Alison Tetrick Leadville podcast

Alison Tetrick: Lessons From The Leadville Trail 100 MTB

About this episode:

In this week’s episode, Adam Pulford interviews pro cyclist and CTS Athlete Alison Tetrick. Adam and Alison discuss her experience taking on her first mountain bike race at the Leadville Trail 100 MTB, and the key lessons learned from preparing for and racing the iconic event. 

Episode Highlights:

  • Transitioning from road and gravel events to a mountain bike race
  • Overcoming obstacles leading up to goal events
  • Preparing for a challenging race outside your comfort zone
  • Managing training for difficult races around work obligations

Guest Bio – Alison Tetrick:

Alison Tetrick is a professional cyclist and entrepreneur who started out with a successful career on the road and transitioned to become a champion gravel racer. She won a bronze medal at the UCI Team Time Trial World Championship in 2014, and then won the 2017 Unbound Gravel (then known as the Dirty Kanza 200) and set a course record. She continued with podium finishes at Unbound Gravel in 2018 and 2019, along with 3 wins at the Gravel World Championship in 2017-2019. In 2020, Alison launched Saga Ventures, LLC, a consulting firm based on curating meaningful community engagement and brand activation. Alison uses this platform to achieve direct social impact in her community with company revenue going to scholarships to help promote inclusivity and opportunity for aspiring student-athletes. Alison works with CTS Coach Adam Pulford.


Read More About Alison Tetrick:






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Thanks To This Week’s Sponsor:

ESI Grips

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Stages Cycling

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Episode Transcription:

Please note that this is an automated transcription and may contain errors. Please refer to the episode audio for clarification.

Speaker 1 (00:00:06):


Alison Tetrick (00:00:09):

Oh, it’s coach JP going well, how are you? I know I actually get to see you. And, um, that’s weird. Usually it’s just text messages and lots of calls. We don’t do the video calls.

Adam Pulford (00:00:22):

It’s true. Yeah. You and I used to see each other a lot more when a bike racing was a thing and you were bike racing on the road with skinny tires a lot more, but then, um, the gravel happened then the COVID happened and now I never see you. So

Alison Tetrick (00:00:39):

This is a treat. Thanks for, thanks for talking to me again, you know, a couple of times a week. So it was good.

Adam Pulford (00:00:45):

That’s it? That’s it. Well, it is. I, you know, have to admit, I mean, this, uh, the idea for this podcast, basically kind of your idea, a little bit of Chris’s idea, rolling off of Leadville, which we’ll talk about. Um, and I really want to hear, or I want you to tell this story about your Leadville to, uh, led boat. Let’s call it. Um, but before that, I mean, people have heard you on this podcast before we, you and I did the episode actually with Derek and talking about the coach athlete relationship. And for those interested in that, you can go back and look in the podcast list for that one. But, you know, since people have heard you on the show before, um, some of them may have not sort of bring them up to speed. You were approached to a rider, you want some bike races, you went to the gravel scene, you want more bike races, and you did all this while still working professionally. Um, what else should we add to that?

Alison Tetrick (00:01:40):

Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I definitely raised it. The world’s highest level for a long time, um, down gravel, which now apparently is also racing at the world’s highest level. And depending on who you ask, but, um, I balance a full-time career. I’m a biochemist by trade turn, communication, storytelling and marketing, um, started a company over COVID. So I’ve got ventures, um, with my partner and I, we started doing that. Um, and I was like my sourdough bread so that I was starting a saga ventures. And our first project was just selling bandanas, which I know the listeners have heard about for scholarships for female identifying athletes. Uh, the first set went to north Cal high school cycling league. It’s a part of Nika. And then we just helped brands, activate, communicate, tell stories on, do some consulting. So it’s been fun to kind of branch out as a portfolio career.

Alison Tetrick (00:02:39):

Um, you know, SU super funny cowgirl biochemists. So this, so, um, bikes was a really great asset. Um, and we’ve talked about this before, but one of the biggest metrics, I think that’s helped that success is, is finding that balance and having a coach like tell me when or not to let my crazy go and then the, to organize a week and had a full-time job. So I know we’ve talked about that, but I’m big preacher on that. It’s just finding that balance. Um, then you don’t have to do all the hours, which you always constantly remind me. I don’t have to be everything to everyone. So thank you for that.

Adam Pulford (00:03:14):

Yeah. Yeah, no, you’re welcome. And it’s, it’s true. I mean, you have, you have a lot of energy and I think it’s, um, I think it’s a rad that you’ve been able to, uh, you know, funnel it into all the different things off the bike, as well as the bike, but, you know, left up to your own device. I mean, it would be like 30 hour weeks and full sins and let’s do this and let’s do this blaze. So I mean, you, you, you definitely have to put some, some boundaries on, on Alison, otherwise it gets a little out of control.

Alison Tetrick (00:03:42):

Yeah. And then you don’t beat yourself up when you can’t fit it all in, you know, like you can give me an hour and a half workouts, an hour workout if I need it, or, you know, I have the freedom to tell you, oh my gosh, I’m so stressed. And you’re like, yes. Or don’t talk to me. I want to have whisky and more fun.

Adam Pulford (00:03:58):

And there’s a time and place for both. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. For sure. Um, but so we’ll talk more about that, uh, on this episode. Cause balance, even though, I mean, that balance is a tricky one. I don’t think it really exists, even though we, we talk about it a lot. Uh, so we can, we can philosophy about that and then talk about how we bring it into your life as well. Um, but recently you decided to do your first mountain bike race. Right?

Alison Tetrick (00:04:26):

Sure. Thing signed right up for that

Adam Pulford (00:04:30):

And you fully went for it. Um, and I, I’ll be honest with you, like, uh, the prep and the outcome in my head was drastically different than the actuality of it. Would, would you say it was that similar to what was in your head?

Alison Tetrick (00:04:45):

Yeah. When, when we plan this out, I mean, cause of course we planned it for 2020, right. And then that didn’t happen. Um, so we had this all planned out and then we kind of just kept planning for it like we did in 2020 and just carried it over a year, you know, doing all the denominator things. Um, and no, it didn’t, it didn’t turn out how we plan, but it’s not either of our faults. It’s just life, you know, life happens. So

Adam Pulford (00:05:13):

Yeah, that’s it. And I think like the idea for this, this episode really is like kind of a tell all of maybe how like a coach and an athlete can do all the, like the cool planning and all the things. And also do do bikes or like do an event where somebody is actually really good at doing bikes. And then all of a sudden, you know what, they’re, there’s a lot of nuances and specificity that may not fit into that athlete profile that you can also learn from too. So, so it, you want to have a tell-all in, in just,

Alison Tetrick (00:05:45):

Yeah. You know, me, I tend to overshare. So I mean, blaze was sitting on the other side. So if I overshare too much, you’ll probably actually let me do it, just leave the room. Cause he doesn’t want

Adam Pulford (00:05:56):

Know that it’s going to be getting good at that time. But I will say Blaise wants to make a cameo and show up here, feel free. Cause he might actually have some more factual information to throw into. So

Alison Tetrick (00:06:07):

Okay. You can make a cameo, you can have factual information. If I go off course,

Adam Pulford (00:06:15):

Keep, keep us here, keep us balanced here to blaze. That’s that’s all I’m saying.

Alison Tetrick (00:06:18):

Yeah. He’s all about that balance. He’s like, you know, the calm in my chaos. So, and after we just did this, he did it as well, which we’ll dive into. But um, he did led boat and it was this whole six week preparation into this led boat event with me. And um, he doesn’t really want to look at his bike right now. He doesn’t want to sign up for another event. He doesn’t know I’ve signed him up for every event next year. Um, haven’t told him yet, so

Adam Pulford (00:06:40):

Yeah. Yeah. Best not to tell him that’s a better one. Yeah. Sorry you got dragged in it. All this plays, but gay bikes,

Alison Tetrick (00:06:50):

We feel so lucky.

Adam Pulford (00:06:53):

All right. All right. Alison let’s set the stage here. Like where did the idea come from? Like why, why did you want to do Leadville 100 mountain bike?

Alison Tetrick (00:07:02):

So the funny story is Christine Mon, who is all things gravel at Unbound 200. So she works for lifetime. But prior to being acquired by lifetime, she’s been like, oh gee at Unbound 200. Um, and she’s a dear friend. She’s awesome. And I get a text from her. I may or may not have had like a glass or two of wine. I don’t remember. I remember I’m sitting like basically right here and she’s just like, Hey, can I sign you up for a crazy idea? And I’m just stoked to get a text from my really good girlfriend. Who’s just like a bad-ass cyclist and like helps all this stuff. I love her a huge fan. So I’m just like, sure, sign me up. And she’s like, don’t you want to know what you just signed up for? Maybe you should ask me that first. And I was like, oh no, I’m good. And then she’s like, well, you’re doing Leadville. And then the next day doing Steamboat. Cool. But can we like talk for a little bit because I want to act like you were a hard sell that took 30 seconds.

Alison Tetrick (00:08:02):

And then I think I texted you right after I’m like, well doing Leadville and Steamboat and here we go. And you’re like, have you ever written a mountain bike? I’m like, Nope, Nope. And so that’s how the idea was fostered. Um, I think actually originally it was because Leadville happened to be the day before Steamboat and to CBOE gravels, SBT, gravel. Um, and there are two, you know, dirt events give or take in Colorado the same weekend that wanted to bring large crowds of people and they wanted to align, um, and not compete. So they thought they’d make a fun challenge. Like, could you do both in the same weekend, which ended up being, what, what do we do? Like almost 158 ish miles or something in a period of, I don’t know, very short, like two days,

Adam Pulford (00:08:51):

Well, less than two days all up at extreme altitude. So it’s not a, it’s not an easy task to put that

Alison Tetrick (00:08:58):

I really was inspired by that challenge show pre COVID. If we’re 2019, this was the challenge that actually was my most inspirational one because I thought, oh, I don’t have to race to win either event anymore. Like I get to go and just challenge myself on a mountain bike, which I don’t know much about. And then Steamboat, I don’t need to necessarily be like throwing elbows to go and win. I can just like go and enjoy a day. And I’m like, oh, that will be fun. And I thought it was going to be a new, which it was a new physical and mental challenge for me just to finish, to enjoy it. Like my goal, I think we talked about was mainly like, obviously I’m going to finish each one, borrowing. They own barring like

Adam Pulford (00:09:40):

Cat crushing him for something.

Alison Tetrick (00:09:42):

Yeah. I mean, I’m going to finish each one, but I wanted to enjoy it, feel strong and like really kind of conquered the day it turned out to be a race. And I didn’t actually know that and I don’t mind. Um, but for me my goals stayed the same. Just, you know, enjoy it, go die, have fun, and then see what I could do physically and mentally. Um, so with that, I think that was mission accomplished, but that was 2019. It got pushed to 2020. And then what ended up happening is, um, you know, all these events just got friggin smashed in where once we were allowed to travel, I’m doing, you know, gravel Locos to Unbound, the Oregon trail, gravel grinder, you know, and you just keep doing events. And so it was a lot of, we did a solid three months of almost every weekend riding our bikes. I don’t know.

Adam Pulford (00:10:28):

Yeah. Your own track right now. Like if you were to carry on like this trend of volume, this would be your highest volume year. So let’s not do that actually. And this is actual, is this somebody folks who rides about 900 to 960 hours per year? So like the, the condensed version of what they’ve done so far, it’s actually, it’s quite a bit, so, uh, now we seek balance. Alison here’s where we,

Alison Tetrick (00:10:52):

Yeah, this is where we, it for things I haven’t told you what I’ve done. Just getting, I think I’m good right now,

Adam Pulford (00:11:00):

Alison. I mean, you’re, I mean, you’ve got a lot of miles in the legs, a lot of hours in the saddle. Um, so this big challenge right up your alley, but like at the same time, were you nervous for doing your first mountain bike race? That’s oh, by the way, a hundred miles on,

Alison Tetrick (00:11:15):

I actually was probably more excited for that. Um, because the longer is probably a little less spicy and like pointy in where I feel like I had to go full send and I thought the endurance part wasn’t terrifying, the high altitude was, um, it was more of making sure I temper my expectations and effort. So I think that was fine. I mean, it was probably, I think we talked about it. Like when I got to that start line, I had zero nerves. Like I was really happy to be there. Yeah. I was just having fun, hugging and kissing my friends. Um, and I had blazed next to me. And as you know, the thing I was most terrified about was, um, just getting down power line descent. So, um, because I’m not a mountain biker, I called them. I think I told you bowling balls.

Alison Tetrick (00:12:00):

Like I was most worried about bowling balls because I knew I was going to climb well, I was gonna ride well, and then all the way that first, however long until you get to power line and you, you were talking to me through the courts, which we’ll go over later, but you know, like we do this as bikers, right? Like we take these iconic events like Leadville and I have never done Leadville, never raised my mountain bike yet. I know the names of all the sectors, you know, and like people talk about it, you know, and it’s these like glorified, and then you do this and then you do like Columbine and then there’s this. And you’re like, I am, I can’t like, I don’t want it, like in that it was like all that was building up. And I knew I could handle everything after just getting down power line descent.

Alison Tetrick (00:12:45):

Cause I’m like, oh no, I’m going to climb well, and then I’m going to have thousands of people that are so much better at descending, a mountain bike than I am. And I really, you know, for those listening that know me, I’m you had a traumatic brain injury and then we’ll go into my lead up to this race on extra cautious on like, not hitting my head, but then I also don’t want to get in people’s way. Like I’m like, I don’t want to get in their way, but I also need to get down. So that I think was my biggest fear was just that one descent, which unfortunately I fit right into that mold of like glorifying this one descent that I didn’t see, which we’ll go into later and then be like, I fit in every cyclist thing where like I just got to get power lines and there’s going to be bowling balls and they’re going to get mad at me. I was really nervous about that. Just like a three mile descent. Right. Or whatever.

Adam Pulford (00:13:31):

Yeah. Yeah, no. And that’s, you know, that’s what I tell people I’ve coached. I’ve done Leadville four times. I coach at least three people for it every single year since, oh man, this, I originally raised it back in like 2008 when there was maybe like 800 writers, um, doing the events. So I’ve seen it really evolve and um, from a I, and I identify as a mountain biker more than anything. And overall, like I would say the race is not that technical. Right. Um, from a mountain biking standpoint, however, you know, you talk to certain people and everybody has their own opinion on it. However, I mean, it’s just a lot of gravel. Um, there’s some single track, uh, power line gets a little gnarly this year. It was blown all a lot more because of the rain that was there before, and then just a lot of dry, but overall, like I’ve seen this race evolve over the years and now it’s um, how many racers were there? 2,500. Yeah. So just a ton, which, you know, definitely increases the, the tech technical side of things and also the nerves and all this kind of stuff. So like, I hear you, I feel you, I wouldn’t want to be around 2,500 bowling balls going down power line,

Alison Tetrick (00:14:46):

Usually when you’re slow is me going down.

Adam Pulford (00:14:51):


Alison Tetrick (00:14:51):

Exactly. Okay. So I, I would, okay. Let’s go back to the start line. You’re hugging your kiss in blazes. Like, oh my God, like what is going on? I’m just here because you are like, let’s just talk about the race. Like there’s all the bills, it’s cold, all the things. There’s the countdown what’s what’s going on besides hugging and kissing everybody. Yeah. And yeah, blaze didn’t want to really be starting with me, but, um, he did, he wanted to be married

Alison Tetrick (00:15:20):

And he’s up there. And it was so funny because I like as a, my emotional support animal, you know, I’m like, you need to just be here because I’m not racing to win. I’m enjoying the day. But, uh, yeah. They were like, let, let’s talk to blaze. Does he want to be there? I’m like, no, they’re like, I know. So I’m like, have you guys ever been in a relationship? He like, do you want me to show up because I’m going to be terrified. So the poor guy like went real hard with me at the start, um, which is not what he wanted to do. So his story is much different on that. But, um, it’s funny. Uh, so yeah, we’re at the start and it counts down. Everyone told me how cold it would be. This must’ve been a warmer year or maybe I just wasn’t as nervous or I don’t know something, but

Adam Pulford (00:16:02):

It’s tougher.

Alison Tetrick (00:16:04):

Yeah. And we started on the stand. I heard about this whole, the, in the first turn, everything was fine. And then you talk to me at least through the first climbs. And, um, you can, you can talk about your word chunky. Um, because I didn’t know. That was a word. Yeah. Chunky.

Adam Pulford (00:16:22):

The definition of definition of chunky is big rocks, nested with other big rocks in then like some sand in between, but like real chunky. That’s the definition of chunky.

Alison Tetrick (00:16:36):

Thank you. I didn’t know the definition of chunky. And then I actually was like, okay, is it Sugarloaf? Right. It’s chunky. And going up, it didn’t even notice, like I felt great. I’m on cloud nine. I’m just like cruising with my friends, making groups and I’m coming back of course, to sending that I was like, oh, chunky. I hated it. Um, but that’s fine. So anyway, chompy is a word we’re here to help. Yeah. So that was the start was just about, I think riding smooth, they did wave starts, which was nice, you know, so pretty low stress. I mean, I just slotted in climbed, had fun talk to some friends and, and it was actually, I thought the start was more mellow, a lot more mellow than like an Unbound start. Like I was like, oh, like people aren’t trying to all like, get a whole shot and kill somebody like in 200 miles like that. Cause I’m bounced starts like a road race, but you you’re like, I’m not going to see you guys again for another 12 hours, but cool. Um, and this one I thought was actually pretty mellow and nice. So I appreciated that.

Adam Pulford (00:17:43):

Yeah. That’s good. And it’s, I mean, you go down, you hit St Kevin’s and everybody was like, and I think the wave start probably with that too. Cause sometimes in years past, uh, without wave starts, it’s just like the whole, uh, pony show starts. And the people that are like in the way back purple corrals are trying to sprint up. Cause it’s like a three mile downhill. Um, and they’re trying to move up and all the things, but, um, so yeah, as soon as you hit dirt, I mean, what was it like out there?

Alison Tetrick (00:18:11):

Um, I thought it was really nice. It was gravel. Like, you know what I mean? Especially because you just kind of start gradually climbing after that pavement descent, which was fine. And it was, uh, it was nice, like super comfy on a mountain bike. So it’s a little different than a gravel bike where there’s, you know, lines are a little more important. And so coming from a road background in turn, you know, all things gravel, you know, I’m used to kind of that squirrely feeling. So I really enjoyed being on a, I did a full squish bike. Like, I mean, I did the epic Evo. I don’t even know what travel that is. And it was awesome. So I’m like, I didn’t do, like, I got the, I borrowed the bikes so we can go to that. But I borrowed this by, um, because you know, guys bike, boom. Right. Um, and I raised her specialized full disclosure and they were wonderful, but I grabbed the photo shoot bike, borrowed it because we didn’t have bikes. So for all those struggling to find bike parts, I’m right there with you. And so we’re all my partners and we’re

Adam Pulford (00:19:06):

Doing our best.

Alison Tetrick (00:19:09):

And they’re like, I did some podcast prior, like talking tire pressure tires. I’m like, literally it’s just out of the box. Like, however you buy an epic Evo. Like that’s what I got.

Adam Pulford (00:19:18):

Yeah. That’s my setup. So what was your snake set at? Alison, Sorry, sorry, sorry. Whatever was in the box,

Alison Tetrick (00:19:28):

Whatever it was in the box, the titers, everything Ceram of course. And it came with Ram, which is great because bike parts hard to come by. And, uh, and it was a size too small, but um, it’s not my fault.

Adam Pulford (00:19:40):

I am. That’s how they used to race in the two thousands,

Alison Tetrick (00:19:45):

Uh, retool fit right before. And um, everyone’s making fun of me when I show pictures of it. Um, cause it’s got a one 10 stem and I guess that’s not real mountain biking.

Adam Pulford (00:19:55):

Like I said, it’s old, it’s old school, mountain bike. So like everybody who knows, they knew and they were like, yeah, that’s right. Alison.

Alison Tetrick (00:20:03):

Yeah. Yeah. I didn’t get a lot of that to rad. They were like, your bikes do small. And I’m like, why? No, but it actually was really comfortable. And when Todd, the founder of retool actually looked at it right before two days before, like what could possibly go wrong if it on your new bike? And um, he looked at it and I wanted to get the blessing of God. I told him, you know, just like check it out, make sure it’s fine. Um, Yeah. And he was like, well, it’s what you got. It’s perfect. You know? So, um, blaze, borrowed a bike the day before. So he actually wrote a epic hardtail. So his bike was 17 pounds. He lost 10 pounds and is on a mountain bike alone.

Adam Pulford (00:20:40):

Wow. Wow. This is impressive. And this is all, this is all fodder for our learnings session here in, in just a minute. But as you can tell for our listeners hearing this story, there, there’s a lot of things that we, we both learned throughout this. Uh, and let’s just say all three of us Blaise included here.

Alison Tetrick (00:21:00):

Yeah. He, he learned, I think for events with me anymore.

Adam Pulford (00:21:08):

That’s fair. That’s fair.

Alison Tetrick (00:21:10):

He’s like, I think I like my,

Adam Pulford (00:21:15):

Yeah, yeah, exactly. Um, but you’re going, I mean, but overall like the bikes, not atrocious, even, even, even Todd approved it, but like,

Alison Tetrick (00:21:26):

No, the bike is amazing. Um, I don’t think I changed much for me not having confidence or enough experience on a mountain bike. Like I don’t ain’t can’t rock, like probably tell the difference, like satellite pressure points. Good. And then yeah. Maybe had too much travel or something or whatever it’s called, but it was like confidence inducing. Um, and I didn’t know any better. So like, it was perfect for me. And honestly, if you’re going to be all wait, waiting on that stuff, like, uh, like blaze even said, like he did the hard tail and he actually kind of thought you wished he had the epic, you know, and maybe not the evil that’s more travel. Um, but he was, he loved the bike, but you know, he was like, oh, maybe I wouldn’t mind a little more suspension, you know, like it’s a long day

Adam Pulford (00:22:10):

For sure. For sure. It knows just cause of the, say like quick, quick, like point to note here is like, how tall are you by the way? Awesome.

Alison Tetrick (00:22:18):

5, 9, 5, 9.

Adam Pulford (00:22:20):

Yeah. Uh, 5, 9, 5, 10. Maybe. I feel like you’re taller than that.

Alison Tetrick (00:22:23):

I’m five nine, but I like, I like I’ll make a 75.6, um, saddle height and really long reach. So I like, I ride a one like one 10 on my rode bikes and a 56 road bike. So I’m writing between that medium and large for a mountain bike, but I’m a 56 solid road bike with like long stem and pretty darn high, like C height, like blazes six feet. And he and I are see Heights within.

Adam Pulford (00:22:47):

So your long legs, short torso long. Okay. So my point there is you’re, you’re kind of a tweener, right? Like you’re you’re between sizes. And so with mom Mike’s in particular, I mean, that’s, uh, that’s fine. And you can run a little smaller than that with a longer stem and that’s all good. And then I was gonna say too, like, of course like this and where mountain bikes have gone is a full suspension. It’s, it’s light, it’s cushy, it’s meant and designed to help you climb on the chunky stuff, as well as descend on the chunky stuff to help you be more efficient. So the kind of this, uh, this idea of a hardtail, even for endurance events like Leadville, sometimes when you have that full suspension in, maybe it only adds a pound or less or something like that, it’s not bad. So like all this setup, maybe I would want Alison to have the bike a little bit longer and do some more writing on it. But like overall the setup was actually pretty solid.

Alison Tetrick (00:23:41):

Yeah. It was super solid. Um, and thing with riding my gravel bikes, which we’ve done, like, so I started with at Camelback, which the real pro pros that are like racing full gas. Like they don’t want the extra weight because immediately after that initial descent, you go just climb for awhile. But I know the way I am getting, getting bottles out and all of that and not being as confident I’m having a Camelback chase, this, I wore exactly what I use it Unbound. And then I just have like kind of a portable straw there to just make sure I’m hydrating and staying on top of nutrition when it’s really cold. So yeah, I did a very similar and when I ride Bravo, I mean, I do ride racer specialized, but you know, the diverge has a little bit of, it has a feature shock, 2.0 in it. So I get a little bit of travel, a little bit of Kush and bigger tires. I just learned, I liked the Kush and bigger tires. Like almost a better really like for me, if I’m comfortable and competent, I go faster.

Adam Pulford (00:24:36):

And that’s just, it like w even talking about your race set up, like with the Camelback for her, um, it’s, it’s always a go-to. So keeping it simple and having the confidence that was like, okay, first mountain bike, race, but keep everything the same like this. Um, okay. So we head up Sugarloaf, we go down. How, how much of a freak out mode were we in during powerline?

Alison Tetrick (00:24:58):

Oh, full freakout. So we go down power line and is riding with me and, and guys, I’m just saying, we’re not racing to win this. Isn’t like your team tactics. It’s actually like, he wants to make sure I don’t die. Like not die, but we’ll maybe cause we don’t want to hit heads. Right. And then also just panic and anxiety. Um, and he was also trying to help people pass me safely because like, for me to actually not, not that there are dangerous, like me, like, I don’t know what I’m doing. And

Adam Pulford (00:25:22):

To give the people behind you, like a heads up, like, Hey, you actually, you want to give some space to this one.

Alison Tetrick (00:25:31):

Yeah, exactly, exactly. And, um, so that was, uh, that was fun. Um, and then I just, the people kept coming hundreds and I’m like,

Adam Pulford (00:25:44):

Well, Alison, you, you started like maybe 20th and you have 2000, 480 people behind you,

Alison Tetrick (00:25:51):

So they didn’t stop. And they were all being so nice. Like you got a girl, you know, they’re being so nice. The most of like, I just don’t want to ruin their day. You know, I don’t want my day ruined, but really aids is about them. Um,

Adam Pulford (00:26:07):

Nice mountain bikers are super rad.

Alison Tetrick (00:26:10):

They are like the nicest. I don’t even know how I’m so lucky to have all those people out there. Like I was smiling most of the time, not on power line. And then I got so nervous, Adam, um, that your stomach starts doing that, you know, kind of like, sounds like a toilet flushing, like an ACE, Ventura pet detective type thing. Like there’s like, and I’m just sending, I’m getting so nervous. And I’m like, my heart rate is getting higher and higher and I’m not peddling. Right. Like I’m just trying to like coast down this hill and I’m getting so nervous. I’m sweating thinking of this. Um, and also like I got to go to bathroom. Like things are not going to stay in anymore. I don’t know what’s in there, but it’s evacuating the dance floor right now. Yeah. And I’m like getting more nervous and like telling blaze. I’m like, I think I should, I, should I go back and should I not? I’m like, how about your, and he’s like, just commit, go

Adam Pulford (00:27:02):

To the bathroom or to the line, um,

Alison Tetrick (00:27:05):

Like to the some trees.

Adam Pulford (00:27:09):

So you, you pulled off on power line to go or did you?

Alison Tetrick (00:27:13):

I did. No. I pulled off and then it was nice because then people could pass me then. But once again, they kept coming and then we had to keep pedaling. So the poor guy’s sitting there, like you’ve done. I’m like, should I start again now? Like, there’s so many people. So, um, I made it down. I was pretty proud of myself. I was like, I think I like did like 60 miles an hour down that real steep party’s like, or like eight, but you were close.

Adam Pulford (00:27:37):

It was your Everest. Alison. It was

Alison Tetrick (00:27:40):

Just that descent was my Everest. And then the rest of it was just like my jam. I was pretty loving it.

Adam Pulford (00:27:45):

Yeah. Meanwhile, folks that were like, what, 20 miles into this race of a hundred miles? Yeah. Podcasts might go longer than I thought

Alison Tetrick (00:27:55):

Anyways. Then it’s like pretty simple. Right? Like it was just kinda my jam and it was really fun. Um,

Adam Pulford (00:28:02):


Alison Tetrick (00:28:03):

You told me to get into groups. I got groups and I was pulling my, I was feeling great. Everything was great. Um, I loved all the clients, a single track. I probably stuffed it a little bit. Like people are, but they were also nice. Like, no one’s yelling at me telling me to move. And those weren’t scary. I just don’t go as fast as some people would probably wish I was going because that’s their only like time to like shine and their mountain bike portion of the race. And there I am like, there’s a switch back.

Alison Tetrick (00:28:30):

They were all really nice. And I unclipped a couple of times, let guys like pass and stuff. And they were all just so chill. Like Brian had rocket, you know, you and I came up with a good nutrition strategy, which we adhere. I hear too. But, um, I didn’t spend a lot of time in like worrying about my hand ups and like being fast. Uh, cause that wasn’t the ultimate goal. So I know when you’re racing, you know, you want to like grab quick bottles and use that bags. And I got my Camelback. I had one spare camel back out on course, Andy Pruitt, who Scott raised with us and he finished his 10th blood bill all under like seven 20.

Adam Pulford (00:29:07):


Alison Tetrick (00:29:09):

I know he’s amazing. So he was out there and Andy gave me one Camelback for them. They both knew like I’m going to be way too far behind Scott after that. So that was nice. And then specialized just had their amazing crew out there. And I just stopped at the tents and grabbed bottles. And when I saw somebody, so I didn’t really stash anything else on course, which I thought was an interesting point because people always talk about how fast these aid stations need to be in. Yes. They need to be fast and you’d be efficient, like, or don’t like stop, like sit and have a nap or something. But I, I think I managed it pretty well without like a very concrete plan. Like people are out there. So like CTS was out there. I was looking to use CTS as like another resource if I needed it and turned out I had enough, but I didn’t need to like stash things.

Alison Tetrick (00:29:50):

I carried all my food on my person. Like I had a little snack pack on my helmet too. Like my little light frame bag by the line, but on my snacks in there. And I’m a camel bag. Like I wasn’t grabbed, you know what I mean? So I don’t know. I just think sometimes people make that sound really intimidating to like, I think for 10 hours or whatever I wrote, right. 9, 10, 9. Anyway, I guess I think that like I had, I carried all my food on my person and then I took volunteer stuff and bottles like water was the big one for me, but

Adam Pulford (00:30:19):

Yeah. Yeah. And what I’m doing when I’m doing nutrition, hydration, planning like this for an athlete, it’s always like you plan for okay. About how long they’re going to be out there. And then you plan for like the faster end, if they’re like flowing in doing well. And it’s like, okay, you don’t, you’re not going to, we wouldn’t, we didn’t do this to win. Okay. Now, listen, I already said that. Um, but the thing is you want to be efficient. You want to go through there and if it’s like, you’re flowing and you’re in a good group, you don’t want to lose that group. Right. Because you want to keep going. So it’s just like super efficient, get your things. But then the plan, the reason why we have the plan is so that it’s already in your brain before race day. Because if you don’t have a plan and you show up, you’re like going to grab all the things where you’re like, no, I don’t need anything. I’m cool. And then you like are halfway up the hill climb. You’re like, oh wait, I should’ve grabbed a bottle. You know? So it’s like, just like anything else, a good plan is, you know, those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Yeah,

Alison Tetrick (00:31:14):

Yeah. That’s right. Yeah.

Adam Pulford (00:31:15):

That’s right. I said that, right? Yeah. I thought we’d have to do an edit on that. Yeah. Cool. Um, so anyway, so yeah, so the plan worked, that was good. Um, but the way that we were moving just a little bit on the slow end, but we still wanted to have a good day. So you start climbing Columbine and your ex you’re a good climber. So that’s your jam? Is that altitude? How do you like historically, how do you respond to altitude? Like in all the bike races,

Alison Tetrick (00:31:36):

I’m notoriously awful at altitude. Um, awful, but, uh, I’d actually in all my racing, like I would do altitude camps into altitude and we actually didn’t see any performance benefits at altitude from that. But usually when I came back to sea level, I was like, literally like on the podium and world championships type stuff, like really good. Um, so I’m a call the poor border, but a good responder. I think that’s what we kind of called it. Right. I’m a good responder. And this is how the longest. So we went into altitude four or five weeks before, like we were above, you know, starting the truck. I live in Petaluma. So California going up to Tahoe, the first stop and then, uh, to salt lake. So kind of keep stepping up. Um, and then to Boulder and, you know, that’s the one all went wrong, but like, I think, um, yeah, I’m not good at altitude, but this actually helped.

Alison Tetrick (00:32:31):

I did notice. I mean, you lose some training graded. I had a really bad lead up into it, but, um, none of our faults, which we can go, but, um, I didn’t have any of that panic of being at 10,000 feet when I was there. So I did notice I had less of that, like anxiety inducing, like panic, when you go to breathe and you don’t have enough oxygen. So I think we did a really good job with the altitude prep itself. Like two weeks. I know doesn’t cut it for me. That’s why we went on the longer side four weeks kind of, because that’s when I started to actually notice a difference. But when we do that, we also sacrifice a little bit of the trainee. Right. Cause you can’t go hard when you get to altitude at first. Cause I will just take me to whole.

Adam Pulford (00:33:13):

Yup. Yup. And that’s a balance of it. All right. Like knowing, knowing you felt like crap historically or like a poor performer at altitude, even though I wouldn’t say that it’s necessarily true, but um, you’re not getting the benefit at altitude. I knew that increased exposure time would help for your pacing and also make you feel better because a lot of the mechanisms that regulate altitude are actually in the brain and the more exposure time, especially native exposure time, you have their training, sleeping, all the things. Cool. Body’s good with it. Um, and because you do respond to that, um, it as well, we, we know that, uh, being up there at altitude is going to be beneficial for you. Combine that with the fact that we’re not going for the, when I was, you know, we weren’t overly focused on like, Hey, we need some supplemental oxygen training or something like whatever. So all good. All good. What’s your climate and you’re a good pacer. You’re a good climber. Um, you’re heading up to Columbine. It’s beautiful. Tell us more about that.

Alison Tetrick (00:34:12):

Oh, it was so great. You know, and teach all it told me how much I was going to wild Columbine and it was my jam. Right. It was just so nice. Gentle climb, you know, aspens and just beautiful. Oh my goodness. It was so beautiful. And that was the other cool thing about not going like desperate, full, like full gas. Um, I really enjoyed the views of like Leadville. I thought it was just that whole, like the whole course. It is a lot of Outback, but like it’s a different view each way you go. And I thought it was beautiful. Um, so I loved it. I got to the top and then you hit that last, what mile and a half to the top of Columbine. And I didn’t realize what that looked like. You told me that was chunky and there was a line I could ride it and I look up and just soon as one person on clips, you unclip. And then we’re just all like hiking our bikes at what, 12,000 feet. And you know, it was so fun going up Columbine too. Cause I see all my friends racing and they like, and I get it to, for them like men and women alive. Like it was so cool. You know, everyone’s just having so much fun out there maybe. Cause they don’t know where we are.

Adam Pulford (00:35:13):

Yeah. It’s a really unique experience because for uh, I mean many people know what Leadville is. Some people don’t, it’s an Outback to 50 mile on back and the very turnaround point is up at 12,000 feet. And, and like you said, if you’re on a certain pace that is like probably not. It’s like probably if you’re not top 30 or top 40, there’s just a lot of walking up there. So, you know, uh, Allison’s in the conga line of sorts, hiking, probably high-fiving all the thing. And then they get, you have people coming down on your left, right. For like full cause they’re going for, they’re going for the podium.

Alison Tetrick (00:35:49):

Yeah. Yeah.

Adam Pulford (00:35:52):

It’s crazy.

Alison Tetrick (00:35:53):

Yeah. It is so fun. Um, it just you’re walking and then I didn’t realize that we’re actually walking on the line until I came down. That that’s a line you want to ride because I’m looking as we’re walking. I’m like, I don’t want to ride that. Oh no. And I’m looking at people like we’re going to come down this. And I kind of like Adam and I was like, is there a tiny chip? Can I turn around now? Like, can I just, how much do you want to just turn around right there? You’re like, wait, I have to walk another mile. And then I had to ride down this on this chunky, chunky, the section was awful, like where you had to ride and bless their hearts were all walking on the place. You want to ride your bike, but we’re walking in the way, like, you know, obeying the rules of the road. But yeah, that was a whole nother thing. I was like, I’m going to walk. Cause I was like, I’m gonna walk. It’s not going to make it. But um,

Adam Pulford (00:36:41):

All right. So, so you get up to the top, you turn around what happens up there?

Alison Tetrick (00:36:45):

Um, yeah, I kind of had a moment. I looked at the view said thanks to the volunteers, you know, and people, some people are like very frantic, you know, they’re trying to make their, their goal, which is amazing. Um, I would grab some snacks cause I had snacks. So I grabbed some snacks. Um, also didn’t want to spend too long if there I was very shaky, actually. I just don’t think I realized, you know, you’re, you’re a ways into this. You’re halfway, but you’re, it’s a negative split events. So you’re actually well over halfway, I believe at this point, not by miles, but by duration. And um, then I start going down with my snacks and I’m like still terrified of what I saw climbing up just that lap. Like, and then I’m going down and I made a lot of jokes. I look, and there was like a thousand people like dominoes.

Alison Tetrick (00:37:26):

Like I saw them literally as it’s like, like either deck like stacked cards or dominoes, like, and they were just, and they’re all being so nice. Like Allie, like you got this and also telling me like, don’t go over your comfort level, like stay safe. And I start cracking jokes like, oh, will you catch me if I fall? And I just imagined me crashing into these and watching all these people just go like, like Domino’s going down the hill. And I was like, oh no, I don’t trust myself enough to do this. And so I actually unclipped and left cause then I had people passing me on the descent and that was only very short. It was a very, very top. Right. It’s a very short little part of that descent, but it was, um, it was nerve wracking because I didn’t want to put somebody else in danger.

Alison Tetrick (00:38:07):

Like over myself even I just was like, I don’t know if I trust myself, what if a rock moves and I’m going down it. And then I like slip into this poor person. That’s just trying to like get to the top. Um, and then once it opens back up, I mean, that’s awesome. But the talk was actually another thing that we talked about when we make these big iconic things, you talked about the two way line on Columbine. And I was like, yeah, that’s fine. And then I was like, oh no, this is like, the things I learned was power line was worse than I thought. And the Columbine top part was way worse. I was trying to give everyone the benefit of the doubt for being dramatic. And then there I am going, what in the world?

Adam Pulford (00:38:45):

You know, I, I will say like the top of Columbine dissent as you’re flying down and people are coming up, it’s, it’s always been a very mysterious thing to me because I don’t, I’m sure it’s happened where somebody’s coming down and does run into somebody coming up. I’ve never heard of it happening. I always kind of like worried about it, but at the same time, it’s it’s mountain bikers. And it’s like, you have like, those people are cheering for you and like you’re coming down and you’re just like, you know, bars to the one side and they come down with like, yeah. Bars to the other side. You’re like, yeah, man. And you don’t want to hit them, but I’ve also never thought of hitting somebody. And then the domino effect going down, if I ever do the race again, I probably probably won’t get that out of my mind.

Alison Tetrick (00:39:25):

All of them is like little card soldiers, you know? Like, and that the people suddenly didn’t become faces. They became like, you know, like a stack dominoes, but yet they were like little soldier people, you know, are you just like flick it? And they all go. I was like, I’m going to be that person that like ruins Leadville, like people, other people ruined gravel, but suddenly I’m going to be the gravel racer that ruins Leadville

Adam Pulford (00:39:46):

Tetrick ruins Leadville. I can see that. Yeah. Okay. So we’re coming down and yeah, this, um, this stretch we’re talking about, not even a mile, maybe a mile.

Alison Tetrick (00:39:57):

Yeah. Maybe it’s a mile

Adam Pulford (00:39:58):

Maybe. I don’t know, whatever. So then we get down on, on gravel roads through the aspens going down. Cool.

Alison Tetrick (00:40:05):

Everything was great. Everything was awesome. Cause then you kind of seen it all. And once I got to the aspens again and back in the big gravel roads, I was like, oh man, back in it, we’re fine. I mean, I personally don’t love descending with two-way traffic. So I was probably a lot more cautious than my normal, very highly cautious state. Uh, you know, you just, what if somebody, you know, people are getting real tired out there too, so, um,

Adam Pulford (00:40:28):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Truth be told, like tell all situations here. Um, people are super tired and also, I would say a lot of people think that they’re way better descenders than they are coming down that thing. And it’s gravel and they’re like, yeah, man, I’ve seen people fly off into the aspens there I’ve overcooked corners personally. And you also don’t know what’s coming up. So it’s like, even if you think that you’re a great descender, you don’t know like who’s tired and coming up that other side. So it’s like, you really do have to be careful.

Alison Tetrick (00:40:54):

Yeah. Yeah. I mean the race, isn’t one in loss there technically. But um, so I mean, yeah, I was kind of on hyper alert. Um, but once that was over, then it was just awesome. Again, you know, you’re back to the grind and you know, you and I train a lot for the grind, so there’s really nothing between there and like power line. And I was kinda nervous about power light. I mean, the rest was just, you know,

Adam Pulford (00:41:16):

Power line. Yeah.

Alison Tetrick (00:41:19):

Yeah. And the funny thing is, is on, I’m like riding on this pavement sections in the wind and I was feeling great. And since I didn’t descend very well, according to any standard, um, at all, um, I’m like a rock star in my groups. I’m seeing people and I’m not like, I’m like get on my wheel, let’s go at all those headwinds I was doing like, this is opposite of what you should do in bike racing. But I’m like, come on, I’ll slow down, like get on. And I’m just like bringing party buses with me, but then they’re like, we don’t want to ride with you anymore. Like, this is really hard. I’m like, oh, sorry, but this is so fun. And um, yeah, so I I’m like seeing Lance on course and he’s like a couple trees back, like holding whiskey. He’s like, and I’m like, you’re a weirdo.

Alison Tetrick (00:42:01):

Like also I did not want to whiskey, which meant I was feeling great. Like, I like didn’t even like take the like whiskey end up. I was like, nah, like I know, I know that way to the end, but I like it was everyone on course was so great. And then we go up power line and I, there was this one woman that just like leans over and whispers in my ear. Like not whispered, but like really like, but like kind of close in and not yelling. And she’s like, and I’m like writing it. And I’m like, man, I feel great. I heard like riding power lines really hard. Like the steep thing, like the little wall part and I’m writing it and writing it. And I’m like, and the more people are getting excited and the people I’m passing that are walking are getting really excited and everyone was just so happy. And they’re like kind of running alongside, which is granted faster than my writing. Right.

Adam Pulford (00:42:50):

It’s a very slow section folks.

Alison Tetrick (00:42:52):

And this will make tons in my ear. And she’s like, you were so strong, you were inspirational. Like thank you. And I was like, oh my goodness, I can’t fall over now. Like I gotta like show her how strong I am and I don’t know what actually worked. And she said it so emphatically, like she meant it. So sincerely, I don’t know who she was, but I was like, I’m fricking gonna climb this. And it was awesome. And then I was like, cool, I guess I feel good now. And I thought Adam’s gonna be so proud of me. I feel good. Like I’m going to finish really strong. And that was like one of the best parts, like climbing that and then climbing the pavement climb, which is super fun. And then it was just getting home from there. And I just met somebody friends, like, and it’s funny cause you know, guys are bombed down me on the descent and then I’m like passing on the climbs are like, man, Tetra, get it right next time. You’re doing it wrong. You know, we’re heckling. And I just had such a positive experience. And then when I finished, it’s a hard finished by the way. Like, I don’t know if they’ve always done this. Like they put a wall in there like five, six miles to go that I didn’t expect. I thought it was in kind of that pavement finish that we came out on and it’s totally different than how you went out, which I should have written it, but that’s back to our lessons learned.

Alison Tetrick (00:44:03):

But I, um, yeah, I just finishing, I was actually so proud of myself, like getting across that finish line. Like I actually kind of got tears in my eyes. I was really excited. Yeah. Like I was, cause I was happy. You know? It wasn’t like result like how you asked, like we were an hour and 10 minutes off my goal time, but you know,

Adam Pulford (00:44:22):

No, it’s, it’s, it’s always an emotional day out there. Like for, for us at the front end, you know, with Keegan at the backend with everybody else, like everybody goes through those emotions. And I said this to one of my writers here in DC is like, you know, I really do think Leadville is probably one of the more challenging one day events out there. It has this like mystique about it. Some people like, you know, complained because it’s not really a mountain by course, like I said before, but like it’s extreme altitude. It’s super high in. It’s always given you punches right. When you don’t need them, including the Boulevard, whether it is at like wall toward the end. Uh, which always hurts, definitely pushes me in the face. Uh, for sure. Um, so you get, so you get there, you have all the emotions you’re at the finish where’s blaze at this point, you’re at the finish line, whereas place.

Alison Tetrick (00:45:11):

So I’m at the finish line and I’m like, Adam, like I literally was telling you, it’s like, and this is like, I, you please edit this. If it’s such, first-world princess problems over here. But I get to the finish

Adam Pulford (00:45:24):

Line here on the train ride podcast.

Alison Tetrick (00:45:28):

I get there. And I’m like, this is the first time I’ve finished these types of it’s an event like this where there’s um, like I’m holding my bike and they give me a water and I’m like, it’s not a beer. And like, I didn’t have a friend at the finish line. Like no one handed me a beer, no one took my bike. They’re like good job. Like in the volunteers are so lovely, but they’re like good jobs. You know? I’m like, where’s, there’s no beer, there’s no bike take away. Like we’re supposed to go. And then I like sit on the ground and this woman like asks if I’m okay. And I’m like, I felt great, but I like pull out my phone and find my friends to see where blazes and he’s 27 miles away. And I’m like, oh boy, he has the keys to the truck. Um, on his person, like we did stash them air. Um, he also has my meal and drink tickets on his person in his wallet. And um, there you have it. So the finish was interesting. So I sat there for a while. Um, I had it my credit card, my ID of course my pocket. And I went to a hotdog stand. I bought a $4 hot dog and I just would keep sitting in the finished gate and I don’t know where to go. And I looked back and I was like 18 miles to go. I’m like, oh, this is we’re in it. Like this is going to be a while

Alison Tetrick (00:46:52):

I was confused. Um, everyone’s great. There’s a lot of emotion and long story short. Um, I did the Olympic recap with the, um, the mood podcast with Lance and, and so I’m like now I feel like I’m worrying the people in the finished gate cause I’m still sitting there. So they think I’m like, bill, I just didn’t know where to go.

Adam Pulford (00:47:13):

The weird person that’s like over here than over there. And then over here again, and then they’re like, whoa,

Alison Tetrick (00:47:19):

I think there’s a whole festival I could go do. Yeah. But I’m just sitting there because I don’t know where to go. I’m really wanting to get out of my Shammy. Right. Like I’d been in it a long

Adam Pulford (00:47:27):

Time after 10 hours. Yes. Yeah. I was

Alison Tetrick (00:47:30):

Like, I want to get out. And so I’m like all my fine, I’ll just go back on course. Adam’s going to kill me, but I’ll just ride backwards and find blaze and then riding with him, make sure he’s okay. And then he lose a service. Of course, in the find my friend is freezing and um, and then I’m just going in some dude that’s, you know, nice job on the podcast alley with Lance, your buddies down there. And I was like, I can go get that whiskey now. So I go down, get the whiskey, get a full Swan year, you know, like then, you know, make, make them go to work a little bit. And then, uh,

Alison Tetrick (00:48:06):

Got that hung out. And he’s looking for Anna and um, you know, I’m hanging out with the team there, the, we do team and that was really cool. And I was like, wow. And I told him, I was like, you were just like weird, like in the, in the trees. He’s like, well, I’m kind of like one of those people now it’s like, okay, fair enough. You know? And uh, he gets on the motorbike and goes and finds blaze on course and goes, find Anna. And then he texts me and tells me like we’re blazes and the super cool.

Adam Pulford (00:48:32):

And he got it on his, he got on his dirt bike and went and found blaze that’s actually,

Alison Tetrick (00:48:37):

Yeah, it was super cute. And uh, and the blades,

Adam Pulford (00:48:41):

Did he get the keys or what? He’s just like your motor paced

Alison Tetrick (00:48:44):

Got the keys. He did it. He just said like, he’s gonna make it. And blaze made the cutoff by 14 minutes. Um, he hadn’t eaten anything in six hours and he was dry heaving up power line. Um, but blaze made the cutoff like super proud of them. It was awesome. And

Alison Tetrick (00:49:05):

I know, and then I’m like, we cried, you know, like you’re both crying. I was just so proud of him. And then he’s, he’s got this buddy that was riding with them. That was crying. His partner was crying. I’m like, this is a really cool day. Like super cool, like so much emotion. And there’s so much out there even when you’re not. So anyone that ever wants to do the event, I’m think I’m one and done, unless somebody really twist my arm, which apparently just takes a text message, but on I’m pretty sure I’m one and done, but it was, it was awesome. But yeah. So I think we did really well as a team. You and I, Adam preparing, um, granted I got sick and then crashed twice leading into it, but we didn’t even get into that. But you know, all plans.

Adam Pulford (00:49:45):

Yeah. All, uh, all the best plans. Um, however, Alison, even though I thought this podcast would only go about 30 to 40 minutes, we went long, but there are some learnings here that I do want to bring up because, um, the, the lead in to all of this is actually, I think, where this episode is going to shine, because for those of you who think that, you know, a pro-rider always has like the best support or all the bikes or the greatest lead in, it’s not the case. It’s not the case for Leadville, even though, uh, we had really good plans. So, um, you know, clearly Leadville it. It’s, uh, it’s a very important race for me. I mean, it’s, I think one of the greatest challenges out there, even though I don’t know if I’ll ever do it again myself, but this one is super unique in that.

Adam Pulford (00:50:33):

So with Alison doing it for the first time, I was like, okay, here’s what we need to do. But like, I think we did the altitude, right? So here’s like a list of things we did. Right. Here’s the things that we didn’t do so well. And then we’ll get into like the big woopsie. So, uh, altitude, I think we did it right. The duration, the time spent all the things pre-writing, it was non-existent, but pre-writing is very important in, in the mountain bike world. Because even if we go back to a team, director days bleed into professional team, I mean, we would literally get to the courses on Wednesday or Thursday. We would pre-write Thursday, Friday, we would race Saturday, Sunday, and onward. We go. And so pre-writing was always like the biggest thing that we did, whether it’s a short course, long course, cross country, whatever. And so this, so I was like, Alison, we need to pre-read we need to prepare, okay, what’s the plan. Okay. When you hit in the road, when you get into Leadville and it’s like, no, we’re doing Tahoe, this, this, this, and then we get to Boulder and we were going to pre-write but what happened Allison?

Alison Tetrick (00:51:32):

Oh, so we got to Boulder and I, um, took myself on a bike ride on my gravel bike, you know, queen and gravel over here did some bike path riding. Yep. And, um, I’m on pavement and I missed the bike path, looking for the Lobo trail, Longmont, I think Boulder trail. And I miss it and I just flipped my bike real quick. Like oopsie missed the, like where that bike path goes. And I hit gravel of the pavement and just crash and just bleeding from every, you know, joint in my body. Um, and then I had to like the ride of shame before, like I’m four miles away from the house and staying at my friend’s house and do the four mile bike path ride where Instagram leader was like, we saw you bleeding in Boulder, you know? So that happened. That was like Monday and then Friday, I’m like, I’m still kind of recovering from this big old sinus head cold thing.

Alison Tetrick (00:52:25):

I got, I freaked out. It was COVID I went and got a COVID test. Of course it wasn’t. Um, but that’s what we do now, apparently. Um, and I hadn’t been sick in a year, which was great, probably due to all this stuff. Excuse you. Get on the road. I got sick. So any head cold, be crashed yourself out on a bike path and then see really embarrassing go and do the specialized Boulder Friday. TGI, thank God. It’s gravel ride type thing or gravel it’s Friday. I don’t know what it’s called, but something TGIS Friday ride. I’m like, I don’t even know if I wouldn’t say this out loud, but I was Instagramming

Alison Tetrick (00:53:03):

One hand on the gravel road, Instagraming hit washboard. And I would down again on my road, rash got run over, but this crash was actually one of the harder ones in my career. So cracked my helmet. I’m bleeding from my eyebrow, my cheek, my chin, all the road, rash on the road, rash still have a hit. Like I still have a hematoma on my hip. I hit really hard. And I just remember going, I hit my head, I hit my head and blades and t-tell and Heather were out there and they’re staring at me. They’re like, yeah, we know, but I didn’t realize like my whole face is gushing blood and my helmet is like dangling. And that was really rough. And then I told you, um, and that next day we were going to go pre ride with, you know, the king of Leadville Scott t-tell himself. Right. And he’s like, yeah, we’re not writing tomorrow our way.

Alison Tetrick (00:53:51):

So, um, all great plans. And that’s when you were well, you’re gonna ride Sunday. And then I woke up Sunday and still my head was like a little like mom. I was like, I think at this point I can’t race if I ride right now. So I need to just recover. Um, which really sucked. And we didn’t know if I was even going to do Leadville honestly, but it was, I was having a really hard time with it. Cause it the whole led boat thing. Right. And I’d been planning for this and it was kinda my big goal to enjoy that weekend and to have that almost taken away from me by my own apparently fault.

Adam Pulford (00:54:23):

Well, yeah, no for sure. And that, and that’s the thing like once, so once we actually called and talked to each other and I realized what happened, I was like, oh yeah, okay. Yeah, I know it was like editing training peaks and it’s like, okay, no, don’t, pre-read like rest, take care of yourself. Like chill out it. Yeah. I know it was also like, we might not do this, you know, I dunno. I don’t think I ever told you that, but I was like, we might not do this and that’s okay. Because, um, for any of you or for any listeners who have heard, uh, Alison on other podcasts, like she has had traumatic, uh, brain issues from crashes in the past. And when you hit your noggin again, after you’ve hit it so many times, you’re like, wait, my, I still here. I think it’s kinda is real scary.

Alison Tetrick (00:55:06):

I mean, a lot of it’s the physical, like that actually happens to you. And then a lot of it’s the mental, like I was terrified. I think that night, I mean, I just kept waking up and cry. I knew some of it was out of pain and a lot of it was just out of like complete fear, like fear of am I going to be okay? Am I going to go back to the third place? Like, it’s not about Leadville anymore. It’s about like my overall health and wellbeing. And that goes back to our balance. Like I don’t mind having a thousand bowling balls, bless our hearts are cheering me on amazingly down power line. If I’m choosing my health over a result, like I always choose health over results. Um, but it was really scary so that we did not do well. That is not our fault. Except Instagram. I should not have been Instagramming.

Adam Pulford (00:55:47):

Yeah, exactly, exactly. Yeah. That shouldn’t have been Instagramming, but um, you know, crashes, I mean, it’s, it’s never very rarely is it someone’s fault in all the things, but I think what we did well was just like take the pressure off and make sure that you were healthy. Cause it was like, Hey, you’re driving the ship like this year decision. And also knew that you had good people around you to help make that decision. Um, so yeah, I, I think that that’s in all the people that were maybe riding around you or, or maybe, I dunno, like saw the result of led boat and all the things like they probably didn’t know that you had like two, not only one crazy crash, but like two crashes leading into this whole thing, you know, and that’s like nuts before and then, oh, by the way, you still did lead boat. What’s up.

Alison Tetrick (00:56:31):

Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, that’s what we, um, we, we could learn from that. I mean maybe, you know, crashes are fluky and it was a little freaky. Um, I usually can ride with one hand and be okay, but, um, it was just, it was just a combination, perfect storm type thing. And uh, yeah. And it’s nothing special about this story. It was just kind of overcoming and also being smart about it and making sure we were making good decisions for health wellbeing, you know? Um,

Adam Pulford (00:56:57):

Yeah, no, a hundred percent, a hundred percent. And when it comes to like game day, then in the, we already talked about nutrition, hydration, and that was solid. But I, you know, I think for our listeners as well is one thing I learned, this is probably leading into Unbound or coming off of Unbound because coaching you for years and always being like, oh yeah, she’s got this, you know, we, we know how to do hydration, nutrition, stuff like this. There’s been some new products that came out and I was like here, Alison let’s try this ahead of time. We had a conversation about nutrition and you’re like, oh yeah, by the way, I really haven’t been taken like carbohydrates and sport drink almost. I’m like, huh, what? And so it opened up leg, this diet, uh, this dialogue to revisit race nutrition and hydration and super weird because you are, you had commented about like post race, having like this post race kind of like poofiness or bloat and all this kind of stuff. I was like, oh my God, this is why, because you haven’t been fueling yourself. So can you tell us a little bit about what we changed there?

Alison Tetrick (00:58:00):

Yeah. So it was after I’m just remembering, it was after gravel Locos, which was May 22nd, 150 miles, Texas. I’m in Heico Texas wonderful event, free community events. And um, and I was just telling you, I faded a little bit in the last seven miles. Um, I, and I, I believe finished second. I tied for second with death, Sarah, it was a fun event, but you were like, what did you eat? And I pull everything out of my pockets and I’m like telling you what I ate. And you’re like, um, wrong ratio, like not enough at all. Um, so you came up with a nutrition plan for me going into Unbound, which was about a week later. Um, and we discovered two more, the more carbohydrates, the butter, but at my stomach, what I was telling you was my stomach was having a hard time with it.

Alison Tetrick (00:58:48):

Um, so, and you said you’ve noticed it and it’s me vanity and also not feeling well, but you just get, I got really bloated. I had one Unbound feeling just like, literally my stomach is just out here and I’m puffy and super bloated. And I like the food isn’t going through. Like, I feel like it just sits in there. And um, you kale me with that plan. I tried some products I use goo, but it was actually adding more water into that carbohydrate mix. So every time I had a gel, like I basically liquid energy really helped or gels with a little more, um, fluidity and a little more water. And then every time I had a gel, I’d make a mental note, like basically have a bottle of water with your gel or like half a bottle. Like a couple of steps is what you told me, or as much as you can get in and just playing water. And then we tried different carbohydrate mix in the like electrolyte and things. And I actually unbalanced a whole different podcast, but I think that’s actually why I pushed myself probably too far and Unbound. Cause I think we got nutrition so dialed, like I don’t think I’ve ever felt that good. And I carried that knowledge into Leadville and my like I felt great. Um, and I finished strong and I think we really worked on that nutrition plan, which was very beneficial.

Adam Pulford (00:59:56):

Yeah. And I mean, this is, uh, a tell all podcast of, well, no, no I’ll admit my shortcomings is because, you know, we’re you have, again, like I’ve known you for, I don’t even know how many years when working with you for several years and, and it’s like, you have this, um, race plan and it’s like, okay, it’s, it’s doing, you know, it’s doing just fine. Cause we’re still winning. We’re doing this then COVID happen. And then I think a lot of our habits got off like, you know, multiple people’s, either nutrition, training, communication, whatever. So it was like that, that catalyst of conversation coming up to like, wait, what? And um, but then after that, yeah, notice a huge tick up in performance. Um, both in training and at races and then you, it was noticeable to like, um, in your body, like post race. So you’re just like as boofy and you were like recovering faster between races, which is what we needed to have this huge block of, of riding and everything that we did. So yeah, I, I was, I was like, coach, what are you not doing?

Alison Tetrick (01:00:55):

You had too much faith in the, as a professional, but I do know what I’m doing, but sometimes, you know, I need to be reminded

Adam Pulford (01:01:04):

Exactly. Alison let’s circle back to the new bike situation. Um, I actually think that like being how tall you are and then like the, um, uh, your leg length and the reach and everything like overall, it was pretty solid, um, over the court. Like once you got to the finish line and like any aches and pains with red in this new bike or anything, no,

Alison Tetrick (01:01:24):

I was super comfortable. Um, so I was pretty happy with the bike dialed. Um, it would probably stay around for a while. Now my borrowed light might not go back.

Adam Pulford (01:01:36):

I love it. Yeah. That’s what I like to hear. But you know, so the learnings there, I think for listeners as well as like there’s no hard and fast rules when it comes to like bike sizing and some of these geometries, like you truly, you know, use the parameters, go to your local local bike shop and get fit, um, you know, sized up properly, but then go and get a professional fit. And that’s what Alison was talking about, where she got a retool fit for this bike that may not be the perfect size for her, but they had a stem and they dialed in the geometry and all this kind of, so for, uh, for her to put in a huge ride, you know, so don’t freak out about the size of bike.

Alison Tetrick (01:02:12):

No, I think there’s, there’s the touch points that matter, you know, like, and not having to overlap and stuff is safer. Of course, which I, you know, is fine, but I think it’s a touch point. So for me, if my reach, my back didn’t hurt, which is great, my knee, no knee pain, which is great, which means I’ve got my setback, right. The saddle height. Right. So I was like, my main concern usually is this pressure points. And then you go into the performance aspect, but I think sometimes we do overthink things as well. And so I think another thing you and I learned a lot was about adaptability and flexibility and you can plan all you can. And then, you know, I’m sitting in an anthill with a broken helmet and, you know, curious, summarizing and

Adam Pulford (01:02:48):

Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And before all this too, I mean, we put some time on this bike. Um, we knew like, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll be honest with you, Alison, I did not think that you were going to get the Q O D downtown downed power line. Like it just, wasn’t going to be your, your strength. So I wasn’t super concerned about that. However, descending could we have done a better, could we have put more time? Sure. Could we have done like maybe, I don’t know, found a skills clinic, Collins kind of stuff, how we could have went super nuts with it. We didn’t looking back on it. Should we have done something more AB but at the same time, like, uh, Leadville, I mean, besides that downhill section of power line, I don’t know your descending skills are just fine. Other than that, right?

Alison Tetrick (01:03:35):

Yeah. It was fine. I mean, yes, we could have done things a little better. Um, also though, you know, we’ve, we’ve put pressure on me when that was needed in a lot of other races and events. And, you know, as you’ve known me the last 10,000 years, um, that sometimes too, it was actually kind of fun to be a novice and, and laugh about my, you know, shortness, I guess in a way like, yes, I would like to do it differently. Um, I think we put it on better, but also that you were giving me that space to explore and have fun without the, you know, high pressure. But I think preparation is always key. Yeah.

Adam Pulford (01:04:15):

Yeah. And I think I told you, it’s like on power line, just be funny. Right. And like, let people come around just to like, be funny to those who are coming around you and then everybody will laugh and we’ll be fine. Yeah.

Alison Tetrick (01:04:25):

Yeah. It was totally great. Um, and everyone was so nice, no bad experiences at all. So, and then just remember that too, when you guys are super fast, like, you know, being like, be nice to slow people too, like when you’re, as you’re clogging your line, you know what I mean? We’re not trying to, and it it’s, I actually responded better if, you know, somebody was nice to me back, which everyone was luckily. Um, but right. Like let’s not take ourselves too seriously. It’s riding bikes and then yeah, we can all get better at things.

Adam Pulford (01:04:51):

Yeah, exactly. Um, you know, life on the road. I mean, this was like your longest trip, uh, on the road since COVID. So how was like, how is that and what would you have changed if anything, um, throughout this whole experience. And then the last question of you can even remember how good is it to be home now?

Alison Tetrick (01:05:12):

So nice. Oh, I’m sorry. We were gone over about six weeks and we packed up the truck. We had a lot of intentions. We have a rooftop tent and, you know, a lot of intentions of camping and exploring. And then, um, I AQI now is a word we use every day. So a bunch of fires happening. Um, it’s terrifying. So that kind of limited some of the more mountainous train we were going to. Um, and so on the road, I don’t know if you guys struggle with this too, but I mean, for me back to the puppy, like post raise also, I can just like puffy on the road. Like you’re sitting around, you’re kind of atrophy, you’re eating too much beef jerky or whatever.

Adam Pulford (01:05:49):


Alison Tetrick (01:05:50):

And so we also work full-time jobs. So we’re trying to drive and get to altitude, get to Leadville and still work a full day. And that makes a long drive take a lot longer when you only have four to five hours to drive because you don’t want to completely smash yourself. And you know, you still want to log in from eight to five or whatever your day looks like for blaze. That’s what his day looks like. He’s, you know, needs to be very, um, there and present. I can be a little more flexible. So while he was driving, I was working like tethering and wifi and it turns out the state of Wyoming has like no cell phone service. Um, so that’s stressful

Adam Pulford (01:06:27):

Zero cell phone service

Alison Tetrick (01:06:29):

In the entire state. And so, you know, that, I think though, that that was a really long time. Um, I think we did a good job trying to, you were helping me with figuring out when I could fit in training when my longer drive days are going to be. And then sometimes the weather was really bad and you think, okay, I got the perfect place to ride in Jackson Meiomi and it’s 48 and raining and I sent you photos and like, I’m not writing this stuff, you know?

Adam Pulford (01:06:56):

Yeah. And I think, you know, when people, when they see on Instagram and they’re like, oh, my good friend is living the van life. Now it must be so rad. It’s really, I mean, there’s rad things about it, but it’s the mega looked pretty good on Instagram split that way.

Alison Tetrick (01:07:10):

Yeah. So our first six weeks, I think we only stayed at one spot at max four nights, you know, and that was really, it was really stressful. It was really draining. So coming home was amazing to get back into the schedule. Now I’m like, oh, I go to bed at 10, I get up at seven 30, you know, like I got my routine back, um, watching like Marvel movies when I’m done working, you know, I’m like, okay, life’s okay. Um, but it was, uh, bouncing back. And then that made Lego, like boat, very challenging too. Like you finished Leadville and I’m got to get blaze and I to Steamboat and you know, that’s not like best for recovery or anything. And so it was just a lot of bouncing around. Um, we were definitely ready to come home. So when we left salt lake on Sunday, we did Wasatch on other another good long day in the bike there, the Wasatch all road. Oh, this is how much I liked my mountain bike. I rode my mountain bike at that event. It’s a gravel race. And I was like, I’m just writing. I wrote a full suspension mountain bike. I was like, hell yes. But it was just coming home. Like getting home was like the full 12 hours, like on a Sunday, it’s not a work yet. So just get home and then reset. And then you and I have aligned on just, you know, taking some time off and reprioritizing, like what we want to do and what our like, goals and what we want do.

Adam Pulford (01:08:28):

Yeah. And I think, you know, what I learned from that, I think for you, or a good reminder is we don’t do a lot of stuff off the bike because I’ve suggested numerous things over time. And you’re, you’re like yoga. No, it’s like me and yoga don’t get along. And I’m like, okay. Yeah. And then when we go into like off season, it’s like, I’m running with my sister and I’m like, oh my God. And it’s because you’re, you guys just go along your, your endurance engines are big. And so all you want to do is go for that nine mile run and then we’re just sore for a week. So when we just talked about this last week is just bringing in something that is different than the bike off the bike. And so it’ll be kind of a combination of some strength training, activation work and this kind of thing in my whole goal without, and this is also like on me as I like learning as a coach too, and, or a good reminders is like, oh yeah, this will definitely help with going back life on the road.

Adam Pulford (01:09:22):

Right. Doing something when it’s rainy out doing something that will help with the cycling that could bring down some of that poofiness. And the proofing is the information when you’re on the road, you’re just, you’re not moving as much. You do. Your training inflammation comes in to repair the training. Then you sit, you’re not as mobile as you are like at home. And you’re sitting there in one space. So the inflammation doesn’t move around. Like it normally does when you’re normally moving. So it’s not the say the inflammation is bad. We just, we feel poofy. And we associate with bad because our joints don’t move as much. And we don’t look great right when we’re poofy. And so by moving and having some of this, that’s not a bike ride, you know, to add more stress to the system, it takes, you know, it takes away stress from the system of sorts. So that’s one thing that actually we’re going to start doing as we, as we roll forward. Another learning, if you will.

Alison Tetrick (01:10:10):

I know my only caveat was that you had blades go with me. Cause I was like, I need an accountability partner because me doing anything off the bike is it’s hard. You know, like we, we ride so many hours or I ride a lot of hours and then so I had that time off and then you want to me to like exercise more and I don’t, so we’ll see how this goes.

Adam Pulford (01:10:30):

Yeah. I just assumed by the way, like anything I tell you to do basically blazes right there with you. So again, sorry, blaze, but you’re also welcome, but it’s also not training. That’s the thing it’s supplementary, but we’ll, we’ll talk more about that. Um, you know, I think the last few things I’ll say is, um, you know, managing work while you’re also raising your bike. I mean, that’s actually something that I’ve, uh, respected, um, of you for all the years, you know, whether it’s, uh, on the pro tour or doing super epic, silly things in the mountains now. So what’s your advice to listeners on, because majority of our listeners they’re working, they’re trying to do the same thing you are. So how do you do it? And what advice do you give for those trying to do the same thing?

Alison Tetrick (01:11:16):

You’re going to laugh because you know, I’m going to, I disobeyed this advice quite a bit. Um, but I think the best thing too is, is not comparing yourself to others. So sometimes Strava is probably the worst app for me to look at, because then I get anxious about if I’m doing enough. Um, and just to kind of know, you are enough, you are doing enough and to do an, a big event like Leadville or Unbound, you know, these are really big bucket list events that they’re very long. They take a lot of mental duration, you know, like all those mental and physical like strain. I dunno all that, but you don’t have to go out and go ride 12 hours to make the 12 hour Leadville put off, you know, like you, there’s ways you can prioritize training. And once again, like I use, um, CTS, and obviously you especially had them to help me with that efficiency.

Alison Tetrick (01:12:04):

So, you know, I have my like couple of pillars, you know, I never liked to miss my group ride. And then the rest of that, we just pepper in what’s most efficient. And what phase of training we’re at, but do not compare yourself to others to find those goals that actually inspire you. And then putting your family first is really important too. Like some days that means, and I told you, like, I just pitched, like I had a pitch of my life the other week and I’m like training to wash for the next two days out. I’m like, I’m going to go get this big girl, big girl job tomorrow. And I’m going to get this gig and that’s okay. And you know what? I still can ride my bike really well. So I think it’s, it’s that it’s finding that balance and then giving yourself grace, when you miss a workout, because you’re doing the right thing, like maybe work was stressful or your family needs you. And I think there’s that balance of when to push yourself and when to let yourself like allow to miss things or have that fun or treat or whatever.

Adam Pulford (01:12:55):

Yeah. That’s it, it’s, it’s almost as a think about this in probably have to bounce more ideas off you, but it’s like deciding when the appropriate time periods for being out of balances, whether that, you know, out of balance and training out of balance and work out of balance and sleep and recovery, right? Like it’s just like, there’s, there’s really no balance, but uh, you know, finding it all w in what works for you and what works with the family, I think is super, super important. So, um,

Alison Tetrick (01:13:25):

Yeah, because I’ve performed better sometimes when you’re out of balance is like different than the balance you thought it was supposed to be like, maybe I don’t feel as fit, but I’m happier. And then my priorities are better. So I agree that sometimes though, too, you can surprise yourself. And then what do you think it’s all right. If you’ve got it out of balance in the wrong way, where you’re not making friends and you’re living this very solo individual focus life, then it’s, it doesn’t even, you don’t enjoy it as much too. So there’s, there’s this weird way to like, well, I didn’t, you guys, you know, you and D and used to tell me it was like too. It’s like, sometimes if, if you don’t feel good, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it too. I also think that like some days I go out there, I can’t believe he gave me this workout. Like man, and I feel awful. And then I just go and crush it and I’m like, oh, I can do this. You know? So

Adam Pulford (01:14:10):

All I was to say is like, usually when you’re going really good and really fast and producing some of your best power, you are not feeling good. You personally. Yeah. And multiple people too. And then you come back and you look at the data and this is why the data’s important is, is like, okay, this is why you’re not feeling good. You just hit a peak performance all the time. You’re like, oh, cool. I guess, but it’s still really hard.

Alison Tetrick (01:14:31):

I know blames always tells me, he’s like, I’m like, I don’t feel good today. He’s like, you never feel good on your bike. And when I read people’s once again, back to not comparing yourself to others, like I read people, like, I feel really fit going into this race. I’ve been so repaired, never in my life. I ever felt like really good going into a race, like in my entire career. Like, I’m always like, oh, I feel a little tired If you’re overaggressive too. You’re like, I don’t know. I might not be very sharp.

Adam Pulford (01:14:57):

Right. Well, the cyclists have that issue. And then for you too, it’s like the couple days leading up in the pre-write and stuff, you’re like, oh, I feel blocked up. Oh, feel good? And like, perfect. Yeah. We’ll go real good on Saturday then. Yeah, Exactly. Well, Alison, I think we’re about to wrap. I would say the final, probably learning that I got from this podcast to cast out to the listeners is if you’re going to do a long, epic race or a long epic ride, maybe bring along the duplicate key. Yeah. Spare set of keys, and everybody carries their own

Alison Tetrick (01:15:33):

Meal and drink ticket keys

Adam Pulford (01:15:37):

Meal, drink ticket keys. Okay, perfect. Have this next plan, have the keys planned and it all will end well,

Alison Tetrick (01:15:43):

Yeah, I maybe don’t do two back to back, you know, a hundred and some crazy miles

Adam Pulford (01:15:50):

And we scratched the surface of led boat. So maybe, maybe we just have multiple podcasts rolling out here of all the crazy crap you’re doing. But, um, I think we just really want to talk about Leadville today and get the, the fresh story, um, hot off the press from you. And, um, you also have more things to do with your life than sit here and talk on a podcast. So

Alison Tetrick (01:16:12):

To do today, I know you got to

Adam Pulford (01:16:15):

Upper end stuff, short and sweet man. Trying to get that back up there,

Alison Tetrick (01:16:19):

Keep talking, keep talking to procrastinate.

Adam Pulford (01:16:23):

That’s a blazer. Uh, make sure she does them. Okay.

Alison Tetrick (01:16:28):

So I highest powers when I’m chasing them on the sprints. That’s what he’s better at than you that’s for sure.

Adam Pulford (01:16:34):

Exactly. Well, cool. Alison, thank you for joining us once again on the train ride podcast, uh, I just really appreciate your time and go out there and do your sprints. All right.

Alison Tetrick (01:16:45):

Thanks coach. Thanks.

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