Fast Talk

By Fast Labs

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Description

The Fast Talk podcast is your source for the science of cycling performance, offering the best training advice and most compelling insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist. Co-hosted by former VeloNews managing editor Chris Case and Fast Labs' resident physiologist and coach, Trevor Connor, each episode takes a deep dive on a range of topics, including sport science, training, physiology, technology, nutrition, and more. The show's list of guests includes some of the most prominent names in cycling and sport science, including Dr. Stephen Seiler, Joe Friel, Katie Compton, Brent Bookwalter, Sebastian Weber, Asker Jeukendrup, and many more.

Episode Date
105: Psychological tools to deal with disappointment, defeat, and uncertainty—lessons for cyclists (or anyone living through a pandemic), with Julie Emmerman
36:01

It goes without saying that we are living in a time defined by disruption—loss, disappointment, confusion, and far too much uncertainty. I think it’s safe to assume those emotions are universal; each of us has been impacted by the current pandemic in small and, all too frequently, large ways. At first, it probably isn’t entirely apparent that these same emotions are everywhere in cycling: we deal with defeat, uncertainty, disappointment, setbacks, injuries, and loss all the time; in fact, we do so at almost every race we compete in (even the winningest cyclist of all time, the epitome of a champion, Eddy Merckx, lost far more than he won).

In today's episode, we address how to effectively and constructively deal with these emotions: the lessons will, of course, help both with dealing with the uncertainty of a pandemic and with addressing the emotional rollercoaster that is bike racing.

We delve into dealing with anxiety and developing coping mechanisms to stressful times or events; returning to routine after great change, setbacks, and injuries; creating challenges for motivation, satisfaction, and mental well-being; and much more.

Next week, with the help of Dr. Stephen Seiler, exercise physiologist extraordinaire, we’ll discuss ways to properly adjust your training. But today, we’ll focus upstairs, on the mind.

So, let’s take it slow, in these challenging times, in hopes that soon we can all get back to going fast.

Apps mentioned:
https://www.calm.com/
https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app

 

Mar 31, 2020
104: Bonus Q and A on respiratory exchange, using commutes effectively, and life-training balance
38:21

Why new music now? Well, as mentioned in our last episode, we no longer co-release Fast Talk through the VeloNews channel. We are exclusively publishing through the Fast Talk channel, so tell all your friends, teammates, riding buddies, and coaches to find us right here. And tell them that as a bonus we’ve introduced new music—finally.

I’m at home today in Niwot, Colorado, recording podcasts in between bouts of coloring and dancing with my four-year-old daughter. Coach Trevor Connor is hunkered down in his apartment in Boulder, likely reading the latest research on PGC1alpha. Our producer, Jana Martin, she’s hunkered down in an undisclosed location with all her podcast apps churning away, her editing station humming with productivity. Such is life now, and we’re working hard to bring you great content despite the challenging circumstances.

We debated whether to run an episode today on dealing with the ramifications of the global COVID-19 pandemic. We decided to push that back; stay tuned next week for recommendations on adjusting your training and bolstering the mental skills to cope with anxiety, defeat, and uncertainty, which applies both to racing generally and to life right now. Instead, today, in episode 104, we wanted to give you something you’ve come to love about Fast Talk: a discussion on the science of training, and specifically answering your training questions.

In this episode, we take on three questions and cover details about respiratory exchange rates in relation to VO2max testing; we also discuss how to most effectively use your bike commute for training purposes; and finally, we address the always important, always challenging question of how to balance life with training.

Kick your feet up, safely away from anyone, re-listen to that intro music to get excited, let’s make you fast!

Mar 26, 2020
103: Fast Talk's origins and future - a special episode as we say goodbye to VeloNews
56:01

These are special times, challenging times, and this is a special edition of Fast Talk. And I say that not because we discuss COVID-19 in this episode, but because this is the last episode of Fast Talk to be co-released on the VeloNews channel.

For those of you who have already made the switch to the Fast Talk channel, thank you. To those just coming over, welcome. For all of you, please help us spread the word that all future episodes of Fast Talk will be released on this channel exclusively. Use your social media connections, and when they return, your group rides, to help us migrate everyone here. Send your friends to their favorite podcast app, have them search for the Fast Talk podcast, and subscribe. The success of Fast Talk depends on everyone joining us here.

In the episode today, as a way to say goodbye to our good friends at VeloNews, we invited editor-in-chief Fred Dreier to join us on the show to interview both Trevor and me, about Fast Talk—where we’ve been, where we’re going, and to discuss some of the highlights from our long history together.

And with that, I’ll do something I’m not sure I’ve ever done before and turn the show over to you Fred.

Mar 24, 2020
102: Performance Psychology with Julie Emmerman, Payson McElveen, and Grant Holicky
01:46:25

As the world’s attention is fixated on the spread of COVID-19, many of us are feeling various amounts of stress and anxiety. We want to acknowledge that fact; these are challenging times. By coincidence, we recorded and planned to release today an episode on performance psychology, specifically on the principles of confidence, resilience, the power of reframing, self-talk, and much more. Though this episode doesn’t address the type of anxiety you might be feeling head on, there are immense lessons to be learned in this episode that are applicable both to riding your bike faster, and living your life in a more healthy, mindful way. At times like these, we hope there are meaningful lessons to be gained from our discussion.

To our devoted listeners, we send wishes of continued health and tranquility. We hope this episode helps you cope through a stressful time.

Now, a few simple questions: What is confidence? What is resiliency? What is pressure, and how can we better cope with it? These are just some of the questions we tackle in today’s episode. And while you might think you have a fair idea of what these terms mean, with the help of our incredible guest, clinical and sports psychologist Julie Emmerman, we open new doors on a landscape that few of us regularly consider a part of our training.

That’s because we’ve been conditioned, when we consider the act of training for our endurance sport of choice, to think about it in physical, physiological terms. Today, we spend much of our time devoted to revealing ways to tap into the psychological aspects of training.

I’m very excited to have Julie on the program, to share her wisdom from her many years spent working with professional cyclists, NHL players, MMA fighters, and everything in between. She won’t offer us some simplified, cliche “Seven Ways to Build Confidence” pitch—something you might see on the cover of GQ magazine or a self-help book. What she will provide is a deeper understanding of some of the most fundamental psychological principles at play in athletes, and how you can learn to better utilize them to your advantage.

Want to know how the best athletes operate, psychologically, and what qualities they possess that make them so good at what they do? Stay tuned. Would you like to understand how to use the power of the brain to utilize everyday tasks, big and small, to refine your cycling performances? Listen in. And, if you were a fan of Jack Handy’s “Deep Thoughts” from Saturday Night Live, we might have something for you, too.

Now, kick your feet up on the couch. Your counseling session is about to begin. Let’s have some deep thoughts, and let's make you fast!

Mar 17, 2020
101: Zones are a range, not a specific number, with an all-star cast of guests
01:18:58

We’re incredibly lucky here at Fast Labs to be able to talk with some of the most intelligent physiologists, coaches, and athletes about training, and sport science generally, on a weekly basis. We glean so much insightful information just by having access to them on a regular basis. Through Coach Connor’s countless hours of dedicated research to keep up on the latest science, we’re then able to synthesize all of this information into what we hope are digestible conversations, helping you to better understand the science that propels cycling performance. 

Occasionally, we like to step back and summarize the things we’ve learned, often prompted by the many questions we receive from our dedicated listeners. Today is just such an occasion. The last time we did this type of show was Episode 68: The Big Picture-The Three Types of Rides You Should Do

Today, we look at the big picture when it comes to training in zones, or ranges, versus training a target number.  

Because what number is best? We talk about training zones constantly. If your zone 2 is 160 to 190 watts, then is training at 190 watts better than 170 watts? Is going harder better? Stay tuned for those answers.  

Next, we’ll address four fundamental principles of human physiology that relate to training in ranges: specifically aerobic and anaerobic thresholds, fat burning capacity, and maximal lactate clearance. All in an effort to maximize your training experience.  

Finally, we take an opportunity to remind everyone that humans aren’t machines. Perhaps that’s stating the obvious, but sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves that we are all individuals and have different needs, and goals for our riding.  

Today we hear from a vast array of former Fast Talk guests, including:  

- Colby Pearcean incredible time trialist, coach, and bike fitting expert 
- Dr. Stephen Seilerone of the world’s leading sports physiologists
- Sepp Kuss, pro cyclist with Jumbo-Visma
- Toms Skujinspro cyclist with Trek-Segafredo
- Dr. Andy Coggan and Dr. Stephen McGregorleading exercise physiologists
- Hunter Allen, leading cycling coach
- Sebastian Webberlead scientist at INSCYD and elite cycling coach  

Home, home on the range... Let's make you fast! 

Mar 10, 2020
100: Dr. Stephen Seiler: The Past, Present, and Future of Polarized Training
01:47:49

Welcome to episode 100 with Dr. Stephen Seiler! We are so proud to have now brought 100 episodes of our passion for the bike to you! Thanks to all of you for coming along with us as we’ve interviewed some of the best physiologists, nutritionists, and athletes in professional cycling, and many of the most knowledgeable coaches in the world.

The very big announcement we’d like to make is that Dr. Stephen Seiler, aka the Jay-Z of physiology, will be coming to Boulder in late April. Stay tuned for more details on his visit, and opportunities you’ll have to meet Dr. Seiler.

Today in episode 100, we get nearly two hours of Dr. Seiler. Our conversation is very natural, casual even, but there are so many moments of enlightenment and clarity. Yes, Trevor wrote an outline for the show, as he always does. Thanks, Trevor. Then we proceeded to completely disregard it.

In many ways, it makes for a heck of a good show. We learn about the inception of the polarized method, from the creator himself. We discuss Dr. Seiler’s current research on the all-important aerobic threshold. And we jaw—that’s my nod to his Texas roots—about the future of sport science. Get ready for the wisdom to drop.

Quick reminder to everyone, that you can find us on social media at @realfastlabs. Take a selfie of yourself listening to Fast Talk—on the trainer, out climbing some hills—and tag us.

One last thing: Are you following Dr. Seiler on Twitter!? If not, you should. He’s @StephenSeiler. He frequently posts workout challenges, surveys, and his commentary on new scientific research and studies.

Now, sit back and grab your favorite beverage, or, better yet, find a nice long stretch of lonely road to listen in. Let's make you fast!

Mar 03, 2020
99: Training Triathlon as One Sport with Three Disciplines, with Melanie McQuaid and Whitney Garcia
01:44:55

Swim, bike, run. I can do two of these things well. The third could cause my death. For our guests today, however, putting these disciplines together represents a good day's work.

Of course, I'm talking about triathlon. And while Fast Talk has always been primarily about cycling, we know we have many triathlete listeners. In addition, many of the physiological concepts that apply to triathletes also pertain to cyclists and other endurance athletes. So, in episode 99, we delve into both the nuances of triathlon and how training for that sport relates to endurance training and cycling generally. 

We ask: Should triathlon be seen as three sports, or one? What are the most common training mistakes that triathletes make? What are the best ways to manage three different disciplines? And what can cyclists learn from how triathletes train? 

Our primary guest is Melanie McQuaid, the first person to win the XTERRA world championship three times. She is now a triathlon coach in Canada, and she joins us on Fast Talk to get specific and scientific about training three sports.  

We’re also joined by my friend and former pro triathlete Whitney Garcia. Because of her path to the sport, and her ability to reflect on it now as a retired athlete, Whitney offers insight into the training dos and don’ts with great clarity. 

Before we get into the episode, I’d like to remind everyone that we’ve launched Off Course with Grant Holicky. As he likes to say, it is the podcast about when the racing ends and life begins. We’re also very excited about the third podcast in the growing Fast Labs network of podcasts. One of our favorite coaches, Colby Pearce, will launch “Cycling in Alignment” in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. 

We have some incredibly exciting news to share about our first performance camps at the end of April. The one, the only, Dr. Stephen Seiler will be joining us that week, so if you’ve ever wanted to hear from one of the truly great minds in physiology, we hope you’ll join us. 

Now, let's make you fast! 

Feb 25, 2020
OC 03: #BestRetirementEver with Meredith Miller, plus 'cross and badass women
01:12:24

Fast Talk Listeners, this is the final episode of Off Course that we will be uploading to this channel. Subscribe to Off Course on your favorite podcast app in order to keep listening to interviews like this.

Today, my guest is Meredith Miller. She may say she's "retired" from racing, but she absolutely has not retired from the sport. She is now the Rapha Cycling Club Chapter Coordinator in Boulder. She also works with USA Cycling as a coach and mentor in cyclocross. As a competitive athlete, she was the U.S. national road champion as well as co-owner and rider for the Noosa cyclocross team. We talk about the sexism that still exists in cycling and many other professional sports. As a former elite athlete and competitive team owner, Meredith knows a lot about funding cycling, which we discuss in-depth here. We’ll have a full episode on this in the future, and Meredith will join us for that conversation as well. We’re both big advocates for the USA Cycling Mud Fund and the work they’ve done to foster growth in the sport here in the U.S. To read more about the fund, or to contribute, visit: https://www.usacycling.org/foundation/mudfund.

We also discuss the 2020 racing calendar and the question of whether cyclocross should be included in the Olympic Games. Because so many cyclocross athletes also compete in other cycling disciplines, the decision regarding the sport's inclusion in the Olympics will affect the sport and the people who love it.

Finally, as someone who travels a lot professionally, Meredith kindly shares some relationship advice that has been helpful to her and her partner. - Grant Holicky 

Feb 19, 2020
98: Bonus Q and A on Interval Intensity, Dirty Kanza Training, and Muscle Fiber Recruitment
38:58

We’ve said it before, and we’ll keep saying it: Thank you for sending us questions. We are here for you and your training. Nothing is more fulfilling than knowing that the hours of research, study, and production of the podcast is useful to you. In today’s Q&A episode, Coach Connor and I selected three questions to address. First, Peter Burghardt, thanks for asking us about intervals. We hope our dissection of the dreaded 4x8s is helpful! Enjoy Trevor’s graphs and analysis of his own rides 

Next, David Sampier down in sunny, flat, Florida brought up a really good point: How do you adequately train for a big race, specifically Dirty Kanza, when you live in a geographical area that doesn’t offer the rugged, rolling terrain that you’ll be faced with on race-day?  

Finally, Jeremiah Bell, you know we love to talk about when to train in Zone 1, Zone 2 and so on, in the polarized model. Thanks for your specific question about cardiac drift and the causes of it.  

Feb 18, 2020
02 Chris Case: The Brain, The Body and the Love of Cycling
01:00:52

Part of the reason I created this podcast is to share the strong camaraderie and friendship that we enjoy as cyclists, swimmers, and runners, with you! This episode is a great glimpse into my relationship with Chris Case. Chris is the co-founder of Fast Labs and the co-host of Fast Talk with Trevor Connor. Chris is the former managing editor of VeloNews and the co-author of “The Haywire Heart,” on heart arrhythmias in endurance athletes. He spent a good part of his early professional career as a neuroscientist, from dissecting monkey brains to working with patients with schizophrenia.

Whether you're in the throes of training for a multi-stage bike race, or you’re just riding along the local trail with your kids on a Saturday, it’s important to keep cycling fun. Chris and I laugh about the charades of our youth, and we share personal insights into how we integrate our love of sport into a balanced and fulfilled life.

Feb 12, 2020
97: Are You Stretching Too Much? Analysis with Menachem Brodie and Payson McElveen
01:23:44

Are you stretching? Are you stretching too much? The core of episode 97 delves into the short and long term effects of stretching, differentiates between the athletes in various disciplines that should be stretching more, and who should be stretching less. You can lose power and performance capability if you are over or under the optimal length for any given muscle. We discuss yoga and the appropriate way to practice it.

Our primary guest is Menachem Brodie, the owner of Human Vortex Training. Menachem has over a decade of strength training and coaching experience. He has coached at a high level in cycling, and he began in his own cycling career as a strength and skill sports competitor. It was only after injury that he found cycling, and then he merged his strength training background with his new passion for cycling to bring those worlds together. 

In today’s episode, Menachem tests Trevor’s flexibility, which is awkward and painful, but you can try it as well. See our social media—our handle is @realfastlabs—for photos of Coach Connor giving it a try during the recording. As you’ll hear in this episode, Menachem has graciously gifted a chapter of his new book, “The Vortex Method: The New Rules for Ultimate Strength and Performance in Cycling,” to Fast Talk listeners. Download it for free here.

Also on the podcast today to discuss the ways he integrates stretching into his training and racing is Red Bull athlete, and fellow podcaster, Payson McElveen. Check out his pod “The Adventure Stache.” Payson is a two-time marathon MTB national champion, and a budding star in the gravel racing world.

Now, don’t get all bent out of shape, let’s make you fast!

Feb 11, 2020
96: Bonus Analysis on Pedaling Dynamics with Colby Pearce
21:59

Today we're pulling from the Fast Labs vault to hear from one of our favorite guests, Colby Pearce. We recently asked Colby a very simple question: Tell us what you know about the pedal stroke. We anticipated an intelligent, albeit relatively short answer. What Colby gave us was a monologue of gold, and highlights why we’re so excited that he’ll be launching his own show later this month. Yes, that’s right, we are very happy to say that Colby is the newest member of the Fast Labs family. Look for Colby’s new show in the coming weeks.

We also caught up with reigning U.S. national road race champion, Ruth Winder, of Trek-Segafredo for more on how to train the pedal stroke, on and off the bike. Thanks again for everyone who has sent us questions both via email (fasttalk@fastlabs.com) as well as by calling our google voicemail at 719-800-2112.  
Feb 04, 2020
95: Lennard Zinn and the Art of Tire Pressure
01:14:15

Welcome to Fast Talk! Today in episode 95 we talk in-depth about the humble tire. Often neglected, frequently misunderstood, the lowly tire is a much more complicated piece of equipment than many people know. Today, with the help of two very talented technical gurus, Lennard Zinn and Nick Legan, we explain the complexities of the tire, tire pressure, and how those things lead to changes in comfort, grip, rolling resistance and much more.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @RealFastLabs. As always, we love your feedback. Email us at fasttalk@fastlabs.com or call 719-800-2112 and leave us a voicemail. Subscribe to Fast Talk on Libsyn, iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, SoundCloud, Google Play, or wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcasts. Be sure to leave us a rating and a review.

Jan 28, 2020
94: Bonus Q and A on Fasted Training, Goal Setting, and the Polarized Approach
37:25

Take a guess, which one of our all-knowing hosts is an expert on Baby Yoda, and who hadn’t even heard of him until this recording? Or, more importantly, what is a palindrome? Welcome to our second bonus episode of Fast Talk where Chris and Coach Connor are once again tackling your important questions! First is a question about training while fasting, then some goal-setting analysis, and finally some more discussion on the polarized training approach. We’ve included both email and voicemail questions in this podcast. To submit your own question to the guys you can call 719-800-2112 or email fasttalk@fastlabs.com.

Jan 21, 2020
93: Balancing sport and life, with Brent Bookwalter
01:12:06

Hello and welcome to Fast Talk! I'm your host Chris Case. Today we have a great episode in store for you, with someone you’ve heard from many times before on Fast Talk. Today, we’re finally joined by Brent Bookwalter of the Mitchelton-Scott WorldTour team, a man of both wisdom and humility, for a full conversation on balancing life and sport.  

What do pros know about that balance, you ask? “They’re pampered!” you’re probably thinking. Well, not exactly true. The life of a pro cyclist is not as glamorous as you might think. We’ll discuss that misconception, but we’ll spend the majority of our conversation learning the many ways in which Brent has learned to balance training and racing with being a good husband, a soon-to-be-father, a son and friend, and a gran fondo promoter, among many other things. Through the years of racing both at the neo-pro level through to the WorldTour, Brent has dealt with limited time—sometimes well, sometimes not so well—which has forced him to prioritize his life in myriad ways. And it’s those tips that apply to all of us. 

The high level of physical and mental performance that is demanded of pro athletes while they also strive to maintain healthy relationships and interests outside of their career, means that they have been forced to master “life-balance.”   

While we don’t all deal with the issues related to pro cyclists’ in our own lives, there are common themes about self-care, spending time on relationships, knowing your personal limits, and working to keep your passions alive that we can all relate to.  

Today, along with Brent, we spoke to long-time pro and coach Katie Compton, as well as two of our favorite coaches and soon-to-be Fast Labs podcast hosts, Grant Holicky and Colby Pearce.  

If you didn't catch it yet, we released our first bonus podcast last week. That’s right, Fast Talk is now a weekly podcast. Coach Connor and I were able to answer a few of your questions, one related to overtraining and burn-outnot-interchangeable terms, thank you Dr. Seiler for the correctionand one related to physiological testing.  

If you have a question for us you can either write us at FastTalk@FastLabs.com OR, as you may have heard by now, we have a number setup for you to call – it's 719-800-2112 . Leave a voicemail with your question. If we can hear you loud and clear in the message, we may include the recording in the show. 

Now, bust out your balance board, brush up on your communication skills, it’s time to compartmentalize. Let’s make you fast!  

Jan 16, 2020
92: Bonus Q and A on intensity vs. volume, overtraining, lab testing, and more
36:23
Hello and welcome to this bonus episode of Fast Talk. These new episodes, which we’ll publish every other week to supplement our flagship shows, will typically run a little shorter than our regular episodes, and they’ll also be more geared toward answering your questions, but all in all, they’ll contain the same great content you’ve come to expect from Fast Labs, and from Coach Connor and I. 
 
Our regular, full-length episodes with multiple guests addressing the current science in training and your requested topics will still continue on, of course. For this first bonus episode, we’re doing a bit of everything. For starters, during our episode a few weeks back with the Cycling Gym, we recorded an analysis of some recent physiological research. Trevor hadn’t done a nerd bomb in a while and was feeling the need. But it didn’t really fit with the episode. So, we’ll start with Trevor’s summary of a few studies and what they say about how to structure your training.
 
We’ll also answer listener questions on overtraining, laboratory testing, and much more. 
 
If you have a question for us, give us a call at 719-800-2112 and leave us a voicemail. If we can hear you loud and clear in the message, we may include the recording in the show. 
 
Now, let’s make you fast! 
Jan 09, 2020
91: Beyond the Data: Training is not only About Numbers
01:14:09

Happy New Year’s, Fast Talk friends!  We are excited to be speeding into 2020 with our new company, Fast Labs. For startersand due to popular demand, Fast Talk will now be weekly show. Starting next week you can expect a new bonus episode of Fast TalkThese bi-monthly episodes will be a bit shorter than the traditional Fast Talk episode, but in them you’ll find similar, detailed scientific physiology explanations, special interviews with your favorite pros, coaches, and experts, and we’ll also regularly answer your questions. 

To that end, thank you to the listeners who called and left us a voicemail over the holidays. We’ll be recording a special listener questions episode in the next week, so make sure to get your questions in as soon as you can. The number to call is 719-800-2112. Again, to call and leave a question for Coach Trevor and I, just dial 719-800-2112 and leave us an actual, honest-to-goodness voicemail. If we can hear you loud and clear in the message, we may include the recording in the show. 

Now, episode 91. The focus of this episode can be simply summarized in a single, powerful sentimentThere is great value in keeping track of your numbers, at analyzing the data you’ve gathered with your power meterheart rate strap, or other device, but if all you do is focus on the numbers, and make them the end-goal themselves, you are missing out on very critical aspects of your training.  

So, the underlying message of episode 91 is simple: Think of the numbers not as the target or the goal, but as a tool. And what we will emphasize today are the many critical aspects of training and coaching that don’t show up in the numbers. 

Our primary guest is a very successful former professional cyclist turned coach Julie Young, whose road racing career stretched over a decade with teams including Saturn and Timex. She continues to race today at a very high level across multiple disciplines and is currently part of the talented team behind the Kaiser Permanente Sports Medicine Endurance Lab in California. 

We’re also joined by co-owner of The cycling Gym, Coach Steve Neal, as well as Trek-Segafredo's Ruth Winder, the reigning American national champion on the road 

Now, set your preferred analytics software aside for a minute. Let’s focus on you, your brain, and this moment. LET’S MAKE YOU FAST! 

Jan 03, 2020
90: Innovative approaches to base training, with The Cycling Gym
01:09:35
Base training has traditionally been all about long, slow rides. But that's tough if you live in the northern hemisphere and you hate the cold, or lack the necessary equipment to ride safely outdoors when road conditions might be perilous and light is limited.
 
Today, we’re discussing how best to deal with those challenges that plague the northern hemisphere this time of year. (Apologies to all of our friends in the southern hemisphere!) Does it kill your motivation to ride? Do you feel the fitness literally draining from your body? Don't let it! 
 
The darkness, cold temperatures, and perilous road conditions of the winter months don’t have to be any sort of barrier. In fact, as you’ll learn in this episode, this time of year is the perfect time to find a host of new ways to stay motivated, add variety to your training methods, try something new, reinvigorate your work ethic, and, ultimately, set yourself up to improve performance when the racing begins later in the year.

Our primary guests today are Andrew Randell and Steve Neal, the owners of Toronto's The Cycling Gym, joined by one of their athletes, Jeremiah Groen, someone who we imagine is similar to a lot of our listeners: "I'm a very amateur cyclist, don't do many races; I mostly just want to be fit."

These three Canadians don’t care about the winter blues! Their advice? Get brave and get outside. Yes, even in the dark and even in the snow. But if you can’t or won’t go outside, they have plenty of sage advice on how best to hit the gym, the trainer, or the weight room to get the most, and the most balance, out of your training sessions.

We’ll also hear from pro roadie Erica Clevenger. She divulges some of her favorite methods of cross-training. All that and much more, including some tech advice from Lennard Zinn. 
 
By the end of this episode, you’ll understand that using the base season properly to prepare for the build to come and the all-important race season to follow can be a very enjoyable time of year.  

Now, let's make you fast!
Dec 20, 2019
89: The Value of Physiological Testing with the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center
01:29:34

Riding on the gold standard Velotron in a lab and breathing into an uncomfortable facemask while a physiologist like our guest Jared Berg pokes your ear might not sound like a good time at all. Which is probably why Coach Connor can't get enough. But this week’s show is about exactly that, physiological testing. The end result of a good test is a robust set of data specific to you, which can help you understand things like your true physiological training zones, how much carbohydrate you burn for a given effort, and just how well you can get up infamous climbs like Magnolia Road here in Boulder.

Learning about your body’s unique capacity for work is crucial as you prepare for races and work on pushing yourself to your full potential. Our guest, Jared Berg, the lead exercise physiologist at the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center in Boulder, is going to walk us through some of the most common performance tests, including the VO2Max test and the lactate test, describing each protocol as well as its benefits.

You’ll learn what’s the right test for you, the ins and outs of the various protocols, and how to prepare yourself for the day of testing. We’ll also discuss how to select a lab that will give you the most accurate data.

Finally, if things already sound a little different and you notice a lot better sound quality on this episode, that’s because we have a new producer on the show! Jana Martin has joined our team, and we’re incredibly excited about that. She comes to us with over a decade of podcast and television production experience. In other words, now that Trevor isn’t allowed to touch the computer, the show is going to get better! But wait, there’s more. Stay tuned for more exciting changes, and more shows. Yes, 2020 will be the year when Fast Labs expands beyond Fast Talk. You know the names Colby Pearce and Grant Holicky, right? Well, expect more from them in the near future.

Dec 06, 2019
88: Season Planning for the Limited Racer, with Colby Pearce & Grant Holicky
01:11:17

We all understand that to race or ride our best, we need to periodize our season. That’s obvious and essential for a pro who’s racing upwards of 80 races in a season. Simply put, they wouldn’t survive if they went hard all the time: They need a base, they need rest, and they need peaks.

But what about those of us who only have three or four races in a season. Or to take it one step further, what about those of us who don’t race, or who may do a gran fondo at some point. How do we map out our seasons and prepare for those couple events? Do we still need to periodize? Can we be on form all year round?

Today we'll dive into these questions and talk about:

1) What we can learn from the pros. Even though they do a lot more races, the same physiological principles apply when you’re talking about reaching your best form. And the pros have learned a lot about how do that right.

2) What you can’t take from pros. The simple fact that they do so many races means they can race themselves into shape. That’s a lot harder to do when you have a month between each of your events. So, we’ll talk about what not to mimic.

3) Next we’ll dive into a few scenarios including one in which you have four or five races in your season and they are all within a short time frame; a second scenario in which you have four or five races but they are spread out with long periods of time between each; the scenario of doing a single big event; and finally, the scenario in which you don’t participate in any official events, but love to hit the local weekly group ride.

Today, we are using a roundtable format with three top level coaches to answer these questions. Our first guest is the now famous, much loved Colby Pearce. Also joining us is the always infamous, also loved Grant Holicky with Forever Endurance.

Now, let's make you fast!

This episode is sponsored by Aftershokz. To learn more and save $50 on your purchase, visit www.aftershokz.com and use code "fasttalk".

Nov 22, 2019
87: Preventing injuries through strength and conditioning with Jess Elliott
01:46:27

Typically, when we hear the words “strength training,” we think of going into the gym, slapping some plates on a bar, and seeing what we can lift. The more, the better.

But there’s a lot more to strength training than that, especially for those of us focused on endurance sports. Strength and conditioning is also about maintaining proper function, training neural patterns, and preventing injury. Sports like cycling, by nature, cause imbalances. If all you do is ride your bike, an overuse injury is nearly guaranteed for your future.

We also believe that weight training aids performance on the bike. Regardless of your position, as Coach Connor likes to point out, no matter what you believe, race performance will suffer if you’re sitting on the sidelines with a bad back or painful knee injury.

So, in this episode of Fast Talk, we’re going to discuss four of the most common overuse and imbalance injuries in cyclists and how to address them with off-the-bike work and proper bike fit.

Patellar tendinitis, or pain at the front of the knee. Cycling is a quad dominant sport. Keeping balance and doing some loaded eccentric work can help prevent this very common pain.

Pelvic obliquity, a broad term for imbalances and asymmetrical movements in the hips.

Back pain. A proper bike fit and learning to rely on your glutes and hamstrings instead of the postural muscles of the back can go a long way towards preventing this all-too-common issue.

Thoracic kyphosis, a fancy term for a slouched back, which is common among cyclists. Regular exercise to open the chest will help you improve posture off the bike.

Our guest today is owner of Tag Performance and University of Denver faculty member in Human Performance and Sports, Jess Elliot.

Jess recently taught a half-day workshop on strength training for endurance athletes at the Training Peaks Endurance Summit and, for those of you in the Colorado area, because of the popularity of that workshop, she’s hosting it again on December 7. Go to her website to sign up. Use the code “fastlabs” to get a $25 discount.

You’re going to hear a lot of technical terms in this episode; we hope you walk away with an understanding that effective strength training is about more than creating a list of exercises then going to the gym and giving it your best shot. Proper movement, ensuring you are activating the correct firing patterns, and lifting an appropriate weight are all crucial. To help out, Jess is posting videos of most of the exercises we discuss on her website.

Along with Jess, Trevor talked with Charles Van Atta, the head biomechanist and fitter at the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center. There’s no point in doing the off-the-bike work to resolve an over-use injury if a poor bike fit is promoting it. Charles addresses each of our four injuries from a bike fit perspective.

With that, let’s make you fast.

Nov 11, 2019
86: Listener Questions On Inflammation, Cardiac Drift, and Much More
01:05:14

We’ve received so many intriguing questions from our listeners, it was time to devote an entire episode to answering them. We appreciate the feedback, and generate many future podcast topics from your questions, so please keep them coming. You can always email us at fasttalk@fastlabs.com.

Please help us understand what you’d like more of on Fast Talk and give us overall feedback on the quality of the show by taking our survey. You can also answer questions that will help us design our Fast Labs Performance Experience camps that we are very excited about.

Today we’ll answer questions about inflammation, training for gran fondos, cardiac drift, elevated heart rates, and one of Trevor’s favorite topics in all of physiology, plus much more. Thanks for listening.

Oct 25, 2019
85: Learning to trust the science with Dr. Jim Peterman
01:45:29

Here on Fast Talk, we’ve been known to periodically quote a study or two. While in the past, athletes mostly figured out their training by trial and error or what felt right, nowadays, in this era of marginal gains, no coach or serious athlete can get away without some understanding of physiology. Winning at the highest level requires digging through the science to find those little nuggets that translate to real gains.

The problem is, while many of us read the science, a lot of us don’t know how to interpret it, or when it’s good research that draws useful conclusions or bad research that will lead you astray. That’s made particularly complicated by the fact that there are many well-conducted studies that, because of the nature of their methods, outcome goals, or the size of their study group, may lead you to draw conclusions you shouldn’t.

So today we’re going to dive into the physiology research itself and give you some tips on how to both read and interpret the science. We’ll discuss:

• First, the basic structure of a research study.
• Next, some basic concepts you need to understand in order to read research.
• We’ll then dive deeper into the methods—the section people love to skip over—and why they are so important.
• Next, we’ll talk about some preferences among researchers, such as their tendency to test in the lab and not on the road, and why they love VO2max tests, despite the fact that they don’t actually correlate well with performance.
• We’ll discuss a study’s endpoints—what they are measuring and why that is so important.
• Next, we’ll learn about the concept of the false null hypothesis and things that can influence it, such as study length and the number of participants.
• Finally, we’ll talk about how the data revolution in cycling is allowing for some truly unique studies.

Our primary guests today are Dr. Jim Peterman, a professor of exercise physiology at Ball State University who got his Ph.D. while balancing a professional cycling career, and Nate Wilson, a former elite U23 racer and head coach at Catalyst Coaching.

Along with our primary guests, we talked with cyclocross legend and longtime coach Katie Compton, and also Dr. Ciaran O’Grady, a physiologist with Team Dimension Data. As high-level coaches, both need to keep up on the research. They each shared thoughts on what they look for to know they can trust a study.

Finally, we touched base with Grant Holicky, a top coach at Forever Endurance, and one of his athletes, Maxx Chance, who had a unique take on the research.

Now, are you ready to be blinded by science? Let’s make you fast!

Oct 11, 2019
84: Pro training tips with George Bennett
01:04:20

A few episodes back, Trevor and I interviewed George Bennett of Jumbo-Visma, who at one point was sitting fourth at this year’s Tour de France. At the time, we talked with George about the importance of recovery and adaptation.

In the course of that conversation, we talked with George about how he was managing his recovery from the Tour de France to get ready for the Vuelta a España. That lead to an entire conversation about how George trains, and his tips for hitting peak form. Ultimately, we decided to make it a separate episode.

Today, we cover:

  • First, something that is fascinating but probably won’t help many of us: how to complete two consecutive grand tours.
  • Second, the training approach that George has found works for him. While many of his teammates need high intensity work, George does very little, and focuses primarily on long endurance rides. But he emphasizes that the method that works for you is highly individual.
  • We discuss if George’s approach is appropriate for amateur riders, or if we should focus more on intensity. Bennett points out that different work can lead to very different strengths and weaknesses.
  • Next, we have a long talk about the importance of eating enough and keeping your glycogen stocked up.
  • Finally, George offers a final word on having the confidence to rest, and to not take your training too seriously.

Along with George, we hear from Grant Holicky, formerly of Apex Coaching when this interview was conducted, and now with Forever Endurance Coaching. Grant addresses how to time your season, particularly as an amateur rider.

Sep 27, 2019
83: Training the Gut with Asker Jeukendrup
01:28:08

Just ask any Tour de France rider who’s frequently burning 5000 calories or more per day about in-race nutrition and they’ll tell you that it’s both critical and tricky to get right. You can spend months getting your legs ready for your target event, you can be putting out the best numbers of your life, and that can all be wiped away by a poorly timed bonk or intestinal cramping.

You have to consume enough carbohydrates to keep the legs ticking over when the race gets hard, but at the same time you need to make sure they are well tolerated and you’re able to absorb them. It’s a tricky balance and it’s highly individual. Simply buying the newest, coolest sports nutrition product isn’t going to get you there.

You have to find what works for you. But just as importantly, you have to remember that in-race nutrition, just like almost all things, is trainable and while you’re out three doing your big weekend ride, or hard hill repeats, you need to dedicate some time to training the gut.
So, today we’ll dive into nutritional training and talk about:

1. Applying a scientific approach to figuring out your carbohydrate needs and whether you are a fat burner or a carbohydrate burner.

2. Second, G.I. distress. Some thoughts on what causes it and why intestinal permeability may be a factor

3. Next, we’ll discuss race nutrition and why changing up what you eat on race day may not be your best strategy.

4. Fourth, why most people can only absorb 60g of carbohydrates per hour but we’re still recommending trying to get 90g. That sounds like a lot, but it’s actually only about 360 calories which is still less than what you’re going to burn in an hour during a big race.

5. The best mix of carbohydrates to improve absorption

6. Why you need to dedicate time every week to training your gut – no different from the time and energy you invest in training your legs.

7. Finally, we’ll talk about any potential health concerns with focused race nutrition and briefly touch both on the microbiome and l-glutamine

Our primary guest today is none other than Dr Asker Jeukendrup. Dr Juekendrup, is one of the most renowned sports nutrition researchers in the World. He was Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Sport Science. He ran the Gatorade Sports Science Institute back when it was the center coaches and team managers were looking to for the leading hydration research. Dr Jeukendrup now has his own company, Mysportscience and works with Team Jumbo Visma.

Along with Dr Jeukendrup, we talked with Katie Compton, the winner of 15 consecutive national titles, and a four-time silver medalist at ‘cross worlds. She’s familiar with G.I. problems during races and shared with Chris some of her thoughts.

Next, we checked in with Colby Pearce, at this point our unofficial third regular on Fast Talk. He had some warnings about getting too caught up in traditional sports nutrition products and emphasized the importance of also considering health.

Finally, we touched base with Ryan Kohler, the head coach at the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center. Ryan frequently works with athletes on training their guts for their target events and shared some of his strategies.

Alright, pull out your Swedish fish…. throw them in the trash and get some real sports nutrition and let’s make you fast!

Sep 13, 2019
82: The importance of adaptations, with George Bennett
01:30:13

Recovery, recovery, recovery… you’ve heard us talk about it before. You’ve heard a lot of our guests preach about its importance. We’ve emphasized again and again how one of the biggest mistakes athletes make is to not get enough recovery.

Well, now let’s confuse you a bit. The ultimate goal of training is, of course, to adapt. And there’s a critical distinction between adaptation and recovery. They are not the same thing. In fact, sometimes what helps one, hurts the other.

Recovery is about doing what you can so the legs are ready for your next workout. Adaptation is about the body repairing the damage caused by training—if the training provides enough stress, it will repair the system to come back stronger. But what’s good for that repair process may have you feeling less than perfect on the bike the next day.

Today, we’re going to dive into this important difference and focus on adaptations—what causes them and how to aid them. We’ll talk about:

  • First, the difference between recovery and adaptation.
  • Second, how the immune system is intimately involved in both, and why we’ve come to the realization in recent years that reducing inflammation can be counterproductive.
  • Next, we’ll talk about the three stages of repair. Remember that training does damage. We are weaker after hard rides. It’s during the repair process that we get stronger, and the immune system is the repair man. Much like the local cable guy, the immune system is going to work at its own pace regardless of what you do or say.
  • Next, we discuss how there’s a delicate balance between damage and repair, and when you get out of balance by doing too much training, it starts a vicious cycle that prevents further adaptations and leads to burnout
  • We’ll talk with George Bennett, who put in a fantastic Tour de France performance, helping his GC leader, Steven Kruijswijk, land on the podium. George discusses what he does to aid adaptations.
  • Finally, we’ll finish with a conversation about the things that do help adaptations and the things that hurt it, despite the fact that a lot of endurance athletes do them.

Our primary guest today is George Bennett, member of the Jumbo-Visma WorldTour team. George joins us for part of the episode—we spared a rider of his caliber from having to sit through Trevor’s initial lecture on immunology.

We also hear from Joe Friel, author of “The Cyclists Training Bible.” In the most recent edition of his book, Joe makes the important distinction between recovery and adaptations.

Next we talk with Brent Bookwalter of Mitchelton-Scott. In order to adapt, we have to first do damage. Brent talks with us about the important balance between damage and repair.

Then we catch up with Boulder-based coach extraordinaire Colby Pearce. And finally, we talk with Paulo Saldanha, the owner of PowerWatts. Paulo talks about ways to find the right amount of damage, and why we should rethink taking antioxidants.

Aug 31, 2019
81: The Cyclocross episode with Coach Holicky, Katie Compton, Ellen Noble, and Maxx Chance
01:44:07

The Fast Talk Podcast is your source for the best training advice and most compelling insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist. Listen in as VeloNews managing editor Chris Case and our resident physiologist and coach, Trevor Connor, discuss a range of topics, including sport science, training, physiology, technology, nutrition, and more.


Is there anything more fun than ripping around in the mud on an autumn day with all your friends? Jumping off your bike, jumping on your bike, diving into corners, bunny-hopping barriers, drifting through corners, powering through sand. The cyclists who have the most fun? Cyclocross racers. The cycling discipline with the most hashtags? Cyclocross.

It’s been a long time coming, but Fast Talk is finally taking on cyclocross, from training to racing, honing technical skills to riding on nearly flat tires. Warning: there are few, if any, nerd bombs in this episode.

Today we’ll dive into many facets of ‘cross, including:

  • First, why cyclocross is so unique to the cycling world, and why comparing it to crits or time trials doesn’t do it justice.
  • Second, what assets you need to be a good ‘cross rider. Some of it is purely physiological like a good two to five-minute power, but there’s also more intangible things like resilience.
  • Few people race just ‘cross, so we’ll talk about how to balance multiple race seasons, and how to deal with what can end up being a long season as a result.
  • Fourth, we’ll explore the season a little deeper and talk about how both our experts like to periodize their training, and also how they address the short race season in cyclocross
  • We’ll explain the all-too-critical start position, and why that raises an important question when planning your season. Should you come into the ‘cross season hot?
  • We’ll spend some time talking about the technical side of cyclocross. A good engine is important, but if you’re losing 10 seconds in the corners every lap, even the biggest engine isn’t enough.
  • Next, we’ll discuss the training side of cyclocross and why the unique nature of the sport also requires a unique approach to training.
  • Finally, we’ll talk about ‘cross races themselves— race strategy, the importance of course inspection, and selecting your gear.

Our primary guests today are Grant Holicky, one of the top cyclocross coaches in the country, of Forever Endurance coaching, and one of his athletes Maxx Chance, a former collegiate cyclocross national champion.

Along with Grant and Maxx, we spoke with Ellen Noble, a Red Bull sponsored athlete with Trek Factory Racing, and a multiple-time medalist at elite ‘cross nationals.

Finally, I sat down with a true cyclocross legend, Katie Compton, the winner of 15 consecutive national titles, and a four-time silver medalist at ‘cross worlds.

Aug 16, 2019
80: Properly executing intervals is hard; keep your training plan simple
01:49:56

Here’s your workout for today: Give me 20 seconds at high anaerobic capacity, now 10 second recovery at 65 percent, then one minute at mid-VO2max holding 100 RPM. Now rest one minute. Alright, now give me a series of 10 one-minute efforts at 102 percent of FTP with increasing cadence. But be careful: Do these at 99 percent of FTP and you’re working the wrong system. You’ve screwed up the entire workout!

Okay, perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration. However, the complexity of that routine was probably starting to sound familiar. Complex training prescriptions are becoming increasingly popular. We ask the question: Does it really need to be that complex? What do you gain from this complexity?

With the help of seven different experts — coaches, scientists, and athletes — we’re going to try to make three key points:

  • Human physiology is very complex
  • Properly executing intervals is very difficult
  • But, the prescription should be simple.

Along the way, Trevor will drop his biggest nerd bomb yet, attempting to explain how complex the physiology is. We’ll use the analogy of riding side-by-side to explain why prescriptions should be simple. And we’ll talk about all the subtle ways that top athletes learn to better execute their workouts — numbers are important, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

As I mentioned, there was no guest with us in our studio for this recording, but since this is a summary episode, we pulled a lot of segments from past shows. Our guests this week include:

  • Legendary mountain bike world champion, and a guy who never gets old, Ned Overend. Ned almost sounded scared when he talked with us about the possibility of training with power or heart rate. Yet, despite having almost no metrics, and no structured routine, he’s developed a remarkably sophisticated system of training.
  • Next, we’ll hear from Houshang Amiri, head coach at the Pacific Cycling Centre and past Canadian national team coach. Houshang shared with Trevor his thoughts on complex interval routines.
  • It wouldn’t be an episode on interval work without hearing from Dr. Stephen Seiler, a top physiologist and researcher in Europe, who’s been credited with formalizing the polarized training model. We pulled a few clips from Dr. Seiler sharing his thoughts on interval prescription and execution.
  • But what about athletes who have grown up with power and pre-programmed workouts on their head units? We included an interview we haven’t used before with 2018 Tour of Utah winner Sepp Kuss. While he relies heavily on power, it’s not as simple as setting a target number before he gets on the bike and sticking to it.
  • Next we grabbed a clip with Dr. Andy Coggan and Hunter Allen, authors of “Training and Racing with a Power Meter” which was updated this year. They invented probably the most common training zone model in the world (though they don’t like the word zones.) They talked with us about the value of zone models or levels.
  • Trevor pulled out an old interview with Trek-Segafredo rider Toms Skujins. Like Sepp, Toms talks about just some of the many decisions that go into effectively executing his interval work.
  • Finally, we hear from 2017 U.S. national champion Larry Warbasse of Ag2r La Mondiale. Larry talked with us about the importance of seeing your training sessions in a broader context. Otherwise, you can execute perfectly and still get off track.
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Aug 02, 2019
79: Playing the Energy Game with Colby Pearce
01:36:38

There are a lot of analogies that cyclists and coaches have devised to try to understand a basic concept in cycling — we all have a limited amount of energy, and to win races, we have to use that energy carefully.

Metrics such as calories, kiloJoules, Watt Prime (W’), and FRC are attempts to quantify it. Many top pros just have a feel for it. But ultimately, we all have a “jar of energy” we can use in a race. Some of us have bigger jars, some smaller. But the winner of the race isn’t necessarily the rider with the biggest jar. It’s the rider who still has a little energy left in the jar at the end of the race, and who knows just the right moment to use it.

In this episode, we discuss how to use your jar most effectively to make sure every time you pour a little of that precious energy out, it makes an impact.

We’ll apply this to a discussion of bike racing, including:

  • Why the best rider always wins the race, even if the or she isn’t the strongest rider
  • We’ll define energy and discuss the pros and cons of trying to measure it
  • However you measure it, you have a limited supply. So, we’ll dive into all the ways you can unnecessarily waste energy including:
    • Responding to every move
    • Riding in the washing machine
    • Poor positioning
    • Riding on the front for no reason
  • After we talk about all the ways you can waste energy, we’ll flip it around and talk about ways to save energy including:
    • Finding the sweet spot in the field and seeking to be bored
    • Learning to observe the field so you know when “it’s about to get real” and when it’s not
    • Learning to think like a sprinter and why it’s okay to sit on
  • Finally, we’ll talk about when it’s okay to spend energy, for example, when you’re riding for a teammate, at those make-or-break moments in the race, and when you smell blood in the water.

Our primary guest today is the always informative Colby Pearce, a racer, coach, bike fitter, thinker, tinkerer, and one of the most thoughtful and inquisitive bike racers we know.

Along with Colby we talked with Sepp Kuss, winner of the 2018 Tour of Utah, riding for the Jumbo-Visma WorldTour team.

Finally, we’ll touch base with another Canadian and world gran fondo champion Bruce Bird, who talks with us about how to read the field.

With that, fill that cookie jar with lots of cookies and get ready to eat them one by one. Let’s make you fast!

Jul 19, 2019
78: The demands of the Tour de France with Ciaran O'Grady
01:19:05

Right now, the 2019 Tour de France is in full swing. Yesterday we saw the riders crawl up the steep finishing raps of La Planche des Belles Filles, and today, as we speak, they’re churning through all 230 kilometers of this year’s longest stage.

If you’re like us, every day, for most of July, you’re pretending to work while you surreptitiously watch the biggest race of them all, cleverly tucking the livestream behind some important looking Word document.

For three weeks we watch the best bike racers in the world tear themselves apart for four-plus hours per day and wonder if we ever could have done something like that. What exactly does it take to race the Tour — physiologically, mentally, spiritually. Each day these phenomenal athletes race an event that would shatter most of us in just one day. But then they also have to contend with answering reporters questions, pleasing sponsors, transferring between hotels, trying to eat enough food to cover the day’s expenditures, and, finally and perhaps most importantly, trying to get quality sleep.

It’s a feat that’s hard to comprehend, so today we’ll try to give a sense of what it takes to race the Tour. We’ll cover:

  • First, an overview of the Tour from a numbers perspective, and why the numbers really don’t tell the tale.
  • Our guest, Ciaran O’Grady will explain his role as a Tour team physiologist and coach.
  • The many challenges of the Tour outside of racing, including not only what I mentioned above, but also not missing the bus, handling the food, and what happens when you get sick.
  • Why getting dropped by the peloton doesn’t make for as easy a day as you might think.
  • What happens to the riders physiologically over the three weeks and why, in essence, it’s just a controlled burnout.
  • How riders try to recover day-to-day, especially when they’re dealing with injuries.
  • How riders train for the Tour and why having incredible endurance comes first. Then we’ll take a deeper dive into how the different types of riders prepare, from GC contenders to stage hunters and domestiques.

Finally, we’ll try to pull all this together and talk about what mere mortals should and shouldn’t take from Tour riders, whether we’re preparing for a weekend race or a three-day stage race.

Our primary guest today is Ciaran O’Grady, one of the team physiologists for the Dimension Data WorldTour team.

Along with Ciaran, we catch up with one of our favorite guests, Brent Bookwalter of Mitchelton-Scott. Brent has now completed nine grand tours, so he had a lot to say about what it’s like getting through 23 grueling days.

We also talked with Houshang Amiri, a former Canadian National and Olympic coach who runs the Pacific Cycling Centre. He’s coached Tour athletes and had a few thoughts to share on getting athletes ready for a grand tour.

So, get your bidons and your musettes and your baguettes and your crepes, let’s make you fast!

Jul 12, 2019
77: Avoiding the big mistakes even pros make, with Dr. Andy Pruitt and Frankie Andreu
01:35:44

We all make mistakes. No one trains and races perfectly, which can be frustrating when so often those mistakes are made out of honest effort and a desire to perform at our best.

But we have a choice in how we treat our mistakes. One way is to get frustrated and beat up on ourselves. The other is to realize that admitting when we make a mistakes is an opportunity to improve and be a better athlete.

With that second perspective in mind, today we’re going to talk about some of the most common mistakes that we see in athletes — even pros. And we’re going to hear from a variety of athletes, coaches, and experts who have been around the block a few times. They know all the mistakes, but more importantly they know what to do about them.

A few of the things we will talk about:

  • The one thing that almost all of our guests said was the biggest mistake – hint, don’t try too hard to figure it out.
  • Being coachable, or more generally being willing to listen, know yourself, and identify your mistakes
  • Warm-ups and cool-downs — they can have a big impact if done right, and also if done wrong
  • Nutrition — though you may be surprised by what our guests say is the biggest mistake
  • Too much intensity — do you really think Coach Connor and I were going to have an episode about mistakes and not bring that one up.
  • Bike fit and biomechanical mistakes — one of our guests today is Dr. Andy Pruitt who has made a very successful career of helping athletes find success by fixing these often-overlooked mistakes.
  • Racing mistakes and why one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to never risk making mistakes.
  • And finally, we’ll talk about a more philosophical mistake — not knowing when to move on.

Our primary guests today are Dr. Andy Pruitt and Frankie Andreu. By now, you should know who Dr. Pruitt is, one of the foremost experts on cycling ergonomics and medical issues in athletes. Frankie Andreu was a longtime professional, a mentor to many, a team manager and director, a race commentator, and a legend in the sport.

Along with our two primary guests, we checked in with several other respected experts including Joe Friel, author of the “The Cyclist’s Training Bible” which was recently updated. Joe has coached over a thousand athletes in his career and has seen it all. So we had to ask him what he thinks are the biggest mistakes athletes make.

We also speak with Jared Berg, who’s the head physiologist at the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center. One of the issues with making mistakes is we can often convince ourselves that it doesn’t actually affect us. But you can’t fool the physiology and Jared sees that inescapable truth every day.

Next we pulled in an old interview with Grant Holicky, formerly of Apex Coaching with Neal Henderson and now with Forever Endurance, who talks about a mistake that we love to harp on — training in moderato.

Finally, Trevor touches base with Houshang Amiri, a former Canadian National and Olympic team coach who’s worked with many of the best cyclists in Canada. Like Joe Friel, Houshang has seen it all and had some interesting insights on the importance of being prepared.

Now, remember that practice makes perfect. I swear we never mess up in this episode. So let’s make you fast!

Jun 28, 2019
76: When to push and when to pull the plug, with Kate Courtney and Whoop
01:30:09

We all know how to train hard. Tearing up a set of Tabata intervals, giving it our all at the local Tuesday night training race, or attacking someone from New Zealand on Zwift is what we do.

But training — at least effective training — is actually a balance between stressing our systems and recovery. Remember that training does damage. It’s in recovery that we repair and get stronger. This may be why several recent studies have shown that training based on our recovery level can be more effective than rigidly following a structured plan. This is also why Coach Connor loves to say “be as intense in your recovery as you are in your training.” Train hard, rest hard.

Yet, while there are a multitude of tools to measure our training stress – bike computers, power meters, heart rate straps, WKO, Golden Cheetah, Xert and the list goes on – the list of tools to measure recovery is not nearly as robust. But new players such as Whoop – which uses a combination of resting heart rate, heart rate variability, sleep and strain to assess your daily recovery level – are starting to tackle this very important side of the training balance.

So today we dive into the recovery side of the training-recovery concept and talk about:

  • This fundamental principle of training also called super-compensation.
  • How to know when the balance between training and recovery goes too far towards the training stress side and is leading to over-training. Interestingly, it starts neurologically which can express as changes in mood and motivation long before it shows up on the training ride.
  • We talk about ways to identify neurological fatigue both on and off the bike.
  • Next we’ll dive into the recovery side of the equation and discuss ways of measuring recovery including resting heart rate and heart rate variability.
  • Why sometimes going into the red on the recovery score is necessary
  • We discuss the new Whoop strap 3.0. Whoop is a sponsor of this episode and Coach Connor and I are excited to have them as part of the show. This isn’t the first episode where we’ve preached the value of recovery and Whoop is the one tool out there really focusing on that value. And their new strap is providing even better metrics including their strain coach to help you decide when to push and when to pull the plug.

Our primary guest today is Kate Courtney, the reigning mountain bike world champion, and winner of the first two rounds of the UCI World Cup this season.

Along with Kate we talked with Houshang Amiri, a past Canadian Olympic and National team coach and owner of the Pacific Cycling Centre. Houshang has helped athletes such as World’s Silver Medalist Svein Tuft by focusing on the value of recovery. Houshang talks with us about ways he’s used to assess it.

We include a past interview with Phil Gaimon, who talks about the importance of feel and knowing your own body.

Finally, we feature an interview with two top coaches in Colorado – Mac Cassen with Apex Coaching and Frank Overton with FastCat coaching. This interview was actually from episode 45 a few years back, but we talked about measuring recovery and it’s the episode where Frank introduced all of us to the Whoop strap.

Jun 14, 2019
75: High intensity training, with Dr. Stephen Seiler
01:37:30

In episode 75, we’re joined by one of our favorite guests, Dr. Stephen Seiler, who is one of the top exercise physiologists working today. Dr. Seiler has talked with us previously about the polarized, or 80/20, model of endurance training, he’s shared his thoughts on zone models, and he’s helped us understand how slow your “slow” should be. For more with Dr. Seiler, return to episodes 51 and 54.

You’ve sent us more questions about those two episodes than any other episodes we’ve done, but the most common question has been “when’s part 3?” Well, this is that episode.

We’ve already talked about the overall polarized approach and how to do that 80 percent — the long, slow ride. Today, we’re going to talk about the other 20 percent: high intensity work.

In this episode we’ll address:

  • Why, even though Dr. Seiler recommends 80 percent or more of our work to be at low intensity, he is by no means against some hard work. After all, he did put himself through a one-hour FTP test for our last show.
  • What you should use to structure the intensity of your interval work: heart rate or power, percent of max or percent of threshold. Or, is there another approach? His answer might surprise you.
  • Dr. Seiler’s multiple studies on interval work, including the three protocols he’s studied — 4×4 minutes, 4×8 minutes, and 4×16 minutes.
  • Notice that while each workout is hard, none of those three protocols is very complex. We talk about why things like execution, accumulating time, and consistency are more important than complexity.
  • Some of you may cringe, but we also discuss why the specificity of interval work isn’t as important as a lot of people think. To a degree, most work hits most systems. So don’t get caught up in being a few beats or watts over or under the target.
  • We’ll briefly discuss the periodization of interval work.
  • We’ll wrap up the show with a discussion of higher intensity anaerobic intervals such as Tabata’s, and ask both Dr. Seiler and some pros about their favorite interval work.
  • Finally, we’ll answer the pressing question: Who’s the biggest nerd of all.

Our primary guest today is, of course, Dr. Stephen Seiler. At this point, he needs no introduction. He is one of the most influential researchers working today. 

Along with Dr. Seiler, we’ll hear from Michelton-Scott rider Brent Bookwalter about balance in interval work. This is the third episode in a row that we’ve heard from Brent, and that’s because as a top pro, who’s raced 10 grand tours, he has a lot of good things to say. 

Next we’ll hear from Ruth Winder, a talented racer on the women’s Trek-Segafredo team. Finally, we’ll hear from Bruce Bird. Bruce took up cycling in his 40s and has since won the Gran Fondo World Championships multiple times. At 50, he can tear apart the local pro races in Ontario. In other words, he’s figured out a few things about proper training.

So, if you’re ready to get intense, if you’re prepared for a smattering of nerd bombs, it’s time to make you fast!

May 31, 2019
74: Why women are not small men, with Dr. Stacy Sims
01:16:38

In episode 74, we speak with one of the leading researchers on how women’s physiology influences optimal training and performance.

There has been a long history of gender-neutralizing sports science. Money in sports science research is tight, and physiologists often assume they don’t have the resources to study male-female differences. We’ll address later in the show why that “added expense” assumption isn’t true, but the more important issue is that most research is conducted on men and then generalized to women.

The problem is that women are not just small men. Now that sports science research is being conducted specifically on women, we are discovering, not surprisingly, that men and women don’t have the same physiology. And what works for men doesn’t always work for women.

Dr. Stacy Sims has been leading a surge in research on women athletes. Her book Roar takes a deep dive into female physiology and how it impacts training. There’s a wealth of knowledge in the book – far too much to address in a single episode – but today we’ll focus on a few of its key points, including:

  • Stacy Sim’s background, and how she became a leader in women’s sport’s physiology
  • Why the “shrink it and pink it” approach to women’s sports research doesn’t work – optimal performance means tailoring training to the female physiology
  • How the menstrual cycle affects both training and performance, and why some types of training can be very effective at certain times during the month and relatively ineffective at others
  • Why all female athletes should track their cycle and learn how it impacts their training – there’s a very real physiological explanation why you sometimes get on the bike and just can’t put out the power
  • Why women often need more protein for recovery
  • The impact of birth control pills, and why the very common practice of giving athletes the pill may be misguided
  • Why research has too often ignored these questions, and why that actually presents a big opportunity for coaches and physiologists
  • Finally, Dr. Sims will offer advice specific to both masters and junior female athletes

Our primary guest today is, of course, Dr. Stacy Sims. Many of you know her as the founder of Osmo and one of the founders of Skratch Labs. But her research has always focused on the physiology of female athletes and her book Roar is a must-read.

In addition to Stacy, we also talk with Brent Bookwalter, a WorldTour pro with Michelton-Scott. His wife is an ex-professional cyclist and we discuss how their training regimens differ.

Finally, Chris speaks with Ruth Winder, a top pro with Trek-Segefredo and winner of the 2017 Redlands Classic. Ruth had some insights on how the length of women’s races affects race dynamics and, more importantly, as a big fan of Stacy’s book, how understanding the science specific to women has helped her training.

And one final note: We know that the majority of Fast Talk listeners are male. But before you say, “So much for this week’s episode,” we encourage you to listen in. Dr. Sims does a great job of explaining this complex subject. And as she points out later in this episode, just about every one of us has a wife, daughter, sister, or a female training partner. This is a sport that’s about helping one another out and you can’t help if you don’t understand.

And with that, let’s make you fast!

May 17, 2019
73: How to balance your VLamax, with Sebastian Weber
01:18:38

Balance becomes an increasingly important concept as we get stronger. If you’re unfit, or just getting off the couch, everything is trainable. Everything can get better.

But we reach a point where it’s not that simple. We love to look at peak numbers… best 20-minute power, best five-minute power, best top sprint. But can all of these numbers keep rising in unison as we train? The answer is, we hit a point where we have to make sacrifices.

In episode 67 we talked with Sebastian Weber about the concepts of VO2max and VLamax. Think of them as ways of measuring the max rate of your aerobic system and your anaerobic system (though, to be exact, we’re talking the glycolytic system only.) A big aerobic engine allows you to do things like sit in the field comfortably for hours or ride a good time trial. In the world of cycling, there’s no such thing as too big a VO2max. But a big glycolytic system allows you to cover moves and win the sprint at the end of the race.

The problem is that there is such a thing as too big a VLamax because it can hurt your aerobic engine. So it’s a balancing act, and while we love to focus on those peak wattages, an important consideration is to figure out how high or low a VLamax you need. And that can change through the season.

Today we’ll dive into this concept and talk about:

  • VO2max and VLamax – what exactly do they measure and why are they useful.
  • Another term that’s becoming very popular is W’ or Functional Reserve Capacity. It’s a valuable number, but a lot of cyclists think it’s a measure of our anaerobic strength and confuse it with VLamax. We’ll explain the important differences and the value of both.
  • We’ll talk about the balancing act of shifting your VLamax depending on your target races.
  • Then we’ll try to get a little more practical starting with the right training for the time trialist or GC rider.
  • Next we’ll talk about how to train if, like a lot of riders, you focus on road races and need good enough an aerobic engine to get to the end of a 3 plus hour race, but also need a good enough VLamax to win the sprint.
  • Finally we’ll talk about just how much you can shift your VLamax and why it’s not just about making that shift, but learning to use what you have.

Our primary guest today is, of course, Sebastian Weber. Sebastian is one of the founders of INCSYD, a company that uses on-the-road testing to give quite detailed analyses of a rider’s physiology. Weber has also worked with teams like High Road and riders like Peter Sagan and Tony Martin. We love having Weber on the show because we go deep into the physiological weeds. 

Along with Weber we also talked with an incredible group of scientists and riders about this balancing act, including Dr. Stephen Seiler from the University of Agder in Norway who is one of the originators of the polarized training model. We have an episode on interval work coming up with him soon.

Next, we got the opinion of a world-class time trialist and grand tour rider. Brent Bookwalter, who now rides with Mitchelton-Scott, talked with us about how training for time trials and grand tours affects his sprint. 

And finally, we talked with Dr. Andy Coggan and Hunter Allen who just released the third edition of their groundbreaking book “Training and Racing with a Power Meter.”

So let’s dive into this idea of VLamax, and let’s make you fast!

May 03, 2019
72: Do we need training zones? With Dr. Andy Coggan, Dr. Stephen McGregor, and Hunter Allen
01:43:08

There’s possibly nothing more ubiquitous in cycling than training zones. Trevor and I have lost count of the number of questions we’ve received from Fast Talk listeners that begin with something along the lines of “I was training in zone 4…”

The truth of the matter is that we don’t know what that means when you tell us that. That’s not because we don’t know training science, but because “zone 4” can mean a lot of different things.

One thing is certain: Training zones can have tremendous value. They provide guidance for training and a means of communicating with your coach or teammates.

If you’re a fan of zones, this episode may also challenge you because zones have their limitations. They’re not as clear cut as they seem. Which may be why we, and almost all of our guests today, resist even using the term “zones.” What we hope to communicate is that there is no single zone model. That’s because there is no perfect model. They all have flaws.

What they are based on – FTP, VO2max, or power-duration – all have their issues. Nor can any model ever fully account for individual variation or even day-to-day variation within each athlete. As our guests will point out, they are rough and they have their limitations.

That being said, if you use a zone model based on your physiology and use it as a guide, not as dogma, it can be a valuable tool. So, today we’ll dive into zones, or levels, or ranges, or whatever you want to call them, and talk about:

  • What exactly a zone model is, and whether it should be based on power or heart rate.
  • The value of a zone system as a framework for training and, more importantly, communication.
  • While there are many zone models based on heart rate, there are actually very few based on power. That’s partially because Dr. Andy Coggan and Hunter Allen came up with a model that’s been the standard. We’ll talk about this model and why it was so important for each zone to have a name and not just a number.
  • Dr. Coggan’s Classic zone model has seven zones. We’ll talk about the issues with more or fewer zones, including Dr. Stephen Seiler’s three-zone model, and whether or not it’s based on physiology.
  • What a zone model should be based on – most systems create zones that are a percentage of VO2max or FTP or threshold. We’ll talk about the pros and cons of each and how, ultimately, both have their limitations.
  • Other limitations with zones, including not understanding what “zone 2” means and the fact that just because you’re training in a particular zone doesn’t mean you’re doing the right training – there are other factors including volume.
  • Finally, we’ll talk about the iLevels that are discussed in the third edition of Training and Racing with a Power Meter. iLevels are based on an athlete’s individual profile, not just FTP, and address many of the shortcomings we’ll discuss.

Our primary guests today are renowned physiologists and coaches who need no introduction, who are the authors of the aforementioned book, Dr. Andy Coggan, Dr. Stephen McGregor, and a guest you’ve heard from before on Fast Talk, Hunter Allen.

We also talk with local coach Colby Pearce to get his opinion about zones. As a top-level coach figuring out how to best direct his athletes, he had a lot of great insight about zones and their limits.

We also talk with Dr. Stephen Seiler, one of the originators of the polarized training concept, to get his take on training zones and why he often promotes a three-zone model. You may be surprised by his answer.

Finally, we’ll touch base with Sebastian Weber with INSCYD and a coach to athletes like Tony Martin and Peter Sagan. We ask him his opinion on whether zones should be based on a percentage of VO2max or threshold, but it quickly turns into a more nuanced conversation about the dangers of blindly following zones.

So, get ready to enter a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.

Wait, wait, wrong show… This is Fast Talk, let’s make you fast.

Apr 22, 2019
71: How to train for and race gran fondo-style events, with Colby Pearce
01:32:16

Not long ago, gran fondos were these strange events popping up in a few places that most racers didn’t understand. Now, when you talk to most younger riders, they know all about fondos, but they might ask you what this road racing thing is all about.

The gran fondo-style event has exploded in popularity in the last decade. Somewhere between a race and a group ride, it appeals to a broad range of riders. Some show up to race all-out on a challenging 100-plus-mile course. Others come to ride with friends and enjoy the accomplishment of a demanding and scenic route. The nice thing is there is no “right” way to do it. This style of event accommodates both riding styles.

Now we’re seeing multi-day events like Haute Route that combine the challenge of racing (through timed segments) with the pleasure of a bike tour through some of the most scenic spots in the world.

The question is: Do you train for and approach these events differently from a weekend race or group ride? More than a few of you have asked us that exact question, so in this episode, we’ll try to give you an answer.

In this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • What the experience of a gran fondo or Haute Route is like and why they are becoming so popular
  • The different goals and approaches riders will have at these events
  • How to train and prepare for both the one-day gran fondo and the multi-day Haute Route. Hint: When it comes to the training, it’s not as different as you might think.
  • The importance of pack skills and sticking within your comfort level
  • Nutrition and hydration for the event (and why I love cookies so much)
  • Final preparation in the week leading into the event
  • Strategies for both racing and riding a fondo, as well as multi-day Haute Route style events

Our primary guest today is master’s world hour record holder and Haute Route ambassador Colby Pearce. He’s been on the show enough now that he needs no introduction. Along with Colby, we spoke with Michelton-Scott’s Brent Bookwalter. Brent is an Olympian, a veteran of many grand tours, and the organizer of the popular Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo. This year it takes place on October 26 in his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina.

We also touch base with three-time gran fondo world champion Bruce Bird. If that title doesn’t impress you, you should also know that at the age of 50, Bruce finished 14th at Canadian nationals in the pro race. Bruce also organizes a worlds qualifier event called the Blue Mountains Gran Fondo in Ontario where both he and Trevor are from. This year it takes place on June 15 in Collingwood, Ontario.

Now, prepare your cookies, let’s make you fast!

Apr 05, 2019
70: Finding your strengths through failure, with Armando Mastracci
01:19:41

The days when training software simply showed a power and heart rate curve are a distant memory. Whether you use TrainingPeaks, Golden Cheetah, or some other software, you’ll know that nowadays basic data is mined to reveal a wealth of information about your physiology, strengths, and training.

But, as soon as the software starts to interpret data, unavoidably, certain biases come into play. Perhaps better called principles, they are built into the software and any interpretations it performs. It’s not necessarily an issue, but it is important to understand the biases.

Most training software is based on biases that Coach Connor fully admits he would use if he was developing software. Created by coaches and physiologists, many training software developers knew what they were looking for and hunted for it in the data. One training package, however, stands out from this. Xert was created by Armando Mastracci who is an engineer first. While he came to understand the physiology, he started by simply looking for trends in the data instead of looking at the physiology. The result is Xert, a tool that has found unique trends which may seem unfamiliar to a physiologist but are certainly compelling.

At the heart of Xert is the notion of failure: the idea that we reveal our true fitness and our profile as a rider in the moments when we hit our limits at these points of failure. Armando will talk with us about how he was able to identify these moments of failure in athletes’ training rides, and then use them to create an athlete’s profile and help direct training.

But before we dive into the conversation it is helpful to define a few terms that are somewhat unique to Xert and this conversation:

  • First, Maximal Power Available. If you uploaded a workout to Xert, you’d see your normal graphs — heart rate, power, cadence, speed, and so on. What will be new to you is a line calculated by Xert called your MPA or Maximal Power Available. This is a second-by-second graphic of how much power you could produce. When you’re fresh, it’s equal to your sprint power. After a killer attack up a five-minute climb, it may not be much more than your threshold power. It is dynamic and it constantly changes over the course of your ride.
  • We’ve already mentioned failure — it’s that moment when an athlete can’t go any harder. In Xert, it is the moment when your MPA line equals your actual power — meaning you are going as hard as you can go. And if the rider beside you can go harder, they will drop you.
  • Finally, Peak Power, High-intensity Energy, and Threshold. All software packages have moved beyond FTP as the sole parameter used to define an athlete. TrainingPeaks uses a power duration curve. Neal Henderson talked with us in episode 33 about using five-second, one-minute, five-minute, and 20-minute peak power. Armando uses three parameters: 1) Peak Power: simply the power you can hit in a sprint when fresh; 2) High-intensity Energy: our capacity to ride above threshold, which is also often called Watt Prime; 3) Threshold: you know this as FTP. Xert uses moments of failure in rides and races to constantly adjust these three parameters.

Our primary guest today is, of course, Armando Mastracci, creator of Xert and owner of Baron Biosystems. He is the original brain behind these concepts, but he has also brought in respected physiologist and owner of Pez cycling, Dr. Stephen Cheung, to interpret these trends from a physiological standpoint, making for a more complete package.

We also talk with Brent Bookwalter, of the Mitchelton-Scott WorldTour team, about some of these new concepts.

Finally, we’ll touch base with Paulo Saldanha, owner of PowerWatts and coach of 2018 worlds bronze medalist Michael Woods. Paulo discusses lab testing in comparison to finding an athlete’s fitness on the road in slightly less structured but more competitive scenarios.

This episode is too good to fail. Let’s make you fast!

Mar 22, 2019
69: Functional training with Menachem Brodie
01:26:44

We all ride bikes because we love being out on the road or trail, we love performing, we love the thrill. It’s the part of our meal we look forward to. Our vegetables are all the functional work we know we need, but tend to push to the side of the plate. It’s the strength work, conditioning, core, stretching, foam rolling, and PT that we so often ignore.

But if you want to be at your strongest and, more importantly, if you want to do this for a long time, this is the work you can’t skip. Whether you’re 21 or 51, it’s going to come back to haunt you as Trevor and our guest today will testify to.

So today, we’ll take a deep dive into functional training… literally. Trevor and I both get down on the floor of the studio to do some exercises, all in the name of getting this important message across. We’ll cover:

  • What is functional training? And why this buzz phrase is often misunderstood, and why cycling seems to be way behind the curve.
  • The two main benefits of functional work: improving your neuromuscular performance on the bike and preventing injury
  • Why functional training and staying healthy aren’t simply a matter of stretching or picking up the periodic heavy weight. Proper movement and form are key.
  • Then, Trevor and I will get on the floor and embarrass ourselves for a bit.
  • Next we discus how to evaluate functional fitness and why you should consider having the help of an expert.
  • The importance of belly breathing.
  • How cyclists can succumb to the pitfall of less-than-optimal firing patterns and not even know it.
  • Finally, Menachem Brodie, our guest today, walks through six key exercises for cyclists.

If there’s one thing we hope you get from this episode, it’s to do these exercises several times per week. See the list below.

Our primary guest today is the aforementioned Menachem Brodie, head coach at Human Vortex Training and a USA Cycling expert coach. Along with Menachem, we spoke with WorldTour riders Joe Dombrowski (EF Education First) and Brent Bookwalter (Michelton-Scott). Both riders emphasized the importance of functional work, even if it means spending an hour less on the bike.

We also connected with Jess Elliot, the owner of TAG Performance Strength and Conditioning. She talked with us about how easy it is for athletes to fall into poor muscle firing patterns.

Mar 08, 2019
68: The big picture — the three types of rides you should do
01:35:56

In this episode we’re taking a step back — way back — to see the forest for the tress. Let me explain: Many of you have been fascinated by our recordings with scientists and coaches like Stephen SeilerJohn HawleyIñigo San Millan, and Joe Friel. We’ve received a stack of questions about polarized training, the two thresholds, how to execute long rides, and many more. They’ve been great questions, and they’ve made us think about how we can answer all of them.

The complex concepts we’ve discussed in our deeper science episodes were developed by far smarter people than us. Still, that science is only valuable if it’s communicated to our listeners in a way that makes it approachable and applicable to you. After all, what good is any of this if you can’t use it to improve your performances.

So, in this episode, we want to play the humble role of science communicators, to make sure we get the message right. We’ve also sifted through hours of Fast Talk recordings with our many distinguished guests to bring context to what we hope is a simplified, unified message about the fundamental principles of these previous shows: there are just three types of rides. Yes, that’s a simplification. Yes, you’re getting our bias. Yes, you’re going to listen to this episode and think, “Well, what about the…” Fill in the blank. And you’re right. If you want that level of detail and scrutiny, please return to those past episodes. In this episode, we’re talking about the forest. We’re hoping to give you a framework to understand all that scientific detail. And we’re going to keep it simple.

We’ll discuss:

  • First, when you take away the complexity, training boils down to three ride types in most training models.
  • We’ll give a simple zone system, based on physiology, and explain why that’s important.
  • We’ll define the long ride: why it’s important, how to execute it, and why there are no shortcuts.
  • We’ll define the high-intensity ride: why less is more with this type of ride and why executing it with quality is so critical. Dr. Seiler actually divides these rides into two categories — threshold rides and high-intensity work. For this podcast, we’re lumping them together, but we will hear from Dr. Seiler about why we shouldn’t neglect threshold work despite the current popularity of one-minute intervals and Tabata work.
  • We’ll discuss the recovery ride. Ironically, for most of us, this is the hardest to execute. When we’re time-crunched, we might think that spending an hour spinning easy on the trainer is not time well spent. We’ll discuss why that philosophy is dangerous to take.
  • Finally, we’ll talk about some of the exceptions, including sweet spot work and training races.

We’ve included excerpts from Dr. San Millan, once the exercise physiologist for the Garmin-Slipstream WorldTour team, among others. We’ll hear several times from Dr. Stephen Seiler, who is often credited with defining the polarized training model, which developed from his research with some of the best endurance athletes in the world. Dr. John Hawley will address both long rides and high-intensity work. Dr. Hawley has been one of the leading researchers in sports science for several decades and is a big proponent of interval work and carbohydrate feeding, but even he feels there’s a limit. Grant Holicky, formerly of Apex Coaching in Boulder, Colorado, has worked with some of the best cyclists in the world. He sees undirected training, those “sort of hard” rides, as one of the biggest mistakes athletes can make. He’ll explain why. And finally, we’ll hear from legendary coach Joe Friel about sweet spot work and why it does have a place… even though technically it’s not one of our three rides.

Now, to the forest! Let’s make you fast.

Feb 22, 2019
67: What is VLamax? With Sebastian Weber
57:38

In this era of training data, one number reigns supreme for many athletes: FTP. It’s a badge of pride, or maybe an obsession, and many cyclists pay coaches good money to improve it.

But is FTP the only number we should be looking at — or even the most important one? Our energy systems can be divided into two key categories: aerobic and anaerobic. And both our total strength as an endurance athlete and our rider type are a function of the relative balance between these two systems. How they interact may tell us more about our FTP or threshold strength than a simple power number.

For years, we have used VO2max to measure the maximal rate of our aerobic system. But how do we measure the rate of our anaerobic system? Over the past two decades, renowned physiologist and coach Sebastian Weber has developed the anaerobic equivalent to VO2max, which he calls VLamax, or the maximal rate of lactate production.

Today we take a close look at this sometimes complicated concept, but be patient as there are several points that we address that could have a significant impact on how you train, and how quickly you progress.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • First, we define FTP, and why it may not be the be-all-end-all of training. If you have an FTP of 350 watts, you should be proud. But the more important consideration, particularly for how you train and where you may excel as a cyclist, is how you produce those 350 watts.
  • What are VO2max and VLamax, and why is the cross-over point of lactate production and lactate clearance so important.
  • The issues with lab testing: Yes, it’s inconvenient, it disrupts training, and it hurts. We’ll also explain why finding ways to get the same information out on the road is important to an athlete’s training.
  • How to determine VLamax since it can’t be measured as easily as VO2max.
  • Then we get to the crux: how to apply the concepts of VLamax and VO2max to training. Weber makes the very important point that developing one system generally comes at the cost of the other.
  • Finally, we address how this has different implications depending on if you are a time trialist or a sprinter. Weber gives great advice to both styles of riders on how to direct their training.

Our primary guest today is the head physiologist and scientific brain behind INSCYD, Sebastian Weber. Weber has also coached some of the best riders in the world including Tony Martin, Andre Greipel, and Peter Sagan. INSCYD is currently used by several WorldTour teams, including Bora-Hansgrohe and Jumbo-Visma.

Along with Sebastian, we talked with Armando Mastracci, the owner and founder of Xert. While that system’s approach is very different from INSCYD, the two tools are similar in that each uses on-the-road data to analyze a rider’s physiology with remarkable accuracy. Mastracci talks about this balance of anaerobic and aerobic power and also the potential issues with outliers in the formulas.

Finally, we’ll touch base with coach Neal Henderson and mountain bike and gravel racer Rebecca Rusch to get their thoughts on VLamax and how the type of rider you are can influence how you view it.

So, put on your nerd cap. Let’s make you fast!

Feb 08, 2019
66: Demystifying periodization with Joe Friel
01:09:08

Periodization is, in many ways, the pinnacle of advanced training. Taking the steps to periodize graduates you to a professional approach, one with purpose, long-term vision, and organized planning.

But periodization can also be confusing and, frankly, a little scary. Periodizing your training means diving into a world of new concepts, things like training blocks, mesocycles, and training specificity. For those of us with jobs and families, or who have to deal with inclement weather, it’s harder to plan ahead — to know on Monday what we might be able to fit in on Friday, let alone how to plan our next four-week transition phase. Looking at it in that context, it’s hard to fault those who just hop on Zwift and start smashing it when they have an hour to spare.

The question is, does periodization need to be that complicated? And, while it may be a necessity for pros, can it help those of us with only seven or eight hours to train each week?

For answers to those very questions and many more, let’s take a deep dive with the man credited with bringing periodization to cycling back in the 1990s, Joe Friel.

Today we’ll discuss, first,

  • What exactly is periodization? The truth is it’s not as complicated and scary as it may sound. At its simplest, it’s just a way of structuring your season to prepare for your target races. Heard about base training in the winter and top-end work in the spring? That’s periodization.
  • The history of periodization from its first use among Soviet athletes to its introduction to cycling.
  • The principles of training, including overload, specificity, reversibility, and individualization. These four concepts are at the core of periodization.
  • With the principles as our base, we’ll dive into the different forms of periodization, starting with traditional linear periodization. It’s the oldest and most common form, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t effective.
  • Next we’ll talk about reverse periodization and why it might not be best for the weekend warrior, even if Chris Froome is doing it.
  • Next we’ll talk about non-linear forms of periodization, including undulating periodization and the most recently developed strategy called block periodization.
  • Then we’ll finish up with a few tips on how to pick a periodization strategy that’s right for you — assuming you want to use one at all.

Our guest today is legendary coach Joe Friel, who just recently published a new edition of the definitive book on training, The Cyclists Training Bible. The first edition back in the 1990s introduced periodization to cyclists but it only covered traditional periodization. This new edition covers all of the strategies we discuss in this podcast.

Jan 26, 2019
65: Debunking supplements — what works, and what doesn’t?
01:09:24

Those who take their training and racing seriously are always looking for something to give them an edge — that marginal gain. The obvious and easiest fixes are often equipment upgrades — lighter bikes, more aerodynamic wheels.

Then come nutritional supplements. So much has been promised to us in pill form, it’s created a multi-billion-dollar industry. There’s a pill to make everything better. Those promises carry into enhanced endurance performance. And many athletes have resorted to the morning supplement cocktail believing it will make them better cyclists. But there’s a dark side. Those cocktails can actually hurt performance, certainly affect health, and lead to even darker, ethically-challenged places.

Today, we’re going to talk about supplements and our concerns with them, and then cover a few foods that actually do work.

We’ll discuss:

  • We thought about bashing all the supplements that don’t work but then realized we only have an hour. So instead, Trevor will read a description of every supplement that does work. That list combined with a discussion of its sources will cover the first three minutes.
  • We’ll talk about supplements in general and why they can be a big concern.
  • And with those concerns in context, we’ll start addressing things that have been proven to help, starting with pickle juice.
  • Next on our list is beetroot juice which can not only help performance but has been shown to have health benefits as well.
  • Believe it or not, we’re going to talk about chocolate — or more specifically the active ingredient, cocoa flavonoids, which also, surprisingly, have both performance and health benefits.
  • That, of course, leads to something that frequently comes up in the sports nutrition literature — chocolate milk. It’s as effective as most recovery mixes. So, the key question is how effective are the mixes?
  • Finally, we’ll revisit the ketogenic diet and specifically supplementing with ketone esters.

Our primary guest today is Ryan Kohler, the manager of the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center who holds a masters degree in sports nutrition and exercise science. Ryan has helped Trevor and I with many previous articles and behind-the-scenes work with some of our experiments, shall we call them. We’re excited to finally get him in front of the mic, even if he is a little shy.

In addition, we’ll talk with world-renowned coach Joe Friel, author of the definitive book on training, The Cyclists Training Bible. We asked Joe his opinion about supplementation based on decades of coaching. We’ll also hear from endurance mountain biker Rebecca Rusch and Apex Coaching owner Neal Henderson, the personal coach of world time trial champion Rohan Dennis. They’ll each give us their thoughts on supplements and a few things they’ve found that work.

Jan 11, 2019
64: Inside the Canadian team’s world championship success, with Mike Woods and Rob Britton
01:23:04

In episode 64, we ask the question: What does it take to stand on the podium at the world championships? It’s a simple question without a simple answer. Strength buys you a seat at the table, but playing a winning hand takes effective training, teamwork, near-perfect strategy, and an incredible mindset.

In today’s episode we take a deep dive into all of the elements that are needed for a podium placing at worlds with two of the members of the Canadian team — Mike Woods and Rob Britton. The two of them, along with their team of coaches, asked that simple question over a year before the 2018 world championships. Canada doesn’t have the biggest reputation, nor the best-funded team, but they found the answers and earned Mike the bronze medal.

So, how did they do it? Today we’ll cover:

  1. How the race played out to put Mike in a position to fight for the podium
  2. Rob Britton’s all-day breakaway that helped put Mike in that position
  3. The final “hell climb” as Rob calls it, how it was central to Mike’s strategy, the sort of numbers he put out on the climb, and why those numbers don’t tell the full story
  4. The finale, and why in a split second the excitement of a podium momentarily turned into a disappointment
  5. A comparison of Mike’s and Rob’s very different preparations for worlds. Mike used the Tour of Utah and the Vuelta to get his legs ready. Rob, on the other hand, loaded his bike up with fifty pounds of gear and did a very low-tech ride across half of Canada. Yet, both riders arrived with great legs… and, perhaps more importantly, great mindsets.
  6. How Rob and Mike balanced their training — including the balance of long slow volume rides, threshold work, and VO2max training, and how training for a seven hour event like worlds may differ from the local two-hour race

Our primary guests for this podcast were the Canadian superstars themselves: Mike Woods of the EF Education First team and Rob Britton of Rally Cycling. Mike, who comes from a running background, exploded onto the scene five years ago and since then has raced multiple grand tours, which has included a recent stage win at the Vuelta. Rob has dominated the domestic scene with multiple wins, including the GC victory at races like Tour of the Gila.

In addition to Rob and Mike, we’ll talk with:

Mike’s coach Paulo Saldahna. Despite his remarkable coaching success, Paulo points out that coaching is only one of the many hats he wears. He’s the owner of the successful indoor training company PowerWatts and is an endurance sport physiologist by trade where he builds support structures for athletes worldwide and runs a high performance facility in Montreal.

Dec 28, 2018
63: Training gift ideas with Colby Pearce and Frank Overton
01:21:51

It’s the holidays and if you’re like us, right about now, you’re scrambling for gift ideas. So we’re trying something new on Fast Talk and doing a gift episode. Of course, there are a ton of great gifts you can give that cyclist in your life, so we can’t cover them all. Instead, we’re going to focus on a few cool training gadgets. Some of which you’re very familiar with and some you may never have even heard of. We’ll talk about what they are, how they’re used and whether we think they’re worth putting under the tree or not. Of course, a few of these ideas may be a little too expensive for stocking stuffers, so it may be better to see this episode as our review of several cool, interesting and potentially valuable training tools.

Today we’ll talk about:

  1. The Whoop recovery strap. What is it? Why would it be a valuable tool for tracking your recovery? We provide our personal experiences — good and bad — with the tool.
  2. The Normatec recovery system. Does it work? We have some thoughts on how to use it. If you listened to our recent episode on recovery, you already know our opinion, but we certainly couldn’t leave them out of an episode on cool training gear.
  3. Power meters. Alright, that’s nothing new or unique, but we’ll give our hot takes on which are good and what to be careful with.
  4. The Leomo Type-R. A truly unique device offering on-the-road biomechanical analysis that wasn’t previously available. It’s a fascinating tool, but as we’ll discuss, it may be so new, we haven’t figured out how to use it yet.
  5. And finally, we’ll finish up with foam rollers. They may not be as sexy as some of our other gift ideas, but they’re cheap and they work.

Our guests today are hour-record holder and coach extraordinaire Colby Pearce along with FasCat owner and likewise coach extraordinaire Frank Overton. At this point do either of them really need an introduction on Fast Talk? We always love having them on the show and hearing their insights.

In addition, we’ll talk with professional cyclist Rebecca Rusch and Apex Coaching owner Neal Henderson. Both have been at the top of the cycling world for years, so we’d definitely love to hear what gifts they’d like to get. Their answers were a little less tangible than you might expect.

As always, if you have a minute please take the time to rate us on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud or wherever you get your podcasts. And keep those questions coming! Please contact us at our dedicated Fast Talk email address.

So get out your wish list. Make sure you listen twice and let’s make you fast!

Dec 14, 2018
62: Listener questions on short rides, diet, vegetable oils, and training sub-threshold
38:26

We’ve been getting a ton of questions from listeners, and many of them have had similar themes. (We appreciate the feedback, look forward to your questions, and generate many future podcast topics from them, so please keep them coming.)

While you’re waiting for future episodes with deeper answers, we’d like to give you some short answers now to tide you over. Today we’ll answer questions about diet, the value of short easy rides, sub-threshold work in a polarized training model, and inflammation.

Dec 07, 2018
61: Do you need a coach? With Neal Henderson and Rebecca Rusch
01:15:39

In the famous book “Daniels’ Running Formula,” Jack Daniels lays out what he considers to be the four ingredients of success. The fourth ingredient is “direction,” and he describes it as follows:

“Direction, the final ingredient of success, refers to a coach, a teacher, or a training plan that can be followed. Of the four ingredients of success, direction is probably the one of least significance, should one of the ingredients have to be eliminated. I say this because direction is the only ingredient that can have either a positive or negative influence on the athlete… it is possible for absence of direction to be better than bad direction.”

It may seem a little strange to hear one of the most decorated running coaches of all time say that coaching or direction is the least important ingredient of success. And it raises an important question: Do we really need a coach?

In today’s episode, we’re taking on that question.

  1. First, we’ll start by asking our expert guests that simple question: Do we need a coach?
  2. Next, we’ll talk about the relationship athletes have with their coaches — what makes a good relationship and what makes a bad one.
  3. After we’ve defined that relationship, we’ll ask our panel what to look for in a good coach. And, conversely, how to identify a bad coach.
  4. Finally, we’ll talk briefly about how much coaching is worth, and whether an athlete should stick with the same coach or change from time to time.

Our panel today includes, first, coach Neal Henderson, owner of Apex Coaching and current coach of time trial world champion Rohan Dennis, among other elite athletes. Neal has joined us before, on one of our most popular episodes, in fact, Episode 33: Is FTP Dead?

Our other main guest today is the renowned endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch, formerly an adventure racer, now a decorated cyclist of mountain bike, gravel, and bike-packing events around the world. Rebecca currently works with CTS coach Dean Golich; for many years she went without a coach. She has a great depth of experience as an athlete and brings a wealth of knowledge to the conversation. She also runs several training camps and hosts her namesake Rebecca’s Private Idaho gravel race near her home in Idaho. Check them out online at rebeccarusch.com.

Nov 30, 2018
60: Rethinking the science of trainers
01:19:43

In episode 60 we’re discussing trainers… hey, for those out there who hate them, we get it, but stay tuned, as we’ll tell you why you shouldn’t completely ignore them. For those who love them, we’re going to tell you why riding outside every once in a while is a really good thing. For those in between, today’s episode will offer a wealth of knowledge on how to get the very most out of trainer time.

Now, one thing is certain: The days of staring at the basement wall while riding your clunky, loud trainer are behind us. Today’s smart trainers and online tools allow us to “game-ify” the experience and are making many re-consider how they feel about riding indoors, and importantly, the extent of the training benefits.

In this episode, we’ll talk about the science and experience of the trainer, including:

  1. How riding on a trainer differs from riding on the road, including the experience, our interaction with the bike, the different inertia generated by the trainer, and its impact on our biomechanics.
  2. What impact these differences have on our power and heart rate, and why we shouldn’t use the same numbers inside and outside.
  3. We’ll discuss situations where it’s good to use a trainer—and when it may be even better than riding on the road, such as when we’re doing neuromuscular work.
  4. Likewise, we’ll talk about situations where you might want to avoid the trainer. You might know already… a five-hour, mind-numbing ride on the trainer is a sign of incredible dedication. Don’t do it again.
  5. The game-ification of trainers by tools like Zwift, Trainer Road, and Sufferfest, and how this is changing our perspective on trainers. It can be both good and bad.
  6. When to use rollers rather than a trainer.
  7. And, finally, we’ll talk about how much time to spend on the trainer, and alternatives even when there’s snow outside.

You’re going to get a lot of different opinions in this podcast. None of us will go so far as to call the trainer Satan — though at times we’ll come close — but you will hear a few guests give convincing evidence that the trainer has benefits you can’t get on the road. Ultimately, it’s going to be up to you to decide.

Our primary guest today is Ciaran O’Grady who is a new coach and sports scientist at Team Dimension Data. Ciaran is finishing up his Ph.D. at Kent University with Dr. James Hopker, who conducted some of the definitive research on the biomechanical differences between riding on a trainer and the road.

In addition, we’ll talk with:

Retired multi-time national cyclocross champion Tim Johnson. Having lived in the northeast for most of his life, Tim is very familiar with riding indoors and has a lot of good points to offer from two decades of experience.

Trevor also caught up with Jacob Fraser from Zwift and Kevin Poulton who coaches Matt Hayman and Caleb Ewan, and works with Team Katusha. Kevin used Zwift to coach Matt to his 2016 Paris-Roubaix win and since then has integrated significant trainer time into his athletes’ race preparation.

And with that, get your fan ready, dial in your Zwift avatar — make sure you enter your weight correctly in Zwift now, no cheating. Let’s make you fast!

Nov 17, 2018
59: Preventing cycling’s most common injuries, with Dr. Andy Pruitt
01:17:54

PAIN, INJURIES, SORES… they are an unfortunate but nearly inevitable part of cycling. If you want to be among the best, you need to wear them with pride. And if you believe that, then get out of the 1980s. Yes, this is a sport for the tough man or woman. But save being tough for that 20 percent climb, not for the aches, pains, and saddle sores you don’t need to suffer through.

In this day and age, most of the common overuse injuries in cycling can be addressed and prevented. It just requires the proper precautions — such as getting regular bike fits and doing off-the-bike strength work. (Here are our five favorite workouts.)

Today we’ll talk about the most common over-use problems and how to address them, including:

  1. What used to be the most common over-use injury — knee problems — why they are no longer the most common problem, and how it’s possible for most of us to go through the rest of our cycling careers without one.
  2. Back problems — these have eclipsed knee issues as the most common cycling complaint. Unfortunately, the cycling position is not kind to the lower back, but there are still things we can do to prevent pain.
  3. Saddle sores, numbness, and pressure issues, and how with the right saddle and fit most of these issues can be addressed.
  4. Just like the back, the cycling position can be tough on the neck. We’ll discuss.
  5. Feet and hands — many of us think that numbness is just part of riding a bike. But the truth is that if you’re experiencing numbness, something is wrong, and it can generally be solved.
  6. Finally, for those of you still clinging to that 1980s mindset, we’ll talk about just how bad it was then and why you want to get with the 2000s.

Our primary guest today is Dr. Andy Pruitt who has over 40 years of experience in cycling medicine and ergonomics. He is a bike fit guru who invented the Body Geometry fit system and continues to design ergonomic products for Specialized. He has seen every cycling injury in the book and, because of that, has literally written the book. It’s called “Andy Pruitt’s Complete Medical Guide for Cyclists.”

In addition, we speak with Evan Huffman of Rally Cycling, who shares some quick thoughts on the injuries he’s seen on his team, and what the team’s staff does to make that a short list.

Finally, we speak with Colby Pearce, a regular on our show. As a coach, fitter, and elite athlete, Pearce shares his thoughts on the common injuries he sees and what he does to address them. Colby zeroes in on one of the most important aspects of the bike — saddle choice and saddle position.

Nov 01, 2018
58: Inside Colby Pearce’s world record hour attempt
32:35

In episode 58, we talked with Colby Pearce about what it takes to make an attempt at the hour record on the track. Not long after, Pearce set the master’s 45-49 world record with a scorching 50.245 kilometer effort. For this special episode, we caught up with him to discuss his successful attempt, the training he did, the difficulties of selecting gears and training on a track that was different from the one where he set the record, and how he managed the pain

 

 

 
Oct 26, 2018
57: Trail, rake, and flop — bike design with Lennard Zinn
01:16:59

SO, YOU THINK YOU KNOW BICYCLES? Well, think again. Today we’re sitting down with a legend of the cycling industry to talk about a variety of factors in frame design that most cyclists have never heard of. Yet these design elements — things like fork offset, trail, and head tube angle — have a bigger impact on a bike’s performance and ride quality than frame material, or any of the things we focus on when checking out what our friends are riding.

Our guest today is longtime VeloNews contributor Lennard Zinn. Author of the definitive books on bicycle maintenance, “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance” and “Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance,” among other titles, Zinn has spent the past 37 years building custom bikes and studying the physics of bicycle design. Incidentally, it all started with his college thesis on building an un-rideable bike.

So, today, we’ll delve into:

  1. The concepts of fork rake, head-tube angle, and trail, among others, and why each is a crucial element of bike design.
  2. How these factors act together to make the bike more or less stable, and why greater stability may not be what you’re looking for.
  3. The effects of wheel flop and how it impacts your ability to corner, including an explanation of counter-steering and when you’d want to use it.
  4. How understanding rake, trail, and flop can have a significant impact on your performance, as well as how you can put it to good use in selecting the right bike for you.
  5. The evolution of bike design and how it has been influenced by both fashion and performance.
  6. And finally, some guidelines on selecting your next bike and how to get the ride experience you want.

So, have you brushed up on your physics? Are you prepared to learn how a bicycle really works? Let’s make you fast!

Oct 12, 2018
56: The Hour with Colby Pearce
01:31:06

THE HOUR. Those two words represent many things to many people. Some believe it to be the ultimate test of man and machine: out there on the track, with nowhere to hide, an athlete must come to terms with what he or she is truly capable of. Others know it as a form of torture, a crucible for understanding one’s ability to cope with pain, suffering, or madness. If you’re lucky, the Hour is a hard way to reach a form of cycling-inspired, dizzying nirvana.

Many of the greatest cyclists in history have made attempts or held the Hour record. Most of them then crawled off their bikes never to ride on a track again. With UCI rule changes several years ago came a resurgence in interest in the event. Eventually, Bradley Wiggins smashed the record, hitting 54.526 kilometers in June 2015.

And the obsession lives on. There are few people in the world who know both the agony and ecstasy of the Hour as well as Colby Pearce, our main guest today and someone who has attempted more Hour records than almost anyone else, save for maybe the great Graeme Obree. Last week, Pearce set a new master’s world record in the 45-49 age category, riding a remarkable 50.245 kilometers, 833 meters farther than the previous record held by Kent Bostick.

In this episode, we sat down with Pearce to dive deep into the Hour. It’s something Case knows all too well, since he too made an attempt in 2015.

In addition to their personal experiences, in this episode, you’ll hear a discussion of:

  • A brief history of the Hour
  • Why it’s so hard and, therefore, special. Is it the hardest thing you can do on a bike? We ask the question.

It then jumps into a discussion on how to prepare for the Hour:

  • The 80/20 principle and getting caught up in numbers
  • Training at 90 percent of threshold
  • The importance of focusing on form
  • The crucial mental preparation it takes to tackle this event

Then, gear and aerodynamics, from frontal area to the finest of gains to be had from chain friction to sock length. Finally, we break it down. Ultimately, it all comes down to executing on the track:

  • The nuances of pacing, and the dynamic of the track, the rhythm, and the added forces
  • Gearing and cadence
  • Mindset: chunking, and proactive vs. reactive thought patterns

Pearce’s wealth of knowledge on the Hour is unsurpassed, and we’ll hear a lot from him in this episode. We’re also lucky enough to hear from two other Hour veterans. When Case was preparing for his Hour attempt in 2015, he had the pleasure of chatting with Rohan Dennis, who briefly held the Hour record that year. (As an aside, just days ago Dennis won the world time trial championship in Innsbruck.) Back in 2015, Case also spoke with Dennis’s coach, Neal Henderson. Both of them have interesting thoughts on the Hour.

So, zip up the excruciatingly tight skinsuit. Check to make sure your power meter is on. Pull the aero socks high. It’s Hour Record week at Fast Talk. Let’s make you fast.

Oct 01, 2018
55: How to win with mind power
01:17:21

The best riders understand… mindset wins races. And controlling your thought patterns in races is one of the most powerful things you can do.

Mindset in cycling is an important and frequently neglected side of our training and racing. It’s avoided because it seems unclear, inconsistent, and, let’s face it, can be too new-agey for the likes of us “tough guys.” In reality, mindset is often all that separates the best from second best and can be the difference between reaching the podium or finishing a race.

When Coach Connor managed Team Rio Grande, he offered to cover the costs for one of our riders for a few sessions with a top sports psychologist in Colorado. The rider refused and ultimately quit the team. But when Trevor told several high-level pros the story they all asked the same thing: “Can I get those appointments?!”

Today, we’ll delve into this concept of controlling your thoughts for performance. We’ll touch on:

  1. The concept of dominant thought and why it’s so important, including whether we are funnels or buckets
  2. How athletes are either task- or ego-oriented, the pros and cons of each, and why it’s important to know which one you are
  3. Using trigger words to control your dominant thought
  4. Why it may not actually be good to stay mentally focused for an entire race and how to pick your moments when you are on your mental game
  5. And finally, how to control your thoughts when your body is screaming in pain and telling you to stop

Our primary guest today is a professor of sports psychology and is a senior teaching professor at Colorado State University, Dr. Brian Butki. Dr. Butki has worked with athletes in almost every sport, both at the university level and on professional teams in the Colorado area.

In addition to Dr. Butki we spoke with:

Dean Golich, a head coach at Carmichael Training Systems. Over decades as a top coach, Dean has worked with athletes all the way from recreational amateur riders to Olympians and world champions. He is uniquely qualified to talk about the mindset of top athletes. You may be very surprised to hear what he has to say.

Sepp Kuss, a WorldTour rider with LottoNL-Jumbo and winner of the 2018 Tour of Utah, talks with us briefly about his mindset and the danger of being too focused on the win.

Finally, local top coach Colby Pearce gives us a variety of tips on controlling your mindset both in training and in racing situations. In our next episode, we’ll talk with Colby and Chris about the hour record and their experience with it.

But in the meantime, Colby is going for the master’s world record from September 22-25. We’re still waiting to hear if they are going to livestream it. If they do, we’ll put a link up on the VeloNews page for this podcast along with our references.

So let’s get to the task at hand. Find your balance. Focus your mind. But don’t get too focused… you need your breaks. Let’s make you fast!

Sep 14, 2018
54: Applying the polarized training model, with Dr. Seiler
01:30:06

IN EPISODE 51, which we published several weeks ago, we had the chance to speak with Jay-Z — or at least the Jay-Z of the exercise physiology world, Dr. Stephen Seiler. We took a deep dive into the polarized model of endurance training … or so we thought.

We probably received more questions about that episode than any other episode to date. Many of you wanted to know more about how to execute a polarized training plan. We thought about doing a special episode to answer all of your questions, but instead, we begged and pleaded with Dr. Seiler to share a lovely late-summer Norwegian afternoon with us. He generously obliged.

During our conversation, we discussed:

  1. Why cycling is an aerobic sport
  2. What is meant by the two thresholds  LT1 and LT2  and how to determine yours, both in terms of power and heart rate. Dr. Seiler provides a test protocol to determine LT2, which may sound very similar to Neal Henderson’s test that was described in episode 33, “Is FTP dead?”
  3. Why it’s important not to over-estimate LT1 or LT2, and how to use them to determine your zones in a three-zone model.
  4. The specifics of zone 1 training: how long, how much, how easy? We take a deep dive into what zone 1 training is all about, why it’s important to keep those rides easy, and the value of long rides.
  5. Finally, we discuss the 80-20 principle of the polarized model and how to put it into practice to map out your week.

One thing to note: A lot of listeners asked for example numbers to help them better understand the polarized approach. We chose to use Trevor’s numbers for a few reasons. First, he’s a big believer in polarized training and has much success with it. Second, he’s a very aerobically developed cyclist. Third, like many of you, he’s a master’s rider with limited time to train. Finally, the data was readily available allowing us to give example numbers throughout.

Our featured guest is, of course, Dr. Stephen Seiler, a professor of sports science in Norway, where he has lived for over 20 years. He sits on the executive board of the well-respected European University College for Sports Science. It was his groundbreaking research that helped define the polarized model.


We also hear from Dr. John Hawley, another prominent name in the exercise science world from Australia. His research over the past few decades has helped to define endurance sports training and nutrition. He talks with us about one of the important, but lesser-known, gains of long rides.

Aug 30, 2018
53: From collegiate racing to the WorldTour in three years, with Sepp Kuss
01:18:30

LAST FALL TREVOR AND I CONDUCTED a not-so-controlled study on climbing, and we had the help of a young, talented Colorado rider. His name? Sepp Kuss. At the time of our little experiment, Kuss was about to head to Europe for a training camp with his new WorldTour team, Lotto-NL Jumbo. Curiously, Kuss almost didn’t do the study because he was worried his times up the climbs would be embarrassingly slow. Then, on a brisk November day, he proceeded to set the second fastest Strava time up the famous Flagstaff climb in Boulder. (He’s since been bumped down to third by Lachlan Morton.)

We knew then there was something special about Kuss. It didn’t take him much longer to dramatically prove that point to the rest of the world. Last week at the Tour of Utah, Sepp made the competition look like a bunch of amateurs, dominating the race like never before, winning three stages on his way to the overall title. Now, he’s off to the Vuelta to make his grand tour debut.

This spring we recorded a podcast with Sepp about what it was like going from domestic U.S. racing to the WorldTour. The theme we tried to bring out was the struggle of jumping to the highest level and the need to persist when your first year is such a grind. So much for that theme… Yet, despite his meteoric rise, there’s really one word we would use to describe this interview: humble.

There’s also some great advice about training, raising your level, and the value of persistence. So, in honor of Kuss’s Tour of Utah win, we present this interview. In it, we talk with him about:

  1. His career so far, and since Kuss did his first road race just three years ago, this part will be short
  2. What his spring was like in Europe, and surviving his first big race: the Tour of the Basque Country
  3. The mental side of stepping up to a higher level and getting beat up over and over again
  4. A comparison of training in the WorldTour versus the domestic peloton
  5. Finally, we have a long discussion with Kuss about something that may surprise you: his focus on the process rather than the results

We’ll also hear from Joe Dombrowski, a leader of the EF Education First-Drapac WorldTour team. Dombrowski was one of Kuss’s chief rivals at the Tour of Utah this year and won the race himself back in 2015. The discussion will serve as a good comparison of how the two riders train.

So, get some popcorn, pull up the highlight reel of the Tour of Utah, smile along as Sepp dances away from the competition. Let’s make you fast!

Aug 17, 2018
52: Enhancing Your Recovery With Normatec
01:12:57

IF YOU’RE A LONGTIME LISTENER of Fast Talk, you’ve probably noticed a theme emerge time and time again: To maximize performance you need to be as intense in your recovery as you are in your training. Put another way, the more you want to train, the better your recovery needs to be.

Of course, proper recovery requires good sleep, good nutrition, and good rest. Many athletes look for ways to aid or enhance that process. This has led some to take up pain-relieving approaches that may actually interfere with recovery.

The science on recovery has changed significantly in recent years. For a time almost purely focused on reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (or DOMS), now the science recognizes that inflammation and some discomfort is a necessary part of recovery, and the best recovery tools aid this process.

The tools that seem to do this best are within the compression categories of recovery, including massage, cold water therapy, and compression gear.

Today, we’re sitting down with two guests from our sponsor NormaTec to discuss recovery in depth. NormaTec is a medical devices company that also crafts inflatable compression wear for athletes. Are they Space legs? Moon boots? You’ve probably seen them on the legs of cyclist friends or pros. Research has shown this type of recovery enhancement can have significant impacts on a host of factors, both molecular and circulatory. We’ll get to that in a bit.

In episode 52 we’ll cover:

  1. The current research on recovery: how it’s changing and why getting out of the way of our bodies and letting them do their thing is often best.
  2. We’ll also touch upon those areas where the body doesn’t always do a great job and may need some help. This includes venous return, edema, and excess inflammation.
  3. We’ll zero in on compression therapies which have been showing benefits and explain these sophisticated tools called external pneumatic compression.
  4. Our guests will talk specifically about NormaTec: how the founder, a doctor, was looking to help her patients with vascular issues when she hatched the plan to create the company and the device; we’ll also discuss some promising recent studies.
  5. And we’ll warn you now, we’ll go a little deep in the weeds about NormaTec’s effects on inflammation, and whether they’re beneficial or inhibitory.
  6. Finally, if you decide to give the recovery boots a try, we’ll give some tips on when, where, and how to do so.

Our primary guests today are two members of the NormaTec team: John Aquadro is NormaTec’s VP of Technology and Operations. He is an MIT trained molecular biologist who left the lab bench to help NormaTec develop its technology and systems. Also joining us is Matt Curbeau, NormaTec’s accounting wizard, who is a former professional triathlete and currently competes at the elite amateur level in road racing and cyclocross.

In addition we’ll hear from Frank Overton, the owner of FastCat coaching here in Boulder, Colorado. Frank and Trevor had a conversation about recovery modalities and compression gear. Frank definitely enjoys what he likes to call his “space legs” — he keeps a pair at his center for his athletes.

We’ll also share part of a discussion that Trevor had with Dr. Andrew Peterson, associate professor of pediatrics and the director of primary care sports medicine at the University of Iowa. Dr. Peterson wrote a review covering the most common recovery modalities and how effective they appear to be.

Lastly, we’ll hear from NormaTec devotee Toms Skujins of the Trek-Segafredo WorldTour team.

So, sit back, zip up your space legs, select your compression level, feel the pulses coursing through your body… Let’s make you fast!

Aug 10, 2018
51: Polarizing your training, with Dr. Stephen Seiler
01:14:30

EPISODE 51 OF FAST TALK is one that Coach Connor and I are particularly excited about. In fact, Trevor is so enamored with our guest’s research that he refers to him as the Jay-Z of physiology. I don’t really know what that means, but I’m fascinated that Trevor knows who Jay-Z is. But I digress.

Dr. Stephen Seiler has revolutionized our understanding of endurance training. Perhaps you’ve heard us refer to his findings in previous episodes. We’ve discussed several of them in the past, just not at length and in one place. Today it all comes together, and we’re privileged to have Dr. Seiler to help explain what can be, at times, some complex science.

In this episode, we’re going to take a deep dive into many of his theories, including:

1. Why both coaching techniques and the science have become so biased toward high-intensity training when that isn’t how the best athletes train.

2. Dr. Seiler’s three-zone model of training (see below). There are many zone models out there. Most of us use five zones for training, but some models have as many as nine. In his research, Seiler has pointed out that when we test, there are two physiological breakpoints. One is our anaerobic threshold, or MLSS. Your coach may call it FTP. It tends to be right around the point where we hit 4 mmol/mL lactate. The other breakpoint, which is lower — about 85 percent of anaerobic threshold and at 2 mmol/mL of lactate — is often called our aerobic threshold. Seiler feels these breakpoints define three physiological zones. Zone 1 is below the aerobic threshold, and what we call easy base training. Zone 2 is between the breakpoints and has many names, including no man’s land or sweet spot. The third zone is our high-intensity training zone.

3. Next, we’ll talk about how, by studying elite athletes, Seiler found a remarkable consistency: most endurance athletes train about 80 percent of the time in Zone 1, around 15 to 20 percent in Zone 3, and very little in Zone 2. This has become known as polarized training.

4. We’ll take a deep dive with Dr. Seiler into both Zone 1 and Zone 3 training and how to approach both. A theme will start to emerge, and you’ll hear one of the top physiologists in the world repeat it again and again: keep it simple. That might seem surprising, but the research is clear: complex intervals and overly detailed training plans may hurt more than they help. Ultimately, it may be as simple as accumulating time in the various zones in the right ratios.

5. Finally, we’ll discuss how these principles apply specifically to training. Seiler’s research includes Nordic skiers, rowers, runners, and cyclists. So be warned, at times you’ll hear some concepts that may be unfamiliar to you. For example, cycling is one of the few places where endurance athletes do five-hour workouts. In other endurance sports, they add volume by doing two-a-days.

Full disclosure, this episode is a deep dive. If this is your first time listening to Fast Talk, we recommend starting with an appetizer. In episode 14, we discuss the difference between polarized and sweet-spot training, which give you the context you need to follow this conversation.

Our featured guest is, of course, Dr. Stephen Seiler, a professor of sports science in Norway, where he has lived for 22 years. But no, that’s not a Norwegian accent. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas. Dr. Seiler is now on the executive board of the well-respected European University College for Sports Science.

If you want to learn more about his research, he’s on Twitter and tries to make all of his research and presentations available for free on Research Gate.

In addition to Dr. Seiler, our guests include:

Grant Holicky, a head coach at Apex Coaching, a highly respected coaching center here in Boulder that has produced many Olympic and world champion caliber cyclists. Holicky talks with us about the mistakes of doing too much training in that middle zone.

We’ll also hear from past Canadian national champion Andrew Randall and past national mountain bike coach Steve Neal who, together run the Cycling Gym in Toronto, a city where traffic, bad roads, and cold weather dominate. The conditions justify doing lots of intensity on the trainer, but Randall and Neal explain why they don’t take that approach with their athletes and still follow a polarized model.

Finally, we hear from Larry Warbasse, the 2017 U.S. national road champion who rides for Aqua Blue Sport. He gives a few examples of how top pros have figured out what seems to work for them, without necessarily having read the research or knowing the scientific terms.

So, are you ready to go slow to be fast? If so, this is the episode for you. Let’s make you fast!

Jul 27, 2018
50: Unpacking the gospel of Joe Friel’s new ‘Training Bible’
01:13:09

Cycling can be a fickle sport. Coaches come and go; new, exciting, revolutionary ways of training take the sport by storm then grown stale; riders at the local training race who were once unbeatable age and fade from the front. Few things have permanence in this sport.

But there’s been one thing that has stood the test of time, that seems to have been there since most of us attempted our first interval workout: Joe Friel’s “Cyclist’s Training Bible.” For many of us, reading that book was our first step towards more dedicated training.

This spring Joe released his fifth, and hopefully not the last, edition of the book. Trevor and I had a chance to talk with Joe about the newest edition. We came to the interview with a list of questions that we felt only touched on the key parts of the book and by the hour mark we were barely a quarter of the way through our list. But what we did talk about was really compelling stuff. We touched on everything from periodization to energy systems, to Joe’s method of research…believe it or not, it has a lot to do with hundreds of 3”x5” note cards.

What is the central theme of this podcast? Perhaps we’ll just call it picking the brain of one of the most experienced cycling coaches in the world. Our varied topics included:

• How Joe’s philosophy to coaching has changed over the five editions of the book, and why with this most recent edition he decided to completely rewrite the book.
• How new technology has changed coaching and why Joe recommends a shift from volume-focused training to a training-stress focus
• What we mean by intensity and how both polarized and sweet spot training play in
• The three physiological assets that determine our level as cyclists — specifically aerobic capacity or VO2max, anaerobic threshold, and economy
• And finally, we touch on periodization. Joe was the one who brought periodization to cycling and unfortunately, we were barely able to scratch the surface on this fascinating subject. Hopefully, we can convince Joe to come back for an entire episode on the topic…

(In fact, there is plenty in the book we don’t even mention, but there’s a reason it’s called the Training Bible.)

In addition to Joe Friel, our guests include:

Frank Overton, the owner of FastCat coaching here in Boulder, CO. Frank has been a part of the history of cycling himself, helping in the early days when they were just figuring out the power-based metrics we now take for granted. But even Frank remembers The Cyclist’s Training Bible influencing him as a cat. 4 cyclist.

And we talked with LottoNL-Jumbo rider Sepp Kuss who gives a very modern pro perspective on periodization. It’s not the old school traditional periodization of a dedicated base period and race phase. We, unfortunately, ran out of time to talk with Joe about it, but one of the big changes in the latest edition of the book is an entire chapter on the various periodization alternatives.

Jul 23, 2018
49: Training, fueling, and suffering at Dirty Kanza 200
59:50

EPISODE 49 IS A SPECIAL EDITION of Fast Talk. We’re talking the science of suffering. As many of you may know, Chris has become something of the VeloNews resident lab rat, guinea pig, and/or crash test dummy. A Case study of one, if you will.

This past spring he decided to take a second crack at the grueling, absurd, fantastic, arduous, and downright challenging Dirty Kanza 200, a 200-plus mile gravel race across the Flint Hills of Kansas. To say that he is not built for endurance would be like saying Marcel Kittel is not built for hill climbs. That’s an understatement.

So, with the assistance of Coach Connor, Chris set out to transform himself from someone who loves the repeated anaerobic efforts of cyclocross into someone who could completely empty every cell in his body and still finish strong. In essence, the pair had the goal of turning Chris into Trevor, an endurance machine.

In this episode, we’ll first touch upon the history of Dirty Kanza. Editor in chief Fred Dreier and Chris had a conversation in a recent VeloNews podcast about the phenomenon that is DK — why it’s become so popular, how it has grown so rapidly, and so forth, so check out that episode if you want more. Here, we’ll scratch the surface to give you a taste of the atmosphere at this race. Chris will also describe his history with the event. Hint: It ain’t pretty.

Next, we’ll discuss the challenge of turning Chris into a Dirty Kanza rider, and how we went about working his energy systems to prepare: everything from the nature of the training, to the non-physiological side — strategy, pacing, hydration, and fueling. Chris will explain what it all felt like to do so many miles at or just below his aerobic threshold. You wouldn’t believe what this type of riding can do to you.

Finally, we’ll discuss the race itself. How’d Chris do? What did Chris do right, what did Chris do wrong. And how with even the best-laid plans…things can go wildly sideways.

So, wrap your head around riding 13, 15, 18(!) or more hours. Gather your blocks, bars, gels, enduro-balls, waffles, wafels, whatever you need. Pump up your tires…but not too hard. This is gravel racing after all. Let’s make you fast! But really, not too fast. Steady is the name of the game.

Jul 16, 2018
48: Race tactics and training with Rally’s Huffman and McCarty, part 2
56:07

IN EPISODE 48 WE DELVE into the second part of our series on strategy and training for particular races. (Listen to part 1 here.) This episode is all about hilly road races and winning the GC at a stage race. If you salivate over 12 percent grades, if your heart beats faster when you think about suffering in a race against the clock, then this episode is for you. Last time we talked about flat races and crits where the sprinters tend to come out on top. If that’s you, don’t worry, we’ll still talk about what you can do in these races as well.

Some of the themes we discuss include:

  1. Is there ever a race where you truly don’t need a sprint?
  2. The difference between hilly and flat races, including which are usually more dynamic, and how to know if you should favor sprint races or the tougher hilly races.
  3. How to approach a hilly race, both in terms of strategy and how to train for them. Hint: it’s not just about dropping weight.
  4. The elements of a stage race, including the crit, time trial, and road race, and which you should focus on.
  5. And finally, the difference between how pros and amateurs race these events, and why trying to imitate what you see at big pro races may not always work.

We caught up with two members of Rally Pro Cycling. Team Manager Pat McCarty has spent much of his adult life racing, as a junior, U23, on the WorldTour, in Europe, in the U.S., crits, climbing races, on team’s big and small. One of the Rally’s team leaders, Evan Huffman is known for his skills as a breakaway rider and time trialist. He’s coming off a phenomenal 2017 season. We reached Pat and Evan on the road while racing their spring campaign in Europe.

We also had a chance to catch up with two riders on the Trek-Segafrado WorldTour team: Kiel Reijnen shares thoughts on how the region you come from helps determine what style of racing you may like, and Toms Skujins discusses how grand tour GC riders and classics riders have to train differently.

We should also note that the training piece in the May issue of VeloNews magazine is all about how to approach both flat and hilly races.

So, click into your pedals. Put it in the big ring. Let’s make you fast!

Jun 28, 2018
47: The art and science of peaking, with Colby Pearce
01:38:15

The VeloNews Fast Talk podcast is your source for the best training advice and most compelling insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist. Listen in as VeloNews managing editor Chris Case and our resident physiologist and coach, Trevor Connor, discuss a range of topics, including training, physiology, technology, nutrition, and more.

Peaking. It’s that elusive target we all strive for — to be on our best form right when our goal race comes around. We build plans for it, we follow six-week guides we find online, and yet too often we find our best legs for the training race the week before the big event or wake up the morning of our target race with flat legs.

Perhaps it’s so elusive because peaking is both a science and an art. What we discovered over the course of this podcast is that the two don’t seem to get along with one another. Some of that has to do with the fact that science lays out a very specific four-week plan for peaking, while the art says that it is very individual. Even among those who understand the science, it appears that what they do is different.

In today’s episode, we’ll first discuss the science of peaking — including how long it takes, why we do a fatigue block to start the peak and the science of what happens physiologically to produce the peak.

Next, we’ll discuss how the top athletes peak and why it doesn’t seem to agree with the science.

Then, we move on to why the art of peaking says something different from the science and what you should be considering when you are getting ready for your target event.

From there we’ll take a deep dive into how to peak — how long to taper, how to taper, what to do right before the event, and what are the biggest mistakes you can make.

Finally, we’ll give you “Colby’s six tips” on preparing for an event.

Our guest today knows all about peaking — both as a coach and as an athlete. He’s an hour record holder, an Olympian, a thinker, a tinkerer, and someone with massive amounts of experience as an athlete. Colby Pearce’s many many qualifications are too long to list here so we’ll let Colby detail them himself in a minute

Also sharing his thoughts we have Robert Pickels — the illustrious Mister Pickles — and the head physiologist at Pearl Izumi. He’ll talk about the physiology of a peak and why he thinks it’s about balance.

Jun 14, 2018
46: Inside ketogenic and high-fat diets
01:13:45

IF WE HAD TO SUMMARIZE sports nutrition in one word it would probably be … controversial. Or maybe just confusing. Endurance sports guidelines tell us we need to pack in the carbohydrates. Then we hear about Team Sky and other prominent athletes resorting to a nearly carbohydrate-free diet. So which one is best, and frankly do we even need to be eating the same way a grand tour rider eats?

One thing that’s certain is that in the world of nutrition, “keto” has become a buzzword — and not only in the sports world. Terms like “ketogenic diet” have become some of the most searched dietary terms on Google. It’s even made its way to the most important forum of public opinion — the Saturday morning group ride conversation.

But what is a ketogenic diet? And in a sport where high-carb pasta dinners and simple sugar sports drinks have been the norm for decades, why are we even talking about a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet? Today we’ll delve into that subject.

First, what is meant by a “ketogenic diet” and what are ketones? Evolution felt there was an important reason we evolved to use them, so what exactly do they do?

We’ll discuss the difference between a ketogenic diet and a high-fat/low-carbohydrate diet, and why the latter may be the more important one to discuss.

Are there potential health benefits, outside of performance, of trying a ketogenic diet? We’ll take a look.

What does the current research say about the ketogenic diet and sports performance? There are studies concluding contradictory things, and researchers have strong opinions on both sides.

Finally, if you’d like to try a ketogenic or high-fat diet, we’ll talk about the best ways to go about doing it, and also discuss why a less extreme high-fat/low carbohydrate diet may be better.

Our primary guest is a researcher who has become one of the most well-known faces of the high-fat movement — Dr. Timothy Noakes. Dr. Noakes has been at the center of endurance science and sports nutrition research for decades. He wrote, among other books, the very popular “Lore of Running” in the 1980s.

May 31, 2018
45: The art of recovery — how to balance training and rest with metrics
01:08:07

IT’S OFTEN OVERLOOKED. Sometimes forgotten. But it never should be. Recovery is just as important to strong performances as your daily workouts and weekly riding volume. Recovery is the other side of the training balance that we often neglect. That is until we’re in a race, the legs feel sluggish, and the field rides away from us. Then we start asking what happened.

In today’s technology-driven training world, we have easy-to-use tools like power meters to track our performance. But tracking recovery is not so easy. What’s lacking is that one clear metric or tool to tell us when we’re fatigued. If you discuss the topic with coaches and elite riders, they’ll each suggest a different way to monitor your recovery. Some will point to objective measurable metrics like resting heart rate, heart rate variability, or blood tests. Others will use more subjective measures — how they feel generally, the soreness they experience when they climb the stairs in the morning, or, sometimes, how much their family wants to avoid them.

In today’s episode, we delve into the question of recovery metrics, a question that comes from listener Greg Gibson.

First, we’ll discuss why the balance between training and recovery plays such an important role in performing at our best. That doesn’t mean that being recovered all the time is a good thing. So we’ll also address the difference between overtraining and functional over-reaching.

Next we’ll discuss a recent review comparing subjective metrics to objective metrics of recovery. If you think that a blood test or heart rate measure is necessarily better than answering a few questions every morning about how you feel, think again. In either case, we’ll look at some of the tools for monitoring recovery, including tests like the POMS questionnaire of mood and the RESQ scale, as well as heart rate variability.

Finally, we’ll hear from several coaches and athletes about what they feel works best when it comes to monitoring recovery.

Our guest today is Dr. Paul Gastin, a professor at the Centre for Exercise and Sport Science at Deakin University in Australia. Dr. Gastin has spent over a decade working with coaches and athletes in the field. He’s particularly interested in how to best measure recovery outside of the lab and has written an influential review paper on the subject.

Our other guests include veteran pro Brent Bookwalter, with BMC Racing. We’re also joined by two excellent coaches here in Boulder: Mac Cassin with Apex Coaching and Fast Talk regular Frank Overton, owner of FasCat Coaching.

We’ll hear from Armando Mastracci, the founder of Xert training software, about the potential to use training software to give us clues about our recovery state.

May 16, 2018
44: The data revolution — how A.I. and machine learning will make you faster
01:09:06

This episode is all about data. Not long ago, people looked at you funny if you had a two-inch screen mounted to your handlebars. Now, we ride with head units the size of iPhones, sensors connected to our limbs, and wearables that track our every step and heartbeat. No one bats an eyelash.

A few episodes ago, we talked with Hunter Allen about the history of power and how we got to this point. Today we ask this question: Where is all of this data going, and what do we gain by covering our bodies in sensors like something out of a Star Trek Borg episode?

In this episode, we’ll first discuss the data revolution. There’s been exponential growth in the amount of information we’re now able to collect and analyze. That data is allowing us to analyze our training in ways we never could before, but it also comes with some dangers.

Next, we’ll discuss the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning in training software. That’s a fancy way of saying that the software no longer just tells you how far you rode and what your average power was. Increasingly, it is telling you what your rides mean, where your form is at, and gives clues to what you should be doing.

Then we’ll address the three stages toward machine learning. First, there is the descriptive: how far you rode, how many hours you’ve trained this month, and so forth. The second, where we are now, is predictive: software crunches your data to predict what’s going to happen to your form. Finally, in a few years, we hope to move into the prescriptive stage where the software starts telling us what we should do.

Finally, since these changes are going to have a significant impact on athletes and coaches, we address what each can expect. Should coaches start refreshing their resumes?

Our guest is the lead engineer for TrainingPeaks and their coach-focused software package WKO4, Tim Cusick. He’s been coaching elite athletes for 18 years, including Amber Neben, a multiple-time national and world champion. He comes from the world of data analytics, which gives him a unique perspective on training science. He’s been working in A.I. and machine learning since the 1990s.

We’ll also hear from Armando Mastracci, the developer of Xert Training software, which grew out of Armando’s own experience as an engineer in crunching large amounts of data to find trends.

Dean Golich, a head coach at Carmichael Training Systems, will share his thoughts on where the software is headed.

With that, let’s make you fast … and live long and prosper.

May 02, 2018
43: Race tactics and training with Rally’s Huffman and McCarty, part 1
01:05:18

Producers: Trevor Connor, Chris Case, Spencer Powlison, Fred Dreier, Cam

In this episode we take a deep dive into race strategy and tactics, and the necessary skills and training you need to excel at bike racing. In this two-part series, we’ll first touch upon flat races where the sprinter tends to win. If you’re not a sprinter, don’t stop listening. We’ll share plenty of great advice and clever tactics that will up the level of anyone’s racing. In the next episode, we’ll dive into races where the road goes up, and also stage racing.

But here we’ll first discuss some of the differences between professional and amateur racing and why that leads to different approaches. We’ll take a deep dive into crit racing: why skills are so important, how to save energy, and how to get comfortable with the speed and fear you might feel while racing in the pack. Next it will be flat road races: the importance of saving energy, how it’s one of the most predictable races in cycling, but why you still need to be attentive to those unexpected moves. And finally, we’ll talk about some of the dynamic tactics you’ll encounter in these races, including sag climbing and breaking away.

Today we’re joined by two veterans of both European and American racing from Rally Pro Cycling. Team manager Pat McCarty has spent much of his adult life racing, as a junior, U23, on the WorldTour, in Europe, in the U.S., in crits, climbing races, and on team’s big and small. One of Team Rally’s leaders, Evan Huffman is known for his skills as a breakaway rider and time trialist. He’s coming off a phenomenal 2017 season.

We also speak with Kiel Reijnen, of Trek-Segafrado. Kiel has an interesting take on approaching different race types: Our fitness and strengths may determine how we approach a race more than the route profile.

Let's make you fast! 

 

Apr 13, 2018
42: The power training revolution, with Hunter Allen
01:15:13

This episode is all about power. First, we’ll touch upon the history of power, and how it has fundamentally changed the sport of cycling and, more importantly, how we train. When did the use of power meters and power analysis first appear? Which athletes were the first to use them? And how did the pioneers of power revolutionize training methods over time to create the many sophisticated metrics we take for granted, like TSS, FTP, and performance management charts?

We are lucky to have as our main guest someone who has been at the center of training with power since its inception: Hunter Allen, a veteran coach who, along with Dr. Andrew Coggan, wrote the original book on training with power in 2006: “Training and Racing with a Power Meter.” That book has now been translated into 20 different languages and has recently started selling throughout Asia.

First, you’ll learn about the sports science conference in 2000 where the first seminar on training with power was given. This is when all the big names in power first got together, including Allen, Dr. Coggan, Dean Golich, Dr. Allen Lim, and Kevin Williams. It is the origin story, per se, of power and training.

Next, we’ll discuss how this group pulled together their expertise to develop ways of analyzing power and the original power-based training software. From there, we’ll move on to the pros and cons of training with power versus heart rate. Finally, we’ll touch upon where the next revolutions in training may happen.

In this episode, we’ll also hear from Dean Golich, a head coach at Carmichael Training Systems who has worked for years with world champion and WorldTour-caliber cyclists. For his master’s thesis, he conducted some of the original research using power meters outside of the lab.

Mar 23, 2018
41: We answer your questions about training
36:06

This is our first edition of “Ask Fast Talk.” Because we receive so many compelling questions from Fast Talk listeners, we will begin devoting frequent episodes to answering your questions. On today’s episode, we discuss the following: the importance of aerobic threshold training and the physiological adaptations that take place from doing so; should FTP be based on one’s very best race effort or on a test; dealing with muscle soreness after weight training; training in extreme cold; and much more.

Mar 22, 2018
40: Too much of a good thing? Heart arrhythmias in endurance athletes
01:21:43

In this episode we take a deep dive into a subject that Case knows well, and that our guest, Lennard Zinn, has lived for the last five years: Heart arrhythmias in endurance athletes. Chris and Lennard, along with Dr. John Mandrola, wrote a book entitled “The Haywire Heart” that details how and why long-term endurance exercise could cause a variety of heart arrhythmias. We’ll detail the research, discuss warning signs, give you an idea of how hard your heart is working when you’re doing that set of intervals or running a marathon. And, of course, we’ll discuss at length the evidence that suggests there could be too much of a good thing when it comes to exercise.

The topic of heart arrhythmias in endurance athletes is broad, multifaceted, complicated, and, in so many ways, extremely important to investigate further. We’ll touch on many of the facets of the issue in this episode.

The explosion in popularity of endurance sports has coincided with the ability and desire of an active populace to strive for elite athletic achievements deep into their lives.

Of course, that begs the question: Is exercise good for your heart? Undoubtedly, it is. In fact, it is undeniably the best medicine there is for preventing a host of cardiovascular diseases, as well as a multitude of other diseases. Its documented beneficial results would qualify it as a miracle drug if a pharmaceutical company could figure out how to bottle it. But even miracle drugs have a recommended dosage, and vastly exceeding it is not generally prudent.

Can there be too much of a good thing? Quite possibly—as you’ll soon learn.

In today’s episode, we’ll also hear from Jeremy Powers, who dealt with his own heart arrhythmia this past cyclocross season. He is among a growing list of professional athletes diagnosed with arrhythmias that continues to grow, and includes WorldTour riders, Ironman champions, Olympic medalists, and some of America’s most well known cyclists.

Mar 16, 2018
39: The Secrets to Staying Strong as You Age with Ned Overend
01:09:54

In this episode, we discuss something that’s a factor for many of us right now, but will ultimately be a factor for all of us sooner than we’d like: the effects of aging. We’ve all said or heard it before: “I’m not what I was in my 20s!” Popular media would have us believe that after the age of 35 we will plunge off a precipitous cliff of decline, from which there’s no escape. Run out and buy your joint medication and back brace soon!

Or not. Is it really as grim as it’s made out to be? Today we’ll first address what the research says, and why even past research painted a much grimmer picture than reality. In simple terms, it’s hard to conduct a study tracking athletes over the course of 50 years, and there are many inherent issues with comparing current older athletes to current young athletes. We’ll explore.

Second, we will delineate what age effects truly exist — for example, a drop in maximum heart rate — and others that have been traditionally attributed to aging that now appear to be trainable, such as a loss in fast-twitch muscle fiber strength.

Finally, we’ll look at the changes that have taken place in cycling legend Ned Overend, and how he’s been able to remain strong through the years, with an emphasis on recovery and staying healthy. Overend was the first world champion of mountain biking, but more relevant to this podcast, he was still winning pro races, including the Mount Washington Hill Climb, into his 50s. Now in his 60s, Overend still rips with the local pros in Durango almost every week.

We have some fascinating data to analyze, including a lactate test that Overend performed when he was 53 (see below). We’ll also talk about how he trains, how he stays “young,” and what has slowly changed over the years despite his best efforts. He has some great advice not just for older athletes, but for anyone trying to stay strong on the bike.

In addition, we’ll hear from Dr. Jason Glowney, head of medicine at the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center, who has plenty of real-world experience keeping older athletes on top form.

We’ll also hear from Fast Talk regular Frank Overton, owner of FasCat coaching, who has worked with many masters athletes over the years and races as a master himself.

Finally, we’ll hear from Glenn Swan, a three-time masters national champion and world champion about how he was able to scare the pros on the East Coast into his 50s.

Mar 01, 2018
38: Why fatigue may be all in your mind
59:39

We all know what fatigue feels like. It’s likely we’ve all experienced that exasperating feeling when our legs give out on a critical climb, or our sprint fails to materialize at the critical moment. But do you know what causes fatigue?

In this episode of Fast Talk, we’ll attempt to unlock the mysteries of fatigue. Is it just lactic acid pooling in your legs, as your high school coach probably told you? No, that’s not it. The answer is actually a lot more complex than you’d think. In fact, some of the most exciting theories have only recently been proposed. This episode reveals those exciting revelations and explores the foundations of fatigue.

First, we’ll discuss the many different physiological causes of fatigue, including muscle damage, glycogen depletion, body temperature, and why no one of these reasons fully explains fatigue, despite what some researchers might tell you.

We’ll discuss an exciting new theory that suggests there’s a “central regulator” of fatigue, which integrates all of the different past theories and ultimately allows our mind to decide where our limits are. That is, could fatigue be, in part, a psychological thing.

We ask the question, how much fatigue is actually a conscious choice that can be influenced by the length of the race, cues we give ourselves, and mental tricks.

And finally, we’ll examine why we need to be careful about toying with our fatigue limits.

Our guests include Dr. Stephen Cheung, an exercise physiologist and professor in the kinesiology department at Brock University in St. Catherine’s, Ontario, whose research interests include the effects of environmental stress on human physiology and performance. We’ll also hear from talented climber Sepp Kuss, a neo-pro with LottoNL-Jumbo, who will talk about his limits when racing.

Feb 19, 2018
36: Inside the new science of climbing
01:10:46

Is climbing as simple as power-to-weight ratios? Not so much. In the January/February issue of VeloNews magazine, we dug into the rarely explored science of climbing. This podcast goes behind the scenes of the making of that article, and the many fascinating discoveries that came out of it.

To start, we turned ourselves into mad scientists and convinced WorldTour pro Sepp Kuss (LottoNL-Jumbo) to join us. We rode several time trials up a few Boulder climbs in our quest for answers.

Chief among our questions was simply: Does climbing come down to power-to-weight or does your climbing technique make a difference? In other words, if two riders weigh the same and average the same wattage, will they have the same time up a climb regardless of how they ride? Answering that question led to several others, including how a rider’s “type” affects his or her climbing and what’s the difference between pros and amateurs.

We also discovered some surprising answers about how different riders climb, how cadence plays a role, and if those basic online calculators can really predict your time up a climb. We also collected novel on-the-road biomechanical data.

This special episode of Fast Talk takes a deeper dive into our in-house experiment, more so than any magazine article could. No, our experiment wasn’t worthy of publication in the journal Science, but we had a lot of fun, we discovered some things that we’re very excited about, and, most importantly, we hope to help all of you become better climbers.

Joining us for the podcast is Ryan Kohler of the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center, who helped with the experiments on the road.

Jan 19, 2018
35: How to Train In the Cold
01:10:30

Are you getting out to ride this winter? This podcast covers the physiological effects of training in the cold, from muscle damage to the increased caloric demands. We also discuss tips and tricks to set up your bike, stay warm, and even keep your bottles from freezing. And if it’s just too darn cold, we explain the best way to balance time indoors on the trainer with outdoor rides.

We speak with Dr. Stephen Cheung, Dr. Iñigo San Millan, Trek-Segafredo pro rider Kiel Reijnen, and former cyclocross champion Tim Johnson about the best ways to get fit this winter.

Jan 05, 2018
34: Become a climber (even if you live in a flat place)
01:03:20

In this episode of Fast Talk, we tackle the always-popular topic of climbing. A listener in Iowa asked if he could become a better climber. Not only will we answer his question, we’ll describe ways in which anyone can improve their technique, efficiency, and power to refine their climbing.

Surprisingly, climbing isn’t as simple as dropping a few pounds or spending your days riding in the Rockies. We look at the question from a few angles: First, does dropping weight make you a better climber? The fact is, for the last few decades, winners of the Tour de France, who can climb with the best, aren’t the lightest athletes. Why this is has a lot to do with something called allometric scaling. Secondly, we’ll discuss whether you need to climb hills to be a climber. Is it really just a question of power-to-weight? Finally, we’ll take a closer look at the particulars of climbing, including the effects of grade, cadence, standing vs. staying seated, and the importance of core strength.

We’re joined by a collection of talented riders and coaches: Sepp Kuss, newly signed with the LottoNL-Jumbo WorldTour squad; Dr. Iñigo San Millan, director of the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center; as well as fantastic climbers Joe Dombrowski and Ned Overend.

Dec 21, 2017
33: Is FTP dead?
01:17:19

In this episode of Fast Talk, we take on a controversial subject. Recently, a big debate kicked up on the Internet. Some cycling experts stated that Functional Threshold Power (FTP) was dead. Many of the big names in training got involved in the debate of the value of FTP, as well as what is and isn’t current when it comes to creating a rider’s power profile and determining their training zones. We didn’t get involved in the debate–we consider everyone in the debate to be friends at Fast Talk–but we also couldn’t resist a good scientific question.

So, we got a number of top coaches into a room to hash out this important question: What is the best way for cyclists to determine their individual training profiles?

Dec 20, 2017
32: A cyclist’s guide to the weight room
01:09:40

We cyclists can get a little lost in the weight room. That doesn’t mean strength training doesn’t have important benefits though. We are joined by Jess Elliott, who is the sports performance coach and biomechanist at the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center. She helps us understand the fundamentals of strength workouts in the weight room: what to do, how to do it, and how many times to lift those big hunks of iron. Plus, we speak with pro rider Brent Bookwalter (BMC) about how he fits weight lifting into his busy travel schedule.

Dec 20, 2017
30: Myth Busters: Why we can’t talk about lactic acid
59:44

Ouch, it burns! But what is “it” — the root cause of the pain in your legs when you smash it up a hard climb? For the longest time, we colloquially called “it” lactic acid. It turns out that was wrong.

Coach Trevor Connor and Caley Fretz examine the chemistry that occurs in our muscles while riding and racing. They talk to Dr. Iñigo San Millán, who is the director of Colorado University’s exercise physiology lab. Best of all, they give you practical advice for your own training to help make that burn go away — or at least make you faster even if it hurts.

Oct 17, 2017
29: The future of bikes with Dan Cavallari and Kristen Legan
01:04:33

The VeloNews Fast Talk podcast is your source for the best advice and most interesting insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist. Listen in as VeloNews columnist Trevor Connor and editor Caley Fretz discuss a range of topics, including training, physiology, technology, and more.

What will bikes look like in five years? What will they ride like? We and joined by VN tech crew Dan Cavallari and Kristen Legan to dig into the future of bikes.

Oct 10, 2017
28: Why we need an off-season with Dr. Andy Pruitt
55:48

Fast Talk is your source for the best advice and most interesting insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist. Listen in as VeloNews columnist Trevor Connor and editor Caley Fretz discuss a range of topics, including training, physiology, technology, and more.

Taking time off can feel strange, but it’s absolutely necessary. Why do you need an off-season? Can’t you just keep riding? We sit down with Dr. Andy Pruitt to discuss the physiological and psychological needs of athletes, and how an off-season is crucial to meeting those needs.

Sep 27, 2017
27: Who can you trust for training advice?
59:45

Who should you trust? How can you verify? There’s a lot of training advice out there, often contradictory, so what’s the best way for an athlete figure out what to do?

We are joined by pro cyclist Sepp Kuss and the founder of FasCat coaching, Frank Overton, to dig into dealing with contradictory advice.

Sep 07, 2017
26: Cramping myths debunked
01:10:35

For decades (almost a century, in fact), we’ve been told that cramping is caused by electrolyte imbalance or bad hydration. But new science suggests that this probably isn’t why you cramp during exercise.

So why do you cramp? It all comes down to something called altered neuromuscular control. And how do you stop it? Well, that’s where things get even trickier. We called up the world’s leading athletic cramping expert to find out.

Aug 25, 2017
25: A deep dive on tires and pressure
49:10

The difference between a fast tire and a slow tire can be ten or more watts. So how should you optimize your tire selection and tire pressure? The science behind fast tires has evolved rapidly in recent years, so Trevor Connor and Caley Fretz called in tech writer Kristen Legan to dig into the latest research.

This episode of Fast Talk is presented by Quarq.

Aug 16, 2017
24: Surviving a long season like a pro
01:00:52

Is it possible to stay fit and fast all year round? We talk to former pro and team director Mike Creed about the toll that cycling takes on a body. He also discusses the mentality required to endure bad days on a bike, which happen far more often than good days. Plus, we speak with Cannondale-Drapac pro Toms Skujins and Trek-Segafredo pro Kiel Reijnen about how they plan their seasons, schedule training and avoid the dreaded burn-out.

Jul 25, 2017
23: How periodization works… for your nutrition
01:04:27

Forget what you thought you knew about sports nutrition. New science shows that cyclists should consider periodizing their nutrition, much like they periodize their training. We speak with Dr. John Hawley, one of the top experts in the world about the cutting edge trends in sports nutrition. Hawley also debunks myths about Ketogenic diets and explains the difference between race and training nutrition.

Plus, we talk to Cannondale-Drapac’s Toms Skujins and national champion Joey Rosskopf about how they use nutrition in the real world.

Jul 13, 2017
22: Understanding Tour de France strategy
01:04:14

Have you ever turned on a Tour de France stage and found yourself wondering what the heck is going on? Why are these riders off the front? Shouldn’t that team be chasing? In this special Fast Talk episode, we are joined by Cannondale-Drapac pro rider Toms Skujins to discuss the intricacies of racing strategy. Plus, we’ll give you a few ways you can translate Tour de France tactics into your local races.

Jun 29, 2017
21: Managing Heat with the Illustrious Mr Pickels
01:01:13

Is the heat of summer getting you down? Fast Talk is here to help. Coach Trevor Connor and Caley Fretz are joined once again by Rob Pickels, a physiologist who is currently studying ways to make clothing work better in hot weather. The panel discusses the mechanisms that cause your performance to drop when your body gets too hot, how to trick these mechanisms, and why you don’t want to. Finally, Fast Talk digs into the best ways to stay cool and safe when the mercury rises.

Jun 07, 2017
20: Get better at sprinting
59:44

You need to sprint faster. Everyone does, except maybe Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish. Though sprinting ability is largely a function of genetics, there are still tons of ways to get more out of your finishing kick, from positioning to neuromuscular training to simply showing up at the finish line fresher. We discuss the ins and outs of sprint technique and training, and are joined by two-time national criterium champion Eric Young for some pro tips.

Jun 01, 2017
19: Training as a numbers game
01:01:13

What numbers do you use to describe your rides? Some cyclists keep it simple with mileage and time. Others delve into TSS, FTP, or kJ to quantify a day of training. We talk to Dirk Friel of TrainingPeaks to explain how cyclists can use the data to make your workouts more effective and productive.

May 20, 2017
18: Top tips for pre-race prep
01:13:10

Your body is ready to race, but is your bike ready? We are joined by VeloNews’s tech team of Dan Cavallari and Kristen Legan to dig into the tech side of proper race preparation. What should you do to your bike to make it race-ready? Where can you find the biggest gains for the least cash? What do you need to have in your race bag? The panel tackles these questions and many more.

May 04, 2017
17: The Art of the Breakaway with Toms Skujins
52:59

The breakaway. It is perhaps the noblest form of victory, and the most difficult. Joining and then winning from breakaways is as much art as science, as much tactical awareness as strength. In this episode, we are joined by Cannondale-Drapac’s escape ace Toms Skuijns, winner of two breakaway stages of the Amgen Tour of California, as well as VeloNews managing editor Chris Case, to discuss the tips, tricks, and tactics needed to make a breakaway move stick.

Apr 17, 2017
16: Forget what you thought you knew about warm-ups
01:03:04

Everyone has a warm-up routine, which is sometimes simple, and sometimes very complex. But what are we actually achieving with a pre-race routine? Is it helping us or actually hurting our potential to perform? We go in-depth on the science behind warm-ups and provide tips on how to get the most out of your next race by tailoring your routine to the event and your own needs.

Apr 06, 2017
15: Should you eat gummy bears like Sagan?
01:05:58

Should you eat gummy bears like Peter Sagan? Maybe. In this episode, we are joined by Dan Cavallari and Stacy Sims, founder of Osmo who now works with Nuun, to discuss the difference between food and fuel — what you should be eating on the bike, and off. We cover everything from the basics of sugars to osmotic gut pressure to the benefits (or lack thereof) of red algae. Some of the conclusions just might surprise you.

Mar 23, 2017
14: Which is better, polarization or sweet spot?
48:58

Which is better, sweet spot training or polarized training? To find out, we invited in proponents of each type of training — FasCat’s Frank Overton on the sweet spot side, and Boulder Center for Sports Medicine’s Ryan Kohler to advocate for a polarized model — and let them have at it.

Don’t know what Sweet Spot or polarized training are? Don’t worry, that’s covered first.

Mar 07, 2017
13: How to pick a power meter
48:43

There is no training tool more powerful than a power meter, when it’s used properly. But which one you should buy? What part of your bike should it be on? Is a one-sided power meter good enough? We are joined by our tech crew, Dan Cavallari and Kristen Legan, to answer these questions and many more. Plus, pro power insight from Cannondale-Drapac’s master of the breakaway, Toms Skuijns.

Feb 14, 2017
12: Use tactics to your advantage
41:49

Let’s say you’re on an amateur team. A bunch of Cat. 3s with varying strengths and weaknesses. How do you use each rider effectively? How should a sprinter approach each race? Or a climber? Or a big domestique? Those are the questions we focus on.

We are joined by VN managing editor Chris Case, plus pro guests Ted King and Eric Young.

Feb 09, 2017
11: Busting the No Pain No Gain Myth
45:03

No pain, no gain, right? Well, not really. Today’s episode is all about busting two commonly held and closely related training myths. First, should you always do precisely what’s written on your training plan, even if your body is tired? And second, should your intervals always be ridden to failure, as hard as you can go? We are joined by Brent Bookwalter, Lucas Euser, Inigo San Milan, and Grant Holicky to help you determine when you should and shouldn’t push through bad legs, and when you should and shouldn’t do intervals at full gas.

Jan 27, 2017
10: Hit race weight the right way
01:00:09

What is the healthy way to get to race weight? We are joined by Dr. Philip Goglia, a nutritionist to the stars (and Phil Gaimon) to discuss safe and effective ways to drop weight, how to best fuel your training, and why paying close attention to your food matters.

A quick note from Coach Trevor Connor on some of the science discussed in this particular episode:
“Before we start this podcast, we need to add a quick disclaimer. We’re taking on a real hot topic in today’s episode. If you think training science is heavily debated, come spend some time in the nutrition world. Outside of VeloNews, I wear another hat myself as the editor of a nutritional science website. I get to see every day how heavily contested nutrition science can be. I certainly have my biases and I try to keep them out of our podcasts. Which is part of why we invited a guest to cover nutrition.

Caley and I enjoyed having Dr Goglia on our show today. He has done a lot to help many people including elite cyclists. My personal biases aside, I think the practical suggestions he gives would help most if not all of our listeners be healthier stronger athletes.

That being said, we have to be true to who we are and putting on my nutrition hat for a minute, I can’t fully agree with a fair amount of the science used to explain his advice. I think if we asked Dr Goglia, he’d agree with what I’m about to say – he was not trying to give hard science but being more metaphoric to make the advice digestible (no pun intended.)

We’ve given you some hard science podcasts in the past and pride ourselves on trying to give you the best science. For this one, we recommend you focus more on the suggestions and overall approach.”

Jan 13, 2017
9: Cycling Roundtable with Andy Pruitt and Rob Pickels
51:24

Are top pro teams training differently from the rest of us? Can you replace lab testing with a power meter and field testing? What should you look for in a coach? We are joined by Andy Pruitt, an internationally-known fit guru and sports physician, and Robert Pickels, a coach and researcher working at the leading edge of endurance training at the CU Center for Sports Medicine, for a wide-ranging discussion that answers these questions and much more.

Dec 16, 2016
8: Stop your legs from fighting (themselves)
37:38

Want some free watts? Your legs are fighting themselves, and we want them to stop. Episode 8 is all about neuromuscular training, decreasing what is called coactivation, which is when your muscles actually work against each other. Neuromuscular training can provide big gains without requiring any increase in fitness.

We are joined by neuromuscular training expert Grant Holicky of Apex Coaching for insight into how this type of training works and how exactly to implement it in your own training.

Dec 08, 2016
7: Cold, bare legs make you dumb, not tough
39:17

Why do you need to cover your legs when it’s cold? It’s not about comfort, it’s about getting the most out of your training. We dig into the physiology behind pedaling in cold weather and offer up a few tips and tricks for dressing properly. Internationally renowned trainer Andy Pruitt and former pro Ted King add their own insights on the subject.

Dec 01, 2016
6: Like it or not, you should be lifting
27:25

Is it enough to just ride your bike for training? In this episode of Fast Talk, we explain why serious cyclists should be spending time in the gym, incorporating weight lifting into their weekly programs. We speak to pro cyclist Svein Tuft, as well as Dr. Andy Pruitt to learn more about the benefits of strength training.

Nov 17, 2016