Payson McElveen

Payson McElveen: Addicted To The Process

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About this episode:
In this week’s episode, Adam interviews professional off-road cyclist Payson McElveen, talking with him about his training, how he’s dealing with the Coronavirus health crisis as a professional athlete, and what he has in store for the future.

Guest Bio – Payson McElveen:

Payson began his racing career in 2007 and developed his passion for the sport in the Texas State Championship Series. At 17 he traveled with USA Cycling to Germany where he raced and trained as a member of the USA Cycling National Team for the first time. In 2011 he graduated from the Austin Waldorf High School and moved to Durango, CO to further his education and pursue a dream of being a professional cyclist.  In 2012 Payson signed with the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory/Sweet Elite mountain bike team, and for the next two years matured as a racer under the guidance of Chad Cheeney, Ned Overend, and others.

With his career taking off, Payson opted in 2017 to build a program around his specific needs. As a recent college graduate, long time partner Orange Seal stepped up as title sponsor and helped Payson officially launch his elite professional career. Building on the momentum of 2016, he had a banner year, headlined by winning a first elite national championship. In 2018, the timing was right for Orange Seal and Payson to launch an all-new pro team spawned from Payson’s privateer program the previous year. The Orange Seal Off-road Team was born, and has taken the North American race circuit by storm, already notching double national titles in the marathon discipline–Payson defended his title from 2017.

Now settling into what he hopes will be a long career, Payson is more excited than ever for the trail ahead. What began as childhood dreams of fame and glory has developed into a love for the lifestyle, process, and desire to help others achieve two-wheeled happiness along the way. With new personal sponsor Red Bull, Payson is excited to take this passion and share it beyond the racing world, tackling new projects both in racecourses and off.

Read More About Payson McElveen:

https://www.paysonmcelveen.com/
https://www.instagram.com/paysonmcelveen/
https://www.facebook.com/payson.mcelveen/
https://www.youtube.com/user/PaysonMcElveen
https://twitter.com/PaysonMcElveen

Episode Highlights:

  • Building a big aerobic engine
  • Becoming addicted to the training process
  • Training during the Coronavirus health crisis
  • Getting back to the basics

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.


Thanks To This Week’s Sponsors:

Stages Cycling

This episode of the TrainRight Podcast is brought to you by Stages Cycling, the industry leader in accurate, reliable and proven power meters and training devices.

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And for 2020 Stages is applying its decade of indoor cycling studio expertise to the new StagesBike smart trainer. Check out their latest at www.stagescycling.com and use the coupon code CTS20OFF all caps at checkout for 20% off.


Episode Transcription:

Adam Pulford:

Well the world economy has tanked. India’s on lockdown. The Summer Olympics have been postponed. New York City’s the hotbed for COVID-19 right now in the United States. And well, that’s a lot that’s happened since your big win it a Mid South. How are you doing Payson?

Payson McElveen:

I’m good in the scheme of things. I certainly wish there was racing right around the corner. But I think everyone needs to keep some perspective at the moment as much as we can, and I realize that I’m in a very privileged position, and I’m healthy, I still have my career, and I’m doing everything I can to be an active, responsible participant in this global situation. So yeah, I’m doing well. It’s a strange time. I think we’re going to learn a lot about ourselves and a lot about humanity as a whole during this time. I’m kind of eternally an optimist, so I hope that we’ll come out of this with some silver linings in terms of lessons, and maybe some ways that things actually get better big picture as compared to things before. But who knows? I think that’s kind of one of the major aspects here is no one really knows what’s going on or what to expect or what’s going to happen. Even the experts are trying to figure it all out. So I think, like everybody else, I’m living a little bit more day to day right now.

Adam Pulford:

I was just going to say it was like … Man, for my athletes, for myself, it is a bit day to day because the information is always changing in terms of what we can expect and what the news is coming out from around the world. But yeah, to your point, I hope that … It’s a unique thing. Once in a lifetime sort of situation with the pandemic. Hopefully, knock on wood, once-in-a-lifetime that this is happening, which is why there’s no playbook for it and we do have to come together as a global society to figure this thing out.

Payson McElveen:

Yeah, yeah. Big time. Absolutely.

Adam Pulford:

Well with that kind of prelude, I do want to thank you for joining us on the Train Right podcast. You’ve been someone that I’ve been wanting to get on the podcast for awhile, because you do bike racing in North America so differently and so fantastic in comparison to some of them out there. So we haven’t introduced you just yet. Could you introduce yourself

Payson McElveen:

Yeah, so I am Payson McElveen and I am a 27 year old off road professional racer. I have to say off road these days because it’s both mountain bike and gravel at this point. Basically everything non pavement that is endurance related is my realm these days. I started out with more of a cross country focus, and then as I started to learn more about the professional opportunities in the industry, and new opportunities that were arising and new types of events that were surfacing, I’m thinking specifically about some of the longer distance grassroots stuff. I started to gravitate a little bit more towards that. I won a couple of professional national titles in marathon mountain biking, and that very much pushed me towards more of the endurance stuff. It sort of branded me to an extent, even without me really necessarily wanting it at that point. But I warmed up to it in regards to being the quote unquote “endurance guy”, rather than the cross country, World Cup style guy.

Payson McElveen:

And then in the last few years we’ve seen this major, major explosion of gravel racing, which is a little bit of a misnomer I think because gravel racing to me is mostly just non-paved racing. Because you’ve got an unbelievable spectrum of events that kind of fall under the umbrella of gravel. On one end of the spectrum you’ve got something like the Belgian Waffle Ride, which is, I don’t know, 85-90% paved, but also has [inaudible 00:04:51] track in it. And then on the other end of the spectrum you have something like the Leadville 100, which I feel like is kind of the original gravel race or some of the Grinduro events where people actually are riding mountain bikes to win.

Payson McElveen:

So it’s kind of all over the map and I enjoy all of it. And for all intents and purposes, I’m just trying to do all of the biggest events that seem to have the largest impact and have the most participants and the most number of people that seem to care about the events. And these days that seems to be either World Cup racing or some of this longer distance stuff that I just mentioned.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. So as our audience can tell, it’s a pretty diverse discipline that you’ve raised, but it’s also very, very approachable because you’re out there racing a lot of the same races that a lot of these age groupers, masters racers are doing. And so that’s my vision for this podcast today, is to talk about you, your team, and also the podcast and your brand that we’re doing.

Adam Pulford:

So before we even get into some of those Payson, I want to go back a little bit even further. I want to go back to your Texas upbringing and how you got into this whole bike racing thing. Tell us how that happened.

Payson McElveen:

Yeah, so let’s see. When I was about five or six years old, my dad was doing some mountain bike racing. He’d actually been a really high level track and field athlete, sustained some injuries that pushed him towards kayaking. He spent a good number of years as a pioneering kayaker. And then after injuries pushed him out of that, he went into cycling. And in the early 90’s is really when mountain biking was exploding. And so he was right there in lock step with it.

Payson McElveen:

And as a very young kid I would go watch some of his events. I just have vague memories of that. And then I jumped into one event when I was six years old. So that was my first ever race. But I actually didn’t race again after that one for eight years. My dad has an autoimmune disease that really flared up there from, oh I don’t know, the mid 90’s into the early 2000’s, and made it so that he wasn’t able to do any physical activity. And because he wasn’t doing it, I didn’t really know what was out there in terms of cycling, to an extent, until Lance Armstrong started winning all the tours, and then it became front and center again. And so I just started kind of riding around on the road some because I was inspired just on our little neighborhood roads, impersonating Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin and pretending like I was Lance attacking the shit out of Jan Ulrich.

Adam Pulford:

We all did it.

Payson McElveen:

Exactly. At the same time, I was definitely really enjoying more traditional sports, because those were available at school. So track and field, basketball, flag football, a little bit of a cross country running for just one semester in high school. Those are all things that I participated in. But around age 14 … No, maybe it was 12 or 13. I was in … Well I was visiting this place called the Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina, which is a big whitewater kayaking and rafting park that my family has some connection to, and we were just out there on vacation and they had a bike shop. And in the bike shop there was this free ride video playing called Roam, by The Collective. And I was just transfixed. And when we got home finally after that vacation, I just had to have a real mountain bike and I had to go out in the yard and start building jumps.

Payson McElveen:

And so I road a BMX bike for a little while and then a mountain bike more, and slowly but surely just developed this insatiable passion for mountain biking. And I just, for some reason, decided that I wanted to combine the cool jumpy oriented stuff of that free ride and BMX world that I was inspired by with the fitness related style of cycling that I was also inspired by, which was Lance winning the Tours. And the natural combination of those two things in my mind was cross country racing.

Payson McElveen:

And I was always talking about it and I was constantly telling my dad that I was going to be world champion and win all these races and he said, “Well you should probably try racing again if you want to do it professionally. So finally when I was 14 I did my first ever a mountain bike race again. I was having some knee injuries playing basketball around the same time. So that sort of nudged me towards the bike more also. And yeah, kind of the rest was history. I did my first local Texas series race and it was exactly … I don’t know why, but it was exactly what I wanted and exactly what I needed at the time. And I just really applied myself and haven’t looked back since I suppose.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. Well as I hear that story you know about you, because I know a little bit about your background and whatnot, but it speaks to the diversity that you have in terms of ability in this sport combined with how social media, the diversity of racing, the rise of gravel, and how to market yourself has all come into this time, where Payson can be who he is today. And it’s pretty cool to see that. It’s really fun to see because where I met you, or our connection … We have a unique connection where I was a team director for the Sho-Air mountain bike team at the time and they were rebranding going toward this ride biker program. And the mountain bike scene was moving toward a privateer, and that’s what the program offered for. I don’t remember what year that was. And from … You were top notch then. We had a big squad, all kinds of privateers is like, “Payson’s different, Payson’s different.” And it’s been cool to see flourish over the years as well. And now onto the Orange Seal off road team.

Payson McElveen:

Yep.

Adam Pulford:

And that’s been … It’s been super fun to see you grow and develop as a bike racer, and I think you’re having a lot of fun doing it.

Payson McElveen:

Oh yeah. Hugely. It’s funny because you mentioning some of that historical context is helpful, because I’m sure you can relate to this, but as someone that’s achievement oriented and highly motivated, oftentimes you’re just looking forward and just really attacking the future and making plans and executing as best you can and just trying to achieve. And sometimes we forget to look back. And I have some fear of failure for sure. I think that’s a motivator for me. And so I’m always looking to do more, and I think it is helpful now and then to look back and realize where you were just a couple of years ago, five years ago, one year ago, whatever it is. I think looking back is a really good exercise.

Payson McElveen:

So it is funny to think back. Ride Biker was, in the scheme of things, just a few years ago.

Adam Pulford:

2016-17?

Payson McElveen:

17-17, yeah. I think 2016 was the year with the really big team and then 2017 we kind of went our separate ways but still had the Ride Biker structure there to help us out.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Payson McElveen:

But yeah, it’s funny. Very frequently people still say, “So how do you make a privateer program? Or how do you like privateering?” And I’m like, “Privateering? I don’t feel like I’ve been a privateer in ages,” but it was only a few years ago. And during that time, putting together my own program like that just seemed natural. To me it wasn’t a necessity of survival. It was what I wanted to do. And it was a necessity of survival. That was my path, that was the way that I was going to find success. But also if I had the choice … And at one point I did actually have the choice to ride for a more traditional factory team and I turned it down at the time because I liked the freedom of being able to create my own program and be my own boss and all that sort of thing.

Payson McElveen:

But I was so focused on that. And then as more success came, Orange Seal asked whether they could take ownership of the program and start looking at adding a rider or two and take all the logistical stuff off my plate. And I thought that sounded like a pretty good deal. Anda couple of years on, three years on, we are one of, if not the biggest, most well-supported North American programs in the country. I think. And it’s funny because it feels like home and it feels really stable and I feel really good about the ecosystem there. But it is funny and I think important to remember that just a few years ago it looked a lot different for sure.

Adam Pulford:

It did, it did. And then speaking of looking different, one of the big reasons why we’re talking today is things look different out there today, right now with COVID-19 just wreaking havoc in the world. So if you don’t mind me asking, how his life changed for you as a professional athlete?

Payson McElveen:

Yeah, that’s a great question. To be totally honest, not much, but I think that’s because, as you alluded to earlier, I operate my career a little bit differently. Training and racing are still absolutely number one, and if I have a really busy day and I have too many things scheduled, training and racing are not what gets sacrificed first. It’s other things. That said, I dedicate a huge amount of time to a bunch of other stuff. And so boy, to be honest-

Adam Pulford:

Like what?

Payson McElveen:

Well it this doesn’t narrow it down very much, but just quickly at face value, content creation is massive. So that can be everything from the podcast that I thought was going to be a fun little side thing, which turned into something way bigger. It could be the Family Seal YouTube series that the team just launched, inspired by Jeremy Powers Behind the Barriers series that y’all may remember from from years past. I’m going to be launching … And that’s owned and operated by the team. I just provide feedback, and then I’m going to be launching my own YouTube series in April. That’s breaking news. No one knows that yet. Instagram at this point takes up … I’m inclined to say too much time, but that’s not fair to say either because it’s such an opportunity and it’s been such a blessing for someone in my position.

Payson McElveen:

Between crafting a post for the day, say there’s no video related, which always requires hours and hours of editing. Say it’s just a photo.

Adam Pulford:

Yep.

Payson McElveen:

Selecting the photo, writing a good caption, just going through all the nuts and bolts of that takes at least an hour a day. And then answering, excuse me, answering direct messages, comments, all that sort of thing. I try to budget an hour a day for that also, but it easily could balloon to two or three hours. That’s kind of a different conversation, but as soon as you give someone an answer, they tend to think they have a captive audience and you’re their best friend and you can carry on a conversation for the next few hours. When there’s many of those people in your inbox. So that’s a huge, huge time suck. What else?

Adam Pulford:

And that’s all part of your job. The way you do it and the way we do it on the professional scene, especially off road, that’s a big part of the job.

Payson McElveen:

Oh hugely. Hugely. And I don’t think there are too, too many … I don’t know that there are that many people in my … I don’t think I have that many peers that understand the full picture of all that. Why it does matter and why it can be such a positive thing for their career. One thing I’ve had the real good fortune of having some exposure to is since I signed with Red Bull, I’ve gotten to be friends with some of the best athletes from all different kinds of sports. And I think it’s really easy for racers in the cycling world to feel like their little world is the only world, or the only world that they need to pay attention to. I know I certainly felt that way, and once I started to branch out and get exposure to these other sports, I realized, wow, we have a lot to learn from back country skiers or the skateboard world or BMX riders or surfers or whatever it is.

Payson McElveen:

The truth of the matter is non mainstream stick and ball sports, there are examples of sports that are way ahead of us in regards to professional opportunities, the size of the ecosystem, all that sort of thing. And so I just really started … Once I recognized that I really aggressively started educating myself and researching some of the ways that these other athletes from different sports were being successful, whether it be in their actual performance of their sport or the business side, the marketing side, the branding side, whatever. And I just started getting a better understanding of how all of those different parts, in 2020 and beyond, can work together to give you a real career and a career that actually has an impact beyond a number on a results sheet, which is mostly how most bike racers in my position think.

Adam Pulford:

Exactly. And that’s a big part of why I wanted to, like I said, bring you on this episode. Because I think a lot of our audience think, Professional bike racers. They train really hard and long and then they sleep, and then they get results. And maybe they have contracts and they’re successful, whatever.” But for you, the reason why I ask, it’s like, “Okay, how’s your life changed right now?” Not a ton because you’re super busy, super slammed, probably busier than ever producing content in doing the other aspect of your job, the bigger aspect, which is the content storytelling and doing your thing.

Payson McElveen:

Yeah, for sure. And I think it’s also important to note that it’s not just the-

PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:21:04]

Speaker 2:

Important to note that it’s not just these “action sports” or “niche sports” that have athletes that are going beyond the actual performance of their sport. I think of someone like LeBron James who, in the middle of his NBA season is filming Space Jam Two or is it Space Jam Three? I can’t remember.

Adam Pulford:

I don’t know.

Speaker 2:

Or opening Blaze Pizza, one of the biggest food chains in the country now. And he’s filming ads for Nike and all of these things. And I just think that the cycling world, and this is a very narrow audience that I’m speaking to at this point, because it’s mostly my peers, but I think we have a lot to learn from sports outside of cycling. I love this sport so, so much, but I think it’s sometimes tradition bound to a fault and it’s really exciting to see pioneering riders that are pushing the boundaries.

Speaker 2:

And there are plenty of examples. For example, Peter Sagon is a classic example. The dude can win left, right and center, but winning is almost secondary to him. And I’ve had some interesting conversations with writers who have been on the team with him in the past, whether it was liquid gas or [inaudible 00:22:32] or whatever. And every single time they say that they don’t think that guy actually cares that much about bike racing and he’s just that talented that it doesn’t matter as much. But he wants to be a businessman. He wants to be a Hollywood star. Those are the things that drive him in and he understands that winning races is what he has to do to position himself to open those doors. But there’s so many examples like Rebecca Rush for example, I don’t think that many people lined up at the USA cycling cross country mountain bike national championships or the sea otter classic cross country XCO understand fully the impact that that woman has had on mountain biking.

Speaker 2:

They maybe don’t see her in the New York Times. They maybe don’t see her doing Ted Talks. But she’s like-

Adam Pulford:

Yet.

Speaker 2:

Right. Well no, I’m saying that she has and they just haven’t noticed.

Adam Pulford:

That’s why I’m saying yet, because their minds need to be open and they need to see that and I don’t know. But I agree with you, the cross country mountain bike racers, we need to open our minds man.

Speaker 2:

For sure. And one thing that I’m really excited about is we’re in such an exciting time for cross country also because Red Bull and Red Bull TV have, I think really hit the sweet spot in terms of making it spectator friendly. For so long they were trying to make a participation sport, a spectator sport and they finally made cross country mountain bike racing a spectator sport.

Speaker 2:

You can’t deny the size of the crowds at European world cups and you can’t deny the viewership online for those world cup events. It’s awesome. But they really had to change, the UCI, really had to change the style of racing into a really manmade short lap style thing. And so we have these two different paths now where it’s grassroots mass participation, Dirty Kanza where you’ve got 5,000 people on the start line and 15,000 plus people at the expo area and that has a ginormous impact. Or you have the world cup style and you can go either route.

Speaker 2:

And what I’m really, really excited for is on the women’s side for the United States. I mean we just absolutely killing it literally. Number one ranked country in the world and we have so many star athletes, but obviously Kate is leading the way and she gets it. She understands the value of all of this other stuff that I just mentioned. And so she’s combining being world champion with all of the off bike stuff. And I think it could be a really special time for off road cycling period. Obviously we’re seeing a massive groundswell of participation in the Dirty Kanzas of the world and the Leadville 100s of the world. But I think with the combination of Micah and some of the success that the country is finally seeing on the world cup stage again, I think it’s really exciting times for sure.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, I completely agree. One of the questions I have for you is, how’s the motivation right now with racing going away and then you have to change everything. How is the motivation right now? But you sound stoked, so maybe that’s the answer to that.

Speaker 2:

Wow, that’s a great question. Just rewinding quickly, when I won my first major success, winning that first professional national title, I expected to be on cloud nine and just on fire the rest of the year, both physically and mentally. And the opposite happened, not so much physically, but mentally. I just really slipped into these post-success doldrums, actually dealt with some low grade depression and just felt lost. And at the time I was like, what the heck is wrong with me? And the more I talked to people and I have a mindset coach who I rely on still, the more I realize that that’s perfectly normal.

Speaker 2:

And so after the major success of mid south, the first race of the year and potentially one of the only. We’ll see. It was similar and I think to an extent, as you mature as a professional, you grow out of that and you realize you just have to show up and do the job and you start racing a little bit less out of emotion and more with just a professional attitude.

Speaker 2:

You get in, you get the job done and you get out and you prepare for the next one. But that race required emotion. There had to be some emotional fuel there too to get through that one because it was so nasty. The conditions were so heinous that you just really had to have a good attitude and really want to be there and really want to be challenged by those unique circumstances.

Adam Pulford:

And for audience members who don’t know [inaudible 00:27:51] go to Payson’s Instagram and just check out the gnarly photos from there, you get a good sense of what he’s talking about.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And I did really want to be there. I was as fired up emotionally as I have been for an event in a long, long time. And part of that too was the passing of my dear friend Ben Sontag, not too much earlier and I made the completely impossible decision to stay down when they announced that his service was actually going to be the same day as the race back in Durango.

Speaker 2:

We went back and forth on that decision as a team manager, I mean for days. But because I decided to stay and race, I just felt this enormous obligation to leave every piece of me out on that course. So anyway, to get back to your question-

Adam Pulford:

Which is what Ben would have wanted. Let’s make some.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And that’s ultimately why I made the decision. I talked to a couple folks who were closest to him and they really urged me to do the event. So anyway, to answer your question, after finishing that event, man, I was just flat lined emotionally, physically, there was nothing left for several days. But the weird circumstance this time around is that it didn’t really matter because racing’s on hiatus. And so my coach who always has had incredible perspective said, “Man you don’t have to rush into anything, soak this in, enjoy it and start riding again when you feel like it.”

Speaker 2:

And for the first week, I really didn’t feel like training. And then the funny thing that happened is I have such ripping form right now that it’s just fun to go ride my bike. And I’ve done some rides where I literally stopped and recalibrated my power meter cause I was like, I’m pretty sure this is reading high. But when the legs are that good, it’s just really fun to ride hard. And so the motivation to do really specific structured writing isn’t quite back yet, but the desire to just go sit on high endurance or low tempo for a long time is there. And luckily, that’s the sort of training that we should be doing right now anyway with not knowing when we’re racing next.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, well I mean sage advice from Christian Williams at Williams Racing Academy, and you’ve been working with him for quite a while now, right? Like 10 plus years?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. It’s crazy. I think technically it’s 12 years, which is amazing.

Adam Pulford:

12 years, crazy.

Speaker 2:

First normal bike coach.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, I love that. Well I was going to ask-

Speaker 2:

You wouldn’t believe how many, sorry, just funny side note. I’m sure you get this sometimes too. I’ve had people write me on Instagram and say, “Hey, so this such and such person says that they coach you and I was wondering whether you could give some feedback on whether you think they’d be a good coach. And it’s someone that I did a clinic with or a collegiate coach that handed me bottles once. Like, no, that person doesn’t coach me.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I’m sure you get that sometimes too.

Adam Pulford:

Well, no one claims that they coach me anymore [crosstalk 00:31:25].

Speaker 2:

People probably take credit when the credit should go to you.

Adam Pulford:

Yes. Absolutely. And that’s a tricky thing to navigate when you are reaching the higher levels of sports such as yourself or such as Kate. Courtney as you mentioned and as I mentioned just before we started podcasting, Kate and Jim, her coach, are coming on the next episode. So everybody tune into that. But the reason why I mentioned Christian is because he’s played a huge role in your life. And coaches do, I mean they can be the bedrock at times. And I’ve directed two teams now with you on it and Christian has always come back to be a huge talking point and somebody that you rely upon, which is why I want to bring that aspect up.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. He’s often an unsung hero. We have to spend a lot of time promoting our sponsors and promoting events and promoting teammates and all that sort of thing. But the coaches are the rocks that just sit back there when you need them and otherwise keep a pretty low profile. So we’re lucky to have [crosstalk 00:32:51].

Adam Pulford:

We’re the old line, man [crosstalk 00:32:56]. So you mentioned some of the training that you’ve been doing. You said long grindy stuff, not too structured. And you said that that is the stuff that we should be doing right now. Why do you say that?

Speaker 2:

Well, I shouldn’t tell other people what they should be doing.

Adam Pulford:

No, you should. This is why they’re here. They’re here to listen to a professional and get some advice.

Speaker 2:

I mean this is a deep conversation in terms of the way we’ve changed my training over the last few years. Just a brief outline. So I grew up in central Texas, which is for all intents and purposes, very flat. It’s called the Texas Hill country because it’s constant rolling two to three minute Hills, but for most people it’s considered very flat and our trails there are also flat obviously with lots of rock gardens and very twisty and so developing as a young rider there, I think it’s part physiological and then also part just environment. I developed into this really power oriented punchy style rider that didn’t have much of a threshold engine or long distance, well that’s not true. I had fine endurance, but in terms of 60 120 minute power, even 20/30 minute power, I was really lacking there. And I knew that to turn this into a career because so many of the biggest events require real climbing, and just because at the end of the day, pretty much all bike racing comes down to who has the higher threshold power.

Speaker 2:

I knew I needed to get into the mountains and I needed to get better at these longer sustained efforts. So I moved to Durango, Colorado and really sucked at climbing for a long time. I could beat just about any off-road racer in a sprint, but I would usually get dropped on a long climb before I even had an opportunity to get to a sprint. So the combination of moving to Durango and then Christian, my coach, recognizing the deficiency and then just really dedicating ourselves to shoring that up over the course of the last five, eight years. We haven’t made it a strength, but I can climb with, on a good day I can climb with just about any of my competitors in the country. I’ve podiumed at the Leadville 100 a couple of times, which is notoriously very climb heavy obviously. And eight years ago I probably wouldn’t have even completed that event.

Speaker 2:

So that and then also as my career sort of took more of a trajectory towards a longer distance stuff, I just really had to develop this big engine diesel power. And so for all intents and purposes, we’ve trained out that one minute power that used to be, my coach always said your one minute power is freakish. When I was a teenager I had world tour watts per kilo at a one minute duration, but that’s not super useful unless you have the threshold power to get yourself into a position where you can win a race. So anyway, point being, I don’t have quite the world class talent of someone that might be able to have both of those things simultaneously. So we’ve had to move my strengths on the spectrum more towards big engine diesel type ability. And so we just started doing tons and tons of sub-threshold work just hour, after hour, after hour, after hour of sub-threshold work.

Speaker 2:

And now it’s a strength. Now I can be six hours, eight hours into an event and still able to sit on a very high power and compete with some of these riders that are in these gravel events these days. Or even some of the mountain bike events that have race grand tours and Belgian classics and all that sort of thing and had opportunities to basically develop that fitness in the best possible environment. And we just had to grind to get there and it came simply by virtue of focusing on it. So that’s what I would do.

Adam Pulford:

I love hearing that because I can’t remember if it was Johnny Muller or if I was talking to Dame-o, but we were at a bike race and a few months in and they’re like, “So who’s pacing?” The kid has wicked anaerobic capacity, like wicked. But, it’s weird because he’s there late in the game and if it’s a stupid hard, dumb race where the conditions are terrible, Payson’s there. If he can get to the line and taking a sprint, he is there. But if it’s the typical cross country thing, he’s inconsistent, several years ago.

Adam Pulford:

And I remember talking to you a little bit about that as well and I think what you talked about with Christian, how you framed up the training, it’s a very longterm approach like that when you have a really high talented athlete and you have a young athlete, you have to play the long game with that and develop them. And maybe threshold will never be a true strength, but you have now made it less of a weakness or you’ve made it less of a limiter now to where your strengths can shine through.

Speaker 2:

For sure. Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

And that’s a strength that I’ve seen you being able to develop and produce over the years.

Speaker 2:

Yep. Yeah, for sure. I would agree with that. And so to just tie up that conversation about why we’re doing a bunch of these tempo endurance rides. And just to give an example, a pretty typical training ride these days. And honestly at this point in my career and at this point in the year, well not usually at this point of the year, but anytime we’re between races, it’s basically three to four days a week. Our three to six hour rides with at least two hours of tempo in there. Sometimes it’s four by 30 minutes. Sometimes it’s one by three hour effort or sorry, three by by one hour tempo efforts. It’s just really piling on this tempo work and then as you get closer to events, it’s a little more sweet spot and then you toss in a little bit of threshold stuff, a little bit of VO2 to sharpen up so that you can follow attacks and make attacks.

Speaker 2:

But for all intents and purposes, we’re just dedicating all of our time to building big aerobic capacity because it doesn’t matter if you can hit 1500 watts when you’re fresh, if there’s six hours of racing between the start line and when you’re going to try to do 1500 watts. I think the main differentiator between professionals and non-professional racers is just the size of the engine. How many times can you spend 10-15 minutes at your threshold power over and over, over the course of three hours, four hours, five hours, six hours, whatever it is, 10 hours if it’s Kanza.

Adam Pulford:

Right.

Speaker 2:

There’s a ton of amateur racers out there that could for sure outsprint me, absolutely. But there aren’t very many that could outsprint us after six hours.

Adam Pulford:

Well I tell my athletes this, absolutes don’t matter in a world full of relativity.

Speaker 2:

I love that. Yep.

Adam Pulford:

And, the thing is, I mean the sprint doesn’t matter if he can’t get to the line. Right? And we talk about fatigue resistance, we talk about power for repeatability. But that’s just it. And that’s what makes my opinion, a really good athlete is how relatively good they are, how gritty they are, how tough they are. And that’s again, your style of racing and the events that you do require that. So it’s good to hear what you’re doing on the bike right now. I also know that you make a lot of trips down to Santa Monica, the Red Bull lab and things like that. You’re clearly not going to the gym these days, but what are you doing for strength training right now?

Speaker 2:

It’s been hard. I’m not going to lie. To be totally honest, I’ve just been doing less and it’s not because I want to be doing less, it’s because I’ve been down in Austin at my parents house, quarantining. I didn’t want to come directly back to Durango, Colorado following Mid-South because there was a lot of discussion about the circumstances there. That event fell on the weekend when the shit was really hitting the fan. And-

PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [00:42:04]

Payson:

… Or that event fell on the weekend when the shit was really hitting the fan and it put everyone in a really challenging position. And basically right as it was hitting the airwaves of how serious all of this was, we were at an event with 2,000 people. And so I wanted to come home back to Texas where I’d been before the event and just kind of try to do the responsible thing, hang out for a couple of weeks, make sure I hadn’t picked up the bug before going back to Durango, which is a small isolated town that fortunately doesn’t have any COVID-19 cases yet. And the last thing I’d want to do is be the person to bring it back there. So I was at my folks house like I said, for the last couple of weeks, and doing stuff honestly with really Rocky Balboa inspired.

Adam Pulford:

Nice.

Payson:

So as an example, well my folks live on 20 acres. For all intents and purposes, it’s a little mini-ranch. And so there’s like big fence posts laying around for example. They only weigh maybe 60, 70 pounds. But that’s better than nothing. So just doing some squats with those. We do have a medicine ball there. So getting creative with that. Some rubber bands are available. Just doing what I can. Focusing a lot on body weight stuff. And then I really got silly with it and published a little spoof video on Instagram recently that is Rocky inspired, where I’m pulling my dad’s tractor with my bike for example. I have my mom on my shoulders and I’m doing squats as she cleans the gutters.

Adam Pulford:

Nice.

Payson:

I’m sprinting around the chicken coop trying to catch a chicken because that’s a classic Rocky thing.

Adam Pulford:

So I was going to ask, how sore were you after chasing the chicken around? Because I mean, there were some jukes and jives in there.

Payson:

You know, I was doing all right. I think I have just enough basketball still in my legs that I was all right. It’s all about workload. I didn’t, I didn’t chase too many chickens that day. Got to ease in.

Adam Pulford:

Perfect. Perfect. Once you hit 30 man, you chase a chicken, you will feel that. Just saying.

Payson:

Oh, it’s coming up fast, coming up fast. But anyway, just put a loop on that. Now that I’m back in Durango, I have a little bit more equipment to work with and we have a room here dedicated to that. So we don’t have a squat rack for example. That’s something that I’ll certainly miss. But we have started doing some more weighted front squat stuff and falling into a one legged squat position and some different things like that where you can kind of work with the grain even when traditional gym equipment isn’t available. But I think it’s also important to note that it’s really easy to over-complicate all this stuff. And I think a lot of people see all of the gadgets and gizmos in the Red Bull gym and assume that we’re doing squats with electrodes on ourselves and lasers and shit. But it’s not really the case. At the end of the day, we focus on the basics and all of those bells and whistles are the sprinkles you put on top of the sundae at the end. It’s the cherry on top.

Payson:

And all of those things help track progress and help a lot with recovery. But there is no shortcut to this stuff. And because of that it’s actually, I think it’s almost an opportunity being stuck at home. An opportunity to get back to the basics and do stuff like really break down your squat form. Get a little PVC pipe and a mirror and do an overhead squat and watch a couple of videos on good form and really be honest with yourself about how good your squat is. And chances are good, it’s not good. Likely that-

Adam Pulford:

Especially if you ride bikes a lot.

Payson:

Yeah, yeah. And lo and behold, if you focus on that, just fricking the air squats dude, if you do enough of those, make a huge difference as I’m sure you know. So I guess my message would be, and I’ve said this before, in regards to riding inside, no one really likes to ride in… Well more people like to ride inside these days because we have the suite. But by and large, I feel like these weird times can be used as an opportunity also to get back to basics and that’s how I’ll be, that’s what I’ll try to be focusing on.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. Yeah, that’s really good advice. I couldn’t agree with you more. And in a separate podcast, I just commented that said, a lot of us, both professional athletes that are getting after it in all areas of life, such as yourself, masters level race, iron man, athlete, I mean we’re all, you turn up to the race venue and everybody complains about the lack of time that they’ve had or the other busy-ness in their life. And right now, this COVID thing will run it’s… It’ll keep on going for awhile, but many people have a lot more time, time to sleep and get back to the basics. And that’s my messaging to a lot of people is, take advantage of that time, yeah.

Payson:

Absolutely. And like I said, I’m usually an eternally optimistic person, but I think this whole phase is going to teach us a lot about ourselves and teach us a lot about humanity. And I will be curious to see how much people actually do buck up and take the opportunity or are they going to exhaust their Netflix library? Like that’s a very, and I have no argument there, right? Like it’s-

Adam Pulford:

[crosstalk 00:48:01] no judgment.

Payson:

It’s your choice. And I understand that there are people out there that are struggling with all kinds of different things that I don’t have to, whether it be a losing a career or general anxiety or a loved one that’s vulnerable, whatever it is. That said, you at the end of the day, you are your own gatekeeper and the opportunity is there. And it’s really simple but it’s really hard. All you have to do is reach out and take it. And because it’s so simple, I think sometimes that makes it harder. But I always just say nothing to it but to do it. So just, go do it.

Adam Pulford:

I like that. I like that. Well, let’s pivot now and talk about, talk about 2020. Let’s talk about the race season. And if I may dare ask you to speculate where all of this is going? Because I mean some of the races that you focus on in mentioned already like Leadville, Breck Epic, I don’t think you’ve done that one just yet, but Bentonville Epic Ride Series, which is one of my favorite race series. And then the new Bentonville Big Sugar. Where is everything going and what’s going to happen?

Payson:

Yeah, it’s a good question. I have some partnerships with some of these events and so I’m actually pretty plugged in at this point. I’ve had lots of conversations over the last week or two about their concerns and their proposed problem solving measures and all that sort of thing. And even still no one really knows. The experts that are on the frontline to an extent, don’t know how to solve this thing yet. And so I think it’s a matter of patience. But I think what’s likely is that those of us that do this full-time and have participation in these events as one of the really important parts of our job, we will have a very, very busy late summer and fall.

Payson:

We’ve already seen a handful of the biggest events get rescheduled and unfortunately one of them scheduled on top of another one. The Belgian Waffle Ride has been now scheduled on top of the Iceman Cometh Race, both of which were on my schedule. And that’s going to be a really, really hard decision. But I think, yeah, it’s so hard to say. For some reason I have this weird hunch and this might be a little overly optimistic, but I have this weird hunch that Dirty Kanza might be our first race back. If that’s too soon, it’ll be the stuff in late July, like a cross country nationals and that sort of thing. But it’s almost not even worth speculating at this point because we just don’t know. I mean we can look at the arc of the way China got through this for example. But who knows how forthcoming they’re being with how things are actually there? They say they haven’t had any positive cases in a week or whatever it’s been and that their economy is rocketing back up. But, I think we have to take that information with a grain of salt probably.

Payson:

So we’ll see. I think, Kate put it pretty well recently where she said something along the lines of, “What do you do when things go sideways and plans change? And the answer is you keep showing up because that’s what we do.” And show up and be prepared and be ready to rock when the opportunity presents itself.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. No that’s really good advice. And I think, whether you are vying for the Olympics, which I’ve probably asked you a question on that here in a minute or you’re gearing up for Dirty Kanza or whatever. It’s stay ready so that you don’t have to get ready when racing comes back on. And so with the late season probably potentially and fingers crossed, late season focus with a race weekend after race weekend in conjunction with the Olympics being postponed. I know you’re not personally vying for a spot, but you’re banging elbows and racing against the people who are. How do you think that’ll change the dynamic of the men’s and women’s field? I mean, Keegan, Caden, all these folk out there in terms of, getting the race days in their legs and as well as the UCI points in terms of gearing up for a potential 2021 Olympics, that will still be called 2020 Olympics.

Payson:

Oh, will they really?

Adam Pulford:

That’s, I heard that on NPR. And it was primarily due to all of the banners and shirts and stuff that they can’t… They’ll take a big wash if they have to reprint that. And that’s just what they’re saying right now. Who knows?

Payson:

That’s funny. Boy. Again, it’s just so hard to say. I think it depends a lot on… So, okay, so speaking to the folks that are vying for the Olympics. I think it depends a lot on how world cups get rescheduled. If it turns into this really condensed world cup season, if I were in their shoes, I would just focus 100% on that. Because what you kind of have is people, I think people think, oh, the Olympics are in 2021 now we have all of this time. But from a physical preparation standpoint, if those world cups get condensed into, say July through October or whatever it is, that’s like what, 16 months? No, not even. I mean, it’s-

Adam Pulford:

Not even. I was going to say it’s a short-term.

Payson:

It’s a very, it’s weird. It’s just so unprecedented. And so if I were vying for the Olympics, I personally would have to stay really focused on that style of racing still. That said, it would be very cool to see Kate or Keegan or whoever else show up to some of these other events that they typically wouldn’t have the opportunity to, whether it be a Leadville 100 or even Dirty Kanza or something like that. But I think it’s more likely that they would jump into those sorts of things the year after the Olympics. So 2022. But we’ll just have to see. I mean, it’s still such early days. It feels like we’ve been in this limbo period for so long and it’s been two weeks at this point in-

Adam Pulford:

Two weeks maybe, yeah. It’s so good.

Payson:

We’re barely getting started. Another thing Kate says, or well, it’s actually Kate’s mom says, “All shall be revealed.” Hang tight. And don’t try to answer questions before you have all the information.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, well that’s, that’s good advice. So let’s stop speculating Payson. Let’s talk about Orange Seal. Can you tell the audience about the brand of Orange Seal and the off-road team that you’re a part of?

Payson:

Yeah. So my relationship with Orange Seal goes back to my Texas roots. They’re an Austin, Texas based company. I come from Austin, Texas. And as they were just in the very early days of their existence, I was about 18 years old and I was one of the very first athletes that they partnered with. We just had a little product deal I think in my last year as a junior racer. And because of the hometown connection we stayed in touch and they really showed some dedication to my success both during the ups and the downs and in an industry that often disposes of athletes pretty quickly, that was very attractive to me even when I didn’t know nearly as much about the industry as I do now. And so, I really gravitated towards them and we’ve just, we’ve really, our trajectories have kind of gone up in tandem.

Payson:

They’re really doing well these days. And where they are now in comparison to where they were eight years ago is really astounding. I was just at their headquarters a couple of days ago actually. And just getting a little peek at their inventory and the number of ginormous pallets of sealant that are going out the door is pretty astounding and really cool to see. And I think it’s wonderful to be partnered with such a good product, a partner or a product that if our partnership wasn’t there, one that I would buy anyway. But really the major thing is, is the family atmosphere. They have a level of honesty in the way that they conduct business and treat people. That again, I don’t want to say is unusual for the industry, but a little bit beyond what’s typical. And also just a level of caring. They genuinely want to be a participant in my and the rest of our riders’ teams, rest of our writers success. Would worst accept, well they’re successful.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. And I’ll speak to that too having worked one year on the first year that the Orange Seal team did come out working for John Vargas, John and Jen. And they are part owners of Orange Seal. And some of the most genuine people I’ve ever met in my life. Truly good people and fantastic product. So the sealant, if you haven’t heard of it, I mean do you, what kind of bikes are they running the Orange Seal sealant in?

Payson:

Yeah, that’s kind of the cool thing is it’s such a solid product that I literally use it in every single one of my bikes. I use it in my longer travel mountain bike and I use it on the other end of the spectrum or my road bike. Road tubeless is if folks out there aren’t riding road tubeless yet. Yes, there is more setup and maintenance involved. But I think that-

Adam Pulford:

Worth it.

Payson:

Yeah, I think I’ve had to stop and throw it tube in a road tire once in the last two years. And the ride quality is incredible and it’s faster. If you run the numbers from a scientific standpoint in terms of rolling resistance, little known fact is that they actually roll a lot faster than tubulars. And so we’re seeing most teams in the Tour de France for example, during time trials are running tubeless tires. I mean Peter Sagan runs on Orange Seal. Bora–Hansgrohe runs Orange Seal in all of their tires year round. So it’s a really awesome product. And I mean heck, it works not officially, but it works in car tires too. I was out earlier this winter visiting another mutual friend of ours, Larrisa Connors. And I was staying with her for a couple of days and I walked out the front door one day and I had a flat on my van. And I was, gee dang, this is well, this is not what I, it’s a hassle.

Payson:

And I called John. I was, “Hey John, I think I remember you saying one time that you fixed one of the van tires with Orange Seal, is that true?” And he said, “Oh yeah, just take out the valve of course, squirt some in there, air it up.” Of course, he has an exact way of doing it. Aired up to 45 PSI, drive it around the block, come back, check it. I bet it’s good to go. Literally did that. It was insanely easy and I have since put 3,000, 4,000 miles on the van and I have not touched it with air since then.

Adam Pulford:

Incredible.

Payson:

I mean if it can hold up in a car tire at 80 miles an hour on a highway, then I think it can basically do anything.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, yeah. No, I firmly agree. And for the audience members out there who have not gone too bliss, be it on the mountain bike, gravel bike or road. What we’re talking about is we take the tubes out and you need to have a tubeless tire and a tubeless wheel that’s air tight essentially. And you throw some of this Orange Seal in, and if anything punctures it or slices sidewall, whatever, that sealant is designed to throw to that area and plug the hole with minimal air loss. So that’s what we’re talking about. Just bring that to full circle on the sealant and that’s what Orange Seal is.

Payson:

Yep. Yep.

Adam Pulford:

Cool. So they fully support the Orange Seal off-road team. And I guess one of the last questions is with the new additions of Hannah Finchamp and Dennis van Wieden, is that how you say his last name?

Payson:

Van Winden, yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Winden. How is it right with those guys? I don’t, I don’t know them as well as I know yourself.

Payson:

Yeah, it’s been so awesome. Yes. We have myself, [inaudible 01:01:28] who’s kind of our development rider, an Oklahoma based rider who, he’d be the first to admit isn’t knocking down national championships like some of the other top junior racers, but is a very solid racer. He actually won the Whiskey Off-road for his age group last year. And is someone who we sort of identified as having a background similar to mine in that they didn’t grow up in a cycling hotbed with mountains and trails out their backdoor and pros to ride with. He’s having to pull himself by the bootstraps and decide that he really, really wants this and he’s not going to let geography or opportunity to get in his way. And that’s the sort of person that we want to give a little tailwind too. So he’s been awesome the last couple of years. Hannah came to us from the Cliff Pro team. She was looking for an environment that allowed her to chase both her world cup aspirations and some of the longer distance stuff.

Payson:

So she’ll be doing a few world cups as well. So she’s officially on the Olympic long team and we’ll be doing some world cups, but also obviously doing gravel. And it’s been pretty funny to witness firsthand her recognizing the opportunities associated with some of the grassroots…

PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [01:03:04]

Payson McElveen:

The opportunities associated with some of the grassroots racing. After she won that mid South event, she said she has never been so buried by media requests and messages and emails and text and she said she just closed her door at her room in her house one day and all she did was answer messages and do interviews and basically just like be available.

Payson McElveen:

And when it kept rolling the second day, she just was like, I have to go ride and she put her phone away and just got away from it all. Her Instagram followers like doubled overnight. It was just, it was nuts. And she was like, Oh, I get it now.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah, yeah.

Payson McElveen:

You know, she’s metaled at the national championship. She’s two time Xterra world champion. She’s metaled at plenty of Epic rides events. She’s got lots of big results and it was a Gravel event that just like blew her doors off. So I thought that was pretty telling.

Payson McElveen:

And I really enjoy being teammates with her because she is really positive and has a level of professionalism at only 24 years old that’s really, really impressive. It’s clear that she’s had some awesome mentors. You know, some of the really big names that we know on the CLIF team like Katerina Nash and Katherine Pendrill, etcetera. It’s clear that their professionalism rubbed off on her some and we just feel really, really fortunate to have her on the team and I look forward to being teammates with her for a long time.

Payson McElveen:

And then Dennis was brought in somewhat recently. He had a very solid career in the world tour for about 10 years racing for Rabobank and Jumbo Visma. He was a part of some pretty cool races like Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders. He’s done plenty of Grand Tours and he was looking for a change.

Payson McElveen:

He’s 31, so still very much in his prime, but I think was getting pretty tired of the dangers associated with world tour road racing. I know he had a really severe crash at one point that he doesn’t talk about too much, but it sounds like changed his perspective on things.

Payson McElveen:

So basically we got a world tour engine in our roster and it’s pretty awesome. But beyond that, he’s just an incredible guy. He’s hilarious. Fits right in, really lighthearted, has the professionalism that you’d expect from someone that’s spent such a long time in the world tour but has just a relaxed personality that already is just perfect for the off road racing world. So it’s proven a really good fit. And his kind of road captain abilities and experience was really pivotal and the success at mid South too. So he’s already been really appreciated.

Adam Pulford:

I’m super stoked to hear that. I mean, as you said, John’s a good connector of people and he has a great visions and I think he’s put together another solid team here. So I look forward to what 2020 will bring once bike racing is back in the mix of it all.

Payson McElveen:

Yeah. Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

So kind of in summary pace and kind of want to recap what we talked about and then get into our takeaways, which are three questions and I’ll go a little rapid fire at the end of that. But, so in summary, Payson, we’ve heard your life story, how you got into bike racing, how you became an off road professional athlete, a Red Bull athlete and as you continue on this journey, where do you see, what’s the area that you think you should and need to focus on in order to keep on carving this path and becoming a better you than you were before?

Payson McElveen:

Yeah. I mean, it’s a big question and it’s a really good question. I think, so I’ve been, I’m in a very fortunate position and I’ve gotten here thanks to a lot of hard work but also thanks to a lot of people that have helped along the way and just keeping my eyes and ears open and listening and being open minded to those teachers.

Payson McElveen:

So I think continuing to adapt and listen to people that I feel like are doing it well is big. One thing that brings me a lot of motivation is that I see every year I’m still getting better physically and that process is addictive, like there is still in this world, nothing that makes me happier than feeling fitter than I’ve ever been. You know, one of those rides where, and I had one in California earlier this year, it was my last day spent in Marin.

Payson McElveen:

I was basing out of Mill Valley and now and then to kind of cap off a training block, we’ll do kind of a depth charting mission. So because so many of my events these days require being really good still six hours in, figuring out where we’re at in regards to getting the fitness to that point.

Payson McElveen:

So I went on this big, I linked this big gravel loop where I basically tried to put together as many of the dirt roads on the Belinas Ridge area as possible, Mount Tam area, and basically did tempo on every single climb and then just kept doing it. And I think at five hours I felt better than I had at hour one and I just was kind of running out of daylight. And so I thought, well, we’ll just do VO2 on these last couple of five minute climbs. And I did my personal best five minute power of the year at hour six after doing like two and a half, three hours of tempo.

Adam Pulford:

Savage.

Payson McElveen:

And I was like, well, I should probably shy away from cursing, but I was so stoked and I would like …

Adam Pulford:

You should be stoked. You should probably swear, but thanks for not.

Payson McElveen:

But like I literally, I couldn’t get myself tired.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. Incredible.

Payson McElveen:

And I was like this is such a good feeling and I love this process so much. And every single ride leading up to this day, this winter that has sucked where it was raining and I went out there anyway or I felt really shitty and I got the ride down anyway, every single one of those rides that didn’t go well was worth this one ride where it went better than it ever has. And so just chasing that feeling is something that I don’t think I’ll ever really let go of. And so that, being addicted to that process, is something that I will really prioritize, continue to prioritize, as long as I have the opportunity to.

Payson McElveen:

Outside of that, learning from other sports. You know, I do have a lot of interest and motivation to continue to progress on the business side, whether that be doing more content projects or all kinds of stuff. Developing some businesses of my own that are related to my racing career, riding career, all that sort of thing. Those things really, really inspire me.

Payson McElveen:

And so I’ve never liked the tag entrepreneur because it’s so free form and like so many people love to call themselves an entrepreneur. I don’t think of myself as an entrepreneur cause I’m just doing the stuff that makes me happy and makes me motivated. But I guess to many people from the outside it would look like sort of an entrepreneurial lifestyle and that’s what really fires me up also. So I don’t know if that’s like over-complicating the answer, but those are the two.

Adam Pulford:

Not at all.

Payson McElveen:

Those are the two things that make me excited to get up every morning. Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. Keep driving it home. I like that. I like that a lot. Well, Payson, time for our takeaways and then we’ll make it a rap. But kind of in this section, I just want to ask kind of point blank three questions and then this is stuff that our audience can apply to their lives right now, be it the professional athlete that is listening to this or the professional person that’s a furloughed or what not.

Payson McElveen:

Yeah. Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

So the first question is with this extra time right now, if you are working from home, the job’s secure and you do have that extra time to train and rest, is what advice would you give to the audience right now, that person who’s still healthy, still aiming for some bike racing, what should they be doing in their training?

Payson McElveen:

Well, it depends on what their goals are, obviously, but …

Adam Pulford:

Let’s take a Dirty Konza or a BWR athlete, now that we know BWR is like late in the season, like for example.

Payson McElveen:

Yeah. First of all, make sure you have a really good village around you. If you have a family, make sure everyone’s clear on what your goals are and make sure they’re taken care of so that they can take care of you better. So family first and then also make sure you have some sort of solid guidance. I know a hands on coach isn’t for everyone, but whether it be really educating yourself through your own research or reading some books, reading online, hiring someone like my coach, Christian Williams or someone like Adam here, that will go a really, really long way. And I think trying to create as much structure and certainty around these very uncertain times will go a long way.

Payson McElveen:

So we do now have some from dates. For example, Belgian Waffle. Like you can build a plan now around that date. Kanza, we’re not super sure on yet, but I would say that there’s nothing wrong with really, really preparing for that date because if it does get moved or canceled, worst case scenario is you built some incredible form, take a little break and then catch that wave again.

Payson McElveen:

So I think to just to make that point more cohesive, take the time now to really make a good plan. Don’t wing it day to day. We’re winging a lot of things right now day to day, but training shouldn’t be one of them. So yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. So keep that form going with frequency of exercise training and keep her going.

Payson McElveen:

Yeah. But also, don’t force it. Understand that we also do have time. So if you feel like you want a break right now, take it, like there’s … you can spare a week to chill and get your head right right now.

Adam Pulford:

As you did after mid South and now you’re crushing it.

Payson McElveen:

Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Okay. This one, this question is unique, and the reason why I want to ask you is because being a young athlete and having kind of still a heart for Nicco, living in Durango and things like that. It’s for the juniors and their parents out there. And so for the juniors and parents who are planning a big season, maybe they were coming on forum or they have big aspirations for their kid, how should they refocus this year?

Payson McElveen:

That’s another great question. Obviously, first and foremost, follow the guidance of what we’re being told. Well, most effectively limit, the main problem we’re all facing, which is COVID-19, so I know we all want to be riding with each other and probably the temptation is there to get one of these young kiddos set up with a more established rider because the time is there. But you know, that’s probably not the right thing to do at this point. So again, capitalize on what we do have. So communicate with the folks that have the information in regards to what makes the most sense, whether that’s a coach or a pro that’s willing to answer an Instagram DM question, whatever it is. Just arm yourself with information and then make a plan. But also, even more so than the folks who are a little bit older, time is on your side.

Payson McElveen:

This really sucks right now. It sucks for everybody. But recognize in the scheme of things that we have it pretty good here in the United States and try to keep some perspective. Don’t despair. When I was 16, 17, 18 years old, looking back on it now, I made so many mistakes. I ignored some things my coach told me to do and it ended up fine. So if you have the opportunity, focus a little bit more on skills maybe. Don’t ride yourself into the ground because you think you have to. I would say just kind of stay the course and as time allows, focus on the basics, because developing foundation of basics is one thing that really will pay dividends when you’re more physically mature 10 years from now or five years from now, whatever it is.

Adam Pulford:

I couldn’t agree more. Well, the final question is also timely. It is Payson, what is your favorite sheltering in place activity right now? Or is it chasing chickens? Has that become a [crosstalk 01:17:52]?

Payson McElveen:

Yeah. I left the chickens behind yesterday. I drove back to Durango, but favorite sheltering in place activity. Man. These definitive questions like this are so hard for me because I have such a diverse number of interests, but I’ll give one like super traditional canned answer, which is like, what are you watching on Netflix? Right now I’m watching that F1 series on Netflix and it’s blowing my mind and really making me think about the way I go about my profession and my sport. So that’s been super inspiring.

Adam Pulford:

F1. Sorry, I’m probably like, everybody will be like, how don’t you know this Adam? But like what is F1? I don’t even know.

Payson McElveen:

Just the …

Adam Pulford:

F1 series?

Payson McElveen:

The car racing, so like the European ultra stupid fast like NASA meets race cars. It’s like the pinnacle of car racing.

Adam Pulford:

Got it.

Payson McElveen:

Hilariously large budgets, incredible locations for the races and just really cool science forward approaches to going really fast.

Adam Pulford:

I should clarify. I knew what F1 racing was. I didn’t know that there was a series on Netflix just for the people still with their mouth open right now and wondering.

Payson McElveen:

I’m very relieved, Adam. I was about to …

Adam Pulford:

Just want to clarify, that’s all.

Payson McElveen:

Beyond that, I’m about to remodel a house, or remodel house. Remodel a room in my house.

Adam Pulford:

Okay.

Payson McElveen:

Turn a spare bedroom into an office slash recording studios slash Swift room so that …

Adam Pulford:

I feel like you’ve been talking about that for awhile though.

Payson McElveen:

Yeah. Well, …

Adam Pulford:

[crosstalk 01:19:41].

Payson McElveen:

Well, I have started. I have started but it’s …

Adam Pulford:

Gotcha.

Payson McElveen:

I just got back into town yesterday. So yeah, I have drawings and picking out wood flooring and fun stuff like that. Talking to a furniture maker that does all these cool like modular pieces since it’s a relatively small room. I want to maximize room.

Payson McElveen:

So just kind of making plans. But yeah, pretty soon here I’m going to be tearing out the carpet and scraping the, I don’t even know what to call it, the popcorn ceiling, off of the ceiling. That’s super 70s. We don’t need that in our life.

Adam Pulford:

No, definitely not.

Payson McElveen:

Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. Well, cool man. Well, good luck to you. Good luck to all your projects as you shelter in place and train in Durango. But for those who want to carry on with the story, I mean, where can they find you on social media? What are … where can they find you?

Payson McElveen:

I’m at Payson McElveen on Instagram and Twitter also, but honestly I don’t really use Twitter. I just read news headlines on it.

Adam Pulford:

Gotcha.

Payson McElveen:

Really don’t use Facebook anymore either, to be honest. It’s pretty much all Instagram. You can go to YouTube. I have a growing YouTube channel there, just Payson McElveen. The Orange Seal off road team recently launched a series called family seal, which is a kind of behind the barrier style, peek behind the curtain, YouTube series. That’s just at the Orange Seal YouTube channel.

Adam Pulford:

Cool.

Payson McElveen:

There’s just one up there now, but the second one telling the story of mid South will be coming very soon. And then I guess the other major bucket is just the podcast, which is called the Adventure Stash. And they are just sort of raw, unfiltered conversations with folks from all walks of life. Definitely lots of high level athletes. But yesterday, we published an episode with one of the leading authorities on nuclear nonproliferation, for example. So it’s this woman that, honestly, you all have definitely seen on the news discussing weird things that North Korea happens to do one day or she addresses the UN. So we have a all kinds of cool conversations on my podcast too. So feel free to check out the Adventure Stash.

Adam Pulford:

I can personally vote for the Adventure Stash. I’ve been enjoying it. So thank you Payson for continually putting out some cool content there.

Payson McElveen:

Yeah, yeah. Thanks for listening. It’s fun.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. Well, thank you for joining us on the Train Right podcast Payson. I really appreciate it.

Payson McElveen:

Yeah. Thanks for having me. It was fun. It was good to catch up a little bit, Adam.

PART 4 OF 4 ENDS [01:22:27]

 


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