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Fast Talk

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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 science journalist Chris Case and Fast Talk 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 guest list includes some of the most prominent names in c ...
 
Amazing things happen when girls discover Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math – yet according to the University of Washington's I-LABS, girls can start believing that certain activities are for boys as early as the second grade. To show off the true potential of tomorrow’s brightest STEAM minds, Slate Studios brings you Life on the Fast Track: a documentary podcast series that goes behind the scenes of the second-annual Girls’ Fast Track Races, powered by Ford. Join our host, Faw ...
 
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This first question we’ve saved for this special occasion. Brenda Castile from Essex, Connecticut, writes: “Thanksgiving! I love it. I love the food, I love the drinks, I love the desserts. I love being around family. All of which means I’m exposed to calories and germs, a cyclist’s worst nightmare. And, as usual, it comes just a couple of weeks be…
 
There are many ways to measure intensity. This is an episode about the one that is often forgotten: RPE. Perceived exertion is a standardized way to classify a subjective feeling. We've touched upon RPE in many episodes, often referring to the fact that top pros all know "the feel." Today, we argue that the metric of feeling—perceived exertion, RPE…
 
In the beginning, a bike fit would include a guy at a bike shop with a plumb line and a theory. Now, bike fit is a full-fledged science with video cameras, 3D models, and a greater understanding of human anatomy and physiology as it pertains to cycling. In part 2 of our bike fit discussion, we’ll explore the practical implications of bike fit, from…
 
Exercise physiologist Rob Pickels returns to Fast Talk to out-nerd Coach Trevor Connor as they discuss new scientific research in sport science. Though the findings of these studies may not always directly apply to your weekly training plan, understanding the questions that have been asked by physiology researchers can give you context about what i…
 
Bike fit was once purely a quote-unquote “philosophy.” In the old days, you may have experienced getting a so-called fit by a guy at a bike shop with a plumb line and a theory. Now, bike fit is a full-fledged science—there are video cameras everywhere, 3D modeling, and so on. That being said, it’s a science that is still influenced by philosophy—wh…
 
Our guest coach for this episode is Rab Wardell, owner of Wardell Cycle Coaching, who competed at the mountain bike marathon world championships for Team GB in 2021 and, in 2020, set the fastest known time (FKT) for the West Highland Way in the Highlands of Scotland. (Check out the film here, which was selected for the prestigious Banff Film Festiv…
 
While the Fast Talk podcast was originally geared toward cycling, many of the concepts we discuss can be applied across all endurance sports. After all, human physiology remains the same whether we’re talking cycling, running, rowing, or cross-country skiing. Today we’re joined by someone who has a broad understanding of endurance sports, not only …
 
Joe Gambles has been racing triathlon professionally for nearly 25 years and has been coaching for the last seven years. We've gathered many of our triathlon-specific questions for the right athlete and coach—and Joe fits that bill. Training distribution This question comes from Frank Bastion in Bellingham, Washington. He writes: “I’m new to triath…
 
Young athletes have a host of concerns outside of sport that make their development a unique, challenging undertaking. While they can often be sponges for new information, skills, and techniques, they are also dealing with complex stressors and pressures—in many ways they are more vulnerable than their adult counterparts. Today we discuss ways to d…
 
With the help of Rebecca Gross, owner of 3six0 Performance, we field questions on polarized training, how to effectively close out a season, whether you can ruin workouts with indulgences or poor sleep, and how to get the most out of spin class. Before Rebecca began coaching, she was an accomplished cyclocross and mountain bike racer. She was the 2…
 
Today we’re talking cyclocross, a discipline that is as demanding as it is rewarding and educational. Because there are so many variables in ’cross, athletes are constantly being challenged and consistently faced with new opportunities to learn and progress. Whether that’s the engine or the skills. Whether that’s strength, power, finesse, or off-th…
 
In 2021, four of us on the Fast Talk Labs staff—our producer Jana, Head Coach Ryan, Trevor, and me—chose an N1 Challenge. You’ve hopefully heard us speak about it previously on the show. It was meant to be an experiment of one—each of us—offering lessons for all, particularly you, the listeners. Today, we explore that last bit, those “lessons for a…
 
If you’ve listened to Fast Talk for any length of time, you’ve likely heard the name Glenn Swan. That’s because Glenn was Coach Connor’s first and, arguably, most influential mentor in the sport of cycling. Trevor has gone so far as to say that without Glenn’s influence, he probably would not have become the cyclist he became. Thus, Trevor often re…
 
CTL. Chronic Training Load has rapidly gained in popularity among endurance athletes, but how well understood is this complex metric? Today we discuss the benefits of CTL, as well as the issues that can arise if too much stock is placed in this one number. CTL can tell you the general level you’re at, and more importantly, it can indicate trends in…
 
In June, Trevor went to Moab for what he thought would be a nice vacation filled with mountain biking with friends. It turned into a stressful, harrowing experience when one friend was evacuated to the hospital by helicopter, and Trevor was left wondering if he’d live. No, it wasn’t from a crash. It was all about the heat that day. Trevor’s friend …
 
With the help of Alec Donahue, the senior coach at Cycle-Smart who has worked with some of the best American cyclocross racers, including Jeremy Powers, Stephen Hyde, and Ellen Noble, we dive into questions on training zones and whether we're being duped by them; beer and bike culture and its effect on recovery and performance; effective methods fo…
 
When you watch the Olympics, do you think about the dedication, sacrifice, and risk that it takes to focus on such a big event, one that takes four years to prepare for? The pressure is immense. Is it worth it? When we invited Olympians Svein Tuft and Errine Zarsadias (you may remember her as Erinne Willock from her racing days) to join us on Fast …
 
With the help of Kendra Wenzel, co-founder and head coach at Wenzel Coaching, we field questions on how to manage training when you have a busy travel schedule, when to get intensity during the week before a race, incorporating big gear work into your LSD rides, and knowing when to push through or when to pull the plug on a workout. Travel and trai…
 
For a long time, weight loss and weight management strategies have focused on counting calories. The question we ask in today’s episode is: Does that work? That is, if you count accurately, will it predict your weight loss or gain? To answer these questions, we pit two theories against each other. On one side, there is the argument that you can’t b…
 
Rob Pickels is the Advanced Development Project Manager at PEARL iZUMi, but more importantly, he can out-nerd Trevor as you'll hear in today's deep-dive into some new scientific research in sports physiology. Even though the findings of one of these studies may not appear to directly apply to your weekly training plan, understanding the questions t…
 
sources, it’s time to ask the question: Should we modify how, where, and when we train based on our potential exposure to pollutants? Furthermore, are certain pollutants worse than others? Finally, can we, and if so, should we try to “adapt” to certain pollutants? We’re joined by a leading expert in the field of environmental pollution and its effe…
 
We start today’s Q&A with a discussion on returning from injury. Why? Well, Renee Eastman, our guest coach on this episode, just suffered a nasty crash. She's also come back from many injuries and bone breaks: “I've broken just about every bone in my body, including back (L1-3 fusion), elbow (with reconstructive surgery), clavicle (2x), hand, foot,…
 
When Chris Froome first came to prominence on the WorldTour and started dominating grand tours, all the talk was about how he was constantly looking at his stem. Was he staring at his power meter to gauge his effort? Entire websites were devoted to catching Froome in the act of looking at his head unit while racing his bike. https://chrisfroomelook…
 
Endurance athletes crave intensity. It's the closest thing we have to instant gratification: chose an interval, grab the bike (or running shoes, etc.), and head out the door or into the Zwift session. An hour later, the work is done and the feeling of satisfaction washes over you. What’s problematic, however, is that there are few subjects in endur…
 
Coach Trevor Connor and Chris Case, as well as Coach Ryan Kohler and Fast Talk producer Jana Martin, all chose an N1 Challenge in the fall of 2020. Now, part way through the training and preparation for their big events, they discuss what they've learned and the adjustments they've made to keep themselves on track. The premise of the N1 Challenge i…
 
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