting to know the demands of the pro Peloton, uh, you know, that really launched us. [00:10:21] So that was, uh, quite a splash. And, you know, it always is a great answer to the question. Oh, so who rides your bike kind of thing. you know, you have the, the full-on best one in the world at the time. So, so that was a fun thing. [00:10:39] Randall: And the name of the company at the time was, [00:10:41] Craig Calfee: Uh, carbon frames. [00:10:42] Randall: yeah. So anyone wanting [00:10:45] dig up the historical record, [00:10:47] Craig Calfee: is this too generic? You know, the other to what you're talking about, the adventure bikes. Yeah, we had to stop. I mean, carbon frames is a terrible name because everyone started talking about all carbon fiber frames as carbon frames. So we thought that was cool, you know, like Kleenex, you know, uh, and then we came up with the adventure bike, you know, with very early, uh, adventure bike. [00:11:11] And it was just, we called it the adventure bike. And now there's a classification called adventure bikes that, you know, so, um, I think we, we, we went too generic on how we named our models. [00:11:26] Randall: I've drawn from the rich tradition, a tradition of Greek, you know, uh, philosophy for naming my own companies in the like, [00:11:35] Craig Calfee: Yeah. [00:11:36] Randall: uh, um, and then next up, uh, so you've worked with Greg Lamond on those frames. Carbon frames is up and running and you're, you're producing custom geo frames and you're starting to get at some scale at this point and some notoriety. [00:11:52] next up you were working on your bamboo bikes. When we talk about that [00:11:57] Craig Calfee: Yeah, that was say, I'm kind of at the, at the time, it was just a way to get publicity. So at the Interbike trade show, you'd have a few creative people making some wacky bikes out of beer cans or, or other just weird things just to get attention, just, just to send the media over to your booth, to take a picture of some wacky thing that you're doing. [00:12:20] yeah, we got to do something like that to get, get some attention. And the, uh, so I was looking around for some PVC pipe. Maybe I was going to do a PVC pipe bike, and I wasn't really sure, but I knew that we could just wrap any tube. Make a bike out of literally anything. So, um, my dog was playing with some bamboo behind the shop. [00:12:42] Uh, she was a stick dog, so she loved to clamp onto a stick and you could swing her around by the, by the sticks. She's a pit bull and lab mix. Anyway, we ran out of sticks. Uh, cause we only had one little tree in the back, but we did have some bamboos. So she came up with a piece of bamboo and I was her around by it, expecting it to break off in her mouth because I just wasn't aware of how strong bamboo was, but it turned out it was really quite strong. [00:13:12] And I said, oh, let's make a bike out of this stuff. And sure enough, uh, the bike was, uh, quite a attention getter. It got the quarter page and bicycling magazine so that, you know mission accomplished on that front. And, but the bike itself rode really well.  [00:13:29] Randall: well  [00:13:30] Craig Calfee: Um, when I wrote my first carbon bike, uh, the very first ride on my very first carbon bike, I was struck by how smooth it was. [00:13:38] It had this vibration damping that was, you know, just super noticeable and, and that really kind of lit a fire under my butt thinking, wow, this is really cool. When I built my first bamboo bike, I had that same feeling again, how smooth It was It was amazing for its vibration damping. So, uh, I knew I was onto something at that point. [00:14:02] Uh, that first bike was a little too flexy, but, uh, the second bike I built was significantly stiffer and was an actual, real rideable bike. So, uh, from that point, uh, we just started building a few here and there and it was still a novelty item until about, uh, 1999, 2000. When a few people who had been riding them, or like, I want another one, I I want to know mountain bike this time. [00:14:29] So as it was just starting to get known and, uh, we started selling them through dealers. And I mean there's a lot of stories I can tell on how that evolved and how people started actually believing that a bamboo bike could actually exist in the world. So it took a while though. [00:14:49] Randall: I think there's a whole thread that we could tug on maybe in a subsequent episode where we focus just on the bamboo bike revolution. [00:14:57] Craig Calfee: Yeah. Yeah. That's um, there's a lot of, lot of stuff going on there. I'm actually writing my second book on history of the bamboo bike, because there's so many interesting angles to it, particularly in the. [00:15:10] Randall: in Africa [00:15:12] I'm struck by the juxtaposition of this bleeding edge. Uh, you know, high-tech material that you pioneered and then this going back to one of the most basic building materials, uh, that we have building bikes out of that. And in fact, um, on the one hand, there's this, this extreme, know, difference in terms of the technology ization of each material. [00:15:34] But on the other hand, there's a parallel the sense that like carbon, in tubes is best, uh, you know, generally, uh, when it's you need to write. Yeah, with maybe some cross fibers in order to prevent, prevent it from separating. And bamboo also has that characteristic of having, you know, you need directional fibers that are bonded together by some, uh, you know, some other material in, in the, in the bamboo [00:15:58] Craig Calfee: Yeah. Yeah, it's very, there's a lot of similarities. I mean, bamboo is amazing just because it grows out of the ground and tubular for. And it grows a new, huge variety of diameters and wealth thicknesses. So if you're looking for tubing, I mean, you don't have to go much further. It's amazing that it literally grows out of the ground that way.  [00:16:20] Randall: paint [00:16:21] a picture for folks to, um, most of our listeners I'm guessing are in north America or, you know, other, uh, English-speaking parts of the world. I lived in China and as you've been, you see huge scaffolding, multi-story, you know, big buildings and the scaffolding isn't made out of metal. [00:16:37] It's made out of bamboo lashed together with zip ties and pieces of wire. So it really speaks to the, the structural, uh, strength of the material and reliability of the material. and you know, should instill confidence when descending down a mountain. [00:16:54] Craig Calfee: Oh yeah. No, it's, I, I remember seeing bamboo and scaffolding many, many years. And I thought, well, of course, and the other reason they use it in scaffolding is when a typhoon hits and it, it kind of messes up the scaffolding of a construction site. Um, it's, they're back to work on the bamboo construction sites, much faster than the metal scaffolding sites, they have to deal with bent and distorted metal scaffolding, um, to replace those and fix that takes a lot longer where bamboo, they just bend it back and lash it back together. [00:17:32] It's it's so much easier. [00:17:35] Randall: there's one more thing on this theme that I want to, uh, pull out before we move on, which is talk to me about the, the sustainability components of it. Um, starting with how it was done initially. [00:17:47] And then now with say like, uh, biodegradable resins or, or other materials I can, this frame can be current. [00:17:55] Craig Calfee: Uh, the short answer is yes, the frame can be composted. And the other cool thing is if you take care of it, it it'll never compost, meaning you can prevent it from being composted naturally. if you really want to, you know, uh, dispose of the frame, um, it will biodegrade much faster than any other material that bicycle frames are made of. [00:18:22] So yeah, the, the renewable aspect, the low energy content of it, it's, it's utterly the best you can imagine. And we're kind of waiting for the world to finally get serious about global warming and start to have some economic incentives for buying products that are in fact, uh, good for the environment. Uh, we haven't seen that yet, but we're kind of holding out and hoping that happens. [00:18:49] And then we'll see probably some significant growth in the bamboo adoption in the bicycling world. [00:18:57] Randall: I want to plant a seed that, that, uh, to germinate in my head, which is this idea of bamboos being the ideal material for kind of more mainstream, uh, utility bicycles and recreational bicycles. really it's a matter of the unit economics in economies of scale and consistency of material, which you could make uniform by having, uh, having controlled grow conditions and things like that. [00:19:23] Um, but it could be a very localized industry to anywhere where bamboo grows. this could be produced, which reduces transportation costs reduces, you know, issues of inventory carrying and all these things. Um, so let's, let's park that I want to ask you more about those, about the economics of bamboo in a side conversation to see if there's, you know, explore there. [00:19:45] Craig Calfee: well, there is. I mean, that's, that's what we did in Africa. Same concept is as why, why would bamboo work in Africa better than the imported bikes from China? So that was, that was the whole thing around that. [00:19:59] Randall: Ah, I love it. All right. So though, there will be a bamboo episode folks. Uh, we're going to, going to continue cause there's a lot of ground to cover here. so next steps you've done done the first carbon frame and the tour de France, uh, carbon frames is up and running. You've started getting into bamboo, what was next, [00:20:18] Craig Calfee: Um, then lots of smaller developments, which become really important to us from a business perspective, uh, fiber tandem, we built the first one of those. And then we went to a lateral list, tandem design, and it's pretty optimized at this point. So we're, I would say we are the leader in the tandem world in terms of the highest performance, tandem bikes, uh, and then re repairing of carbon frames. [00:20:47] That was a big one, uh, which we were kind of pushed into by customers. And other folks who heard that we could repair the Cathy frames and they would set a call up. And literally we had a, an in one inquiry per week, if not more, more often about like a colonoscopy that this guy wanted to repair and he heard we could do it on ours. [00:21:10] And we're like, well, by a Calfee don't, you know, I'm sorry, but we can't repair somebody else's frame. You'll have to buy one of ours. And then you'll know that you crash it, we can repair it for, he was trying to make that a, a a advantage for our brand, but we couldn't really, you know, do that. So, uh, we said, well, if we can't beat them, we'll repair them. [00:21:32] And we repaired a first and then some specialized, I think, after that. So we, we accepted repair jobs and pretty soon it became about a third of our, our business. And it's, uh, of course now lots of other people repair frames, but, uh, we started doing that in 2001 or something and, and we've been doing it ever since. [00:21:58] And it's, that part has been really interesting to see, because we get to literally see the inside of everyone else's frames and look at the weak points. You know, they often show up on, on people's frames and get asked to fix them or even redesign them at that point. So that's been really interesting to, to me as a technician, [00:22:21] Randall: and want to come back to this in a second, but before we lose it, what is a lateralis tandem design? [00:22:27] Craig Calfee: uh, that, so traditional tandems had a, a tube that went the head tube, usually straight back down towards the dropouts or or bottom bottom bracket. And it's, it's a way to stiffen up a frame. That's inherently not very stiffened torsion. But, uh, with composites, you can orient the fiber, uh, in torsion to make a tube significantly stiffer and torsion than say a metal tube of similar weight. [00:22:57] So we were able to go a little bit bigger diameter and more fiber in the helical angled orientation and make a tandem, uh, stiff enough and torsion and get rid of that tube. And for a carbon fiber frame, that it was really important because number of times you have to join the tube, the more expensive it is or the more labor content there is. So we were able to reduce our labor content, make the frame lighter and make it stiffer all at, in one design change. So that was a big, a big revelation. And now I most of them have copied that design. So it's, uh, it's, that's another time where we, we did something that, that, uh, now became the standard. [00:23:43] Randall: Yeah. One of many from what I've observed in a written the history. Uh, so around this time, or shortly after you started the repair business, you started doing some pretty, pretty wild frames in terms of pushing the limits of what was possible when we talk about that. [00:24:01] Craig Calfee: Yeah. Yeah, we did. We've done a lot of different types of frames, uh, mostly for show, but, um, like the north American handmade bike show is a great venue for just doing something way out of left field. Um, we did, uh, a bamboo bike made all out of small diameter, bamboo. Um, it's I only made one because it was a total pain in the ass to make. [00:24:26] Uh, and it was also kind of inspired by the, a request from a guy who was not only a fan of bamboo, but he was a fan of molten style bikes. Those are the trust style frames with small wheels. So we built one of those and. With the only small diameter bamboo, and we built another one that was, uh, a real art piece. [00:24:49] So just having fun with that from a, you know, completely artistic direction is a lot of fun for me because that's my formal training. I went to art school and learned about different materials and, and art and composition. Uh, and I was into the structure of materials and how they, they relate to each other. [00:25:12] And my art was more of a forum file form follows function, kind of inspiration. And, uh, so some bikes that I've made were, are not terribly practical, but just explore the, the limits of structure. So another bike I made, uh, we call it the spider web bike, which was literally a, a bike made of just carbon fiber strands. [00:25:36] No tubes. And it, it was kind of wild looking and a collector ended up buying it, which is really cool. But you look at this thing and you just couldn't imagine that it, it, you could actually ride it, but, uh, it actually does ride fairly well. It's a bit fragile if you crash it, it would be kind of dangerous, but you know, stuff like that. [00:25:55] I like to do that occasionally. [00:25:59] Randall: I think of, uh, like biomorphic design or like hyper optimized design that maybe doesn't have the resiliency, but very strict parameters will perform higher than anything else that you could, you could create. [00:26:12] Craig Calfee: absolutely. Yeah. Those are really fun. I'm really inspired by natural forms and, uh, you know, the, the, some of the new computer aided techniques we're designing are, uh, rattled in those lines. so, yeah, I follow that pretty closely. [00:26:28] Randall: a little sidebar. Um, I don't know if you've, uh, no of, uh, Nick Taylor, the guy who created the, Ibis Maximus in front of the mountain bike hall of fame. [00:26:40] Craig Calfee: Um, no, I don't think so. [00:26:43] Randall: I'll introduce you to his work at some point, but he's another one of these people who, very avid cyclist is not in the bike industry, but is. There's a lot of trail building and alike and isn't is a sculptor really focused on, the form of, uh, you know, biological shapes and materials and, and things of this sort. [00:27:02] Uh, I think that there's a lot, uh, I'm actually curious more into your, your non bike artistic work for a moment. Uh, and, and how that got infused into your work with the bike. [00:27:18] Craig Calfee: yeah, so I haven't done a lot of, you know, just pure, fine art sculpture in a long time. But when I was doing that, it was. a lot of things that would fool the eye or, um, some material and, and push it to its limit. So I was doing stuff that was, um, uh, you know, trying to create a, almost like a physical illusion, not just an optical illusion, but a, but a physical illusion or like, how could you possibly do that kind of thing? [00:27:54] And that was a theme of my sculpture shortly after Pratt. So for example, just take one example of a sculpture that I got a lot of credit for in classes at Pratt, it was a, a big block of Oak. It was a cutoff from a woodworking shop. It's about a foot in, let's say a foot cube of Oak. And I would, um, so I, I, uh, raised the grain on it with a wire brush and then I blocked printed on Oak tag page. [00:28:26] Um, some black ink on rolled onto the Oak block and made a river, basically a print off of each face of the, of the block. And then I carefully taped that paper together to simulate a paper block of the Oak chunk that I I had. now I had a super light paper version of the Oak block. And then I hung them on a balance beam, which I forged at a steel, but the hanging point was way close to the piece. [00:28:57] And if you looked at it from three feet away, just, your brain would, just hurting because you couldn't figure out how is this even possible? And because it really looked amazing, super hyper real. Anyway, it just looked amazing and it was fun to get the effect of how the hell did that. Did he do that? [00:29:18] What's what's the trick here. There's something going on. That's not real. Or it's. Uh it's not physically possible. And I kind of got that feeling with the carbon fiber bike. When we, when we built the first bike, everyone would pick it up and go, oh, that's just too light. It's not even a bike. It's a plastic bike it's going to break instantly. [00:29:39] So that was sort of a relation from, from those days to the, to the bike. [00:29:44] Randall: You ever come across Douglas Hofstadter's book, Godel, Escher Bach. [00:29:49] Craig Calfee: No, but I'd be interested to read it. [00:29:51] Randall: Definite short Lister. Um, uh, you've come across MC Escher, of Yeah. And are there any parallels or any inspiration there? [00:30:01] Craig Calfee: Um, not very direct, I'd say. Um, [00:30:08] Who  [00:30:08] Randall: your, who your inspirations or what, what would you say your creative energy is most similar to? [00:30:14] Craig Calfee: I'd probably, I'd say say Buckminster fuller. [00:30:17] Randall: Mm, [00:30:17] Craig Calfee: Yeah. I mean, I studied his work in depth, you know, not only the geodesic dome stuff, but also his vehicles, the dime on vehicle the, yeah. So there's, there's a bunch of stuff that he was involved with that I'd say, I'm parallel with as far as my interest goes, [00:30:37] Randall: what books should I read? [00:30:39] Craig Calfee: all of them. [00:30:42] Randall: Where do I start? If I have limited [00:30:44] time  [00:30:45] Craig Calfee: Yeah. It's a tough one. He's actually really difficult to read too. His writing is not that great. I pretty much look at his, uh, his design work more than His writing [00:30:56] Randall: Okay. So who's book whose book about Buckminster fuller. Should I read? [00:31:01] Craig Calfee: good question. I'll, I'll catch up with you on that later because there's few of them that they're worth. It's worth a look. [00:31:07] Randall: awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Um, let's talk about 2001. you're a dragon fly. [00:31:15] Craig Calfee: Yeah, the dragon fly was an interesting project. It was so Greg Lamanda had asked me, like, I want an even lighter bike. He was constantly pushing on the technology. And I said, well, there are some really expensive fibers that are starting to become available, but, um, you know, this would be a $10,000 bike frame and, you know, it's only going to be a half a pound lighter. [00:31:40] And he said, well, I don't care. I just, you know, I w I need it for racing. I mean, um, you know, when, when I'm climbing Alpe d'Huez with Miguel Indurain and if he's got a lighter bike than I do, then I'm just going to give up, you know, in terms of the effort. So he needs to have that technical advantage, or at least be on the same plane. [00:32:02] So the reason why he'd spend, you know, $5,000 for a half a pound, a weight savings was pretty, pretty real. So, but it took until about 2000, 2001 after he had long retired to, um, really make that happen. So the fibers I was talking about are really high modulus fiber that was very fragile, too brittle, really for any use. [00:32:29] So we came up with a way to integrate it with, um, boron fiber. Uh, it actually was a material we found, uh, special specialty composites out of, uh, out of Rhode Island. Uh, they, uh, do this co-mingled boron and carbon fiber, uh, hybrid material, which was, um, they were looking for a use cases for it and the bicycle was one of them. [00:32:58] So, uh, we built a prototype with their material and it turned out. To be not only really light and really strong, the, the boron made it really tough. So carbon fiber has, uh, the highest stiffness to weight ratio, intention of any material you can use. boron is the highest stiffness to weight ratio in compression as a, as a fibrous material that you can integrate into a composite. So when you mix them, you now have a combination of materials, that are unbeatable. [00:33:35] Randall: Like a concrete and rebar almost, or, quite. [00:33:40] Craig Calfee: I'd say that's a good, um, for composites in general, but now we're talking about the extreme edge of, of performance, where, um, looking at the, most high performance material certain conditions, versus tension. These, these are conditions that are existing in a bicycle tube all the time. [00:34:07] So one side of the tube is compressing while the other side is intention as you twist the bike, uh, and then it reverses on the, on the pedal stroke. So it has to do both now. Carbon fiber is quite good at that, but compression it suffers. And that's why you can't go very thin wall and make it, um, withstand any kind of impact because it's, it's got a weakness in it's, um, compressive. So, uh, it's, uh, it doesn't take a break very well either. So boron on, the other hand does take a break very well, and it's incredibly high compressive strength to weight ratio and compressive stiffness to weight ratio. are two different things by the way. So when you combine those into a tube, it's pretty amazing. [00:34:57] Uh, they're just really quite expensive. So we came up with the dragon fly, um, in 2001 and it was at the time the lightest production bike yet it also had the toughness of a normal frame. And that's that's right around when the Scott came out, which was a super thin wall, large diameter, uh, carbon frame that was really fragile. [00:35:23] Um, so that was sort of a similar weight, but not nearly as tough as, uh, the dragon fly. [00:35:34] Randall: For well, to go a little bit deeper on this. So what is the nature like? What is the nature of the boron? Is it a, like, is it a molecule? Is it a filament? So you have, you have carbon filaments is the boron, um, you know, is that, are you putting it into the resin? How is it? Co-mingled. [00:35:51] Craig Calfee: It's a, it's a filament, basically a super thin wire. [00:35:56] Randall: You're essentially co-mingling it in when you're creating the tubes and then using the same resin to bond the entire structure together. [00:36:04] Craig Calfee: That's right. [00:36:05] Randall: Got it. And this, so then this is, uh, if you were to add then say like to the resin separately, it would be a compounding effect. Um, I don't know if you have, uh, mean, I assume you've done some stuff with graphene. [00:36:19] Craig Calfee: Yeah. Graphing graphing is a really great material. It does improve the toughness of composites. Uh, it's again, also very expensive to use, uh, in a whole two. Usually it's used in smaller components, uh, not so much on the whole frame, uh, and it, and it's, um, it's best, uh, uses in preventing the of cracking. [00:36:46] So it stops the micro cracking that starts with a failure mode. And that that's a great, thing. But if your laminate is too thin to begin with that, all the graphing in the world, isn't going to help you. So for really minor wax it'll help, but for anything substantial, it's going to break anyway. [00:37:08] So you have to start out with a thick enough laminate get the toughness that you're looking for. Uh, graphene is really great for highly stressed areas, which might start cracking from, uh, fatigue or just the design flaw of a stress concentration. So it's got a number of purposes. Uh, it's great for, uh, like pinch clamp areas, you know, places where the mechanical, uh, stress is so high on a, on a very localized area. [00:37:37] Um, so yeah, graphene is wonderful. We didn't get into it too much because, um, it's just, it would just, wasn't practical for our applications and how we make the frames, but, uh, some companies have started using graphene and it's, it's pretty interesting stuff. [00:37:52] Randall: We did some experimentation with it early on in our looking at it for the future. my understanding is. You know, I haven't gone too deep into like the intermolecular physics, but it's essentially like you have a piece of paper and if you start tearing the paper that tear will propagate very easily. [00:38:09] then the graphene is almost like little tiny pieces of tape. Randomly distributed, evenly distributed across the material that makes it so that that fracture can no longer propagate in that direction. And it has to change direction where it bumps into another graphene molecule and the graphing, essentially when we tested it was doubling the bond strength of the resin. [00:38:30] So in terms of pulling apart different layers of laminate, then, um, increasing the toughness of say, uh, a rim made with the exact same laminate in the exact same resin with, 1% graphene per mass of resin increasing the toughness of that rim structure by 20%. [00:38:50] Which is pretty [00:38:50] Craig Calfee: That's correct. [00:38:51] Randall: The challenges that is that it lowers the temperature, uh, the, the glass suffocation points resin. so, you know, a rim is like, you know, there are, if you're gonna put it on the back of your car, you know, that's not a normal use case when you're riding, but, you know, it's, it's something that just makes it less resilient to those towards sorts of, you know, people put on the back of the car too close to the exhaust and they melt the rim. [00:39:17] So we're having to experiment with some high temperature residents that have other issues. [00:39:22] Craig Calfee: Oh, yeah. Yeah. That's rims are a great place for graphing, just cause they're in a a place where you'll have some impacts, but yeah. Temperature management is an issue. Um, yeah, that's the high temperature residents are, are another area that, that, uh, we're experimenting in, uh, wrapping electric motor, uh, rotors with, with a high temperature resonant carbon wrap. [00:39:46] that's a whole nother area, but I'm familiar with that stuff. [00:39:49] Randall: Which we'll get into in a second, park park, that one. Cause that's a fun theme. yeah. And I'm just thinking about a rim structure. It seems like boron on the inside graphing on the outside, um, deal with high compressive forces between the spokes and then the high impact forces on the external, will  [00:40:07] Craig Calfee: the material we use is called high bore. You can look that up. H Y B O R and there they're actually coming back with new marketing efforts there. They, I think the company got sold and then, um, the new buyers are, are re revisiting how to, to spread the use of it. So might be real interested in supporting a rim project. [00:40:30] Randall: mm. Uh, to be continued offline. Um, all right. So then we've got your carbon fiber repair surface. We talked about the dragon fly. Um, it's a great segue into engineering and design philosophy. let's talk about that [00:40:47] Craig Calfee: Yeah. Um, well it's, to me, it's all about form follows function and, uh, when something works so well, functionally, it's gonna look good. That's uh, that's why trees look great just by themselves, uh, that that's, you know, coming back to the natural world, you know, that's why we have a Nautilus shell for, uh, for our logo. [00:41:12] It's the form follows function. Aspect of that just makes it look beautiful. For some reason, you look at something from nature, you don't really know why is it beautiful? Well, the reason is the way it's structured, the way it's evolved over millions of years. Has resulted in the optimum structure. So for me, as a, as a human being artificially trying to recreate stuff, that's been evolved in nature. [00:41:39] Um, I look closely at how nature does it first and then I'll apply it to whatever I'm dealing with at the moment. And so that's how I, that's how I design stuff. [00:41:50] Randall: there's a, the Nautilus shell example, like, you know, the golden ratio and the way that, really complex systems tend to evolve towards very simple, fundamental, primitives of all design [00:42:04] Craig Calfee: Yeah. Yep. Yeah. There's some basic stuff that, that seemed to apply everywhere. [00:42:10] Randall: So with your carbon fiber repair service, so you started to see some of the problems with that were emerging with these, um, large tube thin wall designs that were being used to achieve a high strength or sorry, a high stiffness to weight, but then compromising in other areas. [00:42:28] So let's talk about that. [00:42:30] Craig Calfee: Yeah, it's um, you know, designing a carbon fiber bike is actually really quite difficult. There's so much going on. There's so many, uh, things you have to deal with high stress areas that you can't really get around. there's a lot of constraints to designing a good bicycle frame. Um, and then you're dealing with the tradition of, of how people clamp things on bikes, you know, stem, clamps, and seed post clamps, and, uh, you know, th that type of mentality. [00:43:04] It's still with us with the carbon, which is carbon doesn't do well with. So a lot of companies struggle with that and they'll come up with something on paper or in their CAD model. And their finite element analysis sort of works, but, and then they go into the real world and they have to deal with real situations that they couldn't predict in the, the computer. [00:43:29] And they get a problem with, uh, you know, a minor handlebar whacking, the top tube situation, which shouldn't really cause your bike to become dangerous. But in fact, that's what happens. So you've got, um, you know, uh, weak points or vulnerabilities in these really light frame. And if you're not expected to know what the vulnerability is as an end-user and you don't know that if you wack part of the bike and in a minor way that you normally wouldn't expect to cause the frame to become a weak, then the whole design is a question. So you have to consider all these things when you decide to bike. And a lot of companies have just depended on the computer and they are finite element analysis too, to come up with shapes and designs that, uh, are inherently weak. And, um, people get pretty disappointed when they're, when the minor is to of incidents causes a crack in the frame. [00:44:37] And if they keep riding the bike, the crack gets bigger. And then one day, you know, I mean, most people decide to have it fixed before it gets to be a catastrophic but, uh, you know, it gets expensive and, uh, You know, it's, sad. Actually, another motivation for getting into the repair business was to save the reputation of carbon fiber as a frame material. [00:45:03] You know, these types of things don't happen to thin wall titanium frames. You know, a thin wall titanium frame will actually withstand a whole lot more abuse than a thin wall carbon frame. So it's just hard to make diameter thin wall titanium frames that are stiff enough and not without problems of welding, you know, the heat affected zones. [00:45:26] So carbon fiber is, is a better material because it's so much easier to join and to, to mold. But if you, you have to design it properly to, to withstand normal abuse. And if you're not going to do that, then there should at least be a repair service available to keep those bikes from going to the landfill. [00:45:45] So frequent. And so that's what we do we, we offer that and we even train people how to carbon repair service. So that's, um, that's something we've done in order to keep bikes from just getting thrown away. [00:46:01] Randall: uh, I think I've shared with you, I'm in the midst of, uh, doing, uh, uh, a pretty radical ground up design, which is way off in the future. So I'll be picking your brain on that, but it immediately makes me think of the inherent. Compromises of current frame design and manufacturing techniques, including on our frame. [00:46:20] And in our case, the way we've addressed that is through not going with lower modulates carbon, you know, S T 700, maybe some T 800 in the frame, then overbuilding it order to have resiliency against impacts. But then also these sorts of, um, micro voids in other imperfections that are in inherent process of any, uh, manufacturing, uh, system that involves handling of materials in a complex, you know, eight, uh, sorry, 250 a piece, you know, layup like there's, this there's even that like human elements that you have to design a whole bunch of fudge factor into to make sure that when mistakes are made, not if, but when mistakes are made, that there's so much, uh, overbuilding that they don't end up in a catastrophic failure. [00:47:10] Craig Calfee: that's right. Yeah. Yeah. You have to have some safety margin. [00:47:15] Randall: And the Manderal spinning process that you were describing essentially eliminates a lot of that in you're starting to see, I mean, with rims, that's the direction that rims are going in, everything is going to be automated, is going to be knit like a sock and frames are a much more complex shape. Um, but you're starting to see, uh, actually probably know a lot more about the, the automation of frame design than I do. [00:47:35] Um, what do you see? Like as the, as the end point, at least with regards to the, um, like filament based carbon fiber material and frames, like where could it go with technology? [00:47:50] Craig Calfee: the, the, um, robotics are getting super advanced now and there's this technique called, um, uh, they just call it fiber placements or automated fiber placement, which is a fancy word for a robot arm, winding fiber, you know, on a mandrel or shape, uh, and then compressing that and, uh, know, molding that. [00:48:14] So it's, it's where your, a robot will orient a single filament of carbon fiber. Uh, continuously all around the, uh, the shape that you're trying to make. They do that in aerospace now for a really expensive rockets and satellite parts, but the technology is getting more accessible and, uh, so robotic trimmers are another one. [00:48:42] So we're, in fact, we're getting ready to build our own robotic arm tremor for a resin transfer, molded parts. That's where the edge of the part that you mold gets trimmed very carefully with a router. And, but imagine instead of just a router trimming an edge, you've got a robot arm with a spool of fiber on it, wrapping the fiber individually around the whole structure of the frame. [00:49:10] Uh, no, no people involved just, you know, someone to turn the machine on and then turn it off again. So that's kind of coming that that is a future. Uh, it hasn't arrived yet, certainly, maybe for simpler parts, but a frame is a very complex shape. So it'll take a while before they can get to that point. [00:49:30] Randall: It having to, yeah. Being able to Uh, spin a frame in one piece is, seems to be the ultimate end game. [00:49:43] Craig Calfee: Yeah. I think we need to, I think the, the, uh, genetically modified spiders would be a better way to [00:49:50] go  [00:49:50] Randall: Yeah, they might, they might help us the design process. [00:49:56] Craig Calfee: Yeah. Yeah. Just give them some good incentives and they'll, they'll make you set a really incredibly strong, you know, spider wound. [00:50:05] Randall: Well, it does. It speaks to the, the, the biggest challenge I see with that, which is you have to go around shape. so if you're going through a frame, like it's essentially the triangle. And so you need some way to like hand off the, the S the filament carrier from one side to the other constantly. [00:50:27] you'd just be able to spin it. You know, it would be pretty straightforward. So maybe the frame comes in a couple of different sections that get bonded, but then those don't form a ring. And so you can, you know, you can move them around instead of the machine order [00:50:41] Craig Calfee: Well, there's these things called grippers. So the robot grip sit and then another arm grip know let's go and the other arm picks it up. And then there's like in weaving, there's this thing called the flying shuttle, which invented. That's where the shuttle that, the war [00:50:59] Randall: Your ancestors were involved with flying shuttle. [00:51:02] Craig Calfee: Yeah. [00:51:02] Randall: That's one of the, uh, all right. That's, that's a whole other conversation. [00:51:07] Craig Calfee: Yeah, a really interesting, I mean, it's the Draper corporation. If you want to look it up, [00:51:13] um  [00:51:13] Randall: I  [00:51:13] Craig Calfee: know [00:51:14] they were the manufacturing made the looms back in the industrial revolution in the Northeast [00:51:21] Randall: I'm sitting currently in Waltham, which was one of the first mill cities, um, not from Lowell. [00:51:28] Craig Calfee: Yeah. So all those mills were where our customers and they would buy the Draper looms. Um, and they were automated looms with a flying shuttle was a big deal Uh back then. And so they, they made a lot of, of those looms and, and that's basically what sent me to college with a trust fund. So [00:51:49] Randall: You're a trust fund, baby. [00:51:51] Craig Calfee: Yep. [00:51:51] Yep [00:51:53] From vendors. [00:51:55] Uh [00:51:56] but that's yeah, that's the world I, I came out of. And, so the, the idea of taking a spool of material and handing it off as you wrap around something is really not that difficult. [00:52:08] Randall: Okay. So then you can do it in a way that is resilient to probably 10,000 handoffs over the course of weaving a frame and you can expect that it's not going to fail once. [00:52:19] Craig Calfee: That's right Yeah [00:52:20] It  [00:52:20] Randall: All then that, that's [00:52:22] Craig Calfee: the hard part, the hard part is dealing with the resin and the, and the, uh, forming and the getting a nice surface finish. That was where the harder. [00:52:31] Randall: Yeah. And, uh, uh, I'm thinking about, uh, space X's attempts to create a giant, uh, carbon fiber, uh, fuel tank. And they actually had to do the, um, the heating the resin at the point of, uh, depositing of the filaments. [00:52:52] And [00:52:52] you know, that's a really challenging process because you can't build an autoclave big enough to contain a fuel tank for a giant rocket bicycles don't have that issue, but [00:53:01] Craig Calfee: right. Yeah. The filament winding technique, which is how all those tanks are made is, is pretty amazing in the large scale of those, those big rockets is phenomenal. I mean, a couple of places in Utah that make those, and it's just seeing such a large things spinning and, uh, wrapping around it rapidly is quite inspiring. [00:53:26] Randall: Yeah. It's very, very cool stuff. And that's, again, a whole another thread about the, uh, the Utah based, uh, composites industry that got its start in aerospace, you know, advanced aerospace applications, which NV and others came out of. They used to be edge which you worked with. NBU designed their tubes early on. [00:53:43] Right. [00:53:44] Craig Calfee: W well, yeah, the poles history behind envy and quality composites back in late eighties, literally, uh, when I first came out to, uh, actually I was still, think I ordered them in Massachusetts and took delivery in California, but it was a quality composites and out of Utah, uh, Nancy Polish was the owner of that. [00:54:06] Also an MIT graduate who, um, who started a roll wrapping carbon fiber in tubular forum. And I'm pretty sure we were the first roll wrapped carbon tubes, uh, for bicycles that she made. And, um Uh, evolved to, uh, edge composites. So they, so quality composites became McClain quality composites, and then McLean, the guys who broke away from that went to start envy or edge, I guess, which became envy. [00:54:40] So yeah, those same guys brought that technology and we've been the customer ever since. And now there's yet another spinoff. The guys who were making the tubes at envy spun off and started their own company, uh, in a cooperative venture with envy. So let them go basically. And, uh, we're working with those guys. [00:55:01] So it's just following the, the top level of expertise. [00:55:06] Randall: very interesting stuff. Um, so, so where else do we go in terms of the, I mean, this is about as deep a composite deep nerdery, as we can get in, into composites and so on. And, uh, given that we're already here, we might as just, you know, dig ourselves deeper. [00:55:25] Craig Calfee: Yeah. Um, sir, just on the roll wrapping, the thing that, um, I remember one of the cool innovations that Nancy came up with was the double D section, um, tube where she would roll wrap two D shaped tubes, stick them together and do an outer wrap on the outside. So it was a efficient way to do a ribbed tube or a single ribs through the middle. She pretty much invented.  [00:55:53] Uh, we started doing something with that, um, change days, uh, to get more stiffness out of a change day. But, um, I just, some reason that image flashed in my mind about some of the innovative stuff that been going on that people don't really see it's. And that's what I'm saying before where the, uh, technology of composites has, um it's got a long way to go and it's, there's all kinds of stuff going on that are, are, is brand new. [00:56:23] Uh, most people people don't see it cause it's all process oriented more than product oriented. But for guys like me, it's really fast. [00:56:34] Randall: Yeah, it reminds me of, um, a technology owned by a Taiwanese carbon frame manufacturing, pretty large-scale tier one that I'd spoken to where they're doing, uh, that bracing inside of the forks. don't think they're doing anything especially advanced in terms of how it's manufactured. [00:56:54] I think they just have a, uh, the, the inner, um, you know, whether it's a bag or it's a, you know, EPS insert. And then they're just bridging, uh, between the two walls of the, uh, of the tube of the, the fork leg, uh, with another piece of carbon that gives it more lateral structure zero, uh, impact on the, um, for AFT compliance, which is a really technique. [00:57:21] Craig Calfee: that sounds like Steve Lee at [00:57:24] Randall: Uh, this was YMA. [00:57:27] Craig Calfee: Oh, okay. [00:57:28] Randall: Yeah, the gigantic folks. I haven't, I don't know if I've interacted with them yet, but, um, but yeah, well, [00:57:35] Craig Calfee: Yeah, some amazing innovation coming out of Taiwan. They're there. They're so deep into it. It's, it's a fun place to go and, and see what they're up to. [00:57:47] Randall: this actually brings me back to, um, I, I did had a conversation with over with Russ at path, less pedaled, and was asking like, you know, tell me about the quality of stuff made, made over in Asia. And I was like, well, you know, it's generally best to work with their production engineers because they're so close to the actual manufacturing techniques and they're the ones innovating on those techniques. [00:58:10] And in fact, um, you know, even specialized up until recently did not do carbon fiber in. outsource that, you know, they, they do some of the work in house, but then the actual design for manufacture and all that is being done by the factories and rightfully so the factories know it better, being close to the ground though, dealing with someone with yourself, you're someone who could go into a factory and be like, okay, let's, let's innovate on this. [00:58:35] Craig Calfee: Yeah.  [00:58:36] Yeah.  [00:58:37] Randall: so then 2011, um, first production, gravel bike. [00:58:45] Craig Calfee: Uh, yeah. Yeah. We came up with the, uh, adventure bike, we call it, um, it was also the first one that did the, uh, six 50 B uh, tire size that can be used with a 700 by 42 or So mixing, know, going bigger tire on a slightly smaller rim on the same bike as you'd run a 700 C and, uh, 35 or 40 millimeter tire. Um, yeah, so the adventure bike has been. Uh, a real fun area for us as far as, uh, just developing a, do everything. Be everything, bike [00:59:24] Randall: it's. And the geometry of that was kind of an endurance road geometry, right [00:59:28] Craig Calfee: that's [00:59:29] right. It's a road bike effectively, but with a few, a few, uh, tweaks for riding off road. [00:59:36] Randall: So then this, this word, gravel bike is kind of muddled. [00:59:39] Um, I never liked it, frankly. Uh, it's a marketing term. I remember it specialized when we were doing the, the diverse, um, you know, it was still kind of honing in on what these bikes were. Uh, but you could argue that like, you know, you know, everyone's road bike was a gravel bike. When you just put the biggest tires that would fit and write it on dirt. [00:59:57] But this concept of a one bike, it seems to be what you've planted. But you can have a single bike that will be your road, bike, perform handle, give you that, that experience when you put road wheels on, but then you can put these big six fifties on there and have a, you know, an off-road crit machine that is highly competent in, in rough terrain. [01:00:16] And so, so yeah, that, and that's very much my design philosophy as you know, as well, you know, fewer bikes that do more things. [01:00:24] Craig Calfee: Yeah. We have this. Kind of a marketing phrase for, you know, how the end plus one concept where, you know, how many bikes do you even need? Well, one more than what you've got. Well, we do the N minus one concept with our mountain bike, which can also be a gravel by ache or a bike, but it's, uh, it allows you to change the head tube angle and, and use different, uh, fork travel suspension forks on, on the same frame. [01:00:55] Uh, and of course, swapping wheels out is, is always a thing. So yeah, the end minus one concept where we just need less stuff, you know, [01:01:04] Randall: So I reinvented that when I started thesis, he used to say like, and, minus three, it replaces road, bike, your gravel bike, your road, bike, your cross bike, your, um, light duty cross country bike, uh, your adventure bike actually as well, you know, load these things up. yeah, very much a philosophy that, uh, I think it's so good that the, its efforts to come up with new, subcategories, for example, by having gravel bikes now run oversize 700 wheels and extending the geo and going with these really slack head angles in order to accommodate that wheel size. [01:01:40] I actually think that the form, the form that things want to evolve towards is actually what you created in the first place, which is the one bike that does all the things and does them well. And depending on the wheels you put on them, um, we'll do we'll, we'll transform. Uh, and you know, we've, we've talked a little bit about geo changing, um, You know, and things like this, which you have a bike that, that does that. [01:02:03] And why don't we talk a bit about that in the technology behind it? [01:02:08] Craig Calfee: The SFL, you mean we use the geometry of the head tube and the bottom bracket to, uh, to accommodate what you're using it for? Yeah, the concept there is to, if you're on a long ride to be able to change the geometry of your bike mid ride. So with an Allen wrench, you, uh, basically swap these flip plates out on your head to varia. [01:02:32] And so you climb, you can climb with one geometry with another. And to me, that's, that's really fun because the climbing, you, if you're climbing up a a long steep climb on a bike that you're going to descend back down on, uh, you really don't want the same geometry it's, you're compromising and one or the other, either climate. [01:02:55] Or it descends great. It's rarely both, or really can't possibly be both. Cause they're just doing two different things. So if you can swap out these flip plates and change the head tube angle, which is really all you need at that point, um, you have a bike that climbs great and descends. Great. So for me, that was the goal of, uh, just making a better mountain bike. Um, you know, the fact that it can be converted into other bikes for different disciplines is a whole nother angle. Uh, and you can even do that perhaps you wouldn't do it the trail, but let's say you show up, say you're on a trip, an adventure, uh, maybe out to Utah, for example, where you're riding slick rock, but you're also going to go up, you know, into the mountains. [01:03:45] Um, you'll have you, you might want to have. Different fork travels or different for, uh, options. So you can bring a couple of different forks and swap out a fork, change your flip plates and have a bike. That's awesome for slick rock. And then another one that's awesome for, for the bike parks. So, you know, to me it would, but it's only one bike and you know, you don't need, you know, three bikes. So that, that just, uh, that's the design result of a bike where you can change the head tube angle on, [01:04:21] Randall: and the, in really how much head tube angle adjustment is there on there. [01:04:25] Craig Calfee: uh, it's a or minus four degrees [01:04:28] Randall: that's, that's substantial. [01:04:30] Craig Calfee: that's a lot. [01:04:31] Randall: Yeah. [01:04:31] I mean, that's transformative really. I work in increments of, you know, half a degree.  [01:04:36] Craig Calfee: Yeah. These are half degree increments, um, right now, uh, one degree, but we can easily do half degree increments. find that one degree is, is really. Um, especially when you have the option of, of tweaking the same bike. So reason we focus on these half degree increments on a production bike is to dial in the best compromise between two, two ways that it's going to be used when you don't need to compromise, you can go a full degree in the other direction and not worry about fact that it's not going to perform as well, know, in super steep terrain because that flipped chip is not, uh, the right one for the super steep scenario. [01:05:22] Just change it out or flip it over a T when you approach the really steep stuff. So yeah. [01:05:29] Randall: applicable for mountain bikes, particularly because the, I mean, the slack, the long slack that, that have emerged in recent years make a ton of sense for mountain biking, especially descending, but when you're ascending, it ends up being so slack that you get wheel flop, you get the front end, lifting the bike naturally wants to tilt back. [01:05:49] You don't have that on a gravel bike currently. And if you don't, if you're not adding a huge suspension fork, you're never going to be descending terrain that is so technical that you need those slacked out angles. So it sounds like something that's very much could be applied to gravel bikes, but that, you know, for the mountain bike application is actually pretty game-changing. [01:06:06] Craig Calfee: Yeah, well on gravel bikes or adventure bikes, um, uh, it's actually helpful if you're, if you're, let's say you're a roadie and you're starting to go off road. And so you're driving these gravel trails and then you're starting to get into more interesting off-road excursions with that same bike, but your experience on steep terrain is limited because you're, you know, you're a roadie, you've your, all your muscle memory and all your bike handling memory comes from the road and a little bit of dirt road stuff. [01:06:39] Now you're kind of getting into serious off-road stuff and you want to try. a Uh, shortcut dissent, uh, you know, down something kind of crazy. Uh, let's say, uh, you're not very good at it in the beginning and you take your time and you, you don't have a bike that can go that fast down, such a trail, then you change it out. [01:07:00] As you get better at it, as you increase your skill level and your confidence level, might want to go a little faster. So you a bike that can go a little faster safely and go for that slack head angle, which is designed to get higher speed. So it's great for evolving skills and evolving terrain as you start exploring more radical stuff. [01:07:27] So that's the other reason to do it. [01:07:29] Randall: Yeah, that makes, that makes a lot of sense. And in fact, any, you know, what I'm working on going forward very much as a, uh, one of the core, you know, is, uh, being able to tailor the geometry, um, as close to on the fly as possible. Uh, you know, if you want it to be on the fly, you're going to add a huge amount of added structure and complexity and weight, but having it be when you swap the wheels, there's very little to do, you know, this sort of thing. [01:07:57] Craig Calfee: Yeah. So yeah, the whole idea is to, is to be able to go and have really fun adventures after all I wrote the book on adventures, see, here's, uh, this is a, this is the commercial part of our, our, uh, [01:08:10] plug [01:08:12] is, uh, this book I wrote about a trip. I took back in the, in the mid early eighties. Uh it's it's a kind of a. [01:08:20] Randall: of a  [01:08:21] Craig Calfee: It has nothing to do with bikes, except that there is a section in there where I made a canteen out of bamboo in the Congo, but it's a pretty crazy trip. And, uh, and I just called it adventures. It's on amp. anyone wants to buy it. [01:08:37] Randall: I will get a coffee. [01:08:39] Craig Calfee: Yeah. [01:08:42] Randall: Um, very, very cool. Um, we skipped over one, which is the manta, which is another interesting innovation [01:08:51] Craig Calfee: Yeah. Suspension on a road bike. I mean, that's a, I keep saying that's going to be the future and it hasn't happened yet, but I, I still believe that road bikes will be the main type of bike being written in the highest levels of racing. [01:09:08] interesting  [01:09:08] Randall: So you think suspension versus say. Um, wide tubeless, aerodynamic, the optimized rims with a 30 mil tire run at lower pressures. You think the suspension has a sufficient benefit relative to that, to offset say the structural complexity or weight? [01:09:25] Craig Calfee: Yes. So, uh, the big tire thing, trend towards bigger tires is really a trend towards suspension. It's pneumatic suspension rather than mechanical suspension. [01:09:39] Randall: Well, as our regular listeners know, this is a topic that's very much near and dear to my heart. I talk often about the benefits of pneumatic suspension, so this will be an interesting place for us to st

    In the Dirt 27 - Goodbye 2021!

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 29, 2021 42:01

    Co-hosts, Randall and Craig put a bow tie on 2021 with a look back at a few of their favorite bikes and gravel riding experiences. Episode Sponsor: Competitive Cyclist (Promo Code: TheGravelRide) Support the podcast Join The Ridership Episode transcription, please excuse the typos: In the Dirt 27 [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to in the dirt from the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. I'm going to be joined shortly by my cohost Randall Jacobs. This is going to be our final in the dirt episode for the year. And we take a look back. At 2021 and a look forward to 2022. Before we jump in, I needed to thank this week. Sponsor a competitive cyclist.  [00:00:23] Competitive cyclist is the online retailer of road. Gravel and mountain bikes, components, apparel, and accessories.  [00:00:30] Perhaps you've got a holiday gift card, burning a hole in your pocket at this point. Competitive cyclist features cycling standout brands like pock Castelli, Pearl Izumi and five 10, and an unrivaled in-house bike assembly operation. They bring personal attention of your local bike shop with the selection and convenience only possible by shopping online.  [00:00:52] I can't talk about competitive cyclists without talking about the gearheads they're equal part customer service and cycling fanatic. Gear heads or former pro athletes. Olympians and seasoned cyclists with years of experience, all available by phone, email, or chat for product recommendations. And hard won advice.  [00:01:12] I know, after my conversation with my personal gearhead, Maggie, I came away with a few ideas on how to fill my personal Christmas basket. Those hard to think of items that I knew I couldn't get family or friends to purchase for me, but I needed in the garage. As I mentioned before, I got a full setup of SRAM replacement, brake pads that I couldn't find elsewhere.  [00:01:35] I found them at competitive cyclist. And now I'm ready for all those dissents here in mill valley. Competitive cyclist has a hundred percent. Return guarantee. So anything you can get, if it doesn't look like what you needed, feel free to send it back to them. And they'll take care of you. I know I appreciate that. As I've often ended up purchasing the wrong item for my bike, something that didn't fit or was too hard to figure out how to install.  [00:02:01] And being able to send it back is a great benefit.  [00:02:05] So go now to competitive gravel ride and enter promo code the gravel ride to get 15% off your first full priced order. Plus free shipping on orders of $50 or more some exclusions apply. [00:02:20] Go right now and grab that 15% off and free slash the gravel ride. And remember once again, that promo code is the gravel ride.  [00:02:31] The sponsors of this broadcast are very much appreciated. So be sure to go check them out. Would that business out of the way let's dive right in to my episode of in the dirt with randall jacobs Hey Randall, how you doing?  [00:02:43] Randall Jacobs: I am well, Craig happy holidays [00:02:46] Craig Dalton: Yeah, same to you. It's good to see you. It's hard to believe. This is our last episode of the  [00:02:51] Randall Jacobs: last episode of the year, indeed. So we have a lot of fun topics for today. How would you like to dive in? [00:02:57] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think first off, I'd just like to put out a little public apology. I feel like we've had some audio issues on the podcast recently. Both on the editing side and more recently just voice levels. So I just want to shout out one, I acknowledge that those things have happened. and two, just to note of appreciation to the listeners who reached out with a lot of kindness to just say, Hey, Do you need any help? [00:03:24] Do you have any, can I offer any suggestions? Cause it's, it's well received and noted. And in fact, we're trying a different platform today, which comes super well-regarded. I know it's used by NPR and a bunch of other broadcast podcasts. Um, so hopefully the audio turns out great. And it's definitely a goal of mine in 2022 to just make sure that the audio levels don't distract from the conversation. [00:03:47] Obviously to the listener. I never do any fancy editing. I don't do a lot of stuff around that, given our, my personal capabilities, but we do want the conversation to be enjoyable, to listen to. And just for you to be able to get to know the guests or hear the conversation without anything getting in the way [00:04:06] Randall Jacobs: Yeah, and I certainly want to own my part in being a little bit overzealous with the editing capabilities of the last software platform we were using. We were using, there's a certain perfectionist tendency that I've been working through in public as a consequence of being a, you know, a part of this podcast. [00:04:24] Uh, so the other feedback that we received and the ridership was super helpful and. I will be, well, this platform doesn't allow so much, but then also just recognizing that it doesn't have to be perfect to be really good.  [00:04:36] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think, I think, you know, part of the feedback and I had gotten this early on and it was intentional on my part to just people speak the way they speak. Right. And it's not up to me or us to edit out too much of the conversation, obviously. dog barking or fire alarm. I want to address that. But if someone says like, or as are needs of a couple of minutes or repeats a word, I don't want to feel overly compelled to edit that out because at the end of the day, the gravel ride podcast is just talking about connecting with humans and talking about the subject to gravel cycling. [00:05:10] So I think there's just some good notes for, us to take for 2020.  [00:05:15] Randall Jacobs: Yeah, well, you know, um, like, uh, I guess that's okay. Sounds good to me. [00:05:22] Craig Dalton: um, maybe.  [00:05:25] Randall Jacobs: Yeah,  [00:05:27] Craig Dalton: But otherwise, you  [00:05:27] Randall Jacobs: keep that in there.  [00:05:28] Craig Dalton: it's been a fun year. I mean, I'm, I'm personally proud that we've published episodes every single week of the year. It was a lot of effort to get to that point. I think certainly a lot of listeners have acknowledged that And I, I would be remiss in not thanking those who have become members of buy me a or supported the podcast in any other ways, because it, it has taken a lot of effort to achieve this goal. [00:05:54] A couple of years back, I was just doing two episodes a month. So this seems like a pretty big momentous year that we should celebrate  [00:06:02] Randall Jacobs: yeah. And just looking every so often, I'll go and buy me a coffee and read the comments. Uh, just when I need to pick me up and just the, the, you know, the appreciation there really makes the effort worth it. So thank you for that as well. [00:06:13] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I mean, obviously like this isn't a money-making venture, so it's really the kind of kudos and kindness that, uh, you know, really propelled me forward.  [00:06:22] Randall Jacobs: You're not the Joe Rogan of the gravel cycling world. [00:06:26] Craig Dalton: Yeah. You know, I don't think Spotify is going to be coming, knocking on the door to purchase the gravel ride, but, uh, I'm proud of the community we have and what we do every week.  [00:06:34] Randall Jacobs: Yeah, absolutely. [00:06:36] Craig Dalton: Yeah. A couple of ones I just wanted, you know, we've had so many great episodes this year and fun ones for me. Like this has always been a journey of discovery and just these conversations I'm following my personal interests and, And hope. [00:06:50] That aligns with what the listeners are looking for. But a couple of my favorites I really did enjoy having Patrick carry on doing gravel bike skills, 1 0 1, I think that was a super useful episode. And he did a great job. Just sort of breaking down some fundamentals that newer riders may not be aware of or need to work on. [00:07:10] So that was a lot of fun. And then a couple product ones really enjoyed John Freeman from Rafa talking about shooting. Just getting into kind of the ins and outs of the construction of the shoe was an area that as, as you know, a hardware guy hadn't really explored that much. So it was pretty fascinating. [00:07:26] And then have to give a shout out to my buddy Whitman for cab helmets, just doing 3d printed helmets, I think is really interesting. And I do think is one of those trends that it's going to continue to be present in cycling gear, going for. [00:07:42] Randall Jacobs: And I particularly like the, kind of the more foundational episodes that we've done. Uh, another example, being the conversation I also had with Patrick on bike fit 1 0 1. Uh, it's great to be able to point people to a resource that was very carefully structured. But, uh, it's also digestible, uh, to help people understand an important topic that affects how we ride. [00:08:05] Craig Dalton: Yeah, a hundred percent. I wanna, I wanna, um, kind of partition those off because I do think over the course of the last three years, there's been a handful of just critical episodes that I think if you're only going to listen to five episodes of the gravel ride podcast, you should be hitting bike fit 1 0 1. [00:08:22] You should revisit our gravel bike 1 0 1 episodes. If you're thinking about purchasing a bike, the gravel bike skills episode, and there'll be a few more that I'll kind of package in there and I'll find a way in 20, 22 to point people to that to say, Hey, if you're looking to have a starting point, grab these episodes first and then. [00:08:40] get into the flow and go through the, you know, over a hundred episodes in the backcountry.  [00:08:46] Randall Jacobs: Yeah. And you know, that brings us into kind of the next phase and being part of this experience, which is community. Um, another episode I want to call out is the one I recently did with Ryan. Uh, Russ Roca over at pathless pedals. Uh, his content is very much about, uh, you know, the non-competitive aspects of cycling and makes the sport much more accessible. [00:09:09] Uh, and that's a value that you and I hold very dear and is a big value of the ridership. And, uh, you know, was the primary motivation for getting the ridership off the ground, you know, uh, uh, community of riders helping. [00:09:22] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I mean, I think that's been a theme that we've brought up in the end of dirt episodes And constantly encouraging and reminding people to join the ridership. it's something that, you know, we've depended a little bit of energy, but not as much as we would want, would have wanted to in 2021. [00:09:38] I think some of our desires were hamstrung by the ongoing pan down. The idea of getting people together and using the ridership to facilitate, you know, regional ride events and things like that. But the kernel is there and the interactions of, you know, continue to be positive and improve. [00:09:56] Randall Jacobs: Yeah. And it's at a point where. It has a certain degree of validation that allows us to access resources that might not be, uh, accessible early on in terms of partnerships with technology partners or adding new functionality and things like this. And these are conversations that we have been deeply involved in behind the scenes and hope to start seeing, uh, implementation in 2022. [00:10:19] It'll be a significant focus for me, uh, now that, uh, you know, I'm in a very good shape, uh, with, with my primary business. [00:10:27] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think community is such an interesting topic and it's so, you know, I've always, in retrospect, always looked back at communities I've joined and discovered how much more value you get when you put in. And I think that's sort of the core of the ridership, right? The expectation it's not. Uh, Randall and correct conversation by any means. [00:10:47] In fact, there's weeks at a time that I'm just lurking and watching conversations happen. And, you know, I just encourage people to get in there. And whether it's the ridership or other communities in your life, it's just important to put yourself out there. Because you get so much more in return when you find out that, I mean, maybe it's selfish and you get a question answered that you need answered. [00:11:09] But if you can answer a question for someone else or point them in the right direction, I don't know about you, but I just get such extreme satisfaction out of that. That are really just fills me up. [00:11:19] Randall Jacobs: Yeah, it think if we're doing this right. Um, increasingly people don't know who we are when they sign up and it's, it's, it's its own thing and the ownership and the governance is decentralized and so on, and that's kind of the vision going forward, but we can learn about that a little bit later. [00:11:36] Craig Dalton: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I think you sign up and you bring your friends in and it becomes, it becomes something that you can use to connect with your local riders, your friends that you ride with every week. But then, you know, the goal has always been to just have this, this forum where people can communicate. [00:11:52] Any question they have. So obviously bike related questions, tire related questions. These can all happen at a super high level, but these regional questions and those group rides you're arranging every month will happen at an interpersonal. [00:12:05] Randall Jacobs: Yeah, who do I ride with? Also, another thing that's been really heartening to see is, uh, we have a channel in there that's just for, you know, buy, sell, gift, seek whatever. Um, and yeah, people just putting stuff up saying, I have these things that I'm not using. If anyone wants them come pick them up or pay for shipping. [00:12:22] And that like really just speaks to the ethos. Um, and, and is, is, is something that, um, I wouldn't say I'm proud of. It's something I feel grateful to be a part of and that's happening.  [00:12:33] Craig Dalton: Yeah. [00:12:33] a hundred percent, a hundred percent. And it's only gonna get better as it grows. I think this community has self-selected towards kindness and generosity, which is really, really great to see and something that I know it's important for both of us, that, that those values continue to get fostered going forward.  [00:12:51] Randall Jacobs: Hmm. Yes, yes. Yes.  [00:12:53] So bikes of the. [00:12:56] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I mean, seeing that we're at the end of the year, I just thought it, it would be cool to kind of, um, talk about bikes that caught our eye, just the bike each to kind of set the stage for maybe what we hope to see the. [00:13:09] industry doing next year.  [00:13:11] Randall Jacobs: Yeah, and I know we have very different perspectives on this, so why don't you go ahead with yours for. [00:13:16] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I mean, I still have my vision for what the perfect bike is and I don't think anything out there necessarily matches that just yet. I think there are a lot of trends. By companies are capitalizing on and they may grab one trend, I think is on point, but not another. So I'm still holding my breath for. [00:13:34] that. [00:13:35] Perfect Nash. Next gen model that'll come out. But one that I did want to highlight is the BMC ERs, L T um, I think it's unrestricted, something or other I'm kind of forgetting what the acronym was, but it was a  [00:13:51] Randall Jacobs: something that looks about right. [00:13:52] Craig Dalton: yeah, exactly. I had the S right. So it's, uh, the BMC ERs has been around for actually a couple of years and, and, uh, Tom boss over at, uh, Marine county bike coalition has one, and he's always raved about it as did, um, a contact of mine over at SRAM and RockShox, and it's a bike that has built in some suppleness into the rear. [00:14:17] I have experience with BMCs on the mountain bike side, as I was riding a 29 or hard tail for quite some time, and all is found that did a really great job of matching suppleness with performance. So it was quite interesting when this year they came out with the LT model, the LT is actually adding a micro suspension fork on the front end. [00:14:41] It's from a company called high ride over in Europe. It's only 20 millimeters of track. But I think they've matched that delicately with the amount of travel on the rear end. The suspension is right in the steer column, so it's not telescoping. So my imagination suggests that it's a fairly rigid front end, and I know they do have a lockout on it as well, but more and more, and it could be a sign of my age. [00:15:05] I'm just appreciating. Anything or any bike that can add a little suppleness to the ride. As You know, from riding out here in Marin, I'm riding the rough stuff all the time. So as we've talked about on previous episodes, there's sort of a bunch of different ways, including your body that creates suspension parts. [00:15:27] You can add the frame and it's just been interesting to me to look at the. This manifestation of those ideas in the BMC ERs LT. Uh, and I think it would be a really great bike to ride around. One thing I don't like about it, which we rant about on the show all the time is it's got a proprietary seat, post shape. [00:15:47] They did have the force forethought of this DC D shaped seed posts to add a, a shim mechanism. So you can easily go to a standard 27 2, but if you're a bike manufacturer out there and listening to me, just give me around 27 to that's fine. I need to put a dropper post in it. I don't need a fancy arrow shape and my seat posts. [00:16:09] Thank you very much.  [00:16:11] Randall Jacobs: Yeah. And the arrow shape doesn't really do anything though. D just, um, the D shaped seat post is not about arrow. It's generally about compliance. So you get a little bit more flex in the, after the post, but if you're running a 27 2 posts, that is, you know, with a decent carbon layup, that's designed for some compliance, you can achieve the same thing. [00:16:30] Uh, so it's kind of separate fluid. Um, but at least they had the forethought yeah. To, to do the, the adapter. Uh, so I don't have a huge problem with that being, being a, an avid, uh, advocate for round posts. [00:16:43] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I remember talking to you, gosh, you know, a year And a half, two years ago, just about your experience working for a bigger manufacturer. And there's so many constraints along the way that, um, get, get hoisted into the conversation. It's it's often not necessarily about is this the thing that ultimate thing that I can make. Is this thing hitting the right product life cycle, the component availability, blah, blah, blah, that that often kind of shaped the design. [00:17:12] Randall Jacobs: Yeah. And there's also, can we tell a story around this? And I've seen a number of examples. Um, one is a candy called certs. That was, there was a technology that I think rhymed with that, that ultimately was just a bolt on Alaska. Um, literally was compromising the structure of the bike and adding weight in order to give a cosmetic thing that told an untrue story about compliance. [00:17:38] Uh, so, you know, you see these things less and less, uh, fortunately, but there's still some of them D shape posts. I definitely include in there. [00:17:46] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. How about you? I know you struggle. Whenever I ask you to tell me about your favorite bikes out on the market, other than thesis, obviously, you know, what do you think, what was short of your bike of the year?  [00:18:00] Randall Jacobs: Honestly, so my bike of the year. So, so my philosophy is I want a one bike. I don't want suspension. Um, that is compromising the road experience. Uh, I want a bicycle that can do all the things really well. And the bike, you know, I looked at the allied echo and I thought that there were some really cool things happening there. [00:18:20] It's got flipped chips, front and rear. You can get a true performance road geo with a 73 head angle on the larger sizes. Um, but the first off, I don't think it's necessary to have a flip chip in the rear go with four 20 mils. Jane stays that'll work fine for an endurance road G. And if I was to do a flip chip, but just do it in the fork and have it be one that uses two different rotor sizes. [00:18:43] So you get more braking and off-road in the more upright position and I'm a smaller one 60 rotor for on-road with a more aggressive position. Um, my bike of the year is actually a bike that's been around for a long time and is still in my opinion, um, though it's expensive, uh, the category leader and that's, that's the open up, uh,  [00:19:03] Craig Dalton: And would you, would you call out the up or the, uh, or the, um, the one with the dual drops stay stays.  [00:19:10] Randall Jacobs: Um, not the upper, because I think the upper is a great bike for people who want a dedicated dirt only. And who are okay with a, you know, a less spirited on-road experience, but the, the head angle is pretty slack. You don't have enough weight over the front axle with that amount of, you know, with the head angle. [00:19:27] That's that slack, um, it's not built around the, the road wheel size. Really? You, you run 700 by 35.  [00:19:34] Uh,  [00:19:35] the open  [00:19:35] Craig Dalton: that's actually the wide, sorry, sorry to throw you off. That was The wide, that  [00:19:39] Randall Jacobs: Oh, correct? Correct. Yeah. the  [00:19:40] wide, right? Yeah. [00:19:41] Craig Dalton: lighter weight  [00:19:42] Randall Jacobs: the lighter weight one. Yeah. Yeah. Lighter paints, maybe nominally lighter layup.  [00:19:48] Um, I, yeah, I like that bike because of the geometry. [00:19:51] It's a proper endurance road, geometry generous tire clearance. I think it's 2.1 at least. Uh, I think the tire volume on wide rims run tubeless is the best way to do suspension if you want. Um, I have a design for like a, a handlebar with a little bit of suspension built into it. I like suspension stems, if you want even more. [00:20:11] And then you don't compromise the on-road experience and add all that weights and slop. Uh, so yeah, an external cable. That's easier to set up, easier to service, easier to adjust. If you need to ship your bike or pack it up for a flight, uh, it's going to be much less of a hassle. I find internal routing the way that it's done by most companies to be. [00:20:35] A very expensive weight, adding complexity, adding experience, ruining technology to make it look, um, look a certain way. And to be able to tell a story about saving half a watt or a watt of power, I find it quite silly, uh, the way it's done. So, yeah, that's my, that's my bike of the year, uh, is the open up. I do a few things differently and I will do a few things differently in a, in a future generation, but that's a great starting point. [00:21:01] It really. Uh, drug room and did it right initially. [00:21:05] Craig Dalton: Yeah. it's so funny. I mean, that was my, my second gravel bike. The one that I decided I was going to sell my road. It was going to go all in on gravel, sold the original Niner that I had, that just kind of wasn't fitting, fitting the bill for me and people ask me why I sold that. Like, you know, I loved it. I think it's great. [00:21:25] I think it ticks all those boxes that you, that you've described. You know, I, I didn't, and I've told this, I probably said this publicly and I've certainly said it privately. I didn't find, I found going to the thesis was very similar to writing. [00:21:39] Randall Jacobs: exactly. [00:21:40] Craig Dalton: You're not paying me to say this, but it's my personal opinion.  [00:21:44] Randall Jacobs: Yep. [00:21:44] Craig Dalton: Yeah. [00:21:45] I mean, it sort of slightly different intention on the bike from a design perspective, not maybe as lightweight as the, the open was or is, but very comparable in kind of performance. And, and for me, what was critically important was the fit. I am concerned about some of the trends around geometry and two blunts that. [00:22:05] Becoming popularized in the gravel bike market right now. And I'm concerned. And I had the same concern when this happened on mountain bikes. That it's actually not favoring me like where we are today from a certainly too blunt that I'm talking about the trend towards going longer, top tube slacker, head tube, short stem, and longer top tubes just never, never worked for me. [00:22:29] I've sort of in. You know, on my thesis, on the open, I would tend to ride a little bit shorter stem. [00:22:34] than maybe was customary. Um, given my height, just cause of my torso and now not to get into this trend too much. Cause I'm sure we'll cover it in 2022, but I'm a little bit concerned about getting my fit right on some of these newer.  [00:22:48] Randall Jacobs: Mm. Yeah. And where is this significant? There, there are benefits on the mountain side and really no downside, assuming you can fit to the bike properly because a mountain bike is generally. You know, the range of applications that you use a given mountain bike for is generally narrower than say, you know what I'm describing as a one bike where you'd have, you know, performance road experience all the way to a borderline cross country mountain bike experience, to a bike packing experience. [00:23:13] Um, I find that the, you know, the argument for going with a longer top tube, shorter stem is so you can fit bigger 700 C type. Um, I find it kind of silly because you could go higher volume six 50 B. You could still fit big enough, 700 C for certain applications and not compromise the on-road experience with a front end that doesn't have enough weight kids to leave it over, over the front axle for control and cornering and descending and so on. [00:23:40] I think it has as much to do with trying to differentiate. Gravel bikes enough from road bikes to justify people owning both. Uh, I think it has as much to do with that as it does to do with any sort of ostensible benefits, um, to a very, you know, increasingly narrow set of applications that such a bike is useful for. [00:24:01] Craig Dalton: yeah. I mean, you would think for me being like an entirely off-road rider for. [00:24:04] the most. This new trend would be helpful. And I am curious, try kind of these bikes. I've, I've got a couple in the garage of the haven't been a good fit. Um, I am looking to get one with a better fit just to sort of see if it, if it fits the bill for me, but I think you're right. [00:24:19] I think it is creating a greater amount of separation between the road and the gravel bikes. And to me, I don't necessarily strive for that since I don't have a road bike in the garage. Right.  [00:24:31] Randall Jacobs: Difference without distinction. It's I see it as all down. Um, that, that that's obviously I have, I have a horse in this, in this race, but, uh, that's, that's my perspective in anything I do in the future will not use that geometry philosophy.  [00:24:44] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Okay. Well, that's interesting to hear Rondo, you got an a on that, on that front. I was gifted for my wife, a bike fit this this year, and it was something that I obviously put on my Christmas list. Um, I'm increasingly concerned and, you know, should I go down the route of getting a custom bike or should I have a demo bike be offered to me in 2022? [00:25:06] I just sort of want to understand my personal parameters a little bit more and with a little bit more confidence. I know. And I appreciate you being a friend and ally on my journey. Trying to explore fit and understanding of frame geometries. Um, I'm much better equipped today at the end of 2021 than I was earlier in the year. [00:25:26] And I do think going through this fit exercise is just going to be another step forward in my understanding of, of my personal body and how it's changing over time with the.  [00:25:36] Randall Jacobs: Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Well, um, I refer you to the bike fit episode and, uh, you know, my phone number. [00:25:43] Craig Dalton: yeah, yeah, yeah. For sure. So I've got it. I'll go through it locally and you know, I've listened to that episode again, just to get some more thoughts in my mind. And, uh, yeah, I know you're always there when I need to riff on bike stuff. [00:25:56] Randall Jacobs: So when we got coming up next, [00:25:58] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I mean, I think it'd be cool to just highlight maybe your favorite ride of the year.  [00:26:03] Randall Jacobs: Sure. Uh, so this is a ride that my, my dear friend Marcus Gosling invited me on. It was a group of us, I think, uh, uh, three men, two women, uh, rode from top of skyline in the Santa Cruz mountains above San Mateo, south of San Francisco. Um, where I was actually living with Marcus for a few months during the pandemic, amongst the redwoods, uh, up on the Ridge there, it was a great place to be. [00:26:29] When it wasn't, you know, when, when everyone was staying in and we went through, let's see, we went down to the coast and to Aptos, and then up through 19 marks, uh, along summit coming back north, uh, was near Mount Nominum. And so on 130 kilometers, a lot of climbing, some fun stops along the way, really wonderful conversation, uh, with people that, uh, Uh, a couple of people I hadn't met before, and then one woman I had met, but not really, uh, connected with in that sort of way. [00:27:02] And when you have that many miles, you can really get into it. And, uh, that's one of my favorite things about the ride experience. The train was fantastic too, and very varied. Uh, but it's, it was the people that really made that. So that was my ride of the year.  [00:27:14] It was called, it was called the business meeting by the way. [00:27:17] Cause, cause I think it was a weekday, I think I took the day off. So, uh, yeah, when you work in the industry that that can, that can qualify.  [00:27:24] Craig Dalton: A hundred percent. Yeah, [00:27:25] I might have to coerce you into sharing that link with me, or maybe even putting it in our ride with GPS club for the ridership. Cause that sounds like a neat loop.  [00:27:34] Randall Jacobs: sure. Yeah. Happy to. [00:27:35] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I have to say like, um, I guess it's a factor of me being limited for time, but I typically don't ever get in my car to drive and there's so much interesting stuff that I've seen in the ridership, um, in that neck of the woods and out in Pacifica that I really. [00:27:51] Get down there because it doesn't, you know, they don't have to get on an airplane to go do something interesting.  [00:27:57] Randall Jacobs: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So how about yourself? What was your ride of the year? [00:28:00] Craig Dalton: Well, speaking of airplanes, it was the one solitary time I got on an airplane with my bike this year? [00:28:07] Do you remember in the June July timeframe when it felt like we were getting a hold of the pandemic, we were on top of things, boosters or, you know, shots were getting rolled out vaccination shots and it felt like things might be getting back to that.  [00:28:21] Randall Jacobs: um, it felt like things were normal for a period. I always expected it to just be a low so, but yes, I do remember that time. [00:28:29] Craig Dalton: so I was leaning into that moment in time and our friends at envy composites out in Utah, we're putting. Uh, together an event called the , which was a ride combined with their builders, Roundup, which they bring, I forget how many, like 20 different frame builders out to Ogden, Utah, and kind of display their bicycles throughout Envy's facility. [00:28:54] So it was, I, it was too much to her exist, um, going on.  [00:28:59] Randall Jacobs: um, with NABS not happening this year. [00:29:01] Craig Dalton: Yeah, exactly. Which was so fun when we went to NABS a few years ago, just to, I mean, to stand next to someone with their creation, their hard work is just something special. Like if you, as a listener, if you ever get a chance to go to a bike show, do it, like, it's just, I mean, for the eye candy alone, it's worth walking the Isles  [00:29:20] Randall Jacobs: well I'm for reference north American hand-built bicycle show is what NABS is. And a lot of what you see from the big brands, a lot of ideas and concepts, uh, emerge from small builders, doing cool things in basements and garages, uh, which is one of the great aspects of those shows. [00:29:38] Craig Dalton: yeah, exactly. When you get a, a fabricator with a torch and some tubes, they can, they can just try different things. And it's really, what does help propel the industry for?  [00:29:48] Randall Jacobs: Very much, so very  [00:29:49] Craig Dalton: so. [00:29:49] I saw some great bikes out there. It's, you know, as far as the builder Roundup goes and I've published a bunch of episodes and, and, uh, and a summary episode that kind of has some quick hits from a number of the people I talked to, but that ride, since we're talking about favorite rides of the year, Every year, I tend to sign up for an event that probably pushes my personal fitness capabilities. [00:30:10] And I love to do that just to kind of keep me honest and keep me getting out there and finding the time to ride the bikes. And I definitely wasn't feeling prepared for a 92 mile ride and 8 8300 feet of climb. At some elevation above sea level already out there in Ogden, Utah. But I set out on the course, pretty small event, maybe 200 people, um, got to the first aid station and there was talk amongst some of the builders of flipping it around right there. [00:30:38] But when I got there, I learned that I was just going to be a straight out and back if I did that and I just couldn't resist it. If you haven't written in Utah, it's beautiful in the Wasatch mountains out there. Uh, so I kept going and like every great gravel event that I've ever participated in. You end up linking up with riders, um, out there on the course that you just share the pace with. [00:31:02] And I met a guy from contender cycles out in Utah, which was actually where I bought my open from originally. So that was cool. We chatted for many, many miles. Yeah. Very late in the day, I managed to connect with Dave from gravel stoke. And I can't remember whether he caught him. He caught me or I caught him, but we ended up together and we'd separate on the climbs. [00:31:23] And we both look at each other miserably tired at times, but we, we crusted the final climb and hit the aid station together And um, rode maybe the last. 20 miles or so together, we were staying in the same hotel room. So it was like, it was just like a great experience to have, to, you know, to connect with a friend and be able to ride. [00:31:45] And it just happened serendipitously because I don't think, you know, when you're signing up for a 90 mile ride or a hundred mile ride, it's foolish to think that you're going to ride with your friend the entire time. Like you just need to take care of your own needs. And that, for me, it's all about. I've got a ride, the climbs, my own pace. [00:32:03] I want to descend at my own pace. So it's really got to happen naturally. And when it does to me, man, it's just magic. [00:32:10] Randall Jacobs: Yeah. And Dave, uh, for anyone in Soquel, uh, gravel. Puts on some of the best rides I've been a part of as well, a really great routes, really good people. Um, you know, a lot of, a lot of social interaction and so on and just a really great ethos. Uh, so if you're in the SoCal area, check out the gravel stoke and by the way, this is, um, you know, gravel. [00:32:30] Those, a lot of those folks are in the ridership too. So if you want to connect with Dave or others, that's a great place to do it. [00:32:35] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So hopefully more of this for 2022, speaking of which, what are you, what are your hopes for 2022? I mean, I don't think we need to go into a laundry list, but what are a couple of things that are, you know,  [00:32:49] Randall Jacobs: So with regards to what we do here. Uh, so I moved to new England and living outside of Boston with, uh, with family. And I want to build out this region. I, we hosted a couple of group rides, uh, before the, the season changed to ski season. Uh, and as. The spring approaches. I want to build out this region and I want to facilitate more in-person connection and an experience like this, what the ridership is about and have that be, um, you know, something that, uh, extends to other regions as well, where there's a critical mass where people can actually meet people in person and have real in the flesh experiences and maybe. [00:33:28] Craig Dalton: I'm really excited for you to do that. I know when I spent my sort of formative years as a mountain biker in the mid Atlantic, I always looked to new England and it was a place that I would go up and race every once in a while when I can make a trip. And it. At that time, there were so many great new England bike builders. [00:33:47] And I know like Boston has just an incredible cycling community and history behind it. And that whole region up through Vermont, like I'm super excited to hopefully get out there at some point this year and ride.  [00:34:00] Randall Jacobs: You can have come, come by. You can have my apartment.  [00:34:04] Craig Dalton: I can, I can see a couch behind you where I could be sleeping. Right.  [00:34:07] Randall Jacobs: Now I'll set you up properly and I'll, I'll stay. I'll stay in a different part of the place. [00:34:14] Craig Dalton: Nice. Speaking of travel. I mean, for me, like I've been longing to ride my bike internationally. I've been fortunate that I've, I've raised my mountain bike overseas. I've also done some road touring over in France on a couple occasions and a little bit in Italy, but I really got my eye on riding gravel and specifically out in general. [00:34:35] I've been talking about a trip in March, uh, that I'm going to certainly extend to the ridership community to join me on. So if I can work out the details on that in January and obviously pandemic willing, um, I'd love to pull that off because there's just something about putting your bike on international territory that, that makes any riding fields.  [00:34:57] Randall Jacobs: yeah, Jarana keeps coming up in my conversations with these bay area folks who are of a certain means and, um, certain level of obsession with writing. Uh, you know, I have friends who've, uh, we're looking to move there and things like that. Uh, so definitely on the agenda for me as well, keeping in the loop. [00:35:15] Craig Dalton: Yeah. [00:35:15] I feel like if it's a, if you're a cyclist, it's just one of those destinations in your life that you need to get to, to find out why the pros are living there. And I did do an episode with our friends at Trek, travel about their trip to Jarana, which is the one I'm kind of eyeing. And you, you, you hear about all the great road riding there, but then to talk to the team over there. [00:35:36] How much dirt there is available and how special it can be. I'm just super stoked and excited to explore that possibility.  [00:35:44] Randall Jacobs: Very cool. Very  [00:35:45] cool. Yeah. And it's I want to do, I think that speaks to a theme generally of more, more group rides with the community in, in a general sense, wherever  [00:35:54] Craig Dalton: yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Like you, I mean, in 2021, early in the year, I like, I definitely had high hopes. Getting our bay area, ridership community together more and getting some routine and having it, frankly not involve me as much. Like I'm happy to facilitate rides, but I also want others to feel compelled, to raise their hand and say, Hey, just, you know, meet me in Fairfax, California. [00:36:16] And we're going to do this route or meet me in mill valley, whatever it is.  [00:36:20] Randall Jacobs: Wait, which brings us to our shared goals for the year. [00:36:24] Craig Dalton: Yeah, exactly. Like as we talked about earlier, I think we've got a lot of big goals for the ride.  [00:36:31] Randall Jacobs: Yeah, I think, uh, building a critical mass in the region so that you can have those in-person interactions, um, you know, talking about having other people, being able to facilitate group rides and so on. Well, there's, we, we need certain features. We need, uh, we need to update our technology stack, potentially migrate away from slack to something more powerful. [00:36:51] Uh, we have a technology partner that we're talking about. Some tools that if realized, could be very helpful in coordinating rides and having, you know, being able to verify vaccination status or have a waiver or, you know, other things that are essential to, uh, making this a good tool, not just for impromptu. [00:37:10] Group rides amongst people, but also like your shop ride and things like this. They need certain tools for these, these events as well. Uh, amongst other features. [00:37:18] Craig Dalton: Yeah. [00:37:18] Yeah. exactly. I mean, it's, it's tough to even consider leaving the platform around on today just because. Everybody's comfortable there, but I do think the only reason we would leave is to add more features And add more things that I think can be beneficial to the rider community. Cause it's going to be a bit of a pain in the ass. [00:37:38] Let's call it like it is. If we ask people to move and there's going to be a little bit of effort and undoubtedly, we're going to lose a few people, but I am optimistic that if, and when we make that decision, that the types of things we're able to offer. Are going to be so next level, whether it's, you know, group conversations or tea times we can have with people or different sort of more high tech features that you were just discussing. [00:38:02] I think that can be a meaningful step forward and really something that we can lean into. [00:38:07] Randall Jacobs: Yeah. And marketplace features having a wallet that facilitates exchange between people, um, and having a different way of establishing trust on the. Like being able to look not at, not just somebody's, you know, score on eBay, how many stars they have, but look like how does this person contribute to the community? [00:38:27] Um, how have I seen them engage? Uh, and having that be part of what provides safety and say like, you know, buying a bike and having it shipped across the country,  [00:38:37] you  [00:38:37] know, this sort of thing.  [00:38:38] Craig Dalton: I think there's a lot of interesting things there. And then on the podcast, you know, I think, you know, I just want to continue the journey I'm on. I would, I would stop if I didn't feel like as a, as an individual, I was not learning every time I have these conversations. And, um, I'm looking forward to talking with more event organizers, because I think as hopefully 20, 22 kicks up and we can have more and more events again, I can highlight them because I think events are a way of highlighting regions. [00:39:07] And their events happened in a moment in time, but the, the legacy of the course creation carries on and people can go out there and commune and ride together on those type of things. So I think there's a lot there. Obviously we're going to continue to see new products come to market, and I also want to continue talking to interesting athletes alone.  [00:39:29] Randall Jacobs: Yeah. [00:39:30] And for me, I think my, you know, my next few episodes, uh, I'm quite excited about, I won't say share who they are yet. Uh, but one is a woman who started a community that I admire. Uh, both her story and her ethos and what she's doing and the scale that she's achieved with it. Uh, and then another, who's one of the key innovators in our industry, like in the early days of carbon fiber and has, has, uh, uh, created a lot of things that have seen diffuse use throughout the year. [00:39:57] And then diving more into kind of the psycho-spiritual aspects of cycling, um, with, with guests who can speak to that more deeply, I've done, uh, you know, you and I have had a couple of conversations that have delved into that a bit. And I did one episode with, uh, Ted klong, a sports psychologist early on. [00:40:14] So exploring those seems a lot more, uh, things that I'm quite excited about in 2022. [00:40:20] Craig Dalton: Yeah, well, it's going to be an exciting year. It's a lot of work doing what we do. We wouldn't do it. If we didn't get great feedback and support from the listener community. So as always keep that feedback coming, keep out there, riding and. I appreciate the time as always Randall and look forward to doing more of these in the dirt episodes and 2022. [00:40:39] Randall Jacobs: appreciate you much, my friend, and to everyone listening. Thank you for being a part of this with us.  [00:40:44] Craig Dalton: Jaris. [00:40:46] So that's going to do it. My friends for this week's edition of in the dirt from the gravel ride podcast. It's our final edition of the year, 2021. I very much appreciate you joining us each week for this journey. As we explore gravel cycling and how it fits into our lives. Big, thanks to competitive cyclist.  [00:41:06] For supporting the podcast. I remember competitive gravel ride and promo code. The gravel ride. We'll get you 15% off your order. If you're looking for information about our global cycling community called the ridership, simply visit And if you're interested in able to support the podcast financially, please visit buy me a gravel ride. I love seeing the comments and your support for the podcast over the years.  [00:41:39] Is greatly appreciated. Until next time here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels

    Moriah Wilson - 2021 Breakout gravel racing season

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 21, 2021 36:03

    This week we sit down face to face with Moriah Wilson to learn her backstory and what set the stage for her breakout racing year in 2021. Episode sponsor: Competitive Cyclist, use code 'TheGravelRide' for 15% off Join the Ridership Support the Podcast Episode Transcription, please excuse the typos: Moriah Wilson [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton this week on the podcast. We have Moriah Wilson. A local mill valley, California resident, at least as of the time of recording who had a breakout year in 2021 on the gravel scene. I first started seeing Moriah's results in the grasshopper series. And if anybody knows the grasshopper series, if you're doing well there, you're likely going to do well anywhere.  [00:00:30] This proved to be true for Moriah with great success out at Unbound at VWR and many other places on the calendar. Culminating with a win at the end of the season at big sugar, gravel. [00:00:42] This conversation happened to be recorded in my backyard. So please enjoy the ambience that nature can provide. Before we jump in i need to thank this week sponsor competitive cyclist.  [00:00:54] From derailleurs to bar tape nutrition, to racks trainers, to tires, helmets, to bibs the cycling kind and beyond. If you spent hours of online researching your dream bike. Some people love this stuff almost as much as the experts that competitive I've mentioned the competitive cyclist gear heads before.  [00:01:14] They're equal parts, customer service and cycling fanatics. They're former pro athletes, Olympians and seasoned athletes with years of experience. All available by phone, email, or chat for product recommendations and hard won advice.  [00:01:28] If you're like me and constantly confused about brake pads, whether I should get steel, organic steel centered or aluminum, and want to figure out the differences once. And for all. The gear heads are there for you. If you have questions about gravel, bike frames, gravel tires, et cetera. I found the gearheads incredibly knowledgeable in this domain.  [00:01:51] I mentioned early on that had a conversation with a gearhead named Maggie, and I kind of walked her through what type of bike I was wanting to buy if I was going to buy a new bike and she really nailed it. Competitive cyclist as a wide range of gravel frames and bikes available that can suit any type of writing need.  [00:02:09] I very much appreciated the hustle of the competitive cyclist team and my last order as I was down to the metal on my brake pads. So it was great to get some replacements in there.  [00:02:19] Fortunately, they've got a 100% return guarantee. So if I screwed up the order, like I have been known to do in the past with brake pads. I know they've got my back. [00:02:28] Go on over to competitive gravel ride and enter promo code thug, gravel ride to get 15% off your first order. Plus free shipping on orders, $50 or more. Some exclusions apply. Go right now and get that 15% off and free slash the gravel ride. And remember that promo code is the gravel ride.  [00:02:54] Would that business out of the way, let's jump right into my interview with Moriah Wilson.  [00:02:59] Moriah. Welcome to the show.  [00:03:01] Moriah Wilson: Thanks for having me and Craig, [00:03:02] Craig Dalton: welcome to the backyard.  [00:03:04] Moriah Wilson: Yeah. Great to be here. Great to be in person with you. As I was  [00:03:06] saying, this is rare instance for me. I think it's about a dozen people. I've got the opportunity to interview face-to-face so it's awesome to have you as a local guest. [00:03:15] Well, when you're in the bed, You make  [00:03:17] Craig Dalton: sense? Yeah. Actually I was super stoked to start seeing your name and seeing mill valley after it. Yeah. Earlier in the year. So that was great. But I'd always like to start off the show by just learning a little bit about your background and how you found your way to gravel cycling, because I know it's a fairly recent affair  [00:03:33] Moriah Wilson: for you. [00:03:34] Yeah, it is definitely the competitive side of. Of cycling is pretty new to me, but I have roots in it, going back to when I was pretty young. So I guess like a quick background, I grew up in Vermont to pretty active, like outdoorsy family, grow up doing a lot of skiing. My dad was an Alpine ski racer and album. [00:03:56] Ski racing coach when I was younger. So I got into racing competitively doing that for a while and ended up racing in college. And. Mountain biking with my parents. And then my friends in the summers in middle school, there's not a lot to do in the town. I grew up in Vermont. It was kinda like just a hobby. [00:04:17] And then I used it to train for skiing as well as I got older. And yeah, so it was pretty like casual, I think for a while. And then when I graduated from college, I moved out to the bay and. Bought a gravel bright bike and well was a cross bike, but I used it as a gravel bike and got connected to some women who were trying to raise cross and invited me to go to some cross races with them. [00:04:43] So I said, why not sure? Like I like to compete. I miss kind of ski racing. And so I did that ended up racing like a full season of cross in 2019. Went across national. Did a couple of gravel races as well. And then COVID happened that early winter, obviously, and nothing, no more racing for a while, but I just kept getting more and more into riding. [00:05:08] Didn't like, yeah, it didn't really step back. Just traveled a lot and rode as much as I could. And then. Earlier this year, I'm signed up for all the races that I could not really knowing what I would get into and having no expectations really at all. And like the results side of things, but just like really excited. [00:05:31] Do some more racing because I had so much fun in 2019 and yeah, I ended up having a pretty great season, nice.  [00:05:38] Craig Dalton: So when you, when collegiate ski racing ended, did you figure that's the end of what you wanted to do in ski racing? And yeah, like  [00:05:46] Moriah Wilson: ski racing is really hard. It I don't know there are other sports like running or something where you maybe have avenues after college, but it's a little bit like. [00:05:55] Like biking, but you really need like a solid program and a lot, it requires a lot of resources, right? Like you need, you definitely need a coach. You pretty much need a team to keep doing it. And like after college, unless you're at a certain level where you're going to world cups or on an Olympic trajectory, like there's not a lot of. [00:06:18] Reason to keep doing it, so yeah, I think most athletes at the end of their college career, pretty much like rapid.  [00:06:27] Craig Dalton: The cyclocross scene, must've been a fun, attractive way to start cycling. It's just so irreverent and so often, particularly in the bay area, just easy to get to the events you sucked in by the community element of it. [00:06:39] Moriah Wilson: Yeah, definitely. Like the vibes at cross races are always so fun. Oh, I cross national. So it's amazing. Just like the energy, the heckling, like it's such a fun spectator sport that I think you end up like. Yeah, with kind of just a good vibes all around. And I really liked that and it did remind me a lot of skiing. [00:07:01] Cause I think there's a lot of that in skiing as well. And so I think that was attractive to me. Did  [00:07:06] Craig Dalton: you immediately recognize that you had a great engine for the sport?  [00:07:10] Moriah Wilson: Yeah. I've I've known that I had a good engine. Like I've. Been more naturally I don't know, fueled for endurance sports, even from a young age, probably should have been a Nordic skier instead of an Alpine skier. [00:07:27] People tried to convince me to convert, but I was like, no. Downhills more fun, too much fun. And, but yeah, I ha I grew up, or one of my ski coaches growing up was really into biking and he always said oh, you could go to the Olympics for mountain biking once you finished skiing. And I always had that in the back of my mind oh, maybe someday, like I could become a good cyclist of some sort and. [00:07:53] I didn't really know what that meant or what that would look like, but I definitely had an idea that mountain bike racing of some sort would be interesting to try out after college. And I did actually do a bit of cross country racing in high school and college just dabbled in a little bit like one or two races a year in Vermont. [00:08:14] And really liked it. So thought maybe I would give it a try. That's why I tried the cross thing  [00:08:21] Craig Dalton: where you living in Marin when you started on  [00:08:23] Moriah Wilson: the cross bike? No, I was living in the city at the time. Okay. Yeah.  [00:08:27] Craig Dalton: Well, you doing longer rides, I know it's obviously cyclocross racing is the shorter course racing, but since the, you have the capable bike, a lot of people ride across the bridge and go, oh  [00:08:35] Moriah Wilson: yeah, no, I was definitely riding in the headlines a lot. [00:08:38] Like I wasn't riding. Doing as long of rides as I'm doing now, because I was still getting into it. But I was building up to at that point, just riding my bike every day, which hadn't been something I'd been doing before that it was like a ride my bike. Do you know, maybe once or twice a week and then two to three times a week. [00:08:54] And so I was just building up at that time. But yeah, the Headlands were definitely where. Learned to grab a ride, I  [00:09:01] Craig Dalton: guess. Yeah. It seems like with the cyclocross race season being in the winter, you've got this bike, you've got these great Hills out in Marin. It's natural that you're going to continue to ride. [00:09:11] Is it some of your cyclocross friends that sort of talked about gravel racing or obviously you were going to be aware of it? What was the first race that you signed up for?  [00:09:20] Moriah Wilson: The first race that I did, I think was old growth. In 2019. Yeah. In August or September, maybe. So I guess it was actually before I did. [00:09:35] I can't quite remember. And then I did grind Duro as well, that year in 2019. So  [00:09:40] Craig Dalton: it's a two quite different races. Old growth classic. I find it to be, it was a great adventurous race. Like you just felt like you were way out there so far. It had some really stern climbs and  [00:09:51] Moriah Wilson: The, I will never forget the end of that course. [00:09:53] Like how Steve, this is so steep.  [00:09:57] Craig Dalton: Yeah, exactly. That's a great one. And then Grindr obviously is one that tests. Your full bag of tricks. It's got very mountain biking type stuff. We on a mountain bike. I was  [00:10:06] Moriah Wilson: on my cross bike for that. And yeah, but had a blast. Like I, since I like have a background in mountain biking, it was, I felt pretty comfortable on it. [00:10:16] And I think at that, by that time I had, ridden that bike in the Headlands enough that yeah, at first I remember riding in the Headlands in. Skinny gravel tires and being like, what is this about? I need my mountain bike for this, and now it's like nothing. But yeah, the Headlands, they do have their, technical sections at times. [00:10:37] Yeah. That's why  [00:10:38] Craig Dalton: it's great. On drop our bikes, it can make any of this stuff exciting if you go fast enough, for sure. Yeah.  [00:10:44] Moriah Wilson: Yeah.  [00:10:45] Craig Dalton: So then. Presumably, you went into a full cross season and then did that drop you at, through the beginning of the pandemic in 2020?  [00:10:52] Moriah Wilson: And then I did two grasshopper races. [00:10:55] I did a low gap and Sweetwater and that was like January and February of 20, 20, 20 before everything shut down. Everything  [00:11:04] Craig Dalton: shut down. Yeah. Yeah. And then it goes quiet and you were doing some other things. Had you had in your mind that 20, 21, assuming that events were going to open back up, that you are going to really go for it and register for a bunch of events? [00:11:16] Moriah Wilson: Yeah. I was like, I'm going to register for as much as I can. And I signed up for Unbound and Everything that I could. And really just wanted to use the years, like a learning experience. I think like it's rare to go into those events, as a beginner or first timer and see a lot of success. [00:11:33] And yeah, I know that like maybe I have the fitness. No, all the details. I don't definitely still don't have all the details dial. There's a lot. I made a lot of mistakes this year that costs me some races. And so I had a lot of good learning experiences and that really was just my goal this year. [00:11:49] And to have had, some of the results that I. I did have was just like a cherry on the top. Yes. Had you  [00:11:58] Craig Dalton: forged some of the relationships you must have now with some of the other female athletes that live around this area to get a gauge for oh, I can ride with Amedee or,  [00:12:07] Moriah Wilson: yeah, I think like between the races that I did in 2020, before COVID and then like some of the, or like earlier races this year, like the local one. [00:12:21] I guess I did one or two hoppers and a couple others. I knew that I probably had what it took from a fitness standpoint to compete with the top female athletes, just because, there are so many really strong female riders in the bay. It's pretty crazy. So it was nice to have. [00:12:43] Like confidence, I think, going to Unbound and going to, some of the other races that draw a wider range of athletes. So yeah,  [00:12:53] Craig Dalton: Yeah. That must have been interesting. So going into 2021 signing up for all these races where you just planning on self-finance. The races, or did you have industry contacts that you could leverage at that point? [00:13:06] Moriah Wilson: No. Everything was pretty much, self-financed the only thing that like I had one sponsor this past year that was Sporkful as a kid sponsor. And they were able to help me out from a financial standpoint. But other than that, it was like, I'm trying to think. I really didn't. Any other help. It was all just, yeah. [00:13:27] Yeah.  [00:13:27] Craig Dalton: It's funny. For me, it's being a fan of the sport. 2020 was this interesting black box where there was all particularly on the women's side of the racing scene. There's all these great women coming up and showing like a little glimmer, maybe. Like a couple of races before the pandemic, or did some major personal effort, like an F Katie or a Strava hill climbing all these different things that you're like, gosh, there's a lot of talent out here and then racing starts opening up, but you're not traveling super far. [00:13:57] So it's like the Northern California women you were seeing who is fast in the grasshoppers. Are the things that are going on in the Midwest. And then eventually it all started to come together when you have like a BWR or something like that. So it's been super fascinating as a fan to watch all these great women come out of nowhere and, see your name on top of the leaderboard. [00:14:16] It's been a lot of fun to watch.  [00:14:18] Moriah Wilson: Yeah, it was really fun to get to know the group of women that's out there. I think this is such a diverse. Field coming from lots of different backgrounds and everyone's super strong. And I think on any given day, given whatever conditions, certain amount of luck, like anything could happen and it's really dynamic racing going on right now. [00:14:40] It's really fun to be a part of. I've really enjoyed it. And you've  [00:14:43] Craig Dalton: been tackling things that have very different profiles, obviously BWR San Diego, long long road section that really pay it, play a big part in it. Unbound having that super long distance of 200 miles, all these different races. [00:15:00] Draw on different skillsets and you seem to be doing pretty well across the board. Is there an area or a type of course, that you feel more confident in than others?  [00:15:09] Moriah Wilson: Yeah, definitely. I think courses that have a lot of climbing definitely suit me. I'm not really. Flats are hard for me. I'm not the best group rider like drafting holding onto wheels is not something that I've quite figured out yet. [00:15:23] I'm working on it really hard. I hope to get a lot better this year. Yeah, so stuff that's got a lot of climbing and doesn't require like a lot of team tactics. Definitely suit me at the moment. And then anything that's also. Has some sort of technical component to it, maybe a little bit of single track. [00:15:41] I think that played to my advantage at BWR, even though there were, there was so much road in it. And I'm trying to think of what else it was like that this year.  [00:15:52] Craig Dalton: Okay, where you went down to big  [00:15:53] Moriah Wilson: sugar, right? Yeah. Big sugar had a little bit of that. Yeah.  [00:15:57] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And the least the chunky roads require a little bit of confidence coming downhill. [00:16:01] Totally. For sure. Yeah. Yeah. I think that's one of the reasons I enjoy interviewing so many event organizers is that there's such an art to creating these events and With a mountain bike background. I'm always pro the single track sections. The more technical  [00:16:15] Moriah Wilson: sections. I love that stuff. Yeah. So  [00:16:18] Craig Dalton: fun. [00:16:18] And I think, you know what it's going to be, what keeps the sport interesting because you can't road racing dynamics. Aren't going to play in that type of environment. So I always love when it advantages given to the more off-road type athletes.  [00:16:32] Moriah Wilson: Yeah. Yeah. It's really cool. To see how different courses can favor certain writers. [00:16:39] And it'll be interesting how, like what to see what happens with the lifetime like grand Prix and how, because that's such a diverse series now you've got Leadville and then unbounded, sea Otter, and like all those are so different. It's cool that there, there will be a way to. Figure out who's the best like diverse writers. [00:17:01] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I think it's really neat that there's an even tighter integration between the mountain epic mountain bike kind of rides and gravel racing these days. Yeah, because I do think that's, that's where the fun and the sport is.  [00:17:13] Moriah Wilson: Definitely. Yeah.  [00:17:14] Craig Dalton: Have you heard any word from lifetime as to like their selection process or I'm assuming you're throwing your hat in the ring for that? [00:17:21] Moriah Wilson: Oh yeah, for sure. I don't know what the selection process involves. I have no idea. So yeah, we'll see. I forget when they did, they're like announcing who everyone is. I think it's in the next couple. Maybe I can't remember. But yeah. I'm excited. I hope. Yeah.  [00:17:43] Craig Dalton: So what, what does 2022 look like for you? [00:17:46] What do you what are some of the races you really want to do well at either? Because they were just a hell of a lot of fun or you think that prestige is going to be good for your career?  [00:17:55] Moriah Wilson: Yeah. I think the whole lifetime series Leadville, for sure. I think finishing second was so incredible this year, but I really want to win to be honest. [00:18:10] Like I, I want to win that one.  [00:18:13] Yeah. I think it suits me really well. I had a lot of fun on that course and  [00:18:19] Craig Dalton: being up at elevation,  [00:18:20] Moriah Wilson: I felt amazing. Like I actually felt really good at elevation. I did acclimate for a couple of weeks leading up to it. But I, my theory and I there's no nothing scientific about this. [00:18:32] I have no idea if this is the case, but because I've spent so much time at altitude as a ski racer, I lived everywhere. In November, December, I would move out to Frisco, which is super close to Leadville. It's like 9,000, 8,009,000 feet. And spend a month there training, going to Vail and copper. [00:18:53] And yeah, so I've lived and trained at altitude in a much different way than like an endurance athlete, would train. But I still think that. From such a young age. Like I started going to Frisco as, I don't know, 12 year old. So I think I've have a lot of years of spending time at altitude. [00:19:13] And I think my body is, has somehow adapted to it is my theory.  [00:19:19] Craig Dalton: What do you think the mix between mountain biking and gravel racing, it's going to look like when your calendar pans out,  [00:19:24] Moriah Wilson: That's hard to say. I think it's, I think it's going to end up being still quite gravel focused. Maybe like 70% gravel, 30% mountain. [00:19:36] If I had to put a percentage on it right now. But yeah, I definitely hope to do a bit more mountain it's just so fun and yeah.  [00:19:44] Craig Dalton: So on the gravel side, what are the events you're stoked to go back to? And why? On the  [00:19:49] Moriah Wilson: gravel side? I am excited for Unbound because I want some redemption there. Yeah. I got, I had, I flooded three times and yeah. [00:20:03] Had to tube every time and it was just a disaster. Like still finished the race. Like it was good to. I think it was good to have faced that adversity and have to like, adjust my goals and expectations halfway through such a big event like that. It was good practice. But. [00:20:22] Yeah. I remember finishing that race and being like, I just want to do it again. I want to do it again right now. And not be a little bit more prepared. Like we probably shouldn't have run the tires that I ran. And there were some other details that, I think after this season I will. Be more prepared for going into all the races. [00:20:42] Craig Dalton: And I think going, having the determination to fix those flats and still ending up in the top 10 shows you that it's just important to keep moving forward and moving forward, it's just fixing the flat, getting back on the bike. Cause you never know what's going to befell your other competitors. [00:20:56] Moriah Wilson: Yes, totally. And I think there's a lot to be said for. Running into sort of those obstacles. It's always easy to keep going or, it's still not easy, but it's easy to keep going when you're having a good day and you don't run into any challenges, but when you run into challenges and adversity and it maybe puts an end to the result that you hoped to accomplish on that day. [00:21:19] It makes it a lot harder to keep going. I definitely. Oh, I had some dark moments there where I really wanted to quit and I was super proud of myself for just keeping, going and finishing that race  [00:21:31] Craig Dalton: at huge. And no one can ever take that away from you. So anytime you're facing adversity in the future, you're going to look back and say I know I can do it. [00:21:39] I'm going to have those sucky moments, but yeah, I'm going to get through it.  [00:21:42] Moriah Wilson: Exactly. Yeah, I think. You learn a lot more from the challenges that you face than you do from any of the smooth sailing moments, so yeah that's one that I'm excited for. I'm excited. I'm think I'm going to do rule three. [00:21:56] I'm really excited for that one. I love Bentonville. I had a great time there this fall. Big sugar, I think will always hold a special place in my heart. That was a really fun race. And yeah, I think the the diversity of that course is going to  [00:22:09] Craig Dalton: be really interesting. That one looked like a lot of fun. [00:22:12] And you can always tell, I think by some of the writers who have been drawn to it, the type of experience that it's going to benefit pace. Winning over there and talking about how he just understood the skill set of the people around him and even talking to Ian Boswell about it. And he just, the, I know I'm going to fall apart when I hit the single track. [00:22:30] So I'm just going to do everything I can within the place. I know that I can Excel.  [00:22:34] Moriah Wilson: Yeah. Yeah. It definitely everyone's going to have a different strategy, which is pretty cool. So yeah, I'm excited for that one. I'm trying to think what else? Oh, I think I'm going to do Vermont Overland. I skipped that one this year. [00:22:47] It just didn't really work with my schedule. But I'm really excited to do that. I'm from Vermont and I've heard amazing things. I love those roads around that area. It's like near where I went to college. Yeah, that'll be a fun one. You must  [00:22:59] Craig Dalton: still have friends back in that scene in Vermont. [00:23:01] Moriah Wilson: Oh yeah. Yeah. It's always fun. I did rooted Vermont this past year and then that was probably one of my favorite races just from a memory standpoint. The community was so great. It was the first time my parents like had watched me, got to watch me race. And ran into a lot of old friends, a lot of old friendships skiing and from biking and just growing up and stuff. [00:23:23] And I think the same thing will be the case for Vermont Overland. So yeah, I really  [00:23:28] Craig Dalton: want to get over to rooted. I, my first mountain bike race ever was at Mount snow. Oh, Vermont, because I grew up on the east coast. I've got like great memories. Similarly. Like it was like an event that my parents came to and it's just so beautiful in that area. [00:23:41] Moriah Wilson: Rooted was so fun. Like I loved that course. It was really fast. Yeah. Really fast. Some really fun class four sections. It rained, which like I had just, it was like BWR two weeks earlier or something. And BWR was the hardest race I've ever done. It was so hot. Yeah, I definitely suffered from the heat on that race and then going to Vermont and having it rain and be like really nice temperature. [00:24:16] It was amazing. I enjoyed that too.  [00:24:19] Craig Dalton: One thing, the longer you stay here in the bay area, the worse you're going to get it riding in hot weather.  [00:24:23] Moriah Wilson: Yeah. I need to get better at I feel pretty good about how my body. At elevation, but the heat is something I need to figure out because I don't think I'm very good at it. [00:24:33] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. So same, like I'm just destroyed from living in the fog belt. Yeah.  [00:24:39] Moriah Wilson: Yeah. We'll have to see I'm to, I don't know. I don't know how to, I there's definitely ways you can, adapt your body to it. Need to do some research. Or just avoid those places. [00:24:49] Craig Dalton: Let's shift gears a little bit. Why don't you talk about the type of equipment you're riding?  [00:24:54] Moriah Wilson: Like which specific by,  [00:24:56] Craig Dalton: yeah. What bike or bike are you riding and what kind of, what tire with do you like to ride?  [00:25:01] Moriah Wilson: Yeah. So I just got a new specialized crux that. One that just came out in October. Before that I'd been racing on a diverge, an older diverge, actually it's like a couple of years old. [00:25:16] And I've only raced let's see, big sugar. It was my first time racing, my new crux. And I could not love that bike more. It is an app. Weapon. I don't know how to describe it better. It's so light and so nimble. But still I feel very comfortable on it and feel like it handles very well and it's very capable. [00:25:40] And I don't know. I always, I like, I prefer to be a little bit under biked. Like I, whenever I only have a hardtail mountain bike and I, but I. Bride that on, trails that most people would ride a pretty big, full suspension bike on. I like pushing the limits of what a bike is capable of doing. [00:25:58] So yeah. And then for tires I have been running Pathfinder 40 twos on my crux. That's what I ran a big sugar. That's what I've had since I got it. And I've been loving those.  [00:26:13] Craig Dalton: Yeah, that seems like a good size. I definitely had been in the 47 camp for a long time, but moved back down to 43. [00:26:20] He was like you, when you have solid off. Capabilities then you can handle a little bit narrower attire. Yeah. Although for a lot of people, particularly in Marin county, I recommend going as wide as they can. Cause a lot of times people that just aren't comfortable going downhill and you look at their bike and it's totally optimized around going up the hill. [00:26:39] Yeah.  [00:26:39] Moriah Wilson: All my diverge, I was mostly on 38 and I didn't ride it a ton around here, but And I didn't really like to ride it around here. Now. I think that I'm on 42 is I think it makes it so much better. And especially without having, the future shock on the Crocs and having it be just a pretty rigid, stiff bike having 48 versus, or 40 twos versus 30 eights. [00:27:06] It's nice. Yeah,  [00:27:07] Craig Dalton: it helps a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. And for the listener, you may recall, I spoke to Ben Edwards from specialized at about that bike. So you can get a little bit more details if you go back in your feed and listen to that conversation with Ben. Yeah. So have you had any, you've had such a great what I'll call a breakout season this year in 2021, have you been able to navigate the private tier sponsorship model and get a little bit more support going through. [00:27:32] Moriah Wilson: Yes I have. And it's still still figuring out the final details. And I definitely took my time sorting it all out. I debated maybe joining a team. There are definitely a number of teams that reached out to me and I thought maybe, that could possibly be the way to go, but I've been talking to a lot of people and reflecting on what I want to get out of this. [00:27:55] Really being able to set my own schedule and be in control of where I go and what my sponsors are and all that. The private tier like avenue seemed like the way to go. So that's definitely where I'm headed. And. Yeah, I'll be supported by specialized for next season and wahoo as well as a sponsor and the feed. [00:28:21] If you're familiar with a feed for nutrition and scratch as well. And then working on a couple others styling in, but I won't say, cause they're not finalized yet, but those are the ones that are pretty much. And yeah, I'm excited. It's definitely, taken some time to sort all that stuff out. [00:28:39] But I think no I'm pretty excited to be working with those brands and it'll be great to have their support. Yeah.  [00:28:46] Craig Dalton: A hundred percent. I guess that's the challenge with the private tier model. You just have to be stay on top of those discussions and meet the right people. Yeah. Cobbled together the right program. [00:28:56] That's going to make it all work versus a team. Maybe handing you a, a single document that says, here you go.  [00:29:03] Moriah Wilson: Yeah. There's some thing, certainly that's simple as an athlete, if that's not something you want to deal with, that makes a lot of sense. And, but I don't know. I think this is I want to be able to manage the. [00:29:16] Relationships more personally. And  [00:29:20] Craig Dalton: yeah. And are you gonna keep your day job at specialized  [00:29:25] Moriah Wilson: exam for this season? We'll see what who knows what's going to happen in the future? I have no idea. But yeah, I'm really fortunate. Be part of a great team who has given me a lot of support and flexibility in terms of, when I actually work, I definitely take time out of my day to train and work odd hours at times, work on the weekend, work at night. [00:29:46] I'm lucky to have that flexibility and that support and Yeah, we'll see how it goes. I think it'll be manageable this year. I'm definitely going to be traveling a lot. But I'm also fortunate that my job is I can do it remote very easily. I'll be going to the office. But otherwise like doing it on the road is really not too big of a  [00:30:08] Craig Dalton: deal. [00:30:09] That's great. It's great to have that supportive. Employer that just understands, like they can give you the flexibility. And the nice thing is a lot of times as a cyclist, you want nothing more than to be sitting up on a couch with a computer on your lap.  [00:30:21] Moriah Wilson: Totally. Like when I get home from a long ride, I'm like, I like, I don't want to go, like sometimes yeah. [00:30:30] Sitting at my desk or sitting on the couch, responding to emails is like the perfect thing that I need to do. Like it's great. Yeah. You need that rest and that recovery and it does balance each other out.  [00:30:44] Craig Dalton: Yeah. It's been a lot of fun. As the listener knows I work at a nonprofit called bike index is one of the things I do at my time. [00:30:50] And one of our communications director was on the Olympic track program. And it was hilarious, like getting emails from her immediately after seeing her like race ATrack world cup or, be at the Olympics. It's funny. But she said the same thing. It's. What else am I going to do? I'm just, I'm a legit legitimately needing to just sit around and not do anything. [00:31:10] So might as well exercise my brain and get some  [00:31:13] Moriah Wilson: work done. Yeah. Yeah, totally.  [00:31:16] Craig Dalton: Well, it seems like the bay area has been agreeing with you. And as we were saying offline, there's just so many great female athletes and male athletes around the area. Have you found that it's just a great place to train and make  [00:31:29] Moriah Wilson: connections? [00:31:30] It's the best place to train? I've definitely. Yeah. Now that I could feasibly go fully remote. Technically I'm not a remote employee right now. So I need to be based out of the bay, but, I've thought about moving out of the area and I just, I don't want to leave. [00:31:47] It's too good for where, like for the riding and where, what I want to be doing with writing right now. I just am always in awe of. The riding around here when they leave and come back getting on these roads and the trails and it always takes my breath away and I feel very motivated, I think when I'm here. [00:32:07] Craig Dalton: Yeah. It's so interesting. Living in the city, just riding across the golden gate bridge and San Francisco is such a vibrant city and then to come into Marin and be able to. Do a 50 mile loop and essentially be off-road the entire time is just such a luxury.  [00:32:19] Moriah Wilson: Yeah. It's you take it for granted? [00:32:22] Sometimes I think I'm like, growing up in Vermont, it's similar to, but you don't have the year round aspect of it. It can go for a gravel, endless gravel rides from my house in Vermont without ever touching pavement, but You can only do that, from may to October and then it's no, either us the time. [00:32:44] So being able to ride here year round is it's pretty special. Yeah.  [00:32:49] Craig Dalton: And I think you mentioned this with respect to BWR San Diego. It's like we don't have those long peddling miles necessarily. Everything is so up and down here that it, I don't know, it feels different on your body. So I'm with you when I get into a race. [00:33:03] We're an event with a lot of just rolling mile after mile these long distance things. I'm just not used to peddling that much consistently.  [00:33:11] Moriah Wilson: Yeah. I'm definitely going to try to get up further north this  [00:33:15] Craig Dalton: cat on [00:33:17] Moriah Wilson: this this winter get up to Napa Sonoma and kinda, I think the riding up there's a little bit. More aligned with,  [00:33:25] Craig Dalton: I think it's describing. Yeah. I think that's going to be more similar to maybe some of the mid-west miles you may get in your racing calendar.  [00:33:32] Moriah Wilson: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. [00:33:34] Yeah. Definitely. It can be hard to find flat miles. It doesn't really exist. I know that's  [00:33:40] Craig Dalton: why my trouble, like I just, there's no easy days. And it's so blessed that like within 10 minutes of here, I can be on some trail going up hill that I just, I want to be, off-road so much more than I want to be on a road that it's always ends up being uphill. [00:33:54] Yeah, definitely. I feel that. Yeah. Well, this was a lot of fun. I appreciate you coming over and giving us a little bit of an overview. It sounds like the cat is demanding that this interview is over. So maybe we have to listen to my feline Lord up there.  [00:34:09] Moriah Wilson: Well, thank you for having me. I'm really glad I was able to come and chat with you in person. [00:34:13] Yeah. Best of luck next year. Thank you so  [00:34:15] Craig Dalton: much.  [00:34:16] So that's going to do it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. Big thanks to Moriah for coming by the backyard and for representing mill valley. So well out there on the national gravel calendar.  [00:34:28] Another thank you to competitive Go over to competitive gravel ride and enter promo code thug, gravel ride. To get 15% off your first full priced order. Plus free shipping. On orders of $50 or more.  [00:34:43] I wanted to remind everybody who's listening to come on over to the ridership and join our free global forum for gravel cyclists. You can visit And join the conversation. We'd love to hear from you. If you've got any feedback about the podcast, you can direct message me there directly in a channel dedicated to the podcast, but much more importantly, you can talk to gravel, cyclists from all over the world to get beta on your local rides and to learn where to ride.  [00:35:13] If you're traveling.  [00:35:15] If you're looking to support the podcast directly, you can visit buy me a gravel ride. Any, and all of your contributions are appreciated. And if you have a moment, ratings and reviews are hugely important for this podcast. I read everything that's written about the podcast and absolutely appreciate your feedback.  [00:35:35] Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels. 

    Carly Fratianne - Muscian and Gravel Racer

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2021 46:02

    This week we sit down with Carly Fratianne, musician and gravel racer. Carly turned a period of professional unrest due to Covid into a passion for gravel cycling. We look at how her miles and miles of riding led to artistic inspiration and to completing UNBOUND 200.  Episode Sponsor: Competitive Cyclist use code 'TheGravelRide' Carly's music: Lui and Wyd  Join the Ridership Support the Podcast Automated episode transcription (please excuse the typos): Carly Fratianne [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel rod podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. For those long time, listeners, you may have noticed a little different intro music today.  [00:00:19] That's because on today's show, we're interviewing Carly  [00:00:23] That intro music was courtesy ever band. W Y D she also just recently released a music under the artists name, Louis.  [00:00:32] So why is Carly on the podcast today? Pretty valid question. If you ask me, [00:00:39] As you can imagine the pandemic has not been kind to musicians and people who earn their living, playing out in live stadiums, et cetera. Carly is one of those musicians who turn that kind of available time into something different. She became a gravel racer and actually completed. Unbound in 2021. I thought it was an interesting conversation. As you know, I love the fact that gravel is such a inviting community.  [00:01:08] And to hear Carly's story and her journey to gravel cycling, I just think is really interesting. And I thought it was a unique opportunity. At the end of the year to expose us all to a little new music. So i hope you enjoy this rather unique episode of the gravel ride podcast. [00:01:26] Before we jump into this week show, I need to thank this week. Sponsor competitive cyclist. Competitive cyclist is the online specialty retailer of gravel and mountain bikes components apparel and accessories Be trained, cycling standout brands like pock castelli pearl izumi in five 10 it's unrivaled in-house bike assembly operation they bring the personalized attention of a local bike shop along with the selection and convenience only possible while shopping online. [00:01:55] As I've mentioned before, the real difference that competitive cyclists are the gearheads they're equal parts, customer service, cycling fanatics gear heads are former pro athletes, Olympians and seasoned athletes. With years of experience, all available by phone, email, or chat for product recommendations and hard won advice. I had a great experience with my personal gear head maggie but as i mentioned on the last episode is on the competitive site and i think i spent 45 minutes just cruising around looking at all the great gravel goodies over there. [00:02:32] I ended up way, overfilling my cart and had to edit it back down for my budget. But I got a few important, nice to haves and some critical maintenance items that I haven't been able to find in stock. Anywhere else says stoked to actually have brake pads. It turns out they're a very important component of breaking.  [00:02:52] Anyway, I encourage you to go check out competitive gravel ride. And two promo code, the gravel ride, and you'll get 15% off your first full price order. Plus free shipping on orders of $50 or more. Some exclusions apply. I mentioned the other day that I placed the order in the morning and saw it actually got a shipping notification that afternoon. So there's still time to get those holiday orders in.  [00:03:18] Go right now and get 15% off. Plus free slash the gravel ride. And remember that promo code is the gravel ride. Would that business out of the way, let's jump right into my interview with Carly.  [00:03:34] Carly welcome to the show. Hey, thanks for having me. I'm excited to have this conversation because it's going to be twofold. I get to talk to you about being an artist and a gravel cyclist, which is a unique position on the pod. [00:03:48] Carly Fratianne: It's a pretty interesting D person dish world too.  [00:03:53] Craig Dalton: Yeah, absolutely. Let's start by talking about, just a little bit about your background, both as an athlete and a musician, and then maybe we can talk about how the pandemic kind of brought them two together, for sure.  [00:04:05] Carly Fratianne: As an athlete. [00:04:06] I'd say I was fair to Midland in as a cross country runner in middle school and high school, but that was about the extent of my organized activities. There were some like childhood soccer, but nothing to clinical. And then I was always skateboarding and riding my bike around after school, in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio which was where I got my first taste of freedom. [00:04:34] And that's definitely. Carried with me for the remaining years of trying to just pursue that musically and I guess athletically, but I like to think of it more as adventuring.  [00:04:49] Craig Dalton: That's so funny how, like that. Baseline of endurance athletics, like running track or cross-country in high school or swimming. [00:04:58] So many people I talked to they do that and then they might not do anything for many years. And then they pick up the bike and all of a sudden they're like, oh wow, I already have this fundamental engine that makes me halfway decent as a beginner in this.  [00:05:10] Carly Fratianne: Yeah, totally. It definitely makes it like more immediately fun, I think, too, which like, you don't have to do so much the legwork, no pun intended, but to get yourself into a position where you can really like go out and do some serious efforts and then once you build on that, Kinda just like how cool are your routes? [00:05:32] Just like how much of this can you do before you get bored?  [00:05:36] Craig Dalton: Yeah, exactly. So it sounds like you laid the groundwork for adventure and at least an appreciation for the outdoors, but presumably given your vocation now, you were also pretty actively pursuing.  [00:05:49] Carly Fratianne: Definitely. Yeah, that was, I think that was probably my first real love. [00:05:53] I've been doing that since I was a kid as well. And that is what's driven me to explore, in a less. Less on the bike, but just in general, I think like the pursuit of, a new inspiration and new muse and just a different, like geographical place has always inspired and informed the art. [00:06:17] And I think thusly, like having cycling as like a. Like another means of propulsion is they're just so intrinsically woven  [00:06:26] Craig Dalton: together. And in the years prior to the pandemic, was that one, your kind of effort towards music and your kind of commitment and the number of hours was really spiking up. [00:06:37] Carly Fratianne: Yeah, for sure. I, so I was in w Y D and Southern were to time. Projects for me. And then I also, had I worked at a job as a screen printer and in Columbus, or I was, waiting tables. And we were gigging out, but I between the two bands, it was at least two or three weekends out of the month. [00:07:00] And just traveling as much as we could and Recording all the time. And that was a pretty serious time commitment there. And. It was no longer such a heavy presence from, due to the COVID lockdowns and stuff. It was, there was just like a lot of empty space there.  [00:07:20] Craig Dalton: Yeah. It must've been it's so shocking to have all those live venues, which in addition to playing, I'm sure you were an active participant in listening and going out to live events and knowing others in the industry, including my cousin, like just that dramatic. [00:07:35] Removal of that entire part of your life. I can only imagine how jarring it must've been.  [00:07:42] Carly Fratianne: It was crazy. If I'm honest, I don't even like really remember a lot of that time period. I would just like, so just like devastated and it's almost like I'm only now realizing like what like at serious, like depressive time that was personally. [00:08:01] But yeah, like the venues, in Columbus, they're all owned by people that we know, like they're like close friends and it's a very like tight knit scene there. Being worried about him, maybe they're not going to come back online or who's going to be able to make it through this. [00:08:15] Are we ever going to be able to do this again? It was a lot of big questions and really just nothing to do, but wait, see how it pans out.  [00:08:25] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And I remember certainly personally in the early days you were thinking, oh, weightings going to look like two weeks or a month.  [00:08:32] Carly Fratianne: Yeah. I remember getting so we had shows lined up, obviously like before the thing I was actually in Texas when the initial lockdown happened and I came back up to Columbus and we still had. [00:08:46] Between the two bands, at least a half a dozen shows that were scheduled to happen and within the next like month or two and yeah. A domino effect where everybody was trying to figure out if like what we needed to do to postpone things or like how to, work with the logistics. [00:09:02] And it would, he'd get emails from promoters. Yeah, I think. We'll schedule it again for next month or something, or we're going to postpone our tour date here for a month or two. And we'll see about whatever September, I don't even remember what the actual dates were, but then it was just like, everything just went to a screeching hole and it was like, okay, we're looking at 2024. [00:09:26] Okay this is happening now.  [00:09:29] Craig Dalton: Devastating. So when you're, as you're going through that moment, obviously, they've, they're like this big sense of loss and transition. Was the bike something you immediately, you sought out for solace or did you have to go through a process and then discover the bike again? [00:09:44] Carly Fratianne: You know what I is, it's actually funny. So I had just kinda started getting into doing some like more long distance stuff. In the, probably the year before, like the year leading up to it, I was riding, but it was mostly road riding. Cause I just didn't really know that gravel existed yet. I knew it existed, but I didn't know that there was like a community in Columbus or, in the world. [00:10:10] That was accessible to me. And I met some people in Columbus. One of them, I started work at a bike shop in Columbus called Velo science. And the owner, Jeff Clark. He was one of my first gravel buddies. And he introduced me to a bunch of people and there's actually the Ohio gravel grinders is a little community that yeah. [00:10:33] Craig Dalton: Yeah, for the frequent for frequent listeners. I've had Ray George on the podcast before and love, love all the effort that Ray and everybody involved in that community has put into Ohio and putting, just putting such great information out there for wannabe. Yeah, gravel, cyclists. It's  [00:10:49] Carly Fratianne: yeah, it's awesome. [00:10:50] That was how I started getting into it. I would just go, on ride with GPS and see what they had on their page. And there's always something that looked like fun and there's like you said, they're so like, informed and like the routes themselves are all uploaded with like awesome like notes and there's a huge dog here or bring a shit ton of water because there is none. [00:11:13] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I feel like there's one ride that there's a signature animal, like a donkey or something that you come  [00:11:18] Carly Fratianne: yeah. Donkey March Yeti. I, yeah, I was just seeing some friends when I visited him the other day, the thing is hilarious. I only, I knew he existed. But I never seen him. And I was on a ride one day. [00:11:32] I was training for Unbound with my friend, Melissa, and we were riding down this road out it's out in Homer is the little town. Okay. And we were just going down and I saw just like a F we okay to rewind for a split. Second, we had been chased by more dogs on this ride then like you would believe was humanly possible. [00:11:54] It was like five or six of them. And we were just, we were like pissed and stressed out. It was like, it was traumatic in a funny way that, you know, we as cyclists to understand. But. So we're coming down the road and she's a little bit in front of me. And I just see this flash of brown movement come from behind this like really thin tree line. [00:12:17] And I didn't see that there was like a wire fence or anything. I was just like, oh my God, Mel look out like screaming at her. Move cause she didn't see it. And I stopped the bike cause I realized it's not a dog and I didn't even know what it was. And this donkey just reached his head over the fence and uttered the loudest most hilarious, two minutes of sound. I have ever heard in my life. I wish I had recorded it. It was so funny and I just stood there and Mel just stood there and we were just like, what is this creature? Then obviously figured out that it was the infamous donkey machete. We felt really bad that we didn't have any extra food for him. [00:12:55] So  [00:12:56] Craig Dalton: I feel like that's a Ohio badge of honor to visit that donkey.  [00:13:01] Carly Fratianne: Gotta do it. Yeah, you got, it's really funny. Such a thing now that when we met him the first time, the. Came out with a huge carrot and was just like, oh yeah, I figured you guys didn't have any food for him. So I got to give him this. [00:13:17] Otherwise he'll just stand there and do that all day. He's just so used to the cyclists coming through she's we don't even really feed him anymore. Each just gets enough food.  [00:13:27] Craig Dalton: That's so funny. I'm sure Ray, who I'm sure you interact with would love to hear. Like the work that he and the community have done felt inviting, felt informative. [00:13:38] We talk about that so much on this podcast. Just the idea of the importance of locals, building community around gravel cycling, because it is intimidating, like even here and wherever you are, when you go out into the wilderness, like it's a little bit confusing, can be a little bit scary. It can be a lot intimidate. [00:13:56] When you're first getting into it. So having someone who's out there just putting information out there, and it sounds like their ride with GPS files are filled with, notes of where to get water and where the donkey is and all kinds of good stuff. It's such a powerful effort that locals can do wherever they are to put good vibes out there in the gravel. [00:14:15] Oh, my  [00:14:16] Carly Fratianne: God. Absolutely. And to, yeah to tap on your point about him being like intimidating in the wilderness and stuff. Like I was pretty, I'm a pretty small bodied female in. I think that I'm like, I was not brought up socialized to just go off into the wilderness like that and throw caution to the wind. [00:14:37] But, and I don't think that a lot of young girls are, or, young people in general these days and to. I have even just a little bit of guidance too, just to show you what you're capable of and help you get your foot in the door has built like an immense amount of confidence for me. [00:14:55] And I'm sure for plenty of other people and just knowing that you can go out there and like most of the people you meet are actually going to be pretty nice. And like you don't have to be afraid of coyotes usually. And there's just like a lot of. I don't want to say irrational fear, but like a lot of unchecked fear that kind of, if you can just get over it a little bit, you can get over it a lot, a bit. [00:15:21] And having the guidance of a community is like pretty crucial to getting over  [00:15:25] Craig Dalton: that first step. Absolutely. Yeah. I think once you get that right bike, that right. Gravel bike that's capable, even if your notion is that I'm going to start on the right. Then you start seeing little dirt paths and maybe you take a quarter mile on the dirt and you start to realize, yeah, not only am I capable of doing this, not only is my bike capable of doing it, but I'd like to do it more and it's better than the time I'm spending on the road and safer, et cetera. [00:15:50] Yeah.  [00:15:50] Carly Fratianne: It's safer. More interesting stuff. I always joke with my friends that I have to meet a new cow every day. It's like a hilarious little mantra of mine just to continue to explore, even if, you're landlocked in an area, just keep looking for more different stuff.  [00:16:09] Craig Dalton: Yeah. So in those early days of the pandemic, as you started to discover gravel riding a little bit more, it sounds like you're available time to explore also expanded because you weren't able to gig the way you were and maybe your other employment wasn't as as fruitful. [00:16:25] Carly Fratianne: Yeah. Yeah. It was a lot of long days. I did I did my first century ride. I don't even remember when that was. It was probably right about when I got back from Texas, I had been working at rogue fitness as a like assembly line worker. I was just like building squat racks for like the CrossFit scene. [00:16:51] I was, that was very hard work. And I like took a day. And I wrote a century ride with one of my friends Alex, who was the basis in Southern. And I had never done a ride that long before. And I was just like, oh my God, I can just go and spend the whole freaking day on the bike if I want to this is amazing. [00:17:10] And so I just started going out or like long days, at least a couple of times a week. I loved it. I just love I would listen to music sometimes, but I really just loved the solitude. And I hardly even rode with anyone. Like when I was first getting into it, I'm into like the longer rides. [00:17:29] And then I guess it was when I started riding with with Jeff that I got really super hooked on the gravel and just that sort of became the primary focus is just to find new roads and just get off of the, get off of the beaten path. So to speak,  [00:17:47] Craig Dalton: not that there were likely any events, but were you doing any events at that time or was it all solo riding or with friends? [00:17:54] Carly Fratianne: It was all similar writing and occasionally with friends they canceled all their races. I think I was signed up to do my first advantage. It wasn't a race it's called the tossers just stands for a tour this side of river valley. And it's it's 200 miles, but it's like in two days, so you get taken out and back a hundred miles. [00:18:17] And that was canceled. I was like training for that. When I was. Coming back from Texas. So that was going to be my first event and they canceled that. And then everything else just tumbled off  [00:18:31] Craig Dalton: during this period of time where you're getting all those miles in. What was going on with your kind of musical career? [00:18:37] Was it, were you working on stuff at the time? Does writing help you come up with lyrics or ideas?  [00:18:44] Carly Fratianne: Yeah, yeah, it's a lot of songs were written on a bike this past year. It's an amazing place to process. You get out there and you just have, the wheels spinning and you just start thinking about stuff. [00:18:57] And I tend to think really rhythmically when I'm writing lyrics. Okay. And something about being on the bike is just it's a really like good like rhythmic activity. So it I don't know why, but it just stimulates your brain a little bit. And so I was, yeah, I guess to, to answer your question, I was writing and recording like a little bit In had a little demo studio set up in the house that I was living at the time with my partner in the band, w I D a, we were trying to track stuff, but it was slow going, I wrote a lot that year, but I didn't really, I wasn't really, for any specific. [00:19:42] Purpose, like I haven't even really recorded a lot of that music and it was just a really like strange black hole of time, wherein it didn't really feel important to be making art that was like for a purpose. I guess that's just like the nature of like human crazies, but Yeah, it was mostly just for expression. [00:20:07] And I guess that like break period was informative to I think on I don't want to say better physical level, but there was something in my like, spirit that just deeply needed to just turn everything off for a while.  [00:20:24] Craig Dalton: Interesting. I want to come back to the gravel cycling side of things, but before we do the culmination and then this year in 2021, you've actually launched a solo project. [00:20:35] Is that correct?  [00:20:37] Carly Fratianne: Yeah. Yeah.  [00:20:39] Craig Dalton: Oh, yeah. Is that just personal curiosity? Is are there complexities, obviously you're continuing to work with WIDS as a band or their complexities and kind of managing those interpersonal relationships or was it pretty clear oh, this personal thing is, feels so different than it's a different expression of my art. [00:20:57] Carly Fratianne: It's you know what? It's a little bit easier than I thought it was going to be. Actually, I was worried about that too, but. Keeping communication open is always key. But I think also like it, this material that I was working on for when I started working on the Louis project was definitely very different or at least if it felt that way to me. [00:21:22] And I think I, if you asked anyone that was involved in the project, they would either project, they would probably agree. So I don't think there was a ton of I don't know there wasn't really much friction, but it is you bring up a good point that there were some conversations that had to be had. So yeah,  [00:21:38] Craig Dalton: that for the listener, you won't know this, but in the intro, I've played a little bit of the w Y D track that was shared with me. [00:21:46] And I'll just drop in right now, your need for now track under the artist's name of Louie and let the listener take a look at it. And. Awesome. [00:21:58] Yeah.  [00:24:33] Cool. So that was great. I, it's funny. I was playing it last night for my seven year old son and he yelled in from the other room.  [00:24:39] He's I really [00:24:40] Like. that song. [00:24:41] He's very he's very musical, so it's super cute. And he periodically yells things like that to me. So for the seven year old crowd, I guess you nailed it. That  [00:24:51] Carly Fratianne: is awesome. And got started from young.  [00:24:55] Craig Dalton: Exactly. Exactly. I'm sure it's going to be a cool journey and hopefully, you'll be able to get back to both gigging as a solo artist and back with the band. [00:25:03] Cause it sounds like that's where you really come alive on stage.  [00:25:07] Carly Fratianne: For sure. Yeah. I, it's been a lot of solo, small shows this year, so far which has actually been really nice. I do miss being up there and being loud. W I D is had the opportunity to play a handful of like bigger, full capacity shows. [00:25:24] And Madison is strange drug. I tell you what it'd be ended up there. It's the kind of energy that I feel really privileged to have gotten to experience even just in the years that I've been doing it. But yeah, there is a good intimacy with the solo thing. That's been enough to hold me over,  [00:25:44] Craig Dalton: yeah. Yeah. I I think a drug is probably an apt comparison because I imagine that it just feels electric to be on stage and in front of people and to feel the energy and the enthusiasm. Yeah.  [00:25:57] Carly Fratianne: Yeah. It's it's absolutely on paralleled. When you're, especially in a hometown show and you're in a room full of people that are like really stoked on what you're doing. [00:26:08] You can just feel the energy. It's like a force of nature and it just comes right back at you. And it's it takes days for you to be able to shake it off even really  [00:26:19] Craig Dalton: yeah. Now for the most awkward segue in podcasting history, talking about community and feeling that energy, I did want to come back to you did Unbound, which is crazy to think about, obviously you've been active your whole life and it's not like you're a new athlete, but to go from, Hey, I like this gravel riding thing to knocking out on. [00:26:41] It's quite a journey. So why don't you talk about like maybe how you got exposed to Unbound and what made you think it was a good idea to go for  [00:26:48] Carly Fratianne: it? Oh my God. Okay. This is I truly couldn't have recreated this. If I had to re-engineer my life it was just very happenstance. I knew of Unbound. [00:27:01] Just cause I had watched, YouTube videos of, cause I, once you get into it, you're like, oh my God this is crazy. Like these people do this stuff. This is just nuts. So I had watched a couple of videos about it and I was just like, man, like that is some wild shit. I don't even know how you can do that. [00:27:18] And. I was, I had just joined there's a cycling team called lady NAR shredders in Columbus. And obviously they were no amendments. We were just organizing smaller group rides or, going out and a couple of people at a time to just hang out and get to know each other. And I. [00:27:37] Meegan Gerkey who is, I don't know if she's still the, one of the administrators, but she was she was doing the recruiting and she sorta took me under her wing and helped show me a bunch of stuff, just about like how to do bike riding in a real, like more scientific way. [00:27:55] And then Melissa wick who had also just joined that year. And we were, the three of us were like the ones that were into the gravel the most. So we got together and did a gravel ride. It was cold. I feel like it was probably, I want to say December, maybe November, December of that, of the year before. [00:28:15] We had just all met and we're just riding or riding along, talking about stuff. And Meagan heads, she was set to do it in 2021 or 2020. Oh yeah, 2020. And then when it got deferred, she was going to do it the next year because they announced that they were going to have it. And Melissa had also signed up and they were talking about it and I was like, oh my God. [00:28:41] You guys just do that. You guys are going to do that race. Like you gotta be kidding me. And then they're both just you should do it too. And I was just like, okay whatever. So it was funny. The lottery opened like that. It was like that week. I think it was like a couple of. Later. And I like set an alarm on my phone and everything. [00:29:05] I like typed out my little submission and I sent it in and didn't really think I was just like, alright that's in there. And all known like a couple of months, I just keep riding my bike and whatever. And then I went down to Texas in, I think February late February. And it was just doing a bunch of training down here. [00:29:27] Cause it's nice out and it's boom, not snowing. I was able to keep getting some like longer endurance rides in without getting frostbite. And I got, I was like headed out to go camp in hill country and I got an email on my phone and it just said you're in. And I looked at it and I was like, oh shit. [00:29:48] Okay. All right. So immediately I called Melissa and me. I'm just like, okay, you guys we gotta get serious. Like we gotta go do this thing. And they're just like, oh yeah, whatever. So I went I spent another month in Texas and then I went back to Columbus and the three of us just started training like crazy. [00:30:07] And. Yeah, we were doing some really absurd rides, just trying to get as much gravel and as much distance as possible. And I think the training for that race was like some of the most fun I've ever had in my life. Just like the amount of like insane experiences that were had on bikes between the three of us is just I didn't, I wouldn't have thought it was possible to like, have that much fun and be doing a freaking bike ride. [00:30:39] Yeah. Then we did the race and we all finished and we were just like okay. That was crazy. And that what we do,  [00:30:46] Craig Dalton: how would, how did that feel lining up at the starting line with such an energy and large field at Unbound? It must've been crazy compared to what you'd been experiencing previously. [00:30:58] Carly Fratianne: Oh yeah. So my, I did my first race. It was a 50 mile race in Ohio, and then I did the gravel Locos race in Texas. So those were the only two organize events I'd ever done. And they were both like, super-duper small. Like the one in Ohio is I think I was the only person in my age, like in my wave for that And then the Heico race was like super small. [00:31:23] It was the first year they'd done it. Awesome. And then gravel Locos is awesome. But that too is just I don't even, they were like a hundred people or something there, and this was like nuts. Like you see like videos, people post of like the start lines at these events, but like you, when you have that, when you're in the middle of it, and this is just Unreal. [00:31:45] And to just to think if you've never done the event before, you're literally just sitting there, like you have no idea what to expect. All the training in the world could go out of the window in a second. Like it's just such an intense place.  [00:31:59] Craig Dalton: The interesting thing is like you think about gravel riding. [00:32:01] And for many of us, it's like a small group or solo affair. And when you're riding on a 12 foot wide gravel road, You've got a lot of room to pick lines, right? Your, you can go wherever you want. And then all of a sudden you join one of these events with a thousand people in it or more, you don't get to pick your lines. [00:32:18] Like you're 12 abreast on a 12 foot road, and you'd never know what's going to come up. I imagine in those first few miles, at least, right? Oh my God.  [00:32:27] Carly Fratianne: Yeah, there were, oh God, there were so many sketchy areas in the first 50 miles of that. I saw quite a few wrecks or near wrecks. And it, you're just like on top of each other and nothing employer is like just such an interesting mix of. [00:32:51] Perfectly graded, flat roads. And then just like the gnarliest, like it's just like a washed out Creek, but like no same motorist would drive a car on it, but it's like the same problem. And you're just like, how can this be? And when you're proud on top of each other, like you said, there's, you can't see any lines, let alone a good one. [00:33:11] So you're just. Holding the bars and like praying, you're just like bunny hopping from rock to rock. Just like hoping you don't get a  [00:33:20] Craig Dalton: flat. Yeah. Yeah. You imagine the PR pros and fast people at the front of the race trying to get out ahead of it. But when I'm doing these events and imagine like you there's no getting out ahead of anybody, like there's always going to be someone ahead of you and behind you. [00:33:33] Carly Fratianne: Oh, yeah, you're definitely just in the pack until the pack explodes and it can start, they can take a while to get get spaced out. It's it is it's super wild too. Cause you know, you ride the first half of that race and you're just like sardines and then, by mile one, 20 or. What you're like riding past people that are taking a nap, it's just such a different experience in the second half. [00:34:00] Craig Dalton: Did you spend a lot of time thinking about that second half and how to make sure you were fueled up and fit enough for it? Cause I imagine, the first half of the. Obviously like many of us can get to a hundred mile fitness, but beyond a hundred miles, it's both a different story from a fitness perspective, but also from a nutrition and hydration perspective, any corner you've cut is going to be a problem. [00:34:22] Carly Fratianne: Oh my God. Absolutely. That was, that was one thing that I really actually did have to train for. Specifically was like being able to like, take enough nutrition on the bike. Because you it's true, like you, your body it stops being able to like process things after awhile when you're working that hard. [00:34:41] And the heat is a huge factor that I think doesn't always get taking it in deep and as it shifts really quickly, and once you have started to dehydrate, you can. Really eat any more than what had guessed, which basically renders you in a state of almost bonking for like until you figure it out. [00:35:07] And I don't even, I had a couple of like really like weird, bad nutrition choices. But I think I was able to kind of phone it in a little bit as far as like being able to keep the food down. So the the actual training from a fitness standpoint was basically just a get as much gravel as you can. [00:35:31] And because. By the end of a hundred miles or whatever, you're like your whole body starts to just a it's it's like your legs are tired. Sure. But like also, like you're carrying your water on your back and you're just like riding up and down rocks. And everything is just like shaking around, like constantly. [00:35:51] And I had to just prepare for that by I guess just like doing rides with like fully loaded, even when I didn't need that water on my back. I would take the camera back with me. And then nutrition, I. I experimented with a lot of stuff, because I knew that I was going to need something that was not going to be like invasive to the gut. [00:36:12] And what Mel and I landed on was we made some of those recipes out of that scratch labs the portables book. Oh my God. It was amazing. Yeah. We just basically made like a bunch of different kinds of rice cakes and just wrap them in foil which it worked really well. And it was like super cheap. [00:36:31] I will say if I had to do that again, I would have probably brought more gels actually, because I was trying to stay off of them because they typically upset my stomach as probably most people tell you as well. I think between the dehydration, it was just like, it's got to be super hard to process solid food towards the end. [00:36:53] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I think to your point earlier, it's you need to have variety. Like when you're training rides, it's pretty easy to at least for me, like I can eat the exact same nutritional plans. For a five-hour ride every single week, like no issue whatsoever. But when you're talking about, anything beyond six hours and 12 hours, like you, you're just going to want to have different things. [00:37:15] And some of the things we talked about this before on the podcast, just this idea that, you're going to have horrible moments in these events sometimes. And that could be a mechanical moment. That could be like a gut moment or even a mental moment. And the important thing everybody's going to go through that from the professional riders to the last place person on the event, you just have to know that it will pass. [00:37:38] And the only thing you need to be concerned about is continually moving for.  [00:37:43] Carly Fratianne: Yeah exactly. And like the, yeah, I think the one 20 mile mark is like really where it starts to like, get real. That's when you just see people like, coming apart on the side of the road and you're just thinking wow, okay, what do I have to do to make sure that doesn't happen to me? [00:37:58] And as long as you're able to like, eat and drink, you'll probably be fine, but there's definitely a moment where. You just don't want anything like you just can't like, you just can't. And think of a single thing on earth. That sounds good. And your w your drink mix just makes you want to puke. Like I bought a huge bag of the strawberry lemonade scratch because it was my favorite flavor. [00:38:24] I was like, okay, this is great. I will have to buy a new bag of this for forever. I'm telling you by the end of this. I was like, man, I need to just get rid of this whole bag. Like I'll never be able to drink this shit again. It is. So just like sickly, reminiscent of a horrible feeling in my  [00:38:40] Craig Dalton: body PTSD by hydration,  [00:38:45] Carly Fratianne: literally. [00:38:45] Yeah. It was such a even still I still have the bag every once in a while. I'll throw some in my bottles. I share every time I'm just like, oh, okay. It's still just reminds me of that.  [00:38:57] Craig Dalton: Okay. So as hopefully we look forward to a future where your, know, your musical endeavors can become a bigger time in your life and we can get back to going to live music venues. [00:39:08] Are you going to continue gravel cycling? Do you have ambitions for 2022 to continue doing.  [00:39:14] Carly Fratianne: Yeah, I'm I'm not sure which I know I will probably, I will try and do Unbound again. I would like to beat the sun. That's a small goal, but as far as events go I'm less compelled to events this year. [00:39:28] And I will probably be spending a bulk of my time doing some bike packing. Right now, I'm in Texas, which is one of my favorite places to ride. There are lots of race routes and stuff that you can find that are, pre there maybe an hour out of town, but they're pretty accessible and it's all like ranch road. [00:39:46] So you can get, I you can go a day without seeing the. Really and it's, it's beautiful and it's temperate. So I'm going to spend some time down here and then I'm going to head out to Arizona and a little bit to do some bike packing on some of the the trails out there. I would, I will probably make an attempt at the monument. [00:40:09] I don't know that I'll do it all in one go. But if the weather holds out over the next couple of weeks, I'll probably see which one looks the most enticing and go for it.  [00:40:21] Craig Dalton: Awesome. That sounds amazing. We're happy to have you. I'm happy to have had this discussion. I love, I just love, it's just a great story. [00:40:28] The inclusiveness of gravel and how everybody's welcome. And whether it's doing events or bike packing, or riding with friends, like we want all comers to the sport.  [00:40:38] Carly Fratianne: Yeah. It's a, it's an awesome sport. It's like probably the most inclusive sport I can think of as far as any, fitness level can find something, any person of any age can find something you can just like. [00:40:57] Kind of make it into whatever you want. And I think that's the beauty of it is that, there, there are a few, there are a few barriers to entry. The only one really is do you have a bike? And is your spirit adventurous?  [00:41:11] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Awesome. I think that's a good place to end. Thanks Carly so much for the time. [00:41:16] Carly Fratianne: Thanks so much for having me, Greg.  [00:41:18] Craig Dalton: That's going to do it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. I hope you enjoyed this show. Happy to have your feedback. Obviously I'm not a master editor. So weaving some of that music in was a bit of a challenge for me, but it was a great conversation. I really enjoyed getting to know Carly and her journey into this gravel cycling community that we all love so much.  [00:41:42] Big, thanks to competitive cyclists for sponsoring this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. Remember it's promo code the gravel for 15% off. If you're looking to connect with me, I encourage you to come and join us in the ridership forum. It's  [00:42:05] And if you're able to support the podcast financially, simply visit buy me a coffee. Dot com slash the gravel ride. Continuing with the theme of this show, I'm going to drop in one of Carly's other songs, a full track for you to listen. It's the same one that we opened up with, but I'll let it play into its conclusion.  [00:42:26] As a peaceful way for you ending this podcast. Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt under your wheels [00:42:34] 

    Russ Roca - Path Less Pedaled

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 7, 2021 64:46

    This week Randall sits down with Russ Roca to explore the origins of Path Less Pedaled's thriving YouTube channel, the #partypace ethos, and the future of cycling community. Path Less Pedaled  Episode Sponsor: Athletic Greens Support the Podcast Join The Ridership Episode Transcript (please excuse the typos): GRP: Randall with Russ Roca of Path Less Pedaled [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. Well, at least for about the next 90 seconds before I hand it off to my co-host Randall Jacobs. This week, we've got a unique episode. Randall was able to catch up with ross Rocha from path less pedaled on his live stream we got an opportunity to interview russ and all the great stuff he's doing to build a community over at path, less pedaled. many of you may be familiar with his work but if not this will be a great introduction to another content source that i personally appreciate a lot and i know randall does too. [00:00:44] I hope you enjoy this conversation about cycling community and the future of community.  [00:00:50] Before we jump into the interview. I need to thank this week's partner sponsor athletic greens and AIG one. This is a product that I literally use every day. I started using athletic greens post my cancer treatment because I was quite concerned about the overall nutrients that were getting into my body and felt like I was going down the slippery slope of having to take.  [00:01:18] Many, many different pills to get what I needed. I discovered athletic greens, I believe through another podcast. With athletic greens, you're absorbing 75 high quality. Vitamins minerals, whole food source, superfoods, probiotics, and APTA gins to help start your day. Right. It's a special blend of ingredients to support gut health.  [00:01:41] Your nervous system, your immune system, your energy recovery focus and aging. Simply all the things. So it became a pretty obvious choice in, gosh, I can't even remember how long ago I started at this point. It's probably at least five years and I'm a daily user. I basically start my day with. Getting my athletic greens, AIG one shaker out, putting some ice in, putting the required amount of powder, mixing it up and just drinking it down.  [00:02:13] I just feel like it puts me ahead of the game every single day.  [00:02:17] So suffice it to say I'm a big fan and super appreciative. Of the long-term sponsorship that age. One has provided to the podcast. [00:02:28] Right now it's a time to reclaim your health and arm your immune system with convenient daily nutrition, especially heading into the flu and cold season.  [00:02:37] It's just one scoop and a cup of water every day. That's it? No need for a million pills and supplements to look out for your health. To make it easy. Athletic greens is going to give you a free one year supply of immune supporting vitamin D.  [00:02:50] And five free travel packs with your first purchase. All you have to do is is it athletic gravel ride again? That's athletic gravel ride to take ownership over your health and pick up the ultimate daily nutritional insurance.  [00:03:07] Would that business behind us,  [00:03:08] Let's jump right into this live stream between Russ and Randall.  [00:03:12] Russ: Welcome everybody to another live stream today. We've got a really interesting one. It's a. Livestream. I'm going to have our guest Randall Jacobs. He's been on the channel before, and he's actually going to be recording his podcast on this live stream. I thought I would double up the content and you can see how the sausage is made. [00:03:32] So welcome to the show. Randall Jacobs.  [00:03:35] Randall: Hey, we're finally getting to do this together. It'll be a lot of fun.  [00:03:40] Russ: Yeah. So Randall is the founder of a thesis spikes. He's the co-host of the gravel ride podcast, which will record recording today as well as the co-founder of the Ridership community. [00:03:52] I think people know what a podcast is. What thesis bikes is. Can you talk about the ridership first and then. Do the podcast part. Sure.  [00:03:59] Randall: The ridership emerged as a slack community that we started for thesis writers. And then on the other side the Facebook group that Craig had started for the podcast. [00:04:09] So Craig Dalton is the founder of the gravel ride podcast. The primary host, he has graciously invited me to be his sidekick and occasional content creating partner. We're at about 1500 or so people really lively and Helpful sorts of communication. So it's a community of riders helping riders. And the dynamics that we see in there is something that, we're quite proud of.  [00:04:31] Russ: Yeah. Community is like a huge thing, especially now when a lot of us feel so disconnected with the COVID. And you said it's a Facebook group in a slack channel, is that right? So it started  [00:04:40] Randall: as those two things, and then we merged them into a single slack group called the ridership. [00:04:45] Okay. Yeah.  [00:04:47] Russ: Yeah. If you guys are interested in checking out the ridership, I will put links in the description below after the live stream.  [00:04:54] Randall: Yeah. The is a link where you can go to get an invite if you'd like.  [00:04:58] Russ: Yeah. Cool. We've got 40 people in the chat. Thanks for joining us. Didn't expect so many, frankly. [00:05:04] Mid-morning on a Monday again, this was a totally last minute. Randall asked me to be on the podcast. I thought it'd be fun to do, to show you guys how the sausage is made. So if anyone has any quick questions for Randall, leave those in the comments. Otherwise we'll hand over the reins to Randall and he will steer the ship for the rest of the show. [00:05:24] Randall: First off, I want to thank everyone who joined us at the last moment. [00:05:26] It's quite an honor that people are so interested in participating in this conversation that they show up, especially on such short notice. So thank you for that. I'm really quite interested to hear where are you from? What's your background? How did bikes come to play such a significant role in your life?  [00:05:42] Russ: Quick background. I feel like my journey into bicycling is a little bit different than what's typically represented in bike media. [00:05:49] I didn't discover the sports side of the cycling for a very long time. My basic origin story is I was very unhealthy smoking, two packs of cigarettes a day, eating hotdogs, and I knew that I needed a life change. And then my truck died and that CA super lazy at the time, this is post-college just graduated from UCLA. [00:06:09] So I started walking, taking the bus, taking transit, then discovered skating, and then finally the bicycle, because it was way more efficient than the pair of inline skates while carrying gear. So from very early on I think my Genesis in cycling was very transportation and utility focused. And a couple of years later discovered bike touring, which is like commuting with all the things. [00:06:34] And that's when pathless pedal the website started. This was back in oh nine and. Yeah, we did our travels traveled for about three years, mostly on the road. It spent some winters in Portland. And after that, after we stopped actively traveling pivoted towards the bicycle tourism. So working with tourism with destination marketing organizations to, to promote cycling. [00:06:58] And it was also around that time that I started experimenting more with YouTube. I saw it as a really viable medium to communicate, messages and information that just, a blog post couldn't do. So that's 15 years in a nutshell.  [00:07:11] Randall: And I'm curious to tease out a little bit more about those early days. [00:07:14] Was there some intentionality around getting healthier or was it strictly I needed a means to get around after my truck died and it became something.  [00:07:23] Russ: It was primarily a means to get around. I do remember having one moment where, I have a very obsessive personality, so when I get into something, I really get into something. [00:07:34] So I borrowed the neighbor's bike. And I think now I'm biking up and down the beach path in long beach all day. And at the end of the day I was like Hocking up like half a jar of phlegm. And that's when there's oh, this could be healthy too. But it was primarily because it was fun. I always try to, follow my folly, do things, while they're fun. [00:07:53] Randall: You and I have that element of a pattern of obsessiveness on a certain thing. Definitely have that in common. Resonate with you. They're very much And so you grew up around LA.  [00:08:03] Russ: Yeah. Yeah. So I was born in the Philippines. We immigrated here when I was really young. [00:08:08] So for the most part I grew up in Southern California, like Glendale Burbank went to high school at UCLA. And after that lived in long beach for a span of time traveled lived in Portland for a span of time. And now we're here in Missoula, Montana.  [00:08:24] Randall: Do you speak Tagalog?  [00:08:28] Russ: I understand it fluently, but I can't speak it fluently anymore. [00:08:31] Randall: Cool. So bikes now are how you make your living and, you mentioned a little bit about the Genesis of PLP share a bit more about the inspiration? What were your hopes for it at the time and how did it come to be? [00:08:43] Russ: Back when we got into the bike touring, there was very few resources, there was a text-based website, like a crazy guy on the bike. There's bike, things like bike, didn't exist. The rather this didn't exist. I think he may have existed as probably not probably but there's very few resources. [00:08:59] So it's not like the Instagram rich landscape of a bike touring today. So what few resources we did see inspired us to go out? At the time I was a working photographer in long beach, I was doing new magazine shoots food and portrait. And I had this very romantic notion of, w we'll just travel the world on bike. [00:09:19] And I will book for the shoots wherever we land and we will travel endlessly that way. That was a grand vision. Didn't quite turn out as plan Probably a big part is, people aren't necessarily going to be willing to hire hobo, looking people on bikes, thousands of dollars for a photo shoot turns out. [00:09:36] But that was a big dream initially. That didn't work out. So we had to find different ways to make a living and keep the dream happening. But those were the, that was the early dream.  [00:09:45] Randall: So there's a theme that I hear there, which is common amongst a lot of entrepreneurial slash creative types which is, looking to solve a problem that they themselves had. [00:09:53] So you're not doing this full time. So this is your job. Is your primary income.  [00:09:58] Russ: That's a job.  [00:10:01] Randall: And how long has that been?  [00:10:02] Russ: I had been a full-time YouTuber sounds like, so teeny bopper, right? Content, creator, content entrepreneur. I would consider a, since we landed in Missoula and a lot of it was, my hand was forced. [00:10:14] Like we moved to Missoula cause we were, super broken Portland. Laura got a job at adventure cycling and that was finally a stable income for awhile. So we moved here and I thought, all our expertise and all the work that we'd done with travel Oregon would translate to the Montana state tourism and the local GMO's and I could get production work that way did not turn out, did not turn out like that. [00:10:36] So I buckled down and I was like, okay, we have I have to make this YouTube thing work because Missoula, Montana, they don't spend the funds like they do, like in Portland or Oregon for kind of production. It's a very small cities, small funds, a small talent pool. And they tend to only hire people that they know and as complete outsiders. [00:10:57] Was not getting any work. So that's when I really buckled down and it was pretty lean, we relied heavily on Laura's income, adventurous cycling for me to follow this dream. And it wasn't until maybe two or three years later that it could support me. And now it's supporting both of us. [00:11:13] Randall: So she was bringing in those big bicycle industry journalist dollars, right before the thing. And if you don't mind sharing, how did the economics work? What percentage of it is YouTube? What percentage of it is your Patriot?  [00:11:26] Russ: Yeah, I can tell you very little it's from YouTube ad sense, but as a creator, that's where that's probably the lowest hanging fruit because, after I think 10,000 or a thousand subscribers, you can monetize all that stuff. But that is not the, that's not the dream that chase there because it pays very little like to this day. [00:11:44] I think the channel is at 120 something subscribers.  [00:11:48] Randall: 120,000? [00:11:49] Russ: Yeah. 120,000 subscribers. If you work at, in and out 40 hours a week, you were making more than I do an ad sense just to put that perspective. So there was a really make or break moment a couple years ago where I was putting out four, sometimes five videos a week just trying to, generate AdSense. [00:12:08] And I was on the verge of giving up. Couple of friends say, Hey, you should try Patrion and you should try Patrion. And I was like, oh, I don't, I'm already making five videos. I don't have time to, to manage another community. But then I was like, okay, we have to do it because it's not working financially. [00:12:22] And people show that, first it was a lot of people that we knew and then it became lots of people that we didn't know, which is pretty cool. And so that starts to give us like, on top of Laura's income, another kind of pool of cash that we could count on every month So that slowly grew. [00:12:39] And then ultimately we started selling stickers which doesn't sound like a whole lot, but a lot of people bought stickers. We've sold thousands of stickers. And I like to say I'm really just a sticker salesman with a YouTube. 'cause it's true.  [00:12:54] Randall: It's one of those things where, people value what you do and align with it enough to want to advocate for it in the world and just find any means any excuse to support you. [00:13:03] So that's pretty cool that you've been able to, make that work.  [00:13:07] Russ: Yeah. And that's what we discovered about stickers. Like no one needs stickers, it's not like a life or death necessity, but it was a means for people that wanted to support the channel to create some kind of transaction, so we started stickers. [00:13:18] We've done other Merck. We have some shirts recent, most recently stem caps is sold pretty well are selling pretty well. So it's just a cool way for people that, you know, like the content on the channel to help support the channel.  [00:13:31] Randall: And so we've talked about YouTube. We've talked about your Patrion. You also have a discord.  [00:13:36] Russ: Yeah. The discord. A big need that I saw was people wanted to find other cyclists that had the same kind of party pace mindset, but I've discovered a couple of years ago, is that what really brings people together isn't a common interest. It's the common belief and value system around that interest, right? We all ride bikes, triathlete is going to have different values than the fixed gear rider and in a really hardcore endurance gravel athlete. So it wasn't enough to say, Hey, we're about bikes, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. [00:14:05] It's part of the pace. These are values and people wanted to find other people with those values and who ride like that. So instead of being the point of contact for everyone, I wanted people to really talk with each other. So I looked at different things like slack and ultimately try that discord, I think, because it was free or more free and Patrion and discord have a good synergy where. [00:14:30] Yeah. Some of the Patriot and perks are different roles in discord. So that seemed like a natural fit. And at first, people got really excited. We had a couple 100 people sign on and you know how it is like with slack or disc or people, are active at first and drop off. [00:14:46] But now I feel like there's a really cool core group of people. And what I love seeing in the discord and it happened, it started to happen more this year is other people within the discord would find people within their area and they'd ride together. They do things together. And that was so satisfying to see that I didn't have to be the only channel that we had created this space where people could discover, other like-minded cyclists. [00:15:10] Randall: Yeah. What we're calling social media, I think would be better re-imagined as online tools for facilitating generative, offline connection and experience and. And that's not the current social media paradigm. It seems like you've created a space and I feel that we've created a space, really co-created spaces together with other values aligned people, where you can find that you can find, a place to get advice. [00:15:36] You can find a place to to connect, to get a sense of belonging, to plant adventures and so on. And that's something that's a really great opportunity in the cycling space specifically, because there are a lot of people who gravitate for cycling in part for those reasons, whether it's wellness, whether it's utility or oftentimes it's "I moved to a new place, I want to make some friends". [00:15:57] There's something very deep about that need, that cycling seems to satisfy for a lot of people, certainly myself.  [00:16:03] Russ: Yeah. This court's been really interesting for that, the discord constantly impresses me because there is such a high level of bike nerdery but also respect amongst the people in our discord. [00:16:15] And I hope that's because the channel sets a certain tone or I set a certain tone, it's really, it's far less toxic than other bike spaces I've seen on the internet, like people, they'll they're pretty good at self policing, which is cold.  [00:16:30] Randall: Yeah. The early members of any given community the founders. [00:16:34] Yes. And then the early members really set the tone for how the thing evolves, because it's just a set of norms and hopefully you have a certain value system that's very clear and people who don't align with that, they're not attracted to the community in the first place. [00:16:46] Not that they're not welcome, but this is not a space for acting out. This is a place for connecting.  [00:16:51] Russ: Yeah. And there, there are people in our discord that are like way smarter nerdier than I am. Like, I'm constantly impressed at the level of knowledge that they share. [00:16:59] But it is one of those things where at first I promoted the discord a lot, but I'm hesitant to now.  [00:17:05] Randall: Okay.  [00:17:06] Russ: It's because I've loved how the people in there have jelled. And for me, it's not about the qual, the quantity of members, but the quality of interaction. [00:17:14] So I'd almost artificially keep it small until things really gel before, saying, Hey everybody, we have loans doing it now, Hey, everybody, we have a discord.  [00:17:25] Randall: We've been thinking much the same. Up until now, the community has grown very slowly and organically and largely through our invites or through us, and not just talking about it on the podcast and people will show up and be like, Hey, you heard the pod decide to finally join here. [00:17:39] And I fully agree with you. Quality over quantity. At the same time, I suspect that there are orders of magnitude more people who could benefit .From and contribute to these communities. And there is, there are certain types of Activities, for example, like coordinating group rides you need a critical mass of people in a given area. [00:17:56] And so those offline connections are really enabled by having, a bigger community. And so I think this is a conversation I would love to have with you maybe now is not the space, but figuring out how scale can be created in a way that doesn't undermine the ethos that made the community so healthy in the first place. [00:18:16] Russ: For me, I see like a diff like a series of funnels. So YouTube is probably our largest funnel. It'll take, all people interested in cycling, boil it down to people that are interested in this idea of party pace. And for those that want to dig down a further, there's a Patrion and then the discord, but no, it's not intentional, but in that way to see it like, okay, YouTube is a big net and the more you get invested in the channel and dig what it's about, then you'll go the extra step and slowly discover that this scored on your own. [00:18:47] Randall: well, I'm curious what do you see as the limitations of the current technology stack that you're using right now? And is there anything that you're looking at in terms of other tools to adopt or even migrate to going forward? What's on the horizon?  [00:19:00] Russ: I think the biggest limitation is that's, it's not one thing, it's several things. It's YouTube it's Patrion, it's, the website it's discord. I don't sign into one thing and control everything. They don't all necessarily integrate smoothly. And it is like multiple steps for people to have the full experience. And I don't know that there is an existing plan. Or app with a big enough base that does all things. [00:19:24] So at the moment, and I'm at the whim of using all these kinds of widgets and piecemealing together a community.  [00:19:31] Randall: And then a platform like YouTube they take a pretty big cut.  [00:19:36] Russ: Yeah. And what's interesting is like Patrion is going to start doing their own video, which I think is interesting because typically a YouTube creators that have Patriot they'll usually do an early release. [00:19:48] So they'll set a YouTube video and private Patrion viewers can do it first. Then they turn it on to the rest of the world. You're still using YouTube. Yeah. But if you can just have that content live on Patrion, I think that would, that'd be interesting. Interesting move. I don't know if I have the bandwidth to do patriarch specific content, but it is something that I'm keeping tabs. [00:20:07] Randall: It's one of the great challenges. You could consider YouTube is a web 2.0 company. They have a platform and they gather the viewers and the content creators and ultimately the advertisers, the viewers being the product, and you get to a certain critical mass and, YouTube is first and foremost, arguably a search engine. [00:20:27] And if that's where people are going to find content and get content recommended to them, it's hard not to be there. But I think ultimately, the paradigm that I hope for, and that I see slowly emerging is one where content creators own their content, and own the rights over that content, and have access to means of distribution that are not so extractive, maybe, a couple of percent versus a 50% and we could de-monetize you and D platform you at any  [00:20:54] time. [00:20:55] Russ: Yeah. Yeah. That's definitely the dream. That's why, in kind of the creative entrepreneurs space, there's still emphasis on email newsletter. That sounds like so web 1.0, but it's one of the few. Yeah. Pieces of content and like constant communication that you can actually control. [00:21:12] That's not at the whim of an algorithm or in someone else's hands.  [00:21:17] Randall: And it's one of the original open protocols of the internet. Any client can communicate with any other client versus, on Facebook, it's a walled garden. And if you try to do something that they don't like on Facebook, or if you do something that is really successful they'll kick you off, or they'll, deprioritize you in the algorithm, or they'll just create a copy of it and go from there. [00:21:36] Russ: Yeah. At one like one switch that is turned on in my head recently is you. I used to be that my goal was, I want to be a YouTuber when I hit a hundred thousand subscribers and get this thing. And she's very nice. But after having achieved that, that is no longer the goal it's to turn whatever, virtual community we have into IRL, into. [00:21:58] And try to translate that into real human interaction. YouTube is a facet of that journey, but it's not, it's no longer the, the end goal.  [00:22:05] Randall: Yeah. I'm a hundred percent with you there. And in fact, it's, it was one of the major motivations for me reaching out for this conversation, because I see the good work that you do and the quality of connection that you facilitate within, within your community. [00:22:18] So Bravo to you on that. How many people in your discordant.  [00:22:22] Russ: I don't know. I feel like it's over 1500.  [00:22:25] Randall: Okay, so similar scale.  [00:22:27] Russ: Yeah. The most active group is definitely smaller. But it's a decent number and I feel like a lot of people that sign on to Patriot and do do you claim the discord like benefit and, you can see them light up, which is cool. [00:22:39] Randall: Very cool. Have you have you done any events have you coordinated events, have you gotten to meet any of the  [00:22:46] community members?  [00:22:46] Russ: That was our plan before COVID  [00:22:48] Randall: Same. I was going to do a tour.  [00:22:51] Russ: Yeah. It's funny, like the year that COVID happened, we had just started doing that. We coordinated a series of art shows at bike shops. So I paint watercolors and we'd have an art show with a local bike shop. We did transit cycles in Arizona golden saddle in LA golden pliers and in Portland. Cause I wanted to give a focus to the event rather than people just drinking beer. [00:23:11] So there's a fun way for people, fans of the channel and people that want to do bikey things without just drinking beer, a could attend. And then the last one we did was was in at transit in Arizona. Then that's when, COVID blew up and we're like, ah, you gotta pull the plug on this tour. [00:23:25] Randall: Do are people able to buy your art or prints of your art because I've seen some of your watercolors and they're really cool. I was going to ask you at one point, can I get attention?  [00:23:33] Russ: Yeah, we've got a big cartel shop, again, very disjointed. We're going to migrate to probably Shopify so it can live on the actual website next year. People can buy originals, which are expensive, but then they go so buy smaller postcards and prints. The prints are pretty, it's like a G clay print on the watercolor paper, and it's about as close as you can get to an original without spending that much. And it's really high quality, so yeah. [00:23:56] Yeah. People can buy th there, there are options for people to purchase prints.  [00:24:01] Randall: Yeah. It falls into that category of feeling like a part of something and, getting the psychic income of supporting the contents that you want to see in the world.  [00:24:09] Russ: Yeah. I know your podcast listeners can't see it, but behind that veiled curtain there that's, there are picking station where we've got a bunch of shelving with a stem caps and stickers and prints, and Lauren,  [00:24:21] Randall: you're doing your own fulfillment. [00:24:23] Russ: Yeah. Lord, I outsource it to Laura.  [00:24:25] Randall: Speaking of Laura, how's Laura doing?  [00:24:27] Russ: She's doing well. If you guys aren't familiar she got diagnosed with breast cancer. A little bit over a year ago, and I really threw a wrench in our plans. And so we had to navigate that, but she's on the other side of, all the major surgeries, she's just taking a maintenance drug for the rest of the year, but she's doing well enough that she starting to ride the bike again. [00:24:49] Like I think she's going to do another trainer session today and hopefully get into some shape so we can do some actual writing in California.  [00:24:56] Randall: Excellent. That's really great to hear. And I see even your email addresses is Russ and Laura. So share a little bit about what was her role in the Genesis and development of the channel and what does that dynamic like building something like this for the partner?  [00:25:12] Russ: Yeah. So we've been together for about 19 years. When we first met, neither of us were into bikes. I just, yeah, I know. I discovered by commuting and at the time she, we lived in long beach and she worked in at seal beach. [00:25:27] So the commute was like three miles and then I got her into bike commuting, and then we both fell in love with bike touring. And it was then that we decided " Hey, maybe we could make a blog out of this". So it was definitely a joint venture. I've been very fortunate in so far as I've been able to get. [00:25:47] I want to say, get Laurie into the same interest, but we come to things at the same time or we appreciate the same things. So we both love bikes and she's definitely an integral role to PLP. She does all the bookkeeping being the shipping fulfillment the contracts she handles all the logistical stuff that a lot of people don't see, but are crucial to making a living. [00:26:10] Randall: Yeah. It's one thing to be the face of something. My case same deal, with thesis. So little of what it takes to create the product and get it delivered is done by me. But I contribute my small part and I convey a message. I do product development and so on, I have team members who are managing the orders. [00:26:31] There are factories, there are people working hard to actually produce the things. There are logistical companies that are getting the things to the right places and assembling them and que seeing them and handling all of that. And so acknowledgement of that. I think it's  [00:26:44] Russ: yeah, we had that pretty early division of labor. [00:26:47] Like we knew, like what are our strengths where I'm definitely more of a creative, pie in the sky kind of person. And she's very grounded. Typically I'll bounce idea off of her and she's that's dumb and you have no time to do, or, I'll know if something has legs, if she thinks that it's feasible. [00:27:05] But we definitely fulfill, I think that the two kind of the two personalities that's needed in the business,  [00:27:12] Randall: yup. Yeah, that that, that has been my experience as well. So really great to hear about how the two of you worked together and 19 years is a long time. [00:27:21] Russ: Yeah. It's a long time.  [00:27:23] Randall: So good on the two of you. So, what are you nerding out about these days?  [00:27:27] Russ: I think a lot about, where the holes are in cycling and particular in cycling meets. And I still think the non-competitive side, the cycling is grossly underrepresented and there's probably a lot more people that are into that style of riding. Then there's, the sharp pointy end of the of racing. I feel like that's overrepresented because, the people that get hired at those media agencies or at those brands tend to be X racers. So it creates this echo chamber. And so I really still think of myself as trying to break the echo chamber, insert a different voice and speak for, that the large group of people, that there are bike enthusiasts, but don't ever see themselves necessarily depending on the number. [00:28:10] And I think, I was trying to come up with a good analogy. I was describing it to a friend recently. And I think there were like two types of people, right? There's people that they view life as a puzzle to be solved or like a competition to be one. And there's others that do life, as a fine deal at a restaurant that's going to end and your goal is to not eat the fastest, but to save her every bit. And I'm definitely on that latter part. And I feel like a lot of cycling media views it primarily as a sport. So just trying to broaden that message and reach people they feel left out. We've got a channel trailer and I think the title is misfits welcome and trying to find,  [00:28:48] Randall: I love your analogy. And I resonate with both parts of it. I definitely started off cycling ultra competitive. Like I am your classic skinny shaped, like a white guy in Lycra who was out trying to rip people's legs off. And, I wrote as a kid and I'd go on adventures and so on. But when I stopped doing competitive team sports, I was believed in not a linebacker and a fullback in high school about 30 pounds ago, and got into racing. In part, because I wanted the sense of belonging and being on a team, but also in part I was because I was good at it. And I was like, oh, here's the thing where I can prove myself. And in fact, I really got into it because it's oh, I want to do, I want to get to a really high level in something. And here's the thing that I have the, the greatest ability to get that in. So I was definitely fitting into the first category first and now I am very much in the other category. Writing for fun writing primarily for connection, with nature, with other people and community and ultimately with myself, the rolling meditation  [00:29:50] Russ: Yeah. And my stance is like I'm not anti racing or the competitive side by any means. I just think that's overrepresented. I'm just trying to give an alternative voice by saying, party paces as a thing doesn't necessarily mean, racing is not a thing, it's not like pizza where there's only one slice to be shared. [00:30:06] Randall: Let's talk practically here to. It is, I believe the bigger opportunity. The ethos of it. I also very much align with at this stage in my life. I think it's this great vehicle for connection, but then also for everyone who's racing or everyone who's following the racing, there's 10 people who could benefit from the health and wellness and community and belonging and everything that comes with this activity that we so love. [00:30:30] Russ: If you think about, if you took all the people in the world that could potentially ride bikes, these are grandmothers, grandfathers, small children, and, you filtered it down to, the small percentage that would race competitively. I think the number of these non-competitive cyclists would vastly outnumber the people that could do that and elite level, or even a quasi competitive level. [00:30:49] And yeah, that competitive and takes lion share of bicycling imagination. Like a big eye-opener is during COVID right. Huge bike, boom. Very little racing. Yeah. We've been told this, I don't want to say it's a lie, but this is truism that cycling needs racing to sell bikes. And it absolutely doesn't,  [00:31:12] Randall: there's a reason why we don't sponsor anyone other than we'll offer things sometimes to like community leaders or people who are doing good stuff to build community.  [00:31:21] Russ: Yeah. think it's such an old model, like a, this is sponsored athlete thinking that it'll drunk bikes. [00:31:27] To some extent that works, but also there's other more kind of creative ways, more effective ways, it's 20, 21. It's it's not like 1950, we don't need like a celebrity endorsement from someone with these boxes that sell something.  [00:31:40] Randall: I remember riding with a pretty accomplished European pro early in my very short career, and I asked him about sponsorship and equipment and so on. And he's listen, you pay me enough. I'll ride a shopping cart. That is the truth of it. The bikes are coming out of essentially the same facilities, right? They're all using the same components, largely their parts hangers for swam and Shimano, all these Aero claims about this and that it's a lot of very careful selection and representation of the data. This is much more arrow on the graph, but it's only showing this section of a graph, that's this tall, things like this. But yeah I'm a hundred percent aligned with you on that one. [00:32:16] Russ: And I also think the, I think the consumer is a lot more savvy, I feel like, it's not when we were fed advertising in the fifties and you took everything at face value, people read reviews, they do their own research. More people are being content creators, so they understand the ins and outs of messaging. [00:32:33] And yet it seems as if, bike advertising still the same, it's not very sophisticated.  [00:32:39] Randall: It's well, it's advertising. It's let me tell you how to think. As opposed to let me present some information and let you figure out what resonates with you.  [00:32:48] Russ: Yeah. It's like looking at how different industries use YouTube. For example, I think it's pretty, pretty telling like a lot of brands still use YouTube as a showcase for their brand video. Whereas if you look at the camera industry, they send out stuff to everyday people, they give their impressions. They probably do product release videos, but they understand that's not like the main driver to sales. People talking about the product and real world situations and normal people, they're not given, cameras to Annie Liebowitz or James Nachtwey and then  [00:33:22] Randall: well, people that others can relate to. In fact, I tend to trust the reviews from smaller channels, much more than I trust the ones from channels that have advertisers, depend on making the manufacturers happy in order to generate their income. This is a profound conflict of interest that even if it's subconscious has to be influencing that content versus somebody who just spontaneously this thing was so good I had to talk about it" or this thing is crap. Or, and I just had to talk about it or I just wanted to create content. Cause I thought it would be valuable to other people in the world, which is very much the dynamic going back to community that we see in the ridership. And it sounds like you're seeing in your in your discord. [00:34:06] Russ: Yeah. Yeah, I'm going to go back to what you said earlier about, trust reviews. That's definitely something I take super seriously on the channel. At this point I reviewed about 80 bikes was not paid to review any of them, and the bikes I kept I ended up buying, and that's the promise. I tell the viewer I tell our Patrion community because in my freelancing days I did stuff for bicycle times when they were still around the momentum, adventure cycling. And, it was always aware of the advertorial aspect of things. And I didn't want to participate. [00:34:37] So it wasn't, we started the YouTube channel. Like we get no sponsored money from the bike industry. We don't get paid by salsa by, whoever zeros dollars I'd rather have the viewer support the channel and that's why we pushed the Patrion so much. Yeah. Most recently I've been buying more products like small goods. To some extent we PR we participate in that, we get review stuff, but then I still give my honest feedback on it, but more and more, I want to transition to a hundred percent like buying everything just because I feel like it lends more credibility. [00:35:06] It's very difficult to do because as a channel, we don't make enough money to do that a hundred percent. But where I can, I will, buy the product like everybody else and give our review when the. The channels that really inspire me is actually in the copy industry, this guy, James Hoffman, who has a massive following, I think, million subscribers, he'll compare these, thousand dollar espresso machines, but, he has a large enough Patriot. [00:35:30] We can buy them all, review them and then give it away on this Patrion. And that is what I aspire to is to not be supported by the bike industry, by everything, and then give it away on the Patriot.  [00:35:42] Randall: It makes me think of like a a much more organic form of what consumer reports used to do. And that was the go-to trusted source for reviews before, the internet era I admire the hell out of that.  [00:35:54] Russ: Yeah. And it's a long road. When I started taking the YouTube channels. Seriously, I did the maths, as okay. There's a handful of bike brands would probably potentially be interested in and supporting our content. Truthfully, they're going to give that money to the Rabis or bike first. In my head, I was like, how can we turn this weakness into a strength? [00:36:12] So I really leaned into it. I was like, okay, fine. We'll just take no money from the bike industry and really rely on the Patrion supporters and the sticker sales. It's a longer road because you don't get those big influxes of cash or a right upfront, but, we can slowly grow the supporter base. [00:36:29] I can't grow more brands that would be willing to support this. I can hopefully, keep making more content to attract more viewers to support this. So that's the tactic we've chosen.  [00:36:38] Randall: And by the way, the route of this was recently acquired by the pros closet. They do great content. And we've certainly benefited from their kindness and taking our press releases and publishing and so on. That it is hard. What you're doing is hard. Yeah. And with Craig, right? We have a quick set of buy me a coffee and, that brings in a few hundred dollars a month. [00:36:57] This is not a money maker. All that money goes to Craig by the way, and just, offsets basic costs associated with not just the software and so on, but you have to think about the amount of time that goes into scheduling and doing the interviews and then the post-production work and promotion and social media and all this other stuff. [00:37:16] And there is a degree to which the current web 2.0 paradigm makes it harder than necessary, given the level of our technology, to support the content you want to see in the world. And one of the things that I'm seeing emergency is very hopeful is the advent of micropayments and things like this. [00:37:34] And so hopefully those are things that we are looking to adopt in the next, even six months to a year that hopefully will unlock more opportunities for people to support the content they want to see in the world in a way that is aligned with what they have, you don't have to sign up for five bucks a month. [00:37:51] You don't have to pay a membership fee. It's everything here is for free. If you value it, contribute to it. And here's some really easy ways to do so that don't have some, company taking 10% or 50 plus percent in the case of YouTube. [00:38:03] Russ: Yeah, that was definitely an aha moment where you know, shifting the focus from being a hundred percent viewer supported, as opposed to chasing that traditional model of getting advertising from a bike brand or being a sponsored athlete or something It's hard, but I think it's worthwhile and it's ultimately proving the most sustainable.  [00:38:24] Randall: Yeah. Part of my motivation here was " this is one way that I can support the content that I want to see in the world". So to the extent that we can collaborate to support what you do please let us know.  [00:38:33] So we've been chatting for about 40, 45 minutes here. Anything else that you think it would be fun to, to jump into before we open it up to questions from people who are listening in, on the live stream?  [00:38:45] Russ: I think we hit the big ones that the huge untapped well of the non-competitive cycling market. [00:38:52] We have I have an alternate channel called the old cycling with where it's a goofy video live stream with a bunch of other bikey tube creators. And I saw recently that, ultra romance adopted cycling for his Northeast. Events. So now it's a thing. [00:39:06] All cycling. There you go.  [00:39:08] Randall: I haven't seen this. Please send me a representative link to a video  [00:39:12] Russ: he just wanted to hear for bikey trooper. Just complain about being a bike. Easy, [00:39:16] Randall: very inside baseball.  [00:39:17] Russ: Yeah. Yeah. I think that's it. We can open it up to a live stream questions if you want. Yeah, let's do it. Okay. So if you guys are in the live stream still, there's 111 of you. I'm breaking the fourth wall. Is it the fourth wall or the third wall? Of the walls of the podcast. [00:39:35] If you have questions for either immediate or Randall  [00:39:38] Randall: back in your own ideas and perspective on how we can do  [00:39:43] Russ: yeah. So putting on your your bike industry hat, what do you think most brands think of YouTube? Do they think it's like a, it's not as serious as like pink bike or whatever, or it could, I feel like as a creator, like most brands are still like, huh? What's YouTube.  [00:39:59] Randall: I have no idea. We take a very different approach. So I don't know how it was viewed. I do know, some of the things I see from big brands, it tends to be your classic promotional video, or here's some athlete we paid some money and sent a camera crew out and did some adventure thing that you can then live vicariously through or whatever. [00:40:17] Russ: Can I make a confession that I'm totally bored of that style?  [00:40:19] Randall: I suspect that you are not alone at all.  [00:40:23] Russ: It reminds me of around 2012 when people were making artisinal everything and they had all these artisanal brand videos and it just jumped the shark. [00:40:30] And I feel the adventure bike video genres is getting to that point.  [00:40:35] Randall: I'll say that early on in thesis, there was definitely a pressure to engage in that. And, it never felt authentic. It never felt quite right. At some point I was like, you know what, screw this. [00:40:45] We don't need to do this. We have an existing base of writers. If we just take care of them, they'll tell their friends. And if we just do good in the world and show up at credible and helpful and make content that is a valuable to people and help people to get their needs met,,, this is where the ridership and so on comes in, then will be taken care of as well. [00:41:05] That's been our approach.  [00:41:07] Russ: Yeah. I've hit that point to where initially my goal was to grow the channel as big as possible, but after a certain point, it's, if I could, if I can serve the people that are raised, subscribe better. Yeah. That's actually all the viewers we would ever need. [00:41:23] If all 125,000 joined Patrion, it would be amazing. Like you said, focusing on the audience that you do have giving them the content or products that they want and making them happy rather than some elusive unattainable goal of. Number down the line. It  [00:41:39] Randall: depends on what your goals are. Like, if your goals are to go big and get rich and whatever, then do some big crowdfunding pump and dump, whatever scheme, collect a bunch of money and then bail or whatever. But if your goal is to do good in the world, then it requires a slower, more intentional approach. And maybe it doesn't become as monetized, but ultimately the psychic income is worth a lot more.  [00:42:01] Russ: Yeah. I saw an interesting study that came out about YouTube creators and the largest niche of creators where they're actually doing this full time is in the education space. So educating about the topic. [00:42:16] And that makes sense, right? Because people go to YouTube to learn things, to discover new things. And, I think to last as a creator, you really do have to have a service mindset. What is that people want to know about what problem can I solve? There's very few creators that can just do their weird shit and be successful. [00:42:34] The PD PI's of the world, being solely personality based and not serving some kind of educational.  [00:42:41] Randall: And I don't end the the attention seeking drive that often drives some of that content. I'm okay to have a smaller community of people that are more ethos aligned. [00:42:52] Yeah. Let's dive into some of the comments that we're seeing in here. Cause there's a bunch of good ones.  [00:42:56] Russ: Anything jumping off, jumping out to you.  [00:42:58] Randall: So I'm just taking it from the top. T Shen, oh, this is very kind. The ridership is a great example of what online community can be helpful, focused friendlies, zero snark, unless you guys edited out, we don't edit it out. [00:43:09] I've, there've been two instances where I have moderated and it's always been starting a dialogue with the person and about Hey, this comes off in this way. And what do you think about taking it down and so on? And those people have gone on to be really great contributors to the community. [00:43:24] The type of people that it attracts have those values. So thank you for being a part of it.  [00:43:29] Russ: Yeah. Our discord is similar. I think I've only in the history of discord had to ban two people and they were actively, it was clear that they were not going to contribute in a positive way, but for the most part everyone's and treats everyone pretty well. [00:43:48] Randall: Here's another one. I love the path, less pedaled approach, such a breath of fresh air in the midst of all the leg shave and GNC cycling performance, weight weenies. [00:43:56] Russ: Yes. Yeah.  [00:43:59] Randall: I used to be one of those people be kind we're just dealing with our insecurity.  [00:44:03] Russ: Yeah. I've been noodling through a video and I think the title is going to be something like why fast as a matter, or why fast as ever rated. Because this is my take on that. I'll give you guys a sneak peek on the video is typically let's say we take the status quo lens of a bike. [00:44:18] It's always going to be viewed through a racing perspective, right? So that attributes of a bike that are going to be praised or lightweight aerodynamics. Chris shifting, but that assumes if you're racing. And I'd say that's the wrong perspective instead of asking, what's the fastest we should be asking "what's the most efficient for the task". So if you've got, a mom with two kids, is an arrow, lightweight bike, and to be the most efficient for tasks, know it, that's going to be a cargo bike, or if you have a racer and you give them a cargo bike is the most efficient for the task. No, but, stepping back and asking, okay, what is the task that we're talking about? [00:44:53] There's one lens to view bicycling. And not the only lens  [00:44:58] Randall: I tend to distill things down to first principles in the sense of what is the deeper goal? Is it to be fast or is it to be able to keep up with the people you want to ride with? Or is it like some, need to be recognized as fast, some need for esteem or whatever, in which case there are other ways to get that met and, a bicycle is a vehicle. [00:45:18] So it's ultimately, I think about the experience, right? And it really focusing on the experience, which means, a bike that can do a lot of things. And it's very versatile, like that holds up and doesn't hold you back. And things of this sort  [00:45:31] Russ: yeah, question. Herbalists how big is a European part of the PLP community? Looking at her analytics and where we ship product. It's a big, the big part. We ship a lot of stickers to UK stem caps and stuff to Germany Finland although that part of Europe like Australia and New Zealand was a big purchaser of stickers until recently because a us postal service. [00:45:57] Delivering there. And to, for us to send something to New Zealand or Australia has to go by ups and it's 30 bucks, regardless if it's a stem cap or a sticker. Cause that really sucked. How about on the ridership? Do you guys have a big European contingent?  [00:46:11] Randall: Predominantly north America. I haven't looked at the metrics on that, to be honest, I have been followed that super closely, but we do have a few people interspersed around the world and even a few who've taken it upon themselves to try to. Local riders so that they can have a critical mass in their area, but definitely early days. [00:46:29] And definitely quite us focused with some, density in the bay area. The front range I've been focusing on new England for obvious reasons of late and things like this. So yeah.  [00:46:40] Russ: Yeah. And they other discord, someone shared with me a story that they were originally from New York, moved to Berlin and was able to find someone else on the discord in Berlin. [00:46:50] And now they're, they become fast.  [00:46:51] Randall: Oh, that's great. Isn't that the dream isn't it, the dream oh, you're traveling, just sign up for that channel. Make some friends go have an experience. I have an idea that talking to our technology partner on about like a friend BNB where you'd be able to earn a stay credit. [00:47:07] That is a token where you know, Hey, I'm going to be in Montana. And you'd be able to like publish, I have a room available and then I would apply and you'd be able to accept or deny. And if you accept, I have a one deficit and you have a one credit, and then I can share my space to somebody who's coming into town and have that really facilitate community. [00:47:26] Obviously this is maybe more of a post COVID idea. But it does speak to the possibilities once you have a certain critical mass. So that's a really great anecdote that you got there.  [00:47:37] Russ: Yeah. I've been thinking about looking at the, what rock, the RCC, the Rapha cycling club offers and trying to see if what we could do virtually to our membership, adopt some of those things. [00:47:51] I don't know what all the offer, because I'm not part of any of them, but I've been looking at other membership models in the cycling space and okay. If you stripped away all the competitiveness, where could we plug in?  [00:48:02] Randall: Let's have a let's continue the conversation offline. Cause I think there's a very rich thread there. And in fact, I know that there are some people in the ridership also who work in the space, it might have something to contribute. I see a comment from Richard shomer Dean. There's a duplicating question I pose in the ridership, but what thoughts do you have on organizing group rides with respect to liability and lawsuits? [00:48:23] Russ: I'll let you take that one first.  [00:48:25] Randall: So yeah, we live in a litigious culture and it is very expensive to defend oneself but very cheap to Sue and it's an unfortunate paradigm. You definitely want to, Be mindful of who you have joining is a big thing in the values there. Waivers can be really helpful. [00:48:43] Again, I've mentioned some advising that I'm doing for a technology partner, looking at how to have a digital platform where you would have say an idea. And on this identity, you could have everything from, an attestation that you're vaccinated to, a waiver that you signed to attend a particular event, and then having the events coordination, whether it be, Hey Russ, let's meet up for a group ride all the way to a 2000 person, gravel events being able to be coordinated on the same platform with the waivers and payments and everything else handled in one place. [00:49:20] Right now a lot of bad is disjointed or really expensive in the same way that say, Patriot on takes, takes a substantial cut or YouTube takes us substantial cut. It's definitely a concern and the deeper your pockets, the bigger the concern it is, or the deeper your pockets are perceived to be the bigger of a problem it is. [00:49:38] There are solutions. And it takes a critical mass of people in the types of communities where those are being incubated in order for these to come to fruition.  [00:49:46] Russ: Yeah. Yeah. That's definitely a sticky topic. Lauren, I have toyed around with the idea of having either an event, an overnight event at the base camp and looping gravel rides or something or this winter meeting up with folks and doing rides to our favorite places. [00:50:03] Definitely the potential litigious nature has turned us off as well as the cupboards. So we're still navigating those waters.  [00:50:10] Randall: You mentioned that you're going to be in Soquel coming down. So Craig Dalton, founder of the gravel ride podcast also spends a good amount of time. [00:50:18] And so Cal, maybe we could make something happen at some point. I don't know if there's demand out there, let us know. And we'll coordinate.  [00:50:26] Russ: Yeah. Yeah. Right now we're trying to figure it out all, it's going to be a big content trip basically as well as vacation. [00:50:33] So definitely looking for opportunities to, to make some interesting videos.  [00:50:37] Randall: I don't know if you're familiar with the gravel stone. Yeah. So Dave malware it's San Diego, it's a great group of people. I've been down there and done a group rides with a hundred plus people, which is pretty astonishing and become a good friend over the years. [00:50:54] Another one of these people who, he doesn't make money off of it. He's spending money on it, but it's, he just values community values, the the connection and the creative outlet that the space provides.  [00:51:05] Russ: Yeah. Let's see. There's still 115 of you sticking round, which is pretty awesome for a Monday. [00:51:13] You didn't think we'd get this many people did,  [00:51:15] Randall: And I'm recognizing, we have quite a few people from the ridership. And I just posted that several hours ago.  [00:51:20] Russ: Yeah, I find that, promoting a live stream ahead of time, doesn't make too much of a difference unless it's in a super well-known personality. [00:51:30] Otherwise like people are going to be on the live stream when it's convenient. So I tend not to sweat The live stream promotion too much. YouTube does help out in that, a few minute intervals before it lets all the subscribers know that it's going to happen. So that's best thing it could do. [00:51:46] Randall: So Rick urban has thrown in a bunch of comical questions, including Russ. Why do you hate beer and Randall? Have you ever successfully gripped a leg off? [00:51:56] Russ: So I do hate beer. I just like whiskey more. It's like beer concentrates and less puffy. Like when I drink beer now I just get bloated feeling. So I'd rather have whiskey. I'll let you take the ripple. I GFE question.  [00:52:11] Randall: I don't like beer either. No.  [00:52:14] Russ: So it's almost like a sacrilege in the bike industry. [00:52:17] Randall: Oh yeah. Alcohol generally. Isn't my chemical. I'll have a glass of wine here and there. And I have not actually ripped legs off. They figure of speech. I should be more careful with my vocabulary. But what else do we have here? I'd Krispy says I'd like to see a PLP and gravel ride podcast, bike packing, or bike fishing adventure video. [00:52:37] Let's do it. Yep. Yeah. Yeah. I'll come eat someplace warm.  [00:52:43] Yeah. If you come to the west coast or the Rocky mountain west, we can coordinate yeah, definitely looking forward to more outside videos. This winter has been such a hard year. So Jen Harrington ass do you know percentage of women on the channel? [00:52:58] That's a good question. I can tell a little bit by. Analytics at least on the YouTube channel, it's probably less than 5%. I know it's less than 5%. I think when you have a male presenter on the channel, it's just how things are gonna shake out. [00:53:14] I think our Patrion is it's not parody, but there, there are a lot of women that support on Patrion and very few that participate in on the discord. How about for you guys?  [00:53:25] Russ: I don't know about the pod. Craig manages all the analytics there. But the ridership, if I had to guess, it's probably on the order of maybe 10% or so, which is still quite low. [00:53:34] Maybe for some of the same reasons you said. I've actually had some conversations, including with Monica Garrison over at black girls do bike. I don't know if you've seen the work that she's done, but really just bringing people together, creating events and contents that make cycling more accessible to a community that, you just don't see very well-represented and, it begs the question why and one of the things that I've been quite curious about is, w what is what role can I play in making cycling more accessible? [00:54:03] And there are some easy things to do, which is one, engaging, but then too, figuring out what the needs are. At the same time, it is good to see that there are those communities being created that serve people who, maybe don't find things like PLP or the ridership, or maybe aren't quite clear if it's for them or not. [00:54:21] I will say this we want you with us, right? And we want your feedback. We want your ideas. And ultimately my personal goal is for the ridership to become something much bigger, which I don't control. So maybe it has a board it has a decentralized governance structure. [00:54:39] So we're looking at DAOs decentralized autonomous organizations built on blockchains and things like that. It's a potential structure going forward to allow people to help decide the direction. And I think that sense of first representation, but then ultimately a sense of ownership in co-creation hopefully will help to merge these communities so that they can join together. [00:55:01] Yeah. Yeah. Do you think reviewing so many bike products, discourages people from riding without specialized, but to some extent yes. In a sense of if I don't have these bags, I can't go by packing. Yeah. I do think that, when people watch reviews I don't intend for people to buy them. [00:55:21] They're just usually things I'm really interested in, but they're, for some people. Feeling of oh, I need that thing or else I can't do this thing. Maybe I should try to communicate better that you should, bike or go bike packing with what you have. And don't worry about. All the small stuff. [00:55:37] Randall: Yeah. People were backpacking before there was bike packing gear, just like people war gravel riding before there were grappled bikes.  [00:55:44] Russ: Yeah. Yeah. I do find there's this one camera YouTube, very watch. And he had this interesting video talking about the dark side of tech YouTube. [00:55:54] And the purpose of the video was he was feeling overwhelmed because he's getting sent to all this stuff. And, he himself is like a mindless by nature, but he has to play with all this stuff and, seemingly promoted and he feels bad when people feel bad that they don't have the same stuff. [00:56:10] And that really resonated with me from the bike perspective, because there's a few things I truly, really and they're fairly attainable. Like I love friction shifting. I love flat pedals, but I do. All the latest gadgets, just because I have a interest in them, but not necessarily because I want people to buy them. [00:56:28] Like I never, I try not to frame my reviews as you must absolutely buy this thing. It's just this way I think about it. It's kinda cool. You might like it. There's very few things where I said, this is. You should buy this. So I was thinking of doing something, a video like that because there's boxes of lots of things which is how overwhelming  [00:56:44] Randall: I often in conversations will tell people, actually, you don't need this. [00:56:48] We offer a carbon rail saddle option. It saves 55 grams for 49 bucks. And unless you have too much money and you're trying to squeeze every gram out. You don't need this. This is not going to affect in any way, your experience. Maybe that, that one's a little bit more obvious, but same applies to a lot of gear, hyper, specialized, non versatile gear that we're told, you have to have in order to engage in this experience. [00:57:11] Russ: Yeah. I've started saying no to lots of things. And there's some things that I just don't review anymore because it's, I don't feel like it can add anything meaningful to the conversation, or I just don't use it. Actually don't like I've said no to so many bike packing bags. It's I don't like, I don't like the little, the poop bag or the sausage roll. [00:57:29] It's just not my style. I'm not going to talk about them anymore. You can buy them if you want, but I wouldn't personally use them. I think there's, they're all about the same. And yeah, so don't more bike packing bags on the channel. I'm not reviewing carbon wheels anymore just because I can't add anything meaningful to it. [00:57:48] I can say that they're light and they feel fast, but I don't have the scientific background to do any testing or something. So unless someone wants a purely anecdotal experiential review, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna review products where I can't add to the knowledge base. [00:58:03] Randall: So you saying I shouldn't send you any new fancy creping wheels.  [00:58:07] Russ: You could, I won't review it [00:58:08] Randall: a man of integrity,  [00:58:10] Russ: But it's there's like I'm not an engineer. I could read the press copy and make it sound convincing, but unless the wheel to shatters as I'm writing there's nothing meaningful I could add to the conversation. [00:58:23] Randall: I actually believe that is generally the case. And wheels are a prime example of a tremendous amount of marketing bullshit. There are differences, there are fundamental differences, but those aren't what's being marketed, like the basics of good wheel design. Maybe I'll do an episode on this at some point, but they are what they are. [00:58:40] Russ: Yeah. Like I I've been given the opportunity to review like, $3,000 wheels, $2,000. It was like, it just can't do it. I'm not gonna, I'm not willing to read your press rel

    Bryce Wood - Alchemy Bicycles

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2021 34:41

    This week we sit down with Bryce Wood from Colorado's Alchemy Bicycles to discuss the companies' titanium and carbon gravel bikes. Presenting Sponsor: Competitive Cyclist.  Code THEGRAVELRIDE for 15% off Support the podcast Join The Ridership Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): Alchemy Bicycles [00:00:00] Craig Dalton:  [00:00:05] Hello and welcome to the gravel rod podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. This week on the podcast, we have Bryce wood from alchemy bikes in Colorado. You may recognize Bryce's voice from my Sea Otter Roundup episode, where I got to know the brand a little bit, but I was certainly curious to dig deeper. So I was happy to have him on for a full show.  [00:00:27] Before we jump in, I need to thank this week. Sponsor competitive cyclist.  [00:00:32] Competitive Cyclist and the online specialty retailer of road, gravel and mountain bikes, components, apparel, and accessories, featuring cycling standout brands like pock Castelli, Pearl Izumi, and five 10, an unrivaled in-house bike assembly operation. They bring the personalized attention of the local bike shop along with the selection and convenience only available while shopping online.  [00:00:57] The real difference that competitive cyclists are the gearheads. Equal parts, customer service and cycling fanatics gear heads are former pro athletes, Olympians and seasoned cyclists. With years of experience. All available by phone, email, or chat for product recommendations and hard won advice.  [00:01:15] You may recall from the last couple of episodes that I had a really great experience with my own personal gear head, Maggie, as she walked me through the various gravel bikes they have available for sale on competitive Today. I have to say, I wasted a lot of time perusing items on competitive cyclist. I'd been given a gift certificate and I wanted to pick up something for myself. So I found myself going through the clothing, the gloves, the components, all kinds of stuff. I think I filled my cart with $500 worth of stuff before I backed it off and got down to my gift certificate amount.  [00:01:52] I'm somewhat proud of myself. I ended up with a nice mix of practical things, as well as some things I've been lusting after for a while, I got some replacement disc brake pads, and also a digital tire gauge. I talked about that a little bit before on the pod, how I thought it would be curious to be able to really see precise.  [00:02:11] Measurement as to what PSI I'm running between the different wheel sets, just to make sure that I'm getting out there and understanding what various tire pressures are going to do. I've got some tests coming up in the future that I'd really want to know what range I'm in. As I test some new tires and new some new products.  [00:02:29] The team over a competitive cyclist has generously offered 15% off for all podcast listeners. So go to competitive gravel ride and enter promo code the gravel ride. Get that 15% off your first full price purchase. Plus free shipping on orders of $50 or more,  [00:02:48] Some exclusions apply. Go right now and get 15% off. Plus free slash the gravel ride entering promo code the gravel ride.  [00:03:00] I mentioned that was on the site this morning, picking out some things for myself. I actually got a shipping notification today already. So they're doing same day shipping in some instances. So you can be They've got your back for holiday gift purchases, things you need to get in a timely fashion. Go over to competitive gravel ride [00:03:23] With that business behind us, let's jump right into my interview with Bryce, from alchemy bikes. Bryce. Welcome to the show.  [00:03:29] Bryce Wood: Thanks for having me. I'm really excited to be here.  [00:03:32] Craig Dalton: Yeah, definitely. Ever since our brief conversation at , I've been super excited to get you on board and just learn a little bit more about the alchemy brand. You're done some super interesting stuff in gravel. [00:03:44] So why don't we just start by a little bit of the backstory of alchemy.  [00:03:49] Bryce Wood: Yeah. So alchemy was founded in 2008 in Austin, Texas by Ryan who still owns the company still comes into the office every day. And there he met our designer and engineer. Matt met shoes that they aligned on. [00:04:05] You know what they wanted to do in the bike industry. And Matt was a crit racing and as a six foot four, 230 pounds guy, he was having a hard time finding frames that were rigid enough for him and could support him during that kind of a race. So he was really interested in building his own frame. [00:04:27] And so that's how alchemy got its start. Moved to Denver, Colorado, where we currently are about two years after the fact. So we've been here in Denver for a little over a decade. And this is where we. Design and produce manufacturer and also bring customers in to have that experiences is all right here in Denver. [00:04:49] So we're really fortunate to have the Colorado people supporting us  [00:04:54] Craig Dalton: super interesting. So of those first bikes that were made, were they manufacturing out of steel or titanium or carbon at that?  [00:05:01] Bryce Wood: So Matt was actually doing he was experimenting with a wet carbon play app. And those were the first carbon bikes that he produced, not really under an alchemy badge. [00:05:10] We started building out a metal and a carbon fiber is a more expensive and In depth product to work with, you need a lot of specialized tooling. And it's relatively expensive. So carbon fiber didn't come until a few years into Alchemy's existence.  [00:05:29] Craig Dalton: Yeah, that's super interesting. [00:05:30] Yeah. I feel like the number of people. Manufacturing with carbon in the us is pretty small. So I was super excited when I learned that you were doing that in Colorado. So can you walk through the sort of carbon fiber construction process that you're using on the frames? [00:05:48] Bryce Wood: We do everything here starting with a CAD rendering. So we designed the frame, make sure that it looks good to us on a computer screen. After that we're gonna 3d print out a model so that we can hold in our hands and make sure that we've got the design cues that we're looking for. Everything is where it needs to be. [00:06:07] From there we do a pre preg carbon construction. So we get sheets of unidirectional carbon on our large rolls. And we use the CNC plotter to cut those sheets into shapes that we can lay up. So we use, different orientations of the fibers for different components. We build all the. [00:06:28] The frames in a tube to construction so that we can change the carbon layup of a change day or a bottom bracket shell, which needs to be really rigid. And that layup is going to be very different from the seat stays are the top two or the down or the C2 where we need compliance. So building in that tube to tube construction, really not only allows us to offer a custom geometry really easily, but also allows us. [00:06:55] Tune and dial in the ride, feel of that bike to a degree that we don't see from a lot of manufacturers,  [00:07:03] Craig Dalton: are you alternating some of the sort of tube dimensions or the layups on a size by size basis?  [00:07:10] Bryce Wood: So how we have it Plotted out for like our Atlas line on the Ronin line is we make these tubes extra long and then we can MITRE them down and MITRE them in different angles to create a unique geometries for the new rogue. [00:07:29] It's a little bit of a different venture for us. We're doing an advanced monocoque construction where there's. Tube the tube, but there are less components. So like the down tube and head chamber are one piece that allows us to have less junctions, which means less weights and more strength. [00:07:48] But it means that we do need different sized molds for every different sized frame.  [00:07:54] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. On that tube to tube construction, how has, how are the tubes bonded together?  [00:08:00] Bryce Wood: Yeah, the tubes are bonded through an overwrapping process. So basically we put a very fine layer of a proxy that holds the tubes together. [00:08:09] Once they've been mitered and put into a jig to hold the geometry in place, and then we take Dozens of sheets of carbon. And we wrapped them in different orientations to join those tubes together. After they'd been wrapped, they go into a vacuum bag and then into a large oven and they're cured in that oven so that those overwrap pieces become part of the frame itself. [00:08:37] Interesting.  [00:08:37] Craig Dalton: And then once that process is done, is there like sanding and finish work that happens on carbon.  [00:08:44] Bryce Wood: Yeah, there is. So we use we, we machine our own molds and house and we use a silicone and latex bladder. So we get really good compression out of our tubes and they come out of the molds extremely smooth, the overwrap process that vacuum bag tends to add a little bit of texture on those wrapped surfaces. [00:09:05] And we do need to sand those to be.  [00:09:08] Craig Dalton: Got it. Got it. Thanks for that. I, I think about carbon fiber as more of that model. Production process and less. You know what you've described, which is really interesting. It for me it share it. I start thinking about the visuals of, it's steel or titanium frame building process, where you're putting it in a jig and you're bonding and you're welding them all together. [00:09:27] So it's interesting and clear to me and hopefully the listener. You can really make a lot of adjustments pretty easily in the process by having those tube forms that are a little bit longer and just chop them down and MITRE them to the appropriate size for what the customer's looking for. [00:09:44] Bryce Wood: Yeah. It's definitely unique. And. And you don't see that in, in any mass produced frames, it's all going to be a monocot construction, which is easy to produce. And you can to a certain degree still tune those tubes to do what you want them to. You add different layers here. And there but you lose the ability to do that custom geometry, which is something that our customers, I think really value and something that is one of the pillars that we built alchemy on. [00:10:12] And we'll do that forever.  [00:10:14] Craig Dalton: Yeah. It's certainly rather unique that you can get a carbon fiber frame custom fitted to your own personal specifications.  [00:10:23] Bryce Wood: Yeah, there's really only a few companies in the country doing that. So we're really happy to be helping to lead that charge. [00:10:31] Craig Dalton: Let's talk a little bit more about Alchemy's journey. You mentioned that the co-founders started out by building road bikes or criteria bikes to fit their needs, and eventually started to offer them under the alchemy brand. At what point did it start to expand to the mountain bike and gravel road? [00:10:47] Bryce Wood: As soon as we noticed that there was a market for gravel we dove into that head first. So we, we offered pretty early on a true gravel bike, not just a cyclocross frame that we build as a gravel bike, but a true gravel frame. That took on all the cues in design and performance that people were looking for out of that discipline. [00:11:11] Mountain bikes came because. A lot of us rode mountain bikes and we really wanted to be able to have something under us that for our company name and that's actually really taken off and become probably the biggest department at alchemy is our Arcos mountain bike.  [00:11:29] Craig Dalton: Yeah. [00:11:30] Interesting. I imagine. One sitting there in Colorado understood pretty hard, pretty darn hard to not want to build a mountain bike being in that location. And to imagine, as far as the mountain bike landscape goes again, being able to offer these custom capabilities for the bike is pretty unique in this space. [00:11:49] Bryce Wood: We've found that there's not a lot of demand for custom mountain frames. The bike itself and the discipline itself is so dynamic. It's not like a road or gravel where you find yourself in a stagnant position for long amounts of time. You're always pivoting and and moving on the bike and. [00:12:12] That combined with your suspension means that there's not a huge demand for it. We still offer custom geometry on our hard tail mountain bikes, because that's a little bit more similar to the road in gravel side of things. But we are not currently offering custom geometry on the full suspension, carbon Pikes. [00:12:30] Craig Dalton: Understood. So on the gravel bike, you mentioned, you saw the trend beginning and you started to design a bike specific for gravel. Can you talk about some of those design considerations in the original bike and was that original bike? The Ronan,  [00:12:45] Bryce Wood: The original bike was actually the eighth on a map bike. [00:12:48] We wanted it to not be as, as. As a cyclocross bike or a road bike but we wanted to stay away from something that was too slack. We wanted it to be really comfortable and capable and just have that extra clearance that you need on a gravel bike. As this sport has evolved. [00:13:09] We've. Notice that the original eighth on is not looking like what gravel bikes are looking like today that they're getting longer. They're getting slacker there. The demand for Mount mounting points and racks and fenders has really increased. And it looked a lot like a cyclocross bike that I would think of today, but for the time it was a little bit different than that. [00:13:31] The new rogue is really moving into that contemporary design where we've got really slack had tubes and bikes really meant it's purpose built for adventure.  [00:13:42] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. So let's talk about your, you've got two models currently, and one of them has two materials. So you've got the Ronin in both carbon, fiber and titanium. [00:13:53] Why don't we start there and talk about the intention of that bike, the type of writer it's looking to serve, and maybe spend a moment or two in terms of if a writer sort of keys in on the Ronin as being the bike for them, how do you talk to them about titanium versus carbon?  [00:14:10] Bryce Wood: Yeah. So the Ronin was the next iteration of that original life on and had just expanded and dialed in what a gravel cyclist is looking for. [00:14:21] We kept it True to that same design element of the Aidan, where we wanted relatively steep geometry that makes the bike feel really lively and responsive. But we wanted that, that clearance and the capability that comes from a grapple machine. That bike's been in our stable. [00:14:44] A couple of years now two and a half years. And it's still relevant. I think for those people who are interested in gravel, but also want to be able to ride on the road from time to time. And also those people who. Our maybe racing gravel. So that's the bike that I would recommend if somebody is looking to do Unbound gravel and be competitive. [00:15:05] I push them towards the Ronin instead of the rogue. If you want that quiver killing bike, that bike that you can maybe have two wheel sets for, and it's going to be really capable off-road, but still be able to keep up with your group ride with your friends on the road. That bike is going to be. [00:15:20] It's going to serve you really well. The distinction between carbon and titanium, just like on the road it's gonna, it's gonna be really dependent on your goals and your riding style and what you want that bike to do well. So if you live here in the foothills and you're riding up mountains all day long That carbon fiber, the responsiveness and that the rigidity, and it is really going to serve you. [00:15:46] And in that purpose if comfort is your main concern or you spend a lot of time doing endurance riding the forgiveness and the compliance and the titanium frame is really going to benefit you and make you a lot more comfortable. It, the weight gain between carbon and titanium. [00:16:04] Titanium being a little bit heavier is really not a huge consideration for most people. It's about 200 grams in our frame, depending on frame size. So it really comes down to do I want this bike to be fast and responsive or would I rather it be comfortable and easier to live with on those longer rides? [00:16:26] Craig Dalton: Are both the titanium and carbon fiber versions offering the same accommodation for tire size.  [00:16:33] Bryce Wood: They do. Yeah. So we called form our titanium tubing and house, and that's how we achieve the rear tire clearance. We do an S bend seat, stay and chain stay to allow the exact same clearance. So you can fit a 45 seat tire and both C carbon and titanium. [00:16:51] Craig Dalton: And then on the six 50 tires, I think I noted that you can go up to two, want 2.1.  [00:16:57] Bryce Wood: That's correct.  [00:16:58] Craig Dalton: Yes, sir. And with the two Ronin models, correct me if I'm wrong, but these are models that if a customer is working with you, you do offer a custom geometry and modifications.  [00:17:10] Bryce Wood: Yeah. So every bit of that from the build spec to the frame, geometry, to the finish options for all. [00:17:17] Craig Dalton: Cool. And now let's talk about the rogue. Say you began your journey with model one, then you moved over to the Ronan and then this year you've introduced the rogue. Tell me about the philosophy behind it and where you see this sitting next to the Ronin lineup.  [00:17:34] Bryce Wood: Yeah. It's that next progression and gravel, right? [00:17:37] Everybody this sport has really Taken over a large part of the industry. And it's really growing exponentially year over year. And the people as they keep riding, they find out. What they need out of a gravel bike. And so this is that answer to the last decade of people riding gravel and expressing their needs. [00:18:03] We'll still be keeping the Ronin in the lineup, but the road is just a great compliment to it. If you're that cyclist to is expressly riding off road, you want to get out of traffic and off the road. The road is going to be your bike. If you want to do light bike packing and you want to get lost the rogues, the bike for you. [00:18:25] So it's not going to be as steep or as racy feeling as the Ronin is. It's going to be that bike that can take you anywhere and keep you comfortable and have all the Accessories and accompaniments that you want when you're on a long distance ride away from civilization.  [00:18:45] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. [00:18:45] So when talking about how you've made it a little bit, slacker, wider tires, tire clearance, any other bits of the geometry that have changed for this style of.  [00:18:56] Bryce Wood: Yeah. Definitely. So we've dropped the seat stays and we have carved out the lower section of the seat tube. And both of these design elements are going to give that rear end a lot more compliance. [00:19:09] So we've actually got a couple millimeters of travel built into that rear end just through. The carbon construction of the frame that paired with those larger tires is really going to help to keep you a lot more comfortable. Also with the rogue, we've added more mounting points so that you can add racks and pioneers and make that. [00:19:33] A little bit more capable and other design features the SRAM universal derail your hanger, or D H we added that because we've, it's been around on the mountain bike side of things for awhile. And I think for a bike that you're really taking off road and adventuring and exploring with that makes sense to have that product on the bike, because it really protects your drive train when you're in. [00:19:58] Those situations where you might have tight clearance of rocks around your things get really muddy. You've got that re rail feature to keep your chain where it needs to be. And if you do happen to go down, it's also going to protect your derailer so that you don't find yourself in a bad place when you're far away from  [00:20:16] Craig Dalton: This might be a little bit difficult question to answer, but could you describe what that Ude H looks like and how it differs from a traditional derailleur hanger? [00:20:26] Bryce Wood: Yeah the UDA H is It bolts on to the rear dropouts. You've got a bolt that enters the driver's side and bolt onto the actual hanger. That's on the non drive side of that. Right dropout. It has a feature on the inside that helps to re rail your chain. So if you're on a really bumpy surface or your drill is not properly adjusted and it's, and you shifts into that first position instead of your chain going in between the cog and the dropout and jamming up the drill, you're hanging. [00:21:03] Spit it back up onto that, that first cog. So you're not going to have that situation anymore where you miss shift or the chain gets rattled off into your frame. Another great feature of it is that it actually rotates because of how it's Because of how it's attached to the frame. It rotates backwards in the event of a crash. [00:21:22] So instead of it breaking your derail yer as a knuckle or at the melting point, it's just going to rotate and get your derail your out of the way. So hangers have been doing this for us for years, but only in a lateral capacity. So if you crash on your side, Your hanger is built to, to break right? [00:21:42] To protect your earlier. This kind of takes that a step further in an oblique impact. Or if you just catch it earlier on a rock or something, it's just going to rotate that back and give you a better chance of your drill. You're surviving that situation.  [00:21:57] Craig Dalton: Got it. And when you're removing the rear axle to take the wheel off, is it still attached to the frame or is it, does it come off with that removal of an axle? [00:22:06] Bryce Wood: Nope. It's the exact same once that drill your hangers now said everything works the exact same as your traditional through actual system.  [00:22:13] Craig Dalton: Got it. Thanks. I appreciate that. So would the rogue, if I'm someone who fits the bill, but still does a little bit of road riding with this bike, what do you slap a road wheel set on this? [00:22:25] What am I feeling that's different than the Ronan?  [00:22:28] Bryce Wood: Yeah, it's still a road configuration, right? You still got dropped handlebars. You still, you're still going to be in relatively the same position. But this bike is going to put you in a little bit more upright position. It's a little bit shorter. [00:22:42] And you're gonna, you're gonna notice that the bike is not quite as responsive when you're sprinting or climbing up the hill as a Ronan or a road bike would be. So while it's still going to be perfectly happily written on the road, it really is built to Excel off.  [00:23:00] Craig Dalton: Yeah, that makes sense. I think something you said a few minutes ago was really interesting to me just talking about, the decade that we've been riding gravel and how this bike is the culmination of that. [00:23:11] And I have to say, when I met you at sea Otter and I looked and understood the specs of this bike, I really do feel like it's on point with the moment and the journey that certainly speaking for myself that I've been on as a rider and where I want to see the speck of these bikes.  [00:23:26] Bryce Wood: Yeah. It just takes everything that, that one step further. [00:23:30] It's like gravel without limitations, right? Where a Ronan's going to serve you. In 90% of the situations that you find yourself in. But it's lacking a little something. If you're a true gravel, officiant auto, and that's where you spend most of your time writing, you're going to want the option to run a larger tire. [00:23:47] You're going to want mounts on your forks and your rear end. You're going to want that, that slacker more comfortable, more stable geometry on those rough roads. So it's really built for.  [00:23:59] Craig Dalton: Yeah, it's interesting. I certainly have been public about my journey. And I think when I originally started gravel riding, I sold my road bike and said this is going to be my road bike and my gravel bike. [00:24:10] And I made certain compromises to accommodate for this notion in my head that I would still ride on the road a lot. And over the years, absolutely. I've just discovered that. Nine times out of 10, I really want to be off-road immediately as quickly as possible and stay off the roads. And my choice of equipment has gradually moved towards that acknowledgement of, Hey, if 90% of my riding is exclusively off-road and being where I live, it's fairly technical. [00:24:37] I do need to optimize around that. And as you said, certainly I've got to drop our bikes. I want to put a road wheel set on it. It's fine. I'm not going to win any criteriums on it, but I wasn't going to do that.  [00:24:49] Bryce Wood: Exactly. Yeah. If you're riding nine times out of 10 on the gravel, that one time out of 10, that bike still gonna, still going to be fun to ride on the road. [00:24:56] But you're going to have all the capability that you really need those nine times out of 10. So yeah that's really how we do this. Yeah, I think it  [00:25:06] would  [00:25:06] Craig Dalton: be interesting if people coming from the road side of the market are willing and able mentally to make that leap all the way over to the rogue right off the bat. [00:25:14] Or if they still like me needed an interim step on a bike that quote unquote felt like it was going to be more of a road.  [00:25:21] Bryce Wood: Yeah. It's been really interesting working with all of our customers and seeing that transition on their own journeys. And we've got a true road bike. We've got an all road bike, we've got the racy gravel bike, and now we've got the rogue and we're seeing people that are. [00:25:40] Are a little hesitant and they're going to just step up to that all road bike and get the 38 C tire clearance and go off road, 20 or 30% of the time. And I think that it's a good thing to have, all those steps in between because there all those bikes are gonna really be tailored for each individual riders needs. [00:25:58] If you're on the road all the time, Craig, who's got a bike for that. If you want to get off the road a little bit. Cool. We've got something that, that suits that need as well. I don't think we're seeing a lot of people make that transition, that full transition from roads to rogue right now unless, they, in that situation where they can own multiple bikes in which case that's the best case scenario is to have that true road and to have a true. [00:26:24] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah, no doubt. It's a good segue. I would love to just hear from you about the customer journey. So what does it like alchemy bikes sells direct to consumer from the website. Why don't you talk through what that experience looks like, how you tend to work with customers and what type of timeline it takes to get one of these bikes underneath them? [00:26:46] Bryce Wood: Yeah. While we do offer all of the bikes available for immediate purchase on the website. We find that not a lot of people go that route. Most people when they're spending that much money on something like this, they want to talk to somebody first. So we, most of the bikes that we sell, we've got that conversation with that customer before they actually makes a purchase. [00:27:08] I'm the main point of contact at alchemy for all of our road and gravel customers who are looking to purchase a bike. And if they've got questions about specking it out or they need a fitting first I'm the person that they're going to talk to about it. So the customer journey really starts with that first phone call. [00:27:24] Hi, my name is blank. This is what I'm looking for. And then we can talk a little bit more about their individual needs and we can land on. That platform first. Okay. You need a rogue. And then where are you going to be riding? What's your riding style. That's going to bring us to determining what kind of gearing or drive, train that you need. [00:27:47] And then the hardest part of the whole process is what color do I want the bike to be? Everyone gets hung up there. So after, after we've determined all that with the customer. We send them a copy of their geometry. We send them a rendering of their paint and we send them a build sheet, detailing all the components that we're going to build their bike with and we get approval from them. [00:28:09] And then we take a deposit and the production team gets to work and we start ordering components. Typically we like to try to keep the customer updated as their frame moves through the production. So I'll send them a picture of their frame after it's been over wrapped before it has paint on it so that they can be a part of that bike coming to life. [00:28:28] The question. A timeline and delivery is a tricky one in this day and age and largely it's dependent on their component choices. So we can turn around a custom geometry custom painted frame. And about eight weeks we have stock sizing that's paint, ready that we can paint and turn around in about two or three weeks. [00:28:51] And the main holdup right now is going to be components. Every small builder as well as the big guys are also feeling that squeeze right now. There's some components that we've got decent availability of, and we can turn that bike around in 10 or 11 weeks on. And there's some stuff that is in such high demand in such short supply that it's gonna, it's going to be a couple months before. [00:29:14] Before we can deliver that bike. The great thing is that we can make concessions and we can work with that customer and say, Hey, this product is going to be out of stock. We can get you the bike quicker. If would entertain moving to one of these other options. So we can work with you every step of the way to get you that bike when you need it at the price you need it. [00:29:33] And. I'm really hold your hand through it. That  [00:29:37] Craig Dalton: makes a lot of sense. I certainly love getting those check-in points with manufacturers on what the supply chains looking like, because it has been grim and reported as grim on multiple episodes of this podcast. So I think everybody at this point is accustomed not happy about, but accustomed to the idea that they may have to be flexible or. [00:29:58] Bryce Wood: Yes. We're very fortunate to have excellent customers and most of them are completely understanding and, they'd like their bike next week, but they know it's going to take a little bit longer than that. And they're very nice to us. And and we're very appreciative of. [00:30:14] Craig Dalton: 100%. You mentioned the paint jobs and the option to get custom paint. I think you have about a half dozen stock colors and then unlimited options on the custom paint. Are you doing that painting in house or is that a partner? They're in the Denver area?  [00:30:30] Bryce Wood: Yeah, we have our own pain studio here in the facility. [00:30:33] So we're doing all of the wet paint and all of the cerakote here in house.  [00:30:38] Craig Dalton: The rogue that we looked at sea Otter had that cerakote paint technology. And it, can you describe what that is and how it differs from a wet paint?  [00:30:48] Bryce Wood: Yeah. Sarah code's been around for a little while. It started to make its way into the bicycle industry in the last year or two. [00:30:56] It is a polymer ceramic coding And the actual, the colors are suspended in five that that polymer so that makes it extremely Finn and a lot more tough than it's a wet paint counterparts. So it's about a six, the thickness of a wet paint. And. Easily twice as strong, so we can still expect to see where out of it. [00:31:27] Just because that's it's not impervious to it, but it's toughness related to its thickness is quite remarkable compared to wet paint. We can't do as many unique things. We can't do a lot of pearlescent colors. We can't do color shifting But we can still do a lot of different design details and Sarah code. [00:31:48] So it's a really a perfect coding for the road that we're expecting to see a lot of off-road usage. And we don't want your down to, to get chips in it from Erin rocks, flying up from your front tire and leaning it against a tree. All of that stuff is gonna hold up a whole lot better with. [00:32:10] Is  [00:32:10] Craig Dalton: the cerakote applied in a different way than a wet paint.  [00:32:13] Bryce Wood: It's applied in the same way and that it is sprayed through an air gun. But it needs to be baked and that's really where it achieves that toughness. So we have to bake it for a couple hours after the coatings applied. [00:32:26] Okay.  [00:32:27] Craig Dalton: Cool. Thank you for letting me explore some of my sort of deep personal questions on this. I love what you've been doing with the brand and super excited to expose listeners to what alchemy is all about.  [00:32:39] Bryce Wood: Thanks. We're really excited about the direction that cycling is going and people wanting to get off road, and we really want to be a part of that, and we appreciate you bringing in Some visibility, not only to our brand, but to, to gravel cycling in general. [00:32:55] Craig Dalton: Fantastic. Thanks for your time.  [00:32:58] Bryce Wood: Thanks a lot, Craig. Nice to talk to you.  [00:33:00] Craig Dalton: Big, thanks to Bryce for joining us this week.  [00:33:03] I really like what they've done with the alchemy rogue bicycle. I think they're spot on in the spec and the versatility of that bike. And it looks like it's going to be a. A hell of a lot of fun to ride. I also want to give a shout out to our friends at competitive cyclist. Remember visit competitive gravel ride and enter promo code.  [00:33:22] Gravel ride  [00:33:23] To get 15% off your first full price purchase.  [00:33:26] If you're interested in connecting with me and other gravel cyclists around the world, I encourage you to check out the ridership. The ridership is a free global gravel and adventure cycling community. [00:33:37] I think of it as an online forum where you can ask any question you want connect with other riders, create group rides, and generally share our love and passion for the sport of gravel cycling. Simply visit for more information.  [00:33:54] Finally, just a quick shout out to those of you who have become members or slash the gravel ride. It means a ton every time a new contribution comes in and just helps pay for the overhead of the show and a portion of the time that I dedicate every week to bringing you the best gravel cycling content.  [00:34:15] Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt under your wheels

    EverAthlete - Dr. Matt Smith

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2021 39:36

    This week we are joined by Dr. Matt Smith, Founder EverAthlete. Matt walks us through the importance of strength training for gravel cyclists. Presented by: Competitive Cyclist Join The Ridership Episode Transcription (please excuse the typos): EverAthlete - Dr. Matt [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel rod podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. This week on the show, we've got Dr. Matt Smith from ever athlete coming to talk to us. About the importance. Once of strength training for cyclists.  [00:00:14] Before we jump in, we need to thank this week. Sponsor competitor. cyclist.  [00:00:18] Competitive cyclist is the specialty online retailer of road, gravel and mountain bikes, components, apparel, and accessories.  [00:00:26] Featuring some of your favorite brands like pock, Castelli, Pearl Izumi on the gravel bike side. They feature frames from evil Niner. Ibis. Really creating a big selection of gravel bikes for your perusal [00:00:41] But the real difference that competitive cyclists are the gearheads equal parts customer service cycling fanatic gear heads are former pro athletes, Olympians and seasoned cyclists. With years of experience. All available by phone, email, or chat for personal. Product recommendations and hard won advice.  [00:01:00] Last week you heard me talk about my personal experience. With Maggie. I brought her through an exercise to help me find the. Perfect gravel bike for 2022 and perfect for me not. Perfect for what they had in inventory, or really put her to the fire and asked her a lot of tough questions. About designing a bike that was going to fit the type of writing that I do as an individual. So it's not like I was building, a bike for someone.  [00:01:25] In a different part of the country or a different part of the world. She really listened to me. And as I tried to point her to bikes that I thought were flat. Flashy or good-looking. She reminded me that those bikes were all good, but based on what she told me about the riding I was looking to do. She would recommend that I  [00:01:42] key in on a couple specific bikes. And to be honest, she was spot on all the bikes that she recommended. I think it was the IBUs haka. To a lesser degree and the pivot we're spot on for the types of. Bikes that i would want to ride here in marin county. [00:01:58] One of the things that might be a concern for any product you're buying online would be returns. Competitive. Cyclists has a. A hundred percent guaranteed returns. So you can shop in confidence, whether it's a component or bike, anything you need competitive. Cyclists, this has your back. So go to competitive  [00:02:16] Slash the gravel ride. And enter promo code the gravel ride to get 15% off your first full price order. And free shipping on orders of over $50. Some. Some exclusions apply to go right now and get 15% off. Plus free shipping. slash the gravel ride. And remember that.  [00:02:37] Promo code is the gravel ride. We very much appreciate their sponsorship and appreciate that they're sending a discount your way.  [00:02:45] Would that business out of the way, let's jump right into my interview with Matt from ever athlete.  [00:02:51] Matt. Welcome to the show.  [00:02:53] Dr. Matt Smith: Thanks so much for having me. [00:02:55] Craig Dalton: I'm super excited to learn a little bit about, more about your background and about other ever athlete. As I'm about seven weeks into my first program and I'm eager to talk about my experiences, but also look forward to some of the other ride strong programs. So why don't we start off by just setting the stage for the listener a little bit about yourself and then about the. [00:03:17] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. So ever athlete is now an online platform. That's dedicated to helping athletes to perform outdoors on trails in the water on bikes. W our goal is essentially to create longevity to that journey and help people improve their performance. I started out I'm a sports chiropractor and a strength coach and started ever athlete as a sports injury care clinic, actually back in 2015. [00:03:46] And since then, through the pandemic and a few other things we have transitioned into doing some in-person one-on-one work, we work with a lot of different athletes and. Different people, but, we've transitioned a lot of our efforts to the online atmosphere. [00:04:03] And I've taken a lot of the lessons that we've learned from working with high level athletes and also amateur athletes and have started creating training programs, recovery tools, and injury rehab programs online. To rewind a little bit, to give you a little bit more background about, how we started, again, we started as an injury care clinics, primarily focused on athletes and quickly. [00:04:27] Transitioned into strength training as well. We work with a variety of people, but our goal is really to meet any athlete, wherever they are on the healthcare spectrum or the health and performance spectrum, whether they're dealing with an injury or looking to make it to the Olympics. [00:04:44] That's been the premise of ever athlete since we began. And that's just been amplified in the last few years. So that's a little bit about us.  [00:04:52] Craig Dalton: That's interesting. When you started, obviously what you went through chiropractic college, did you act as a traditional sports focused chiropractic professional originally, and then see that these were all different pieces of the same puzzle you were trying to solve for your clients? [00:05:08] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. So before I ever went to, I went to a school called Palmer west for grads. And before I went to Palmer and throughout my time going to Palmer I was working as a strength coach. And so I've worked in strength conditioning for about 15 years. And so when I graduated, I went to work at a pretty cool sports therapy clinic out in Austin, Texas where we were not traditional chiropractic. [00:05:34] So it was. A lot of people think about chiropractic as, if you're going into a chiropractic clinic you're coming in to get adjusted and it's a mill, I've never practiced in that way. I've always been more focused on soft tissue therapy corrective exercise, rehab work in a lot of other modalities. [00:05:53] And so from the beginning of ever athlete, we've always. W we've always worked in a non-traditional sense with people, going through soft tissue work, teaching exercises and then leveraging for the more functional training and exercise now as a preventative and wellness model. And so it's always been a little non-traditional, it's always been athlete focused. [00:06:17] Especially from the beginning phases, but initially it was a little bit more like I think of our company as a company that just solves problems for athletes. And initially we were very focused on solving solving the problems that athletes would have when they're dealing with injuries. [00:06:33] And now we're diving far more into the performance space and also preventing injuries.  [00:06:40] Craig Dalton: That's super interesting and resonates with me personally. I know the relationships I've had with the chiropractic community, the ones that have been the strongest have always been the ones that looked at my problem or my challenge holistically and never, just simply as a chiropractor, because honestly, as a athlete, I could care less about whether you call it chiropractic work, what you're doing on me, or it's stretching or strengthening or advice. [00:07:07] I just want to have that session. Get through whatever hurdle I'm going through and learn tools and techniques to prevent me from, arriving at whatever acute injury probably led me through the door in the first  [00:07:20] Dr. Matt Smith: place a hundred percent. And I think, to, to your point, I've never cared if anyone called via chiropractor, I've never really, I don't know if I fully identify as any one. [00:07:32] I don't fully identify as a chiropractor. It's certainly a part of what I do and has taught me a lot, but it's like a piece of it. And for me, the chiropractic profession, there are a ton of really great practitioners who do a phenomenal job and focus on educating people and creating self-reliance in patient groups. [00:07:52] And that was really the big thing for me, especially early on when. Transitioning out of this role of having people rely on me constantly. And, especially with our online stuff, creating more affordable avenues for people to get good high performance, health care and performance training has been a huge form of wellness. [00:08:15] Whereas a lot of times, if you're thinking about wellness from a chiropractic sense, it's, going to see your chiropractor once a week for, your entire life. And for me, just from a professional mindset, I've never wanted a hundred percent resonated with, having that be my life's work, I've always, really wanted to educate people more and provide. [00:08:36] More self-reliance through practical resources and that's really what we've evolved into has been fast-tracked due to the pandemic, but but it's been a really interesting, this project, this online platform has been this like second evolution I've ever athlete that have been very stoked. [00:08:54] Yeah,  [00:08:54] Craig Dalton: a hundred percent. It's never one single thing. And I think if for the listener, if you've got a relationship with a chiropractor that just feels like they just have to keep coming back in and they're not advising you on how to change your life or how to avoid the situation you're in. And it just becomes this weekly crutch that becomes one expensive and two, in my opinion, just not in your best in. [00:09:16] Dr. Matt Smith: A hundred percent, and a lot of those models are based off of what insurance companies will pay out for, in terms of getting reimbursed as a professional. And I've always worked outside of those lines, from the beginning, we've never been a part of the insurance game. [00:09:32] And so it's been, for me, that's forced me to provide value in a way that is. Far different than trying to fit into that type of model. And that's pushed me forward into saying how do we provide maximum value and self-reliance, and, empowerment for people not on a one-on-one basis. [00:09:53] And yeah, it's been, it's not to downplay Cairo. There's a ton of really great chiropractors out there. There's phenomenal. Hands-on practitioners. And a lot of times, people go through injuries or situations where they need some guidance. But I think the bottom line for me in terms of, what I pride myself on is teaching it's helping people become more resilient on their own. [00:10:17] And that's really been our focus with every athlete from the.  [00:10:21] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think I became aware of ever athlete probably first through Kate Courtney on Instagram, going through her exercise routine. And I'm pretty sure it predated any of the kind of ride strong and run strong and try strong programs that you've put out there. [00:10:38] So I know when I started to see those things arrive in this online platform that you guys had been working on throughout the pandemic, I guess it really spoke to me in a different way. To see these programs being very specific to me as a cyclist was just one of those pushes that helped me get off the dime and start. [00:10:58] Can you talk about why strength training is important for cyclists and why it might be important for us to back off a little bit in our riding routine, particularly in the off season, quote unquote and what we should look forward to throughout a strength training? Yeah.  [00:11:15] Dr. Matt Smith: I think, the conversation about how strength training can fit in for cyclists can go in a lot of different directions. [00:11:23] I think the, one thing to constantly come back to is the fact that sitting for long hours, Is not like it's pretty new for the human body. This is in terms of our evolution and what we're really designed for. That's not exactly in line, even though it's very fun. It's not exactly attuned to what is most healthy for us movement wise. [00:11:48] And so it's not to say that riding a bike is bad. It's just to say that there's an expense. And one of the ways that you can combat that expanse. And ensure that you can do it for longer and potentially with more effectiveness, more power is to implement some strength training. And the identification that, Hey, riding a bike, being in a flection posture pedaling for long hours, the posture that you have to be in while you're on a bike is not super beneficial for the overall. [00:12:22] Human body. And again, one of the ways that we can bring the body back into balance, bring it back to a healthier state is to implement some strength training techniques. And one of the biggest misconceptions when people start thinking about, Hey, I'm an endurance athlete. I, I don't want to train like a powerlifter and I don't want to train like a bodybuilder. [00:12:44] You know that's, those are barriers that, you certainly don't need to start becoming a powerlifter. If you're going to implement some basic strength principles as a part of your training plan. And you can have a tremendous effect. By just implementing some basic movements, getting some good hip extension, thinking about turning your glutes on and driving your hips all the way forward. [00:13:05] We sit in hip flection constantly on the bike, and that can be pretty detrimental for the low back long-term and the hips long-term. And strength training is a really great way to start. Counteracting some of the repetitive stress that you'll find on the bike and it doesn't take that much, it doesn't take a huge commitment. [00:13:22] It's the simple things that you implement over time that can have a pretty tremendous impact on your overall health, but also your performance on the bike. Yeah,  [00:13:32] Craig Dalton: that makes sense. I think most listeners have probably had one of those days where they've just spent so long on the bike. [00:13:38] By the time they got up, it was difficult to stand fully around. Yes. And that's a very acute sign that, that's the way your body feels on every ride, probably to some small degree. And I know for one I need to work at a standing desk because I just don't want to add any more sitting position in my life for the amount of time I'm actually riding. [00:14:01] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. I think that's a super smart move and, . Your comment about, seeing some Kate Courtney's exercises and some of the stuff that she'll put up on, on Instagram, and I've worked with Kate for years now. And I think even with the stuff that she puts out, it's super cool to see what an elite world-class athlete can do. [00:14:24] But I think when it comes to, the audience, who's listening to this podcast and also just like the endurance community over. There's a lot of really high level endurance athletes that are novice strength athletes. They just don't have, they haven't developed the same skill set that they have aerobically when they're in the gym. [00:14:44] And, the bang for your buck that you can get out of like really simple things that don't look cool on Instagram. Bodyweight rose and simple deadlifts or even bridges. I think that, the more exposure that we can give to like how simple it can be for people to implement, very effective tools in their training program. [00:15:03] That's a critical thing because a lot of people think, when they see Kate's stuff or they'll see some of the things that Ali. It's making a little bit more flamboyant than it needs to be. And so a lot of the programs that we put out get to the bare bones of, simple patterns that bring the body back into balance and build a more resilient system overall. [00:15:24] Craig Dalton: Yeah. For the listener, I can attest that in the beginner program, I have not. Balanced on a balance board and brought a dumbbell around my head, like Kate has done in our recent Instagram post. She was just  [00:15:36] Dr. Matt Smith: doing that 15 minutes ago in the other room.  [00:15:39] Craig Dalton: That it's awesome. And funny because I do have a balanced board, so I like dream of getting there, but time will allow that  [00:15:46] Dr. Matt Smith: to happen. [00:15:47] Yeah. And that's a great, I think that's a pretty good segue in terms of. How you parse out your time? Like how can you, everything costs when it comes to training, right? Like it costs time. It costs energy and how to be most effective for a lot of people doing some like simple stuff, not getting too overwhelmed with balance board stuff or anything like that. [00:16:10] Stuff is very effective and can be very fun. But starting with the foundational principles of just good healthy positions and movement can be. Equally, if not more beneficial and as much more accessible. So  [00:16:23] Craig Dalton: for sure. And I know when I reached out to your team originally, and I came in the front door as any other customer would, and it just said, here's the deal. [00:16:31] I, I'm a lifelong cyclist and may have done some strength training. Many years ago, but essentially I'm a beginner in this, where should I start? And the recommendation was this eight week beginner strength program, which I'm seven weeks into at this point of the recording. And it's been good. [00:16:48] We started at a very basic level, half an hour long workouts, maybe at this point, they're about 45 minutes long, but they add up and you're not asking. You've never asked me to do any massive weightlifting or anything like that. It's just been about getting these basic motions down and introducing these concepts to my body, which it's been paced out in a great way. [00:17:13] For me. I've never felt overly sore from an exercise or anything like that. It felt very appropriate and I feel a lot more confident reaching the end of this program about what's next than I did when I first start.  [00:17:25] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. And that's the whole premise. It's one of the most challenging things. And I really commend you for being such an inexperienced athlete and also saying, Hey, this is a new skill set or one that I haven't visited for a long time. [00:17:42] Let me start with victories. Let's build up some victories in the bank and give myself some things that are fairly simple to do. And I'm just going to continue to hammer them out and take bite. A bite sized approach to the whole thing is really the premise behind the beginners program. It's that the program is designed to be very simple and progress over time. [00:18:06] And. And what that allows you to do is to reintegrate some of the software programs in your body and your brain that it takes to squat well, or to activate your glutes or to hold a side bridge position or whatever else. The things that you lose from not doing. And especially if you've been riding a lot for many years and have not done any strength work, that's where you get the most bang for your buck. [00:18:34] It's like integrating these simple patterns in bite ways, and then you can make it more complex and add volume and add more load over time. But that's really the premise behind the beginners programs like to be ultimately accessing. And then lead in to some of the other ride strong programs that we have that give a little bit more specific to positions that you'll find on the bike and get you a little bit more, we'll we add in little, different tempos to exercises, more load increase the stability demands and, we add difficulty in a variety of ways, but starting out with foundational movement where you're just learning good patterns. [00:19:12] And practicing those things so that you can load them more effectively later without getting injured is really what our goal was when developing that, that  [00:19:21] Craig Dalton: program. Yeah. That's certainly been one of my focuses is to really look at the instruction and make sure my body to the best of my ability. Is it a hearing to the correct shape and. [00:19:33] 'cause I know, like anytime we're adding dumbbells in that if I have poor form, if I'm curling my back, if I'm not getting the squat in the right position, that's not going to serve me well, as real weight starts to be added into the equation. Yep.  [00:19:48] Dr. Matt Smith: And one of the biggest misconceptions, I think that's out there right now is like, there's this like global agreement that strength training is good for endurance health. [00:20:01] But poor staff, poorly executed strain training could be the absolute worst thing for an endurance athlete. And, you get a lot more out of performing a good unloaded squat or lunge or hinge without heavy loads. If you just do the pattern well, you get just as much, if not more out of that than using really heavy load. [00:20:26] And having poor form or potentially hitting, faltering in your movement pattern in a way that could injure you. And coming back to Hey, what's the point of all this, the point of all this is to reintegrate healthy patterns for the body and bring it back to balance and then start to add some load to build strength and power is really where we come from. [00:20:47] Craig Dalton: So as a cyclist, one of the things I noted in this beginner strength program, which I think of your programs, that this is obviously more generic to just get me started, but there is a fair amount of upper body work that goes on. And as a weak upper body cyclist, that was, that's probably one of the bigger transitions. [00:21:06] Can you talk about why we're working kind of the upper body and arms as well as the legs and these moves.  [00:21:11] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah, in that specific program. So in the beginner strength program, the goal of the program is really just to develop not only strength, but just overall athletics. And a robust system. And so in that program specifically, it's really teaching you different patterns with the upper body so that you get a little bit more balanced. [00:21:32] And I think when it comes to, our ride strong programs and some of the upper body work that we do more specific to the bike, that stuff is critical. For a couple of different reasons, it's critical in the same way that like building up foot strength is very important for running. In the sense that that's your, it's like one of your primary contact points on the bike. [00:21:53] And if you don't control well with your provider, if you don't have strength, endurance, grip, strength and solid control of your upper body, especially in gravel riding with the. Amount of time that you're on the bike, you can start running into not only acute situations where you crash or, you just lose control of your bike. [00:22:14] But also longterm, you can just start running into poor posture on the bike, which leads to all kinds of issues, not only in the upper body, but also sometimes in the lower back in the neck. And building up a certain degree not again, not we're not doing like bicep curls and heavy bench press with our programs. [00:22:33] It's more like integrating pushups, grip strength from hanging. Pull-ups all these different things that can be very beneficial just in terms of like control, just in terms of like confidence and control on the bike and maintaining healthy posture with your.  [00:22:50] Craig Dalton: Yeah, that resonates with me. It might be a good time to take a moment and just talk about the type of equipment that is necessary to follow these programs. [00:22:59] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. So we have a variety of programs up on the site, including no equipment programs. So we have we have a body weight strength program that's eight weeks long, and if you're looking for kind of a generic program to follow that will build up, lower body, upper body core strength. [00:23:17] That's a great one. If you've got nothing available, we also have kettlebell programs that just require one kettlebell that are also generic, very similar to the beginner strength program. But build up overall athleticism when it comes to our ride strong program. There's a pretty good amount of equipment that you need. [00:23:35] But any, Jim will have these things and then if you wanna, if you want to get pretty robust at home, you can a few of the things that we have in our programs, I'm actually looking up our equipment list right now, but we have everything. Many bands. So there's a little bands that you see people wrap around their legs and do like sidesteps or squats with long bands with handles are one piece of equipment that we use quite often that can wrap around a door handle, or a pole or a pull up bar. [00:24:06] We use barbells in our new restaurant. So we're currently putting out a 20 week ride strong program. It's like a slow release right now. But we do have a strength cycle in there with barbells. So barbells bumper plates, all that we use dumbbells, we use benches for box jumps and then for a few other exercises. [00:24:30] And I'm trying to think here,  [00:24:32] Craig Dalton: what else do we use? Yeah, I've I was lucky in that I already owned a TRX that was gathering dust and TRX that's right. Yeah. And the TRX was useful in that there were some modifications. So if you didn't have a pull-up bar, which I don't currently have a plan on getting you could do a TRX derivative of that. [00:24:52] And I, the, just FYI for the listener those stretch bands, I think for $29, I got a set of the long ones and the short ones that pretty much cover all my needs. And then I ended up just recently finding a deal on a barbell set. So ended up getting barbells thinking, I'm going to want it for this next stage, but you can take these things in incrementally and that's what I've been doing. [00:25:15] Just acquiring them when I have the finances to do.  [00:25:18] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. And just to be clear. So last year we put out six months of rod strong program. Actually more than six months, we put out a full off season of red, strong programming that required no barbell. So it was all dumbbell work, all bands, a suspension trainer, and we have all of our. [00:25:39] The one thing that I didn't mention so far was a Swiss ball. We do Swiss balls, particularly in the registrar program. Good. Because I  [00:25:46] Craig Dalton: Got one of those and didn't see it in the beginner strength program. So I was hoping I would see it in the future.  [00:25:51] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah, you will see it. If you follow the 20, which I do recommend falling that the 20 week ride strong program that we have coming out. [00:25:58] Now, if you follow that, you'll see that in core routine. Like we like to play around particularly in like kneeling positions on the ball, using it for hamstring curls and a lot of different drills. Yeah,  [00:26:12] Craig Dalton: right on. That's actually a good segue into my question. So I've, I've, I'm fortunate that I got the bug early and I'm finishing my eight weeks sort of the beginning of December. [00:26:22] What would you recommend? I move on to it. It sounds like it's that 20 week program. And if so, could describe the journey that you've created?  [00:26:31] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. And so to be clear, like what I recommend to you now, And really like the conversation should revolve around a goal. So everything that we every th the premise behind everything that we're putting out is to help people set goals and create a path from a to B and so create, do you have any races coming up in the. [00:26:54] Craig Dalton: I'm sure I will. And here's my challenge in my coachability is it's difficult for me as a family guy to plan out my race calendar. And it's often driven by balancing my desire with family obligations and, ability to travel. But so I typically end up at. Two to four gravel events, big gravel events a year, and then a smattering of local ones that I can drive to. [00:27:19] Typically they're not going to start until, March or April, I would say.  [00:27:25] Dr. Matt Smith: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And that's that's pretty common. So if you're finishing up this beginner's program, I was looking at a calendar here and you're in the first week of December, you've got a bow. 12 to 16 weeks until you're actually racing. [00:27:43] And, you can jump into our 20 week program. I'll send you a note about this offline, but. I do recommend like our 20 week program that we're currently putting out is based on a lot of the work that we've done with pro riders and essentially have taken those concepts and made them more available to amateur and lower level competitive writers. [00:28:05] And. We start out with a six week stability phase. That's broken up into three parts. So three, two week phases, and then we go into an eight week strength cycle. That's broken up into two different four week strength blocks. And then we finished with a six week power and power endurance cycle. [00:28:27] And so the way that we've created the program, Is to allow for flexibility. So say you have 20 weeks from an event or versus having 12 weeks from an event, we can clip things out and give you a custom program to have you peaking for your event. Just based on the programs that we currently have out, and we have a few other programs outside of the 20 week program that we're currently releasing. [00:28:54] We have a five week strength and power blend. We have a six week strength and power blend and we have a 12 week progressive strength program. So there's a lot of different things that we can pull from. To basically figure out what's right for you. And this is a lot of what we're doing with people right now. [00:29:08] It's we're doing calls with people pretty often. And we include this in our membership where you can set up, you can shoot us an email and say, Hey, here's what I have going on here. My goals, do you have any suggestions for my path? And this is a lot of what we're doing day to day is trying to answer these questions for people. [00:29:24] So for you, I would recommend, jumping right in, hop right into. Our stability phase one, for this new ride strong program it'll pick up in a similar way with where you left off from the beginner strengths. And, it's in the front half of this thing it's pretty low volume. [00:29:43] It's the same concept of working on patterns. Some of the patterns in the stability phase are a little bit more specific to the bikes. You'll get that feeling a little bit more. And then the volume starts to pick up as we start getting into the later phases of the stability program and then furthermore, into the strength phase. [00:30:01] Craig Dalton: For those who are unaccustomed to strength training in their winter of their cycling season is the conflict that if you're if I'm in a power lifting phase of this program, come March and I want to go out and race. I'm just going to be too fatigued and played out to pre.  [00:30:18] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. So the way that our program works is it peaks in volume during the strength phase, because usually during that phase, like we're really timing it with a like a seasonal schedule for say, cross country, mountain biking. [00:30:34] There's a time when the writing volume is low enough to where we have an opportunity to build up in the gym and we can do a little bit more volume and can boost that there becomes a secondary time in the spring, or like the early, like late winter. We'll say where that's not the case. [00:30:53] The writing volume kicks up at. We're in full preparation mode for race season to start. And that's when the gym starts to take a back seat a little bit more and our volume needs to go down. And that's really what we do in our power, endurance phase. And we do recommend being conscious of volume. [00:31:10] Particularly if you are doing, if you're a cyclist who's competitive and you're doing a lot of time on the bike, many hours per week. Then you need to be careful with, overwhelming your system through just too much strength work. That's a huge piece of all this. And pretty much all of the, this 20 week program that we're putting out currently is very careful about volume. [00:31:33] In reference to Hey, what should I do leading up to a race. If I'm not following the direct timeline that we've written out, you can parse different things. I would take out part of the strength cycle and Mo I would like skip strength B, which is the second four weeks, and then move into the power. [00:31:49] And during. Psych part of things leading up to your race.  [00:31:52] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. And one of the fears maybe from the listener and certainly in my mind is, okay. I commit to this program. And I think in these, in the strength phase, a it might even be three workouts a week, trying to figure out how to squeeze that in with riding and riding for pleasure. [00:32:10] I think for a lot of my listeners writing as an outlet, that is, is not. Necessarily about the competitive nature of it. It's like what we crave every week to get out there and get in the wilderness. Can you just talk about, R D would you advocate lifting and riding in the same day? Is there a certain number of rides per week that you think about that athletes would typically have in their program? [00:32:35] In addition to these, the strength training routine?  [00:32:39] Dr. Matt Smith: It really depends. This is a pretty subjective. Topic, because different writers who are doing, there'll be writers who are doing high volume on the bike, but really this is like the first time that they've done any strength training. [00:32:55] Versus there are writers who are not doing as much volume on the bike who are very familiar with strength training and have that cash in the bank. And so their response to strength volumes can be. And the way that I typically like the way that we've structured this whole program is to be two days of strength. [00:33:13] And then you have, and these days are like 30 to 45 minutes in the starting phases. And then they kick up to about 45 minutes. And then we have a third session each week, which is a 20 minute core routine. And you can repeat that throughout the week whenever you'd like, so you can do it once a week. [00:33:30] You can do it twice a week. And so you can stack things to whatever makes sense for you. And part of the reason that we did that is we want to have a fairly flexible plan for people because it is, there's just such a variety of. Have, not only people's schedules, but also how they respond to training what their life off the bike looks like. [00:33:50] Nothing is going to be perfect. And so in terms of, what would be ideal, usually we'll stack strength days on very light low intensity riding day. Is historically what I've done and, I've had other writers that try and do strength and an intense ride on the same day. [00:34:11] But if you're just a recreational rider, who's doing it for the enjoyment which, everyone should be doing it for the enjoyment, but I would recommend maximize your enjoyment on the bike. Don't let any part of your training program steal that from you. Consider your strength work as like you're contributing to the longevity of you enjoying your time on the bike and don't have your strength work, be so intense that it starts pulling away from that. [00:34:39] So think of it as a long-term plan, we don't hit home runs with this program is all singles and doubles. And you really if you're starting strength work as a masters cyclist this year, consider it like a 20 year. And don't try and change everything in your first year of doing that. Dip your toes in the water. [00:34:57] Just add maybe one to two days of strength, per week. And just see, I would say two days is probably the. The like optimal range, particularly for someone who's riding quite a bit add that in and do it in a way that doesn't completely disrupt your writing schedule. Particularly if you're like very comfortable with, a fairly strict writing schedule and you know exactly how you're going to respond to that. [00:35:21] Just add a little dose of strength. Don't try and go ham on the. Yeah, that  [00:35:27] Craig Dalton: makes a ton of sense. It's been interesting for me personally, as this eight week period, it just happens to be a period where for whatever reason, I just haven't had a lot of opportunity to ride. So it's been, I don't feel like I've got that. [00:35:41] Balance yet. So as I enter this next phase and feel a little bit more compelled to get in quote, unquote, riding shape, I want to get out there more. So I'll have to circle back with the listener and inform them how I'm doing on finding that balance between the strength training and the riding I love to do for pleasure. [00:35:58] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah. And I think that you're certainly not alone in that it's a. It can be fairly tricky, especially if you haven't done strength work for a long time, or you've never done it. It's this new habit that you it's no one can address it the same way. No one can implement it the same way. [00:36:20] And so figuring out. What works best for you and playing around with, scheduling and, allowing yourself a little bit of flexibility on the front end to see how you respond to strength, work and see how you feel on big rads after that, taking the time to really observe and see what works for you. [00:36:38] Not necessarily everyone else is a critical piece to making sure that, strength and recovery work stays a part of your game plan for a long.  [00:36:47] Craig Dalton: Yeah, right on. That makes a ton of sense. And I think for the listener, check out the ever athlete website, I'll link to it in the show notes. [00:36:54] There's, as Matt's described, there's a lot of programs there that the subscription is quite affordable. From what I've seen out there, I was really pleased and I didn't get hit by some massive dollar number. So kudos to you and hope you get the volume you need. Cause I know the production values high and the effort you guys have put into designing these programs is quite substantial. [00:37:14] Dr. Matt Smith: Yeah, no, we. Our whole goal with it is to make the lessons that we've learned with different athletes and also working from an injury care perspective. Making those lessons accessible to people is that's the. That is the thing. That's the legacy that I would want to leave behind, for my career. [00:37:37] And so in terms of the dollar, the pricing of our platform will not go up from what it is. It'll probably go down at some point, but. Our goal is to make stuff accessible, particularly for people that we love hanging out with, which includes gravel cyclist, mountain bikers, road, cyclists, like we love supporting people's active lifestyle. [00:37:56] And in terms of covering our costs and all that, like w we're doing great and more than anything, it's been a really interesting project. And, we're excited to keep. Yeah.  [00:38:08] Craig Dalton: Thanks so much for all the time and insight matter, really enjoyed the conversation, hopefully for the listener, it wasn't too much of a Greg's journey to strength training. [00:38:16] I feel like I got a lot out of it, but hopefully it's translated to everybody listening and you can find your own journey.  [00:38:23] Dr. Matt Smith: Oh yeah. Hey, thanks so much for having me on Craig. This is spot cheers  [00:38:27] Craig Dalton: Huge. Thanks for Matt for joining us this week, I learned a ton on my personal journey to strength training. I actually just knocked out another exercise before recording this outro. So I'm finishing week eight and feeling good about my journey and continuing on through the winter and hopefully hitting 20, 22 much stronger as a person and as a gravel cyclist.  [00:38:50] Another huge, thanks to competitive cyclist or appreciate their support of the podcast. Remember, visit competitive gravel ride and enter the promo code, the gravel ride for 15% off your order.  [00:39:05] Finally, if you've got any feedback for the show or would like to connect with other gravel cyclists around the world. I invite you to join the ridership. Simply visit to join our free community and communicate with thousands of other cyclists around the world. Until next time.  [00:39:25] Here's to finding some dirt under your wheels.  [00:39:29]   

    Phil Cavell - The Midlife Cyclist

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2021 34:18

    This week we sit down with Phil Cavell, co-founder of Cycle Fit Studio in London and author of The Midlife Cyclist. The Midlife Cyclist take a comprehensive look at our bodies and mind with an eye towards successful cycling in mid-age and beyond.  Episode sponsor: Competitive Cyclist - Code 'TheGravelRide' Phil's CycleFit Studio and The Midlife Cyclist Episode Transcript (automated, please excuse the typos): Phil Cavell - The Midlife Cyclist  [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. This week on the podcast, we're joined by Phil Cavell.  [00:00:10] Phil is the co-founder of pioneering European fit and cycling analysis studio cycle fit. And the author of a book called the midlife cyclist. [00:00:21] Before we jump into this week show, I need to welcome a new sponsor to the gravel ride podcast. Competitive cyclist.  [00:00:28] Whether you're looking to buy a new bike, that's ready to go. Need expert advice, or want to customize your current build competitive is your one-stop online bike shop.  [00:00:38] Now, obviously there are lots of places to shop online, but the real difference at competitive cyclists are the gearheads. They're equal parts, customer service, cycling fanatics. Gear heads, our former pro athletes, Olympians and seasoned cyclists with years of experience, all available via phone, email, and chat for product recommendations and hard won advice.  [00:00:59] Last week. I wanted to experience it again for myself. So I called up competitive cyclist and I got a gear head named Maggie.  [00:01:07] Out of curiosity, I gave Maggie a brief rundown of the type of bike I was looking to buy the type of riding I want to do. And she was able to quickly narrow down the products from a competitive cyclist and find a few bikes that absolutely fit the bill. A couple of the models that are available, that fit my style of riding.  [00:01:27] We're the Haka. The pivot vault and one other bike. I also mentioned that I was super excited about the way the Ridley Canzo fast looked for example, but Maggie was quick to point out that based on what I had told her. That I wanted a bike that was going to be great for where I lived in Marin county.  [00:01:47] A little bit of racing and a little bit of bike packing. She reminded me that that particular bike. It might not do well. If I wanted to do kind of adventurous bike packing, that it was probably better off for me to choose. A bike with a little less aggressive geometry than that particular Ridley. And she actually introduced a bike to me, a model from Ridley that I'd never heard of before.  [00:02:09] So it was really great to just chat with her. And, you know, I know part of the journey of this entire podcast for me has been learning about different bike brands and so many questions that I had when I got into the sport. And it was just great to know that you can call a gear head and kind of riff on what you're looking for.  [00:02:29] And they can break down the different models they're available and get you onto that right. Bike with confidence.  [00:02:36] So, whether you're looking for gravel bikes, gravel parts, or any of your cycling needs. Go to competitive gravel ride. And enter promo code the gravel ride. To get 15% off your full price purchase. Plus free shipping on orders of $50 or more. Go right now and get 15% off. Plus free shipping.  [00:02:58] At competitive gravel ride. Entering promo code the gravel ride. . With that said let's dive right into my interview with phil [00:03:08] Phil, welcome to the show.  [00:03:10] Phil Cavell: Thank you, Craig. It's great to  [00:03:11] Craig Dalton: be there. I'm excited to have this  [00:03:13] Phil Cavell: yeah. I suspect that you are.  [00:03:14] Craig Dalton: Let's talk just to set the stage for the listener. [00:03:16] Let's just talk a little bit about your background as a cyclist, and then also I think your day job, not being a writer, what you do as a day job at cycle fit studio.  [00:03:27] Phil Cavell: Yeah. Sure. I used to race everything. Come from a time and a place where you didn't really just raise one format. [00:03:33] We used to race cyclocross, rode mountain bike, time trials, team time and trials and getting back over 30 years now, but it just the team and club I was with us, just, it was a group of people and we just wrote everything. And living in London, you could raise a criterium on Tuesday. At crystal palace, the famous crystal palace. [00:03:51] And then you could do a time trial on Wednesday and then you could do, or mounted bike race on a Wednesday or Thursday was a big criterium day at the glorious east way circuit. And then you do a mounted by race or a road race on the weekend. So that was in the seat. That's just the diet I grew up on. [00:04:08] You just raised everything all the time. And until by the end of the season, all of a sudden you couldn't move or speak any muscle in your body. And so that was normal to me until I got injured and until my co-director and a psychopath found pat and I found her got injured and then we couldn't do anything. [00:04:24] And that's what made us interested in the subject. And so yeah, the cycle fit, we that it was born in the late nineties. And it's all really came on, tap in the early two thousands. So it's been going just over 20 years.  [00:04:37] Craig Dalton: I want to dig into cycle fit a little bit, but before we jump in. I know your injury was quite serious and actually took you off the bike for a really extended period of time. [00:04:48] I think that's really interesting just to hear it in your words, and the fact that you were able to come back to the bike is, you know, maybe news and some enthusiastic news to some of the lists.  [00:04:58] Phil Cavell: Yeah, it wasn't that injury actually, the original injury that made me interested in bike fitting was 25, 30 years ago. [00:05:04] The injury, this injury was 2011, hit a pothole and spammy me over the bars and very innocuous, really commuting crash, spammy me over the bars and a ambulance picked me up and took me to hospital and Yeah. And then I had a S a, quite a bad spine fracture there, but their feeling was, it was probably an old one that I'd reactivated or, and so it just got worst over it got worse and worse over the next few weeks. [00:05:31] And I could feel it degrading. And it was I'd missed that period in British medicine when you're treated as an emergency. And so I was almost always trying to get back into the system, but it got worse and worse until I had to have spine fusion surgery that failed quite badly and got an infection and made things worse. [00:05:51] And yeah, I really, it was. Six seven years of just trying to find where ground, you know, that the kind of base level was like a kickoff. Again, every time I thought things couldn't get worse, they did, which is bizarre because I was working in an, in, you know, working at my day job was helping people who were injured and I was the one I'd run up through, but I couldn't think of myself and a knock and my co-director jewels. [00:06:14] And you know, he felt awful because, you know, there was no fix. And obviously like most professionals, you know, I opt for the least, you know, you want ops for the least, least invasive corrective therapy. You know, I already had one round of surgery and that didn't go great. So you're a bit gun shy for the next round. [00:06:31] So you're trying to manage everything with physio and physical, you know, physical therapy. And of course being in my business, I know a lot of them very good ones and bless them. They were all trying to. But it's one of those situations where no one could help. I couldn't help. Nobody could help. [00:06:44] And it just, so I couldn't really ride at all between 2011 and 2000 and late 17, early 18, I had spine revision surgery in 2017 and it was successful.  [00:06:57] Craig Dalton: Glad to hear that. Yeah. Yeah. What a journey. And I can only imagine how bad it was, you know, having to service athletes at cycle. If it's studio, meanwhile, not being able to, you know, enjoy the sport. [00:07:10] That's been a big part of your entire life. [00:07:12] . I remember you'd mentioned that you and your partner both had differing injuries that led you to starting this cycle fit studio. [00:07:20] Can you just talk about that process and what philosophy you brought to fit?  [00:07:25] Phil Cavell: Yeah, I mean, we both had injuries. So we were sidelined from racing and it just made us it, we came from a traditional racing background, you know, which was, you know, you didn't really think too much about your position and didn't think too much about anything at all, or even doing other things other than just racing. [00:07:43] We just raised and rode all the time. And then we got, when we got injured, it made us reevaluate everything. And then we worked with Paul swift, a lot, one of your, you know, and we went to Ben serratus classes. Ben was great. We really, you know, those early, but Ben shorter classes were amazing. And then it just got it, gave us an appetite for the subject. [00:08:04] So we just constantly learned and trained and sought people out who could help us learn. People about podiatrists because podiatry for us was where a lot of the gold was buried. We thought, and, you know, I think we were right about that. You know, we just trained and learn from everybody, whether it was a hip surgeon or a podiatrist or a physio, we just kept going. [00:08:24] And so developed our philosophy from there. And the philosophy hasn't really changed. It's just changed, you know, to help us deliver the philosophy. And I guess that philosophy for that, sorry.  [00:08:35] Craig Dalton: Yeah, no, I was just going to say, I mean, it seems yeah, I'd love to hear you summarize the philosophy and obviously like the cycle fit studio grew and you started working with a lot of professional teams and individual athletes of really big note. [00:08:51] Phil Cavell: Yeah. Yeah, I guess the philosophy is that cycling is prescriptive. It's a very prescriptive sport. I think your ranges of movement and that can either be good because it's prescribing good movement for you or it's good. It can be bad. It's prescribing your body to do bad things that are out of alignment with what you can tolerate. [00:09:11] And so for us, it really is about anatomy. It's understanding each individual on quite a deep level and what their body wants to do and how their body wants to move. And then try and express that on the bicycle. I guess that's our philosophy encapsulated that, you know, when cyclists come in and say, you know, geez, I'm really uncomfortable in pain. [00:09:29] The bike's hurting me is don't beat yourself up. It's a very prescriptive environment. And right now the prescriptions are wrong. You're being prescribed the wrong. And we need to know, I found out what the right prescription is, and for that, we need to really understand how your body wants to move from function. [00:09:45] And then possibly part of that is even saying, okay, there's things you can do yourself to make things better here. You know, no, one's a finished project, actually. Everyone's working progress, everybody, especially mid-life athletes things are changing quickly. So you've got to stay on top of it. [00:09:58] So I guess that in essence is our philosophy.  [00:10:00] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I was curious. I mean, I think it's a good time that we move on to the book that you've written the midlife cyclist, but were you seeing some of the things as you had older athletes come into cycle fit studio was, and as you were aging yourself, were you starting to see things very starkly about how the aging athlete was fitting onto a bike that led just another thread of why you wanted to write this. [00:10:24] Phil Cavell: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, we were seeing clients come in trying to do extraordinary things and often not coming from a cycling background. And so we were, you know, it made us very curious really about, you know, you try not to see everybody through the same prism, you know, we're all X races, all races, that cycle of it. [00:10:42] So it's very tempting to see things through that prism and, you know, The inspiration behind the book was what don't, let's not see people through that prison. Let's see. Pick Trump usually see people through their individual prison. My teachers did right. Looking at it. Thank you very much, Donna. So yeah, the hiding behind that was to really explore that subject. [00:10:59] You know, someone doesn't come from a side, combat run, they come from a rugby background or a soccer background or and you know, what's the best evidence and advice for them to progress as quickly as they can in the sport safely. And that ultimately is. To try and hold people's hands so they can get the most out of themselves and the most out of their bikes and the booklet. [00:11:18] The book really is a philosophy discussion about that subject to think.  [00:11:22] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think that's probably meets a lot of gravel riders where they're at, because your statement around meeting athletes who were trying to do extra ordinary things that maybe hadn't been riding their whole life to do that. [00:11:34] Is commonplace in gravel. I mean the tent pole events around the world can be a hundred plus miles, maybe even 200 miles in the case of Unbound out in Kansas, these events that people read about and think, oh, I'm just going to go out and do that because gravel is so inviting, but the idea of coming off of even just a solid fitness background and riding 200 miles off road, quite a tall order. [00:11:58] Phil Cavell: Yeah, that's right. And. It's beholden and everybody who wants to do that kind of event to really understand what they're demanding of their body, what systems are they going to be stressing? Which systems should they be fueling through? It's not just, it's just not enough to get yourself fit or to keep pushing up your FTP because of the net. [00:12:18] You're a high FTP isn't necessarily going to get you through a trans continental ride or some of the great big events. It's just not, you know, you need to be working. In an oxidative efficient state. And that requires specific training. And a lot of us amateurs, certainly midlife athletes who have come into the sport late or trying to catch up all the time. [00:12:38] They're trying to cram the homework is it won't work. You know, you know, you've got to you. I think I say in the book, you've, you know, you've got to put some foundations down before you can move into the penthouse, you know? And if you don't do that, you know, you know, you are not going to perform at your best. [00:12:52] And so you've got almost slow down to go fast. Even me, you know, I come from a racing background race for decades. If I was going to go and do one of these events and I absolutely want to go and do the trans continent or something like that just absolutely speaks to me. I would completely change the way I ride. [00:13:07] You know, I absolutely would, you know, I'm by nature, I'm a crit rider, you know, All fast, short distance, 45 minutes or an hour, and I'm gone. If I was going to do the trans continental, I would totally change the way I ride. Totally. You know, you've got to start fueling different. Yeah. You know, it's  [00:13:24] Craig Dalton: interesting. [00:13:25] No. It's interesting to hear your perspective on this stuff, obviously. That's why I invited you on the podcast. You know, to that vein, you know, it wasn't, I spent a little bit of time in my life, as a, as an amateur road racer. And then I did a bike tour and I realized as I strapped those bags on my road bike, the day was going to be different. [00:13:45] I wasn't going to be sprinting. Out of the blocks. It was going to be a long day with a lot of weight on the bike. And it really was instrumental in shifting my mentality around what would eventually in my life become a passion around these Endurant long endurance events. And it is to your point, you just have to think about it entirely differently than an hour long criteria. [00:14:09] Phil Cavell: That's right. And I remember Joel signed me up for the first Everett tap to tour and, you know, I didn't even know what it was, frankly. And Jules is juices. My co-director is a vet. He's a very intelligent, very disciplined rider and trainer always a much better trainer than I was. I was his lead out man. [00:14:27] And I, and he was, you know, he was a very good sprinter and he signed me up for this event and I'm like, oh, okay. So we'll do it. So we went out to the tap to tour. I had no idea what it was, no idea what it was. And I got. And we started, I still didn't really know what it was. I didn't even know where it went. [00:14:40] I honestly didn't know where it went or what climbs it went over. It seems madness now, but it's a long time ago. Anyway, it started and I thought, great race. You know, let's go get into, get my race head on and off we go. I was in the front group to start with the first hour and 10 minutes. I was literally in the front group. [00:14:55] There's a group of us and I'm going through an orphan. It's an hour and 10 minutes hits and that's my normal distance. And I'm gone. I'm done. I'm not going to blow my. That's it lights went out after burners off, shut down at which point Jules came out next to me on this climb and said, oh, you worn out old Labrador. [00:15:12] Look at you in touch. I'm sorry, chores. I'd completely blown my biscuit. And I had that five hours left. Yeah, very expensive education. Crazy.  [00:15:21] Craig Dalton: For sure. You don't have to say, you know, I mentioned that, I felt like this book hit me at the exact right time. You know, I've been suffering the last few years with some lower back issues and felt you know, this was the year I was really gonna change my mentality about writing and, you know, I had been one of those. [00:15:39] Ride five days a week. That's what riding is all about kind of athletes. And I knew I needed to make some changes when I was reading through maybe the first third of this book and maybe it was chapter three in particular. I was starting to think, oh my God, You know, I'm probably fortunate that it's only my back that's hurting because it could be my knees. [00:15:58] It could be my it band. It could be my hip. And I started to get in this doom and gloom mentality. So I was super happy when it started to come around in chapter four. You know, the midlife cyclist, it is possible to still go fast and achieve these major milestone events in your life, but the mentality needs to shift. [00:16:20] So it'd be interesting to just talk about some of the elements of the mentality that needs to shift and how we can think about, you know, writing to.  [00:16:29] Phil Cavell: Yeah. And I'm sorry, some people have reacted to the book and said, look, you know, I find the book a little bit, you know, I find it a bit, chapter three, you know, is tough. [00:16:38] And some of it I think is you know, you just a bad news bear. You just, you know, it's relentlessly bad news. And I don't, I just don't intend it like that. I just think the book to me is going into this with your eyes open, there's no point in being Peter pan about this understand the constraint, understand the challenges. [00:16:53] And once you understand the challenges and the constraints have Austria. You know, and then you can do the best you can do, to go into this, you know, there's no point I didn't want to write a book. It was just a training manual, ignoring the fact that, you know, any other century you'd be dead, you know, 51, 50, 2 years old. [00:17:10] How old are you? I'm nearly 60. So 51 51 in any other century, Craig, you wouldn't be alive, you know, unless you were kind of royalty, it's just as simple as that. You know, it's, you know, we need to, we need that kind of leveling moments. Okay. It's 300,000 generations of bypass. Every one of them would be dead by now, but not only am I alive, but I want to train and act like an Olympic athlete. [00:17:33] Okay. All of that's great. I love it. Understand the challenges, you know, and this is people my age and your age, trying to push their bodies hard is a very recent event in human history. So I think it's beholden all of us to understand. And then understand what's happening to our bodies as we do this and challenge our bodies in these ways. [00:17:54] Not because I think not because I think we shouldn't be doing it, not because I'm trying to be depressing, but because I think the goal is buried in understanding.  [00:18:04] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And I think by the end of the book that comes absolutely shining through, and that chapter three is a distant memory and I was more on. [00:18:14] Gosh, I just need to do the things that I need to do correctly. I need to think about my cycling career differently at this point. And there was a bunch of things in the book. That were put out there in a way that sort of makes you think about it. One that I'll highlight that is, I think for a lot of gravel athletes, maybe it's top of mind these days, just because of some of the athletes, we follow just the idea of recovery and you've got products like whoop out there talking about HRV, and there's obviously a number of other ways you can get that, that that stat out of your body. [00:18:45] But if you could talk a little bit about recovery and maybe. Alongside that over-training syndrome. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on that.  [00:18:54] Phil Cavell: Yeah, it's a good point. Oh, cyclists seem to be born with a great work ethic and it's, you know, and if, you know, and it's you know, we're made mad by miles. [00:19:03] We just, you know, we're mile hungry. And if in doubt, put more miles on your belt, you know, I come from that background, you know, the old generation I come from was like, you know, it's all miles, it's all miles under the saddle, you know? And there's, that's partly true. When you get to our age, my age, I'm older than you. [00:19:18] It's also too to say that you need to respect your body more and you need to rest more. You need to recover more. Remember that you get fit, not when you're training, but when you're recovering, you know, what you do is you have a, you introduce a stress to your body, a training dose to your body. And that stimulates something on a cellular level, and then you need to super compensate and your body then gets stronger to adapt to this. [00:19:42] You put your body under. So you're actually getting, you're actually gaining fitness, not when you're training, but in the super compensation stage. Now everyone knows that, but cyclists, we seem to, it's no, we never, we don't allow our body to go into the super compensation stage and rest. And we get to my age and degree your age, you just need to have, be more conscious of not just the amount of rest, but the quality of rest sleep is absolutely. [00:20:07] Go dust to you know, to our generation really, because that's when all the good work gets done. And if you're in any doubt tool bag as to whether you should train, I wouldn't necessarily use heart rate, which is our old gold standard. You'd take your pulse if you know, and you'd say, okay, I'm at 45. [00:20:23] I'm good to go. Or 50 good to go. You know, a lot of a lot of endurance athletes have bradycardia, which is slow heart rate. So a better way to look at it is HRV heart rate variation, which is the beat to beat changed. And that gives you an, a better metric to work with as to whether you're fully rested and should train, or in fact, you're still tired and you've got inflammation in your body possibly or you're fighting something and you probably are best served to rest. [00:20:45] Not best served to rest in health, but all certainly that is true, but best health best to rest for performance. Because training, when you're tired really has no benefit, it just doesn't have any benefit. Certainly our. You know, you want to be fizzing with energy when you train, you want to be go out there and think, oh, I could just, can't wait to do this. [00:21:03] That's the mindset you need. I believe post 50 to train properly.  [00:21:07] Craig Dalton: It's super interesting. And I think, you know, recovery has been something I've been focused on a lot more this year and just my understanding of it, you know, the HRV number, it's just this quantifiable metric that you can look at some days to be honest I feel like I have. [00:21:21] The mentality to go out and thrash myself when I have a low HRV number. And I, you know, it takes a bit of discipline to dial myself back and knock, go after it or take the day off. But I think it's just layering on something very simple and a very important reminder, particularly for older athletes about the importance of recovery. [00:21:41] Phil Cavell: Yeah. And I think. It's a sign of a mature athlete. If they go out and Jules was talking to me the day he went out for a ride and turn back, you know, he went out for a ride and said, you know, I just didn't feel right. Turned back you know, got 20 K in and went, you know what, this isn't going anywhere and turned back and went home and got cold the next day. [00:21:57] You know, how did he stayed out for his three to four hours? He was planned and got cold and wet and really worked hard. You know, his age, she's two years younger than me. That would have been more, you know, more damaging as it was. He could shrug it off. So it's mature and sensible go out and say, do you know what? [00:22:13] I'm not as sharp as I should be here. Now if you're a 25 crack on shore, Stop for a few beers. It doesn't matter. You know, you can do all that stuff, but post 45, 50, 60, yeah. You can't, you know, you can't because that stuff in beds, in, you know, that's a layer of inflammation in there that you don't need. [00:22:29] Craig Dalton: And we've just recently had a coach on talking about just the need to control the things you can control when you're out there in these gravel events. And I think it's even more highly. For an older athlete, just to make sure you don't do something still in not hydrating or not getting the right nutrition in your body, not getting a good right rust, because as you said, we could all do that in our twenties and thirties, but in our forties and fifties and sixties, it's just going to have dire repercussions. [00:22:56] Phil Cavell: Yeah. And I remember being a mounted by race. I think it was in Scotland years and years ago, probably 30 years ago, 25 years ago. And then the tent next. You know, or the camp, little campsite next door, they were having a party. They were drinking, they were solutely completely blasted. And then they weren't in our race. [00:23:14] But, and then I remember coming back to the tent later, after we'd finished our race and the kid who in the morning was vomiting over his tent. Cause he was drunk in the morning. Still won his race. Shouldn't be, I remember talking to the you one new. You know, I was probably 30 at the time and he was already 18. [00:23:32] Yeah. Yeah. Why don't you? And that his preparation was getting completely drunk, staying up all night and then vomiting over his tent. Now try that at 50, just to try that Jordan mean that isn't going to work. And that doesn't mean that was a good strategy. It just means he got away with it 18. I'm not sure that I'm not sure how that anecdote helps anybody anyway. [00:23:53] Yeah. If  [00:23:54] Craig Dalton: anybody does take that challenge on at 50, please send us a note. After the fact  [00:23:58] Phil Cavell: you post a video like,  [00:24:00] Craig Dalton: So chapter five, you go into bikes, bike, fit, and biomechanics. And I'm curious, I know you mentioned offline that you're, you're passionate gravel cyclists at this point. You know, how have you seen bike? [00:24:12] Change relative to the equipment that's coming out for gravel bikes these days and the aging athlete. Yeah,  [00:24:21] Phil Cavell: it's a good question. I just think it's a marvelous time. I think a lot of older athletes, my agent are embracing gravel because it means they get a bite. That you know, they don't have to have, you know, there are some in the air and you know, hands round by their knees, they can get a sense of a bite that can do lots of different jobs. [00:24:38] It can be a robot, it can be you know, and so they, they're taking more sensible approach to their cycling. They. Once they've tried having a bit more rubber on the road or on the trail. They don't go back to riding a 23 and, you know, a 25, they, the minimum becomes a 28 or 32. So I think they're taking a much more pragmatic and I would say. [00:24:57] Reassuring route through their cycling career. And it makes me much happier. I always, you know, when when a client walks out with a bike with a 32 Rhode Tyro, 28 or something. Yeah, it's good modem, you know, cause it's, you've got more grip there. You've got more comfort. You've got more control. You've got more safety margin. [00:25:12] So I just think it's been a really, I think the whole gravel movement has been a altogether, very positive. I have to say for my clients for bike design. And of course it's all been liberated by disc brakes. Isn't it? I mean, seven was doing this a long time ago, one way or another, but I mean, you know, as were other manufacturers, but this has all been bought a life by the advent of disc brakes, isn't it? [00:25:32] You know, and allowing the frame designer morph.  [00:25:35] Craig Dalton: Yeah, a hundred percent. When you look at some of your professional athletes on the road that you work with, are you seeing like some of these elements of a little bit more comfort or are we still looking at these, you know, flat backs and high seats and long stems for the road athletes? [00:25:51] Or are there actual like performance benefits that can be gained by pulling that back a little bit and making them a bit more relaxed? [00:25:57] Phil Cavell: Yeah, I don't, I'd like to say I did see a bit of the latter and I think some, you know, some of the pros, the younger ones, you know, they look at it, look at Tom peacock. I mean, he comes from a cyclocross background, mountain bike background, you know, it's not, it's never too early, you know, he, you know, he has that background. [00:26:14] You know, I'm not saying that his rope position is an aggressive. There's a good chance that, you know, he's going to have some, you know, he's crammed some smarts about him when he sets up his road bike. We, you know, I don't see necessarily that they are setting their Roebucks road bikes up any different, but they all do ride gravel. [00:26:30] They all got gravel bikes. You know, one hopes that at some point they're going to take some, you know, some kind of recalibration by osmosis between the two, two formats. Certainly my amateur. You know, th they're now becoming category sensitive, you know, they, you know, they're no longer, they're no longer seeing these pigeonholes. [00:26:49] They just, you know, there's getting bikes at work for a number of different environments. And I think that's brilliant and I love that. Yeah.  [00:26:56] Craig Dalton: The other thing that's been talked about this book was and I heard you speaking on another podcast and referencing that you didn't think people were going to hang their hats on it as much as they have, but just this notion that amateur athletes are riding much closer to their threshold than professional athletes are on a weekly and monthly basis. [00:27:13] Phil Cavell: Yeah. That, yes, that w the podcast, I was that too. So John Lewis is the  [00:27:19] Craig Dalton: baseline podcast,  [00:27:20] Phil Cavell: I think. Yeah. Yeah, it's been picked up on a lot that, I mean, the thing is data doesn't lie, you know, th the fact is that amygdala amateur athletes tend to spend more of their time as a proportion, closer to the red line and professionals per year. [00:27:34] So we're 50 years of all 50 years of age, you know, in any other century we'd be dead, but there we are literally thrashing our bodies to destruction. Not literally, but metaphorically compared to professional writers. So they're writing at 60 something percent and we're writing 80% of our potential. [00:27:51] You know, one has to think, what is that sense of, or, and the book really is trying to answer that. It is that sensible, rational, sustainable and you know, and it, what it means is that professional cyclists are more ordered and structured in the way that they ride and train more cognizant of what they should be doing. [00:28:08] We tend to ride in this kind of mid sort of mid watch the whole time, you know, where are hard, bits are not hard enough. And our easy bits are too easy to just ride in this. What John Baker calls whirlwind of doom, you know, we're just and I can recognize it in myself, you know, decades gone past, I can recognize that, you know, where I'm riding in that kind of just in that uncomfortable zone all the time.  [00:28:30] Craig Dalton: It  [00:28:30] Resonated with me for sure. Only because as I mentioned offline, you know, I live in a little bit of a hilly place and I prefer to ride almost exclusively off-road so I, I do find myself grinding like a diesel engine up these Hills, never particularly having a super easy day and but never really doing anything that would resemble an interval either. [00:28:52] Phil Cavell: Yeah. And that's right. I've worked with so many professional athletes and amateurs. And when they're forced to take things easy, you know, injury or illness, they always come back stronger, but they come back renewed and rejuvenated. It's yes, because your body's been desperate for this for so long. And yeah, and I think that's absolutely right. [00:29:12] Whereas now I actually literally make myself ride really easy. Oh my God, this is lovely. I can feel my body's rejuvinating as I write. And then if I want to have a little pot and go a bit hard, I do. I definitely never ride hard unless I want to ever it, you know, I, I use that rule for myself unless I'm fizzing with energy and really want to ride hard. [00:29:31] I don't. Yeah. And the rest of the time, I just knock it back. A couple of gears. I know that I'm building mitochondria, I'm working my oxidative system. It's all good for me. The other  [00:29:41] Craig Dalton: thing that I picked up was just this notion of. Getting your head around dropping a cycling workout, picking up a strength training workout, or stand up paddle board session in your week. [00:29:52] And again, with this holistic idea that it's actually going to make you a faster cyclist.  [00:29:59] Phil Cavell: Yeah. And I think that's right. You've got to take one step back, take two steps forward as a midlife athlete because. Yeah. So I think we'll do nothing for bone density or bone minerality. It'll do nothing for sarcopenia or muscle loss. [00:30:12] It'll do nothing really for flexibility. There's so much of the, you know, you'll do nothing for balance. Really. There's so much of your potential. That's not being challenged by cycling and not being developed. So you're not building, you're not building resilience in your Shasti. Do you want to build resilience in your Shasti? [00:30:27] You've got to put the bike aside for a second. And do other things and that will make you faster. It's it's a tool. It's a tool. I was going to mix my metaphors. It's a big pill to swallow that one.  [00:30:37] Craig Dalton: Totally it very much is. And I struggled with that a little bit myself, but I realized it to be a hundred percent true. [00:30:44] Like I need to do these different things in order to be successful. And it's been an exploration. I've got a future podcast, guests just talking about why we need to do that. And I think it's critically important.  [00:30:56] Phil Cavell: Yeah. And I don't athlete in the, in photography today. Very good athlete, you know, was he 47, 48 hours, incredibly strong, very powerful, doing big events. [00:31:05] You're doing that event where they ride tour stages, you know, back to back tours stages before the tour or whatever. And, you know, I did a single X partial, single leg squat with him and he couldn't do a partial, single leg squat. It's you know what, you know, that's a pretty simple thing to do a partial single as to what you know, Yeah, I see that a lot. [00:31:23] It's nice. Not a new, that's not, it's not atypical, you know, see a lot, you know, where you got super fit people and they can't do simple things, you know?  [00:31:31] Craig Dalton: Yeah. No, I think that's so true. And I remember maybe in my forties, patting myself on the back that I'd selected a sport that you can ride, you know, you can ride a bike your entire life, but I didn't realize at the time that yes, you can, but you're going to need to do other things to support that goal. [00:31:47] Phil Cavell: Yeah, that's right. And we've all heard stories where you've got a friend or a colleague and they're, you know, midlife, cyclists, and they have an accident which is quite innocuous. And the damage is more, you know, more than you, one would expect. And you know, they didn't have a DEXA scan or, you know, looks, which looks, you know, the sort of bone minerality and it's low they're, what's called osteopenic or osteoporotic. [00:32:08] And it's because all they've done is cycle all their lives and not done anything off the bite whatsoever. And now they've got a bone density issue. You know, you know, if we're going to build resilience in the chassis, one of the things we need to look at is bone minerality, bone D.  [00:32:21] Craig Dalton: Yeah, it makes a ton of sense. [00:32:23] The book is great. I really enjoyed it. As I said, hit me at the right time. I hope for those listeners, like if your late thirties, early forties get on this book earlier, rather than later, because at 50, I've got some catching up to do. I'm committed to the cause. Cause I want to see everybody out there on the gravel events in 2022. [00:32:42] So Phil, thank you so much for the time. Thank you for writing this book and putting such good work out there in the.  [00:32:48] Phil Cavell: You're so welcome, Craig, it's been a pleasure to talk to you. Have a great weekend.  [00:32:52] Craig Dalton: Cheers.  [00:32:53] Big thanks to Phil for joining the show this week. I hope you all go out there and take a look at the midlife cyclist book, whether you're a midlife cyclist, yourself approaching midlife or otherwise. I think there's a lot of value in understanding.  [00:33:07] What our bodies are going to go through as mid-life cyclists. I know this is something that I wish I was more attuned to as a younger lad. I think I would be in a lot better shape today.  [00:33:19] And another big, thanks to competitive cyclists for joining us as a sponsor this week and the coming weeks. Be sure to visit competitive gravel ride and enter promo code to the gravel ride. To get 15% off your full price purchase and free shipping on orders over $50. Some exclusions apply as they always do.  [00:33:40] Thanks for spending a little bit of your week with me this week. Until next time here's defining some dirt onto your wheels      

    Brian McCulloch - How to prepare for your gravel game day

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 9, 2021 47:42

    This week we sit down with Brian McCulloch to discuss how to mentally prepare for big days on the gravel bike. Brian is a coach at Big Wheel Coaching, former BWR Champion and current Masters Category Marathon MTB National Champion. Beyond that, Brian is stoked guy we know! Episode Sponsor: AG1 by Athletic Greens Brian McCulloch Web and Instagram Join The Ridership Support the Podcast Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): Brian McCulloch  [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the Gravel Ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton this week on the show. We've got Brian McCulloch. Brian's a coach, a father, a husband 2018 BWR champion and current marathon mountain bike nationals champion in the masters 35 to 39 category for the purposes of this conversation. I wanted to have Brian on the show because I've wanted to do a show about getting stoked for game day. [00:00:31] Your training's behind you, but how do you approach the actual day of a big gravel event? I couldn't think of anybody better to talk to than Brian. I got to interact with Brian out at the envy, grow DEO in Utah this year. And I've not met someone with so much enthusiasm and knowledge and passion for the sport of cycling than Brian. [00:00:52] Hopefully you'll walk away with this episode with some great tips on what kind of mentality you need to be successful in endurance, gravel race. Before we get started this week. I need to thank this week. Sponsor athletic greens, the health and wellness company that makes comprehensive daily nutrition. [00:01:11] Really, really simple. I don't know about you, but I find this time of year to be a bit challenging on my body. It's a stressor. It changes my routine and I find that kind of bringing together an effective nutritional strategy is a bit of a challenge. In fact, I've got Halloween candy laying around. We've got Thanksgiving coming up and the other holidays coming, I'm getting less sleep. [00:01:35] Uh, got more work stress for the end of the year. And I'm simply not eating the right foods. I find myself deficient in key nutritional areas. And the important thing is I've recognized this. So for the past four or five years, I've been taking athletic. Now known as AIG one by athletic greens. It's a category leading superfood product that brings comprehensive, convenient daily nutrition to everybody keeping up with the research and knowing what to do and taking a bunch of pills and capsules is hard on the stomach and hard to keep up with to help keep each of us at our best. [00:02:11] They simplify the path to better nutrition by giving you the one thing with all the best things. One tasty scoop of athletic greens contain 75 vitamins minerals, and whole food sourced ingredients, including a multivitamin multimineral probiotic, [00:02:27] green food, super blend and more in one convenient daily serving the special blend of high quality bioavailable ingredients in one scoop of ag one, work together to fill the nutritional gaps in your diet, support, energy and focus aid with gut health and digestion and support a healthy immune system effectively replacing multiple pills or product in one healthy delicious. [00:02:50] So that's a little bit about our sponsor athletic greens. As you know, as a long time listener, I've been a big fan of athletic greens for many years. I encourage you to check it out and see if it's for you. It's lifestyle friendly, whether you eat keto, paleo, vegan dairy-free gluten-free and contains less than one gram of sugar, no GMOs, nasty chemicals or anything. [00:03:12] All while tasting good. My S my personal process is simply putting athletic greens over copious amount of ice each morning, shaking it up and drinking it down. First thing I've heard other people blend it into smoothies. So there's lots of different ways to take athletic greens. If you're interested in checking it out. [00:03:30] Please visit athletic gravel ride. Athletic greens is going to give you a year supply of free vitamin D and five free travel packs for your first time purchase for gravel ride podcast listeners, simply visit athletic gravel ride to support both the podcast and your nutritional health. [00:03:54] With that important business behind us. Let's dive right in to this week's interview. Brian. Welcome to the show. [00:04:01] Brian McCulloch: Oh, thank you, Craig. I'm really excited to be here. So a man.  [00:04:05] Craig Dalton: Yeah, let's do this. I was thinking for a while that I really wanted to do a show. That got people pumped for the moment they get to the start line. We've talked a lot on other episodes about nutrition and the idea of coaching, but there's something to be said for just getting the right mindset, getting everything into your rear view mirror, and being ready to do a big event, whether you're going for the win or just trying to finish and have fun. [00:04:31] It's important to have the right mental mindset. And I couldn't think of someone better to come on and talk about that than. [00:04:38] Brian McCulloch: Oh thank you, Craig. Thank you. I'm really excited about it. It's such a, I think it's such an overlooked topic. When we talk about obviously as a cycling coach, but also as an athlete, it's so easy to just look at all of the preparation and we look at all the time, money and effort, the blood, sweat, and tears that we put in to preparation, but then we often forget or neglect that race. [00:05:00] Is everything. And it's not, it doesn't have to be a race. If you're not at the front of these gravel races, that doesn't mean it's anything different. It's your tour de France. And this is what my wife and I, we have a coaching business, big role coaching, and we always look at it like, Hey, what is your tour de France? [00:05:14] Yeah, it can be the one ARIDE at BWR, Kansas, or it can be gravel worlds. It can be anything in between. Okay. So you don't have to be riding a long race or be at the front of it for you to actually spend some time plan out your pacing. Think about your nutrition, go over the course, look at all those things and know we're going to get into so much of that. [00:05:32] But having your best race day performance is not always about what's the motor you brought to the start line. It's what about the check? What about the mindset, all of these other things. So I'm really excited to have this conversation.  [00:05:44] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Also true. And I always like to set the stage for the listener and just learn a little bit about your journey. Obviously like the notion of riding a gravel bike is something relatively new in the world of cycling, but how what's your journey as a cyclist? How did you come to be where you are to. [00:06:02] Brian McCulloch: Oh, that's a great question. I I should tell everyone that I used to race motorcycles or motocross and Supercross professionally. And so that was I didn't know it at the time, but that was going to be like going to the dirt on gravel. And even now mountain biking, a little bit more is going to be like, to me, it feels like coming home. [00:06:17] But yeah, when I was basically, when I went. 12 years old, I got a dirt bike and was like, oh my God, I want to be professional. And then I just poured myself into that. And long story short was my father was a big influencer there. And he was like, Hey man, as long as you get good grades, we'll take care of it. [00:06:33] Like you're good to go. And anyway, somewhere along the way, I ended up stepping away from that and thinking I had this boy in my life where I. I didn't have any athletics in my life. It was about a year that I got out of motorcycle racing and I thought I'm washed up. Like I was never, I never achieved my goals, really et cetera, et cetera. [00:06:51] And then someone reminded me that we used to. [00:06:54] train on road bikes and mountain bikes for For motorcycle and racing. And so I was like, oh, okay, cool. I'll check that out. And I went on a group ride with some friends and in the area that I'm from or where I live now in the Redlands area here in Southern California, there was this really robust community of cyclists. [00:07:13] And they went on this, they still do. They go on this Saturday group rides called rain cross. They've been doing it for 30 years on the same route. You know what I mean? So there's like all this heritage and I just became. Totally enthralled and met some really good people. All of them were, 35 to 40 when I was 25 and I was totally hooked. [00:07:29] So got into the. Started racing almost Right. [00:07:32] away. And then it was like, wow. It's like riding a bicycle is great because it's work in equals results out. So I just poured myself into it. Like I did when I was trying to be a professional motorcycle racer ended up getting my category one road up. Got a call from Paul Abrahams who was starting this team that would later develop into elevate Webby, Plex pro cycling. [00:07:53] And I was the first person that signed for him. So I did 11 years racing pro on the road which I'm really humbled to. That's one of the longest careers in American cycling, which is pretty cool. There's definitely some people like Mike Friedman and Brad Huff and other people who've had really long careers as well. Those are good company. If anyone knows those guys there, they're pretty legendary and I'm by no means on their S their level. But anyway, in 2018 actually in 2017 funny story, how I came to gravel was I did we were supposed to go to the tour of the Heela that year and that coincided with 20 $17 and waffle ride. [00:08:27] And I didn't make selection for that team. And at the time Paul Abraham's, my team director was like, Hey, bro, don't take it personal. We just have more we don't have a GC guy this year, so we don't need a domestic cause I was a domestique on the team and that's a really hard race it's for climbing. [00:08:45] And I'm not a very good climate. So my team manager was like, don't take it personal dude. Like we're not going to take you to Hilo because we don't have a GC guy we're just going for stage wins. So we don't really need you right now. Like we're going to take our time. And I was like, I was so bummed, Craig. [00:09:01] I was so bummed because like that's one of those events. If you're a road guy and you say, oh Yeah. I've done this many tours, ILA. Everyone's dude, you're gnarly. And so I didn't get to go. And I be honest, I had a chip on my shoulder cause I was like, oh, I'll show you, I'll show you. And I'd be willing to bet your listeners have a bit of that in them too. [00:09:17] You know what I mean? They're like, oh, somebody said you can't climb that hill. We'll Washoe you. And so I literally, that was. Like reached out to the guys from Belgian waffle ride who run it and they were like, please come. And I ended up going down there. I ended up crashing and breaking my hand. [00:09:31] But I finished the race and I ended up winning the KLM Jersey that year and that Belgian waffle ride. And I just, I like fell in love with it, man, because it was old school, dirt bike, grit, like dirt bike riding. You have to you're the dude that finishes like no one No one in my once you're out on course, it's just you, right? [00:09:49] There's no mechanic. There's no none of this stuff. And so you have to have the grit and the determination to finish. And so when I crashed and broke my hand, I was like, I'm an 80 miles. What am I going to do? Call my wife. She doesn't care. She's you got out there, you get back. And so I'm not I'm a proud man. So I'm like, I'll finish. And I finished and kept passing people. And I think I got like top 10. Anyway. But. That brought me that made me fall in love with BWR and being able to have breakfast with everybody, go do this incredibly crazy ride and then get into go after and share all the experiences afterwards. [00:10:22] So anyway, I came back in 2018 and I told the team I'm not going to heal it. I'm going to BWR. And anyway, I went to VWR in 2018 in San Diego, and I ended up winning at beating Ted king in a sprint. And that's a pretty cool story how that all came together. But then that got me. And we don't have that much gravel in dedicated gravel in California. [00:10:41] It's not like the Midwest and back east, which just has such crazy robust swath of events that are so cruel. So when we go to do it, we have to travel a bit. But it's such a big part of my program right now. And I'm so thankful for it. It's such a great group of people. So I hope that's a long story, but that's kinda how I got into gravel. [00:10:58] And I'm like, I want to be in it all the time. [00:11:00] Craig Dalton: Yeah. As you were telling that story and talking about, your accomplishment of achieving an 11 year professional cycling career, I was thinking to myself Brian, you haven't exactly hung up your cleats just yet. Have you. [00:11:11] Brian McCulloch: No, not at all. And somewhere along there your. The gravel ride podcast listeners. I'm sure you all know of Neil Shirley. Neil Shirley is absolutely legendary. Like I joked him cause a good buddy of mine, but I, we call them the, grab the prophet, right? Like he, he, so you gotta think of set the stage a little bit of history because history is important to me. [00:11:30] Basically what happened was at the time. He, and I went on a bike ride one day and he was like, Hey, I got some news. I'm going to quit racing pro. And I was like, oh my God that's super exciting, but I'm like, how are you feeling? Anyway he was like, Yeah. I'm going to work for road bike action magazine. [00:11:44] So he goes to road bike action magazine. As this event, as gravel is becoming a thing. Like at that time there were no gravel bikes. They were like rode bikes or it was just weird kind of time, right? Especially on the west coast, east coast had some more than what Midwest has more Frank and bike things going. [00:12:01] Long story short is he goes there to road bike action. And he just is like on the nose cone of this rocket and starts riding up. He goes to Belgium waffle ride. I think he's one of three times. I can't remember. But anyway, he's a dear friend of mine. He was at my wedding. And so he was like, Hey dumb I should back up. [00:12:17] He was my coach for 10 years as well. So all the time when I was racing road, he was my coach and he was like, dude, you have to come to a gravel ride. And so he had this, his own event called pedal Palooza one year and I went there on this rickety, old something or other with. Ghetto tubeless with duct tape for in strip and not even tubeless tires that I somehow got to seat and I got obliterated, but had a blast. [00:12:40] But anyway, so the point is like this whole thing is so new. And so to come to it and have all of this Just incredible history behind it and then be able to then see like people that have this great history or like foundation of it, like Neal and then have their support and like to be now here now where it looks like. [00:13:00] You could do a gravel ride every weekend. And they're just like some of the most epic adventures you can have on a bicycle is pretty incredible, man. So it was a, oh, I, the reason I brought this up was because he told me I should at some point be a coach. And I thought he was crazy. And here we are now I've worked for my wife. [00:13:15] Who's our head coach. And we're coaching. Like we have a very successful coaching business. I'm very thankful for the athletes that we get to support along the way. So it's yeah, it's our world, man. We're just, we're pretty detailed. [00:13:25] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I love hearing about that journey and excited to get into sort of some of the things we opened up with around. How do you approach what I call game day when you show up on that start line and, with gravel, as you've just been describing in your journey, like so many of these events have such a different profile and a lot of times. [00:13:44] These athletes, myself included. It may be the first time we're visiting an area and we're doing a 100 mile event. Let's talk through, if in that scenario where you're going somewhere, you haven't been before, what are the things you can do from a research perspective, set aside the specific training advice for a second, but what would some of the research and prep you can do if you're going to do an Unbound for the first time or an SBT? [00:14:09] Brian McCulloch: Oh, that's a great question, buddy. I think that research and preparation, excuse me. I think research and preparation. So key to what we do. And it's just, it's the absolute game changer because once you're on game day, once you're on the starting line, there's nothing else, but just grit, determination, and good nutrition and hydration. [00:14:29] That's going to get you through the day, right? Like you got what you got, but leading up to. Th our destiny is in our hands. Okay. And save for the specific training and looking all that. But I think YouTube is a wonderful resource. And so is Strava. And I know a lot of your listeners, a lot of our listeners, they are always like, Hey, there, they're researching and delving into this trouble. [00:14:47] So if you're going to do something like SBT, you can look at. The people that are doing well, what that course looks like, where are the Hills? Where are the aid stations? Where are you going to stop all these other things that are really important? Because here's, I'll give you an example, Craig. If you were to go to an event that said had 7,000 feet of climbing, and it was a hundred miles, that sounds like a pretty hard ride. But what if that 7,000 feet is in the first half of the bike race, right? So think about something like crusher. Like you have an hour and a half Kline. That's it like you just go uphill and you don't stop. Like you just keep going up. [00:15:24] That's a very different look, especially if you're from the Midwest and you're training for something like that. That's a very different way to get 7,000 feet. Then if you were to say, go to Unbound right at, on mound it's death by 1,019. Right or pinpricks. But what you don't realize is each of those little things has a 14% kick at the top. [00:15:43] So you're like, oh it's not that big of a deal. It's only a three-minute climb. When you go try and sprint 300 times up a 200 mile, oh, I'm only going to do the hundred and Unbound doesn't matter. You're going to go up a hundred little, three minute climbs triangle sprint for a hundred times for three minutes. [00:15:59] It's very turns out it's very difficult. So I think it's really important to recognize. What I call the critical factors are the critical elements the critical moments of an event. Okay. So what are those critical moments like? Oh, okay. I've got an hour and a half climb. There you go. Or, Hey, I have a hundred of these really challenging areas or, oh, Hey, there's this single track section say you're going to go to BWR Cedar city, right? [00:16:23] That final format. Single-track called the tollway is Uber brutal and you have to build a bike around that final four miles, much more than you have to build a bike for the first 120. You see what I'm saying? Totally different because those rocks are super sharp. They're super brutal. So you could be lulled into the idea that, Hey, wait a second. [00:16:45] My race performance is best done on a semi road bike with some facts. And then you get to that section and then you're walking four miles. You want to not have fun on the day walk four miles. That's no fun. So that's what I would say is. It really helpful is do your research, look at Strava, look at YouTube watch videos of things. [00:17:05] And that's why I did before Belgium waffle ride, I did a race series. We called it slang the sector. So if any of your athletes or listeners want to check it out, we did a sleigh the sector series on basically some of the most difficult and challenging. Pieces of Belgian waffle ride San Diego. And my hope was that people would watch it and go, Hey, that's action. [00:17:24] I got it. That's action. Okay. Wait, that's a little outside of my wheelhouse, so they know. Okay. At mile 67, this thing's a little outside, my wheelhouse, slow down, get through it and then press on after that. So I think a lot of that stuff, it can be super, super helpful. We have a lot of great resources that we just didn't have 10 years ago.  [00:17:41] Craig Dalton: Yeah. [00:17:41] that was a great series. I think at the basic level, when you sign up for an event, you start, you'd look at the course profile and start to understand, is this similar to what I ride at home? Can I simulate some of these efforts? Can I find an hour and a half climb, like crusher in the title? [00:17:56] Certainly many people can't but understanding how you can simulate it to the best of your possibilities in your home territory is critical. And then as you said, that next level of, Hey, if there is course beta out there, it's amazing to just get eyeballs on it, to say oh crap, I've never written through rocks like that. [00:18:14] I really need to at least be mentally prepared for it. If I can't physically prepare for it in my local. [00:18:21] Brian McCulloch: Oh, absolutely. And even with a trainer now you can do so much. Okay. And by the way, I'm not a massive fan of doing all your workouts on trainers. Like I, I think being outside in the real world is absolutely the thing to do. That's why we love. But I, again, we have folks that just, they have busy lives. If you listening have busy lives and you're on the train, especially going into winter. [00:18:44] And you're going to be on the trainer four or five days a week. There's guys that I coach in the Midwest right now that they're getting ready to be like, oh Yeah. [00:18:51] I'm not going to go outside for two months straight. If that's your jam, Use your trainer and simulate this stuff. You can go up the outdoors with, you can do any of these things, right? [00:19:00] You can use Ruby. You don't have to be a slave to swift. You can use Ruby, you can do a lot of these other things that can help you achieve that. Like old school was, I met a woman when I was very early in my bike riding career who literally trained for an iron man. 100% inside. She had just had a child. [00:19:18] She did all for running on a trip. She did all of her swimming at the local pool. And it was an open water swim that she did. And she did all of her riding on her trainer. She literally did not go outside, get a full distance iron man all off of it. And this was 10. It's probably 15 years ago. [00:19:32] No, it's gotta be longer than that. It's probably almost 20 years ago now. Gosh, I'm old, but. That was back then. We didn't have smart trainers. She was just staring at the wall for five-hour trainer guys. Like folks, it can be done if you are determined and you have fire in your belly and you are really committed to being prepared for this event, there's a lot of tools you have to get through it. [00:19:49] And and believe that. You are mentally stronger than you think you are physically stronger than you think you are capable of so much. And that's something I love as a coach is helping tease that out of people because you put them in the environment and they have to rise to the occasion, right? So I'm not saying don't set yourself up for success and, or show up unprepared. [00:20:10] That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is let's set goals that really challenge you and stretch you so that you can achieve. These great things, because once you're there, you've got nothing it's sink or swim. And if you're like me and I know you listeners are like me, because I'm an athlete and a coach, you're like, I didn't come this far to sink. [00:20:27] Like I got no other option than to swim and you can do it. So to some degree, we work really well in that environment too, where it's I sink or swim. I have no option. Because I'm not going to sink. I'm not going to quit, but I'm going to keep moving.  [00:20:39] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think it's so critical in these ultra endurance kind of style gravel events that you have that grit and determination that you mentioned earlier, because the truth is for anybody who hasn't done a big event or a massive long ride, something will go wrong. Period. It's highly unlikely. And if you track the first men and women or last everybody's on a journey, and it's the people who understand that. [00:21:04] Flat tires are going to happen. Mechanical is going to happen. Hell you, you can have big hiccups in your hydration and nutrition plan as well, but it's your ability to push through those adapt recover, make adjustments. That's going to be a telltale sign of success. [00:21:20] Brian McCulloch: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Something that I think is really a good. Metaphor here. So if you think of like special forces, right? There's obviously been a lot in the news over the last number of years about Navy seals and other, Rangers, Delta force, these kinds of, they train them to be extremely self-sufficient. [00:21:38] And I think that is something that's so powerful for us as athletes to think we are much more like them than we are say like a V like a Marine infantry unit or something like that. And so they are, thanks for everyone who's listening. Who served? You guys are wonderful. Guys and gals, of course. [00:21:54] But when I look at this. Who we are as athletes, we have to be generalists. It's not like you're on the NFL defensive line and you don't care about catching a past. Cause all you're trying to do is stop the refrigerator in front of you from coming through you, right? That's what you do. [00:22:09] If you're on the offensive line, it's a very specific task and requires a very specific training. For that, if you're going to go do SBT, if you're going to go to a BWR, you have to be able to do it all. You there's no time out if on the client, right? There's no time out on the downhill. You have to be able to ride that bike and the technical stuff. [00:22:29] If you get a flat tire, you have to change it. Especially if you're going to do something, self-supported say Unbound, right? There's no support. So if you don't know how to use that Dyna plug that you. Uh, problem. You have to be able to do all these things. So again, one thing that I would say is so important for your listeners and for everyone listening to just get a grip on is everyone has good moments and everyone has bad moments and here's the thing, neither of them will last. [00:22:55] So when you're a ride in the high and you're like, man, I feel really. I don't, it's not going to last you're going to go through a bad moment. But then also correspondingly, you would be like, oh, Hey, I feel really awful. And my quad is cramping or my feet are numb, whatever that will end to it might end at the finish line, by the way, it might it might be bad all the way to the finish line, but it will end up promise you. [00:23:16] And so that just should bring you some sort of just comfort and recognize that like you're in control of this. And one thing that I would say. For our listeners and everyone who's just okay. Some of how do you eat an elephant? You look at SBT or you look at, all these massive events. [00:23:32] How do you accomplish that? It's so massive range. Just say one bite at a time. That's how you eat an elephant. And so one thing I would say is let's keep it simple and recognize some of this just boils down to the first rule of endurance events, whether you're a runner, whether you're psychos, whether you're mountain biker, graveled person, whatever, it doesn't matter. [00:23:50] You don't have to move fast, but you do have to keep moving. So sometimes slowing down is better because what we're trying to do is get through the end of the race. So if you're in a bad moment, the default should not be, Hey, I just plow through and just hope it ends. Cause you could make it worse. [00:24:07] You really could make it worse, but you certainly should like, just keep moving. If you. You just have to keep moving. That's so important for our athletes is just recognizing that movement even slow is still forward. Progress. Baby steps still make it.  [00:24:22] Craig Dalton: Absolutely. So we talked about prepping and understanding the course that you're going into, obviously making sure that your gear is performing well, you're not coming on old tires or something that's going to unnecessarily cause you trouble. You've got to have your repair kit built out. [00:24:38] If you get a flat, where your Dyna plug is, you can pop it in there. Hopefully you can recover quickly. And to the last point of our conversation, just be mentally aware that these things are gonna happen. So don't stress. Like it's going to happen to 20% of the people in the event. So just move through it, keep a positive attitude and always keep moving through. [00:24:58] When you're looking, I did want to touch on planning from a nutrition and hydration perspective, just at a general level. When you look at a course, maybe like crushing the Tasha or something that has a very pronounced climbing feature, that's going to be a huge chunk of time. How are you thinking about nutrition and hydration and making sure you're staying on top of. [00:25:20] Brian McCulloch: love to look at the course profile. And this is just some of my stuff that I share with our athletes is I don't like people to stop at the bottom of the. Okay. Old school back before there were gravel events, we had all these, centuries and grand fondos before they read the grand fondos they were 200 mile rides or whatever. [00:25:39] And notorious, like it would always be that there would be at the bottom of the climb would be like, Hey, we have chocolate covered bacon and everyone would be like brilliant pulling over. And then they be trying to start the climb basically fully loaded and with a gut bomb. Okay. I think obviously when we're talking about, say crusher and Tuscher, you're going to have to stop at some point, if at all, possible, try to make your stops plan your stops so that you're stopping at the top of climbs. [00:26:06] Okay. I think that's the best thing to do stopping at the bottom. Client of climbs kills your momentum. Okay. I like to build a plan. Based on building and maintaining momentum. Okay. Because gravel riding as a whole and even bicycle riding as a whole is essentially boils down to building momentum, maintaining momentum, and then when you lose it, repeat, okay. [00:26:29] So there's features all along the way, whether they're Hills, whether they're rocks, whether it's single track that loses your momentum. And so part of that mental. Fortitude is being like, oh, okay. I got into the single track and I went really slow. Cause I don't really feel that comfortable and it drops on my bike. [00:26:46] So I just went really slow. I come out of it. Now I've got a road section I'm going to build momentum again, go through. So again, if we're going to talk about. As much as you can try and start at the top, if we're going to, or excuse me, stop at the top. Or just don't stop at the bottom. It's probably the best thing to take from our conversation. [00:27:04] And the other thing that I would say is based on the amount of climbing, you might have to re adjust or rethink what your nutrition strategy is. Why do I say that? Okay. So back in 2017, I did the tour of Utah for the first time. And. Once I got into breakaway on stage one and I was in the breakaway for about four and a half hours. [00:27:23] But, so we're going super hard for four and a half hours. And it started with a 90 minute climb, straight up, straight out of the gate. Okay. And the breakaway went about 45 minutes into it. So I still have 45 minutes climbing, at threshold you can't eat solid. Okay. So I'm not telling you that as a coach and saying, Hey, I read this data where you can't eat solid foods. [00:27:42] I'm telling you that. Cause like I've had my heart in my throat for an hour and a half, and then you're like, okay. Like the only thing I can do is have liquid options. Okay. And there's lots of great companies that are coming out with liquid option or semi-solid right. Whether that's a gel or something like that. [00:27:58] So I don't have an ax to grind and with any particular nutrition company, cause there's lots of great ones out there, but what I would say. If you're going to be on a long climb, if you're going to be on sustained climbing please consider getting your nutrition from liquid sources, because that allows you to work harder on the climb. [00:28:16] If you then have some solid food, say at the bottom, even if it's solid food, you packed and you're, Hey, Brian, I kept moving, but then you ate 250 300 calories in solid food because you brought an Uncrustable or you made a an energy bar or something. That is going to take away from your ability to ascend the mountain at a rapid pace. [00:28:35] Okay. And I'm not saying you've got to go bananas on the climb, but you don't want to do anything that pro that makes it worse. So as much as you can, if you look at the clients and their sustained climbs, you're probably going to want to opt for that period only of your bike. You're going to have to think I'm want more liquid sources of energy. [00:28:53] Okay. So then we come to oh, there's a downhill. That might be the time when you supplement with solids. So it's not as easy as the old school. Craig, when you got into it, it's Hey, every hour drink a water bottle, Hey, every hour eat 250 calories. So it's people would set timers on their garments or their walkthroughs. [00:29:09] And an hour, I just, crammed back a cliff bar. That's not how we do it anymore. Or, we're very specific with our nutrition. And not just the kind of nutrition, but it's the style of nutrition. Okay. So it's I have liquid sources for this portion of the race I have, and those could be gels, or those could be semi sellers, like a product that I really is infinite tripwire we used to be sponsored by them years ago on the road race team. [00:29:31] And I just buy retail. Like I just buy from my local shop. Cause it works good. But anyway try some stuff like that allows you to. Maintain a high output without upsetting your stomach.  [00:29:40] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I think when you look at those course profiles, not only is it climbing and descending, but oftentimes it's technical terrain where you can't pull your hand off the bar. So having an understanding of, when you're unlikely to be able to hydrate are unlikely to be able. And making sure you're not dropping behind the eight ball during those periods, I think is one of those things that you need to learn as a gravel athlete. [00:30:02] And, in some cases it may, you might have to do the unthinkable and wear a hydration pack on your back. I know aesthetically, some people don't like that, but it's very practical in certain situations. And I will tell you that, if you're in rough terrain and you've got that tube available to you, you do have the opportunity to be hydrated. [00:30:18] Versus if you're trying to grab that. [00:30:21] Brian McCulloch: Spot on buddy. Spot on. I'm going to tell you a real an anecdotal story here. I there's a gentleman that I've coached for about four years and he does Leadville every year. Okay. So same genre of what we're doing, right? Uber. Kind of event. And even though Leadville is not known as the most technical course, it's still very challenging, very bumpy. [00:30:39] So it makes it very difficult to get into your pockets this year. I, he and I went back and forth, cause again, aesthetically you're like, I don't want to pack and I am much more I don't care. I just want pre. I'll put it, I'll put a bento box on the front of my bike. I'll wear cargo shorts. [00:30:53] I don't really care. You know what I mean? I'll put the bag on the front. What matters is ease of use. Okay. Because again, I look at the bicycle and I hope your athletes or your listeners will look at that. [00:31:04] Start to look at their bicycle, like a tool that's meant to serve us. I don't adapt my body to a bicycle, the bicycle adapts to me. [00:31:11] Okay. I make all of this to help me. The pilot. I am. You listening, you are the pilot, you're the race car driver. You're the fighter plane. You know what I mean? You're the fighter pilot. Okay. That should be an extension of you. It's not that you just ride this thing, you know what I'm saying? And so when we talk about that stuff, I generally don't like to put weight on my back. [00:31:33] Okay. But in this case, we talked about it with my athlete and he was. Dude, it just makes sense. I just have to do it. I just have to move beyond it. And it made an incredible difference on what he's doing because gravel like mountain, it's very difficult to reach into your pockets again. So you've got to think essentially on the timeline of ground. Many people were already on drop bar. They were roadies that didn't want to get mountain bikes. And so now we started venturing we're roadie centric, and now we start getting more and more capable road bikes to now basically they're like drop our mountain bikes. And so you have this roadie aspect of the code. [00:32:10] That's Hey, I want nothing in my pockets. I want my bike to look super sleek, all that's cool. But the reality is when you're doing a hundred mile ride or you're doing 140 mile ride, or even a 60 mile ride, you may not be able to take your hands off of the bars. Okay. So minimizing movements is really important. So one thing we talked about with my athlete was like, Hey, how much can you drink during this eight hour shift? And it was like if I have to take my, if I have to use bottles, it's very difficult. And you start self rationing, those things. So you're immediately dehydrating already. [00:32:45] You're behind the eight ball. So once we put the hydration pack on, yes, there was a penalty for weight. You know what I mean? Was it frustrating? Yeah. Did it hold a little bit of heat on him? Yeah. [00:32:54] But he's doing Lego. Like it's not that big of a deal. But the trade-off was here. He is I want to say it's like 15. [00:33:01] 51 or 52, like he's very early fifties. Okay. And his best, he did Leadville for the first time, I think 10 years ago. Okay. So totally different athlete. If you're 40 and you're doing Leadville and you're 50 doing level and this man came from Ironman. So he was very fit when he was 40. We obliterated his time, his very best time from 10 years earlier when he's 50 with a past. [00:33:24] And so when your listeners are like, man, I'm not going to wear a pack. It's just going to slow me down. I want to share with you 10 years older, this man went 45 plus minutes faster.  [00:33:36] Craig Dalton: Amazing. [00:33:37] Brian McCulloch: minutes. And again, it was because we nailed the hydration. We nailed the nutrition, we nailed the preparation, we nailed the patient. [00:33:44] It was all of those things. And I couldn't be more proud of him and I couldn't be more proud to be a part of his journey, but he did that. I, that was the best part. Like we. Dude and he wasn't executed and it was rock solid. So when your athletes or your listeners are doing this please. [00:33:58] Like when you do the preparation and it all comes together, it's just like the recipe and like making your mom's favorite meatloaf for apple pie or whatever. Hey, Thanksgiving's around the corner. You just like pumpkin pie or Turkey. Who's got the best stuff. It's a recipe and everything has to come in together and you got to find your recipe and it's super cool. [00:34:15] When you can add someone that helps you. Add to your recipe. Whether that's a coach or a friend or a mentor, whatever. I'm biased towards coaching but there's lots of great ways to get knowledge transfer can be from YouTube, but something that helps you have that successful event and just helps you look at things differently because the critical elements of a bike ride are not always just, oh there's a climb. [00:34:37] Maybe the critical element is actually when you eat maybe the critical element. Hey, I'm going to let this whole group ride away from me for one hour, because I'm going to set a heart rate ceiling at 145, and then I'm going to, unroll the carpet, so to speak and just get faster and negatively split this, right? [00:34:54] There's so much of that.  [00:34:56] Craig Dalton: It's funny. I love that. You mentioned that sort of aesthetic road bias that maybe permeated a lot of the gravel scene in the early days. And it's so true. I think, lot of the earliest athletes were coming over and they had a suspicion. Visual of what a drop our bike would look like. [00:35:11] And now with the influence of these long events and mountain bike technology, I think it's proven that being more open to things like hydration packs or bento boxes, you don't have to be there all the time. They're not necessarily there on every ride, but making sure that bike serves you in these alter endurance events is critical. [00:35:31] Brian McCulloch: Oh, absolutely. Again, it's a tool and it's meant to be adapted to. Okay. And that's just so important. And again I think that in all things like whether it's a bike fit, whether it's shoes, whether it's anything, like people would just go, oh, I just got the gloves from the local bike shop. [00:35:47] And I'm like why did you do that? Let's get the ones that fit you. You're like, oh, they're baggy. And they, it, and you're like, no, like this should be like, we start thinking about one thing. I want to make sure I bring up. Race day is your day to have your best. Like you talked about, I think you nail it so good. [00:36:04] Craig, when you talk about game day, if we think about the culture of football or we think about the culture of hockey, or we think about the culture at any of these other things, even running like cross-country running, right? They wear their best shoes on race day. They have. Best stuff like everything is prying for race day. [00:36:23] And so I want your listeners are athletes. I want them to be like race day. I want a little pep in your step. I want a little extra recovery in you. I want oh man, I get my favorite water bottles. I know that sounds silly. But you can get water bottles that like, they don't put out the flow that you want. [00:36:39] Make it easy on yourself. All of these tools, you have access to incredible tools to help you be successful. Don't be like, Yeah. [00:36:46] I wear my old socks that have a whole. Like, where are your best thoughts? And guess what, if you wear them out, go buy another one. I don't care. Like, where are your best sham? [00:36:54] You know what I mean? This is not the day to be like, oh Yeah. [00:36:56] I got that old to Shani butter. I'm not going to, I'm going to use it. Dude, crack open the new tube of Shandy butter and go, go for it. Make sure you have all the tools that are there to support you. And that they're the best tools it is. [00:37:08] Game day, treat it like such and get after.  [00:37:12] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I've always felt doing those little things and making sure you feel great. Look great bikes. Ready to go. That it gives you like, for me, it seems like it gives me like 20% more capacity to suffer that day. If I've really put my game face. [00:37:28] Brian McCulloch: Oh, Yeah, Oh yeah. And it should be the culmination of all of your preparation. It should be the culmination of the hard work you've done. This is where I think of it. Like how much time, money, and effort people invest in going to a big event. I'll give an example. Just last week I went to a mountain bike marathon, national championships, and it was in Maryland and I've never raced in Maryland before. [00:37:53] And I'm really actually fairly new to mountain biking to be candid. I have one season of it. But. What happened was we flew out there early. We pre-rolled three or four days on the course and it made such a big difference. And then when I got into the race, I had some adversity, the guy dropped me, the leader dropped me. And it was in that moment that I was like, Hey, I've invested so much. I don't even care. I'm all in. If I blow up, who cares? And I went for it and guess what it worked out and I won. And it was great because I had invested all of this stuff. [00:38:26] I had everything going in that direction and then I. Uber committed and the right moment, when you have that critical moment, you have to dig deep and find something special. And so when you've invested in that, and I hope your athletes and your listeners, when they're listening, don't be afraid to pay that full price, to pay the full measure of what you do and be like, yeah, I've invested all this. [00:38:47] I've done all this. I've done this, I've done that. And it gets a little bit hard leaning into it, man, when you get in the pain cave, pull up a folding chair and hang. Get after it. You know what I mean? Who cares? Like you've come this far, you've made all of these sacrifices. You've dragged your family for California or New Mexico or Washington DC all the way out to Kansas. [00:39:07] It's important, Kansas. Dude, get after it. Don't just be like, okay, I'm going to sit back and absorb it. And whatever, lean in, you can do it.  [00:39:15] Craig Dalton: Et cetera. One of my old coaches used to talk about putting things in the bank and whenever I would complain about a tough workout or whatever, he would just remind me, Hey, that's in the bank. And when it comes to game day, when you suffer in which you will suffer, think about this workout, think about how deep you dug and know you're capable of going there and even more on, on race. [00:39:38] Brian McCulloch: Absolutely. I always think of it like this. You. When I look out at the pier, like if you're out on the beach and you look out, oh, there's this beautiful pier, it's the boardwalk, it's at Santa Cruz or whatever, that was a big thing. When I was growing up in Northern California, it was like, oh, let's increase beach boardwalk. [00:39:55] That was still cool. But you look at the pillars that hold that up. And they have to withstand the abuse of the. And they stand rigid and they stand firm and they're just the waves beat on him, feed on them and feed on them and guess what they have to be replaced. Like that thing has to be replaced every number of years. [00:40:12] I'm sure. I don't know what the number is, but they have to get replaced. Because the C's so powerful. The forces of nature are just incredible. If you're the seek help, what if you're the seek help? What is the. The sea kelp waves with the influx and with they out, it goes with it, and that's a very, like if your listeners are into books I, if you look at very Eastern philosophy, Chinese philosophy and you look at the towel to Chine, or you can look at the sun, SU the art of war, you can look at any of those things. And it's very much that kind of thing. [00:40:42] And I think for athletes in gravel, you have to be able to do same thing. Like suffering is going to wash over you and you can either fight it and be like, oh, when you can be rigid and death grip and all this stuff, or you can be like the seek help and you can just be like, okay. And then my pain came for a little bit, this stinks, and I don't really want to be here, but I'm going to be here for 90 minutes on this crazy climb up crusher in the Tasha, but I want to finish. [00:41:08] Got to do it, so I think w going between both, because there's a time to be rigid and be like, yes, I'm getting after it. And there's a time to be like I'm going to embrace the suck. Like it just is what it is. We just got to chop some wood here and just get out.  [00:41:20] Craig Dalton: Exactly. Exactly. This was a full of great information. One of the things I wanted to conclude with was you had made mention to me in our discussion back and forth just about celebrating properly. And I think your mentality as a coach, I just wanted you to speak to that a little bit. [00:41:40] Brian McCulloch: Celebrating us so important. I'm working on something for our athletes right now, where we're going to do a, basically a coach led performance review and a and so it's performance review is going to be like, Hey, how did the year go? What went well, what didn't go well, and one of the things, if you look at we're going to bridge into goal setting for 22, and one thing, if you look at kind of goal setting 1 0 1 and all the books on that is you have to celebrate, and we live in this world that we're always like next. And you never come back to it and go, Hey I didn't celebrate. And so one thing you need to do is think about you need to treat yourself like a valued employee. Not like you're a tyrant, right? So you treat yourself like, Hey, I did really good. [00:42:21] Craig, you have wonder you're a wonderful, successful businessman, right? And so like when you have valued employees that go above and beyond. You don't just be like, cool, here's your next project? You go, great job. That's fantastic. You know what? It's Friday go home at noon. We'll see you on Monday. [00:42:38] And we'll plan from here. That's how you treat valued employees, right? You're like, Hey, that was really great. That's how you treat your kids, right? You're like great job. I'm so proud of you. We're going to pizza tonight, right? Like good effort. And we don't do that to ourselves. We don't do that to ourselves. [00:42:55] We hold ourselves hostage sometimes and we're like, yeah, I could have done better. You know what I mean? Oh Yeah. [00:42:59] I got eight at Belgium authorized Cedar city and got the hard man award. But you know what, I wasn't in the top three, so I'm not happy. Okay. Loser. That's not a cool way to talk to yourself. [00:43:08] And that happened to me and my wife like slaps me and she's what are you doing? Try to have more fun. And I'm trying to talk talk, tell her your listeners and our athletes. I'm telling you that because I have not celebrated a lot of things. I always moved on to the next thing, because I was always something bigger and better. [00:43:23] What I'm trying to tell you is that I want you to stay in the sport a long time and you're, I want you to seek mastery and to do that, we have to do the full range of emotions, right? Like you have to have those stressful moments. You have to overcome those stressful moments and then you have to celebrate all the things you did along your journey. [00:43:38] Okay. And I'm not saying you give yourself a pat on the back. Finishing a forty-five minute trainer workout. You know what I mean? But I am saying when you sign up in October or November for Belgium waffle ride, Kansas, it's 10 months away. You've got to celebrate when you get to the end. And whether your celebration is having a beer with your buddies or giving your eating half of a of a carrot cake, it doesn't matter. That's not what. With what it is for each athlete, but I think celebrating is so important. And what I would also say to tell your athletes, and we talk about celebrate. Make this a family affair. Most of us are, have kids. Most of us have spouses. Most of us have busy lives and there's more people. [00:44:24] So don't make this about what you accomplished, make it about what we accomplished. As a coach, I'm a part of your performance team. Okay. So I want. I didn't pedal the bike for you, but I'm really excited to play the role that I get to play. And I know joy is to my wife. She's really oh my gosh, like you just won a national championship. [00:44:40] That's amazing. But so make it a part of, we, we did this together. When I tell you the, when you're setting goals, tell your friends, right? Tell your buddy Craig Hey, because of this podcast, I decided to sign up for this. And then not only did you sign this, sign up for it, you come back and you're like, I never thought I would do a sub nine Leadville. [00:45:01] Oh my God, I got a big belt buckle. Or whatever your thing is, like I never thought I would do a sub nine hour builds, waffle ride, whatever  [00:45:09] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. I think [00:45:10] Brian McCulloch: Celebrate that and tell people about it because that accountability is what makes us great. And I'm telling you, you are capable of more than you think So hold yourself accountable, put it out in the world, go after it work hard. And if you fall a little short, that doesn't mean you don't celebrate, still celebrate what you did accomplish and then move on and it's. [00:45:30] Bree adjust, recalibrate reengage, set your sights higher and go for it.  [00:45:34] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think those are great words to end by Brian. Thank you for such an enthusiastic conversation. I hope for the list. Everybody's stoked and keep this conversation near ear, particularly those words about being able to do more than you think you can. Cause you, you all are capable of more than you think you are. [00:45:50] Brian, thanks so much again for the time. [00:45:53] Brian McCulloch: Oh, thank You so much, Craig. Thank you for the opportunity. And if anyone ever wants to check us out on big real coaching, please do. It's just my wife and I, and we have a lovely coach. She if there's ever anything we can do to help you, we would love to, but also please. Just get out there, get after it, have a great time. [00:46:09] And let you know, come see us at the races. We're always at the races. We love seeing you. We want to hear about your celebrations and Craig, I want to hear about some of yours. So I'm going to put it on you. I want to hear about what your goals are. And then I want to hear about the process, your preparation, how the race day stuff goes, and then we can have another one of these conversations soon. [00:46:25] Craig Dalton: You got it, Brian. Thanks.  [00:46:27] Brian McCulloch: Rock and roll brother.  [00:46:27] Craig Dalton: So that's going to do it for this week's podcast. Big thank you to Brian for joining us. I hope you got a lot out of our discussion and another big thanks to athletic greens for sponsoring this episode. If you're interested in joining our free global gravel cycling community, please visit the [00:46:50] And if you're interested in supporting the podcast around. Please support slash the gravel ride. And finally, if you have a moment rating re ratings and reviews are hugely important in the podcast business. I appreciate all your words and I read everything that comes through in terms of the reviews. [00:47:11] And I have to say, [00:47:14] and finally, if you have a moment, ratings and reviews are hugely appreciated. They're very important in the podcast business. And I read everything you write. So I appreciate the effort and those kind reviews until next time here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels.

    In the Dirt 26: Bars, Bags, Bikepacking and weights

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2021 34:03

    In this week's In the Dirt, Randall and Craig take a look at gravel handlebar trends, new bags from Post Carry Co, Craig's new strength training with EverAthlete, a new Bay Area bikepacking route and tease an ongoing discussion of social media and cycling in The Ridership. Bay Area Triple Bypass Route Post Carry Bags Whisky Spano Bar Support the Podcast Join The Ridership   Automated transcription, please excuse the typos and errors: Untitled [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. I'll be joined shortly by my co-host randall jacobs for another episode of in the dirt . [00:00:12] This episode is brought to you by our friends at thesis bike. Yes. That indeed is Randall's company thesis. Randall donates his time to the gravel ride podcast in the dirt series, out of an abundance of passion for the sport. But he also runs a company called thesis, as you know, is the maker of the OB one bicycle. [00:00:33] That is actually the bicycle that I ride. If you follow me on social media, you may see my custom painted pink. Thesis, OB one. I affectionately refer to as Mr. Pinky. Anyway, I wanted to give you an update. Thesis has some bikes back in stock.  [00:00:50] As I mentioned a few weeks ago, they've got some of those SRAM rival access grupos in stock. So they've got bikes ready to go, but more importantly, they've just, re-introduced their bring a friend referral program. That'll get you $500 off an OB one. When you purchase a bike with a friend. Or if you have a friend that has a thesis.  [00:01:13] You can hit them up for a $500 discount. So coordinate with the team over a thesis. If you have any questions, you can email  [00:01:23] Or check them out, they offer free one-on-one consultations, which is a great way to see if a thesis. It will be. One is the right bike for you.  [00:01:33] With that said, let me grab Randall and let's jump into in the dirt.  [00:01:37] Craig: Hey Randall, how you doing today? [00:01:39] Randall: I'm doing well, Craig, how are you? My friend.  [00:01:42] Craig: I'm good. I literally just got done recording the pre-roll.  [00:01:47] Talking about. [00:01:47] thesis, your company's new refer a friend program, which I thought was cool.  [00:01:52] Let I let the listeners know about that, and I appreciate your efforts as a cohost of in the dirt, but separately, when you wear your thesis bike company, hat. I do appreciate the time to time financial support you provide the podcast. Because it really is the type of thing that keeps the balls rolling around here. [00:02:10] Randall: For sure. Yeah. In our bring your friend program is actually something we did before and had to pull when supply chains went sideways. And now that we have bikes in stock, we'd much rather reward the community rather than. You know, paying Bookface or some ad network to, to reach people. So it's nice to be able to reward those who help spread the word. And then obviously, you know, with what you do, it's been very aligned from the beginning. So thanks for the opportunity to work with you.  [00:02:35] Craig: Yeah. [00:02:35] absolutely appreciate it. Yeah. It's so ridiculous that there was like 15 months or more in there where bike companies just didn't bother advertising or promoting themselves because it was so ridiculously hard product into consumer's hands.  [00:02:50] Randall: Yeah, there's really no point in trying to sell something you don't have. And don't don't know when you'll have it again. That seems to be. That seems to be a phenomenon that's going to continue well into the future for awhile. From what  [00:03:03] Craig: Yeah. I mean, not to bring sort of macroeconomic trends in here, but I was just, just listening to someone talk about how in Apple's earnings call. There is some suggestion that. Supply chains are improving. They have not improved entirely, but that they are. Improving and that in the grand scheme of things, this will be a temporary blip, but temporary could mean two years.  [00:03:26] Randall: Yeah. Yeah. In their case, they're dealing with chips too, which I'm getting a new chip Foundry online is a multi-year $10 billion project. So fortunately we don't have that in the bike industry. We're pretty, pretty low on the technology front, even with our. Wireless shifting, which, how did that take so long to come come about?  [00:03:46] Craig: How are you doing otherwise? Is the weather starting to change on the east coast for you? [00:03:49] Randall: We've had some beautiful days past several days. We had a nor'easter coming through. So I did steal away for a trail run between, between rains in the should have some good weather on the weekend and otherwise loving being with family here in Boston, it's a very different lifestyle than the one I was living in the bay area.  [00:04:06] And it's a very much aligned with where I'm at. Yeah.  [00:04:09] Craig: We get, we got absolutely hammered out here by that rainstorm in Moran. I think we had the highest rain count in Anywhere in California. [00:04:17] that weekend. I think we got on Tam and there's 12 inches of rain. So it was, it was literally coming out of every pore of The mountain. There were new streams and waterfalls being, being created.  [00:04:29] I mean, God knows we needed the water. [00:04:31] and is so nice. I wrote up the mountain for Dawn patrol on a Wednesday and Just to see a little water. [00:04:36] in places where it has been devoid. Void because of the drought was, was nice.  [00:04:42] Randall: When I did see your, your conversation or the conversation you chimed in on in, on, on the ridership about you know, opening up a new you know, gullies and things like this in the trails. So hopefully they're relatively intact. [00:04:55] Craig: Yeah, that was fun. I mean, that's one of those things that you and I have always like thought and hoped would happen in the ridership. Just this idea that a writer could pop a message into the forum and say, Hey, we just got this huge rainstorm. How, how are the trails looking? Is it rideable or is it too.  [00:05:11] As it a sloppy mess. [00:05:13] Randall: Yeah, it's pretty neat.  [00:05:14] Craig: The  [00:05:14] Randall: been training quite a bit lately, right?  [00:05:16] Craig: Yeah. [00:05:16] You know, I was going to say The other good.  [00:05:17] thing about the rain and not being, Wanting to ride my bike outside. [00:05:22] lately, as I have. [00:05:23] committed to a strength training program. [00:05:25] It's one of those things as I've nagged about my back on the podcast. Many months ago.  [00:05:31] That I've actually implemented a little bit of a plan And I've been. [00:05:35] working via a company called ever athlete. And I became aware of them.  [00:05:41] As one of the founder is Kate Courtney's strength and conditioning coach, Kate Courtney being a former world champion mountain Biker. [00:05:49] who comes from This area. [00:05:51] And what, what appealed to me most about. The ever athlete program was that they have a run specific program, a cycling specific program, and then basic conditioning.  [00:06:03] after chatting with them, [00:06:04] a little bit online. And I had a phone call with them just as a general consumer. You know, it was advised that I start with beginner strength training.  [00:06:12] And Totally. [00:06:14] spot on if I started anything beyond beginner. I would have been absolutely destroyed. And frankly, like some of the exercises. Do you have me sore in places that are not used to being sore?  [00:06:26] Randall: So if somebody were to ask you, do you even lift bro? The answer would be not quite yet. I'm doing the beginner stuff first.  [00:06:34] Craig: Yeah.  [00:06:35] Exactly. Like I don't have tank tops yet and a special weightlifting gear and gloves that I'm using, But I have. [00:06:42] I'm on weak. I'm proud of myself. [00:06:43] I just completed week four of an eight week, week block.  [00:06:47] Just getting my body's too. Basic strength training. I'm using a TRX, some elastic bands.  [00:06:54] And just a few basic weights. That's not a exorbitant setup, I'm just doing it. And, you know, eight by eight area of My garage. [00:07:02] every other day.  [00:07:04] Randall: That's great. Yeah, I've. I've gotten on a reasonably regular routine with a pair of 50 pound power blocks, adjustable dumbbells, which I'm a big fan of I've tried a few different types of adjustable dumbbells and these are the best have had. And just like doing a basic routine with not a crazy amount of weight and then adding some chin ups and AB work and so on squats and stuff like that, with that together with running and stretching, and I'll probably be adding yoga.  [00:07:30] As the winter progresses and I can't get outside so much.  [00:07:33] Craig: Yeah, you'll have to put a note in the show notes for me on that one. I'd be interested. Cause I know in ever athletes list of things that I may need. That type of wait setup is, will come into play at some point.  [00:07:45] Randall: Got it. Yeah. They don't, they don't pay us, but I can definitely endorse the power block sport. And it's totally sufficient for me, even at 50 pounds, because anything that I do with more than 50 pounds, I probably shouldn't be doing anyways. I don't need it.  [00:07:57] Craig: Yeah, I mean, good God Right now. [00:07:58] Randall, I'm basically doing almost exclusively body weight exercises.  [00:08:03] 50 pounds seems a long way away from where my current strength training is at.  [00:08:08] Randall: Oh, you can get a whole lot of resistance with just body weight too. So there's no need to buy too much expensive gear, but yeah, these are a good one. [00:08:15] Craig: Yeah. [00:08:16] totally. I mean, I think I'll walk away from this, knowing that just even, even strictly a body weight program would be hugely beneficial.  [00:08:23] Randall: Yeah, I think so. I'm curious to hear how your back is feeling in a couple of months.  [00:08:28] Craig: Yeah, for sure. [00:08:28] So I've got an a, as I said, I've got another month on basic, and then I think I'll just carry over into their cycling, their first cycling Specific program. [00:08:36] And I've been chatting with them. [00:08:37] and I think I'll have them on the pod so we can get just a deeper dive into.  [00:08:42] Not just Their program. [00:08:43] but just strength training specifically, and the, and the value for cyclists to take a break and do something different.  [00:08:51] Randall: I remember hearing a quote somewhere that the biggest problem with cyclists in their training program is that they only ride their bikes.  [00:08:59] Craig: A hundred percent. [00:09:00] It's funny. You mentioned that because another guest I've got coming up is a pretty world renowned. Bike fitter, but he from the UK, but he wrote a book called the midlife cyclist.  [00:09:10] And I'm going to dig into it with him, but yeah, one of the key takeaways is as an average, enthusiastic and passionate, enthusiastic cyclist.  [00:09:19] we're probably riding more and closer to our, not more by volume, but closer to our threshold than professional cyclists do because We go out there. [00:09:28] and we hammer, you know, we're just feeling like we're out there for a good time.  [00:09:31] And the best thing you could do is probably. Lose a workout or two on the bike and change it into some strength training or something. That's you know, testing different parts of your body.  [00:09:41] Randall: Yeah, I look forward to that episode. That'll be a good one.  [00:09:44] Craig: Yeah. [00:09:45] I'm super excited about it. I mean, I've just been thinking about it. In light of my own winter and what I want to achieve and how I want to set myself up for success next year. And success for me just means into being healthy and strong enough to tackle. You know, a big event or two here or there and not have it totally destroyed me.  [00:10:03] Randall: Yeah. And I think that for some of us do I, I ended up talking to a lot of athletes who are. You know, or later in years, and just being able to know that you can, you have some control over your ability to ride well into old age and maintained flexibility and bone density and injury prevention and all these other things is you know, it's, it's it's a good resource for folks to have to, to know how to, how to approach that. [00:10:28] Craig: Yeah, totally. I've. [00:10:28] got another great episode that I'm recording actually immediately after this with Brian McCulloch. Ah,  [00:10:33] Former pro road racer, former BWR winner, and most recently just won. I think it was The masters category. [00:10:40] of mountain bike nationals.  [00:10:41] So Awesome guys. [00:10:42] super enthusiastic. And one of the things he was telling me in his coaching practice. [00:10:47] was that, you know, he coaches plenty of athletes whose goal is I want to complete the event and then be totally Pepe for the beer garden afterwards. [00:10:57] And he's  [00:10:57] I'm Totally down with it. No one wants to just barely crawl across the finish line And then have to go to their car. [00:11:04] to take a nap, especially in these gravel events. We want to finish, we want to commune with our fellow participants and, you know, I think that's a. Admirable goal for anyone to not only cross the finish line, but be able to. Party Hardy as the kids say.  [00:11:20] Randall: Yeah. It's you know, you have the combination of having endured something with, with other people and then getting to connect like the, the vehicle for connection elements shines out of that, that statement there, which is certainly why I ride.  [00:11:33] Craig: Yeah, totally. And speaking of events I know I did a recap episode of Water, but I thought we chat about that a little bit since it's something you've participated in, in years past. [00:11:42] Randall: number of times. Yeah, this is actually the first year, the first time in years that I didn't go. It, I just reading the reporting. It seems like the. You know, the new stuff was relatively sparse. There's a couple of things that you and I want to, to jump into in future episodes with the new BMC.  [00:11:58] Headshot, they're not calling it a headshot, but it's, it looks like a head shock and surrounds new flight, attendants, suspension, and so on. So that'll be fun to dive into, but I'm curious, what else did you see that was compelling?  [00:12:09] Craig: Yeah. You know, I mean, it's first off for those of you who don't know, it's quite the festival. I mean, you've got everything from downhill and Duro, gravel cross-country road racing.  [00:12:20] While I find it. [00:12:21] a bit overwhelming, the sheer number of cyclists and people that are there. At Laguna Seca. It is fun to see someone in spandex and a pro road kit. Riding through the pits next to you, a downhill kid with his full face helmet, shoved back on his head with a neck brace. [00:12:39] Randall: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah.  [00:12:41] Craig: You know, from a, from a product perspective and manufacturer perspective. The number of booths was down. I mean, it still was quite a Hardy show, but I would say. You know, with the absence of the international.  [00:12:54] Manufacturers. [00:12:55] coming is probably like 40%, less sheer booths. So it made it more manageable. Whereas now the last time they held it in person.  [00:13:03] I felt like covering it in one day was just too much. Like I really needed about a day and a half or a day and three quarters to get around. [00:13:12] and make sure I poked my head in every booth That was out there. [00:13:15] this year was a little bit more manageable. I think in three quarters of a day, I had cruised around and seen everything I wanted to see.  [00:13:22] Randall: Cool. Cool. And you only spent the one day. Yeah.  [00:13:25] Craig: Yeah. [00:13:25] I just did a day trip which I think. Made me like it a little bit more. I mean, I think the last time we were down there, It was just such a cluster AF to, you know, get in and out of there with your car and you were parked so far away. So I found that this fit where I was at this this year. [00:13:42] Randall: Yeah we had a booth last time too. So we had all of that setting up and tearing down and so on. But yeah, hopefully by next year, it's it would make sense for me to get out there again, cause I've always enjoyed that. It's actually the only, the only time I've ever lined up at a race with like international.  [00:14:00] Racers.  [00:14:01] You know, just cause they you know, even if you were a low, a low level, regional domestic pro, you could line up in the, the UCI cross-country race. So you're not necessarily racing the same race, but burry stander was there and Christoph saucer was there and it was just like my moment of oh wow.  [00:14:16] You know, getting to. Line up. 15 rows behind them.  [00:14:20] Craig: You're like, I'm going to stay on their wheel and 50 meters. And you're like, I'm not going to stay on their wheel. [00:14:24] Randall: Oh, they, they started 20 seconds before I did. By the time everyone's actually rolling. So there's, there's no staying on any wheels regardless.  [00:14:32] Craig: That's all. It's the funniest thing. When I'm at these big events, when they, they shoot off the starting gun and you're far enough back that nothing happens. There's no movement.  [00:14:41] Randall: Yeah, the slinky effect.  [00:14:43] Craig: Yeah. [00:14:44] But there have been, you know, there's been some cool stuff dropping lately that I think we should talk about. You  [00:14:49] know, I think. We should jump in a little bit into the handlebars that have been coming out because I know. In talking to you. You had a particular design in mind that you.  [00:15:01] thought was what you would design. If you.  [00:15:04] were going to design a Handlebar. [00:15:05] from the ground up, and then lo and behold, someone came out with one that was pretty darn close to what you described.  [00:15:11] Randall: Yeah. So I've called out this Aero Jaya. I think it's called my three T a number of times. And this was the closest thing to what I would design that I had seen. But whiskey just came out with a bar called the Spano. Or Spanno however they want to accentuate that a and pretty much everything about this is the way that I would design a bar.  [00:15:30] There's a few things I would do subtly differently and I can definitely share that. But You know, it's 12 degrees at the hoods and 20 degrees to the drops and it's a compound flare. And so you don't have to have the same flare. At the hoods and in the drops, because a lot of the leavers these days have some flare built in anyways. I would probably go with a little bit less flare with the hoods to give it a little more roadie position, maybe eight degrees, but still.  [00:15:53] For, you know, this is well done. It's a flat top design there. It looks like they've had some engineered flex. Built into, you know, what I would call like the wings of the bar so that you get some vertical flex. From the bar, which could help to, you know, negate the need for something as substantial as like a suspension stem.  [00:16:12] I think that these compliance structures are our real opportunity to add. Compliance to the bike without necessarily having to add mechanical linkages and things like this.  [00:16:22] Craig: Yeah. Yeah. I think that that, that compliance is something that people would really benefit from. And if, if, if the manufacturers can do it in subtle ways, I think it all adds up.  [00:16:33] Randall: Challenges that different riders are going to have different needs in terms of let's just say you want to deliver the same experience to everybody. Then, you know, with a given handlebar under a bigger rider, you are going to need it to be stiffer in order for them to have the same experiences as a lighter weight rider. Who's just not exerting the same force.  [00:16:50] So that would be one thing where, you know, that's hard to do without having two versions of the bar or some sort of tuneable flex mechanism, which is something I've played around with, but adds complexity.  [00:16:59] I do like how the, the drop is really shallow. It's a hundred mil. The reaches is pretty short, 68. I would have the drop scale with the size of the bar would be one minor thing, because presumably on average, the, you know, the width of the bar is scaling with the size of the rider. But even that there's a huge amount of variation on that bell curve.  [00:17:19] Overall, like. It's this, this is from what I've seen and what you can do with the leavers that are on the market. Because there's only two companies that make them and they control Libra design. This, this is the most interesting one to me. Hopefully we can get our hands on one at some point and provide a proper review, but it looks really, really compelling. I'm glad to see this direction towards compound flares.  [00:17:41] Craig: Yeah. Yeah. [00:17:41] I thought that I was going to key in, on that. Those words you used compound flares, because I do think that's interesting because you know, one of the things that. The F the former roadie in me, I do not like when the, when the shifter lovers are angled into too far. And it doesn't feel, it doesn't feel great. And it seems if there's a.  [00:18:00] If there's a design way too. Still get the flare you need at the bottoms while not overly adjusting where the hoods are, you know, that's a win.  [00:18:11] Randall: Yeah. And, and, you know, in our bars, we went with a. Non-compounded 10 degree flare because it is, you know, the best, the most glared you can get without it. Really effecting the ergonomics at the hoods, especially with say ceramides mechanical road leavers that have a kind of a square edge. So if you rotate them too far out, you get a kind of a pressure point in the middle of the hand. [00:18:31] But yeah, it's a pretty neat handlebar. So [00:18:35] Craig: Yeah. And with everything. You know, I think you've gotta be tooling costs are obviously like the big concern and changing it. Dramatically. Size wise each time. And so you, haven't got to think about. How many sets of tools are you willing to buy to bring this product to market? Handlebar replacement. I don't know what kind of volume any of these companies do with their handlebars, but it's, it's a little bit of a balance there. I would think from a manufacturing perspective.  [00:19:03] Randall: Yeah to, to dive a little bit into this without going too deep nerd. So if you're a big manufacturer, like a specialized or a track or something, you can amortize those tooling costs over a large number of bicycles that are specking that this handlebar at the OEM level, if you're doing an aftermarket bar,  [00:19:19] It's a lot harder. And the tooling cost is quite material on an item like this, where it's low volume and you have so many different sizes. Usually it would be three tools. You'd have. You know, or at least the three component tool. So you have. You know, the two drops and then you have the center section and maybe the center section is a single mold.  [00:19:38] With different inserts or even like you make one long one and then you chop it to the width that you want. And then you essentially bond on the drops. Which is where some extra weight comes in. So if you see bars like 250 grams or so if you want to drop 50 grams without compromising the structural integrity, that has to be a one-piece bar, which means.  [00:19:57] An independent, large mold. That's that's moderately complex for every single size. And if you're only doing a few hundred units a year, which is a good volume for an aftermarket handlebar, that's hard to justify economically.  [00:20:10] Craig: Yeah. [00:20:10] that makes a ton of sense. I'm actually curious, and maybe listeners can either hit us up on social media or in the ridership, ideally about how often.  [00:20:18] People replace their bars. And is it the type of thing that When you're building. [00:20:22] the bike, you get that bar and you never think about it otherwise. Which I suspect, I know I've certainly been there in my bike ownership life. But I do think there's a decent amount of innovation in gravel bars for people to consider and just keep an eye out there for what are the performance benefits? How do these different bars feel?  [00:20:43] When you put them on your existing bike.  [00:20:45] Randall: I do think that one of the major constraints here is simply cost and that actually has less to do with the unit cost and more to do with having to amortize the tooling costs over. So few units. But I, you know, handlebars like a carbon bar on the one hand, it's somewhat disposable. If you design it, if you don't design it right. Where if you crash, like you really want to replace it. But on the other hand, the, the opportunities for compound shapes and for compliance being built in.  [00:21:12] Negates may negate the need for more expensive and complicated solutions elsewhere on the bike to achieve the same goals. You know, I'd like to see if I could do a handlebar at scale, You know, the, the actual cost on something like this is for a tiny fraction of the actual sale price of, you know, 250 to 400 bucks on some of these bars. [00:21:31] Craig: Yeah. [00:21:31] That's the thing. I mean, once you've got, once you've got your bike frame. And you're not going to replace that. You really need to look at your attachment points as the, you know, how are you going to tune the bike? [00:21:41] Randall: Yeah, the touch points. Exactly.  [00:21:44] Craig: On the other end of the spectrum. [00:21:46] curve had a bar called the Walmart. Out for a while. And curve is probably best known for their massively wide bars. I mean like 50 plus centimeter bars.  [00:21:58] Very different riding style. They've actually gone the other way and introduced a narrower version of that. And I just think it's interesting to see them coming in. I mean, I can imagine that she super, super wide bar is a big part of the markets. I suppose it's not surprising. To see them go narrower.  [00:22:15] Randall: They're also going with aluminum. You know, your tooling cost is. It's basically a jig. So it's not, you can do smaller volume and, and carve out that little niche for oneself, but yeah, they went with a 40 and a 43 with, it looks like here, but the. My concern would be the flare is so great at the hoods.  [00:22:34] That you'd really want to be mindful of the shape of the hoods that you're using to make sure that it's not going to put a pressure point in your hand.  [00:22:42] Craig: Yeah. Yeah. [00:22:42] I think it's a bar for a very specific customer. Follow up question for you on a aluminum versus carbon in the handlebar from a field perspective, what are the what's. How should people think about the difference in feel between those two materials?  [00:22:57] Randall: It really depends on how it's engineered. It really depends heavily on how it's engineered. And I was. You know, the particulars of the material, how it's shaped, how it's drawn is it, is it. You know, buddied and so on, which is an actual budding process. And with carbon kind of same thing, like.  [00:23:13] What is, what is the shape? What type of carbon is being used? What is the layup? You can make a structure that is incredibly stiff or very compliant you could add. I think loaf their bar, they're using some You know, some fancily branded. Fiberglass material in order to create you know, some, some even, even greater, even greater flex in the part of the handlebar, just beyond the clamp with the stem.  [00:23:38] GT did this with their original grade and may still to this day on the seat stays, they actually have a fiberglass wrapped in carbon fiber. So fiberglass is what's used in like a fishing pole. So think about the extremes of flex that you can get with that before it breaks. [00:23:52] So there's it really just, it just depends, but in terms of the opportunities to tune flex and so on. Vastly greater with carbon, for sure, for sure. But this trade-offs with that.  [00:24:03] Craig: Yeah. Gotcha. Gotcha. Hey, the other thing I wanted to mention in terms of new product drops recently was our friend mark at post Kericho. I dropped a couple of new bags.  [00:24:14] Randall: Yeah, let's take a look at these. So he's got a new handlebar bag. Which these, these things are hard to. Talk too much about with action without actually experiencing one, but  [00:24:27] Craig: Yeah. [00:24:28] I think the interest, the interesting thing about all Mark's stuff is he's a very thoughtful designer and one of my pet peeves around the handlebar bags, and it's got nothing to do with. Like general use of the bag. Is that with the zipper being up top?  [00:24:43] With my bike, computer Mount, and oftentimes a light it's really hard to get at them because it's being pushed down and Mark's designed the zipper to be in the middle of the front of this bag.  [00:24:57] I saw some comments about Alex, stuff's going to drop out. But I think at the end of the day, you're going to know that it's there and that's where it's located. So I think from a practical perspective, it's still going to work, but it would solve my personal problem with trying to get in there without unstrapping the bag from the handlebar.  [00:25:14] Randall: Yeah. And this bag is also quite compact, this new bag in the mini handlebar bag that he came out with. And so I could imagine. Strapping it to the bar and the little strap on the back around the stem, as opposed to, you know, having to strap it in a way that may push cables or the bag itself into the head tube, which is a very common problem with these handlebar bags.  [00:25:35] And you know, leads me to actually on my bike packing bag to have add straps in order to have it connect both to the bar and then to like right behind the hoods. So you don't get that rotational flop and it [00:25:49] keeps it off the head tube. But that's a [00:25:51] Craig: And are they get minimum? At minimum for anyone writing. Riding. You know, a lot, lots of types of bags, just consider putting some protective film over your frame in case there's rubbing. [00:26:00] Randall: For sure. For sure. Yeah, we, yeah. Good recommendation.  [00:26:05] Craig: The other interesting one he came up with was this bomber top tube bag, which is a very long and, and Kind of not, not a big stack height bag that can go along the top tube or underneath the top tube. It's the, maybe three quarters of the length of the top two, but it looks like.  [00:26:21] We're just, it's interesting. I don't think for me, it's like a daily rider type thing, but I do love the multiple different positions of it. And I could see for a bigger trip or a bigger day out this being like one of those bags that I just add on for specific purposes. [00:26:36] Randall: Yeah, And presumably it's a bit lighter than his existing frame bag, which I own, I'm not sure if you own as well. I'm a huge fan of that bag for, for bigger days on the bike where I need to bring stuff.  [00:26:47] Craig: Yeah. [00:26:47] no. I imagine like running that quarter frame bag and then adding this one on top, you know, if you were doing some epic back country ride and wanted to maybe bring a full pump or what have you I think this is a neat option to add on and augment that kind of storage.  [00:27:02] Randall: One comment I did see in one of the articles was this idea of, you know, maybe it would be a mountable on the bottom of the down tube. Which I actually think is a a space where, you know, a design, a bag that was designed specifically for that space could both lower center of mass. And Potentially provide some protection for that part of the bike from rocks kicking up and so on, which is a significant concern, especially when you get into more Tundra terrain on one of these gravel bikes.  [00:27:31] Craig: Yeah. I think some more of the hardcore bike packing pack bag manufacturers have solutions for that area, whether they're building off the bottle cage, that's often down there and a lot of these gravel bikes. We're otherwise attaching agree. It's a, it's an interesting place. There's so many different nooks and crannies.  [00:27:50] To jam stuff on these bikes with all these new modern bags. It's a, you're not, there's no dearth of options for you, depending on how you want to set up your rig.  [00:27:58] Randall: Yeah. And the last thing we'll call out here is the the seat bag, which is a pretty standard, but really elegantly designed seat bag. And I just got to, you know, give a shout out for him on just the aesthetics of these bags. Then also the cost structure, like the seat bags, 30 bucks. You know, the, the bomber bag.  [00:28:13] I'm seeing 35 bucks. So really getting like this high quality construction and design at a very accessible price point. So Bravo mark, keep up the good work. Good to see you. Continuing to put product out.  [00:28:25] Craig: Yeah, kudos. Speaking of other things that people, we know, people from the ridership we're putting out there in the world. Some cool stuff on bike,  [00:28:34] Randall: Yeah. So our friends Emily Chung and Seth Hur from over at bike index. So you've worked with, did he do the full triple crossover?  [00:28:44] Craig: He did.  [00:28:44] Randall: Yeah. So the bay area, triple crossover, which was published on bike, over the past week or so, 161 miles, three to four days 65% unpaved and a really, a lot of great photography and so on. And it covers essentially from Marin. North of San Francisco all the way around the bay, back to south bay.  [00:29:06] Maybe in the other direction, maybe that's how they finished up, but it's a, and there's actually a way. Yeah. And there's a way to, and we discussed this in the forum to connect to the bay area Ridge trail through the Santa Cruz mountains. If someone wanted to do an entire loop here, which  [00:29:21] She, she very well may do at some point in posts, but a really cool to see members of the community going out and having good adventures and sharing the routes with others so that others can follow in the footsteps or pedal strokes. As we may say.  [00:29:34] Craig: Yeah. [00:29:34] for sure. It's so valuable to have this sort of bait out there. And I love all the imagery. I. People should go to the bike, Link and you can find it either in the ridership or we'll put it in the show notes for this episode, stunning pictures. And it's so cool. I think there's one picture I'm looking at right now.  [00:29:52] Of the four of them riding across the golden gate bridge. In part of their journey looks like they're heading towards Marin and this pitcher just starting off. I just love it. I'm in such, such sort of iconic. Imagery around the bay area. And for those of you not in this area,  [00:30:07] The idea. [00:30:08] that you could fly into SFO. Take a Bart train into the city with your bags or even write up and then start on this journey. From a major metropolitan area is just awesome. And even from some of the imagery, you would think you're nowhere near any sort of major city. [00:30:26] Randall: Oh, yeah, that was one of the things I loved about living in San Francisco was if I needed to be out in the middle of nowhere, I could be so with no one around in 45 minutes over in the headphones.  [00:30:36] Craig: Yeah. Yeah.  [00:30:37] exactly. [00:30:37] So kudos to MLA for all the great photography and her partners on that trip. Super cool and amazing that they put it out there. [00:30:44] Randall: Yeah. And another thing just to mention with this too, is a. They're in the forum. And so if this is something you want to do embark on one of the motivations, there was to be able to go to a new region and just reach out to folks and say, Hey, what's the beta. Hey, does anyone want to join me for a segment?  [00:31:00] You know, one of the group rides going on and we've been seeing those dynamics, which is really cool.  [00:31:04] Craig: Yeah, exactly. [00:31:05] I mean, it's so it's, so it's so great that there are so many sites out there that are publishing adventures and things like that. But being able to talk to people, locals about current conditions or.  [00:31:17] You know, even advice for that. Ad-on you described down into the Santa Cruz mountains, like That kind of stuff. [00:31:22] is awesome. And invaluable. If You're going to spend. [00:31:25] a week of Your hard earned time and vacation and money in a particular area. [00:31:30] I don't know about you, but I, I just want to get the most out of it as, as possible.  [00:31:34] Randall: Yeah, and this is something that you know, a conversation that sprung up organically in the forum and that we're going to be looking to facilitate a lot more conversation around, which is. You know, the role of, you know, what might be called social media, just online tools for connecting with others generally in the cycling experience. And so what is, what is a healthy role? What are unhealthy roles and how do we create something that.  [00:31:58] Facilitates things that, that help people live live better in gets out of the realm of say what certain large players have been accused of credibly in terms of That's the same behavior that is not, is more in the interest of profit and shareholders. Then the the people that they've disk.  [00:32:14] Describe as users.  [00:32:16] Craig: Yeah. [00:32:17] that, that thread in the ridership's really interesting and some very thoughtful commentary. It's fascinating how different people view different platforms. You know, obviously you've got mainstream social media and then more cycling specific sites that kind of serve similar purposes. So it's something, you know, I know you think a lot about, I've thought a lot about.  [00:32:38] In the context of the ridership and and generally interesting how other people are expressing their sell themselves. And. What types of things they use and don't want to use. [00:32:49] Randall: Yeah. So this is something that you know, we're also considering how to evolve the, the forum as well. We built it in slack because that was the best. Tool available. But we're exploring other tools and add ons and things like this. And if this is a conversation that interests you we'd really love your, your feedback and it's, you know, that conversation is happening in the ridership. So come join us there and let us know how we can make it better.  [00:33:12] Craig: Yeah. [00:33:12] As always. [00:33:13] I mean, we are very open to your input about these episodes and any other episode of the gravel ride podcast.  [00:33:20] The ridership forum is something that, you know, we started from Our hearts but it's really a community run initiative. [00:33:26] and we want to evolve as the community wants us to and, and directionally where they want us to go.  [00:33:33] Randall: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. [00:33:35] Craig: Yeah.  [00:33:36] Cool. [00:33:36] I think that's about it for this week's edition of in the dirt Randall. I appreciate your time as always.  [00:33:42] Randall: As always as well. Craig [00:33:43] Craig: And to all the listeners until next time here's to finding some dirt under your wheels. 

    Whitney Allison - BWR Cedar City 2021 Champion

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2021 27:36

    This week we sit down with Whitney Allison, BWR Cedar City Champion and Co-Founder of the Foco Fondo in Fort Collins, CO. Foco Fondo  Whitney Allison Web and Instagram  Support the Podcast Join The Ridership Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): Whitney Allison [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. This week on the podcast, we have Whitney, Alison who recently won the BWR Cedar city event. I don't know about you guys, but at the beginning of 2020, we are all poised and thinking about gravel racing and looking forward to a whole new crop of athletes coming into the mix.  [00:00:25] With the pandemic. Many of those athletes have to sit on the sidelines. Lines as events were few and far between. We're at the Alison was one of those athletes who was poised to make a great start. In 2020, but with sidelined into 2021. Early in the season, she had a win at Co2UT. And started to be on people's radar.  [00:00:45] Although. Although she deserved to be on the radar far before that.  [00:00:48] With a strong ride to fourth place at Unbound. Around in 2021. I suppose it was no. Surprise that another wind was right around the corner. I originally met Whitney at. The ENVE Grodeo event earlier this year as she's an ENVE sponsored rider and it was great to finally get her on the podcast And Cast We talk about her racing career What brought her to gravel riding and also the Foco Fondo that her and her husband produced in Fort Collins, colorado. [00:01:13] I hope you enjoy the conversation. And with that, let's dive. Right in  [00:01:17] Whitney. Welcome to the show.  [00:01:19] Whitney Allison: Thanks. Thanks for having me.  [00:01:21] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I'm excited to talk to you about your season and gravel and what's next for you, but I always like to start off by learning a little bit about how you came to the sport of cycling and ultimately how you came to riding off-road with gravel.  [00:01:33] Whitney Allison: Yeah. I find cycling after high school. [00:01:37] When I got to college, I went the pledget route. I thought I was going to go for. Soccer to being a normal college student got immediately bored. And, but I do lot. And and I ended up going on a group ride with a cycling team and women are worth a lot of points in collegiate racing. So they like really took me under their wing and kind of showed me the ropes and like collegiate cycling is such an incredible way to get into the sport. [00:02:06] You get to find this really unique balance of both seriousness and fun at the same time, I think, as unique to any other area of cycling  [00:02:16] Craig Dalton: right now. Yeah. It's so interesting and mean, we talk about teams in cycling, but nothing really compares to the idea of a collegiate cycling team.  [00:02:25] Whitney Allison: Yeah. And you have just such a range. [00:02:28] Athletes from maybe athletes who've never participated into a sport to people who've always been in a sport or maybe even always in cycling and you show up and you're S you're unified, whether you're in like the age category or when I was there, they only have A's and B's for women. So it didn't matter like how good you were. [00:02:49] You were just still a very essential and important and welcome part  [00:02:53] Craig Dalton: of the. And we'll you riding both road and off-road at that point?  [00:02:57] Whitney Allison: Mostly just road. I didn't really have a mountain bike. I think I borrowed somebody's bike a couple of times for some mountain bike races, but mostly just the road. [00:03:08] Craig Dalton: And what part of the country where you located in for college? I went to  [00:03:12] Whitney Allison: UT. So it's, I think it was just exclusively Texas for the conference, which is plenty big state.  [00:03:19] Craig Dalton: And was it a pretty popular sport? Was it a large program that you were involved in?  [00:03:23] Whitney Allison: It was really large. My first couple of years, I want to say that there were almost like 30 women competing in the A's, which was like so rad. [00:03:32] Like I remember my first race and the A's on. I didn't know how to sprint. I didn't know how to get out of the saddle and just like sprinting and saddle and like still ending up on the podium. I had no idea what was going on, which is really funny if you know me too, because I'm not really, I'm a sprinter. [00:03:50] So that's extra funding.  [00:03:53] Craig Dalton: Did you immediately start seeing post-collegiate opportunities in the professional cycling ranks? Was that an idea that you had early on in your collegiate?  [00:04:01] Whitney Allison: I definitely cat it up pretty quickly. I was also doing a lot of races in Austin at the time. I ended up getting on a development team out of Dallas that I believe it's still loosely associated with DNA pro cycling. [00:04:14] But this is this would have been like 2008, 2008 or 2009. And so I was able to get on this team and it had a lot of the national level, like each 23 women at the time. And so that was something I was on the team, it was a regional writer. But immediately did really well. So I ended up with more opportunities than what was originally planned. [00:04:35] And it was definitely like wild, like looking at some of those women. I had a lot of admiration for the. Just really talented women that, who wouldn't want to be an athlete like that. So I did get a race, do a lot of the national stage race stuff, starting my junior year of college. [00:04:51] And then and my senior year. And then after that, I had to get a full-time job  [00:04:56] Craig Dalton: As many professional cyclists have to do unfortunate.  [00:05:00] Whitney Allison: Yeah, the student loans don't pay themselves.  [00:05:03] Craig Dalton: And then, so what was next for you and the cycling career?  [00:05:06] Whitney Allison: So I definitely still had, I still wanted to race professionally and do well there. [00:05:12] I've always wanted to be an athlete. It's just something that's very much a part of my identity. So while working full time at this office job in port Collins, which is where I live now, I somehow convinced my the company owner to one Spencer me, and to let me go race all summer while working remotely, which had never been done. [00:05:33] And it was to their demise because essentially as soon as I paid off my student loans, I like left. And eventually I would get a contract with Colavita in 2013. And stayed with them for, I think, four or five years until joining Superman, Huggins, Roman Superman with my former teammate, Lily Williams, who you've talked to before for the 2018 and 2019 season. [00:06:02] Craig Dalton: And I've heard everything I've heard about that program as it was such a tight knit group of women and everybody had each other's backs, it sounded like a great experience. Those two years,  [00:06:12] Whitney Allison: it really was. You usually get some of that. I feel like on teams, but it's very rare that you could get it across such a high percentage of the writers. [00:06:23] So it really was like a special time. We still have a WhatsApp text thread that still gets used. Most of us are all still in touch, which is really.  [00:06:31] Craig Dalton: Was 2019 a planned retirement from the road scene or did something happen? I know the team obviously stopped existing, I think at that point. [00:06:40] But what was that your trajectory or your expectation prior to that?  [00:06:44] Whitney Allison: My trajectory part of, if we pedal back a little bit in August of 2018, I was hit by a driver with an Airstream a couple of days before Colorado. In Colorado. Classic is like a race I've always done really well at. I broke a bunch of bones, had PTSD, went through all sorts of therapy for that. [00:07:03] And, I was really fortunate to be on a team that was really supportive. And so they're like, of course you have a contract for next year and let us know what you need, let us know how to support you. But it also meant like I couldn't be on social media and I'm focused on coming back. A good mind as best physical ability as possible while still healing from injuries that will have for their spirit life. [00:07:26] And managing that's like really hard. And I was really proud to come back for the 2019 season, but it was really hard for me to put together performances that were. I was as good as I was having in 2018. I did finally in 2019 with the last race of the season, I did get on the podium at Colorado classic couple of days after the one-year anniversary of my crash. [00:07:53] And that was like really powerful, but unfortunately from a professional road standpoint, it wasn't enough to find a similar contract than it. So it was a sad reluctant retirement. And so I thought what about the Scrabble thing? It was something that had always interested me, but I really wanted to ride that professional growth wave wall. [00:08:16] It was there. Just because those are really special times. Yeah. The green teres and Europe, and do a lot of these like iconic spring classics and things like that are just there once in a lifetime opportunities. So 2021 is going to be my big you're getting into gravel and I'm still off of social media because I'm still in litigation. [00:08:36] And then the endemic hit. So that was like really isolate. Cause you're like, oh, I I could be a really good gravel racer, but nobody has any idea.  [00:08:46] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I feel like at the beginning of 2020, which there was all this, we knew a bunch of new events were happening. We knew obviously there was other professional athletes, both men and women coming into the scene, but none of that happened and we had no idea. [00:09:00] So when 2021, when racing actually happened, For me, like watching the women's scene. I just saw all these names that I hadn't heard of before. And obviously when you do a little research, that these women didn't come out of nowhere. They were incredibly talented for a number of years, but I feel like you, they were ready in 2020, but they just didn't get an opportunity to expose their skillset, which is making 20, 21 very exciting as a fan of women's gravel racing. [00:09:27] Whitney Allison: Yeah, totally. I was entirely under the radar. Just waiting out the pandemic. It did help a bit. Like I was able to finally settle my case and not have to go to trial, which was really, it was a huge relief in a lot of ways. Cause it, I also unfortunately with how our modern world works, you really have to be online. [00:09:49] And without being able to be online and represent myself as an athlete, it was a. It was a pretty large hit and these other ways that you don't necessarily think of. So I was literally a secret for several years. So yeah, in 2021 rolls around,  [00:10:06] Craig Dalton: did you feel like in 2020 that you had the kind of gravel skillset, the technical skillset to be successful or was 2020 a good opportunity to just spend more time on the dirt and really get those skills underneath? [00:10:19] Whitney Allison: It was definitely helpful. Cause like that was the only thing that there was to do because everything else was so depressing. It was just like spend a lot of time in the mountains. Yeah, we have lots of incredible writing super close to us. So then that is definitely a gift of 2020. [00:10:34] Craig Dalton: Absolutely. And so for 2021, did you have your heart set on a certain series of races that you wanted to tackle throughout?  [00:10:41] Whitney Allison: I knew that given my circumstances that I would need to hit up a lot of the quote, unquote like most prestigious or most followed events in order to get my foot in the door and establish myself. [00:10:59] I. I was curious about Unbound. I thought that there was a chance that I could do pretty well there. Just based on the type of road rider I was, which is just like all power all day, but I've always been curious, like how long does that last, if you actually like try turns out, that 12 hours? [00:11:22] Yes. I kicked off the season. One of my early season races was Cotuit, which I wanted, which was in Fruita. And it's funny because I was under the radar for so long. Remember some of the feedback I was hearing was is she even fast? Did she win by a fluke in feedback like that? [00:11:42] Which was funny [00:11:44] Craig Dalton: That it, that is the booze social media moment when you just get trolls like that coming out.  [00:11:51] Whitney Allison: Yeah. And it's it's whatever I don't really care that somebody off the couch has to say in regards to something like that, but it's still pretty funny. Like I've been here the whole time. It's just. [00:12:03] You didn't know that  [00:12:05] Craig Dalton: exactly. Hopefully, and I think this is going to be true after 2021. There's not going to be many people who follow this sport who don't know your name. We'll see. So you followed that up with a fourth place at Unbound unbounded, a 200 mile event, which is pretty spectacular.  [00:12:21] Whitney Allison: Yeah. [00:12:22] And that was like, I honestly thought I was somewhere in the top 10 when I finished, because I had 300. And 47 minutes of stoppage of crash with the front flat. I use like the neutral support paid service for aid stuff. Cause we didn't have a aide support person and the person ripped my candle back apart. [00:12:46] So I didn't have my Camelback for the race after the 50 mile mark. So I rode with literal plastic water bottles in my pockets for the rest of the 200.  [00:12:56] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think it's actually a good lesson for a lot of racers that like shit happens and you just gotta roll with it along the way. And so many you can be in first place and go to 10th place and vice versa with just the, the whatever's going to happen on the course. [00:13:15] Whitney Allison: Yeah. And I think like success in these events, it's not necessarily. Okay. Do you experience bad luck? It's more do you have an absence of bad luck versus having good luck? Like it, it doesn't matter. Like you could ride over the same thing as another person, but for whatever reason, the rock just hits your tire. [00:13:37] Just that much different. And it's not necessarily oh, you don't know how to choose a line or. You chose a bad tire pressure. It literally just could be a tiny bit of that. Yeah.  [00:13:49] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I talked to so many people who like throw away their favorite tire set because it failed them at Unbound. [00:13:55] And I keep thinking to myself, it's because the person in front of you turn that rock over the wrong way and you just happened to hit it. It's not that particular tire is too.  [00:14:04] Whitney Allison: I know. I fought it in the most benign sections, which I thought was super obnoxious. I would have rather flooded and the really like pokey technical sections. [00:14:12] But  [00:14:13] Craig Dalton: the most recently prior to recording this, you had a big victory at BWR Cedar city, which is amazing. Congratulations on that.  [00:14:22] Whitney Allison: Thanks. It was a really nice way to end my first year of gravel racing.  [00:14:27] Craig Dalton: I have to say, as a spectator on the couch, it was great. The coverage of the women's event, you felt like you were there, you got a lot of information along the way, and you felt the ebb and flow between you and the other riders and the top four or five, which was great to watch. [00:14:40] I also noted that there was a lot of technicality in it. BWR San Diego, for example, not knowing. An extremely tactical event, but this course was technical. I read somewhere that you were there as fraught with the source endurance team and you'd actually previewed some of those technical sections. [00:15:00] Whitney Allison: Yeah. I was actually there as a camp instructor for the course. I hadn't seen me that and that was actually really helpful. Like I got to see all, but one technical section over the course of the week and even ride some of them multiple times, such as the single track section, which I mean, by the time you get to race day and when you get to the single track section, you're not really sure what you're doing. [00:15:24] Cause I was really cross-eyed and desperate and just trying not to like flat or crash, it was like my only goal going through there. It didn't matter if I went really slow or. Just as long as I didn't get it delayed by either of those other two options.  [00:15:39] Craig Dalton: How would you rate it in terms of its technicality versus an Unbound? [00:15:42] For example,  [00:15:44] Whitney Allison: I thought it was significantly more technical. It was I had done a more technical race this year. So the races I did would be like code to. Unbound. And be gritty is not erased, but that is also quite technical. BWR San Diego Steamboat last best ride. And I would say like a lot of those sections in that race were really hard and a lot of really deep sands. [00:16:09] Craig Dalton: Yeah. It was interesting. I think more so on the men's side, because there was maybe a pack of 12 or 15 together at one point, but you could see it start to be. Decimated in those technical sections, as one rider would bobble and take out two others. And ultimately, I think half that lead group got shed by accidents and misfortune in those technical sections  [00:16:31] Whitney Allison: at times, there is either one line or no lines. [00:16:34] So if you're in a group that would be really hard.  [00:16:37] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I'm curious to get your perspective because as a, as someone who enjoys the different events around the country I prefer the more technical events, because I just think they're challenging more of a rider's full bag of tricks as a racer at the front end of the spectrum. [00:16:52] Do you appreciate that? In course, design,  [00:16:54] Whitney Allison: I think it just goes into your strategy, right? When I go to think about an event I'm looking at anything that would make a change in the race. So For VWR Cedar city, like there is a four minute climb. Maybe it's a little bit longer, like four, eight minute climb. [00:17:12] That was about 30 miles in. And I knew that was going to be the most important part because after that was a technical descent. And so I knew as long as I could get over the top or near the front, I would be okay. So I see those sorts of technical things as a feature that changes the story. And then you have to decide how you're going to change with the story. [00:17:36] Craig Dalton: That's interesting. And I imagine most of the people at the front end of the race are taking the course into heavy consideration in their mindset. Is that how they plan their race day?  [00:17:46] Whitney Allison: Yeah, absolutely. And I am coming from a red background. I'm not a mountain biker, like a lot of other people that are coming into gravel. [00:17:55] And so for me, it's trying to figure out how do I leverage. My strengths and bobble through my weaknesses. In training, always trying to improve them right  [00:18:05] Craig Dalton: now. I noted that in the BWR event that the women and the men started 10, 10 minutes apart. Was that true? How did you feel like that played, obviously this year, there's been a lot discussed about women and men racing together. [00:18:19] Do you prefer that type of format or are you in different.  [00:18:22] Whitney Allison: I think with my ability, I am more indifferent to it. I think that for example, BWR San Diego had almost a 200 woman person woman's field. And so having a separate women's start there was really amazing. And because it had that size and it allowed like women that are getting dropped, they're probably going to have other women to run. [00:18:47] And at that particular event, you also had the uncategorized men behind you. And so then once again, you're not necessarily having an entirely lonely day. So one thing that was hard at Cedar city is that the women's field was very small, maybe around 50 women. So the walk women started in front of us and then we were behind. [00:19:09] And so then you have some women that are not as strong to stay with the women's field. And now they're alone 130 miles. And to me, that's maybe that's probably a consequence of that separate start when the field isn't that large the way for men did catch and we had overlapping courses for about half of the day. [00:19:31] So some of those women probably had some people to run. But I do think like that is a consequence that has to be considered in those circumstances. But overall, if it's a large women's field, it's super awesome to have a separate start. And if it's a small women's field or a very long distance, like Unbound, it's nicer to have that mixed art because draft ability like helps us get through  [00:19:55] Craig Dalton: the day. [00:19:56] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's the interesting thing when these sort of quote unquote controversies come up, it's. So much of it is getting through the day and that shared experience, whether you're riding with males or females, that's part of the joy. I realize when there's prize money on the line, there's obviously different things to consider. [00:20:12] And I certainly fall in the category of Hey, if you're pre-planning these kinds of things, that's probably a negative, but that organic, like I get to ride with someone regardless of the category they're in, for me as a mid pack rider is something that I really enjoy about racing.  [00:20:27] Whitney Allison: Yeah. And I think it's pretty obvious when you say it, if you come there with people that are planning on securing your result across categories, that's lame, but if it just happens on the road, that's like totally normal. [00:20:44] Craig Dalton: Yeah, exactly. So it sounds like we're at the tail end of your season. Do you have any more events planned for.  [00:20:50] Whitney Allison: I'm running one more camp. So my husband, Zach, Alison and I, we have our business bikes works and we run a couple of three-day camps out of Fort Collins. And so we call them gravel grease land, and we just do three totally distinct routes out of Fort Collins, which includes a lot of single chalk ones. [00:21:09] More out east with big rollers. And the third day is like out in the mountains. So we have one of those coming up in two weeks. But otherwise, like trying to get through some of those like bucket list rides and stuff that you like really want to do all year, but it doesn't quite work out with training or your schedule. [00:21:26] Craig Dalton: And you've got to get that in Colorado before the snowfall.  [00:21:30] Whitney Allison: Yep. I am checking the forecast quite frequently. [00:21:33] Craig Dalton: In addition to the gravel Graceland events that you just described, you've also got your own gravel event. Can you talk a little bit about Foco Fondo  [00:21:43] Whitney Allison: yeah, Foco Fondo. The first year of that was in 2015. So it's been around for awhile. It's just grown. Organically and grads grassrootsy it's very fun if you've ever been to Fort Collins, like it has a really big outdoor culture that is also extremely welcoming. [00:22:03] People are very excited to take people back country skiing or, out on gravel bikes or mountain biking or climbing. And everybody is oh, here, let me. You can borrow this equipment if you don't have it. So focal Fondo has a similar welcoming vibe and we have a lot of people who come to the event, having never done a gravel event before. [00:22:27] So it's their first experience. We have everything from 12 miles to 107 miles and the 12 mile is focused on family. We donate a portion of the profits to safe routes to school here in Fort Collins, and they use the funds that we give them for free afterschool bike clubs. Mostly at socially economic disadvantaged schools in our area. [00:22:51] They'll do other services. For families that can't afford it, they'll show up with a mechanic at an apartment complex and fix up kids' bikes because not everybody has a car to put their kid's bike, to take it to the bike shop and just like other really thoughtful solutions that really elevate our community. [00:23:09] And then Foco Fonda, the event itself after the ride. Like Rio Grande makes tacos. They're like a very large cycling staple in our community. We have live music and it's just a big fun.  [00:23:22] Craig Dalton: And for riders considering it for their 20, 22 calendar, what month is in and what type of terrain should they expect to be riding? [00:23:31] If they're riding in the longer event,  [00:23:33] Whitney Allison: our event date should be July 24th. Hopefully hoping I can announce that like more publicly with a hundred percent certainty you the train is mostly pretty rolling. It'll gain elevation overall for the first half. And there'll be pretty fast on the way back. [00:23:50] The big toss up every year is always the wind. Somehow this year, the writer's got a tailwind around the entire, it ran the entire. So we're like back at home, freaking out because the rat, the top riders are going to get back before lunch was even open. But otherwise it has a little mix of everything. [00:24:08] There's not too much like technical sections, but there are a few spots and there's a few of those pinch points that you would, if you were going for a result there, you would really want to make some considerations in your strategy. Yeah.  [00:24:22] Craig Dalton: Sounds like a great event. [00:24:23] So with your successes in 2021, what do you hope for in 2022? [00:24:29] Whitney Allison: I think I have definitely learned a lot about myself in these events, different types of races. And I'm also looking forward to going back to some of the ones that I did this year. Like with some of those learnings, for example, Unbound obviously is a really great one where I just was on the comeback all day long was just always riding with a vengeance. [00:24:56] I really wanted to do well at VWR San Diego with how the timing worked. It was the week before Foco Fondo. So I raced, I still got top 10, but I was a mess. So I'm really excited to get to go deep that in may, way before that time. But yeah. I'm looking forward to getting to experience some of the similar courses or same courses, but then see that your story. [00:25:20] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. I think it is that type of sport that any event. Something's going to go wrong. It's really hard to have a perfect day, whether it's misfortune or just a, something not going your way that day. I think it keeps a lot of us coming back to the same courses, thinking, gosh, I could just do it that much better next year. [00:25:37] Whitney Allison: Yeah. Kinda a little bit of vengeance that it's just a thing  [00:25:41] Craig Dalton: with you. Yeah, exactly. And for your business, with your husband any changes for next year, we just continue to run fittings and camps and experience.  [00:25:50] Whitney Allison: Yeah. And the recent program is going to do better as well. Like we're really fortunate, like just with having a good year and yeah, I'm excited to share some of the partners that we'll have for next year too. [00:26:02] And it's fun too. Cause they get to come on like through the Foco Fondo and stuff as well. Like you get to offer a lot to the companies that work with. That's  [00:26:13] Craig Dalton: super exciting. I can't wait to hear about these announcements.  [00:26:16] Whitney Allison: I can't really share them, but it could be awhile.  [00:26:18] Craig Dalton: Thanks so much for joining me, Whitney. [00:26:20] I appreciate it.  [00:26:21] Whitney Allison: Thank you.  [00:26:22] Craig Dalton: Big, thanks to Whitney for joining the show this week. I hope you learned a lot about her career and a little bit about her future plans for 2022.  [00:26:30] If you're following women's gravel racing, it's sure we're going to have a stacked 20, 22 roster of elite athletes. Fighting for the win at all. The big events.  [00:26:39] It's going to be super exciting. Be sure to check out Whitney and her husband's Foco Fondo website. Check out for the date next year and get registered. What for what looks like an amazing event there in Fort Collins, Colorado. If you're looking to support the show, you can visit us at  [00:26:59] We're also ratings and reviews are hugely important. So I appreciate everybody who's gone out of their way to provide a review for the gravel ride podcast.  [00:27:08] And finally, if you're interested in joining the ridership, our free global cycling community online. Online simply visit Until next time here's to finding. Some dirt under your wheels  

    In the Dirt: Question and Answer Part 2

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2021 33:59

    Part two of our first Q and A episode. Randall and Craig tackle questions submitted via The Ridership community. Support the Podcast Join The Ridership Episode Sponsor: Athletic Greens Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): 00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to in the dirt from the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host. Craig dalton i'll be joined shortly by my co-host randall jacobs. [00:00:12] Today's episode is part two of our Q and a episode series. Go back in your feed, a couple episodes to find part one. You can certainly jump right into this episode as we're going question by question. And they don't necessarily. Have relation to one another but if you're interested in part one either after the fact or before you listened to this episode go ahead and jump back and listen to that episode. [00:00:36] Today's episode is brought to you by our friends at athletic greens. The health and wellness company that makes comprehensive daily nutrition really really simple. [00:00:44] A G one by athletic greens is a category leading superfood product, bringing comprehensive and convenient daily nutrition to everyone. Keeping up with the research and knowing what to do and taking a bunch of pills and capsules is hard on the stomach and hard to keep up with  [00:00:59] To help each one of us be at our best. They simplify the path to better nutrition by giving you the one thing with all the best things.  [00:01:06] One tasty scoop of ag. One contained 75 vitamins minerals and whole food sourced ingredients including a multivitamin multimineral probiotic green superfood blend  [00:01:17] And more in one convenient daily serving. The special blend of high quality bioavailable ingredients and a scoop of ag. work together to fill the nutritional gaps near diet. Support energy and focus. Aiden got health and digestion and support a healthy immune system. Effectively replacing multiple products or pills in one healthy delicious drink. [00:01:38] I think by now, you've probably heard my personal jam. I like to take athletic greens. First thing in the morning is to get a jumpstart on my hydration. As well as my nutritional needs. And i'm big ride days if i'm feeling super depleted i'll come home and have a second glass so on a saturday or sunday i might double up my servings  [00:01:58] If you're open to giving athletics greens, a try, simply visit athletic gravel ride.  [00:02:05] Athletic greens has agreed to give a free one year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs to any gravel ride podcast listener. So be sure to visit athletic gravel ride. To give it a try today. With that said let's jump into part two of the q and a episode with randall [00:02:26] Craig: Next question was on optimizing the adjustment and float intention on SPD pedals. I don't think there's much we can add there cause it's a little bit of trial and error. In my opinion. I don't know about the float. I don't even know if mine has like float adjustment. For me it seems like it's just the tension. So I, how hard or easy it is to get in and out. And that's been something maybe I've amped up over time as I become more confident, but certainly starting them out with them. Fairly easy to disengage is perfectly acceptable if you're not comfortable with Clifton riding.  [00:02:57] Randall: Yeah. In terms of tension, I would definitely start with a looser engagement and then tighten it down as you get more confident, Especially when you're first starting out. And what else? Patrick and I actually talked about this in the bike fit episode. Hey recommending shifting the cleats back. So if you're running mountain style shoes, which the gravel bike probably should be if you can run them in the back, the bolts to the back then sliding the cleat. Pretty much all the way to the back. Now if that doesn't feel right, you can always move it forward a little bit, but whereas this new real problem with going too far back there can be issues with going too far forward in terms of biomechanics and so on. And in terms of the float, you want to be in the middle of the float and you never want to be in a position where the you're you're not able to peddle in a natural motion where you're using the cleat positioning to restrict your motion. That is a a good way to end up with an injury. So definitely don't do that. I generally will start with the cleats. In a position where it's restricting my inward motion so that my heel can't hit the crank arm. And then I'll peddle from there and see am I in the middle, middle of the float? Am I in my restricted any part of the pedal stroke? And if not, then that's a good starting point. But to really get this right again it is hard to do this on your own. It's hard to see knee tracking. In souls or thing you want to invest in, in order to help align the full stack from hip to knee through the ankle. And this is where listen to the bike, fit 1 0 1 episode and consider working with a bike fitter.  [00:04:30] Craig: I was just going to say the same thing. It's like one of those things like, oh, bike fit, you don't necessarily go to clique adjustment, but so often when I've observed it, cleat adjustment happens in a bike fit.  [00:04:41] Randall: And it doesn't happen first, right? Everything else has to be right first. So if your saddle's too low and your arches are collapsing and things like that, you're already starting with things out of alignment and are going to have some trouble, but at least the advice that, that I just gave will prevent the worst issues. But again, go get a bike fit.  [00:05:01] Craig: Yep. [00:05:02] The next [00:05:02] question. Yeah, The next question. [00:05:05] was about what's the best technique for using a dropper post? How does this help with the physics of the ride?  [00:05:14] Randall: I'll let you go first. I certainly have an opinion on this one.  [00:05:17] Craig: This is a dangerous one for us. The listener, the avid listener knows we can go into a deep dropper post where I'm whole, but let's try to offer some quick advice. One of the things I like to remind people about with respect to drop her posts is that it's not just a, all the way up or all the way down product. You've got the full spectrum of range, which means you should use it frequently. Obviously when you're in heavy tactical descents with steep, dicentric, you're going to slam it.  [00:05:45] But I quite frequently lower it just a centimeter to just give myself a little bit more room on terrain. Maybe it's a road descent or something that I'm super confident on, but it gives me a little bit more margin for error. And as I'm feeling maybe more nervous about the speed. I'll go down even further just to give myself again a bigger range of just a bigger margin of error. So practice, and no, there's no right or wrong, use it frequently and you'll figure out what feels best for you.  [00:06:15] Randall: You've seen my technique with the dropper. I'm a bit more extreme. So for me, I use the dropper all the time. I have it down all the way on a high-speed road descent, and I use it to allow me to, move my mass around on the bike in a way where, if I want the front end to be more planted, I can put more mass on the bars, but then I can shift my weight down and back over the rear axle to lighten up the front end for say, traversing, really rough terrain. Provides that distance between the bike and the body where your arms and legs can act as suspension. Your front wheel is rolling in sailing. Your rear is doing more of your speed control. And in this way, it really radically. Improves the capability of the bike, not just off-road, but I would argue on road as well. I descend much faster because I know I can grab a handful of both brakes and not be pitching over the handlebars. So for me, even on the road, I'm dropping it all the way in a lot of situations.  [00:07:08] Just because I like to go that much faster and it gives me that margin of safety.  [00:07:12] Craig: All makes sense. Next off, we're going to an area work. Gosh, Randall I almost think we need an entirely new category in the ridership forum just about tires. What do you think?  [00:07:25] Randall: We've been asked for this for a while. By the time this episode airs, if we don't have a channel in there, somebody yell at us in the forum, we'll get that up.  [00:07:35] Craig: The first question comes again from Tom boss, from orange county unicorn tires, lightweight, puncture resistance, fast rolling with lots of grip. What comes closest for you?  [00:07:45] Randall: I'm not getting in the weeds on this one. I defer to the hive-mind and the ridership on this. I can tell you what I ride. But I'm gonna make no claims about it being the optimal.  [00:07:56] Craig: Yeah, do. What are you writing in these days?  [00:07:58] Randall: so currently I'm writing just a WTB Sendero upfront and a venture in the rear. And these aren't especially fancy casings. They're not the most efficient tire. But they're pretty robust and they have great grip and I like the mullet setup. I'm a big fan of going with something NABI or upfront and like a file tread or even a semi slick, depending on your terrain in the back.  [00:08:20] And yeah, that's the way that I go. We actually just brought in some maxes, Ramblers and receptors. So we go a rambler small knob front and a receptor in the back. And I like the six 50 by 47 size. There are situations where I wish I could have a little bit more volume, other situations where I wish I had a little bit more efficiency, which tells me that I'm right in the middle of the range for most of the writing that I do.  [00:08:40] Craig: Yeah. For me. And first off, full disclosure to everybody, I'm a Panorai sir, brand ambassador. So I want to put that out there. The gravel king S K was a tire that I got on my first proper gravel bike. And I just fell in love with it. Then I left for many years and went on to more of a setup that you had rocking the Sandero up front.  [00:09:01] Thinking I was, riding more challenging terrain and could appreciate the knobs, which I did.  [00:09:06] But recently I've gone back to the gravel king as Kay. And I do find it to be a wonderful all around tire because I feel super fast on the road and it does everything that I needed to do in most of the situations that I get into.  [00:09:21] Randall: Yeah, sounds about right. And then there's always, if you're, if you had a really long ride out to the trail you could always, bring the pressure up a smidge on the way out there and then give it a little at the the Trailhead.  [00:09:34] Craig: Yeah. [00:09:34] And again, it obviously comes down to where you are and one thing I'll just note really quickly, and we've talked about it before is Riding fully select tires at a fat with has been remarkable to me how performance they can be. Off-road you think you need knobs, then all of a sudden you realize where you do need them, but actually if you change your riding style a little bit if you've got a fat rubber tire on there, you can go and do a lot of things. [00:09:59] Randall: Yeah, the dropper helps a lot with that. In terms of just being able to be more nuanced with your body English as you going over stuff. But yeah, I run 700 by 30 tubeless tires and I'll go out on hard road drives and then I'll pass it on to see a trail and be like, oh, what's over there, I must find out now and then to see. Go and do a little bit of adventuring. And you gotta pick, you gotta pick your lines. You gotta be careful not to hit anything, square, a square edge. That's gonna, bang up against your rim. But if you're if your pressure is high enough and you're gentle enough with your writing, you can do a remarkable amount. Most of the stuff that we've written in Marine together up written on slicks.  [00:10:36] At one point. Yeah. [00:10:38] not saying it's a good idea, but it's doable.  [00:10:41] Craig: True. And you enjoyed other parts of the ride and leaned into other parts of the ride, presumably more because that's, what the bike was oriented around on that particular day. And maybe you needed to nurse your way down Blazedale Ridge or something, but you got through it.  [00:10:55] Randall: Yeah, and it's definitely more of an uphill thing than a downhill thing.  [00:11:00] Craig: Yeah. [00:11:00] Randall: go uphill on dirt and then downhill on, on road, but okay. The, we went on a proper tangent there.  [00:11:07] Craig: Yeah, sorry. next?  [00:11:08] one. Next question is from Josh, from east Texas. It's around suppleness. Suppleness in tires is desired by riders. So how do I choose a simple tire without having to buy it and write it with no published measure of scale of suppleness on a given tire from the manufacturer we are left with only this tire field strop sample is TPI and indication.  [00:11:30] Why don't manufacturers provide consumers with this information?  [00:11:33] Randall: So I'm going to volunteer Ben Z and Marcus G in the forum as to people who seem to have written. Every tire I've ever heard of. And some that I haven't. And there are others in there that have as well. But yeah, I think this is a matter of finding out what other people like and kindly asking their opinion and experiences with it.  [00:11:52] Craig: Exactly. I think that's a good recommendation.  [00:11:55] Next question is from Tom Henkel and it's around tire pressure. He acknowledges that he tends to ride harder pressures than a lot of people seem to recommend, but he's also dented REMS and had to wrangle the, straighten them out enough to complete a ride. So he's nervous about bottoming out. How do you know how low is too low? Given the weight of the rider and width of the tire? Also, how does this vary by terrain type?  [00:12:17] Randall: The indication of how low is too low is really. He's denting his rims. And pinch flatting as well you can have two riders of the same weight on the same tires at the same pressure on the same terrain, one we'll be a little bit better at picking lines or at shifting weight around. And we'll be able to push the limits a little bit more. But if you're ponderous and steamrolling through things, then you might need to run higher pressures in order not to bang the rims. Now, if you're not already running the highest volume tires that will fit in your frame, start there for sure. And if you are, and you don't want to have to replace your bike, tire inserts, which is something that we haven't really talked about much. And is in its early days in gravel, but it's increasingly popular in mountain bike. And I'll be getting a set of these to try out. Isaac S in the forum loves his and he rides hard. He used to ride his gravel bike like a full-on mountain bike, and even cracked a rim once, and after he put in inserts he never had any trouble and he was actually pushing his pressures even lower. So those would be the recommendations. I have go biggest volume. You can and get some tire inserts.  [00:13:25] Craig: Yeah, that makes sense. [00:13:26] It's all trial and error and I am eager as, as well as the listener, I imagined to hear what you think of tire inserts. Cause I do think It's yet another interesting part of the equation that some riders may be able to play around with successfully.  [00:13:40] Randall: Yeah, it has the same effect as adding a little bit of suspension. If you can drop the pressure that much lower and have a two tiered suspension effect where you have the travel of the lower pressure tire, and then right before it bottoms out on the rim, you have this protective layer. So yeah, I think it makes a ton of sense, conceptually. So I'm excited to try it.  [00:13:58] Craig: Yeah, interesting stuff.  [00:14:00] Next question is another one from Kim brown. How do you go around choosing the right tire for the ride?  [00:14:05] I guess I make more like quarterly or seasonal decisions around this and live with it. I certainly have brought my beef feed set up bike two places in the middle of the country that didn't require such an aggressive setup. But it is what it is like I, I'm not super concerned but I imagine if you have the wherewithal and interest you can dig in and find the right tire for every single outing.  [00:14:32] Randall: Yeah. And you definitely again see people who seem to do that. And that's great. For me. I have a bicycle company and I have two wheel sets and I leave the same tires on until they burn out. I'll even take the Sendero Nabil upfront and when it starts to wear a little bit too much, I'll just move it to the back and put on another Nabil upfront.  [00:14:49] I mostly rabid I got, and I got the two we'll set. So I have 700 by 32 blitz and a six 50 by 47 mullet set up. And it's really more of a choice of which wheel package I'm going to go with then. Swapping around tires and things like that, which is a more seasonal or annual decision.  [00:15:05] Craig: Yeah. [00:15:06] Yeah. Yeah. Same. [00:15:07] Next one is probably I could've sat in the maintenance section of this conversation, but how do I deal with a pinch flat or puncture or some other common issue in a tubeless tire?  [00:15:16] Randall: Punctures. Dynaplugs, bacon strips. Make sure you have a good amount of sealant in there. And have a spare tube as a backup, if all that fails. If you've got a pinch flat in a tubeless tire if it's on the sidewall, then you know, you do what you can to get home. Sometimes a plug will work, but if it's in the sidewall, you're probably going to want to replace that tire versus in the meat of the tread where the rubber is a lot thicker, a plug can last for the remaining life of the tire. And last thing would be, if you really have a problem and you have a tear in the sidewall, a boot or even just jam putting a dollar bill or something in there so it doesn't continue to spread, just so you can get home, and maybe running lower pressure so it doesn't blow out the sidewall.  [00:16:00] Craig: Yeah.  [00:16:02] If we assume the question came from someone who knows how to change a two-bed tire and has been through that experience, just a couple of other things I would highlight that may not be known unless you've had to go through it. If you are replacing a tubeless tire with an inner tube, you do need to remove the valve core.  [00:16:19] First. And you can expect that if you have ample sealant remaining in said tire. It's going to be a messy situation.  [00:16:27] Randall: Yeah. [00:16:28] Craig: I don't know what the right thing to do is if you leave the sealant in there, but it's going to be all over you. It's going to be all over the place. It's just something you have to deal with as you get that tire and get your tube in there and find your way home.  [00:16:41] Randall: Yeah, all the more reason to get plugs and just have plugs with you because oftentimes you can get by with those.  [00:16:48] Craig: Yeah. A hundred percent. The first time you plug a tire, it's like a Eureka moment and you just top off the tire and continue on your way. And when it goes beyond that, then you're a very sad. And you will have to deal with quite a mess.  [00:17:02] Randall: There's a picture that think Isaac in the forum shared where he had a hole plugged with eight different plugs in the sidewall and he kept riding it for a while apparently. So Bravo maybe change that casing a little bit sooner. So though.  [00:17:18] Craig: Related to tires, we're going to move into a section on wheels. And matthew Wakeman ask, what kind of situations would be worth considering three wheel sets versus just two for do most of it? Bikes.  [00:17:32] Randall: So my thinking is the first wheel set is probably a wide 700 that can take everything from road to gravel tires and then a even wider six 50, that's more focused on gravel and adventure riding. And then an even wider two Niner that would be your mountain bike setup now, then. Then, that's getting into two bikes. So you have two bikes, three wheel sets between them. If you're just with one bike for everything, then if you're racing or if you're constantly switching between very focused road experience to a fast, hard packed gravel experience to a rugged. Bike packing adventure sort of experience, then it would make sense to maybe have two, seven hundreds and 1 6 50 B. It really would be another 700 slotting in the middle. There.  [00:18:22] Craig: Yeah, for me, it's really around. Tire selection on those wheel sets and yes, it would be a luxury and a full disclosure. I do have three wheel sets in the garage and I'm splitting hairs literally. It's because I'm too lazy to change the tire. And I have the luxury of having the third wheel so that so I've got my sort of NABI. Fairly narrow 700 C off-road sat that will only take me a limited amount of places from where I live. I've got my one that I spend most of my time on which presently is six 50 by 43. And then I've got a 700 with a 30 road tire on it. [00:18:59] And it's more like Totally when I only had two wheel sets, it was all good. Just choose between road and mountain and don't worry too much about it.  [00:19:07] Randall: I don't even have three wheels. That's Craig. Bravo.  [00:19:10] Craig: Next question comes from Craig. Oh I'm curious on the difference between six 50 B and 700 C and confused about boosts standards, wheels, hubs, rotors and whether it's worth the investment to pursue or just stick with my current wheels. Ideally, I was interested in putting faster, thinner type tires on my 700 C wheels that came with the bike.  [00:19:29] For all their road rides and a second set of six 50 B fatter grippier types for off-road fun. I think we've talked a lot about six 50 B versus 700 C on other podcasts and also on this podcast today. But I was interested in this question around standards, as someone who has a mountain bike, I was aware of boosts standards.  [00:19:50] What is going on with that with respect to gravel bikes and do we see a path towards a boost standard for gravel bikes or are there specific design considerations that make that not likely. [00:20:03] Randall: So we have one it's called road boost and it seems to have been driven by the emergence of e-bikes as a major category. And what boost does is it increases the spacing upfront 10 millimeters in the back. I believe by six. And it allows the flanges and the hub to be space more widely apart, so that you have more of a bracing angle and more lateral strength. So the same amount of spokes gives you greater lateral stiffness and strength. So that's the benefit now, does it matter for, gravel bikes of, running up to say like a 2.2 tire or even a 2.4 without suspension. It's pretty minor gains.  [00:20:46] I do think that we're going to see a transition towards road boost, which is a one 12 by one 10 upfront and a 12 by 1 48 in the rear. There's, trade-offs one of them being a well for pure road bikes. It's going to be trivially, less Aero, there's always the arrow marketing story . And then two in the back to you end up potentially having to increase the Q factor. Of the cranks. So most people actually benefit from more Q factor than the super narrow ones that used to be common on road bikes so it's not really a problem for most riders, but it's just like another design constraint. There's trade-offs is, are you have to fit a lot of things in a tight package and that's the issue, but it's out there, you see a couple bikes with it. Especially E road bikes and gravel bikes. And I think over time, you'll see that transition, but don't consider it an upgrade that you need to swap your bike to get. It's not mean it's not a meaningful thing in that regard, and you can get most of the benefits by just doing asymmetric rims, which, that's why we and others do asymmetric rims to downs the spoke tensions and angles. [00:21:49] Craig: Gotcha. I'm going to slip a personal question in that I'd put in the forum. How often should I grease the threads of my through axles if I change wheels frequently?  [00:21:58] Randall: Often enough so that there's always grease on them and no dirt. And if you have any where on the threads you should be doing it more often and use a FIC. FIC Greece. But if you get any dirt in there, like if you drop your through axle or something like that, now you have basically a grinding compound. In the threads. So you want to clean that up. But yeah, that, as with any interface, it will wear over time. So Greece is your way of allowing that interface to last longer than the bike.  [00:22:26] Craig: Yeah, great. We've got a question from Alex, from Tifton, Georgia. What's happening in the gravel scene to involve youth.  [00:22:33] Randall: You seem to be taking out junior. Fairly often on whatever kids bike with whatever tires it's got on there. I think that counts. [00:22:41] Craig: Yeah, I just want to expose my son to riding off road. And so he's still on a 20 inch wheel bike, but I've put some monster, like two, one tires that I found on it's like a monster truck for him, which I think he enjoys. I think it's the key to bring the youth through mountain biking and discover gravel versus prematurely introducing drop our bikes.  [00:23:06] Randall: Yeah. I'm of the same mind. I've a niece that I take riding in the same way and it's just like she has a 20 inch wheels kid's bike. And I just take her out on the dirt and get her comfortable riding on those surfaces and pushing her comfort zone to try new things. But then also just instilling this deep love of the adventure experience, which for me what we're calling gravel is really all about. It's like going and exploring the area where you live from an entirely different angle than you would get in a car or on foot.  [00:23:36] Craig: Yeah. Agreed.  [00:23:37] Randall: And then of course NICA. We have some coaches in the listenership. Then the new England youth cycling association, actually Patrick in Lee likes bikes are doing a skills clinic with them in October.  [00:23:48] So you have that. And then urban off-road bike parks. Lotta our kids in the city don't have access to trails. And so just providing that access, I think is critical. And there's an example of a McLaren bike park in San Francisco. It's in a part of the city that is pretty far from the bridge and pretty far from the Santa Cruz mountains. And so this would be it, and there is plans potentially to expand that. And building more urban bike parks I think is a big part of that as well.  [00:24:20] Craig: Yeah, for sure. And you bring a huge skill gain to gravel if you come from the mountain bike side. [00:24:27] Randall: Yeah. Yeah. And starting with a hard tail or even a rigid flat bar bike is a great way to go.  [00:24:33] Craig: A hundred percent. Next question comes from Alex in Columbia, Missouri. And it's a question about frame design. With the growing market of gravel. Where, when does the Aero slash race versus endurance market become two separate markets? Also how far do you think it'll go narrower tubing, et cetera. There seems to be a split already forming with Aero features being added to gravel bikes.  [00:24:57] Randall: I have strong opinions here, so I'm going to let you go first.  [00:25:00] Craig: Yeah. I think the brands are already splitting hairs with these categories as it is. And part of it is positioning vis-a-vis other competitive brands. Part of it is just the designer's vision for what this bike is intended to do. And those lines are blurry and murky and are going to come down to individual brand managers to execute on. So I think it's already a total disaster.  [00:25:27] Randall: I think most Aero claims, especially in gravel are entirely bunk. And it's marketing. And I'll give you an example. So on a road bike, a designer can control almost all of the parameters except for the rider, which ironically is the biggest one more than 80% of the aerodynamic profile, the tire with being a big one, right? So you can have your rim with, and your rim depth matched to the width of the tire. You can have the down tube optimized for that tire to end up really close to the front leading edge of that down tube and the down tube, it can be really narrow. So you have a smooth transition between, rim to tire, to frame in a way that minimizes turbulence. So with a road bike, it's more of a controlled system. And even then the gains are very marginal. And if you look at the. What marketers are usually claiming. If you add up all the Watts that you saved, you'd be traveling at a hundred miles an hour on all the different components you can buy. On gravel, it's worse because you, you have really wide tires. And so you'll have a deep section rim. With a big old tire on it and the tire is much wider than the rim. You're already having detachment of airflow as soon as it comes off that tire. There's a rule which folks can look up the rule of a hundred, 5%, which says that as long as the rim is a hundred, 5%, the width of the tire, then you can generally get good attach flow over the rim, regardless of that rims shape with certain shapes being marginally better. But that one oh 5% rule being more important. But if you have a big old tire on an arrow rim, all that at error rim is doing is adding weights and potentially increasing turbulence, especially in a crosswind where it's going to make it harder to steer. So that's my take on wheels. And then obviously handlebars and all that other stuff very marginal gains, especially given that it's not being designed as a system around the tires and so on.  [00:27:14] Aero helmet and rider position, rider positions the biggest thing that you can do, if you want to improve your. Arrow.  [00:27:20] Craig: Yeah. And I was looking at the question more, less, so about like aerodynamics and more just marketing and bikes in general. And seeing that. There's just a spectrum of bikes that are marketed in different ways. From endurance road bikes, to Aira road bikes, to arrow gravel bikes. I totally agree and understand your comments, and my comments are more just related to the market in general and how there's a plethora of things being directed at consumers and it's ever more confusing to figure it out.  [00:27:50] Fortunately with most quality gravel bikes, you do get this one bike that can do a ton of things. And bikes that you can configure in the way that you ride them. [00:28:02] Randall: Yeah, I think you'll see the incorporation of some functional arrow. There's no reason not to do a tapered head tube or certain other things, but it's such marginal gains. And really, it's hard to build an Aero bike if you're not controlling for the tire volume and given the divergence in tire sizes that these bikes use that's not a really a controllable variable in design.  [00:28:24] Craig: Yeah. So the final question comes from our friend Marcus in Woodside, California. What are your guesses about the big bike tech quantum leap forward coming next, similar in magnitude to.  [00:28:39] to e-bikes and olive green bib shorts.  [00:28:42] Randall: Marcus is a good friend. And I was definitely on trend with the big shorts there. Really, how do you top that? How does the industry come up with the next thing after olive green shorts?  [00:28:51] Craig: Nothing can make a rider faster or look better than all of Deb's shorts.  [00:28:57] Randall: So that's it. Marcus? I think that's the end of innovation in the bike industry. Yeah, this is a space that you know, that I've put a little bit, a bit of thought into. I'm going to let you go first here as well.  [00:29:07] Craig: I think that makes sense, because I agree this is a tailor made Randall question. I do think the continued use of electronic componentry and other electronics that we all use, has to lead to more integration in bicycles, whether it's like battery packs that are embedded in the bikes that can power both my components, my GPS computer, my headlamp, all these things. I feel like it's a natural point, just like we're seeing in every other element of our lives, where battery and power is required. These things start to appear in more innovative ways. So I think that's interesting.  [00:29:46] I think on the e-bike market, we're starting to see more and more of these bikes that not only is the battery removed, but also the engine, the sort of the motor part of the componentry comes out. So you start to get this bike that has assemblance of ability to ride without the component of it and it's not going to match a pure performance bike, but it may, for some people While still having that opportunity to use the e-bike functionality. So I think those are things that trends that we're definitely going to continue to see. And. And some more forward thinking thoughts.  [00:30:21] Randall: Yeah, I agree with that, and I have a little bit more nuance to add but I want to start with the big, low lying fruit, and we started doing this, Basic things like proportional, crank length. I find it nuts that the industry up until recently didn't really make anything smaller than a 1 65 crank and continues to not offer shorter cranks for shorter riders.  [00:30:41] This is one thing that we did, and then you now see FSA has done a good job of having offerings down to, I think 1 45. To accommodate smaller riders and so proportional, crank length. Proportional wheel sizes, I think is a big opportunity. There's no reason why, it's really small riders. Shouldn't have their wheels scaling to some degree. We already have a 26 inch size, so maybe for the biggest higher volume on an extra small bike, you'd run a 26 by 2.2 or something like that. You do need more tire options, but otherwise it would help to make that bike perform more like the bigger ones with a bigger rider on them. So those are two that I would really like to see.  [00:31:18] I'd like to see continued innovation on integrated quick on and off storage solution. So I think lightweight bags and so on are really slick. And I think that we'll continue to see innovation there. You mentioned electronics. I agree. And it's getting ridiculous with the number of batteries you can have on the bike.  [00:31:34] If you have a wireless shifting system, you can have a battery in each hood battery in each front and rear derailleur. You can have sensors on the bike each with separate batteries, a heart rate monitor, or the separate battery two lights with separate batteries, computer. It's silly and it adds a lot of cost and weight and complexity the system. So I think there should be a single battery on the bike and that there should be a universal standard that all components use. I don't think this is going to happen because everyone everyone wants to trap you into their particular walled garden, but that's a conversation for another day.  [00:32:04] But yeah, those are the big ones. And then lastly, self-contained bike systems that leave nearly nothing behind, maybe some sort of lightweight regenerative braking for this one battery. I would like to see. But first things first and then subtler suspension designs, which I think we're already starting to see with more compliance, like flexible components, you.  [00:32:24] Bar handlebar is built with a little bit of flex or a suspension stem versus going whole hog with a full on suspension fork, just to get 30 or 40 millimeters of travel.  [00:32:33] Did I answer your question? Marcus, let us know in the forum. Hope, hope you're satisfied with the answer. And what is the next color of big short. Greg, what do you think.  [00:32:41] Craig: That's putting me on the spot. Maybe like a tan might do something that makes you a little bit nude.  [00:32:47] Randall: Ooh. Yeah, that would be that everybody would be really comfortable seeing that. Yeah, I'm with  [00:32:53] Craig: dangerous territory.  [00:32:54] Randall: we will have various options to match everyone's skin tone. So we all look like we're riding in the nude.  [00:33:02] Trend leader, Craig Dalton.  [00:33:05] Craig: This was a heck of a lot of fun. [00:33:07] And it would not have happened without the community. So big shout out to the ridership community and to everybody who submitted questions. I'd love to see us do this again. So we'll probably set up a channel down the line and put the question out there again and see what's gets generated because it was a lot of fun chatting with you about these questions.  [00:33:25] Randall: Yeah, it's what we do on our rides only we've recorded at this time.  [00:33:29] Craig: Yeah, exactly. That's going to do it for us this week on behalf of Randall and myself, have a great week. And until next time here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels. [00:33:42] 

    Sea Otter Round Up Episode

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2021 24:44

    This week's episode is a quick round up from the 2021 Sea Otter Classic featuring quick conversations with BMC, Specialized, Alchemy Bikes, Kogel, Sage, USWE, Panaracer, CushCore, Scott and T9. Support the Podcast Join The Ridership Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): Sea Otter Round Up [00:00:00] Craig Dalton:  [00:00:09] Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host, Craig Dalton. If you're a regular listener, you may have been expecting part two of our fun Q and a episode. Building on last week's part one. I had the opportunity to head down to the sea Otter classic in Monterey, California on Friday. And I was able to pick up a few short interviews that I thought were worth sharing. There's some great imagery and stories coming out from that story to vent that I thought it would be good to share in a timely fashion.  [00:00:40] For those of you who aren't familiar with the Seattle classic. It's an event that's been going on for, I believe 31 years in Northern California. It's got a rich history, starting with mountain bike racing and later added almost every discipline you can imagine to its four day weekend calendar.  [00:00:59] It's also become quite a large consumer show for the bike industry. So there's booths from hundreds of manufacturers from around the world.  [00:01:06] I took the opportunity to catch up with some old friends and do some quick interviews with some gravel companies that I think you might be interested in. This will also serve as the jumping off point for a few longer form interviews i'll do later in the year. [00:01:19] This year is October date was pandemic related. The event normally takes place in April.  [00:01:24] So we'll be coming back around on our calendar shortly in 2022.  [00:01:28] Of note, the Sea Otter classic was purchased by Lifetime back in August of 2021. So this is the first edition produced by the seawater team owned by Lifetime.  [00:01:40] Regardless of what type of cyclist you are. If you don't mind a huge crowd, the Sea Otter classic is a great place to geek out over great parts. Watch some killer racing and enjoy the Monterey bay peninsula. With all that said let's jump right into my 10 interviews throughout the sea Otter classic  [00:01:59] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): Yeah, this is Andrew here with BMC USA. And what are we looking at here today? We're looking at our brand new URS LT gravel bike. That's ready for any trail you can throw at it. Yeah. Tell  [00:02:11] Craig Dalton: us about some of the features. [00:02:12] The frame's been in market for maybe a year last season, but it's got some significant upgrades that I can just tell by looking  [00:02:20] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): at it today. Totally. Yeah. So the new addition at the end of the name there LT for long-term. Comes with our new MTT fork, which is micro travel technology.  [00:02:28] Craig Dalton: The, tell us a little bit more about the  [00:02:30] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): suspension. So with the MTT on the rear, you have a carbon flex chain stay that allows for 20 mils of rear wheel travel, damned with an elastomer that's at the top allows you to maintain traction while you're on. But the new edition with the pork here is a new partnership with Hi Ride , which is a high-end a there come from the motor sport side of things, and they've made a new damper, which has allowed for 20 mils of oil dam suspension that allows it to not overheat like a spring driven system would be, and still has the capabilities of locking out all in a lightweight package. [00:03:03] That doesn't affect the geometry whatsoever. Now for  [00:03:06] Craig Dalton: the uninitiated, when you look at this bike, you may not notice where the suspension is happening. Can you tell us it's not the two telescoping fork legs? Can you tell us how it's happening?  [00:03:15] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): Yeah. Happening all essentially in the steer tube. So the entire damper unit is at the base of this. [00:03:20] Makes it so that it's super clean, simple, doesn't disrupt the lines of the bike, but still has a super effective method of getting you a more traction on the trails. Nice.  [00:03:29] Craig Dalton: And the bike is made out of what frame material  [00:03:32] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): a to full carbon frame, and even the fork itself has carbon lowers. So carbon it's full suspension. [00:03:38] Craig Dalton: Nice. It's a great looking bike, great execution, and I appreciate the time.  [00:03:41] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): Awesome. Thank you for having me. [00:03:43] Craig Dalton: Okay. Can I get your name and company name?  [00:03:45] Ard Kessels (Kogel): Yeah, I'm art with Kogel bearings.  [00:03:48] Craig Dalton: Thanks art. And what are you showing here at Sea Otter?  [00:03:50] Ard Kessels (Kogel): We have a line of fully gravel approved oversized gorilla cages. So we build them super stiff so he can take him off. We just introduced a line of custom colored titanium bolts. [00:04:01] So you can get your entire bike matched up.  [00:04:04] Craig Dalton: I was just talking to one of your colleagues. Cause one of the things from the outside, when I've looked at these products was the complexity of installing it. Could you describe like what you need to do to your existing rear derailleur to install the.  [00:04:16] Ard Kessels (Kogel): The installation of an oversized cage requires you to take your derailleur apart. [00:04:20] So not just remove it from the bike, but completely take it off in pieces. It's, there's no set procedure. So depending on your model of derailleur, some are super easy. Some are definitely recommended to bring to a bike shop,  [00:04:33] Craig Dalton: and it's really just removing the existing cage. And depending on how, whether it's SRAM or Shimano, how complicated they make that process, that's really what. [00:04:42] Complicated or not complicated. Is that correct?  [00:04:44] Ard Kessels (Kogel): Correct. Yes. And there is no line, one derailleur from a brand might be easy and the same derailleur from or another deter from the same brand might be complicated. And just  [00:04:54] Craig Dalton: really quickly, could you tell the listener, what is the advantage of going for one of these bigger polices? [00:05:00] Ard Kessels (Kogel): Absolutely. The idea behind it is to open up the chain. So by using a bigger wheel, the chain doesn't have to articulate as much as it has around a small pulley. Bending a chain takes it takes energy. So by this, you reduce the friction by about one or two Watts.  [00:05:16] Craig Dalton: Awesome. Thanks Ard. Thanks.  [00:05:19] All right. Can I get your name and company?  [00:05:21] Bed Edwards (Specialized): Yeah, sure. My name is Ben Edwards. I work with Specialized and part of the road and gravel team.  [00:05:25] Craig Dalton: Nice. Ben, can you tell us about the new crux we're looking at?  [00:05:28] Bed Edwards (Specialized): Yeah, we're super stoked to bring the all new Crux to riders. This thing just dropped yesterday and I think people know the crux as a cross bike, right? [00:05:35] This is like a world champion for in cross bike, but the little, the kind of the dirty secret crux all has had is that it was a bad-ass gravel bike. And so the new. While it retains a lot of that performance heritage from the cross side is really embracing that, that gravel identity. But beyond that, we've used our Athos which of any of the writers know the Athos it's a 585 Graham road frame. [00:05:56] We found a way to make these crazy light and incredibly riding road bikes at a carbon. We've now taken those learnings to the crux. So the new crux, the frame set for S works 725. And you're looking at a complete bike at 7.2 kilos, which is almost unheard of on the roadside, with a stock bike. [00:06:16] And that's what we're doing in gravel now. So that's a key thing that makes that bike. The unbelievable ride quality it delivers is that incredible, lightweight, which is pretty unheard of. And gravel beyond that, we've added some incredible capability by making sure it has room for 47 C tires. So you can, Hey, you want to race on the 30 eights. [00:06:34] Awesome. You're going to get into some rough. It's got room for this 40 sevens on their incredible capability. For  [00:06:40] Craig Dalton: sure. Nice. I was going to ask you about some of the additional capabilities that have been built in this model versus the older kind of more pure crossbite crux that people had. [00:06:49] Bed Edwards (Specialized): Yeah, for sure. So that, that, that tire clearance is a big one. We know. For awhile there, 40 was thought of as Hey, 40 is the right size for gravel. We know now these bikes are capable of so much more. So we really feel like to unlock the bikes. Potential riders have to be able to say, Hey, maybe I want to put a 47 on it, or with a bike like this 725 grand frame. [00:07:08] It's pretty amazing on the road. If you wanna have another set of wheels and throw a set of 20 eights or thirties on it, you've got an amazing platform that allows you. If you thought  [00:07:16] Craig Dalton: about the gravel market on a spectrum from sort of a road plus bike to an adventure bike packing bike, where would you describe this new crux is sitting? [00:07:25] Yeah,  [00:07:26] Bed Edwards (Specialized): this thing is it's honestly the perfect compliment to our day. With that Diverge, you've got that incredible suspend, the rider, really compliance without any compromise with that future shock. So that's really what we're looking at. As I say, like adventure explore bike, or like crazy long miles when that comfort's key. [00:07:40] This is really sitting on that performance side of the spectrum, right? When you went that more stripped down, super new. Race day or just real fast gravel riding. That's really what that crux is holding down for us now, while we should also mention this is still what our world cup, cross riders are going to be on. [00:07:55] And we've had writers like Jed next D bar, world cyclocross champion. He'll be racing this bike as his key cross bike.  [00:08:01] Craig Dalton: Awesome. Thanks for  [00:08:02] Bed Edwards (Specialized): the time. Yeah, no problem. Thanks for taking in. [00:08:04] Craig Dalton: Okay. Can I get your name and  [00:08:05] Jason (USWE): company? Yeah, Jason McCune with a USWE sports. Thanks, Jason. What are we looking at here today? Today we've got our line of epic hydration backs. We're looking specifically at the epic eight for those of you that are familiar with our brand our kind of our claim to fame as the hardest. [00:08:19] It's a one buckle harness system. You've got four way adjustability on all four sides and it's got elastic built into it as well. So you can really cinch it down and move around on the bike without the pack, moving on you that's really what people, who are riding mountain bikes and doing all these activities really want to. [00:08:35] Yeah. As I've seen  [00:08:35] Craig Dalton: some of the athletes like Amanda nom and ride it, that crossover strapping mechanism is what's most visually noticeable about the pack. And now that I've gotten the overview from you and looking at it more closely, I do see how that the sort of the hip side straps are highly adjustable and tuneable. [00:08:53] Jason (USWE): Yeah. So you can adjust from the sides that go into the yard. That come that way. And then also over the shoulders. So it's really nice. And even when you get it tightened up, up on you, it's got elastic. So when you're moving around on the. Yeah, it allows the freedom of your body to move. [00:09:08] And the packs just stand where it's at. That's the beauty of it. It's not bouncing all over the place. It's just becomes really part of your body.  [00:09:15] Craig Dalton: The first pack you showed me, do you still get access to a typical cycling Jersey pocket?  [00:09:20] Jason (USWE): So I'm glad you asked me that because yeah, like for, especially for like gravel enthusiasts and stuff like that, the packs are designed, so they sit up high. [00:09:28] So if you're running late, And you still want access to your pockets to get goose or something real quick. Yeah. All that stuff's totally accessible. And that's what makes that's part of the beauty of it. Awesome. Thanks for the time. Yeah, no worries. Thank you. [00:09:41]  [00:09:41] Craig Dalton: Okay. Can I get your name and your company?  [00:09:43] Bryce (Alchemy): I'm Bryce with Alchemy bicycles.  [00:09:45] Craig Dalton: Bryce, what are we looking at here today?  [00:09:47] Bryce (Alchemy): This is our all new alchemy rogue. This is the latest addition to our gravel lineup. We still have the Ronin, which is going to be our kind of racier, fast steeper geometry, gravel bike the rogue. [00:09:59] We want it to be more of an adventure offering. This bike is going to have a little bit longer wheel base Clint clearance for bigger tires. We wanted to build it with the SRAM, Ugh, H so that you get a little bit more peace of mind. You don't have to worry about throwing your chain. You don't have to worry about that rear drill. [00:10:16] You're taking knocks so much and a lot slacker geometry. So we've got a 70 degree head tube angle on this thing. So it can really be a lot more capable and stable on that. We also designed it to have a lot more compliance than the Ronan. So you'll notice the scallop seat stay as well as the drops or sorry, the scallop seat tube, as well as the drop seat stays. [00:10:38] That's going to give you a lot better comfort rugged terrain designed it with capability to run a wireless or hydraulic dropper post. Still has a big beefy bottom bracket shell. So when you get out of the saddle, you're going to have that powertrains for that you want. Nice.  [00:10:53] Craig Dalton: Can you specify what tire size, the speical at  [00:10:56] Bryce (Alchemy): least 700 by 50 C. [00:10:58] You could probably get a little bit bigger on that depending on your wheel and tire combo,  [00:11:02] Craig Dalton: plate size there, and talk a little bit about your manufacturing process and where you're doing that.  [00:11:06] Bryce (Alchemy): So we manufacture this bike in Denver, Colorado. This is a. Semi mana cock construction. We produce the tubes individually, so like the down tube and head to our one piece the bottom bracket, shell and C tube, as well as the chain stay, yolk are one piece. [00:11:23] And then we wrap those tubes together in an overwrap process to join them. So we also do all of our own painting house. This bike is completely fabricated from the design stage to finishing right in Denver.  [00:11:36] Craig Dalton: Amazing. Now this rogue model is, has stock sizes. Your own and model is also available in custom sizes. [00:11:42] Is that.  [00:11:43] Bryce (Alchemy): That is correct. So the rogue, we're trying to hit a little bit better price point and make the bike more accessible to people. We are offering a lot more stock sizes than we offer typically on our other bicycles. The rogue is gonna come in an extra small, to an extra large the Ronan is available in sock sizes, but we can do custom geo on. [00:12:03] This  [00:12:03] Craig Dalton: rogue we're looking at as a beautiful finish to it. Can you talk about the finish? I think there's something unique about the way it's  [00:12:08] Bryce (Alchemy): applied. Yeah, so we have started using cerakote. It's been around for a little while in the bicycle industry, but as far as I know, we're the first people doing it in house as a manufacturer. [00:12:19] Sarah coat is a pretty remarkable material in that. It's extremely thin and at the same time, extremely true. So we get a really lightweight finish. We get something that you don't have to worry so much about your tire throwing rocks up into, or leaning it against a tree. It's gonna hold up really well and it looks pretty phenomenal, too. [00:12:41] Awesome.  [00:12:42] Craig Dalton: Congrats on the bike. It looks great.  [00:12:43] Bryce (Alchemy): Thank you very much. [00:12:45] Craig Dalton: All right. Can I get your  [00:12:46] Jeff (Panaracer): name and company? I'm Jeff Zell and I'm with Panaracer. Jeff. Good to see,  [00:12:51] Craig Dalton: let's talk a little bit about the gravel king tire lineup. And specifically as the gravel king has grown in size and a recently introduced a 700 by 50. Can you just talk about the trends you're seeing and why panel issues go in that direction  [00:13:04] Jeff (Panaracer): now? [00:13:05] Yeah, it's a really good question because we've been around with gravels since really the inception or the idea of the concept of gravel riding. And at that time, a lot of people were using cross bikes or other bikes with lower frame clearances that even at 32 was big four, but as the popularity of the sport grew, and because we had seen what was happening, we were able to respond to that and create. [00:13:26] Wits that we're going to correspond with what frame manufacturers were doing because everyone wanted wider tires. So we went with a 35 people, thought we were crazy. We went with it with 40, and that we ended up doing a 43 with people. Thought we were really nuts today. 30 eights are really the goal, 30 eights to forties depending. [00:13:45] Who's making the tire are really the go-to for the tire with, for people. And we continue to see the need to go bigger, which is where the idea for the 700 by 50 came from what type  [00:13:56] Craig Dalton: of ride quality is a 750 providing for the rider? Is it, what type of solution is it creating sort of suspension and volume and traction are those, all the things you're keying. [00:14:06] Jeff (Panaracer): It is, and there's a little bit more to it than people really think one of the biggest questions that we always get or are, is what PSI should I ride my bike at? And so much of that is dependent on the type of riding you do, what kind of writer that you are what the terrain is that you're riding on and what you're looking to get out of it. [00:14:24] When you go to a 50, you're looking for something that's going to end up being a little bit more comfortable that you can run perhaps at a little bit greater pressure than you might normally. On a lower or sorry, on a smaller diameter tire. Sorry, not smaller diameter, but smaller width tire. And that allows for a little bit more room to dial in exactly what you want with it, and also load your bike up more for people that are wanting to take their gravel bikes more on adventures rather than just a two hour gravel ride or gravel event. [00:14:53] Yeah,  [00:14:54] Craig Dalton: I think it's really fascinating as the frame designers have began to embrace those bigger sizes. You may run a 700 by 50 during certain parts of your season. Maybe it's the off season when you're doing bike packing, and then you can easily go a little bit narrower and go back down to that 700 by 40 for your race  [00:15:09] Jeff (Panaracer): wheels. [00:15:10] That's exactly right. And we want to have a tire there for everybody's need.  [00:15:13] Craig Dalton: I'm a big fan of the gravel king and I'm a big fan of Panorai sir. And I just wanted to acknowledge and appreciate the amount of support you've provided the gravel events seen over the years throughout the pandemic. [00:15:23] I know that you guys continued to back a lot of the. Race course event organizers throughout the pandemic, and you've done it in 2021 and we'll continue to do it. So on behalf of this gravel rider and racer, thanks to Panorai, sir, for all that great support.  [00:15:37] Jeff (Panaracer): You're very welcome Craig, and thanks for what you do too. [00:15:39] It's great to have you getting all the news about gravel out there.  [00:15:42] Craig Dalton: Cheers. [00:15:43] All right. Can you tell me your name and company? [00:15:46] Dan (CushCore): Yeah, I'm Dan .  [00:15:47] Craig Dalton: Dan, can you tell us about CushCore and how the product is evolving to support gravel? Cyclists?  [00:15:52] Dan (CushCore): Yeah, so we launched a product or an insert for gravel bikes Kush cores engineered foam insert. So wraps inside your tire. So it's the tubeless system. [00:16:03] You still use sealant if you need it. And it's designed to do a few things. The obvious benefit is going to protect your rim from big impacts, but it's uniquely shaped and it's part of our patents like a wedge shape. So push it against the tire sidewall. So you get a stiff sidewall, even at low tire pressure. [00:16:21] So you can run the lower tire pressure without that getting a squirmy tire and also without dinging your room rim or getting a pit.  [00:16:29] Craig Dalton: Nice. And are you seeing riders run lower pressure now because of this type of  [00:16:34] Dan (CushCore): product? Absolutely. A lot of feedback we get from gravel writers is that they can definitely run lower pressure and not, like I mentioned, eliminate that squirm while cornering and and haven't got flats. [00:16:47] Yeah,  [00:16:47] Craig Dalton: that rigidity of the sidewall seems appealing. Cause obviously we've been lowering our pressure progressively to get more compliance, but there is a bottom line to that you can't go further than  [00:16:58] Dan (CushCore): for sure. That's another way we described the product as it was designed to solve the tire pressure dilemma. [00:17:04] So high tire pressure. Is good for stability and I stable tire and less likely to ding your rim or get a pinch flat, but it's a bouncy ride. So you actually, it's a high rolling resistance actually, because it's not conforming to the road. And then, but low tire pressure is great for traction compliant, tread patch for comfort, but it's the. [00:17:24] Pinch flat. It's easy to dinger him, et cetera. So with Kush core, you can solve both of those problems. Get the best of both  [00:17:31] Craig Dalton: worlds. What does the installation process look like? It's a completely sealed unit. So obviously I've got my raw rim and wheel in hand. What's next?  [00:17:40] Dan (CushCore): Yes. Yeah. Like you mentioned, the Kush core is made in the mold, so it's not zip-tied together. [00:17:44] Strapped together. And it's designed to fit tight against the rim. So we'll Mount the insert on the rim first and then basically draped the tire over that. And then start with one side by tucking the beat in with your hands. You get to the tight side, you might need a tire lever to finish that law was a little bit  [00:18:01] Craig Dalton: off. [00:18:02] And when I'm doing my sealant insert, I'm pushing that through the valve core. Is that still possible?  [00:18:09] Dan (CushCore): That's how we do it as well. And then our valves are unique. It comes with a set. It actually has three holes. The normal let's say longitude, no hole. And then there's whole holes that go crosswise. [00:18:20] So that allows the sealant to get in. It allows you to set the air pressure with the cush core would be normally on top of a valve. And then also that allows you to clean that out really easily. Right on. Thanks for the overview. Yeah. Thank you. [00:18:34] Craig Dalton: All right. Can I get your name and company?  [00:18:36] Dave (Sage): My name is David Rosen and my company has Sage titanium bicycles, Dave. Good to  [00:18:41] Craig Dalton: talk to you again, I'll reference our earlier episode in the show notes for people, but it did want to stop you here at sea Otter. And just talk about the new storm king GP. [00:18:50] Excellent.  [00:18:51] Dave (Sage): Happy to chat. What.  [00:18:52] Craig Dalton: First thing since we're we have listeners, not viewers. You've got that Rudy suspension fork on  [00:18:58] Dave (Sage): there. Ultimate's this mentioned four. Yes, it's fantastic. It's 40 millimeters. That trap. Gravel fork. It's really progressive. Like it's not what I was expecting it to be. [00:19:08] It was in the past other suspension forks that I've dealt with are a little bit harsher in terms of the travel. This is a lot smoother and it just, it works great on washboards. That's the easiest way to describe it  [00:19:21] Craig Dalton: about the beautiful storm king that you brought to the envy show earlier this year. [00:19:26] How have you modified the storm king in lieu of the spec with the explore group? Oh, and the suspension fork.  [00:19:32] Dave (Sage): So this one, I actually suspension corrected the geometry of the frame. So the axle, the crown on this is taller than a standard envy adventure fork, which I would use normally on the regular storm Kings. [00:19:45] And so as the reason. I actually slackened out the head angle by a little bit, I think a quarter of a degree if I remember correctly. And then just changed up some of the other geometry measurements of the bike to really offset for the taller fork. The reach is actually similar on the handlebar reach on the regular storm king versus the GP is similar, but the actual top tube Blaine on the GP is. [00:20:11] So I'm having you run a shorter stem kind of more mountain biking style because of the suspension fork and just accounting for dive in the fork and larger tires and that sort of thing. So an evolution of the standard storm king. When you  [00:20:26] Craig Dalton: were thinking about the GP versus the storm king storm Kings was a very capable bike. [00:20:31] Still is an incredibly capable bike. What were you thinking differently? What type of rider were you thinking about when you came to the storm king GP?  [00:20:40] Dave (Sage): A similar rider. It's definitely for adventure style, riding bike packing, long days in the country, that sort of thing. GP actually stands for Gifford Pincho which is actually the Gifford Pincho national forest, which is in Southern Washington. [00:20:53] So it borders right up against Oregon. And it's, I forget the numbers, but I want to say it's hundreds of thousands or a hundred thousand square miles or something crazy. Look it up online Gifford Pinchot national forest, and there are the stats and, but there's plenty of gravel, plenty of mountains, streams, lakes, all that sort of stuff. [00:21:10] And it's a lot more back country adventure. And it's the same rider who was getting the storm king originally. But now with the added suspension, it gives you a little bit more comfort for further adventures of just going deeper into the woods kind of thing. And so that was the purpose. Building a suspension corrected bike  [00:21:29] Craig Dalton: right on Dave. [00:21:30] I appreciate you being progressive in thinking about the new types of riders that are entering the sport, the new types of things we're going to continue to do with these drop bar bikes as always the finished work is exceptional on the Sage bikes. I encourage everybody out there to go seek out a picture of this bike and UHIN. [00:21:47] Dave (Sage): Thank you very much. Yeah, it's up on our website, Sage Swam has it. There's it's floating around on social media. So just look for the storm king GP and it's the one and only right on. [00:21:58] Craig Dalton: All right. Can I get your name and company name?  [00:22:01] John (T9): I'm John D prey from both shield T9 [00:22:04] Craig Dalton: John. I have to stop by. Cause as I was just telling you T9 is my favorite lib. Can you just talk a little bit more about what's behind the T nine  [00:22:10] John (T9): loop? Absolutely. This is the thing about T nine is it's both the protection and the lube and it's good in dry or wet environments. [00:22:19] It's a wax base. The carrier evaporates away after a few hours and you're left with just a wax coating. So if your chain gets dusty, it'll just rinse rate off. If it gets wet, it'll sluff off. You can use it in the winter, snow won't stick to it. Everything good about T nine is everything that's good about T nine? [00:22:37] Craig Dalton: Yeah, just for clarity. It's a wax based loop, but it isn't the type of solution that you have to remove the chain, soak it in wax and put it back on. It's a lot simpler than that. It's  [00:22:46] John (T9): Old school in the sense that it's wax, but it's new school in the sense of the internet to dip it into a pan of wax on your stove. [00:22:53] Truth story.  [00:22:55] Craig Dalton: Exactly why I love the lube. I appreciate you coming out. I hope that you have a great weekend here at Seattle. Oh, cool. Thanks  [00:22:59] John (T9): man. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the event. [00:23:02] Craig Dalton: So that's going to do it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. I hope you enjoyed those quick interviews from the sea Otter classic. [00:23:09] I'm really excited to dig in deeper on the BMC bike. We talked about the alchemy bike. And that Scott, hopefully we can get those guys back on the show and do a little bit deeper dive. Into the intention behind those bikes, all three of them were quite sexy.  [00:23:24] In general, I had a blast down at seawater.  [00:23:27] Between the 9,000 odd athletes competing in the hundreds and hundreds of spectators around it's quite a big show. So it's not the same as going off to some of those gravel events. We love often the mountains where you get the serenity. But if you're a fan of the sport and a fan of geeking out over bike parts, and you like to see the latest and greatest.  [00:23:46] The sea Otter classic is a great place to visit. It's like wandering around one giant bike shop. So that's going to do it for us next week. We'll be back with part two of our fun Q and a episode. Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels.  [00:24:03] 

    In the Dirt 24: Part One - Questions and Answers

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 5, 2021 38:11

    This week we tackle our first Q & A episode from The Ridership Community. Randall and Craig tackle your questions in part 1 of 2 fun filled episodes. The Ridership Support the Podcast Book your free Thesis Bike Consult Automated transcription (Please excuses the errors): Episode 24 [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to in the dirt from the gravel. The ride podcast. I'm your host, Craig Dalton. And i'll be joined shortly by my co-host rental jacobs In this week's episode, we're tackling our first Q and a episode.  [00:00:14] We've mentioned the ridership community on a number of occasions on this podcast. It's a community that's full of vibrant questions all the time. So we thought we'd put out an ask to say, what are the things you want to learn about what should Randall an IB discussing? And we were overwhelmed by. By the number of questions we received.  [00:00:34] So much. So in fact that we're going to break this episode down into two parts. So today we'll focus on part one. And in the coming weeks we're released part two. [00:00:44] Before we jump into this week's episode, I'd like to thank this week. Sponsor Thesis bikes. As you know, Randall Jacob's my co-host in these, in the dirt episodes is the founder of Thesis bikes. Which you might not know is it's the bicycle I've been riding for the last let's say year and a half.  [00:01:01] Over the course of this podcast, I've had the opportunity to ride many bicycles and I keep coming back to my Thesis. As my number one bike in the garage, it really does deliver on the promise of a bike that can do anything. As many of, you know, I operate with two wheel sets in the garage. So I've got a 700 C wheel set with road tires on, and my go-to six 50 B wheel set for all my off-road adventures.  [00:01:26] In the many, many hours of conversation I've had with Randall, I've really come to appreciate how thoughtful he was in designing this bike and everything that goes in the Thesis community. Randall and the team are available for personal consults, which I highly recommend you take advantage of. If you're interested in learning more about the brand and figuring out how to get the right fit for your Thesis bicycle.  [00:01:49] In a shocking statement. I can actually express that Thesis has bikes in stock. It's something we haven't been able to say about a lot of bike brands these days during the pandemic. It's October as we're releasing this episode and they have bikes available for November delivery with the SRAM access builds. They also have frame sets available.  [00:02:10] So I encourage you to head on over to, to check out more about the brand, the story. Cory and the product and book one of those free consultations with a member of the Thesis team. With that said, let's dive right into this. Week's. Q and a episode [00:02:25] Craig: Randall, how are you today? [00:02:26] Randall: I am doing well, Craig, how are you my friend?  [00:02:30] Craig: I am doing good. I'm particularly excited for this episode because it essentially came entirely from the Ridership community. We're doing our first ever Q&A episode.  [00:02:42] Randall: Yeah, people have a lot of trust in us, maybe too much in terms of our knowledge here. So we'll try not to get over our heads in terms of uh what we claim to know, but a lot of good questions here and hopefully we can answer most of them.  [00:02:54] Craig: Yeah, I think that's been one of the cool things about the ridership is I see these questions going on all the time and I quite regularly. See them answered by people Smarter than you and I in a specific area of the sport. They have particular knowledge about a specific region. So it's really cool to see those happening in real time, every day for the members of that community. [00:03:17] Randall: Yeah, everything from fit related questions where we have some experts in there. Professional fitters like Patrick Carey, who I just did the episode with just before this one, I was in there answering questions, but then also if you've got a question about tires, nobody's going to have ridden all of them, but somehow every one has been written by someone in the forum there. And it's one of our most popular topics.  [00:03:38] Craig: Yeah. And I've seen some really detailed, help transpire between members as well, just like random disc bait break problems or compatibility problems. And I'm always shocked when someone raises their hand digitally and start to answering a question saying, no, I experienced that exact same weird problem in combination of things. [00:03:57] Randall: Yeah, it really fits into the spirit of The Ridership in which embodied in that word was this idea of fellowship, like writers, helping writers. So it's been super cool to see that community develop organically. And so thank you all members who are listening, and to those who aren't in there yet, we hope you'll join us.  [00:04:15] Craig: Yeah. just head over to and you can get right in and start interacting as much, or as little as you want. I think the uniqueness of the platform is it is designed inherently to be asynchronous. So you can put a question in there give it a little time to marinate and a couple of days later Get lots of answers. [00:04:35] This is pretty cool.  [00:04:36] Randall: And in addition to that, there's also rides being coordinated. So myself and another writer here in the new England area or leading a ride. And we have about 10 or 15 people who chimed in wanting to join. And we've seen quite a bit of that in the bay area as well. So that's another use case for this in addition to sharing routes and general bicycle nerdery.  [00:04:54] Craig: Yeah, it's super cool. [00:04:55] So this episode, we're clearly going to jump around a bunch. We've tried to organize the questions, so there's, there's some pairing around them, but these are questions that all came in from subset of individuals. So They are what they are and we wanted to jump on them. So with that, let's let's dive right in. Okay.  [00:05:12] Randall: All right, let's do it.  [00:05:14] Craig: Cool. So the first question comes from Keith P E. And he says, every time I go out for a gravel ride, I think why is this roadie where I'm like Rhonda trails when there's no podium to win or anybody watching. What is this obsession with wearing skin tight clothing in a sport that resides in the dirt.  [00:05:31] Randall: I don't know about you, but I'm just showing off.  [00:05:34] Craig: Your physique.  [00:05:35] Randall: My, my Adonis like physique, sure. It's just more comfortable for me. And I like to go pretty hard and I'm sweating a lot. And if I had baggier gear on, I would tend to have, potential issues with chafing and the like so for intensity I definitely find that the Lycra is a lot more comfortable.  [00:05:54] Craig: Yeah, I'm sorta with you. Like I do I desire to be that guy in baggy shorts and a t-shirt, but every time it comes down to it, I'm grabbing the Lycra. I think for me, there's a couple of performance things, definitely on the lower body. I appreciate the Lycra just cause I don't get any binding and less potential for chafing. So I'm like, I'm all about a big short for riding, unless it's a super, super casual outing for me.  [00:06:21] And then up top. I think it comes down to, I do having the pockets in the Jersey. So that sort of makes me tend towards wearing a Jersey, even if it's just solely to carry my phone in my pocket.  [00:06:34] Randall: And if you really want to be pro show up to an elite race and like a led Zeppelin t-shirt and some cutoff jorts, and hairy legs and just rip everyone's legs off that would be super impressive. But for the rest of us,  [00:06:45] If you ha, if you have those sorts of legs,  [00:06:47] Yeah, it would be very impressed. Send pictures in to the ridership. If you actually do that .  [00:06:50] Craig: Yeah. So you'll see me. You'll see me. Rock a t-shirt you. As a performance t-shirt instead of a cycling Jersey on occasion. And I just jam stuff into bags, but yeah, nine times out of 10, unfortunately I'm that Lycra. Reclad. Gravel cyclists. [00:07:06] Randall: MAMIL, I think right.  [00:07:08] Middle aged man in Lycra.  [00:07:11] I'm right behind in the age category.  [00:07:13] Craig: Second question comes from Tom Schiele. And forgive me if I mispronounced your last name, he'd love to get our insights into winter riding, especially tips for those of us in new England who go out on cold dark mornings.  [00:07:29] I'm going to, I'm going to go out on a limb here and Randall and say, it's probably not the guy. [00:07:32] from California that should be offering this advice.  [00:07:34] Randall: Let's have you go first for that reason.  [00:07:38] Craig: Look. I mean you, new Englanders will throw hay bales at me and make fun of me, but I do find it cold here. And it's all about layers.  [00:07:48] Randall: Okay. [00:07:48] Carry  [00:07:48] Craig: all about layers.  [00:07:49] Actually, in fact, I just got some great gear from gore and I was Scratching my head because it's really designed for way cooler Temperatures. [00:07:58] than I have available to me. So a fleece lined tight is something that's just outside of the weather that I'm going to experience as much as I'll complain about it being cold. But I do appreciate a thermal Jersey for the Dawn patrol rides and things like that.  [00:08:12] But for me, it's always come down to layering. And as someone who's Been around. [00:08:16] the sport for a while, what I really do like about my wardrobe today is I think I have a really good understanding about what to layer on for what temperature And having been in the sport long enough. I've just acquired a lot of clothing along the way. So I even go down to having.  [00:08:32] Like a thicker vest. Than just a standard thin, vast, and they're very nuanced and it's only because of, I had decades worth of clothing kicking around that I've really started to understand and embrace how each garment is for a particular degree temperature. And the layers will get me to a certain point.  [00:08:51] Randall: Yeah. I'm a hundred percent with you on layers. I like to go like Jersey and then maybe a base layer or older Jersey underneath add to that thermal sleeves a vest that has a wind breaking layer on the front. A balaklava. Is also a great thing to have when the weather gets a bit colder, one to keep your head warm and your ears warm, and to keep the wind off your face, but then also you can breathe through it. So you're preheating the air and when it gets bitingly cold, which I don't know, you may not have experienced this, but I've definitely written around the Boston area and five degree temperatures and you got, ice crystals forming on the front of it, but at least you're getting a little bit of that preheating first.  [00:09:29] Definitely wants some wind breaking booties. Wind breaking layers on the front of the body. Generally when it gets really cold. If you must, you could do like heat packs on the backs of your hands. So over your arteries, delivering blood. If you're in real extreme conditions,  [00:09:44] Let's see, Tom also mentioned riding cold dark mornings, which means low pressures for grip. And then also lots of lots of lights, lots of reflectivity. You definitely don't want to be caught out and that's a good general rule, but especially riding in dark conditions when people might be tired.  [00:10:00] And then what else?  [00:10:02] Craig: Going to add the other big thing that I really enjoy is a thermal cap with the little flaps over the years, I find that really just, keeps the heat in there.  [00:10:11] Randall: Yeah, that's a nice intermediate solution before it's too cold to expose your face.  [00:10:16] Going that route. Other things pit stops with hand dryers. So I knew where all the Dunkin donuts were along my routes. I could just go in there on a really cool day and just dry off and heat up. People around here sometimes like in embrocation, gives you like a Burnie tingling sensation on the skin.  [00:10:30] Vaseline. It's actually a big one. It helps with insulation on exposed skin and helps it from getting dried and raw and so on. So I'll put Vaseline on my face and that actually makes a big difference in keeping me warm. And I don't find that it has any negative effects on my skin, my pores and things like that.  [00:10:48] I'm trying to think. Did we miss anything? Oh, tape the vent holes on your shoes. That's a big one. 'cause even with booties sometimes the holes will still, oftentimes the holes will still be exposed. And so close that up. Otherwise you just going to get air flow into the shoe and you'll know exactly where it's coming from. Once you get on the road.  [00:11:08] Craig: Yeah. And I remember. When all hell broke loose. I would even stick my foot in a plastic bag and then put it in the shoe.  [00:11:16] To get a little extra warmth. I don't necessarily recommend that. And I do know and aware em, aware that, you can get like Russ socks now in different kind of obviously wool is a great material to have underneath your shoe. It, yeah. [00:11:28] Randall: I love wool and I'll take like old wool sweaters and stuff and cut the sleeves and then put it in the dryer to shrink. So it's tight against the body and that'll be a base layer. Cause it's just great for loft and for wicking. So if you're trying to be cheap, that can be a way to go about it.  [00:11:43] Craig: I'm Now like off in my head, imagining sleeveless Randall in a tight fitting wool sweater. And it's more reading burning man then cycling performance.  [00:11:54] Randall: with the jorts, I might show up at a race near you.  [00:11:56] Craig: Our next couple of questions are from Alan Collins and the first one's around everyday carry. What do you always carry with you on every ride tools, parts, spares, pumps, hydration, snacks, gels, et cetera. Are you traveling light or packing an RV?  [00:12:14] Randall: So I'm now back in new England, so I'm often relatively near civilization, so I'm not as comprehensive as I would be say, like riding in Marine where I might be a good five, six mile walk over some mountains to get to anywhere. But critical things. I bring plugs like tire plugs. In my case, dynaplugs bacon strips, same deal.  [00:12:36] Spare tube. A tool that has all the critical things I need. If you're one of our riders, make sure you got a six mil on your tool because that's what you need for your through axles. What else? If there's any risk whatsoever. Me getting caught out in the dark. I'll have lights front and rear might as well.  [00:12:54] I'm trying to think of anything else that I always bring along. That's the key stuff. How about you?  [00:12:59] Craig: Yeah, I'm a mid-weight packer. Like I've really embraced that quarter frame bag. So I just tend to be ready for most eventualities that I expect. And obviously I gear up depending on the amount of hours I plan on being out. I tend to bring one nutritional item per hour that I'm going to be out. Obviously if I'm going out for an hour, I tend to be forgetful about hydration and nutrition. I don't really think too much about it.  [00:13:26] But I do think about it in terms of the number of hours I'm going to be out and then building Certainly my nutrition and hydration on top of that.  [00:13:33] my basic everyday carry same with you. I just want to make sure I can handle. [00:13:37] the most likely kind of repair scenarios out there on the trail. And I don't go overboard with it. There's probably many more things I would bring on a bike packing trip than I do on a five-hour ride.  [00:13:50] Randall: Yeah.  [00:13:51] And one thing I forgot to mention.  [00:13:53] Yeah, we did the everyday carry in the dirt episode nine. So listen there. That's where we go. Deep nerd on all the things. If you want a comprehensive list of what you might bring. The other thing, I don't know if I mentioned a pump. Duh. So I forgot that one there.  [00:14:06] Craig: Pump and CO2 for sure. [00:14:07] Randall: Yeah. Yeah.  [00:14:08] But otherwise it really depends on the ride. These days, I'm doing mostly like hour and a half, two hour higher intensity rides actually oftentimes even shorter, lower intensity rides. So I don't need to bring as much. But I'll where you are, you have micro-climates all over the place on Mount Tam.  [00:14:23] Craig: Yeah. Yeah. So. I'm always rocking like a full spare jacket in there, unless I'm going out mid day, which is rare these days. I just figure if I'm going downhill, I might as well be warm and it just makes it more pleasant. So that's why, again, like I have that quarter frame bag and I just jam it full of stuff.  [00:14:40] After our everyday carry episode, I did get a magic link. Cause it's it's nothing like this. Obviously no weight. And I just threw it in there. [00:14:48] Fortunately, I haven't had to use it, but it's there. If I ever did need it. [00:14:51] Randall: Oh, you don't have the technique for breaking the chain and being able to piece it back together without the magic link.  [00:14:57] Craig: I'm fairly skilled at that, But I don't have a chain breaker that I bring with me.  [00:15:01] Randall: Got it. Okay.  [00:15:02] Craig: Yeah.  [00:15:04] Alan's next question was, do you have any tips for prepping a gravel bike for competition in road, gravel mix or cyclocross?  [00:15:11] Randall: Don't do it the night before.  [00:15:14] Craig: Yeah. I I think there's a couple of different ways to go with this question, right? Obviously if you're a cross specialist, there's going to be lots of things you're going to do. For me, if I got the courage to raise cross again, I would just show up with what I got and I wouldn't really mess with it too much.  [00:15:29] Randall: Yeah, I would do basic checks. A couple of weeks out, I would just be making sure that I don't have anything that's about to fail because especially now parts are a challenge to find in many cases, even brake pads. And in fact, if you don't already have a set, get some extra brake pads, just have them around just in case.  [00:15:47] But otherwise checking chain lengthen and the lubrication making sure the sealant and the tires. I'm having all my gear and kit and nutritional stuff laid out, making sure the brake pads have have enough life in them. This sort of thing would be the basics. And I would do this several days in advance and I would make sure to get a ride in before I actually did the race, just to make sure that I didn't mess up anything that's going to bite me later. Like the worst thing you can do is be working on your bike the night before, or the morning of, and then, potentially miss something or break something or have to replace something.  [00:16:18] Craig: Yeah, I forget who I was listening to. It might've even been kate Courtney or perhaps a professional female gravel rider who was saying they arrived at actually the Sarah Sturm. Sorry. She arrived at the start line of an event and realized that her brake pads were totally thrashed. And her mechanic slash partner said. [00:16:39] I'm going to change them right now. And that would stress me the heck out.  [00:16:43] But he did add new successful. She's Thank God. because I never would have been able to stop on the way downhill. I was swapping bikes from one, the one I had written the other day and just didn't think about it.  [00:16:54] Randall: All right, everyone you've been warned.  [00:16:57] What have we got  [00:16:58] Craig: reminds me, I need to get an order in for some brake pads, because I'm definitely reaching the end of the life of the current ones.  [00:17:06] All right. So the next couple of questions are from Ivo Hackman, and he's asking thoughts on red bull entering gravel with a race in Texas. I don't know if you caught this Randall, but it was calling strict Lynn and pacing pace and McKell then. I have bonded together and are doing a race out of Marfa, Texas that red bull is sponsoring, which is, I a natural because both of those athletes are red bull sponsored.  [00:17:31] Randall: So I'm assuming like extreme gravel jumps, flips things like this. It's just the evolution of the sport.  [00:17:38] Craig: Exactly. I think, both those two guys are so grounded in the culture of gravel racing And in my opinion have been good stewards of conversation as we bring these mass star gravel events forward. I think it's great. I think the bigger question probably within this question is about is red bull coming in as an, as a quote unquote, an Advertiser and sponsor of the event. Is that somehow changing the Experience, is it becoming more corporate? Is it something other than the community wants to see? Again, with those two people involved. I think it's a positive thing.  [00:18:12] Randall: Yeah, I don't see it as a problem, even if it's not not any, my personal thing, for me, I love the really local. Really community oriented events that are much more like mullet rides and yeah, this is a little bit of a competition going on upfront, but it's not a huge deal.  [00:18:27] And, we definitely do see more of a professionalization of gravel. There's a space for everyone and there's a space for different types of events. So I don't see them displacing the events that are even more kind of grassrootsy. So yeah, I don't have a problem with it, especially if they end up doing flips.  [00:18:45] Red bull.  [00:18:47] Craig: The next question from Ivo is how to transition from weekend warrior to competitive rider.  [00:18:54] I feel like I'm better suited to answer the reverse question, to move from a competitive rider to weekend warrior. That one is easy.  [00:19:02] Randall: Yeah. Let's see. Step one. Have a kid.  [00:19:06] Craig: Yeah.  [00:19:07] Randall: That'll That'll take care of that in a hurry.  [00:19:09] Craig: Yeah. For me, this trend, it's all about structure.  [00:19:13] Like I, and I don't have any or much in My writing anymore, but I recognize in listening to coaches and Talking to them, it really is all about structure. And Even if that structure just means. You have one specific interval training session a week, and then your long endurance rides on the weekend to me, by my likes, I think you'll see a lot of progression. And as you progress, I think then you start to see the potential for coaching, more multi-day structured program in your week, If you're willing to go down that route. But to me, from what I've seen first stop is intervals.  [00:19:50] Randall: Yeah. Structure. Intervals is. Is one. And then within the context of a period iodized training program, Which is to say you do different types of training at different times during the season, based on the amount of training time you have available and the events that you're preparing for, because there's no sense in doing a lot of intensity several months out from a race and then, be firing on all cylinders, say, three months out and then just be totally kicked by the time your van comes around, you have that build, you do base training, and then you're doing more tempo. And then towards the events, your hours are going down and your intensity is going up and you're really trying to peak for that specific event.  [00:20:33] The book that was one of the Bibles when I was racing some time ago was Joe Freels I think it was called like the training and racing Bible or the mountain bikers, Bible or something. A book like that would be a good starting point. And then if you have the budget working with the coach, especially early on to really just accelerate your learning and to get someone to bounce ideas off of, and to use them as a way of learning your body. And that last part I would add at the very least heart rate monitor, learn how your body responds to stress, but then a power meter as well It's just a tremendously helpful tool and they're cheap. Now you need a four I power meter bonded onto a lot of cranks for 300 bucks. So there's really no reason not to make that investment if you're spending all this time to train and to, go to events, 300 bucks is pretty low lying fruit.  [00:21:25] Craig: Yeah, it is a great source of truth. Having a power meter. [00:21:29] For sure.  [00:21:29] Randall: yeah. One last thing would be a bike fit, actually if you haven't done it already, I think everyone should invest in a bike fit if you're doing any reasonable amount of riding, but if you're gonna be racing and training and trying to squeeze out every last bit and not get injured go get yourself a bike fit.  [00:21:44] Craig: Next question, moving on to what we've deemed at components category. JC Levesque probably pronounced that wrong. Sorry jC, appreciate the question he's asking. What about handlebars? There's a move towards wider flared bars and gravel and a few odd ones out there. There's the kitchen sink candle bar from our friends at red shift. The coefficient bar. From our friend, Rick Sutton. Obviously he's mentioned the canyon hover bar, although that isn't an add on it's integrated into that bike.  [00:22:14] But he asked him maybe worth going over the different expectations are for drop bar bikes that is tackling. Gravel versus pavement versus term.  [00:22:22] Randall: Sure you want to. Take a stab at this first.  [00:22:26] Craig: So for me, I think we're going to continue to see more and more riders explore Wider and flared bars. Like when I jumped on that trend and went out to a 48 millimeter with a 20 degree flare, I immediately felt more comfortable. My orientation as a gravel cyclist is towards rougher terrain, More like pure off roady kind of stuff. So I really appreciate. Appreciated that with.  [00:22:52] It is a pretty easy component to you forget about when you get a bike, right? So many things are going through your mind when you're buying a bike. The handlebars just the handlebar it comes with. If you're working with a good shop from a good direct manufacturer, they're going to ask you appropriate questions about what width you should get. But I do think there's going to be this continued trend towards exploring these different types of bars as the gravel market continues to see people ride these bikes in different ways.  [00:23:21] Randall: Yeah, I generally agree. And I think it's a good thing. I'm not sold on the extremes of flare. I just don't see it as necessary. There's not so much torque being delivered through the steering column when I'm riding, even on technical terrain that I'm finding myself needing more control. With a dropper post of course that's the big caveat, right? Cause that's lightening up the front wheel taking, mass off of that front wheel, putting it on the back, allowing the body to access suspension more. So that helps a lot in reducing the need for leverage. We do a 10 degree flare and I find that for me, that's the max I can do with a traditional flare and I was still having my hands in a comfortable position. And I actually find that flair is helpful in terms of my risk comfort in hand comfort.  [00:24:06] And you see this as a trend, actually on road bars to, four to six degrees of flare on road bars starting to happen. You also see a trend towards leavers coming standard with a bit of kick out a bit of flair at the lever itself which goes along with these trends. The thing that I'm actually really interested in is bars like the 3T Aero Ghiaia. I think that's how it's pronounced.  [00:24:26] This bar has a pretty compound bend. So it's relatively standard on the hoods, but then flares out below the hoods and gives you that extra leverage while at the same time giving you more of a roadie position on top. And I really like. Sticking with this one bike trend and making, keeping these bikes as versatile as possible, just because they can be. And in the case of that bar, it's also that arrow profile, I don't think is super important. Frankly, people overblow the value of arrow and we can talk about that. But, it's certainly not a problem. And that arrow profile probably gives it some more vertical flex.  [00:25:02] And I think that's actually a great way to get some additional compliance on gravel bikes is to have some flare in the wings of the bar.  [00:25:10] Craig: Yeah, I think you're right. I think people are going to continue to explore that. It's a market that I think is tricky for manufacturers to play in because people are so entrenched with what they know and have, and exploring some of these new trends can often be costly. It might be $100 to $300 to get a handlebar and try it out. [00:25:31] Randall: Yeah. For. $400 plus in some cases you can spend a lot of money on a carbon bar.  [00:25:36] Craig: Yeah. Yeah. A related question comes from east bay grants. Just question on Aero bars and gravel.  [00:25:42] Randall: Yeah. Pretty trivial gains. All in all. If you're going to be spending money on, even just on arrow, get an Aero helmet. I think that would be a bigger impact. Then arrow, handlebars. These are just very marginal gains and I wouldn't at all compromise ergonomics or control in order to go arrow. So if you're already getting a new bar and there's an arrow version and a non arrow version that you like. And there aren't any other compromises sure. Go with the arrow version, but I don't think that this is where your low lying fruit is.  [00:26:17] Craig: Yeah. I was reading it as arrow bar extensions on the handlebar and my perspective is it just depends on what you're doing at the end of the day. If you're hauling across the Plains for 200 miles, I understand having a variety of hand and body positions is required and useful, and I'm all for it. If you're ripping around Marin I think you're going to find that you never.  [00:26:39] You never set your arms in a gravel bar if you're actually in the dirt, but that's just where I live.  [00:26:44] Randall: Without, now that you've reframed the question. Yeah, they definitely has their place. And in addition to offering another hand position that's particularly useful if you're just bombing down a really straight road and into a headwind it can be a real aerodynamic advantage there. It also gives you another place to secure gear too. So if you're doing extended bike packing tour. It has that added benefit. There's a place for it, for sure.  [00:27:08] Craig: Yeah. Next question comes from our friend, Tom boss from Marine county bike coalition. He was out riding and he mentioned that he was thinking about how things get named in the cycling world. And how his gravel bike. If he thinks of as an adventure bike effectively, the way he rides it. And then he had a funny note is just about why clipless pedals are called clipless when there's actually no clip.  [00:27:32] Randall: Yeah.  [00:27:33] Craig: Actually. Yeah. So anyway. I think this is something you've been on about the naming convention in cycling, just about these bikes being adventure, bikes, more than anything else. [00:27:42] Randall: Yeah, it's really like adventure is what we're doing with it. Gravel is one type of surface that we're riding. And I like the idea, granted not only a subset of bikes fall into this category, but we call our bike a onebike. And I think bikes like the the allied echo, the servo, a Sparrow, and a few others fall into this category of being, an endurance road or even in the case of the echo,  [00:28:07] borderline, crit type geometry that you can achieve. While at the same time being very capable for adventure riding. And for that type of bike, you could call it a one bike, but then otherwise, what is being called a gravel bike on the more off-road technical end of the spectrum. I think it's an adventure bike.  [00:28:23] And in fact even if it doesn't has have bosses and other accommodations for bags and bike packing. A lot of these bags and so on, or you can strap on or mountain other ways. So you could go and do some adventuring with it.  [00:28:36] Craig: Yeah, I think they, these names. Of category starts to take hold at the grassroots level and then manufacturers just get behind them. And certainly in the early days of the quote unquote gravel market, It was just easy to call it gravel as opposed to road or mountain.  [00:28:54] Presently, obviously we can acknowledge there's so many, there's so many nuances there and there's this spectrum of what gravel means. So yeah, they are adventure, bikes, plain and simple. But I guess I understand where gravel came from.  [00:29:06] Randall: What's good though, is we have another category, right? So we can get you to buy an adventure bike and a gravel bike and endurance road bike, and a crit bike and a cyclocross bike. And even if all these bikes could be the same bikes. Let's not tell anyone because that gets them to buy more bikes. I think that's the marketing perspective on some of the naming conventions.  [00:29:26] Craig: Next up comes a series of questions from Kim ponders. And we should give a shout out to Kim because she's the one who really set this off. She actually recommended and suggested in the ridership forum that, Hey, why don't you guys do a Q and a episode? And I immediately thought that great idea, Kim, I'm all about it. [00:29:44] Randall: Yeah. Thanks, Kim.  [00:29:46] Craig: So our first question is what should I do not do to avoid damaging a carbon frame?  [00:29:52] Randall: So I'll jump in on this one. Carbon is strong intention, but not in compression, so never clamp it in a stand or sit on the top tube, use a torque wrench, always. And avoid extreme heat sources like car exhausts, which generally isn't a problem with frames because they don't end up in the main stream of the exhaust, but is definitely a problem with carbon rims.  [00:30:13] We've seen a number of molten rims. And it's usually they fail at the spoke holes first. Cause there's just so much tension on those spokes that as soon as the resin starts to transition. Into more of a liquid glass it immediately starts to crack at the rims that'd be my main guidance for carbon generally.  [00:30:32] Craig: And as we've talked about it a little bit before on the podcast, I think as a frame designer, You're layering in carbon, in greater, greater levels of material in more sensitive areas.  [00:30:44] But you are. Yeah. [00:30:45] So like your, your down tube and by your bottom bracket. They can take a ding from a rock and they're going to survive. [00:30:52] Randall: Generally. Yes. So if you're kicking up a lot of rocks, adding a layer of thicker film is definitely a good idea. We put a very thin film on ours. It's mostly to protect the paint. And then film on the insides of the fork plates seat stays and chain stays where the tire passes through.  [00:31:08] I can save you a lot of grief. If you end up with mud caked on your tires. Cause that'll just grind right through the paint and potentially to layers of carbon. So we do that stock for that reason. And it's a good idea. If you don't already have it, get yourself some 3m protective film.  [00:31:22] Craig: Yeah, and for me, I actually run it's essentially a sort of protective sticker layer from a company called the all mountain style and they just, in my opinion, do great visual designs. And check them out because personally, I love when you look underneath my, down to that, you see this. Digital cammo kind of thing on my nice pink bike.  [00:31:43] Randall: Yeah, it's rad. It's definitely a way to pretty things up.  [00:31:47] Craig: Next question from Kim is their basic regular maintenance checklists that I should be aware of. You things I should check every ride every month, every season, every year.  [00:31:57] Randall: Yeah. When you got.  [00:31:59] Craig: I think there's a lot there, obviously, we've talked about the importance of making sure your chain is lubed your tire pressure. Those are the things I check every single ride. Be aware of how your brakes are changing and performance. So keep an mental eye on.  [00:32:14] Your brake pads and how they're wearing, I'm not going around tightening bolts at all. Unless I've removed something, I'm not really messing with Any of that. I do find my Thesis to be pretty much ready to go. As long as I'm paying attention to the tire and the chain lube. [00:32:31] Randall: Yeah. Yeah, that's that's about right. I would add to that, check the chain length every so often. And there's a question in here about how to do that. Get one of these go-no-go gauges. I've got the the park tools, CC three.  [00:32:44] There's a bunch of good ones out there. And if it has multiple settings to check, go with the most conservative one. Swap your chains early and often, because it will save you a lot of money on your expensive cogs and cassettes.  [00:32:58] And it'll just make everything perform better. And then every so often, if you feel any looseness in your headset, that's a common thing that will come up over time, potentially just, just check that every so often. If you feel any looseness, you want to tighten it up early. So it doesn't start to wear down the cups or things like that.  [00:33:14] Craig: Yeah. And if you can afford it and you don't have the skills in your own garage, definitely bring it in for an annual tune-up. I think the bikes are going to come back working great and you've got some professionalize on them. [00:33:26] Randall: Yeah.  [00:33:26] Craig: Next question. Kim asked was what's the best way to pack a bike for air travel.  [00:33:31] Randall: So if you try to be. The cheapest option for the packaging. Cardboard box. And if you're not doing it frequently, that's a good way to go.  [00:33:41] Craig: Yeah, agreed. There's a reason why every bike manufacturer in The world is shipping with a cardboard box. As long as you protect the bike. Inside the box with some bubble wrap or some additional cardboard, they generally arrive where they need to go intact and safe. And I've had multiple occasions where I've used the cardboard box on an outbound trip and the box is Perfectly intact for the return trip. [00:34:05] Randall: And we should say specifically. Carbo box that a bike would have come in. Cause generally this'll be a five layer corrugated box. It'll be a thicker material. And if you need to reinforce it with some tape, At the corners and so on. And if you get, if it gets a hole in it, patch up the hole, but you can go pretty far with the cardboard box.  [00:34:24] I have a post carry transfer case, which I love, it's a bit more involved. I got to pull the fork and it takes me usually about 15 minutes or so. 20 minutes to pack it up, and to squeeze some gear in between the wheels and the frame and things like that.  [00:34:38] But I generally get past any sort of oversize baggage fees and I have the bigger of the two bags too. So oftentimes I don't even get asked what it is and if I get asked, it's oh yeah, it's a sports gear. Massage table. Yeah, whatever.  [00:34:50] Craig: That's the key for me that post carry bag or or, okay. This is another company that makes one of these bags where as you said, you've got to do a little bit more disassembly, whereas typically it might've been take the handle Bazaar off the pedals and your wheels, and you can get into a cardboard box. Would these particular smaller bags, you do need to pull the fork, which seems incredibly intimidating. When you first talk about it, but in practice, it's actually not. [00:35:15] Randall: It's not too bad. Probably the biggest issue is if you have a bike with integrated cabling, Then it can be a real nightmare. And in fact I might even go as far as to say, if you don't know what you're doing, don't mess with it. A bike with external cabling, or at least partially external, like our bike, you just have to be careful not to kink the hoses. That's the big, probably the biggest city issue, kinking the hoses, or bending the housings and cables in a way that affects the breaking or the shifting.  [00:35:44] Craig: Yeah. Yeah. If you've, if your cables are particularly tight, It then becomes a problem. I think my routing is just on the edge. I do feel like I'm putting a little bit of stress. On the cables when I'm disassembling in that bag, but so far so good. [00:35:58] Randall: Yeah. Yeah.  [00:35:59] And then of course you have the full sized bags where if you don't care about paying the airline fees, then get one of these was it Evoque I think makes a really nice one that has good protection there's a bunch of companies that make good ones where you just  [00:36:11] Craig: Yeah, I've.  [00:36:12] Randall: the front wheel and throw it in.  [00:36:14] Craig: I've got a Tulay one that is like bomber. It's got like a through axle slots, but one it's hard as hell to move it around. And two, I got dinged on both weight and access size on my trip to Africa. It's out. I was pretty ticked. [00:36:31] Randall: Yeah. And then the other thing is on the other end can you get it into the trunk of a cab. And so that's actually another advantage of bags like the post transfer case in the oral case ones is you can. I think I know the post one has backpack straps, and then you can fit it in the boot of pretty much any vehicle.  [00:36:49] Craig: Yeah, totally under emphasized attribute and benefit of those types of bags. Totally agree. [00:36:54] Like you can get into a sedan. With a, a Prius, Uber Lyft driver and make it in. No problem. [00:37:00] Randall: Oh, yeah.  [00:37:01]  [00:37:01] Craig Dalton: Pardon the segue that's going to do it for part one of our Q and a episode. I thought that was a great time to break and we'll jump into another half hour of questions and answers in our next episode of, in the dirt, which we'll release in the coming weeks. As always, if you're interested in communicating with myself or Randall,  [00:37:20] Please join the ridership If you're able to support the podcast, your contributions are greatly appreciated. You can visit, to contribute in any way you can to support the financial wellbeing of the podcast. If you're unable to support in that way, ratings and reviews are hugely appreciated.  [00:37:46] On any of your favorite podcast platforms. Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt under your wheels. 

    Kav Helmets - Custom 3D printed helmets with Whitman Kwok

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 28, 2021 36:34

    This week we sit down with Kav Helmet CEO and Founder, Whitman Kwok to discuss the companies' innovative 3D printing technology that can produce a custom fitted helmet for every rider.   Kav Helmets  The Ridership Support the Podcast   Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos)   Kav Helmets [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride. Podcast. I'm your host, Craig Dalton.  [00:00:08] This week on the show, we've got Whitman Kwok the founder and CEO of Kav Helmets.  [00:00:14] Kav Helmets may yet to be a household name in the cycling industry. But you'll learn. The team has a rich history in the cycling helmet market. They're innovative approach to manufacturing. Using 3d printing technology is a novel approach. And creates a uniquely custom helmet for each rider. I'll let Whitman get into the ins and the outs of the technology but i'm a big fan of the approach as additive technology just opens up a lot of possibilities for where material is laid in the helmet. [00:00:45] If you're planning on attending this year, sea Otter classic in Monterrey, California, the Kav team will be showing off their 3d printing technology. There they'll even be 3d printing, some key chains, which I think will showcase how the process actually works. If you're not in the area or not attending seawater, be sure to visit the Kav website as they're opening up orders for all.  [00:01:08] Before we jump into this week show, I need. To thank our sponsor. Today's program is brought to you by Athletic Greens, the health and wellness. Wellness company that makes comprehensive daily nutrition really, really. Simple. [00:01:19] With so many stressors in life, it's difficult to maintain effective nutritional habits and give our bodies the nutrients it needs to survive. Our busy schedules, poor sleep, massive gravel rides. The environment works dress or simply. Not eating enough of the right foods can leave us deficient and key nutritional.  [00:01:38] Areas. by athletic greens is a category leading superfood product. That brings comprehensive and convenient daily nutrition to everybody. Keeping up with the research, knowing what to do and taking a bunch of pills and capsules is hard on the stomach and hard to keep up with. To help each of us be at our best. They simply provide a better path to nutrition by giving you the one thing. With all the best things. [00:02:03] One tasty scoop of AG1 contained 75 vitamins minerals, and whole food sourced ingredients, including a multivitamin multimineral probiotic, green superfood blend [00:02:13] And more in one convenient daily serving.  [00:02:16] The special blend of high quality bioavailable ingredients in a scoop of AIG one work together to fill the nutritional gaps in your diet, support, energy, and focus aid with gut health and digestion and support a healthy immune system. Effectively replacing multiple products or pills with one healthy delicious Drink . [00:02:36] As many of you know, I've been an athletic greens subscriber for about the last five years. So I truly appreciate their support of the podcast. If you're interested in learning more, just visit athletic gravel ride. The team at athletic greens, we'll throw in a free one-year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs with your purchase.  [00:02:59] Again, simply visit to take control of your health and give AG1 a try today. [00:03:08] With that said let's dive right into my conversation with Whitman from Kav Helmets. It's. [00:03:13] Whitman. Welcome to the show.  [00:03:16] Whitman Kwok: That is correct. Really looking forward to our discussion. Yeah, me too.  [00:03:20] Craig Dalton: The manufacturing and additive tech geek in me is really looking forward to this conversation. [00:03:26] Definitely want to learn how calf helmets came about and what your journey is to creating this bike helmets. And more importantly, what the benefits are for riders in the gravel scene. So let's jump in and let's just in your own words, let us know about cab helmets, how it started and what the vision is. [00:03:46] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, absolutely. There's a lot of impact, even in that simple question. I think fundamentally the vision was. Oh, providing a concierge service to athletes. I had always, as a competitor cycles in college, tweak my gear, adjusted everything from crank buy-ins to handlebar lengths and all, everything to get the most performance and also just make the bike an extension of myself. [00:04:10] And I don't think anything has changed in the intervening years. And I think in all the sports that we talked to, whether it's a hockey players or something the gears are really important part of the athletic experience. And so for cab it was obvious to us that the helmet market is really large. [00:04:26] It is a largely at this point a undifferentiated product where there isn't a dominant player per se. There isn't a apple or a Tesla or a Peloton where people just all grab it gravitate to. And as long as you. For the last 30 years, there's been a lot of tweaking and incremental improvements on injection molded foam helmets. [00:04:46] And I think what we bring with Kav is this generational leap like Tesla's done with electric cars to a whole new mode of thinking around making a helmet or anything for that matter. That's completely custom to the individual. And the moment you do that there's a whole bunch of benefits that we're able to realize. [00:05:06] There's the obvious ones around comfort that there's 8 billion sizes that we can provide one for every man, woman, child on the planet. And but there's a huge number of performance. Benefits and protection is always top of mind when you're talking about helmets. And the fact that we can tailor the protective characteristics to. [00:05:23] And individual and how they ride, how fast they're riding the weight profiles, things like that gives a massive potential improvement in protection over just a standard kind of one or two or three size fits all. I'm fortunate. I have a number of co-founders and colleagues that we found in the company together. [00:05:42] And I think we all had different experiences, but the same. Echo and voice in the back of our head, that there's just a lot better way to do this. And so I'll do a quick shout out to there. And obviously there's a lot of different areas that we can talk through. But Mike Lowe is our VP of products and he was the VP of events, concepts at Euro bell. [00:06:03] He also worked closely with Ridell. He did early work with Lance Armstrong's time trial helmet, and worked on all the iconic bike helmets. Since. He's been just fantastic to learn from that whole industry or the homicide. There's a lot of honest, non-obvious quirks and things in the industry. [00:06:20] And it's a very close knit industry. And so there's a lot of great people that we've been able to meet and work through Mike. And on the technology side, they started migrating. Amazing technologists from Google small company called Google and relatively early employee there, I'm working on search quality and YouTube, one of their, two of their smaller products. [00:06:39] And and he brings this immense knowledge, not just in software, which ironically is where 78% of our IP is. But also a really great understanding of hardware and kind of physics and mechanical engineering. You really have to. That kind of polymath approach in order to build something like a superior helmet. [00:06:58] So anyway, it's a long-winded way of talking. It's on the people we work with our early vision and some of the high level benefits and can let you pick and choose your own adventure from there.  [00:07:08] Craig Dalton: Yeah. So I alluded a little bit to it in the intro, but just so we don't lose this concept right off the jump, because it's easy for the listener to think about this as a traditional helmet, but let's talk about how it's manufactured because you didn't specifically mention that. [00:07:24] And I think it's one of the most fascinating parts of the process.  [00:07:28] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, no I do that a lot because I think we always think of it from the N and consumer's perspective. What did they get? And how we get there is really intriguing from an engineering perspective. And I often gloss over it. [00:07:42] Yeah, we we blended a bunch of material sciences additive manufacturing and software in order to develop the helmets. And I'll speak a little bit more of the additive manufacturing sites since you asked about it, but yes, each of these helmets is 3d printed here in Redwood city, California for the individual. [00:08:00] And so everything is made to order that has huge implications to everything. Not just manufacturing, but the whole customer. That's alluding to and being kind of concert servers are giving people exactly what they want. And so when an order comes in, we're taking measurements and we dynamically generate actually all the engineering terms, all the CAD files, the dimensions and everything for the helmet. [00:08:25] And it's not the case that we're just taking three or six or even 12, like shells and then like carving something. We are literally building the helmet from the inside out. So I think, whereas the current concept, the off the shelf is you get two or three sizes and you've got the shell that defines the helmet. [00:08:46] And then you got to force fit your head into that use foam padding, or several lock things to just sense your head loosely in this kind of bucket idea. And for us you're actually taking the meds. We dynamic create that we define all the offsets that we need to generate and ensure the level of protection than we want for that rider. [00:09:06] Then we send it through our own what we call printer management software. So we actually have a farm of these 3d printers. So you can imagine it being like analogous to like a data center except of having all these servers slotted in these racks. We've got 3d printers slotted in the. And it basically just creates like all the different parts that you need for your helmet. [00:09:26] And we have a QA process throughout to measure and make sure what we're printing is exactly meets specs of what we want. And we have to build a lot of that in dynamically because each helmet is custom. And then we do a kind of final finishing process that's done by hand. So you get the best of both worlds of this precision 3d printed. [00:09:47] But hand-finished and lovingly made here in our shop in Redwood city.  [00:09:51] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I imagine for some of the listeners, this might be a mind-bending discussion because a lot of people haven't seen 3d printing inaction, no one way to visualize it. And this may or may not be a great way, but since I have a seven-year-old in the house if you imagine sort of building from Legos and you're building from the ground, And you keep building successfully on top of each other. [00:10:15] It's in my mind how 3d printing works, right? You've got the material that's in this printer and it's being laid out layer by layer. And this is based on the very customized measurements that you've received from the future owner of the helmet. So again, the, in the interest of helping to visualize it's being built from the ground up around your individual, Once you've placed the order. [00:10:43] Whitman Kwok: That's right. And the analogy I like to use is making a soft cone right. Or going into the yogurt machine. And yeah we basically, it can imagine we're taking our proprietary polymers and it's coming out of this very high-tech yogurt machine. But rather than having, it dumped like eight ounces of yogurt into the cup. [00:11:00] We're a precision layering, at a fraction of a millimeter at a time. These very intricate engineered what we call energy management system and your helmet. And and so it's a little bit like growing the part on this bed. And we're, as you say, we're creating a slice at a time. [00:11:17] That's a fraction of a millimeter and kind of building up. And each layer is being laid down by this very sophisticated yogurt machine. And and at the end of the. Yeah, exactly. You have a helmet. That's not on a custom fit, but it's not solid. Like it's not like an injection molded part where you're just dumping a bunch of plastic into a mold or or foam where you're like exploding blowing up the foam into a mold we're actually creating like this really complicated, polygon and hex structure within the helmet which is designed to Trumbull really efficiently to provide good. [00:11:51] But also takes up the fraction of the weight because most of your helmet actually turns out to be air in this case.  [00:11:56] Craig Dalton: Yeah. That's an interesting, you hear the phrase fits like a glove, but this is even the next level of that it's like fits like a glove that has been specifically designed for your personal hand. [00:12:08] Whitman Kwok: That's why it would be like an iron man glove, right? Like it's one thing to have a fabric that you stretched over your head. It's quite an honor to have this in case structure that still has the same sensation of a security right. And being fit like glove, but it's hard right on the outside to protect you. [00:12:25] And so it is a next level sensation.  [00:12:28] Craig Dalton: So when I think about, the helmet I have in the garage, I think about, it's got some internal kind of frame and a dial that helps it fit. I understand from your earlier discussion, I can throw that piece out because I don't need that piece anymore because the helmet is built to order to the shape of my personal head. [00:12:46] I then, if I think about the exterior of the helmet, I often have a hard plastic layer and then not knowing a ton about the interior, but it sounds like we're injecting molding. We're injecting foam. Into a Kavity that kind of creates that if you, if that's accurate and feel free to fill in any details there, but why don't you juxtapose what the outside and the inside of the cab helmet effectively, how that differs and how it changes? [00:13:15] Whitman Kwok: Yeah. I think the cycling analogy would be it's almost like a monocoque structure, right? If you have a psych, a carbon fiber cycling frame, where for all practical purposes, Like all the tubing and lugs and everything joined in a way where it just behaves as one monolithic well-balanced, machine in terms of and in the traditional process, like you said that in the higher end helmets, you have a, typically like a polycarbonate shell, that's a couple of mils thick and they injection mold, some EPS foam into that have some type of density or multiple densities and The nice thing. [00:13:49] And so each of those things play a part and they're trying to compensate for different deficiencies in the foam. And so is not it sticks to cement, right? And so you don't want that because it's going to cause bad rotational energies on impact. It's also not very durable and gets eaten up. [00:14:05] So you have to then create this one millimeter shell to protect it. With all the venting that you put in, it's pretty common now to put like a plastic interior chassis to keep the helmet together on impact. And so I just suppose that with additive manufacturing or 3d printing, because what we're doing is integrating everything into one coherent design, right? [00:14:26] And so when we're laying down each layer of plastic, we are actually. Integrating the shell with the crumple zone with the chassis, so to speak. And by integrating it just like a well-made carbon fiber frame, we can reduce all the interfaces. And so the helmet's more compact. You don't have air gaps, so to speak. [00:14:46] It's a lot lighter because we're only putting material where it's needed. It's like the old steel frames, or living on frames where they're double butted or triple butted. We can reinforce it in the right areas. And and it gives us a lot of ability to fine tune each aspect of the helmet. [00:15:01] So that instead of saying, having a universally, a universal density of foam across the helmet for different impact zones and we learned a lot of this actually from our experience in hockey we can tailor the impact behaviors, of the based on location of the helmet as well, It just gives us just like carbon fiber and forensic gives us a lot. [00:15:20] The analogy is like the layup, right? The carbon fiber. And what carbon fiber is you use and the residence. We have just a lot more control than just pumping a bunch of foam beets into a mold.  [00:15:31] Craig Dalton: Yeah. That's interesting. And maybe it goes back to some earlier podcasts I've had in discussion around carbon fiber frames and just talking about, how you. [00:15:40] Layer something differently where it needs more protection, maybe under the bottom bracket, whereas you don't need to use those same layers elsewhere in the frame where you want to have a little bit more compliance. So I imagine given the team's experience in helmet design, it was really liberating to just freely. [00:15:57] Think about how, and where do we want to put material, because really the sky's the limit, right? You can optimize around. What's going to be best. For impact protection, both on the, hard impacts like hard and fast as well as slower impacts. I imagine you can, you're free to really design something that performs well across a couple of different factors. [00:16:21] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, no, that's exactly right. Like we have a lot more control in the general use case. And I think in the future as we've done a little bit of this on hockey and we'll bring it into the bike market. What the individual characteristics actually matter a lot, because at the end of the day for a cycling helmet, we have, twenty-five maybe 30 millimeters of offset we can work with. [00:16:42] If we make it much larger than that people balk at what they look like, there's certain brands that are known for safety. But they're also known for making your head look like a mushroom, right? We don't want that. We want people to love, frankly, we're in the homeless. [00:16:53] We want to attract people who, frankly, don't wear helmets into the market. I'm gonna do that. We need a thinner profile. And so the way to actually make a safer helmet is have information about what they're riding, right? A commuter, ride with I commute every day and finish going like 1230 miles an hour. [00:17:09] That's a very different profile than. A road sort of groundwater going downhill at 30, 40 miles an hour. There, that's a factor of three difference in velocity. And if you think about kinetic energy, the velocity is a square root, right? So that's like a, that's a nine, almost an order of magnitude difference in impactful file. [00:17:27] So there is gain and exactly what we just talked about, but there's an even bigger gain because we know the athlete and we have that relationship like moving forward. Knowing that their commuter or their downhill racer and their weight, their mass makes a big difference to a kid who weighs a hundred pounds. [00:17:44] It's just going to be way different than someone who's 220. And again, you have a two X factor there that isn't something, that's a comedy for an issue where it's one size fits. All right.  [00:17:55] Craig Dalton: Now the business has been selling helmets for over a year and a half. Primarily in hockey and most recently in bike, do you want to talk about why hockey was the entry point and maybe some of the things you've learned across the customers you've been serving in that space? [00:18:11] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, no, absolutely. So there are a couple of factors that came into play. So one was frankly, what w what could get it to market the quickest. We just wanted to provide value to people as quickly as possible. The second, where was where's the biggest need? And between those two, and there was a little bit of a personal reason as well. [00:18:29] But the first two were clearly the overriding. From a technical perspective, it turns out making a hockey helmet is just easier than making a bike helmet. One of the characteristic reasons just wait is not quite as big of a factor in the hockey. And so we wanted to basically use the hockey market as our Tesla Roadster, right? [00:18:48] Knowing that it's a limited market, it's smaller, but people are willing to pay for the equipment. They're willing to pay the premium. And and we can launch quicker. The second piece of why they pay a premium is that as you can imagine, the concussion rate per activity hour in hockey is almost parallel or equal to. [00:19:03] And meeting quite high, whereas in cycling, it's somewhat incidental, right? If you get in a crash and get an, a concussion in hockey, 3, 5, 10 times a game, you're taking impacts to the head and getting pinned against the board and falling on the ice. And so we thought that the market would benefit significantly from our protective technologies in that space. [00:19:25] And. The third reason, which just made me very cognizant of it was my son plays hockey. And when we started the company, his team had six concussions on it. And they were only 12 years old at the time. And there was just an outcry, I think with the parents and all the clubs that I talked to did not feel like there was enough being done. [00:19:42] And the. Equipment manufacturers and hockey are generally about two to three generations on behind any of the other helmet markets as well. So the need was greater. The products were even further inferior and and we thought we could help people sooner in that market than any other market. [00:20:01] Craig Dalton: You talked about how as a company and the way you're producing the helmets, that you can evolve with the market and you're understanding. Yeah. Within the hockey market, since you've been there the longest, are you doing things differently for a child's size helmet versus the NHL players that you work with? [00:20:20] Whitman Kwok: Yeah yes. Besides the fit we've actually made modifications to, I should, I would draw the analogy that it's a case that a surprisingly large number of the benefits for either of those extremes helps. And so they now Joel users in the late nineties, early two thousands car manufacturers are realizing like women had difficulty like getting their groceries in the trunk. [00:20:40] And because the trunk actually came all the way up to the top of the back and they now if you open the trunk of a car, it, the trunk dips down past the lights right down to the bumper. There's this carve-out. And so you don't have to lift your groceries, like over a wall, so to speak, you can just slide it in. [00:20:53] Watching. Buy groceries at the time was like a motivating factor for that. But we found that obviously that benefited everyone. Like I don't, I'm lazy. I don't want to list the groceries I don't have to. And so I'll give a kind of example that, which is kids wears glasses, a lot. [00:21:06] And so we ended up putting in little cutouts for people wear glasses so that it actually just slides in. So a hockey helmet actually comes down further than a. And traditionally, there are pads that go up against your temple. And so you can imagine if you wear glasses, you're literally shoving these glasses into these temples and that the pads are forcing your, the sidearms or your glasses into your temples for an hour and a half while you play hockey really uncomfortable situation. [00:21:35] And we did that and that ended up bending, benefiting a bunch of adults rests and things that. It turns out like the ice rinks are really dry. So like wearing contacts, it's not always actually comfortable. So say, and vice versa, like there's been a bunch of benefits because obviously the professional levels that impact are taking it's just an extreme example and it really drives some of the protective technologies. [00:21:58] And even if they No, the squirts and mites don't necessarily have the same level of impact there. There's still a deeper understanding. I think of the types of checking that goes on that informed our products for the kids.  [00:22:11] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. Obviously, given your pedigree as a cyclist and your co founders coming to the bike market was something that you were eager to do. [00:22:19] Can you talk about the introduction of the first bike helmet and what the goals were there and how for the list of. They should think about whether a cab helmet is right for them.  [00:22:32] Whitman Kwok: Yeah. It's interesting because the engineering side of me and product matter one, be very specific about the goals. [00:22:38] Oh, we want to hit this weight target and this usability. But what we ended up doing is taking a step back and asking the conceptually what do we want to, what's our mission, right? A reminder, what's our mission of the company on this build the best protective gear on. And as a very important corollary that the best gear is no use of no one wants to wear it. [00:22:54] So it's got adjust look and feel fantastic. And when we're doing these new technologies, I think it was important for us to blue sky it and not bound herself by certain things. So our goal is just make the best helmet possible. And this. An all road category, right? So with a focus really on gravel and road cyclist, but with the knowledge of knowing that, a lot of cross-country mountain bikers use road helmets, and a lot of commuters would ultimately use it. [00:23:24] But if we looking at personas and interviewing people, we focus on the road and gravel side of things. And then from there we really just built around it. And I think honestly I'm glad we've done it that way, because we found a lot of surprising things that I think if we constrain ourselves early on, we would not have done. [00:23:39] One of them being, for example our interior fit pad system is just radically different from a traditional fabric fit pack. And it would not have come if we said yeah, we just want sweat management, whatever way moisture at this level or thermal capabilities. [00:23:56] But anyway, I happy to go into the details of that, but what we ended up coming out with, I think is we've focused on fit and the protective qualities, what we ended up with was the ability to make something that as least as dynamic as other helmets out there is significantly cooler. Riding. [00:24:15] And has all the protective qualities. And again, it has some of these comfort features built in on the inside. That, again, we didn't necessarily envision, but the advantage of having a new prototype every week, that we're all riding is you tend to iterate quite quickly through, and I think we're on version 32 right now. [00:24:30] And 33 is like on the printing press. It's going quick.  [00:24:33] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think that's one of those really cool things about doing both additive manufacturing and domestic manufacturing is that you can continue tweaking the product to optimize it based on consumer feedback which is really powerful.  [00:24:50] Whitman Kwok: Yeah. [00:24:50] Know that's right. We we have the benefit now that we're far enough along and we're starting to include like a larger and larger swath of people into the kind of the test. And so we had our Kickstarter about a month ago and we had a 20 plus like early adopters sign up through that. [00:25:05] And we were shipping out shipping helmets out to them and looking forward to get the next wave of feedback and and just improving. And in real time, before we ship out our production ones at the end of the year,  [00:25:16] Craig Dalton: yes. At the process of ordering is a little bit different than, traditionally you might use. [00:25:21] No your size, small, medium, or large, and put an order in, or go to your local bicycle retailer for the cab helmets. You're sending out a kind of measurement fit kit and actually working at a concierge level with the purchaser, right?  [00:25:38] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, that's right. We the fit process has been really interesting for us. [00:25:42] I think we're on our third version of the process. Fundamentally, I'm you sign up, we send you this fit kit and it's a caliper and a tape measure. And that allows us we take six points off of your head. And with those six points, we actually map it to a database of 3000 head scans that we've accumulated and basically a little bit of like machine learning type of thing. [00:26:07] Where we're then extrapolating footnote 16. Other aspects of your head in terms of, the curvature and more details and maybe those six points would initially seem to provide. And we then send out basically we call it like a fit cap and just fun looking, little cap that we 3d print. [00:26:24] And you can just literally stick it on and wear around the house and slept getting a fine suit, where you get your initial measurement, you put on that. And then you use just some minor tweaks oh, you know what the arm hole just a little bit bigger. Or for me personally, like I like it a little more snug, around the waist. [00:26:39] And so that, that fit cap gives us some of the subjective feedback, that, that individuals tend to have in terms of how they liked their helmets and fit. And then from there, yeah we generate the the helmet for them and send it to them and ride straight their doorstep conveniently. [00:26:52] And and then they can enjoy it. And. We've actually found quite a few hockey players. I'm surprisingly, I've gotten multiple helmets because they liked it so much. And it's not a common thing actually in hockey to do that. But they've gotten like different colors and versions of the helmet. [00:27:06] Craig Dalton: Interesting. Interesting. And then this sort of manufacturing geek in me asked to ask, so the, each helmet presumably comes out of one machine is built in one single process.  [00:27:19] Whitman Kwok: So we actually do you want to in parallel, so we break up the helmet into sub segments and that allows us to print individual pieces. [00:27:27] It also turns out it gives us some additional engineering design flexibility that you don't get when you print them all as a monolithic structure. And then we basically bond them together. Again, carbon fiber resident type of analogy, holds true here that there's a little bit of. Attachment mechanism and then we adhere everything together. [00:27:44] And the effectively the joints end up being, stronger than the sub-components and and then, yeah, and then we attach on the straps and do some final QA checks and literally sign off on the box and and then send it on its way.  [00:27:57] Craig Dalton: Nice. One of the sort of visual elements that you'll see for the listener when they go over to the website, which I can include in the show notes is there's a. [00:28:06] Honeycomb look across the sort of front and middle of the helmet. Is there a sort of design rationale behind the honeycomb?  [00:28:16] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, it is. It's it's an engineer circles. It's w it's known as one of the most efficient energy absorbing structures. It crumbles really well. Which is what you want, obviously in something like that. [00:28:28] And even better than foam because in foam, what you tend to have is what's called a densification phase where after the foam, if you've got, let's just say 20 millimeters of foam or 20 millimeters from once you start getting past about a third if you've ever been in an accident, looked at your home and you'll see this it'll crack. [00:28:46] And the foam doesn't compress any further. And so you can think of it like suspension on your mountain bike or your gravel bike. If you have suspension on it it's all about the travel, right? At the end of the day, to absorb the impact you want the most travel without bottoming out. So when you hit a bump, you want to utilize whatever the 30, 45 millimeters of travel that you got. And do you use the full 45 millimeters? You will have had the best ride that you could possibly have had, for that circumstance if you bought them out, obviously not good. Particularly we're talking about your head and if you only do 10 minutes, 10 millimeters of that trial, Then you're not fully utilizing your equipment. [00:29:19] And so foam has that issue where once it densifies at some point it doesn't compress any further. And so you tend to only get a fraction of that travel. The nice thing about the hacks is that you get nearly the full travel. So the full offset of the helmet can be used to compress it and protect you. [00:29:39] It also turns out to be quite. And has this other really important ancillary benefit, which is you may not necessarily always be able to see it when someone's riding, but the honeycomb structure extends into, on the interior as well, which means you have an open face structure on your head. And so he can dissipate really easily away from your head as opposed to foam, which is obviously known for beer coolers and other things that has insulating properties, that trap heat. [00:30:05] So we actually had early versus the helmet that didn't even have venting on it. And the helmet was actually quite cool. I wouldn't say it's the coolest, but it was comparable to the other eight helmets. I have sitting in my shed that I used for testing purposes. And then in the moment we opened it up and added the actual venting, like it's a game changer total game. [00:30:25] And particularly these last like week or two where we've had some hundred, a hundred degree days, you really feel.  [00:30:31] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. The the sort of follower of me on Instagram, might've seen me Dawn, one of these helmets a few months back when we were able to meet face to face. It is really, you can definitely feel the weight difference. [00:30:46] It's marginal, but it's absolutely there and our conversation around crumple zones and that idea of. Protection travel in a helmet is super fascinating via the honeycomb design for those listeners and may fall in this camp. What's the guidance by the industry in terms of how frequently you should replace a helmet? [00:31:09] Whitman Kwok: You know what I do think that varies. The most common I hear is somewhere in the range of three to five years. I think the challenge though, is it's like how often you need to change your bike. It varies so much by your circumstances, meaning if you're like me and somewhat klutzy and you're pulling your bike out and you're dropping your helmet and the process, or my helmet, I don't know how many times my helmet has fallen off my handlebars. [00:31:31] Every time it's fallen, like you could have, imagine that impact just compresses the foam just a little bit, right in that one area. And honestly, one or two times it isn't going to be the be all end, all. For me, it's a little unsettling to not know, it's not like my toothbrush that has a wear indicator. [00:31:47] It says, okay. Time to change those bristles. And so the nice thing with the 3d printing, the polymers that we're using, the design that helmet is that there's a step function aspect of it. Like we've designed it so that if you're dropping it casually, it doesn't activate any of that travel. [00:32:02] Like it, it stays rigid. And it's going to Maintain that performance indefinitely. And so you don't really have to worry about it. We offer a five-year warranty on our helmets and and because we're confident around that which I think is an industry leading whatever warranty. [00:32:20] So I think, again, I think that the. Wisdom is three to five years, but I think it varies really significantly and it, and I think it's tough to provide  [00:32:29] Craig Dalton: that, that makes sense. Yeah, that makes sense. I think, there's a lot of us maybe who have been fortunate to, to not have crashed and you don't see the. [00:32:38] Obvious bits of damage to your helmet, but I'm definitely one of those who, whenever I have a conversation about how much and how much the technology, I think to myself, gosh, almost everything in my garage is a PR is probably a pretty long in the tooth in terms of when I should be considering making a replacement. [00:32:58] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, that's right. It's it's one of those pieces of equipment that's easy to ignore, right? Cause it's not like your bike bond brackets squeaking. Your rim brakes rubbing. It's not going to do that and tell you right. That it needs maintenance or help. Yet obviously it protects the most important part of your body. [00:33:13] And so it is pretty critical to have at least inspect it and have some regular interval that you swap it out.  [00:33:20] Craig Dalton: Yeah, absolutely. It's a good reminder to everybody and women. I really appreciate you joining us on the podcast and talking us through this technology. I think the. The tech geek in all of us can really appreciate from listening to you how different the 3d printing technology enables you to think as a helmet manufacturer. [00:33:41] And it's very comforting to know that you've got smart people around you, including yourself and veterans of the industry who have just been thinking about this helmet from the ground. And how to make the best possible experience for consumers. So I know you I'll send people over to the website where they can find more information about the helmet. [00:34:02] Are these available for new orders at this point?  [00:34:05] Whitman Kwok: We will be taking new orders in about two or three weeks. I'm not sure when this is airing. We wanted to make sure that all the early backers on our Kickstarter were well taken care of. And so we've, we're in a good shape there. And then we'll begin opening up borders. [00:34:20] We'll be at the Seattle classic. So for anyone who's there it'd be great drop by our booth. Look out for us. You can see that the helmets firsthand and we'll be definitely taking orders at that point.  [00:34:31] Craig Dalton: Amazing. Yeah. I've seen that. I've seen a couple of people in my Instagram feed who were clearly some of your earliest supporters. [00:34:37] Who've gotten their helmets in already. So that's exciting to see. So once again, Whitman, thanks a ton for this overview. I really appreciated it. And I hope everybody listening got a lot out of this conversation.  [00:34:51] Whitman Kwok: Yeah. Thanks. Thanks Dan and Craig, I'm always happy to talk helmets or anything related to the cycling. [00:34:56] So thanks for having me.  [00:34:58] Craig Dalton: So that's going to do it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. Thank you very much to Whitman and the cab helmets team for joining us and talking all about 3d printing helmets. I think it was a fascinating discussion. Definitely check out their website. They're over at calves, to see a little bit of behind the scenes about the process.  [00:35:18] The guarantees. Auntie's around the helmet and just what a custom fitted helmet could do for. You're cycling enjoyment. As always, if you're interested in giving us feedback and encourage you to join us over at the ridership. Our ship, just visit  [00:35:35] That is our free global cycling community for gravel and adventure, cyclists, to talk about the products and experiences and trails and events. We all love. If you're interested in supporting the podcast, ratings and reviews are hugely helpful in the podcast game, our read everything that. You put out there and appreciate it very much.  [00:35:57] If you're able to financially support the show, simply visit buy me a gravel ride. I've put a number of options out there. From one-time support as well as a monthly subscription that simply. Helps underwrite this broadcast. [00:36:13] So that's going to do it for us. Until next time here's to finding some dirt under To your wheels

    Trek Travel - Girona Gravel Tour with Ewan Shepherd

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 21, 2021 40:11

    This week we sit down with Ewan Shepherd from Trek Travel to discuss their upcoming Girona Gravel Tour trips. We learn about the city, the cycling community and the abundance of gravel that surrounds the city. Trek Travel Gravel Tour Girona  Join The Ridership Support the Podcast Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): Trek Travel   [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton.  [00:00:06] This week on the podcast, we're joined by UN shepherd European logistics manager for track travel. Based out of Girona Spain.  [00:00:14] As the longtime listener knows I've been super keen on the idea of gravel travel and super excited to see this industry grow up.  [00:00:22] We had an earlier discussion with Juan De La Roca about Southern Colorado and building that up as a gravel destination. And now we're seeing events like LIfeTime's Rad Dirt Fest crop up over there. We've also talked to event organizers over in Europe, around the gravel epic series that was conceived. During the COVID time and didn't actually get to get its races off the ground.  [00:00:46] But one of the locations we talked about in Europe was Girona. Now for road cyclist, Girona has long been part of the discussion about where professional athletes live. And there's a reason why they live there. Amazing road, riding all over the place. So I was really excited to learn originally from the gravel epic team about Girona as a travel destination for gravel cyclists.  [00:01:11] But even more excited to learn about this trip that Trek travel is putting together their Girona, gravel bike tour.  [00:01:18] They've got a couple more departures this year in November that you can still sign up for as well as a whole host of dates for 2022, starting in the spring.  [00:01:28] After talking to you. And all I can say is sign me up. It sounds amazing. I'll let him explain it in his own words, but it sounds like Jerome has a very special place for cyclists of all kinds.  [00:01:39] And the opportunities for gravel cycling are abundant outside the city center.  [00:01:44] I'm excited for you to learn more about Girona and gravel. With that said let's dive right in to my conversation with you and shepherd  [00:01:52] Ewan welcome to the show.  [00:01:53] Ewan Shepherd: Hey Craig, thank you very much for having me and thank you everybody for listening.  [00:01:58] Craig Dalton: I appreciate you joining us on a Friday evening over there in Spain, I'm super excited about the topic we're going to discuss today as the listener or the longterm listener has known. [00:02:08] I've talked about gravel travel as something I'm super excited about because as we all know, it's such a great way to explore the world and the idea of packing my bike and going somewhere exotic, like Girona Spain is super exciting to me. So when I got the opportunity to connect with Trek travel, Dig into this trip and dig into Jarana grab gravel jumped at it. [00:02:31] So you, and thank you for joining me. And let's just get started by a little bit about your background.  [00:02:37] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, no worries. Thank you again for having me. And I guess we share something in common that we both enjoy eating well by bike. So gravel travel is definitely evident between us all. Huh. So Bob, my background it's been varied. [00:02:50] I started off as a kid, not really enjoying the power of two wheels on my own preferring Moda, power of motocross, bikes, and motor sport, and pursue the a career in motor sport. I am, I'm only 29, so it's not, it wasn't a long career. And then I decided to jump into the cycle career really because my brother threw me on an old racing bike of hairs and said, we're going trick racing of what is this. [00:03:14] And yeah. That's how I got into cycling and kind of started to learn about it. Then love cycling, all things cycling really threw me on the amount of bikes for the first time. He threw me on a cyclocross bike for the first time, took me to attract for the first time. And just more and more, I ate it up and started falling in love with with cycling and And then I thought, why not help out in my local bike shop? [00:03:37] Because I was in between jobs and bugging the owner and the mechanic calling in on the bike and asking for them to help me with this, or could they get pots or for that? And then they were like, Hey, we need an extra hand here. And you're pretty mechanically minded. Can you want to come and help us out? [00:03:53] And that's how I, it. Wrenching in a bike shop. And from there, it took me to I was actually living in Australia at the time and working in a shop debt. And then I started working for the initial prompt and dealer in Australia, which was pretty fun and interesting. Little folding bikes, which were going all over kind of the Australasia and New Zealand even send a bite that prompted the Fiji. [00:04:17] And then I moved back to the UK and was starting working for old mountain bike brands that maybe some of your listeners have heard of head of pay cycles. They're one of the first UK monocyte grants set up by, by a young family at the time who did same as me. They love motocross and enjoy bike riding. [00:04:38] And they wanted a bike to, to train on during the time that they weren't racing on the road. And so they imported mountain bikes yet to important Gary fishers at the time, because there was nothing else in Europe and or in the UK. So he, Adrian is the main designer of the car. And he designed his own on mountain bikes. [00:04:57] Did y'all say 100, was that famous plus bikes, square tube. aluminum that they rooted out pots of the frame to make it lighter. So I started working for them after they did the whole amount of bike brand and we They had two shops at the time that they just started and started in rental centers. [00:05:14] So I joined them a running one at that shops. And then they got back into the frames. And that's when started to learn more about frame design, different bikes, and the whole Enduro scene was mounted bike and jurors scene was growing. And that was something that we were really interested in the time. [00:05:34] And. I was starting to cyclocross race at a time. I would go off a weekend, so cyclocross race and come back to work. And we were designing 29 S slack long, low amount of bikes. And we also had a total. Version cause Adrian and his wife happy love to go off to all sorts of places. [00:05:53] The, they did Chile, they went and wrote the Santiago combo skeleton and Northern Spain, all of these cycle touring. And he adapted one of the hardtail Enduro steel mountain bikes and put lugs on it. So he could take. And I was like, I liked the look of that bite, but I don't really I don't want to put drop bars on it. [00:06:14] Can I put drop bars on it? Let's try it. And so here I had a 29 mountain bike slack long, whoa, with with a draw bar on it. And I was like this pretty cool. And they were looking to, they already had an exi carbon bikes. I was like, can we do this a bit lighter? Because. Yorkshire is, I know you're you have family that Craig and it's up down. [00:06:35] Dale is Dale is a small valley and it's really steep at each side. And I live in between the two national products of the north York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales. And they have so many of these little Dales. So riding across that, you'd go down and it's like down 25% down to a flat valley, then literally back up the other side, 25 to 30%. [00:06:57] So I wanted something nice and light, but to go all day across the Dales and the malls And so we were making this and thinking, oh, this could be a cool and gravel was coming on the scene at the time. And I was interested in bike packing with it and just testing out something that was a good touring bike. [00:07:18] But at the same time, I just saw touring at the time as being something that my parents did or all the people did when they retired. So I wanted something fun cause I still enjoyed enjoy mountain biking. So I wanted to take it down some trails at the same time as doing a hundred K on it, which I certainly wouldn't do on my one 60 mil. [00:07:36] Enjoy a bike, do a hundred K, but so that's where I discovered this cyclocross gravel mix. That we all call gravel today. Which Adrian at the time was like, we used to race on my, on a bikes would drop handlebars XC and downhill back in the 1980s. Cause inventing anything new it's all coming round in circles, the wheels going round, as they say. [00:08:00] So that was really my early years in the cycling industry playing with that. And then. Being honest, Googled cool bike mechanic jobs in one places which took me back to Australia. And then I wanted to go back to Europe and it took me to the warmest place at the time, which was the Canary islands which was great for gaining some exposure of just massive cyclists all at once. [00:08:24] Thousands of people on the road, just riding the bikes, having fun on holiday guided, worked in rental shops. Love the Canary island lifestyle. And then I just stumbled across Trek travel. I told the global logistics manager at one day, I was like, I want to come work for you because I want to help out on some of your big trips. [00:08:41] They were doing tour de France and big Pyrenees trips and out trips. And I just really liked the idea of offering support to. To other people, not the I'd been guy, a guy that I wanted to support the guides. I knew all the tricks of all the problems of being a guide. So I wanted to help them most of all, help back help their guests. [00:09:04] And that kind of leads me to here where I'm the European logistics coordinator for Trek travel and in our home base of drones.  [00:09:11] Craig Dalton: Amazing. It's such a, it's so interesting. As people who have been around the sport of cycling for a long time to trace back when you first started doing the thing that later became gravel cycling. [00:09:25] Because obviously as you've indicated, as we've discussed before, People have been riding drop bar bikes off-road for a long time, but it was this kind of gradual progression of componentry, frame, design, methodology, tires, brakes, all these things combined to making what was once somewhat a hacky type experience where you were maybe bringing a bike that wasn't exactly suited for the job to where we are now. [00:09:53] That depending on where you are and how you want to set up your bike. There's such a wide variety of ways in which you can configure these bikes to ride on the roads and trails wherever you live in the world.  [00:10:05] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. It's always fascinated me coming from like a motor sport design element. [00:10:10] Always into aerodynamics working with formula two, formula three. And then I had to, I always had a love for kind of classic cause I raised something in the UK or Europe rally cross, which I don't think you have in us, but it's it's exactly that it's a cross between this second is gravel road and dirt, and you drive a little bit of each and we always used to race the classic mini Coupa's. [00:10:35] That was my classic love of cause. But yeah, that was a tangent. Sorry.  [00:10:40] Craig Dalton: No, it's an interesting perspective. I hadn't, no, one's brought that up before, but it's totally true. There's parallels in that experience because you had to have a car that drove well on the road. Capable off-road and presumably every driver, just like every rider had to make those difficult choices of, okay. [00:10:57] Do I want it to be higher performing on-road or off-road and what's that happy medium for me as a, as an athlete.  [00:11:04] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. And I think that changes with your with you personally, you may be a road cyclist, but you have that instinct to what's down there and it's a gravel road to go off road and explore it. [00:11:18] And you want to feel safe and comfortable. You don't want to necessarily take your 23 mil tires, cotton road bike down a. The track you want a bike that's comfortable and safe to do it all.  [00:11:31] Craig Dalton: Yeah, exactly. Talking about Trek travel specifically, obviously with the track name associated with it, people associated directly with the brand, but the company itself as Trek travel. [00:11:43] Can you tell us a little bit about its origins and how long it's been operating?  [00:11:47] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah it's actually a 20th year of fun. 2020 years since charter travel was thought up in the, in Trek itself where it started with just three people brought into to en enhance the experience that people were getting when they were not just buying a bite or buying into the Trek brand, which. [00:12:09] Is ride bikes, have fun, feel good. And Chuck just wants to get more people on bikes to have fun. And one of the ways was to offer them a trip of a lifetime of vacation, of a lifetime to somewhat. And that idea grew over the last 20 years studying in the U S and then Trek bought into the protein of yeah. [00:12:30] Trek. And they started running a VIP trips to the total France and bringing clients across. But that specifically to see the tour and see the classics that the ring in Europe have the outs to, to climb out west, to do Mon Von to go to the pyramids and do the tour of my life. The real bread and butter of your. [00:12:51] And that's grown just more destinations, more places to ride more great experiences by bike. And yeah, that's brought us to now at 20 years  [00:13:01] Craig Dalton: old. Yeah. And for those of you who have not done a bike tourism trip, it really is amazing. And a luxury. It's obviously a luxury to be able to afford it, but to be able to go over and do this and to have someone plan out the best of the best to plan out the best roads, the best routes when you're coming off the Tourmalet or a mom volunteer to knowing the right cafe to stop in having extra gear for you, having a guide that, speaks the language, but more importantly can help you get integrated into the culture in my personal experience, having done several trips over and yeah. [00:13:37] It was just such a great time. If you can afford to spend that time on your bikes, spend a week on one of these trips. It's just so amazing, which is why I remained super jazzed and excited to talk about the gravel tours that track is introducing. When did you first start to see gravel cycling as something that you could package a trip around? [00:14:01] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. I don't know who or when the first kind of the idea here's what talks about it. Cause I'm sure it's been something we're always looking at new trends, new you, new ways to travel that that people want to do. And new experiences and to we're primarily on the road, we started with mountain bike trips. [00:14:20] Think I wouldn't say five, six years ago. And dos were in small pockets in Iceland, Norway, and that's a great way to get completely off the road. But then we found a a lot of people. They still want it to, they still want it to do a bit of everything. They want it to go on the road still. [00:14:38] They wanted to do the classic climbs as well as being off the road. So it was like that mix of, we took you to this beautiful forest, but actually you want it to be on the road as well in the same week. And, but you didn't want to do it on the amount of bike. And at the time there was no real bike that we had. [00:14:56] Do it and then as the Demani that tried to money evolve, it's got this name as being the, do it all bike. Whether it's ISO speed and its ability to take why the tires it's really comfortable Fabienne Cancellara famously designed the bike to to win Piru bay and and Flanders of all the couple and mixed terrain. [00:15:14] Yeah, this this is a bite that we can use for multipurpose. And three years ago we started using it as just guides and company. People would come to drone and all they say is, Hey, can we go right gravel with, we don't want to ride the road round here. We heard the gravel is amazing. So we'd stick some hybrid tires on the demand and off we'd go, just exploring off the beaten track. [00:15:36] And that's. Where it came from and grew from that with into a week long trip here in Barona. And yeah that's why I came. That's  [00:15:46] Craig Dalton: great to hear it. It's interesting to hear that it came from the riders up and great to hear that you, as a company, listened and started to build more experiences around that, as we've talked about a little bit offline, Girona for anybody who's follows. [00:16:01] Professional road. Cycling has always had this huge allure as a destination for a lot of pros live there. So we presume there's a lot of great road riding out there. Do you feel that in the city, is, are there a ton of road cyclists around every week?  [00:16:20] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, I would say there's, I wouldn't say there's a ton of road cyclist. [00:16:23] I'd say there's thousands of cyclists in general. On any given weekend, you can see mountain bikers road bike as gravel bike is like trick bikers nowadays. But. All the time. You can see people on bikes. It's a city which has a big network of city bikes and like docs every way. When you can pick up the city bikes for three years, you can rent the bike for the day to ride around town. [00:16:47] It's not a no that we call it a town. Although it's a city, it's very, it's a small, condensed old town. So it's great to explore by bike with all this small streets and things. And yeah, as you said it's known it's gotten more well-known because of all the professionals that live here modern, the bike roads you name it, there's many triathletes Yan for Dino to name one of the big biggest triathletes pulls this, his house. [00:17:11] And it's yeah, in Europe, it's known as one of the places where particularly I'm going to say foreign writers come from Australia and New Zealand, Canada, us they use this, is that is that personal? And I'd probably say right now in Jarana you have upwards of 8,200 pro cyclists living here which is really high for any city in the world. [00:17:34] Given the amount of pros in general, living in Jonah, and you have three of the biggest teams here locally, you have EDS Israel cycling academy have a small base here. You have a couple of continental teams, a couple of the U S continental teams have their European basis here. So you not only have teams, you have sorry. [00:17:56] You not only have writers, you have the support here as well. And they say, if you just want a massage, it's the best place in the, in Europe. Go from mass massage because of the level is so high, they used the pros. You never get a bad massage here at all because the misuse could have been rubbing right. [00:18:14] Chris from the day before he attends to you, so you get pro service, whatever you're doing, and that's not just in cycling related. I'm sure we're going to talk about this, but the coffee scene, the food scene everything has that little twist towards catering. Which is amazing. Yeah. I think that's  [00:18:32] Craig Dalton: super interesting, obviously the writing I want to be doing is off-road, but as someone who's a fan of professional cycling in general, just having that be infused as part of the city, in addition to the culture, which maybe we'll talk about a little bit more. [00:18:46] It's just going to be a fun addition to that trip for us geographic challenged Americans, where Israel.  [00:18:53] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, so Girona is it's in Spain. It's in the region of Catalonia which is to the Northeast. We border on Spain. We bought it with Spain and Dora and France. And. Yeah. [00:19:09] And the Northeast, and  [00:19:10] Craig Dalton: It's not specifically on the coast, but how far of a ride is it to the coast from Jarana city center?  [00:19:16] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, so Girona is it's probably for any cycling destination is really well situated. It's just a 40 minutes drive to them. And 40 minutes drive from the Pyrenees. [00:19:28] So yeah, slap bang in the middle of mountains and see and give you perspective in writing terms. I'm sorry, I'm going to talk in kilometers. But we're looking at about a nice 50 mile loop to the coast and back.  [00:19:43] Craig Dalton: Okay. And look at just having Google maps open as we speak, it looks like there is a lot of, kind of national parks base in green space, just outside the city. [00:19:53] Ewan Shepherd: literally the back of the town has a very famous climate song of UVS might be of huddle of L's angels. It's just over seven, 10 K climate just over 6% is always say to the first and last day, you're hearing Jerone. You're going to write this. If you don't write it every day. [00:20:10] And that leads into a beautiful national pocket, the bat at the back, which has miles of more, more challenging gravel all the way to the coast. And then on the inland side of Jerome, just straight into two massive valleys, which just keep going up and up and before, it you're in the parodies. [00:20:29] Craig Dalton: For those clients immediate,  [00:20:31] Ewan Shepherd: very little flat writing.  [00:20:33] Craig Dalton: Yeah. It's going to ask for those climbs immediately outside of Dharana. How much elevation do you gain to get to a local peak? Is that a thousand feet or 200 meters?  [00:20:43] Ewan Shepherd: L's angels is about 600. Elevation was very, to the very peak the closest high point around here, you're looking at about a thousand meters up to the highest peak in Catalonia itself is just shy of 2000 meters. [00:21:00] So the elevation is not super high but you are going from sea level. Most of the time But it's all the little undulations. It's a rolling terrain. I would say, yeah.  [00:21:09] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. Yeah, it certainly sounds like those, they jet up pretty quickly as a lot of coastal ranges do so for the writing, when we talk about the gravel riding in Jarana, we've talked about how great the road riding is. [00:21:21] But what does it look like to get on these gravel roads and what are they like? Are they super chopped up or are they smooth or did you get a little bit of both? I'd love to just get a sense for what you're out there. Riding.  [00:21:33] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. I think you have a bit of everything we say, Girona is the Disneyland of cycling. [00:21:40] And I first experienced kind of the gravel, as I said, we just. Through some hybrid Taya, some 32 mil hybrid tires on a demise and went straight on lucky living out slightly outside of Toronto. So just 10 K from drone essentially itself. And it's mainly farm lands and going back to my kind of love for cycling in in the UK. [00:22:02] With the Dales and we have things called bridleways and I was in search of these things to start with because it's not well publicized gravel anyway. So you just go out the door and go, okay, take the first, left off the road. That doesn't seem like a road and see where it heads. [00:22:17] And sometimes you end up with a beautiful, smooth gravel track with that. Evidently to S at a, an extra road to people's houses all you get unlucky and you end up and it tends into single track and actually becomes quite flowing. This is actually it's maybe a mountain bike route, and you guys through a single track, really nice employee through the woods can be quiet Rocky in places. [00:22:40] This part of Spain is very Rocky with granite. I'm limestone. Costa brother, the literal translation is like a rugged coastline. So that is evident all the way through. But you have also what they call via Verde green routes, which are smooth, hard-packed almost manmade smooth gravel, Sandy tracks which becoming more and more common. [00:23:05] From Girona itself to the little towns, to get people off the roads from all levels of cyclists, from kids to families, you can see them just packed on these green ones. Which a fantastic to start a new route on, and then you head either to the mountains, or maybe you want to go to the coast and you can just hop off on to onto something. [00:23:24] As long as it doesn't say, don't go this way. Is such a friendly kind of feeling towards cyclists. The even if you I've ended up some days, just going along a little, same little track down a shoot and I'm in the back of someone's garden and raking up leaves. Oh, sorry. That's the end. To direct you back onto the track and you were meant to be down that I take you're meant to go that way, but yeah. [00:23:48] So it's a bit of everything. That's amazing.  [00:23:52] Craig Dalton: It's so cool that, to be able to leave the city and choose your own adventure and just have that ability to explore and find all kinds of different terrain that, that sounds like such a special area and not surprising why you guys decided to introduce the Girona gravel bike tour trip, which looks amazing. [00:24:13] Can we talk about that trip and what it entails?  [00:24:16] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. So to give you an an idea of the overall of the trip, it's it's a one hotel trip based here in Jarana. Chose to base it right out of the center. We work with a really great hotel, Nord in the center. It's really cycling focused. And we do that. [00:24:33] It's based kind of off our right camp, which not to diversify what I'm talking about. It's all about eat, sleep, ride, repeat. So we make it nice and simple to focus on the writing and it's for four days of writing and it's designed to. The slightly taken on the more intermediate to advanced side of kind of people's levels. [00:24:55] So we say the most people should be have some experience. It shouldn't be their first time writing a gravel bike to get the most out of it. And we have easy days which are, like I say, just using these Greenways, getting out of the city, heading to see some of the beautiful, rugged coastline. [00:25:13] And then we have some more avid days which heads. What's the mountains. And we actually found some of our routes through used to calm. Are you still does? Comes here every year in the spring to do some training before he started his road season. And we'd always wait till he hummed, we see him here. [00:25:30] And then when we're looking on struggling, why did he go? Where did he go? Because he always seems to find some stupidly hard climbs, some great gravel climates. We didn't know that. And we actually introduced some of these to the trip and it's like a, like an outdoor as of gravel, just snaking switchbacks one after the other, up to this beautiful peak point with a big cross on the top. [00:25:53] Yeah. And then you're trying to work out where he went and then you look down the other side and oh, he went down there and you you try it. But then for. For many people, it's probably too much of a Rocky rock garden. So you end up heading back down like a beautiful the switching snaking all the way back down is the safest way sometimes. [00:26:14] But yeah, that's a, an overview of a gravel trip.  [00:26:18] Craig Dalton: Nice. I've done trips of my two trips. One. We were moving basically every year. And the second we had a home base and I have to say my preference is for that home base, because I think it allows you to just absorb the culture a little bit more and be a tourist in the city that you're staying in. [00:26:35] You don't have to pack your gear up every night. So there's something nice about having that hub and ride mom.  [00:26:41] Ewan Shepherd: Yup. Yup. It definitely just opening your suitcase, getting it, your kid out, put it in the wardrobes and you don't have to pack it again. The following day to move on. I like that it's focused on eat, sleep, right? [00:26:53] Repeat, enjoy your writing. The guy. Take care of everything else. And you're in the center of the city and you're a Stone's throw from the old town. You can go for a walk on the evenings, your afternoons and evenings. yours your own to either relax, take a massage or wander the town, go sit and sip coffee. [00:27:12] Do all the locals. Do any afternoon, go have a beer and get ready for your evening meal. And and that's what people want.  [00:27:18] Craig Dalton: Now our writers on these trips typically bring in their own bikes or are you providing a bike for them?  [00:27:23] Ewan Shepherd: Just really most people take a bike from us, the Trek demonic. [00:27:28] You can bring your own bike. It doesn't does it affect price? It doesn't affect the price, but we do it because it saves you having to pack your by like in a box and all the hassle of bringing it to the building it. Yeah. All of that. You just turn up and on the first day, your bikes there, it's already set up with your measurements, to your bike from home and ready to go. [00:27:46] You don't need to worry about it. And our guides full train mechanics and take care of your bike throughout the whole week. And particularly as gravel can be hot on your bikes. And you don't want any problems with your own bikes, cause it's only going to compromise your riding,  [00:27:58] Craig Dalton: as someone who can be hard on the bike. I appreciate that. So at the end of the day, I can hand my bike off to someone and it's going to come back to me better than I left it.  [00:28:05] Ewan Shepherd: Yep. Every day, I'm sure the guides gonna look after that bike and and give you it in the morning. Like it's brand new, no issues,  [00:28:14] Craig Dalton: particular trip. [00:28:15] Are you providing the routes like GPX files? How does it work from a kind of a day-to-day practice perspective?  [00:28:22] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. So normally day to day, you'd wake up do your morning routine get dressed, go for breakfast. Get a hot tea, Catalan breakfast. Then head down to, to pick up your bikes from the bike room. [00:28:35] Your guides would meet you dad. Give you a kind of a morning briefing. The route has to go. We provide every guest with a Garmin, with preloaded GPS routes. And your guide is going to typically you have one guide on the bike, possibly two, and then a guide in a support vehicle following behind not only any issues that you have, but also by signature snack tables along the route. [00:28:59] So you could be riding through a wood and then suddenly. The van is just there and your guide has gone out a table and put some beautiful snacks out. So right in the moment when you're like, I wish I had put more water in my bottle, I wish that I brought an extra bar. That's when you're going to get to find your guides. [00:29:18] We know those spots well,  [00:29:20] Craig Dalton: nice. And, as athletes are going to be coming over with different ability, levels and fitness levels and sort of interest in flogging themselves levels. Is there an ability for, if we look at it a daily route and say I'd fancy doing a little bit more. [00:29:35] I want to come home with my legs broken every day. Are there those types of options and flexibility built into these things?  [00:29:41] Ewan Shepherd: Yup. Yup. It sounds like most of our guides they always want to go do more. So yeah, we yeah. Have a standard route for the day and then w what we call that the avid group for the day. [00:29:51] So I guess, Craig, this is for you the extra little add on which could be anything from an extra climb or an extra loop that you just hit the route on your GPS and adult. It'll take you. And we have a, an ethos of ride at your own pace. Yeah. I don't really ride. It's nice, right. [00:30:11] As a group, but also it's nice experience at your own pace. So we definitely encourage that. Guides will move around you rather than you having to stick to your guide. And they'll accommodate if if you've got slow riders or if you want to go up and do the route quite often you're going to have the guide wanting to go with you and show you that extra little climb or. [00:30:30] Take you on a, an extra level route or redo a route from two days ago because you, it was such an amazing experience. Definitely it does something for me.  [00:30:40] Craig Dalton: That's good to know. Yeah. For me, when I'm able to carve out this time in my life and I may be unique, but maybe not, when I go on one of these trips, since I don't have the responsibilities that I have at home, I don't have to care for my son. [00:30:54] I don't have to do, I need the things I need to do around the house. All I want to do is ride my bike and really, as long as I can prop myself up at the dinner table that night, that's about all I need to achieve in the rest of the.  [00:31:06] Ewan Shepherd: Yup. Yup. Did that have. A full vacation of a lifetime that's that's catered for you. [00:31:13] And that's definitely why I think people do a group trip or an organized talk because you mentioned that if you can afford to do it, but can you afford not to do it? If you've only got 20 days holiday a year, To spend spend your time planning for your holiday, and then once you get that to spend time working out, okay, what should I ride today? [00:31:34] Or where should we stop for lunch? Or where's the best place to have dinner tonight? It's all done for you. You can just make the most of what you want to do, which if you want to go on a cycling holiday and you want to ride your bike as much as.  [00:31:47] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And I think it's, it's further complicated when you're trying to ride gravel. [00:31:50] So I did a self guided tour in the Alps and there were it was pretty easy to understand the road routes that were famous to the famous climbs and figure that out on my own. But when it comes to gravel and this is something I've spoken about a lot on the podcast, there's just so much to be gained from having a little bit of local knowledge. [00:32:09] Because you cannot look at a path necessarily. And know, is that a super Rocky path that I'm going to be going four miles an hour on? Or is it actually, a smooth, single track that I'm going 16 miles an hour. And we can't know that from the outside, without talking to cyclists in that local area, while we still want to have that sense of adventure and allowing the ride to unfold. [00:32:34] It's just really nice in my opinion, particularly if you're going to spend the money to go travel to a destination, to just have a little bit of this served up to you and be able to get out there, worry for you.  [00:32:44] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. Yeah, no, I definitely agree in something that you spend all the time working out, attract to go down and then suddenly it leads to nothing and you've wasted an hour of your ride to, and then you have to backtrack. [00:32:59] And that's yeah. With a small amount of time in Europe or wherever you're traveling, you want to make money. My  [00:33:06] Craig Dalton: Spanish is bad enough that if I end up in your garden, there's probably going to be an international incident. [00:33:11] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. Yeah. But everybody's friendly hand signals are just, yes. It's I like, I think I've written in a lot of places in the world and definitely definitely Spain is a really good for.  [00:33:26] Craig Dalton: Yeah. When you have that many cyclists moving through a community, obviously the locals are experienced seeing these people and they realize, they're good for the community. [00:33:36] Hopefully we're good. Environmental stewards and polite cyclists. So it's just a symbiotic relationship for the committee.  [00:33:43] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. Yeah. And as we are in a. Company we're based in Madison, Wisconsin. And we've also been in Jerone now for nearly six, seven years. So we have a good hold in the community. We employ, we have lots of people that work for attract travel, who live here locally. [00:34:00] Who are deep rooted in the community. So we often we work a lot with our subcontractors. We work really hard to find the best people who not only have the best winery or the best restaurant, but they have the best ethos to, to work with us and help our guests have the best experience. [00:34:19] It's not just about the product that serving, but how they're making our guests and us as a company feel. So it's really important that local aspect, but everything that's involved,  [00:34:29] Craig Dalton: such an amazing opportunity that travel affords the traveler, just the ability to see how things that are important in the culture. [00:34:37] Are manufactured and meet people who are doing them and, meet you, meet the restaurant tours. Like all of that is just what has kept me traveling my entire life and hopefully will have me continue traveling. So a couple of final questions for you. UN what is your favorite local cuisine? What can't we miss when we go there? [00:34:57] And what is your favorite part of Sharona from a tourist perspective?  [00:35:01] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, that's a definitely a hard question. I don't even have a closer prepared, good answer. Where do I want to start? Definitely Girona has a lot of local cuisine Catalan cutline cuisine. It's a very simple way of cooking in one aspect. [00:35:18] And why. One thing that people often. Think of it all. I'll Paya, no, throw that away. It's it's not Paya that you'd come to get here. They have something called pinch Hills, which is very similar to tapas and it's one of my favorite local it's not a particular dish. [00:35:37] It's a way of eating and. In the restaurant, you have lots of little plates on the counter with little chunks of bread with on top of them, either fresh fish with with all sorts of toppings or. Saw or booty FADA, there's the sausage which they do in many different kinds of blood sausages. [00:35:56] And lots of little dishes. And often you don't sit down at a table. This is going to freak people out in COVID at times, but it's a great social way of eating because you're taking small plate and you're taking it and you're just standing in a bar basically. With everybody else who's enjoying it, but it's that great atmosphere of eating together in the center of town, which often spills out into the streets on a Friday and Saturday of just people standing out on the streets with small plates and a little what they called Canada, a little glass of the local beer, which they have a lot of really good local breweries here. [00:36:30] Which I know a lot of people love to test out all the local. And Catalonia to the complete other scale of things has some of Europe's best Michelin star restaurants like per area, just in, in Rona, this small area, up to 45 Ks from the center, you have 35 Michelin star restaurants. [00:36:50] For gastronomy it's an amazing place because of all the local ingredients of the winery. You have a lot of cider production with apple and pear farms, which you ride through. One of my favorite rides to the coast air takes you through just miles and miles of apple orchards and tail orchards which is just going to be picked in about a half a month's time. [00:37:13] It's main picking season here. Delicious. Yeah, it's a, and I haven't even talked about coffee coffee, the culture of coffee, drinking. Was brought to your owner with cyclist, cyclists, need coffee, and they need good coffee. And the Canadian Chrystia and Maya was one of the more well-known people who brought the coffee culture and his own roastery of the service costs. [00:37:34] And Lamatsia his his coffee shop. And from dad nearly 10 years ago, it sprung into. That each corner was developing its own taste for coffee. And as the locals really have a passion for it now at brewing really good speciality coffee, which, like I said, we can't live without it. [00:37:51] They definitely have a captured audience. Indeed.  [00:37:54] Craig Dalton: This is amazing. Girona has always been tops on my list of places to go and it certainly remains. In that post COVID top slot for me, I can't wait to join you on one of these trips. At some point, I know there's a couple trips left this year. [00:38:09] It looks like November 7th and November 14th are available for departure dates. And obviously once again, in the spring in 2022. So for all the listeners out there, you can just visit Trek, and just write search for Jeronica dry gravel. And you'll see the trip we've been talking about. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun and you can almost guarantee you that I'll be there one of these days. [00:38:32] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, I will look forward to it. Look forward to meeting in person and hopefully you'll get to experience your own home and it won't be your last visit to drone, or I can assure you for that much.  [00:38:44] Craig Dalton: Thanks for all the great information you and I appreciate you joining us.  [00:38:48] That's going to do it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. Big thanks to you and for joining us and telling us all about that great trip that Trek travel has organized. Again, those dates are November this year. As well as throughout the Springs to go, please visit truck To figure out what itinerary might work for you. I hope you're stoked. Like I am.  [00:39:10] I'm desperate to get my tires overseas. And sample some of that great gravel in Spain and elsewhere in the world. We'll leave it at that for this week. If you have any questions, feel free to join us over at the ridership. Just visit to join that free community. [00:39:29] If you're interested in supporting the podcast, ratings and reviews are hugely helpful. It's something easy you can do to support what I'm doing. And if you have a little bit more energy or means feel free to visit,  [00:39:44] To help underwrite some of the financial costs associated with this broadcast. Until next time. Here's to finding. some dirt onto your wheels

    BikeFit 101 with Coach Patrick Carey

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 14, 2021 54:51

    This week on the podcast we tackle Gravel Bike Fit 101. Randall interviews Coach and Fitter Patrick Carey about the fundamentals of fit with key takeaways for every rider.  Patrick / Speed Science Coaching Website  The Ridership Support the podcast Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): BikeFit 101 with Coach Patrick Carey [00:00:00] Randall: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm Randall Jacobs, and today I'm joined by Patrick Carey. Patrick was on the pod with us in February of 2021. Craig and him had a conversation about the five skills every gravel cyclist needs to master.  [00:00:17] Patrick wears a few different hats. He is the founder of speed science coaching. He does full-time training for cyclists and endurance athletes. He's a skills coach with Lee Likes Bikes and Ride Logic, and he travels all over the country, teaching bike skills. He is an SICI. I train bike fitter and their approach is very much integrating some of the thinking from the medical and physical therapy fields into bike fitting. And in a previous lifetime, he was a mechanical engineer, so he really understands how mechanical systems work, including, biomechanics. [00:00:45] Before we get started. I'd like to remind you that if you'd like to support the podcast, there are a few different ways you can do so. Firstly, you can go to and make a donation or become a recurring supporter. [00:00:58] All proceeds, go directly to Craig and offset his costs in producing the pod. Secondly, you can join The Ridership and contribute to the conversations that are happening there.  [00:01:06] And lastly, if you'd like to support the work that I do, thesis currently has a limited number of build kits for complete bikes for delivery this fall. If you're a friend you're interested now, it'd be a great time to schedule a consult so we can work together to create the perfect spec for your unique fit, fitness and terrain.  [00:01:21] And with that, Patrick, welcome back to the podcast.  [00:01:24] Patrick: Hey, thank you. I'm so happy to be back. This is going to be a lot of fun. [00:01:27] Randall: Yeah, this is a conversation I've been wanting to have with you for quite some time. So let's just dive right in. How do we even define a good bike fit?  [00:01:34] Patrick: I think that's a great place to start. My take is that every good bike fit starts with the bike fitting the rider, not the other way around. And unfortunately, oftentimes what happens is people are shoehorned onto their bikes and that's really the opposite of what we want to happen.  [00:01:50] We want to set every bike up for each rider so that the rider just naturally falls into position on the bike. There's no pain points. You're not running into impingements and you're also not contorting yourself in any way you're not overreaching. You're not bending your wrist some awkward way, and in that same idea, if something hurts when you ride your bike, it's not right. Don't ever let someone tell you "oh, that's just how riding a bike is. It's supposed to be a little uncomfortable". No, it's supposed to be joyful and it's supposed to be wonderful. And when you get your bike set up correctly for you, it can be that.  [00:02:25] Randall: This is very much aligned with what I often talk about. We're not creating a bicycle. We're creating a cyborg. And the interface between the animal and the machine is how you achieve that. Let's dive in even further. So different approaches to fit.  [00:02:37] Patrick: Probably what most people have been used to it's the throw a leg over it approach.  [00:02:41] You literally stand over the bike. If you can clear the top tube, that's probably a good place. And then, when you throw the word fit in there usually what ends up happening is, you eyeball the saddle height, the stem maybe, gets flipped. It probably does not get changed. And then also, a lot of that is relying on fit charts, right? So bike companies put out the fit charts that says if you're five, seven, you should be on this size bike. If you're five, 10, you should be on the size bike. And I personally believe that very often, unfortunately, results in people being on the wrong sized bike. Typically a bike that's too big.  [00:03:17] Which means that they are overreaching on that bike and you ended up chasing the front end of the bike. So the front end become somewhat fixed in space and you can always shorten the stem so much. So then that rider ends up being shoved way, way forward on the bike. And yeah, bikes are meant to create enjoyment. This takes away from it. [00:03:35] Randall: And when you go with too short of a stem. It does take some of the mass off the front axle. So for say high-speed canyon carving that front end is not gonna feel as planted. Works fine. Say for gravel. But in a road application, it can really make the bike feel vague upfront. So it's this handling issue as well.  [00:03:53] Patrick: It can work okay for gravel, I think one of the beauties of gravel bikes is their versatility. [00:03:58] For me personally, I have a couple of dedicated cyclocross race bikes, mostly because they're the ones that I blast with a pressure washer after every race. But my gravel bike has become my only other drop bar bike. I have wheel sets that I switch around so that I have a set of road tires a set of gravel tires.  [00:04:14] But that bike has amazing versatility. And so what you don't want to do is compromise the handling to a point where, okay, it feels good when you're sitting up going slow on a dirt road, but then boy, it feels nervous at speed, down that same dirt road or on pavement.  [00:04:28] Randall: Yeah. Let's keep going with this. So we have the throw the leg over it approach. What would be a better approach? Let's go soup throw nuts starting with a new machine. [00:04:36] Patrick: Okay. So if we call the throw leg over the approach the worst case scenario, the best case scenario as a coach and fitter would be to work with someone before they ever buy a bike. So work with the athlete and figure out first what they want to do with the bike. What their ideal setup would be, but then look at their body completely separate to the bike.  [00:04:55] First thing we would do is a functional movement screening. And this is something I do for any bike fit, where I'm actually looking at people's ranges of motion. I'm looking at any impingements they have. We're looking at their specific body proportions. [00:05:09] There's a great book called Bike Fit by a guy named Phil Burt, and he worked for many years with Team Great Britain, which is a pretty dominant force in the cycling world, and he starts the book off right away by saying that if you look at just average proportions and you define things off of average proportions, you're only catching about one third of the population you're catching the middle of the bell curve. So you're right away missing two thirds of the population. Okay. If you take that then into bike fit, if you just look at, say someone's height, that doesn't take into account their arm length that doesn't take into account their inseam versus their torso length.  [00:05:47] So that's really important to factor in any kind of bike fit and the beauty. When we're talking about this approach is that we can really factor that in because the next thing I would do after that functional movement screening is I would put someone on a fit cycle, which barely looks like a bike. Other than that, it has crank seat and handlebars, but it allows you to move those points in space in the X- Y axis, and that way you can adjust and find someone's ideal position, right? The position where they just fall right onto it. They're able to comfortably generate power. They're able to ride in that position for a really long time. And then we take that position. And we can now compare those points in space against actual bikes and come up with a list of bikes that fit them. So someone might come to me and say, I'm looking at these three different bikes, right?  [00:06:37] Either, they tick the boxes. I like the idea of them or they're available right in this day and age. And so then we can say, okay, this is the size for that particular bike. This is the size for that particular bike. And it's quite often they're not the same size, right? Because that sizing, as we will talk about a minute, that sizing is oftentimes misleading, meaningless, right? Doesn't refer to real measurements. So we're able to go by actual, stack, reach measurements like that. And then, depending on what someone wants to do, we can come up with a complete custom build all the way to their custom crank length bar with, everything, or they can buy a bike off the shelf and, we can say, okay, this is going to get us the closest possible, and then we're going to change the stem and that's going to get us there. Or maybe, for some particular proportion that you have, you really do need to change the bars or something like that. But that really would be best case scenario because now you're totally eliminating the risk of someone ending up on the wrong size bike from the start.  [00:07:41] Randall: Yeah. And fit cycles the most advanced ones, have quite a few degrees of freedom in terms of what you can adjust. Everything from crank length and Q factor and stance. And you can adjust all these variables in real time, as you're seeing the rider pedal and that ability to calibrate the machine to the rider and see the rider in motion is vastly superior to just having, static measurements and trying to graph them onto the bike. It's a good starting point, for sure, especially if you're trying to just select a bike and know if a bike is going to work at all, you could start that way, but going and getting this functional analysis, this analysis in motion is just next level. I can only go so far. For example, when I'm doing a bike consult for one of our bikes and I can get everyone, somebody the right frame size, crank length. Handlebar with and those types of parameters through asking some questions and having them take some measurements, but stem length I can't get for sure, because that's an output of all these other variables that need to be locked in first, the crank length, saddle height, saddle for- aft and so on. And then also I'm not able to see, what you had mentioned about their flexibility and looking at their physiology and then seeing them in motion.  [00:08:50] There really is no substitute for this sort of analysis with somebody with a scientific mindset and a lot of experience seeing lots of riders on bikes.  [00:08:59] Patrick: Absolutely. And this is probably some of the best money you could possibly spend. If you're going to make the investment in a bike. We're talking in the range of two to $300 probably is what a complete, pre- purchase fit like this would cost, and that's going to a professional fitter that has a fit cycle. That's going to spend.  [00:09:19] Upwards of a couple hours with you laying all this out. And then it's also going to be available to you to walk through the process of buying your bike. Because maybe you come up with some ideal setup and then. Ugh that bike's not available. So now you have to go back to the drawing board. That person will help you through that process.  [00:09:34] That is the best money you can spend because even if that represents a significant percentage of what you're going to spend in the total in the end, right? Like maybe you're going to, maybe you're going to spend. $1,500 or $2,000 on a bike. Spend $300 upfront and that bike will fit you better. You will enjoy it more. You will have it forever.  [00:09:54] As opposed to you don't spend that money, make a mistake on something and now it's never what it could have been.,  [00:10:02] And the other extreme of this is the person who spends a lot of money on their gear, gets the Aero wheels, the Aero helmet, and, carbon rail saddle, and all of these things that are really marginal gains at best. [00:10:13] A bike fit, it's not something that you can show off to your friends. It's not something where you can hand the bike off and have people pick it up and be like, Ooh, it's so light. It's so fancy. But it is this animal machine interface and having that just be as dialed as possible unlocks performance in a way that no components can. [00:10:32] Track 2: Absolutely. And I see all the time, I'm always at events, I travel around the country coaching and it's just so often it's actually rare for me to see a person who's bike is totally dialed for them. [00:10:42] I hate to say it, but it is rare. And I oftentimes see people are like, wow, like they would enjoy riding so much more, riding would be so much easier for them. Even if it's as simple as cut that stem length in half. You oftentimes see it, people have their seats slammed as far back in the rails as possible. And it's surprising. Sometimes it just ends up that way and they don't know any better or it came that way from the shop and they didn't know they could change it. And oftentimes you're talking about close to free as far as some of these changes. [00:11:13] Randall: Yeah. And if you have to spend a few bucks to swap a stem or something to get that dialed fit again, some of the best money you can spend.  [00:11:20] So we've talked about two extremes. One is how most people end up on the wrong size bike with the throw the leg over it approach the other is this really ground up clean slate sort of approach. But what if you already have a bike, how do we make that bike fit better?  [00:11:33] Track 2: Yes. And to be fair, this is probably 80 to 90% of the people that I work with as a fitter. And and this is also probably 90 plus percent of people out riding in the world. We're talking about, if you have a bike that is close to the right size for you, right? Maybe you could have split hairs and said that you should have a slightly smaller, slightly bigger bike, but this is how I work on a regular basis with riders as they come to me for this. We would confirm that bike is a close starting point. And I always use reach as that cornerstone. And reach in the sense of the stack and reach those two measurements to define where the top of your head tube is. That's the thing on a bike you can change the least, reach then affects where your front end is. And yes, you can absolutely can and should change stem length and amount of spacers above or below, or flip the stem, but. Compared to say saddle height, where you can telescope that seat post up and down a tremendous amount, reach actually is the least adjustable thing on the bike, your front end. So we would always start there.  [00:12:37] Randall: And how's reach measured. We should probably talk about that.  [00:12:39] Track 2: Oh, yeah. Thank you. So reach, if you were to take your bottom bracket, which is the spindle that your crank spin on, and if you draw a line vertically up from that, It would be a measurement from that line horizontally to the center of your top tube. And usually that oftentimes includes the headset cap as well. And then stack is if you measure up, it's where those meet. So it's how high the front end of your bike is above the bottom bracket. So that gives you X, Y coordinates for where your head tube is. That's your starting point.  [00:13:14] Randall: yeah. Center of the crank spindle vertically to the line that intersects with the height of the center of the headset bearing. And there's some other measurements out there that people will talk about virtual head tube. Seat tube. We've already debunked the idea of sizing being universal, but let's talk about that a little bit.  [00:13:30] Track 2: Oh, yes. I'm glad you brought that up.  [00:13:32] Used to be, years ago when we were talking about road and cyclocross right before what we now think of as gravel bikes, road bikes generally speaking had the exact same head angle and the exact same seat angle almost across the board. And you could use quote unquote standard sizing and before that bikes were also what they were called square, meaning the length of the seat tube and the length of the top tube were the same. Some were along the way in the last 20 years that has moved away. A lot of it is that there's no need to have the top tube cranked all the way up. We can get better stand over that way.  [00:14:10] But then bike companies have also been shifting around the angle of the seat tube. And so The horizontal top tube measurement can become a seriously misleading thing. If your seat tube is pressed way forward. It's going to create a shorter, horizontal top to measurement. If it's pushed way back, it'll make it longer.  [00:14:32] To make it even more confusing for riders, unfortunately, companies have clung to putting number sizing on their bikes, right? So they call a bike, a 54.  [00:14:43] Or a 56. And if you look at the actual measurement chart for that bike, or if you take a tape measure to that bike, it's not uncommon that nothing on that bike measures that dimension anymore. They call it virtual sizing. And unfortunately, I'll use myself for example, I'm five, 10, somewhere along the way. Someone told me that someone who's five, 10 belongs on a 56 centimeter bike. So for years and years, I was riding 56.  [00:15:11] And I could not understand why, no matter what I did with adjustments, I had all kinds of neck and shoulder discomfort. I'm talking tingling hands, right? All kinds of tension. And somewhere along the way I went, dammit like all this fit stuff, it's not actually correct. Some of this stuff is definitely outdated. And I got a 54 and lo and behold, it was super easy to get that bike to fit me well,  [00:15:35] So that's an important point for riders too. If someone told you in the past that you're a particular size, don't let that guide your future decisions.  [00:15:45] Randall: And I want to take a second to hit this from a different angle, and then I can cue you up. One of the things I also want to make clear to listeners that a lot of companies still use number sizing. They'll quote things like virtual top tube, or top tube length or seat tube length, all of these parameters can change without changing the reach, or the stack. And the reason why we use reach primarily, and then stack secondarily, is because these variables don't change. Even when you change the seat tube angles such that the seat tube angle is more slacked back, you could always run the saddle further up on the rails or flip the saddle clamp to allow a more forward saddle position and your points in space would be identical. So this is an important point that people really need to understand. All these numbers that are quoted, most of them are entirely irrelevant. reach most important stack is number two and then stand over just to make sure you have enough clearance. And that's really it. And the rest of it is really getting into how the bike will feel and perform and handle given how your points in space are grafted onto it.  [00:16:50] Does that resonate with you?  [00:16:51] Track 2: Absolutely. It does. Absolutely. It does. And one more thing that I see, we're finally moving away from it, but there was a period of time companies were making quote unquote women's geometry bikes. Because again, they were looking and saying if you look at the typical woman's proportions. Long legs, short torso. Longer arms. Okay. But if you look at the cross-section of the population, there are so many people that don't line up into that. And there's plenty of guys that line up into that.  [00:17:20] I think it's very important to not let labels cloud that don't say I'm a female, I must need a women's bike or I'm a guy I must. Luckily companies are actually abandoning a lot of that whole shrink it and pink it idea which I think a lot of people were really misserved by.  [00:17:38] I think that's super important. You are a human being. You are not a man, a woman, a six foot tall person. You're a human being and you have unique proportions that we can address by finding those right points in space. [00:17:50] Randall: Yeah, women's specific was much more of a marketing ploy than anything else.  [00:17:55] Track 2: Yes, that's all it was. And I'd like to say too. Most of it was defined by a bunch of six foot tall dudes, right? I always love when those people absolutely are convinced that they know the experience of a five foot two woman.  [00:18:09] Randall: Hmm.  [00:18:09] Track 2: Okay. Yeah.  [00:18:11] Randall: Yeah, I may have seen some of that behind the scenes.  [00:18:14] Let's continue on. What's next.  [00:18:17] Track 2: Okay. So if we said, okay, we've got the right size bike, we're in the ballpark. Now let's actually come up with a bit of an actionable list of steps. And this first one is probably gonna seem very counterintuitive because it doesn't have a lot to do with the bike. And that would be that your bike fit actually starts with your foot.  [00:18:34] If you think about it, you have five total touch points on the bike, right? Two hands, one, but two feet. Your feet are responsible for all your power transmission. Every time you stand up on the bike, they're bearing all your weight. So if we don't have proper support in the form of the correct shoes, and also support in the shoes, you may have issues that will never be addressed by any other part of the fit process. And on that, if you ever go to a bike fit and they don't look at your feet, they don't look at your shoes, they don't leave your cleat position, they just put you on the bike and start adjusting things, they missed a lot. And that's a question you can ask before you even go to a fit. What's your process. And if they don't talk about this, that should be a red flag.  [00:19:17] So first and foremost, if you were going to buy shoes, go to a shop, go to a brick and mortar shop. Ideally have your feet measured. If you remember the old Brannock device that we all used to get our feet measured as kids with. I still use one as a bike fitter. They make a Euro sizing Brannock devices.  [00:19:36] And that tells you the length of each foot and it tells you the width of each foot. So go to a shop and get the right size shoes. It's so common for me as a fitter to have people come and they've got shoes that are one, two sizes too big. And then they're crushing those shoes down to try and take slop away. It's putting the cleats in the wrong position. And then when I say, how did you arrive at these shoes? They say I bought them online, I tried to match my street shoe size. I bought them online.  [00:20:03] Don't do that. Go to a shop. Buy the shoes from that shop, pay them the money because they had the inventory there. They're providing you that service. [00:20:11] Randall: Yeah. you really need to try on the actual shoe and see if it is a good fit for your foot. The measurements may even work out, but it just doesn't feel right. And that is enough reason not to buy a shoe.  [00:20:22] Track 2: Absolutely. And some brands are higher or lower volume, a wider or narrower lasts. Yes. You want your foot to slide in. And the closure system is there to just do the final snugging. It's not there to. To crush the shoe around your foot.  [00:20:37] Randall: Great.  [00:20:38] Track 2: Yeah. And then just by carbon soles if you're going to ride clipless pedals where carbon soles it's only the lightest riders that can get away with either a carbon plate or a thermoplastic sole. You're talking about putting a lot of power transmission and a lot of force through a pretty small area with that pedal.  [00:20:57] It's just worth it. And they'll last longer. Sometimes the thermoplastic, so we'll be stiff enough to begin with. And then they will start to gain flex over time and over time, it'll feel like you're standing on golf balls. Because we're talking gravel. Some riders like using flat pedals and shoes.  [00:21:12] That works great. Everything we're going to talk about still applies. Use good pedals that have grippy pins. Metal pins and then aware of bike specific shoe, like a five 10 or something like that, because that shoe is actually going to be built in the same idea of transmitting power and supporting your weight. Not to mention, it's going to stick to the pedal. Now you've got these great shoes, right? You've spent real money on them. Don't cheap out here, spend if necessary, spend another, whatever it is, $40, something like that on proper insoles that support your whole foot. If you look at how our feet are made to move, our feet are built not for bike shoes. Feet are built for running, walking. Where you would, your foot would naturally pronate. And I think of that as you would land on the outside of your heel and your foot is going to roll across and your arch is going to flatten as you leave off your big toe.  [00:22:04] That's just normal pronation. That's how our feet are built to move. The problem is on a bike you're in a constrained plane of motion and if your arch collapses, what ends up happening is now your ankle collapses to the inside your knee, collapses to the inside. Sometimes that can translate all the way up to your hips, and a tremendous amount of discomfort that people have is just simply because maybe they have higher arches and they don't have high arch insoles.  [00:22:30] Randall: And just as a sidebar here this is often the source of a lot of pain and repeated stress injuries. So to the meniscus or to the IT bands or what have you. So this is a an issue that I used to have, and I tried everything I could, but there are other parameters of the bike. And finally, I got some custom insoles made and everything aligned. [00:22:50] Track 2: And I bet you've had those insoles forever, too. [00:22:52] Randall: Coming up on 13 years.  [00:22:54] Track 2: There you go. So they probably an expensive investment to begin with, but man, they've changed riding for you over the  [00:22:59] Randall: Yeah, I even run within souls and it makes a world of difference.  [00:23:02] Track 2: Same here. And so just to put a bow on, that if you pull a rider's insoles out and marks individual marks from their toes that means that they're calling inside the shoe to try and create stability. That can be solved with proper insoles. Sometimes people have a verus twist to their forefoot. I think I forget what the percentage is. It's approaching half the population has this. I certainly do. And so I put a very thin angled shim under my forefoot. Inside the shoe between the shoe and the insole. And the goal here between all of that is to create so much support for your foot, that you pushed down through the entire sole of your foot. And there's no arch movement.  [00:23:41] Everything can just move smoothly. You don't want any kind of tension in the foot, the ankle, the knee to try and stabilize that motion.  [00:23:50] Randall: So we've talked about shoes. We've talked about insoles. What's next.  [00:23:53] Track 2: And now the last part of that is how does that connect to the bike. So cleats and pedals. If I had to put money on what I'm going to see when someone comes to me for a fit, it almost always includes that their cleats are slid too far forward. We're typically talking about mountain bike shoes for people riding on gravel, so if you look at the underside of your shoes, there's two sets of threaded holes for whatever reason most people put their cleats in the front set of holes and then they might even be slid forward from there because there is some sliding adjustment. If you want a catch all for the easiest thing to do, put them in the rear set of holes and slide them all the way back.  [00:24:29] They're very few shoes that actually have adjustment ranges that will allow you to put it back further than is comfortable. And you'll know that you're feel like you're peddling behind the ball of your foot. But even in that case, there's no downside to pedaling from a midfoot position.  [00:24:44] But there are a lot of downsides to pedaling with the cleat towards your toes. If you think about it, you don't walk upstairs by putting the tips of your toes on the stairs. Cause that would add all kinds of tension to your calf, just to be able to walk up the stairs. So why do we want to pedal from the front of our foot where we're going to have to tense our calf and our ankle with every single pedal stroke.  [00:25:07] It's amazing oftentimes just by moving someone's cleats you'll they'll have a history of calf cramps. Just go away.  [00:25:15] Randall: Or tendonitis in the Achilles, which was an issue that I had until I made that adjustment all those years ago.  [00:25:21] Track 2: Yup. Absolutely.  [00:25:23] Randall: I'd add in addition, this is really why getting the right size shoe is so critical because if you have a shoe that's too big, you're not going to have sufficient rearward adjustability in that clique in order to get this optimal position.  [00:25:34] Track 2: Absolutely the longer your shoe is the further forward those cleats go and you can't get them back far enough. And then the last part is the pedals themselves. this is this pretty simple, I always recommend people onto an SPD style nothing wrong with the others that are out there. But the reason that I do, if you look at either the Shimano XT or the XTR pedals, and I have no affiliation with them  [00:25:57] They have these two small machined areas on either side of the mechanism on the pedal itself. Those are for the tread of your shoe to sit on. So you actually get a massive amount of contact area. I don't even ride road pedals anymore. Again, I said my gravel bike is my only drop bar bike, but I'll go on 200 kilometer rides with my SPD pedals. Because you're getting such a big bearing surface. It's like you have a big road clean. You're essentially getting the best of both worlds. [00:26:27] Randall: Yeah, I definitely second that the SPD style with a bigger platform to interface with the tread of the shoe is really the way to go. I could see some opportunities to improve on that, but maybe that's something that I explore in the future.  [00:26:40] Track 2: I would love to see that. Okay. So those things aren't going to feel like they're super connected, but if you miss that, you're going to have potentially knees wobbling all over the place. You're going to have all kinds of little problems that you may never be able to chase out otherwise. So let's come up with an actionable list as far as what would that process look like? This is something you can do at home.  [00:27:03] The very first thing to do would be get your rough satellite correct. In my fit studio, I use motion capture software. I use angle measurement device. I do all kinds of things. All of those line up with the heel method where you need to be balanced against a wall or even better on fixed trainer, but the idea is. Be in the saddle and unclip from your pedal. And now push the pedal all the way till it's at its furthest point away from you at the bottom of the stroke and with a totally straight leg, your heel should just be making contact with the pedal. If you're making firm contact your seat's too low, if you can't touch the pedal, your seat's too high.  [00:27:45] And when you get it in that range, what happens is when you bring your foot back to the ball of your foot's on the pedal, you end up with a pretty nice knee bend. So that's a really good starting point. And depending on your flexibility, you can adjust up and down from there, but it's pretty darn easy for anybody to get their saddle correct that way.  [00:28:04] Randall: Yeah. I'd like to add to this that it can be good to say backpedal and make sure one, you don't have any leg length discrepancies, but also that you're not rocking your hips or otherwise reaching While you're doing that one legged check. So backpedaling we'll help you to ensure that you really got that dialed as well as possible given the method being used. There's another way that this can be done that I often use in virtual fits, which would be the 92% of barefoot inseam. Again, this isn't gospel. This is just a starting point for getting the appropriate saddle height.  [00:28:35] But in this case, barefoot against a wall jam, a hardcover book between your legs firmly so it bumps right up against the bottom of your pelvis, make sure it's square and then take that measurement. and 92% of that would be a rough approximate saddle height.  [00:28:48] Track 2: Where would you measure that satellite from, and to when you translated that to the bike? [00:28:52] Randall: So center of the crank spindle, along the seat tube to the top of the saddle. Now as you can see depending on whether the fat saddles more four or more AFT, it's going to change the effective distance to the sit bones, right? So it's not a perfect method. It's no substitute for actually going to a fitter, but it gets us in the ballpark in the same way that the bare foot inseam does and combining these two methods, one can have a nice checking effect on the other.  [00:29:20] Track 2: I totally agree. And then we're going to talk about some things too, that should hopefully help you tune in from that standpoint? As far as okay. If I'm experiencing this, what do I do?  [00:29:29] So the next step, once we've got the rough satellite, we would want to set rough draft. And if you're doing to the measurement that Randall mentioned, you probably want to do this first. So that, that way you're setting to the same point. Years ago. I'm thinking late nineties, early two thousands timeframe, essentially all the leading minds and fitting. Had this idea that we wanted our saddles as far backwards as we could get them so that we would be able to bear all of our weight on the saddle. And this is a case of where they were thinking in terms of physics, not biomechanics.  [00:30:03] That really is outdated. What ends up happening is you're pulling your hips back and you're closing up the angle between your thigh and your torso. Most people don't have phenomenal hip flexibility. And what ends up happening is if you're pushing yourself into the back seat like that, you're closing that angle up and you run out of your active range of motion.  [00:30:26] And you end up now starting to stretch your hips with every pedal stroke. And if you've been behind a rider and maybe you've experienced this yourself, but it's easier to see it on someone else. If you're riding behind someone down the road and you watch their knee come out to the side with every pedal stroke.  [00:30:43] That's their hip angle being too closed up. Now it could either be that their saddles too low, or what I see very often is that their saddle is too far back. [00:30:52] So if we want a good starting point. Start in the middle of the rails. But be mindful too, of how much setback your seat post has. If you have a seat post with, say 15 to 20 millimeters or setback, you may have to set your starting point pushed forward. I'm finding more and more.  [00:31:09] That that most riders are best served with a zero setback seatpost, and when you have that, now the saddle generally falls right in the middle of the rails. Okay, so next step, as you're doing this, don't stress out over your knee- over pedal spindle. One it's pretty darn hard to measure yourself, but two, if you use that as a guiding principle, it will oftentimes push you back too far. And you'll, again, end up with those hip impingement issues. I measure knee over pedal spindle at the end of a bike fit, but I don't drive the fit around it. Whereas years ago you would set everything using that.  [00:31:45] Randall: And using and doing it in a way that actually ended up putting more strain on the front of the knee. Used to be you would take a plumb Bob from the front of that bony protuberance just below the knee cap and wanted that to go directly through the center of the pedal spindle. that puts more strain on the front of the knee. The newer thinking on this, which is something I've adopted long ago. And I use in my remote fits is a slightly higher and more forward saddle position opens up the hip, and that ends up putting more of the center of the joint over the center of the spindle. Not that it has to be perfectly there, but that more forward position ends up seeming biomechanically more sound, more comfortable or efficient.  [00:32:26] Track 2: Absolutely. And it's, and you're just, you're running into these impingements so much less, so it's much easier to get the pedal over the top of the stroke. It's much easier to get into the downstroke, the power stroke. And we want no dead spots in the peddling. And we don't want to be creating them with some of these artifacts of fit.  [00:32:43] And then as far as where your knees are tracking, I mentioned before knees flicking out to the side, that's usually a saddle that's too low or too far back. If your knees are diving to the inside, that's usually Back to support inside your shoes. But don't chase those things with side, decide adjustments on the bike.  [00:33:04] Certainly never use adjustments in your cleats to try and constrain your body into a certain path of motion. And on that same idea. We all have a natural stance. Some people their toes are pointed out when they're just standing. Some people, their toes are pointed in. There's no good, bad, right wrong there.  [00:33:24] Unless you're trying to force yourself out of that natural stance. So don't say okay, I'm naturally a little bit of a pigeon toed, so I'm going to try and crank my cleats or my adjustment to try and straighten that out on the bike. That's the worst thing you can do, because that is how your body was built.  [00:33:41] That's okay. And don't let people say, oh, your heels need to track behind your toes. No, your body needs to track how it naturally does. [00:33:49] Randall: Yeah. And forcing it is really where injuries come into play.  [00:33:53] And so having your cleats dials right into the center of the float for that cleat pedal system is ideal. There should be no restrictions whatsoever in your natural motion is essentially what you're getting at there.  [00:34:06] Track 2: Okay. We've got the saddle in the right spot. So we'll move on to the front end. And this will set the rough handlebar position. And this is the thing it's. It's very difficult to do by feel yourself. It's much easier if you say film it or have someone take pictures or help you eyeball these things.  [00:34:25] What you on the bike? Them standing there. In the terms of our goal for upper body position. No matter how high or low your front end is, we want to get about a 90 degree angle between your upper arm and your torso. Within a gentle bend at the elbows. When you do that, you end up naturally bearing your weight so that your shoulders are being pushed back, your shoulder blades are being pushed together.  [00:34:52] This carries your weight really comfortably. You don't have to have tension. You don't have to to engage muscles, to hold yourself there. One of the most common ways I see people go wrong here. Is that if you're feeling, say discomfort in your hands or your shoulders or your neck, They will shorten up their reach and they will sit themselves up higher. And the idea is we're going to get more weight on the saddle. We're going to get weight off our hands.  [00:35:19] The problem is not weight in your hands. The problem is how you're carrying that weight. And when you close up that angle between the upper arm and the torso, right? When you take that from 90 degrees and you start shrinking that angle. Now if you picture your arms down more close to your sides, when you push up, push your elbow up.  [00:35:39] It's now hunching your shoulders. That's not a comfortable place to be. So what you end up doing is you tense your shoulders and your neck to hold your arms back down. And now try holding that for a couple hours at a time, through bumps and while you're always trying to stabilize a pedal.  [00:35:56] And so it becomes this losing battle. Oh, I still have a sore neck and shoulder, so I'm going to shorten it even more. And then it never goes away. In this case, don't be afraid to go a little longer and certainly don't be afraid to go lower. I very commonly lower riders front ends, especially if they've been playing this game, as far as trying to get away from that pressure. What ends up happening is when you move yourself into that position of carrying your arms, your upper arms at 90 degrees. From the torso, all your weight almost feels like it disappears. And if you were to do the physics free body diagram of it, there's more weight in your hands. There's more weight pushing through your arms, but biomechanically you're carrying it in the way your body was designed to carry it.  [00:36:42] Randall: And that in turn has an impact also on handling.  [00:36:46] Because one, if you're not comfortable, it's hard to handle the bike over a long duration ride. That's one thing. But then too, in terms of the planted ness of the front end, if you're constantly going. More and more upright taking mass off the front end. That can work in a straight line dirt descent, but if you're trying to plant the front end on a high-speed road turn, for example it's exactly the opposite effect that you want. So having your body balanced on the bike, so the bike can dance under you in a way that maintains optimal control is also something that comes into this fit component too.  [00:37:15] Track 2: Absolutely. And if I put on my bike skills, coach hat for a moment one thing that I see very often when riders sit too far upright, or they push themselves into the back seat, they extend their arms completely. And what ends up happening is when your arms are totally straight, you can't really lean the bike very well.  [00:37:33] You end up having to steer instead, and bikes really are not built to be steered. They're built to be leaned. And then the geometry of the bike takes over and does the appropriate amount of steering itself? So by getting a little bit lower and by getting a nice, comfortable, say, 15 degree bend in your arms, and also, then when it's now cornering time, get that little bit lower.  [00:37:57] You now have room to reach and lean the bike, which makes a massive difference in how confident the bike feels. And it will essentially, the way it would manifest itself is if your front wheel is constantly washing out on you, you're steering, not leaning.  [00:38:10] Randall: That's a great pointer. Let's continue here. So what else? What's next from here? [00:38:14] Track 2: Okay. So now when we're still on the bars There is an ideal angle for your handlebars, and there's an ideal angle for your hoods. And there are two independent things, meaning just because your bike came, with the hood set at a certain place, the hoods, meaning the shifter brake levers. Just because they came in a certain place and they're all taped up and beautiful and neatly packaged does not mean that someone was thinking about you when they set that up. Most of the time, those hoods are too far down, they're tip too far forward, and what ends up happening then is you have to cock your wrist downward. So it almost be like you're pointing your thumb downward and you're creating this pressure in your wrist.  [00:38:57] That is not something you want to be doing for hours on end. And when you're on gravel and you're handling bumps like that, man, that is not fun. It can result in a lot of discomfort.  [00:39:07] Randall: Or injury. There's a on the carpal bones at the base of the wrist.  [00:39:10] I've definitely made that mistake and had to rotate things back to, to alleviate it.  [00:39:15] Track 2: Yeah. So the, if you truly don't feel comfortable on taping your bars, you can roll the bars themselves back, but I'm here to tell you don't be scared of bar tape. It's it's very easy. You actually only have to untape as far as the hoses themselves. And then the hoods just have a simple band clamp that holds them in place.  [00:39:34] Bring them up to a point where you can put your hand just naturally falls right onto it.  [00:39:40] Don't want to have to cock it up down. What you'll also find too. It because it's now coming up a little bit more. You will have a far more secure grip on it. All of my drop our bikes, just by coincidence, have the SRAM hydraulic levers. They have a big horn on top, that can feel pretty secure. Most of the time. It feels like a joystick. When you have them tipped up like I'm talking about.  [00:40:02] But on say a Shimano lever that's got a much more subtle horn. When you're going down bumpy stuff, if you feel like your hands are slipping off the front of the hoods, this will make that go away because you'll bring it up to a place where you're actually catching the web of your hand in that.  [00:40:18] Randall: Yeah. And one thing I want to throw out for folks too, is that if you have an existing bike, If you're reaching in order to get your hands into that natural position on the hoods, if you're having to stretch and you find your hands sliding back when you are going in a straight line and relaxing that means your front end is probably too long.  [00:40:35] And so that would be one way to get some anecdotal indication that your stem length is off or some other fit parameter is off.  [00:40:43] Track 2: Yeah. I would absolutely agree with that. And I see that, like I mentioned, most people come to me on bikes that are on the big side for them. And then their hands, their happy place where they're hands naturally fall, was somewhere between 10 and 30 millimeters behind the hoods.  [00:40:59] So you want to adjust where your front end is using the stem. That way the web of your hand every time naturally falls right into the bend of the hood, where you're just naturally locked in there and you're not having to grab the hell out of the bars to have a good purchase on the bike. [00:41:15] Randall: Yeah. And you're not constantly moving your hands back on the bars to, to, get comfortable because the natural position is on those hoods. Cause they're positioned properly. Now. There are some other things that, that people can do to get a more dial fit. And I think especially for smaller riders, one of these things is crank length.  [00:41:32] Track 2: Yes. Yes, absolutely. Our traditional crank lengths. I'll just go out and say, if they're too long for most riders And the only reason that this stuff sticks around is because we have not as a community been asking the industry consistently enough for shorter stuff. that's really what it comes down to. And so people don't know that they should be on shorter cranks. I'll give a personal example. I just went down a three week rabbit hole, trying to find a set of 1 65 millimeter cranks for my mountain bike. Partly, I was trying to gain a little bit of clearance off the ground with it because it has a low bottom bracket, but mostly I was trying to smooth out my pedal stroke. And I'm someone, I'm five, 10. I literally am a professional writer. That's what I do for my living. I ride bikes and and yet I was finding that one 70 fives, even with decent flexibility, they were just too long for me.  [00:42:26] So I finally found one set and bought them. And man, it is like an instant difference. Pedal strokes, moved out, comfort increased. I can spin up faster. It's mind blowing.  [00:42:39] Randall: And I'm going to jump on this this soapbox with you for a moment and just say that. from my perspective crank length is the foundation of fit. Meaning you start with crank length in that circle, you get the foot position dialed, then you get your saddle position, dial and then you get your hands in the right position and that determines frame size and so on. But really that circle that you're spinning in is a key driver and should scale proportionally. Saddle height is a good proxy. So the ratio that we use is a 22%. Ratio of crank length to a properly set saddle height. And that works for the vast majority of people.  [00:43:14] Now some people will be concerned about, oh, I'm losing torque.  [00:43:16] Every five millimeters at that scale is only a 3% difference in torque, but at the same foot speed, your cadence is 3% higher. So you're not really losing power. Torque is not power. Torque is torque. It's a component of power.  [00:43:29] So really this is one of those areas that for riders of our scale, I'm writing one seventies, I think you're writing one 60 fives. It has some benefit. Are you on five 11? You're five, 10.  [00:43:40] But for smaller riders, especially a lot of component brands don't even offer anything below 1 65. So just finding something that is proportional scale, I do find it an entirely different vendor and then push them hard to create a whole new tool, to create a 1 55 length crank so that we could accommodate smaller riders properly. And that's really unfortunate because there's a pretty large market for riders who are, five foot. To five six that are not being taken care of currently by the market.  [00:44:08] Track 2: No. And unfortunately too, if you don't know any better, you just assume that the bike must come with the appropriate size. So in my coaching, I work with a lot of women and I work with a lot of women who happened to be on the petite side, in the five foot to five, four range. And we've had this conversation and they are very frustrated that their bike, an extra small bike is coming with 170 millimeter cranks. And actually, I was just working with one of my athletes this weekend and she was getting low back pain. And she notices that when she rides the pike with one seventies, she gets a low back pain when she rides pike with one sixties. And I'm sorry, not even one 60 fives. So tiny difference note and we have the Fitz dial. It's really just the matter of that, that longer crank really does push out beyond the natural range of motion. [00:44:57] Randall: Yeah. And this plays into gearing. If you're using a one by drive train, and you're concerned about the jumps if you're using a proportional crank, then you're able to spin at a wider range of cadences more comfortably. And so the concerns with jumps go away.  [00:45:09] Also when you're pulling your leg up to go over the top of the pedal stroke you're working against your glutes. And so if your crank links are too long, your glutes are pulling even more against you trying to get your foot over and thus impacting your power over time. So there's a lot of benefits that come from going with proportional and for the vast majority of people. Shorter cranks that I guess I'll step out, step off the soap box. At this point, we can move on to the next  [00:45:34] Track 2: No. What I appreciate though, there is like you put your money where your mouth is there on that. In that you actually did go out and develop short cranks, right? You were not satisfied with what was available. You spent considerable time and effort to go out and develop short cranks. Actually, when I was going down that rabbit hole, I was like, God, I should just put thesis cranks on my mountain bike. And the only reason I didn't was because the spindle would not be long enough to fit a boost mountain bike.  [00:45:58] Randall: Yeah, I believe FSA does a good job here that they recently released some shorter length crank. So if anyone's looking that might be a good place to start. And now hopefully other brands come around on this as well, because it's a place where a significant gains can be had. So what else would we like to wrap up with here in terms of fit considerations?  [00:46:14] Track 2: Yeah. Let's see. It. Even though it does not necessarily determine the geometry of your fit. I think a dropper post actually is a contributor to good fit. Reason being, if you're talking about a gravel bike that you want to be able to handle comfortably, in chunky terrain then.  [00:46:31] You don't want to run a lower saddle height all the time with a fixed post, just to have more comfortable handling. It's much better to have a dropper post that you can then push down to an even better position. But then the rest of the time, spin on an optical satellite.  [00:46:48] Randall: Yeah. I'll often tell folks who are concerned about the weight that you're adding say three quarter of a pound. to be less than half a percent. and you're gaining by having the appropriate saddle height. You're probably gaining more than that half a percent in terms of efficiency and comfort and the sustainability of being in a given position for a long period of time.  [00:47:07] And so it's one of those ways along with certain other, other things, wider rims and so on. Bigger tires were adding weight to your bike can actually improve your speed and your performance.  [00:47:18] Track 2: Unquestionably. Yup. I absolutely agree.  [00:47:21] Randall: How about saddles?  [00:47:22] Track 2: Yeah. Saddle shouldn't hurt, man. And I really mean this to female riders as well, because I think that oftentimes, some dude at a bike shop tells them yeah, it's just how it is. Your saddle hurts. No.  [00:47:36] Unquestionably no. And this is from also a medical standpoint too, and an injury standpoint. If you have discomfort that you are enduring for hours on end, that can lead to tissue damage, that can lead to blood vessel damage. No, to not do that.  [00:47:52] You don't have to spend a fortune on saddles. What you need to do is find one that works for you. And this is again, another place where your local bike shop can really come in handy.  [00:48:03] Saddle right. have demo fleets of saddles where say a company will send them one of every kind of saddle in every width, and you can take that saddle home and ride it for a few days and say, oh, okay. I like this, except it's not wide enough. I like this, except it's not padded enough or whatever those things are. And they can help you tune in so that you're not spending money only to find out that you don't like that.  [00:48:30] Randall: Yeah.  [00:48:30] Track 2: And just, oh my gosh, the seats that come on, a lot of bikes are oftentimes downright horrible. And do not assume that just because your bike came with a certain seat means that seat should be comfortable for you. This is a case of spend a few bucks and you will change your experience drastically. [00:48:48] Randall: Yes. And the other end here is that if you have a saddle that's not comfortable while it may not be the saddle, there's some adjustments. Some tilt adjustment in particular that may need to happen in order feed a, find your sweet spot on that saddle and the right angle and the like.  [00:49:03] Track 2: And those adjustments are really minor.  [00:49:05] When I'm doing fits, I actually use a digital level because you oftentimes can't see how fine the adjustments are required to make a change. I'm usually making about a half a degree change at a time. You cannot see a half a degree. If you're making adjustments by eye, you're probably oftentimes overshooting.  [00:49:23] Randall: Wide nose saddles. The specialized power was one of the first ones there. back  [00:49:42] There's a bunch of different ones out there that are using the same philosophy ours included. And these generally can work for a wide range of riders. And they got their start in the triathlon world where you're in that extreme position for a really long period of time. So comfort is that much more important there, but now you're seeing them adopted, in road, in, in cross and gravel and even in the mountain bike spheres.  [00:50:03] Track 2: Yeah. And to that point, I actually ride the exact same saddle on every one of my bikes. Once I found the right one that really works for me, I then put it on every single bike. And that includes mountain bike cyclocross. Gravel bike. Find the right one for you because it's out there. [00:50:19] Randall: What about someone's considering getting a new handlebar for whatever reason, maybe it's comfort or maybe they want to try a new flare so on how do they determine bar with.  [00:50:26] Track 2: Okay, so this is super common in the gravel world. I think the easiest way to think of it is you want to match your bars to your shoulder width. You can go wider, I would say up to about 20 millimeters. And that would be the measurement at the hoods, that would be your center to center measurement at the hoods. if you want to measure that, what you would do.  [00:50:46] Is put your hand on the outside of your shoulder and you'll feel like you're in soft tissue. And then work your way up, just creep your hand up until you come over and you'll feel all of a sudden, a bony protrusion, you'll feel where your arm goes in. And your shoulder bone comes out. Find that on either side. And have someone else measure that on you. you can't take this measurement by yourself. You want your bars to match that and they can be up to about 20 millimeters wider. [00:51:15] Now I'm sure you've seen all the fashion trends in gravel bars lately.  [00:51:21] But what's your take on that? [00:51:22] Randall: wider bars. Um, but But if you're looking for my philosophy with these bikes is I want a bike that is going to perform well on road.  [00:51:35] And on dirt. And I don't find that I have any handling deficits, even on the most technical dirt that I can tackle with my six 50 by 47 tires and dropper posts, which is some pretty rough terrain. And. What you gain from going wider is that you have more leverage. But if you are shifting your weight down and back over the rear axle and lightening up the front end while you're reducing the torque loads that are being applied through your steering column by the terrain as you're traversing it.  [00:52:05] And so really a dropper posts negates the need to go super wide there. But there were other considerations. Some people just prefer it. That's fine. Wider is better than too narrow is a problem. And then also if you're a bike packing and you want to have a huge bar bag up there that can be another consideration as well.  [00:52:20] Track 2: are coming in with really flared bars.  [00:52:27] I find that oftentimes those lead to more compromises than they than they help. And I'm talking about bars that are 15 to 25 degrees of flare what ends up happening with that? Or in the drops.  [00:52:46] But it's very difficult. And it requires a tremendous amount of iteration to try and get all of the positions on the bars, comfortable with those. And then it also, oftentimes even if you can get it there you're crushing your hands with the brake levers when you squeeze the breaks in the drops.  [00:53:02] My personal take, I'm riding bars that are 10 degree flared which is not insignificant. But I think that's about the the widest flare, you can go to have really natural use of all the positions on your bars. [00:53:14] Randall: Yeah. I'm with you there. All right in closing, anything that we didn't cover today that you want to bring up.  [00:53:19] Track 2: No, I think we went pretty deep. I hope this spurs a lot of thought and some questions in the community. And then, what I'd like to do is keep the conversation going. Let's all get better at this. together. And what's that's a big part of what's so cool about gravel is that, that growth in the community. Do what I say and you'll be happy. This is let's all learn together.  [00:53:45] Randall: Excellent. Can you take a moment, just tell folks where they can find you. [00:53:48] Track 2: I made it super simple recently. It's just coach And so from there you can find all the different things that I do and and all the social links and you can interact with these super easily through that. [00:54:00] Randall: Yeah, this is the bike fitting. This is the coaching. This is the skills camps. And so on.  [00:54:05] Track 2: Absolutely. [00:54:05] Randall: Also Patrick is a member of the ridership, so if you have questions, you can definitely jump in there and we will have the episode posted in some conversation around that as well. So if you have questions or feedback on some of the things that we covered today would love to have you join us in that conversation. [00:54:18] Patrick, thank you very much for joining me today. It's been a pleasure chatting with you and catching up, and I look forward to seeing you this summer and hopefully revising my personal bike fit using your expertise.  [00:54:30] Track 2: Yeah. I think we're gonna be able to be together in a month or so. I'm really looking forward to that. [00:54:33] All right. My friend. Be well. [00:54:35] Track 2: you very much. Thank you. Thank you. 

    Spooky cycles - the return of aluminum gravel bikes with the ROVR

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2021 22:20

    This week we sit down with Adam Eggeberecht from Spooky Cycles to talk about the resurrection of the brand and how modern day aluminum is crafted for gravel bikes. This episode is presented by ENVE. Spooky Cycles The Ridership Support the Podcast 

    The Gravel Lot - Repost of Craig Dalton interview

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 31, 2021 88:36

    This week we are republishing an interview from The Gravel Lot podcast where your host, Craig Dalton gets to share a bit of his journey into podcasting and community building with Jon and Doug of The Gravel Lot fame. The Gravel Lot Web Support the Podcast Join The Ridership 

    repost gravel gravel lot
    In the Dirt 23: First time gravelers, Rooted Vermont, gravel suspension and more

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2021 40:06

    This week Randall and Craig catch up on all things gravel. We discuss introducing friends to gravel riding and events, suspension on gravel bikes and comparative bike geometry. Geometry Geeks Support the Podcast  Join The Ridership

    Sage Titanium - Dave Rosen Founder / CEO

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 17, 2021 34:43

    This week we sit down with Dave Rosen, founder and CEO of Sage Titanium. After connecting at the ENVE Custom Builder Round Up, we sat down to talk about the Titanium Storm King, its performance goals and the multiple finishes that adorned this show bike. This show was presented by ENVE. Sage Titanium Website / Instagram  Join The Ridership Support the Podcast Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): ENVESage Titanium  [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. [00:00:07] This week on the podcast, we've got Dave Rosen, CEO, and founder of Sage Bicycles out of Oregon. Dave. And I happened to meet at the ENVE builder Roundup, and this is one of five episodes related to the NV Roundup that happened at the end of June in Ogden, Utah. I have to reiterate. If you're known for the company, you keep.  [00:00:29] ENVE is known for exceptional relationships. That room was filled with outstanding builders from all over the world that chose to spec their custom creations with ENVE components and parts, including their adventure fork stems bars. And of course their wonderful gravel wheels. If you haven't already followed ENVE on social media channels.  [00:00:54] Definitely do. And I highly highly recommend you seeking out imagery from the grow Dio event. So many beautiful bikes, so many beautiful paint jobs really worth looking at and keeping on your calendar for next year. If you happen to have the opportunity to race the grody. Event. It was an amazing ride out of Ogden, Utah.  [00:01:18] That really checked a lot of boxes for me. It was both technical and challenging and scenically. Beautiful. Definitely one to have on your gravel calendar for 2022. With all that said let's dive right in to my interview with Dave Rosen, from Sage bicycles. Dave, welcome to the show. [00:01:39] David Rosen (Sage): Thanks Craig.  [00:01:40] Craig Dalton: Great to see you. After seeing you in Utah at the ENVE builder, Roundup, what a, what an event. It was.  [00:01:46] David Rosen (Sage): It really was fantastic. I had such a good time. It was so much fun. [00:01:49] Just being able to reconnect with friends. Doing industry stuff. Again, it just, it was way too long. And to be able to, meet new customers and that kind of thing, it just, it was just, it was great. And then just riding bikes, it was all about bikes. Just everything we did from to the little short track event, it was a really good time. [00:02:08] Yeah. I thought it was  [00:02:09] Craig Dalton: funny that some of the builders were actually taking the bikes they built and racing them or riding them in the grody event.  [00:02:15] David Rosen (Sage): The next. Yeah that's what I did with mine. It was just, that's why I brought it. It was it's meant to be written. It's meant to be raced. [00:02:22] Although I really wouldn't classify my writing as racing so much as it was surviving at my own pace. So I can make it back in time for beer. There was a bit  [00:02:31] Craig Dalton: of that survival strategy in my day as well, but it was a great reminder and seeing all these great builders that I've wanted to have more of these conversations and particularly excited to talk about Sage Titanic. [00:02:43] So why don't we just start off with learning a little bit more about what led you to start the company and when it was started?  [00:02:50] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, so I started the company officially on paper in 2012. My first inventory was produced in 2013. At the time the original intent with the brand was to actually make the frames overseas. [00:03:06] For that in the beginning with the idea of offering a lower cost price point, competitor to what was out there. I knew I wanted to do titanium. It was always about titanium. I've been in love with titanium as a frame material for ever since the eighties, when I would see, titanium, Italian bikes rolling around and, central park, New York city, which is where I'm originally from not central park, mind you, but New York city. [00:03:28] And for me, it was always about Thai, but in this instance, I thought, it might be good to do a price point. And what I realized is over the course of that first year is the quality suffered. And, the reality is you get what you pay for. And yeah, the pricing could be cheap, blah. [00:03:44] There's a reason why it's cheap. And so the quality of the bikes suffered, the stuff we put out was fine, but we had more failures than we had successes. And, we've taken care of all of our customers that have had issues. And then there are others. Never heard from him. Everything's fine. [00:03:59] Wasn't it. Dave, was there a particular  [00:04:01] Craig Dalton: style of bike that you targeted at that time? It was a bit early, obviously for gravel in those days in 2012.  [00:04:07] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, we did actually a while we did have a road bike it was more about the cyclocross bike and we actually had a commuter bike that would be the precursor to the current gravity. [00:04:20] It was designed around larger tires. Not as massive as what you're seeing today and their geometry was more relaxed than a road bike, similar to a cross bike, but with a longer wheel base. So it really was very versatile and we actually marketed it more as a commuter bike both a drop bar and a flat bar version, basically the same frame, just different builds. [00:04:40] But it showed the versatility of the bike for what it is. Gotcha. So in  [00:04:44] Craig Dalton: that first year, you were unhappy with the production partner in China that you had. Yeah. It could very easily have been the end of Sage titanium at that point. But what did you do?  [00:04:54] David Rosen (Sage): I basically just stepped back for a moment and analyzed what was going on. [00:04:59] People, customers. The concept of our brand. They liked what we were doing as a small builder, or, the just the ability to offer it's this Oregon, the Oregon brand connection, all that sort of stuff. The bikes were authentic. The designs were good. But it was just, they liked what we were doing, but they didn't necessarily like the maiden China aspect. [00:05:21] And so it really. Yeah, you're absolutely right. We could have folded up right then and there and not known what to do, but instead I made the decision to push forward with maiden USA. And so in 2014 is when I pivoted the brand. And instead of being more of a budget focused, mid tier titanium brand, I was like, we're going all in on the premium stuff. [00:05:43] And that's when we started our relationship with ENVE and instead of buying. Shimano 1 0 5, we're now buying Shimano duress. And it's all carbon this, then it's just, we're going high end and frames are made in USA. That is always the key and being able to push that out and and get that out there. [00:06:00] And then as we've, as the brand has moved along, we've been able to slowly evolve it. So the designs have gotten better. The line has expanded. We found our niche. Gravel bikes in particular. And then the mountain bikes are doing really well for us. But then we've been able to expand with now our finishes. [00:06:16] And so we've been able to continue to evolve the brand over these past from where it started nine years ago, to where it is now, the brands, It's a complete turnaround. Other than the name there, there's not much, that's the same between the two,  [00:06:29] Craig Dalton: interesting. So can you talk to the listener a little bit about why you love titanium as a frame material with a particular eye on the gravel market and what makes it a great material for gravel bikes? [00:06:40] David Rosen (Sage): So the reason I love titanium is it was always for me growing up, it was that space, age material, it was the stuff that was used in the space shuttle and, fighter jets and that sort of thing. So it's got this mystique about it, if you will. It was back in the I'm trying not to date myself, but back in the eighties, it was like, It was sexier. [00:07:04] It was it. Wasn't nothing wrong with steel. I love steel. I love aluminum. I love carbon. Everything has its place for where it should be, but the tie bikes back then there was just something mystical about them. You'd see plenty of steel bikes riding around plenty of aluminum bikes, but it was very few titanium bikes. [00:07:22] When you saw one, it was special. And so that always made an imprint on me kind of thing. And that's where I initially fell in love with it. The. What has drawn me to it from a builder standpoint? And the reason why I only focus on titanium is because of the durability of the material. [00:07:38] The the, how far it can bend the fatigue, resistance of the material. If the fact that it's rust-proof it's, I live in the Pacific Northwest, steel bikes are awesome, but they can rust if you don't take care of them. And if you take care of them, they're fine. But if you don't, they can rust titanium. [00:07:55] Doesn't rust. Titanium has a higher fatigue resistance point where you can bend the tube farther in titanium and it'll snap back before it breaks versus steel or aluminum for that matter. So inherently, then it then gives itself this ride quality. Again, maybe this is an old term, but it was called the magic carpet ride because it just smooths everything out. [00:08:19] And it's one of those things that when you're on it, if you ride a carbon bike on chip seal or an aluminum bike on chip seal or even steel for that matter, but then you write a tie, it there's a vibration, but if you ride titanium on chip seal, it mutes it out. It's just, it's really amazing what the material can do. [00:08:36] And the fact that it can be repaired easily. It's the forever bike. You're going to have a tie bike for 20, 30, 40 years. The only reason to change it at some point is just because it's outdated and that's, and even then, that's not really a reason to change it. Cause there's always, the desire to keep those historical bikes. [00:08:55] So yeah, my  [00:08:56] Craig Dalton: father's got one sitting in the garage with, I think a mag 21 fork on it and cantilever lever brakes.  [00:09:02] David Rosen (Sage): And he'll never get  [00:09:03] Craig Dalton: rid of it, a reason for him to replace it, other than he doesn't know what he's missing, because he's never written disc, disc brakes at this point.  [00:09:11] David Rosen (Sage): Exactly. But beyond that, it's just, it's a bike he's going to keep, and he's got a lot of good memories for it. [00:09:16] So  [00:09:17] Craig Dalton: early it's at Sage, thinking about the cross-market and the commuter market. When did gravel start to become a thing? When did you start to see those trends start to appear and what your customers were asking for?  [00:09:30] David Rosen (Sage): I would say I started to see it in 2015 2014 and 2015. So the, our first USA frames were 2014. [00:09:38] We had a road, we had a road frame and a cross. Which we brought up, we improve the designs based on what was originally made in China, made some refinements to it okay, we've took, we've taken our learnings and move forward. The commuter bike we dropped. And it just, it wasn't where I wanted the brand to be it. [00:09:54] Wasn't where I wanted the brand to focus on. And so drop that and just started with the two bikes to begin with. But it left this hole in the line of where I felt we needed to another bike in place to round things out. And my friends and I, at that time would go out on these rides. We take our cross bikes and we were going and doing gravel rides on our cross bikes. [00:10:15] Some guys would use their rode bikes and they, 25 mill tires was considered a fat tire back in 2014 and 2015. And we'd go out and go ride gravel. And, some buy, somebody would get a flat sometimes. You wouldn't and sometimes, we'd get into some gnarly stuff and that's why you wanted a crossbite, cause it had bigger tires, but then the road bikes always beat you to the gravel, and so it was just this weird mix of what's the right bike. And there were quite a few events. Grind Duro is a great example of one where it was very much about choose your weapon. And because there were, there's plenty of paved road and grind. But then there's plenty of crazy stages of, single track and gravel road and what's the right bike. [00:11:01] And so people were bringing all these different bikes and there was no specific bike that you could just point to and go, that's the type of bike I need for this event. And there was, it was a wild west kind of mentality, which is really kinda cool. And I still think the gravel segment the way it continues to evolve. [00:11:18] Exhibits that kind of, bring what, run what you got thing and, and modify what you can, but it was around them that I started seeing that desire for something along those lines. And for me here for where I live in Beaverton, Oregon, which is just outside of Portland, I'm a little west of Portland. [00:11:34] Yeah. There is, there's plenty of good gravel, like 10 miles from my house. So I'm not going to drive to the gravel. I'm going to ride my bike to the gravel. So the initial gravel bike I designed was really around the concept of, I wanted it to be fun on the road. And when I got to the gravel, I could tear up the gravel and then go ride for 40 miles on the gravel and then come back home for a 20 mile paved ride or whatever it was, wherever it dropped me off. [00:12:00] And so that was the Genesis of the first gravel bike. It was, you had to ride it to the gravel. It wasn't, I get people have to drive sometimes, that was the idea. And was  [00:12:09] Craig Dalton: that the  [00:12:10] David Rosen (Sage): Barlow? That was the Barlow correct.  [00:12:13] Craig Dalton: And so what sort of tire size capacity did the bar  [00:12:16] David Rosen (Sage): Barlow accept? [00:12:17] It's always accepted 40 millimeter tires. 700. Or six 50 by 50. There weren't a lot of tires in that size when it first came out. I use the ENVE all road fork as the fork of choice for the Barlow, because it was it's designed around a 38, but we can actually squeeze in a 40. So we've done it. [00:12:34] It's certain tires, it works great. Some tires not as great because the fork is designed for what it is. The frame clears a 40 no problem. But it's, the fork is a little bit of a. But we designed the bike around that. And so that gave us the ability to really push the envelope. So where everybody's saying, oh, 30 and 32 millimeter tires of the gravel, I'm throwing 30 fives and who's got the fattest 40 millimeter tire I could find. [00:12:58] And at the time that was great. And so the Barlow was really ahead of the game in that regard. And then  [00:13:04] Craig Dalton: subsequently you introduced an, another model, the storm chaser. When did that come into the world? Sorry, storm. Storm king my bad. When did the storm king come into being and what were the sort of the drivers from the industry and riders that you were seeing that said, okay, the Barlow is one thing, but the storm king is going to be this other thing. [00:13:25] David Rosen (Sage): So I, I have a rider I sponsor he's a retired former world tour pro and he. He w he still races for me kinda thing. He does mountain, and he does gravel, and those are his focuses. And he took the Barlow to Unbound before it was relaunched as Unbound when it was DK. [00:13:44] And this was back in 2018, I believe if I remember correctly. And he took the Barlow there and he used, he was using the Barlow and all the gravel events that were popping. And he was encountering challenging terrain would be the best way to put it. Just, big rocks big, just nasty, just eat your tires up rocks kind of thing. [00:14:07] And he came back and he said, okay here's my opinion on everything. We need bigger tires. And I need a little bit more of an upright riding position as opposed to not quite as well. Cause the Barlow is is a little bit more aggressive. It's not as aggressive as our road bike, but it's definitely slacker and a little bit more upright. [00:14:25] But he wanted it even more. And so that was the main driver because it was based on race input. So it was, is doing skull hollow, one 20 and DK at the time were the two big ones, other events, it was working great. But for these other events these, just these handful of them. Where the terrain was nuts. [00:14:44] He said, we need something bigger. And I saw the writing on the wall as there's more of these crazy events that are starting to pop up, we're going to need a bike. That's going to be able to compete in those events. Not just SBT is a great example of the Barlow's perfect Belgian waffle ride. The Barlow works perfect. [00:15:02] It depends on which Belgian waffle ride right now. But anyway, that was the gig. I find that  [00:15:06] Craig Dalton: fascinating for someone at that end of the spectrum of the sport, a professional athlete, noting that bigger fatter slacker is actually going to be faster in these events, because I think it is something that the listener can really take away. [00:15:20] It's really easy for you to think, oh, being on one of these road, plus bikes is what's going to make me faster, but in a lot of these events and particularly for the more average athlete who spending a longer time in the center, A more comfortable bike, a more stable bike with buy bigger tires could actually be the bike of choice. [00:15:38] I  [00:15:38] David Rosen (Sage): would agree. If you think about it, if you're choosing between a 32 millimeter tire versus a 40 millimeter tire or a 36 and a 50, whatever it may be. And you're thinking the smaller tire is going to be faster because it's less rotating weight and it's going to roll faster for the tread, whatever it may be. [00:15:57] Yeah. You're probably right. How many flats are you potentially fixing and how much time are you going to waste with flats? Whereas the rolling resistance of the larger tires, isn't really that far off of the smaller tires. Yes. You're carrying more weight, but if you have more assurance that you can go faster through the rough stuff without damaging the bike, you're going to be faster overall. [00:16:18] You look at the, you look at some of the pros like Ted king and those guys, I think they're always trying to push as big a tire as they can run without it being. So early slower,  [00:16:28] Craig Dalton: that seems to be the trend. And for me, like I'm spending 30, 40% more time out there on these courses than the pro athletes are. [00:16:35] So I've got to think about the general wear and tear. My day is probably more akin to an iron man triathlon than American Don,  [00:16:42] David Rosen (Sage): you and me both 12 hour days for you. Exactly. Yeah, me too.  [00:16:47] Craig Dalton: So let's talk a little bit more specifically about the storm king and the type of tires it can access.  [00:16:52] David Rosen (Sage): So it's designed around a 700 by 50 six 50 by two point. [00:16:58] Oh, I'm sorry. 2.2 is usually pretty good. Because we can make, because we make each storm king individually, one at a time, the customer really has the opportunity to specify, I am going to run this size tire kind of thing, so we can modify the rear end of the. To accommodate the tire, obviously picking the right fork is always key. [00:17:19] Of course. In instances we just had a customer, he sent us the wheel, the full wheel and the tire, and it's okay, great. And then we just, we throw it in the frame and make sure it fits. So this way we can truly customize it to what's the worst case scenario you're going to run on this bike. [00:17:34] Craig Dalton: Do you have a stock chain stay length that on the storm king or does it going to modify based on those criteria that the customer entrance.  [00:17:43] David Rosen (Sage): It's gonna, it's gonna modify based on it's this no, no stock chain stay length. It's gonna modify based on the based on the wheel size, the tire size and actually the drive train and the dry train specifically. [00:17:57] So is it GRX? Is it Eckhart? Is it force wide? Is it Altegra stuff like that kind of thing? All of those factors we actually play in to to designing the chain, stay length because if you get it wrong and you make it too short, you run into clearance issues that it's you're stuck, but if we know what you want going into it, we can build it specifically. [00:18:19] And we really we're dialing in the process. We continue to do it every day or making it,  [00:18:23] Craig Dalton: That might be a good segue into just describing for the listener. What does that customer journey look like if they want to get on a storm king, what does the process look like? How long does it take to get one? [00:18:34] David Rosen (Sage): So the process usually begins with the customer, listening to this podcast, seeing a review online or an ad in a magazine or something along those lines. And then pretty much reaching out through the website is usually how it works. It's very rare. As crazy as it sounds that somebody will buy a bike, sight unseen through the website, it happens, but it's, a complete stock build. Here you go. This is what I want. And that sort of thing. That's, it's rare because this is a very personal purchase. And so usually the customer is going to reach out through the contact form on our website. [00:19:10] Usually usually it's me who is responding, but it could be one of our other folks here. But nine times out of 10 it's usually me that everybody's speaking to. And they'll reach out through email, I'll respond back and we start a dialogue and it could be a case of let's get on the phone and talk it through and what's understand what the build is you're looking for. [00:19:30] And we can really customize the spec and the bill. You know of the complete bike. Some customers are only looking for a frame or a frame set, and that's fine too. And it's, let's go through the specs of that. And the process is quite a bit of email quite a bit of phone calls if needed. When the customer's ready to move forward, they put a deposit down and then the design process begins. [00:19:51] Usually if the customer has a fit that they've done recently and they want to use those fit numbers, then we use. If they're here local in Portland, then we have them see our fitter and we get, they get a professional fit done. And if they want to come into town, I've had a couple people actually fly in from Northern California, for example and have fits done here. [00:20:10] And then I get the numbers and, go to town on designing the frame and lead time on frames right now, I'd say is about four months from when we actually, when the design is. So that doesn't include the lead time. It doesn't include the time that we spend talking prior to and dialing in all that sort of stuff. [00:20:28] When the design is handed off to my welder right now, we're at about a four month lead time for framework.  [00:20:34] Craig Dalton: Are there limitations in terms of the areas of the bike that can be customized? Head tube, size, top tube lent anything that's off the table or is everything on  [00:20:42] David Rosen (Sage): the table now everything's on the table. [00:20:44] I've had one or two customers that have been very vocal about, I want the head tube to be this, and I want this to be the seat angle and that sort of thing. And it's a process we go through and I'm more than happy to accommodate the customers if they're, sure. That's what they want kind of thing. [00:20:59] But usually it's a case of, if I get your X, Y coordinates from your fit, I'm going to build you a storm king. And that's what it's going to be. If you want something that's completely dead. I'm working on an iron man bike for somebody right now. And that's a totally different bike than anything we offer. [00:21:15] So then that's much more of a personal process of what are you looking for and how do you want it to be, rather than I know what I want the storm king to be, and I'm going to make a storm king that fits you. Gotcha.  [00:21:25] Craig Dalton: Let's talk about that. Beautiful storm king. You brought to Utah, it had a lot of different finishes on it. [00:21:31] It did. Really and is that is for, we didn't have paint on it as well. It had cerakote. Okay. So let's go through, I think it's amazing that the number of options you offer and certainly the execution on that bike I'll post a picture of it because it was beautiful. Everybody needs to look at it, but let's talk about the different options for finish on a titanium frame. [00:21:50] David Rosen (Sage): We have four different options. We let's see, let's start with the standard finish that you see on most of the bikes on the website is our brushed finish. It's a raw titanium. It's very silvery looking. It's shiny. It's great for just durability. If you scratch it, you can take a Scotch-Brite pad and little shoeshine motion, then you can buff it out. [00:22:12] It's a great it's a great finish and it's just the classic titanium finish. That's finished. Number one, finish number two is bead blast where we basically put the frame in a giant cabinet, if you will, a sealed cabinet and we shoot it with a what's called media and media can be anything from glass beads to Walnut shells. [00:22:33] It just depends on what. And it, it impacts the frame and it changes the appearance and the finish and the texture of the frame itself. It doesn't damage the frame in any way, but it changes the finish. So a bead blast is usually a it's just, it has a different look to it. It's more of a dull look to it from there. [00:22:53] We then start getting into colors and that's where we've really exploded this year for the options and the custom work that we've been doing. If you look through our social media feed and as well as our custom page, we have a custom bike page where every custom bike gets a photo shoot and we do all that sort of stuff. [00:23:08] You can see the differences, but we've been doing a lot more with cerakote and with anodize for the frames anodize is if you seen the Chris king parts, they're blue they're purple. They're good. That's all anodized aluminum kind of thing. It's dipped in a bath. That's electrified. It comes out at a certain voltage. [00:23:26] It gives you a color.  [00:23:27] Craig Dalton: I think it's interesting David to drill into. I've seen some super intricate anodized look. Unlike the Chris king headset, which is, orange or red or whatever they do, you seem to have a technique in which you've got the titanium frame, which is maybe the, the brush titanium or whatever, and then small areas that are animated. [00:23:45] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah it's just a matter of the artwork that we do every custom frame that we do short of it just being, I just want logos done, but if there's artwork involved I have a graphic artist on staff. It has been in the art world for quite some time. He's a cycling buddy of mine. We've known each other for years, but he's an artist, a true artist kind of thing. [00:24:06] Like he does art shows and all that sort of good stuff. And he designs all the bikes. So every single bike is never repeated. Each individual bike is a rolling piece of art. If you want the bike, you're seeing the show bike that we have on the website, I can do something similar, but it'll never be that again. [00:24:23] It'll be it'll be sister bike. It won't be an identical twin kind of thing. But yeah we get a little crazy with the finishes that we do. And then we mix all of that in with Sarah code, which is we've. We been using paint, wet paint for quite some time. And paint's awesome. It, you can color match with it and we still do wet paint. [00:24:41] If a customer requests it, you can color match very specifically. To a specific item. If you have it, you can mix colors and that sort of thing. What we found with paint though, and with gravel bikes in particular, is it's not as durable as we would like. And the problem is that if you get a rock strike on your titanium, gravel bike with paint it is possible. [00:25:02] It could chip. And so that's not really an ideal situation. So we switched to cerakote, which is a ceramic coat. That's cured onto the frame and it's actually used on guns tanks, rocket parts, jet fighters. As whenever you see the paint that's on these vehicles and these, munitions, if you will that's cerakote and it's super resistant to heat damage from any sort of debris flying out of it. [00:25:29] I Heck if somebody can shoot a gun at a tank and the, the tanks spine cause of the Seroquel. That sort of thing. I'm pretty confident the bike is going to be okay from a rock strike. And and yeah, our painter is able to actually mix all of these all of these four different finishes together. [00:25:44] And we're able to make these incredible bikes of just total variety of just really just pushing them. The  [00:25:51] Craig Dalton: cerakote was the one I was least familiar with. And a couple of builders were using it out there in Utah at the end of the builder Roundup. How has it actually applied? Is it applied like a paint or a  [00:26:02] David Rosen (Sage): no it's more of a paint it's sprayed on. [00:26:05] So there is a masking process that goes on. The masking actually takes the most time for the bike itself for the actual paint work to be done. And basically once the bike is massed up, you pretty much split. As, you peel off the layers and as you spray it and that sort of thing. And then when all is said and done, you cure the bike it goes into an oven to cures and it can be sprayed in the morning, cured by lunch and ship out in the same day in the afternoon. [00:26:30] And it's done. Like you don't have to worry like the paints, soft, or it needs to still time just it's ready to ship. So it's pretty crazy. And it's super. And is  [00:26:39] Craig Dalton: it something that you can apply, in almost any design on the bike to any part of the bike,  [00:26:44] David Rosen (Sage): just about any design? It's really the limitation of the, of my artist and of the painter and being able to mask it. [00:26:51] Sometimes there are issues with tube shapes and that you're people thinking, people think of art and they think in a two dimensional sense as a flat canvas and the arts applied to it. But the reality is bicycles are three-dimensional rounded. There is no hard point to start and stop here and there. [00:27:10] So sometimes you have to make decisions and you have to make choices about how the artwork is going to lay on the frame itself. Because sometimes it may not work even the best intentions. It's eh, just not going to look right. And the tubes aren't exactly large like a canvas. So you have to think those things. [00:27:28] Yeah. I think that's  [00:27:29] Craig Dalton: The value in having. Artists be also a cyclist. They understand how the bike is constructed and the tube shapes and everything and also how it plays out, how it's going to look visually from within a Peloton to out there on the gravel road.  [00:27:42] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, absolutely. [00:27:43] No he's fantastic about making the bike stand out for sure. And this particular show bike is I think it's, I think it's one of my favorites, period. There are some others that we've done that are pretty amazing as well. It would be hard honestly, to stack them all up next to each other and pick one. [00:27:59] So it's a rough thing. So I'll take this one for right now and go. This is my favorite for the time being nice. Are  [00:28:05] Craig Dalton: there other trends in the gravel market that you're looking forward to exploring?  [00:28:09] David Rosen (Sage): I think I'm interested to see where suspension goes. It's I'm not saying I'm fully. [00:28:17] Committed to suspension and I think it should be on all bikes. I think it's certain applications in certain arenas and I don't necessarily think it should be a mountain bike fork. For example, that's just slimmed down. I think it needs to be its own technology because I think gravel is different. And I think there needs to be different engineering behind the design of the fork itself. [00:28:40] It needs to be lighter. It does need to be sexier. And it needs to, it's minimal travel. We don't need, you don't even need a hundred millimeters. Yeah. Travel for a gravel bike. It's, at some point again, I always go back to the original. My Barlow of you have to ride, you could ride from your house on the pavement to the gravel ride back to the pavement, ride back home. [00:29:00] So the bikes should be able to handle both. Other than that, if it's just only good off road, then it's really a drop bar mountain bike at that point. I'm interested to see where that goes. I think dropper posts will continue to I think that's more of an immediate trend that's coming. [00:29:16] I just, I see the value of it and, I saw it a grow DEO. There were guys that were just bombing down those descents baby head rocks, and just blasting down them on 50 mil tires and the dropper posts because they got the saddle out of the way. And it. It, it does add to the capability of the bike. [00:29:32] And then when we got out on the road, they pop the seat back up and everything was fine. Yeah.  [00:29:36] Craig Dalton: That was my technique. I knew I was going to get gapped off on all the climbs, but I had a hope, I had a hope if I rode my bike card with that dropper post down on the dissents, but I might just bridge back up to the group that just dropped me. [00:29:47] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, exactly. No, it  [00:29:49] Craig Dalton: works great. I too. And the listener well knows. I'm fascinated by the idea of suspension in ground. All your points are spot on. It's going to have to be this delicate balance, to not take away the capabilities. We're not trying to build mountain bikes here. They still need to be bikes that can get fast on the road, but to each their own in terms of gravel, right? [00:30:09] We've got listeners all over the world whose experiences are dramatically different. And what I hope is that it just becomes this type of thing, where you look at someone who has a more aggressively set up gravel bike. You just understand that's probably what they have in their backyard and someone who's, riding the Barlow with 30 twos on it, that could be totally capable. [00:30:30] It could be overkill for the types of gravel roads they ride, but to each  [00:30:34] David Rosen (Sage): their own. Yeah, no, you're absolutely right. It's, it's we see the same sort of thing with mountain bikes. There's this trend towards not a trend. It's here. I wouldn't call it a trend and I'm a big fan of it. [00:30:45] Big hit long travel bikes with slack, that angles that basically five years ago were downhill bikes. And now they're single crown and Duro bikes. And guys are, we're doing, I'm doing crazy jumps on the weekends and all that sort of stuff, but does the person in Florida, for example or Texas where it's pancake flat for the most part and I'm sure there are technical steep places where you need it. [00:31:07] So I apologize. Not, I'm not trying to characterize the entire state that way, but generally speaking Florida is pretty flat. So do you need a long travel, slacked out bike? Probably not thing. And to your point about the gravel, there's places where that, a 32 mil tire is going to be perfect there, and there's other places where a 50 mil tire and it's their backyard. [00:31:28] So yeah, I would totally agree with that.  [00:31:30] Craig Dalton: You'll start to get that feedback next season in 2022 for people running time. Front suspension, forks on their bikes. And it would be curious to see, much like your professional athlete gave the feedback that ultimately led to the storm king. We may see that feedback coming back saying having a little bit of suspension on the front simply makes the bike faster. [00:31:52] And if it's faster, people are going to go for it from a race perspective.  [00:31:56] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, no, I would agree. At some level it is 1990 for mountain bikes. But at the same time, it's the gravel bikes of today are far more capable than those. What were mountain bikes back then? And it's pretty impressive with how the bike is evolved. [00:32:10] Yeah, I totally  [00:32:11] Craig Dalton: agree with you. I had that same feeling back in the early nineties around mountain biking that every year, every month it seemed like a new idea was being put forward and people were testing and learning and it took, it was this great and super enjoyable journey. If you were involved in it to watch it out. [00:32:28] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, no, absolutely. It was a lot of fun. And it's, I think gravel is going through the same sort of, evolution  [00:32:34] Craig Dalton: actually. We're all here. We're all listening. We're all involved the communities as all eyes on the innovation. Super exciting time. I appreciate you joining me today, Dave, and giving us a little more of an overview, a deep dive into Sage titanium. [00:32:48] I loved the work that you showed in Utah, and I wish you all the. [00:32:52] David Rosen (Sage): Thanks. I really appreciate it. This was a lot of fun. Thanks for having me.  [00:32:55] Craig Dalton: Cheers.  [00:32:56] Big, thanks today for joining us this week, I have to say, I really do love that storm king. It takes a lot of boxes for me, the finished work was beautiful. The clearances are right up my alley, and I think it would be a hell of a lot of fun to ride that bike. Also another big, thanks to ENVE for sponsoring the podcast this week. And for sponsoring this entire series, it's really been a pleasure. Getting introduced to a lot of their partners around the world, looking through their componentry and touring their factory. I've mentioned it on earlier podcasts, but I was very impressed with the amount of testing they do. In-house and just the fabrication process in general, in Ogden, Utah, the attention to detail.  [00:33:40] The passion of the employee base. And everything about ENVE's work there in the United States just really makes me happy. So be sure to check them out.  [00:33:49] When you support our podcast partners, you're supporting the podcast itself.  [00:33:53] I wouldn't be able to continue doing what I'm doing without their support.  [00:33:57] And I wouldn't do this without your support. The gravel community has been super embracing of what I've been doing.  [00:34:03] And I've loved getting to know some of you in in-person events. But more broadly through the ridership community. If you're not already a member of this free community, just visit We'd love to have you. And if you're interested in supporting the podcast further, please visit buy me a gravel ride.  [00:34:24] There's any number of ways in which you can support what I'm doing here. Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt under your wheels

    Chris Mandell - SRAM / Zipp / RockShox and the new XPLR gravel line up

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 10, 2021 61:00

    Exclusive interview with SRAM's Chris Mandell discussing the new XPLR line of product for gravel.  We dig into the SRAM XPLR components, the RockShox REVERB AXS wireless dropper post and finally RockShox's new gravel suspension fork, Rudy. Support the podcast Join The Ridership Full automated transcript (please excuse the typos): SRAM - Chris Mandell   [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Craig Dalton. Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host, Craig Dalton. [00:00:08] We've got a big show for you this week. So I'm going to keep the intro short. I'm welcoming Chris Mandel from SRAM [00:00:14] To the show to talk about the new explore series just launched today, August.  [00:00:19] This is really three shows in one, as we talk about grupos dropper posts. And suspension forks. [00:00:25] I'm super excited to dive into this conversation. I've been testing the products a few weeks down here in Topanga, California. And really excited to bounce my ideas off of Chris.  [00:00:36] And get his insights about the new XPLR line.  [00:00:39] So with that, let's dive right in.  [00:00:41] Chris, welcome to the show.  [00:00:43] Chris Mandell: Thanks for having me. I'm real excited to be here.  [00:00:45] Craig Dalton: This is a conversation that I feel is eight or nine months in the works.  [00:00:49] Chris Mandell: Yeah, for sure. That's that's generally how these things go, your word developing and working on products for quite a long time before they actually make it out into the world. [00:00:59] Craig Dalton: So yeah, I'm really excited for this discussion and I'm super stoked that this is on the day of the big launch. So if you're listening on August 10th, which is when this podcast is first released, SRAM has got some things to talk about today. But before we get into that, I always like to get a little bit of information about you as a rider where you're living and how'd you get into the sport. [00:01:22] Chris Mandell: Yeah. Thanks for that. I've been a passionate cyclist for a really long time, my dad did a bit of road racing back in the day and we always had bikes around. Yeah. But I got distracted with American football in high school, and then ended up going to college to play American football and found really quickly in college that I did not want to keep playing at that level. [00:01:44] And so I stopped that and was really lucky in that the town that I lived in McMinnville, Oregon had a small but strong mountain bike scene. And the people there took me under their wing and I started mountain biking with them. And then eventually started working at the local bike shop Tony's and just fully embraced it and was obsessed with it. [00:02:02] And then after I graduated from college, I got a job working full speed ahead, which took me up to Seattle which was great. Cause there was ton of really good cross country riding outside of Seattle, but there was also. A lot of like free side and downhill riding. So at that point I branched and was, writing a commuter to, and from work riding and racing cross country, race bikes, and then also going up to the Whistler bike park and riding that as much as possible kind of fast-forward became a product manager at Kona bikes and developed full suspension bikes at cone bikes for a long time. [00:02:38] And then eventually made the jump to become the rear shock product manager at RockShox. Which had me moved from Bellingham where I was working for Kona, Bellingham, Washington to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and had a great four and a half years living in Colorado Springs, Colorado being really detailed, focused on full suspension, mountain bikes and what it takes to. [00:03:02] Tune shocks and developed shocks for OEM customers like specialized or Santa Cruz. And then at a certain point, unfortunately, due to some family reasons my wife and I needed to move back to Bellingham to be closer to her family. And so we, when we made that shift I switched over from working in product development, to working on the PR side of things, which is what has me on the phone with you. [00:03:25] But in this, in a similar timeframe, we also, I, had a child and I was getting a little bit older and I'd always like commuted and like dabbled in, in rode bikes a little bit, but I'd never really rode bikes. Never really grabbed a hold of me, but gravel bikes started to grab a hold of me. [00:03:42] And it was about that time about when I had, when we had our child that I got a gravel bike and really started riding one pretty consistently. Fell in love with a lot of what, the early days of cross country riding, where for me, which was exploring your local area and like finding the different nooks and crannies and gravel roads and going to the places that you hadn't been to before. [00:04:07] But also really being able to like physically push myself, on, on a mountain bike on one hour mountain bike ride, you go up and then you come down, but on a one-hour gravel ride, you're basically peddling your brains off the entire time. So like the fitness side of that was really helpful for me. [00:04:22] In addition to connecting with the original spirit of what caught me in the cross country, mountain biking back in the day. So yeah, and so now living in Bellingham and I started that gravel journey in Colorado. Which is a really excellent place for gravel riding, but now living in Bellingham, Washington, which we're obviously very well known for our mountain bike trails and the mountain bike trail network is super expansive between, Galbreath mountain, which is the hill with a lot of mountain bike specific built trails, right in town. [00:04:52] And then the Chuck nuts, which is a little bit south of town, which is more hiking trails with some bikes specific trails, but a much bigger, longer area. But there's actually quite a bit of graveling to do here. This area I'm actually mountain bike got started here in, in logging terrain. [00:05:07] It's all working for us in this part of the country. And in order to have a working forest you have to have fire roads. And so there's just fireworks roads running in every possible direction. And then a lot of those thyroids have single track connections to them. So you can really get out and go quite far on your gravel bike from your door and have some pretty, pretty amazing adventures and get to be able to see some pretty big mountains. [00:05:31] Craig Dalton: Amazing. What do the climbs look like in your neck of the woods? Are they long hour long climbs? Are they short and punchy stuff?  [00:05:39] Chris Mandell: Yeah, it really depends what really depends what you want. There's definitely like hours long, slow grinding climbs, and then much to my friends. [00:05:48] Dislike. One of my favorite climbs around here is this climate called pine the theater. And it's basically just straight up the hill for about 25 minutes. And you're pretty much searching for traction on your gravel bike the whole time. Cause it's the climb. So Steve, so yeah, it's all of that. [00:06:03] It's long slow slogging fire roads, and then there's also just straight up the hill hiking or single track climbs.  [00:06:10] Craig Dalton: Nice. It sounds like a great place for gravel riding. Cause it sounds like you can pick and choose whether you want just a logging road that doesn't have a lot of technical requirements, but you can also push your limits on the single track and mountain bike style trails. [00:06:23] Chris Mandell: Yep. Yeah, that's exactly. I think that's exactly the case, like from my house is about 12 minutes to Galbreath on a rails to trails, an old railroad grade that they've converted to an inner urban trail. So I can take that over to golf. Which is crisscrossed with fire roads and then single track. [00:06:42] And so I'll generally climb up single track and then descend down the fire road on my gravel bike, because, my perspective is a lot of the times like it's capable as a gravel bike is do do having my mountain bike on the single track a lot of the time, but it's like a great in terms of options and my friend. [00:06:58] And I'll always joke. Cause we can, you could look down at the dirt here cause we get quite a bit of moisture in a normal time and you can see how many people are starting to gravel bike on the hill because you can tell the gravel bike tires.  [00:07:11] Craig Dalton: That's amazing. Yeah. I love that. I If you're in the fortunate position of having both the gravel and a mountain bike and live in a place where you can take all these different, make all these different choices, it's so much fun. [00:07:22] Cause you just pick and choose your own adventure. I could go on and on talking and learning about Bellingham, because it's an area that I've heard a great things about, but we've got so much ground to cover with Schram's announcement today about the Explorer series. And I'd love to get into it. [00:07:38] I think we'd look at the componentry first and the wheels, and then we get into the hotly debated stuff that we'll talk about later.  [00:07:46] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. Yeah. I I think the round out the gravel side of things, the last thing I'd add there is I think the other thing that's nice about having a gravel bike and a mountain bike is you can get so much more out of your mountain bike if you spend time on your gravel bike, because your fitness just goes through the roof. [00:08:02] And that's one of the things that's been, I've been loving about having a gravel bike alongside the mountain bike.  [00:08:07] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And I also imagined, from, if I go back to my origin story and mountain biking, riding orig rigid bike, there's a certain skill level you acquire by learning how to pick your lines when you're riding a rigid. [00:08:19] Or a lightly suspended bike as it were versus when you jump on a full suspension bike, you can start off being pretty sloppy.  [00:08:27] Chris Mandell: Yep. For sure.  [00:08:28] Craig Dalton: Yeah. So let's talk about explore.  [00:08:32] Chris Mandell: Yeah. So this is pretty exciting moment for us. It's really three, three of our big brands coming together. [00:08:40] In a way that we think is really going to allow the gravel rider to have more complete experiences on their bikes. So from the Zipp side we're bringing a gravel specific wheelset from the SRAM road side of things. We're bringing a gravel specific drive train, and then most new to the market would be on the RockShox side of thing. [00:09:06] We're going to bring a fork and a seat post that are gravel specific into the market. And I think it's really cool that these three brands were able to come together and make this specific explore products collection. But I do think it's also important to note that we still think our entire product line is totally relevant in the gravel sphere. [00:09:29] So we have this specific collection of products that we designed for gravel use, but we have a ton of other products that will end up on gravel bikes. And we don't think that those parts shouldn't end up on gravel bikes. It's just, these are the ones that we've specifically designed for.  [00:09:45] gravel  [00:09:47] Craig Dalton: Interesting. [00:09:48] I'm sure there's someone who immediately heard the word suspension on gravel bike and is already hitting the internet to start a debate. We won't get into that listener. Don't worry. I'm super excited. I've been riding the fork and I have my opinions on, it's a super excited to talk to Chris further about it, but Chris, why don't we start off with that? [00:10:06] We'll set.  [00:10:08] Chris Mandell: Yeah. This has been in the gravel market for quite some time with the product line that we offer today, specifically the 303 S and the 303 Firecrest both of which are excellent products for gravel riders to use like their light. The internal width are appropriate for a larger size tire. [00:10:30] And they provide a good balance of aerodynamics. However, we recognize that there's like a full spectrum. Travel experiences out there. And there are people who are going to push the limit a little bit more on the aggressive riding side of things. And for those riders, they're looking for a different setup in terms of, like balancing comfort and control on the trail with aerodynamics. [00:10:58] And so that really pointed us to what we're already doing with zip on the mountain bike side of things, where we have the zero three Moto rim, which is a single wall, not Mike Ram that was designed to allow the rim to have what we call ankle compliance. So the rim is able to work with the tire to provide the rider with more control and conform to the ground better. [00:11:26] As we have that have had that wheel in the mountain bike side of things for a long time, we have a lot of customers and a lot of interest in like bringing something like that over into the gravel side of things. And so that's what we're doing with with the 1 0 1 wheel set and really what it gives the rider is the ability to have a wheel set. [00:11:44] That's going to decrease their fatigue when they're out riding because the rim is gonna work the terrain with the tire in a way that allows the rider to keep the bike going in the direction they're going to want and isolate the rider from a lot of the vibrations and other like hits to the rider that are to the overall bike system that would create fatigue. [00:12:06] Craig Dalton: So is there some sort of suppleness built into the rim? Is that what you're saying?  [00:12:11] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. So the way that the rim system is able to work is that the spokes are run through the center of the room. And because it's not a box section, then it's a single wall run. The rim is able to use what we call ankle compliance. [00:12:27] So when it sees a hit say on the left side of the rim is able to move up and out of the way a little bit and allow the front axle and the whole bike to continue to carry forward, but give a little bit in a way that provides more comfort and more control and becomes less fatiguing to the right. [00:12:46] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. And that 27 millimeter wide internal profile is that wider than the 3 0 3.  [00:12:54] Chris Mandell: Yeah. We've actually got like really nice steps from the 300, three S all the way up to the one-on-one. So the 303 is 23 millimeter. The 303 Firecrest is 25 and then the one-on-one is 27 inner. And really that's just optimizing for those different sizes of tires that you're going to have on there. [00:13:15] You're able to use quite a small tire on the one-on-one. But it's also going to give you a lot of good stability on the larger side tire.  [00:13:23] Craig Dalton: Yeah. We've had a discussion about that on the podcast before, and it seems like this trend towards that 27 millimeter is really beneficial for the gravel rider in terms of the contact patch of the tire and just how the overall rim performs. [00:13:38] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. And I I think it's, it's preference in tires and it's there's so many factors that go into what tire pressure you run with tires you run and all that stuff. And I think, having options is good in that space. And we really look at like the one-on-one. [00:13:53] If you're looking to take on more challenging terrain, if you're going to be spending long, long periods of time in the saddle over, not so great conditioned paved roads or rough gravel roads that extended period of time, but one-on-one is really going to bring a lot to you because it's going to save a lot of energy and it's going to, it's going to stop the vibrations and all the things that fatigue you on a gravel ride from getting up to you. [00:14:21] Craig Dalton: Nice. And for the listener, I'll just note that it's available in 700 C and six 50 B.  [00:14:27] Chris Mandell: Yep. Yeah.  [00:14:29] Craig Dalton: Did you want to talk about the G 40 exploratory?  [00:14:33] Chris Mandell: Yeah. Yeah, we can mention that one real quick. So the G 40 is a tire that we've offered for a while now, but we are rebranding it explored to fit into the rest of the collection. [00:14:45] And it's a pretty sweet tire. It's sitting right there in the middle at 40, which is I think a very common tire size for people to be using. It's got a nice center line rolling tread, which is really great for efficiency, but then it's got good, not too aggressive, but just aggressive enough cornering logs. [00:15:04] So you've got the grip in terms or when the ground gets soft, you're still able to dig into those cornering lugs and hold align really well. And then the thing that as a mountain biker I really appreciate it is it does have a robust sidewall, so you're not looking at getting getting flat tires that often. [00:15:21] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Nice. Let's move on to the driver.  [00:15:26] Chris Mandell: Yeah.  [00:15:28] Craig Dalton: So tell us about that. XPLR, drivetrain, and how it fits in you gave a little bit in your opening about it, but just contextualize it a little bit further and talk some of the details about what you guys are providing.  [00:15:40] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. I think if we look at where we're at with drive trains today, we offer a 10 36 1 by drive train, and we offer and through the access ecosystem, we're able to take our road hoods and connect them to a 10 50 mountain bike drive, train to provide, two pretty good experiences for the gravel rider. [00:16:05] The one by gravel rider looking to have either, very lightweight set up with the 10 36 and tight gearing stuff. Or with the 10 50, bigger gear steps, but a huge range which is greatly beneficial when you're like waiting the bike down or living in a place where there's really steep climbs. [00:16:22] And you're looking to just go straight up the hill, but for sure, we recognize that there's space in the middle of it. And for us, the one by experience is really what makes it makes the most sense on a gravel bike, where you're just looking to keep things clean and simple and straightforward. [00:16:40] Maybe he's got a dropper posts on your bag too. That's a whole lot of thing, different systems that you're managing on the bike and for the gravel rider, the one bike is a really good solution a week, but we saw that gap in between the 10 36 and the 10 15. We knew that there were writers who spend time in the mountains and need range, but also spent a lot of time on the tarmac and the tight gear steps. [00:17:04] And that's what brought us to this. 10 44 cassette and as well as a derailer that goes along with it and allows you to have a one by specific trailer, which will shift that 10 44. And we're offering that trailer hat red force as well as rival. So you can get in all three of those access price points and really be able to complete your experience from pavement to growl. [00:17:31] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. So these ones with the explore moniker on it are exclusively one by correct. They  [00:17:38] Chris Mandell: are exclusively one by, and a good way to think about that is when you're developing a derailer, you've got to optimize it for the cassette that it's running across. And then like how much chain it needs to take up. [00:17:50] So when you have a front derailleur system, you've got to think about the chainring moving between two pretty big sizes. So we changed the way we developed the cage and where we placed the pulleys. So it helps us provide a better shifting product and a lighter weight product. If we are able to divide those up a little bit. [00:18:08] So for this derailleur, we did end up making it one by specific, and we specifically built it to work with a 10 44 cassette, but it does also shift a 10 36  [00:18:18] Craig Dalton: cassettes. Gotcha. And for clarity, you mentioned this before SRAM's other group PO's are mix and match compatible. So for my friends like Jason at the Gravel Cyclist who rides to buy all the time, you've got a two by setup. [00:18:35] That's totally suitable for the gravel market.  [00:18:38] Chris Mandell: Yep, exactly. Yeah. And if that rider wanted to switch to one by specific setup or maybe like dabble in it. Yeah. You could take those same controllers and you could add one by rear derailleur to them and they would work just fine. It would just be a matter of repairing it to the new derailleur. [00:18:58] Craig Dalton: Yeah. It's been interesting. The demo bike that you provided to me, which is a canyon Grizl, we've set up with a mullet setup. And while I've been on SRAM on my personal bike for many years, this was the first access bike that I've had for a prolonged period of time. So it was fascinating to play around with the app pair, the different things that were on the bike in the app, and just understand that system a little bit more. [00:19:24] Chris Mandell: Yeah. And it seemed like it was pretty straight forward and working pretty easily for you. And that's really what we're going for with this, like we want to make this as user-friendly and. It just things like the shift log logic, like it's very easy for you to understand in your brain. [00:19:39] Oh, I pushed the left shifter to get the chain to move left forward on the cassette. And I pushed the right shifter to get it to move right on that cassette and all those little details and all that little, like ease of use stuff adds up to a better experience for everyone in the channel, from the person who's ending up riding the bike to the bike shop and setting it up. [00:19:59] Craig Dalton: Yeah, for sure. And the fact that, and we'll get into the dropper post later, but the fact that the dropper post and the rear derailleur are using the same battery just gives you that comfort. Should you ever get caught out of pocket? You can swap the battery around and give power to the rear derailleur and take it away from your dropper posts, for example. [00:20:17] Chris Mandell: Yep. Yeah. And that's a perfect example. I actually, probably because I was driving around with my bike on my car the other day I had to do that exact thing and it was totally fine. Took two seconds and I was back out on my bike and riding again. And to, like the batteries are real small. [00:20:33] And so you can actually just get an extra one and throw it in your pocket.  [00:20:36] Craig Dalton: The other fun thing you told me, that was a mixed sense, but I didn't realize it right off the bat was that there's a mini accelerometer in all the componentry, so that it wakes up essentially when it's, when you're moving and goes to sleep if it's in your garage. [00:20:54] Chris Mandell: Yeah, exactly. So the way all the access systems work is they add little, as you mentioned, little accelerometer in them and to save power they go to sleep, but they're like checking in and. When you grab your bike and, move it out of the stand or wherever you have it set, those components are able to wake up and immediately respond to whatever you're trying to get them to do. [00:21:15] And that allows us to save a lot of battery life so that you're not wasting battery when the bike is just sitting in the garage, but also allows us to immediately respond to your needs as a rider.  [00:21:24] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And the additional pro tip you shared with me is if you've got it on the back or top of your car, take the battery out, put the little safe plastic piece in there. [00:21:33] So it doesn't think it's awake for your six hour drive to a ride.  [00:21:37] Chris Mandell: Yep. Yeah, definitely take that step.  [00:21:41] Craig Dalton: You mentioned. The sort of mixed compatibility of explore group a with everything else. And I definitely appreciate it as running the mullet setups and having some components from the mountain bike side of your lineup, everything visually works together. [00:21:56] There's no standing out of the explore versus the mountain bike side of things.  [00:22:02] Chris Mandell: Yeah. So we definitely feel like the full suite of products that we offer should all be able to come together and work cross-functionally as much as they can. And one thing you'll notice on all of the explore products is the explore. [00:22:18] Call-out is pretty small and pretty subtle. And I think your bike is a good example of that is a gravel bike. It doesn't feature the 10 44 cassette. For you attend 50 was a better solution, but you could actually have a 10 44 set up for that bike and very easily just remove the cassette and the derailer and the chain, and then add a 10 44 set up to it with the trailer and the chain and the cassette, and then repair your shifters and go out and ride that 10 44 setup. [00:22:51] Craig Dalton: What's the difference between the chains in those two setups?  [00:22:56] Chris Mandell: So the Explorer 10 44 drive trains use the flat top chain that we have on the roadside. And then the mullet drive train that you're using the 10 50 and the Eagle rear derailer use a standard 12 speed.  [00:23:10] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. And not to get too much in the weeds, but I was curious about this the way SRAM's, what are referred to as a magic link works to put the chain together. [00:23:19] Is it true that you can pretty easily pop those off and take the chain out?  [00:23:25] Chris Mandell: Yeah. So you can pop those off and take the chain out. The one thing to keep in mind with that is we don't recommend that you reuse that quickly. And the reason we don't is if it's a press fit and that's what holds it together. [00:23:36] And when you break that link, you will, you do wear that pressed it up a little bit. So we don't recommend that you reuse that quick link, but it is like a really easy way to be able to take your drive, train apart without making your change shorter or anything like that. And in fact, park tool and a few other tool manufacturers actually make a tool that's specifically designed to, install the quick link, but also on installed the quick. [00:24:01] Craig Dalton: Ooh, I might have to take a look at those I, one of the things that tripped me out, I was on a trip with some of the guys from VeloNews and saw that one of them was riding access and in his bike bag, he had taken the chain off and just remove the derailer. And it was just, he, in fact, he traveled with the derailer in a separate bag, which was just a trip to me when he pulled it out of the box and was putting back all together. [00:24:24] And it's just such a handy, protective way of transporting the bike.  [00:24:30] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. I do the exact same thing when I travel, just because, even with a mountain bike, flying with a mountain bike that derailleurs like in a vulnerable place and those bike bags, and it's not supported by the rest of the system. [00:24:42] And I actually do the same thing and take it off the ticket off the bike. And, I'm able to put it in inside of a bag somewhere else inside of my bike bag, which is a great way to.  [00:24:53] Craig Dalton: Yeah let's get let's shift gears and let's start boiling some of the listeners blood by talking about dropper posts and suspension. [00:25:01] Let's start with the dropper posts.  [00:25:04] Chris Mandell: One, one not to jump ahead to our not to pull us back. But one thing I do want to mention really quickly is we will we, in addition to the 10 44 cassette and the 10 44 specific red forest and rivalry trailers that we'll offer for, with XPLR we will also offer a one by specific cranks. [00:25:26] So same crank arms at the red enforce and rival level, but it has a new lighter weight single ring, and it's available on 38 through 46 sizes. So yeah, just quick touch that  [00:25:37] Craig Dalton: way, jumping in the suspension. Yeah. So let's talk about the access reverb dropper seat. [00:25:47] Yeah, so draw, look, this is no surprise to anybody who listens to this podcast. I am pro dropper all the time for almost every situation.  [00:25:59] Chris Mandell: And what do you feel the dropper gives you when you're out riding your bike  [00:26:07] Craig Dalton: when I'm descending and this descending is not just oh, I know I'm going to be bombing downhill for 25 minutes. [00:26:13] It's basically anytime I'm going downhill, being able to lower the saddle ever so slightly and create a greater area of space in my, underneath my undercarriage between my undercarriage and the saddle enables me to corner with greater confidence. Pretty much do everything with greater confidence.  [00:26:35] Chris Mandell: Yeah. [00:26:36] Yeah. And that's the same. That we would, when we would speak to what you get out of a dropper post on the mountain bike side of things it's the same situation because you're able to move wherever you need to move from the front of the bike, to the back of the bike without being obstructed by your seat post or your saddle rather lends a huge amount of control to you because you can waste the front tire as you need to, you can weight the rear tire as you need to without worrying about catching yourself on the satellite as you're making those motions. [00:27:08] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And I like, go ahead, Chris,  [00:27:14] Chris Mandell: you got it.  [00:27:15] Craig Dalton: When when I talk about using the dropper post, I'm talking about it in not the extreme mountain biking style stuff exclusively. I use it all the time. So descending on the road, like I think the advantages are there. When you do get into the hectic stuff and a local rider here in Southern California tipped me off to this trail called horse drop, which I finally hit the other day. [00:27:39] And as the name would dictate, there was a bunch of drop-offs. It was truly a hectic trail for a gravel bike, but a ton of fun. And there's no way, I shouldn't say there's no way it would be super challenging to do those drops with your saddle fully extended and even using the 50 millimeter drop AXS. [00:27:59] REVERB I had, it was plenty of space to get the bike underneath me and allow it to come up to me as I was handling those drop-offs.  [00:28:10] Chris Mandell: Yeah, that makes total sense to me. And I think circling back to even in less extreme terrain, it still makes a huge difference. Like you imagine hitting the apex of a road corner. [00:28:23] You're going to want to be in a different position on your bike versus the way you entered the corner. You have to move your center of gravity and your body weight around to get the bike, to track well through a corner. And like any flat corner on a gravel bike where you're trying to use a little bit of subtle body English to move the bike through the turn. [00:28:45] If you have to, all of a sudden, move from the front of the bike, to the back of the bike and then raise your center of gravity up to move your body up and over your saddle, that's going to disrupt your grip on the ground. And I think it's one of the advantages of having a dropper  [00:29:00] Craig Dalton: posts. [00:29:01] Yeah, a hundred percent. I think in my mind, it's the number one upgrade in terms of how it will affect your performance on the bike that anybody can do. So this post, obviously rock shock has been making. Dropper posts for the mountain bike sizes for a long time and has a full range there. This REVERB AXS XPLR is in the 27 2 millimeter diameter. [00:29:24] It comes in 400 millimeter lens as well as three 50, the three 50 has a 50 millimeter drop. And I think the 400 has a 75 millimeter drop that. All correct, Chris?  [00:29:35] Chris Mandell: Yeah. The 400 is actually available also in the 50 millimeter drop. So you can get the 400 either in 75 or 15.  [00:29:43] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. And how did you guys decide on those length drops as being what you want it to be? [00:29:49] Chris Mandell: Yeah, that, that really came from riding these types of bikes around and thinking about how much they needed and then listening to rider feedback on how much they thought they needed. So it really was those two sides of us doing our own work internally. And then listening to rider feedback on it. [00:30:12] And I think too, before we already get too close to the tech side of things and, I think we just had a really great conversation on the advantage of a C post. I can go from top out to bottom out. When we were looking at the gravel market and thinking about what we needed to bring to the table, we did not think it was enough just to make a post that dropped, like for sure that was going to be an advantage for the gravel rider. [00:30:37] But we recognized that it was a different use case and we needed to bring more to the table to get a gravel rider, to understand the benefit of having a dropper post and want them to take that leap. And so one of the things that we did with is we actually Came up with a new internal design which allows us to have what we call active ride for anywhere from top out to when the seat post achieves full travel. [00:31:06] So that means like if you move the seat post and a millimeter, the seat post is giving you what we call active ride, which is a bit of compliance in the post so that the rider is able to stay seated through rough terrain and continue paddling without having to stand up and get their butt off the saddle. [00:31:26] So at full top out the post is rock solid, but anywhere after full top out the C post features active ride. And that is one of the things that we see as a huge advantage to a gravel rider. Who's going to spend a ton of time paddling across rough terrain, needing to stay on the gas and needing their butts to stay on. [00:31:49] Yeah,  [00:31:49] Craig Dalton: that's super thoughtful element of the design. If you think about riding across stutter bumps or anything where you're going to be needing to peddle being on the saddle, just being able to take it down a millimeter, which is likely what you'd like. Anyway, you get some advantage out of having a little bit more space there to have that sort of suppleness built in is gotta pay dividends over longer rides. [00:32:14] Chris Mandell: Totally. Yeah. One of the, one of the initial test riders for this post actually set his, see post height a little bit too high, and then he would just move the CBOs into the travel so that he was always riding in the active ride position, which is a great way to do it for me personally. I do having the, from top out and we think a lot of writers are going to want that. [00:32:34] So we actually, like just with the CBOs, you get to have your cake and eat it too.  [00:32:38] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. I think that for me, my setup's always been, I'm probably like that rider and yeah. My I set my droppers up slightly higher, maybe ever so slightly. So it feels comfortable early on in the day, but oftentimes I find myself running it a little bit lower as a more fatigued or just cruising home at the end of the day. [00:32:58] Chris Mandell: Yeah. I totally sad for me. One of the other things that I've really enjoyed about having a dropper post on a bike too, is a gravel bike is just like ease of getting on and off the bike because you do end up having to get off your gravel bike in difficult terrain sometimes. And it's helpful to be able to like, get the seat down before you finally step off the bike. [00:33:20] Craig Dalton: Totally agree with you there. And for clarity for the listener, this is an access product, which means that it has a wireless activation to it.  [00:33:29] Chris Mandell: Yep. Yeah. So this lives in our active ecosystem. So again, it uses the same battery as the drive trains. We were just talking about. And uses the same communication protocol. [00:33:40] One of the things that's huge advantage of that is that it's, we leave it open to the end user in terms of how they want to activate the system. So you can use a standard reverb access shifter on a flat bar setup to activate this seat post on a drop bar setup, you can use double click on the sh on the road shifters to do that. [00:34:05] And then if you have force or red shifters, you can get one of our blips or multiplex and plug that into your shifter and then use that to control your dropper posts. And then lastly, you can also get a blood box and plug a multi-client or a blip into that, and then use the blip blocks to flip the box, to control the seat post. [00:34:28] So there's a ton of options in terms of how you interact with a post. Craig, I think you have double tap on your bike right now. Correct?  [00:34:40] Craig Dalton: Yup. Yeah. And it's, it's interesting. I was laughing with you the other day that I found that I actually do have scenarios where I'm activating the dropper post with one hand, which seemed crazy. [00:34:50] Wow. We were talking about it, but I was out on the bike again yesterday. And it's oftentimes where I am. I'd be grabbing a sip of water while, beginning to start a downhill, not a, on a fire road or something. And then I found myself historically with my other SRAM bike where it's cable activated, I would swing the left lever and drop my post in anticipation for putting the bottle down and hitting it on the descent. [00:35:15] So it's funny to get used to that. So I am interested in trying the blip set up and I do think it's interesting that the blip box exists. So if you're a writer that maybe not be, is not on an access group oh. Today on your bike, but is looking forward. I think. Investing in this product and just getting the blip box so you can control it on any bike that does not have electronic shifting is a good future proof system and investment because when you do upgrade to the access shifters, you can easily repair it and remove the blip box from the scenario. [00:35:51] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally super good solution. And it's the flexibility that we're given through access.  [00:35:58] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Any more comments on the dropper posts that you wanted to relay to the listener?  [00:36:04] Chris Mandell: Yeah. Yeah. I think the last thing I would touch on there is obviously, we hit on it's available in 50 and 75 millimeters of travel. [00:36:12] And then three 50 and 400 millimeter lengths. One of the other things too, to keep in mind with that C post is that the rail clamps are compatible. I don't know a meter or standard rounds or oval seven by nine. And then there is a separate clamp available for seven by 10. So we have all of the rail configurations covered in that oral as well. [00:36:34] Gotcha. Pretty excited for the CBOs to get out there and people will be trying it.  [00:36:38] Craig Dalton: Yeah, for sure. You ready to make people really mad?  [00:36:43] Chris Mandell: Yeah.  [00:36:45] Craig Dalton: So RockShox is introducing their Rudy explore suspension fork for gravel bikes today. [00:36:51] Chris Mandell: And I think, it's interesting making people mad cause I think it's also good. I think this is going to expire a lot of people too, if we go back to the origins of mountain biking, there was some hesitation and even moving to suspension in the first place on a mountain bike and. [00:37:05] We kinda know exactly how that ended up not suspension is the name of the game on a mountain bike these days. And I think, from RockShox perspective and from where we're coming to it, we look at any time a bike is getting off-road or even on a rough road as an opportunity for suspension to play a role and to really allow for more comfort and control and traction, which at the end of the day can equate to more speed or can equate to more fun. [00:37:37] And I think, we're all really riding our bikes at the end of the day to have more fun. However, you slice it's on me winning a race. That's what it means, but it means you need to go faster. So from the RockShox perspective, we looked at that and that was really what drove us to develop this part. [00:37:54] Craig Dalton: Yeah, it's clearly a natural place for part of the market to go. And I think you and I would be the first people to state that it's just part of the market, just as we've seen a trend towards bigger and bigger tires, wider handlebars, all these different configurations that riders around the world are discovering to customize these gravel bikes for their local terrain. [00:38:18] No one will sit here and say that bigger tires, wider handlebars suspension forks are for everybody. There's certainly vast parts of the country and world that riding without a suspension fork. And in fact, riding a glorified road bike is totally suitable for the gravel in your backyard, but as someone who rides mostly in Marine county or here in Southern California in the Santa Monica mountains, like I'm really embracing this product and seeing some huge advantages, just five or six rides into. [00:38:54] Chris Mandell: Yeah. From our side, we don't think there's a wrong way to gravel every time someone's getting on their bike and taking it from tarmac to gravel, to single track, and then back onto the tarmac, like that's their experience. And as a components manufacturer, what we're really looking to provide users with is the ability to tune their experience. [00:39:22] So the best that fits what they're trying to do and what's fit their needs. I think one of the things that's really interesting is with, and it's it's not totally unique to grab the gravel space, but it is like an interesting thing that's like pretty pure in the gravel side of things is you almost really build your bike. [00:39:39] You can build your bike really to you. Where you're lacking. So if you do you, aren't a good defender, but you're a great climber, that current for today, like that would point you to putting much bigger tires on your bike and trying to get more traction and get more control and a dissent just by, by putting bigger tires on your bike. [00:40:00] After today, that rider is able to go back to a smaller tire and use suspension and use a dropper post to get a lot more control in those situations where they feel anxious, because they don't necessarily have the confidence to, to be taking their bike down, down horse drops or whatever it is but using suspension and using a dropper post is another way to get that control back into the writer's hand and regain calm. [00:40:30] Yeah,  [00:40:30] Craig Dalton: exactly. I feel like I, the more and more that I advise people on how to get, how to purchase a bike and how to think about what gravel bike makes sense to them. There's all these levers that you're pulling. And it comes down to where you're riding, as you said, what your comfort level is and descents. [00:40:46] I can't tell you how many people I see out there who just are exceptional going uphill, but the moment they go downhill, they start to get terrified and really tense up and, white knuckle, the handlebar, and really have a bad experience on the bike. Whereas adding some elements of suspension, whether it be this fork or larger tires or suspension stem, like all of these things help alleviate some of those challenges, if that's where you're deficient as a cyclist. [00:41:14] Chris Mandell: Absolutely. And the Rudy. So the fork we're bringing is part of the Explorer product line is called the Rudy. And it really is. Bill with the gravel cyclist in mind in terms of providing more grip, getting more control into the rider's hands and allowing the rider to save their body for later in the ride and for pedaling and providing much more control and steering confidence in Russ stuff. [00:41:46] But honestly, even just bombing the regular tarmac road in America, you're going to get a better connected front tire to the ground and you're going to be able to carry more speed through that.  [00:41:58] Craig Dalton: Yeah. One thing I can say, and this is probably the least controversial thing I'll say all day is unequivocally with this fork on your bike, you can go down a hill faster. [00:42:07] So if you think of yourself as a six out of 10, in terms of descending skills, I think you've automatically bumped yourself up to a 7.5.  [00:42:17] Chris Mandell: Yeah, that's great. I love him.  [00:42:19] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And then I would say that, I did play around a lot with the lockout. Totally bombed, totally locked in. So if I was out on the road with this fork it's pretty easy to reach down. [00:42:29] I think just because of the geometry of gravel bikes, it was actually easier to reach down and reach the lockout lever than it was on the mountain bikes that I've written recently. And very easy, obviously to swing it back the other way I tended to climb off-road with it open because I've found that having the tire just be able to roll over the things that were coming in front of me was advantageous even on the climbing. [00:42:52] And I, I did not feel like I was losing a lot to set the stage for the listener. We're talking about 30 or 40 millimeter trout as the travel options in terms of what this fork provides today and tire clearance up to a 700 by 50.  [00:43:10] Chris Mandell: Yeah. So that's a good jumping off point to talk through some of the spec details on this fork. [00:43:16] So as you mentioned, 30 or 40 millimeters of travel is an air spring. And as an air spring that was specifically developed for the Rudy. And our vision with this air spring was to keep this air spring really supple and sensitive off the top so that the writer's hands felt good on the bars. And they were able to have good traction. [00:43:36] We also knew that we didn't want to have it bottoming out harshly at any point during the ride experience. So there's a big bottom out bumper in this fork, which catches it in the second half of the travel and really provides a lot of control as you're going towards Baltimore. The other, another feature that's really specific to this gravel and I think shows how much attention we were paying to the needs of the gravel road. [00:44:04] And we've got two different levels of vendor compatibility. So we have a short fender that we make and sell that bolt-on with three bolts to the arch of the lower leg. And then the fork features threaded holes at the bottom of the lower leg, which allow for standard full coverage vendors to Mount onto this fork as well. [00:44:28] And so no fender, a short fender or for the winter riders, full coverage fenders. We really tuned that in for the gravel experience.  [00:44:38] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. And from a visual design perspective, I found the fork to be as subtle as it could be. Obviously it's got telescoping legs and it's, it is what it is. [00:44:49] But I do find as you're glancing over the bike, it's not sticking out like a sore thumb in any way in my life.  [00:44:57] Chris Mandell: Yeah, that's great to hear. I think we spent a lot of time and effort in the work on this fork, refining it and making it as light and free moving as we possibly could so that it had the best suspension performance and the lightest weight package that we could get on it. [00:45:15] But we did pay attention to the fact that it was going to end up on mostly carbon fiber gravel frames, and it needed to have a clean aesthetic to it. And so we did spend a good deal of time looking at the existing carbon forks were out there on the market today, knowing that we wanted to build this fork in a traditional magnesium, lower leg, aluminum, upper tubes and aluminum crown fashion, because that provided us with the most opportunities for re refining the overall performance with four, in terms of weight and sensitivity. [00:45:49] And so we really spent a lot of time on that. So it's really great to hear that from you.  [00:45:53] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Awesome. And you've also got some OEM partners that are you're working with on this today, and I'm sure more will be dropping in the coming months.  [00:46:02] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. So we definitely have had a lot of OEM interest in uptake on this product, the canyon is one of those partners and they will have models dropping with this fork on it. [00:46:14] And we're pretty excited that they're working with us on that front. There will be numerous other OEMs who are out there also dropping dropping bikes featuring this product and the full product line. Yeah. I  [00:46:25] Craig Dalton: think it's going to be important that riders are able to test and take a look at these products and getting them out there on more bikes and hopefully bikes that might be out there and demo fleets in the future will be great because I think it's it's counterintuitive. [00:46:39] Bike performs with this fork on it. You think, you might think certainly if you have a mountain bike background that certain things are going to happen, you're going to experience certain things in a certain way, but it's clear that you guys had a ground up mentality to make this fork fit. [00:46:54] Gravel bikes.  [00:46:55] Chris Mandell: Yeah. Yeah, no, totally. I think that's an important thing here. That the RockShox is invested in improving the rider's experience on the trail or on the road. And we know and understand that like when we build a cross country fork, that means that we need to be laser focused on the needs of the cross country riders. [00:47:18] And then when we build a downhill race fork, we need to be laser focused on the needs of a downhill racer. And we brought that same approach when it came to developing the Rudy and developing the Rudy as a hyper-focused. Gravel product. It doesn't mean that we didn't pull from our experience on the cross-country and Enduro side of things. [00:47:42] We definitely pulled from that heritage space, the damper. So the thing that provides control on compression and control on rebound in this fork is a scaled down gravel specific version of our race day damper, which you find in our Sid and sit FL cross-country race corks. And that was really, and we developed that damper. [00:48:08] It was really a revolutionary, super lightweight, but very high performance in terms of the control it provided in open and then the way the lockout function. And we took that damper and we scaled it down. And tuned it to the needs of the gravel rider. Both in terms of the functionality for rebound and compression performance, but also just made that thing even lighter than it was before. [00:48:32] And that's the hard work and the nitty gritty details that we put into the forklift, into the Rudy to make it specific for gravel.  [00:48:41] Craig Dalton: Nice. I want to revisit something you commented on earlier. Cause I do think it's important. It's going to be interesting to see over time. Just the idea of suspension forks, helping with overall rider fatigue, obviously as you're going down super technical stuff, like it's immediately apparent what that looks like, but I also think it's going to be interesting over time that as we see these forks on beneath riders who are tackling 200 mile gravel events, et cetera, To see how they're walking away from those rides in terms of how their upper body feels and how that equates to their overall time and experience on these long courses. [00:49:23] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. I remember a conversation that I had with Meg Fisher he's an ambassador for us. And it was right when she found out that we were making this product and she was ecstatic on the phone. Cause she was telling me about how, in some of the longer gravel races she does, she ends up with blisters on her hand from the amount of like bumping and just like carnage. [00:49:46] That's getting transmitted from the road up through the entire system, to, to our hands on the bike. And she was really excited about trying to Rudy because she felt like that this is a way that she can isolate our hands and the rest of her body from those rough vibrations. Even on just a gravel road, race scenario. [00:50:09] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. Now it's going to be interesting. Right. And I, I'm always encouraging event organizers to add more sort of off-road technicality to their courses. Cause I just think it becomes more interesting when you see writers of different disciplines excelling in the events. I'm always a fan of the mountain bike background guys and girls doing well in these gravel races because of their technical skills, because I think they should be rewarded and course designers should continue to push those limits. [00:50:39] So I do think it's going to be super fascinating to see when we start seeing these Rudy forks underneath riders and who they are, are they elite athletes trying to gain a competitive advantage on a particular course? Or are they the rank and file athlete who is just looking to have a more pleasurable experience and less fatiguing experience over these long runs? [00:51:03] Chris Mandell: Yeah. I think without a doubt, you're going to see all of that. This, what this means for a rider is less body fatigue because you have less energy coming up from the road into the rider and you have more control as a rider. Your tire is going to be stuck to the ground more often. And that increase in control will give the rider more confidence and enable them to have more fun on their ride and allow them to push harder, allow them to go faster. [00:51:31] If they want to go faster or have more fun that the speed that they're going. And then the other thing, and I touched on this a little bit in the last one, but like more traction means that it's going to the bike is going to predict or is going to handle it in a more predictable fashion. And you are going to know more often than not where the front tire is. [00:51:54] You're going to be able to get it to where you're going. And you actually touched on earlier. Like obviously that plays a role in the sense, but even on, challenging climbs being able to keep your front wheel exactly where you want it to be is pretty important. And this fork allows for that, even on the Quan,  [00:52:12] Craig Dalton: the final area I wanted to explore with you is just the use and sale of this fork in the aftermarket. [00:52:20] So you've mentioned a number of companies are building kind of ground up designs around this fork, but what about the many listeners who have a bike that was designed prior to this date and time, and prior to the knowledge of the Rudy fork existing, how should they think about the changes in geometry they might experience when running one of these forks? [00:52:42] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. Just re I'll run through a couple they, aftermarket detailed side of things. So as you mentioned, it will be available in 30 or 40 millimeter. The Rudy fork will be available in 30 or 40 millimeters of travel. It will come in 45 offset. The come in two different colorways that will come in like a gloss black or what we call quicksand, which is which is a tan colored product that fits with our overall explore product line. [00:53:10] So what do you want to consider as you're looking to upgrade your existing bike with this fork is in most cases, it probably will resolve and that increase in the axle, the crown. [00:53:24] That is something we want to watch out for, but it's something, the thing that we think is actually a benefit. Gravel bikes today are built around the idea that you're going to be changing your tires around. You're going to be, maybe trying six 50 and then, or using 700. [00:53:40] So there's a whole lot of flexibility inside of the existing gravel frame. And there may be a result in an increase in actual crown versus the rigid fork that you have on your bike today. But in our testing so far, what we've seen is people appreciate that and the handling of the bike because of the added suspension element improved versus a rigid fork on the bike. [00:54:04] You do want to check with your manufacturer to make sure that their warranty covers having a suspension product to the frame. That's a good first step to do, but really at the end of the day, It's a matter of you decided that suspension is a good path for you. Riding out on an existing demo bike or taking the plunge and adding it to your friend it's available in and 1.5, our inch and a taper to 1.5. [00:54:29] So you're looking at needing to have that head tube on your  [00:54:32] Craig Dalton: bike as well. One of the things that we had discussed offline was, in my particular case, I tend to run, I couldn't say off the top of my head, but a fair number of spacers underneath my headset. And as this fork will naturally lift my head to about higher. [00:54:48] The very on-point suggestion you made was if you take those spacers out and slam the stem lower down in that stack, all of a sudden you mitigate some of the rise in handlebar position.  [00:55:03] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. And that's a really easy one to do, you just take it. The actual, the crown of your existing for today and subtract the actual, the crown of this fork. [00:55:12] And that's how many space or, whatever that number is. It's 10 millimeters. You just, move 10 millimeters of spacer from underneath your stem to above your stone.  [00:55:21] Craig Dalton: Yeah. That I think on my personal ride that would effectively be completely possible. And I think that's interesting. [00:55:30] And I think the point around, the changes in handling being pretty subtle, it's worth noting, but it also is worth noting that, your riders have not really commented much on the changes in geometry, on the bike.  [00:55:44] Chris Mandell: Totally. And I think, another important aspect of that is keep in mind, like these gravel bikes are built with a lot of this in mind. [00:55:51] We, I run 37 C tires all the way up to 45 C I have run all the way up to 45 C tires. The same gravel bike, so a lot of these bikes you're switching from like pretty big changes entire sizes. And that's what the bikes were built to accommodate. And it's it's no different on the fork side of things. [00:56:11] Yeah. Yeah.  [00:56:12] Craig Dalton: And anything else on the fork that you wanted to share, Chris?  [00:56:16] Chris Mandell: I think that covers it pretty well. You made the point about 700 by 50 being the tire clearance. And I think we've touched a lot of the points. I'm really excited for the Rudy. And I think it's going to be a, I think it's going to Herald the new age in the gravel experience. [00:56:30] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I share that enthusiasm. I think it's good for the market. I think there's going to be a lot of debate online about the existence of this product and what it means, but I guarantee that over time, People are going to see the advantages of a product like this. And we're going to see more and more bikes come straight out of the factory with suspension built into them because the advantages are super high for a lot of different types of riders in the gravel market. [00:57:00] Chris Mandell: Absolutely. And even with this product out there, like not every bike is going to end up with a Rudy on it, but the bikes that do end up with a Rudy on it is going to open a bunch of doors to a rider that would have been shot previously. So I think, there's no wrong way to gravel. And if this is something that makes sense to you as a rider, because you have the defense is a place that you struggle or on longer rides your stand start to hurt, or you just want to be able to. [00:57:29] Keep up with your friends a little bit better or drop your friends in certain instances, this is a great great way to have a little bit of fun on your, a little more fun on your gravel bike and add a little bit of capability. And, we didn't, I touched on this a little bit, but this is one of those things that can allow you to run a smaller, lighter tire because you don't need to rely on the tire as much as you were previously and what other doors can moving and trying suspension unlocked for you. [00:57:54] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I had that in the back of my head, cause we had talked about that earlier and I hesitated to open yet another can of worms around tire sizes, but point well taken like all these advances in technology. Whether it's the fork that dropper posts, et cetera, they're all changing things slightly and changing the considerations for any individual rider says, you said what might have driven me to a 50 millimeter tire previously, I may be able to draw back on that because I don't need the suspension elements of the fork, all sorry of the tire. [00:58:27] All of a sudden I'm getting that in the fork. So it's yet another thing as we've talked about time and time again, there's this long spectrum. And I think it can, it's even getting even longer today between a road pro plus style of gravel bike and something that's very, off-road, iSTYLE gravel bike. [00:58:44] There's not a definitive solution. That is the best for everybody across the world. But to your point, very early on in this conversation, SRAM RockShox zips. You're trying to be there for all those riders and give them a wealth of compatible componentry to build the rigs that are going to make them stoked to ride. [00:59:09] Chris Mandell: Exactly. Yeah. I, we are cyclists at strand and we are having the same writing experiences and want to have the same range of experiences. And you can just see that easily from our locations. The team in Chicago has thoughts. The team in Colorado Springs has thoughts. The team in San Luis Obispo has thought the team in Vancouver, British Columbia has thoughts. [00:59:30] The team in Taiwan has thoughts the team in Germany, out of Sox and all those come together and really push us to make products that allow writers to have full breadth of experience.  [00:59:42] Craig Dalton: Chris, thank you so much for all the time. Congrats on the explore launch. Super excited to get this out.  [00:59:48] Chris Mandell: Thank you so much for the time. [00:59:49] And I'm really excited to hear more about your rad experience on that bike. [00:59:54] Craig Dalton: Big, thanks for Chris for that long detailed conversation about the new XPLR series from SRAM, super excited about what they're bringing to the table.  [01:00:03] Natural. I'm particularly excited about the suspension fork.  [01:00:07] To be an exceptional product for some. for everyone, but I think it's going.  [01:00:14] And I'm confident it's going to continue pushing the gravel industry forward.  [01:00:18] As always thank you for your support of the podcast. Dot or even become a member. ride to make a one-time contribution. I t's a free global cycling community for adventure and gravel cyclists. Deals. Until next time here's to finding some dirt under your wheels [01:00:52]   

    Scarab Cycles - Nicolas Serrano

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 3, 2021 20:19

    This week we sit down with Nicolas Serrano from Colombia's Scarab Cycles. This episode was rec