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Aug 8, 2023

In this episode, we host a dialogue with Brian Co from Veloworthy. Brian shares his journey as a cyclist, becoming a podcaster and ultimately founding Veloworthy to explore video storytelling. The talk shifts towards Brian's recent dive into gravel riding during the pandemic - a pursuit aligning smoothly with his interest in digital media and videography. Despite the challenges of filming races and representing cycling's diverse stories, Brian consistently seeks truth in his work. Brian continues to explore the world of gravel through his lenses on this YouTube Channel, Veloworthy.

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Automated Transcription, please excuse the typos:

[00:00:00]Craig Dalton (Host): Brian, welcome to the show.

[00:00:03]Brian Co: Thanks. It's so good to be here. I am so excited to be on your podcast. Uh, you know, we, we've been both been doing this for a while, but you've obviously surpassed many of the hobbyists, uh, in the, in the cycling podcast scene, so you're definitely authority when it comes to podcasts, cycling, podcasts.

[00:00:24]Craig Dalton (Host): I appreciate it. And, um, you know, as we were reminiscing offline a little bit, your original podcast, the SoCal Cyclist, was one of those that was in my steady rotation as I started getting into listening to podcasts and thinking about doing one myself.

[00:00:41]Brian Co: Well, thanks. I'm, uh, do I get a royalty from each episode?

[00:00:47]Craig Dalton (Host): Well, you know how cycling media works so you can get a royalty, but it's not gonna do much for you.

[00:00:52]Brian Co: It, it'll be, it'll, it'll be, uh, fractions of as cent, I'm sure.

[00:00:57]Craig Dalton (Host): Exactly. Hey Brian, as you know, we all start the show. I love to learn like where'd you grow up and how did you find cycling originally?

[00:01:05]Brian Co: You know, ironically, you know, I'm kind of, before velo worthy was known as SoCal Cyclist or SoCal Cyclist podcast, and I've ridden all over Southern California, LA Verdugo Hills, San Diego mostly. I'm based out of North County. Uh, but I actually grew up in Northern California. Um, where I think I'll, I'm a little bit biased.

I think Northern California when I was growing up had a. And more robust cycling scene than Southern California, which was mostly crit heavy. Uh, so I grew up in the flat heat of Sacramento and um, you know, I think when I was, I. Probably two years old. My dad took me, my brother and all my cousins to this grassy park area called Ansel Hoffman Park and just said, I'm gonna teach you all how to ride a bike in one day.

And we just, you know, the age gap between me and my cousins is about five years, and I was the youngest and we all learned the exact same day how to ride bikes. And then so like, Seven, six years later, uh, I entered my first bike race. Um, I was eight years old and it was a B M X race and I just loved it.

You know, B M X was very, very big in the eighties and, uh, you know, the movie ET had just come out and there's a scene where they had take ET on the bike and they're like going down the hills and stuff, and I wanted to be Elliot from et I even remember wearing a red hoodie with the hood on. Just so I could pretend to be Elliot from et.

And then when I was nine years old, I got introduced to, uh, road cycling, uh, by my cousins. And they all took this trip on the bike from LA to San Diego. I was too young to go, so I was there, but my brother and my cousins, three of 'em all went and they were, you know, 12. 13 years old. Uh, and, and they all did it.

And then since after that I was like, I gotta get into bikes. Luckily there was this, this race, it was the biggest race in America at the time, equivalent to like the tour of California was. It was called the Chorus Classic. And it went through my town and it was the first time I actually. Got to meet Greg Lamond in person.

And you know, I'm a little kid trying to get an autograph and I'm like tugging at his la claire jersey and he turns around and just gives me a smile because he was being surrounded by people. He had just won the tour of France, uh, for the first time. And, uh, since that point, cycling has, has been the only sport I've ever really known other than like high school, cross country and track.

[00:03:59]Craig Dalton (Host): Okay. Interesting. So while you were in high school, I know, I know a lot of kids sort of end up leaving the sport in high school because of social pressures or other sports. Sounds like you kind of maintained and were still riding at that point.

[00:04:14]Brian Co: Well, I think it was, it comes down to luck because I was just born at the right time. Like when I was a junior. I remember races being so full that they'd have to have heats and. It was actually cool to be a young junior cyclist. This is, I'm a few years younger than the Lance Armstrong sort of generation of guys like him and Hin, capi and a few others.

Um, but when we were little, we all idolized being on like the seven 11 team or the postal service team, and it was actually cool. Today you see more of like. The older, older helmet, mirror bandana wearing crew that maybe thrive peaked in those days. But I think we're seeing a resurgence with, with gravel and, and a few other disciplines

[00:05:05]Craig Dalton (Host): Yeah, certainly with youth, I mean, as you know, in Northern California we have big Nika League, so youth mountain biking at the high school level is insane up here. I I, the Mount Tam School high school team here in my town of Mill Valley, there's 60 kids on that team, which is an unbelievable number. And some of these kids are elite level athletes by the time they're leaving their senior year.

[00:05:31]Brian Co: Yeah, it's uh, Nike's becoming the new collegiate cycling. 'cause all we had back in the day was, if you're good enough in high school, you went to a college that had a cycling team. And then I. If you were good enough to race the A category, which was like equivalent to CAT one, two, uh, you might be able to get a pro contract if you did well at a national championship.

But Naica now has totally replaced that and the kids are younger, they're more talented, and even though bikes are getting more expensive and equipment is more expensive, they're able to find ways to to do that. I remember my first. Bike race as a junior. I think I was 14 or 15. I did the Mount Tam Hill climb and I was on junior Gears and one of the kids that won, he was on like the, I remember he was on the full team, Richie, uh, red, white and blue kit, and he had a mountain bike that was rigged up to be like, had skinny tires and he blew the doors off of everyone, but.

Um, I just remember thinking, I can't compete with this level of talent for all the Bay Area kids. They're just head and shoulder 'cause they can all climb me. In Sacramento, I was okay on the flats and in crits, but you go to the Bay Area and they can just, they're little miniature, you know, Alberto Contours just climbing up the mountains.

It was totally

[00:06:55]Craig Dalton (Host): you end up, did you end up going to a university that had a cycling program?

[00:06:59]Brian Co: Yeah. So, uh, when I was in high school, you know, I, I looked at different colleges. I ended up going to Northern Arizona University and Flagstaff that had I. Uh, a really big cycling team. In fact, um, the first Collegiate National Mountain Bike Championship I did, and, uh, the team got third in the Omnia behind, I think it was like CU Boulder and Stanford.

And n a u is not known for a whole lot, but Flagstaff itself is a city, is, is a great place for mountain biking and just, it's at, it's at 7,000 feet altitude. And so you're, you're living at 7,000 feet, you're training at eight to 9,000 feet, and then you just, you have so much, uh, ability to do a lot. And so I actually abandoned road racing and went through like three years of a mountain bike phase.

[00:07:54]Craig Dalton (Host): I was just gonna ask you that.

[00:07:56]Brian Co: Yeah, rode a Bri Bridgestone, uh, fully rigid, uh, mountain bike, 26 inch wheels. And then my suspension, it was called a soft ride suspension stem.

[00:08:07]Craig Dalton (Host): Uh, Brian, don't even talk to me about that. That's painful.

[00:08:11]Brian Co: Yeah,

[00:08:11]Craig Dalton (Host): had one of those.

[00:08:12]Brian Co: jackhammer down these, down, these like breaking bumps. And I'm like, and uh, I, but at the time, like it was that, or like I think Rock Shocks had just come out with like the Judy or something.

And so, uh, I did three national championships. Um, the hardest one I ever did was in Kentucky. Uh, a young up and comer from Fort Lewis. His name was Todd Wells, uh, lapped me on the last lap, and I'm like, who is this weirdo? And, uh, he ended up being one of the most dominant mountain bikers in America after that.

So I, I hung up my mountain bike cleats after that point.

[00:08:52]Craig Dalton (Host): So let's fast forward a number of years you find yourself in Southern California. It sounds like you were still racing criteriums. Recognizing you're not going pro, but still like many of us just loving the sport and continuing to do it. Tell me about like the transition from that to starting to talk about it on the podcast.

[00:09:12]Brian Co: Oh, well, I think anyone who grows up with cycling needs, especially from a young age, needs to take a break. So I, I moved to Southern California just because I could, I could ride my bike year round, but then I ended up falling in love with the ocean and I, and I sold all my bike stuff and I ended up taking up surfing for like the next eight years straight.

All I did was surf. And I even remember taking like my friends who were like pro cyclists out surfing and then they get hooked. Like my friend, uh, Alex Rio who was on Optum and Rally moved here and I was like his motor pacing guy, but I'm like, Hey, there's a ocean ride here like a hundred feet that way.

Let's go get surfboards. And then he ended up loving it so much he moved to Hawaii, ended up starting big island bike tours there. Um, so I, I, I took a break from the sport. I, you know, got a little burned out. I was a little, uh, you know, it was during the whole doping e p o, you know, post live strong kind of mess.

And I still followed the tour and stuff on tv, but I, I just wasn't racing anymore. And then one day, like. You know, in 2012 I just got, I, I used my beach cruiser 'cause everyone in Southern California has beach cruisers and I just started doing five miles, 10 miles, 20 miles up to 30 miles on a beach cruiser that weighs about 55 pounds with a basket and a lock.

And then, uh, I told myself one day, okay, cool, I'm on a beach cruiser. I'm riding in board shorts and a t-shirt and a helmet, and there's this climb in Southern California called Tory Pines. And I, I said to myself, okay, if I can pass a guy in a real bike kit and a real road bike, I'm gonna buy myself a road bike.

And I was like, I don't know how I'm gonna do it. So I, I finally, Saw somebody in a d in like a team kit. I think it was the Swamis team, which is a big team in Southern California. Cotton passed him. I was so gassed up at the top. I remember he said something to me. I think it was a compliment. My bike, it wasn't a single speed, it was a three speed internal hub.

And then next day I got a road bike and started racing. And then the first crit I entered, I think it was like masters. I got. I got 13th place and then I was like 13th place with no training, but still the skills. And then I started doing more and more and more and catted up and then started doing the the 35 plus masters, which is I.

Uh, probably as fast as the pro one, two, uh, guys, I mean, a lot of 'em are ex pros themselves and just started doing that and then was having so much fun. Decided to create a podcast, talking to all my friends about, um, bike racing and stuff like that.

[00:12:15]Craig Dalton (Host): Nice, nice. Yeah. To your point, like in California, the master's class, like there's so many great riders and ex pros scattered across California, you hop into a Master's category. You may very well be racing against an X Pro.

[00:12:31]Brian Co: Oh yeah, like I remember I was fighting somebody's wheel just so I could draft behind his name's. Ivan Dominguez, he is the Cuban missile. Just 'cause I wanted to look at his calves. I. That's all I wanted to do. And be like, oh, what gear is he using? And he's like this slow churn, you know, opposite of like spin to win, just mashing the gear.

And I was just staring at his calves going, this is so cool. Ivan Dominguez, you know, former multi-time, you know, crit and Road Race champion, uh, and I'm in the same race as him and stuff like that is just, is super cool.

[00:13:05]Craig Dalton (Host): Amazing. So you, you're, you start the SoCal cyclist to talk to your friends and just kind of explore another creative outlet as you've got a young child in at the home. Right.

[00:13:15]Brian Co: Yeah. Well, at the time, and again, this is in 2016, there wasn't a whole lot of cycling podcasts, and the ones that did exist were very, um, tech heavy. Like they focused on disc breaks and stuff like that, which is great. But I wanted to focus on me and one guest every week for 52 weeks and to see if I could actually do it.

But, and, and again, this is. Uh, people physically coming over to my house and recording. So it's the most inefficient way possible. And so, uh, I, I, I met that goal. I, I don't know why I even did it, but I, uh, you know, it started out as, as my friends in the first few episodes, and then by the last it was, you know, a lot of the top people in the sport.

So I think it gained a lot of momentum after that.

[00:14:07]Craig Dalton (Host): Yeah, and I can't recall how I originally found and discovered your podcast, but even before you rebranded to Velo Worthy, I was a listener, as you know, and when we connected at that first. Sea Otter, I think we were saying it might've been 2018. I was sort of fanboying you 'cause I knew you had done a lot of episodes.

You're putting good content out there. Um, and it was fun to just connect with another podcaster to just trade insights. 'cause as you allo alluded to, the technology we're using back then was pretty rudimentary and difficult compared to what we're able to use today.

[00:14:46]Brian Co: Yeah, you're right. Like. Whenever we record or put something out there, not just in podcasting, but in videos or anything, all you're staring at are numbers. So when you see somebody in person, you're like, oh, wow, somebody actually, this isn't all just a facade, like somebody actually is listening and we're talking about in person.

So I think that's so cool. I mean, to this day, you know, most recently I was at Unbound, um, and I, I was so. Flattered and kind of validated that people would be like, oh, I watch your race coverage or your YouTube channel, and it just kind of blows me away. And I'm like, oh, really? You watch it? That's cool.

And then they talk about it and stuff. So, uh, it still blows my mind. And I, I love that kind of thing. It's cool.

[00:15:35]Craig Dalton (Host): so it is interesting in talking and getting a little bit more of your backstory to learn that. You know you had that mountain bike period in your life when you were back in Flagstaff. Then you come back to the road doing your thing, start podcasting Covid hits. I know you decided to kind of put the brakes on the podcast for a little while.

I'm curious, in that sort of interim period from 2020 to now, it sounds like you've really kind of discovered gravel as being something that both suits you. Professionally with what you're doing with Worthy, but also just liking the, the vibe of the community and the style of riding.

[00:16:15]Brian Co: Yeah, I mean 2020, you know, if, if everything shut down and there's no more races or even, like, I remember the group rides were a fraction of the size they were. Uh, why not do gravel where it's out in the open, it's. Mostly unsanctioned unless you sign up for something. And uh, I think the timing of everything just kind of worked.

Um, gravel and I think gravel events kind of really took off between 2020 and now. And I think it appeals to so many people, including myself, because the rules are kind of unwritten. I mean, if I tried to do this, With a road background or a road focus, it would be 10 times more red tape to go to an event, especially like a U C I World Tour event because I, I have gone to like, uh, the tour of France and, um, Amgen Tour of California and just to go through those channels.

It's very tradition based. Um, I, I interviewed one writer stuck a microphone in his face. Nathan Haas, he's, he's in gravel now actually, but at the time he, I think he was on like Catusa and he had just finished the stage and I just asked him a question and he reaches toward my lanyard with my media credential and he looks at it and goes, who am I talking to?

And, uh, didn't even occur to me to like, Show him my badge. But if I did that at a gravel race, they'd be like, who are you trying to fool? Just talk to me like it. There doesn't need to be this vetting process. Um, so I think gravel gives that kind of freedom.

[00:18:01]Craig Dalton (Host): So we don't, so the listener doesn't lear lose the thread here. Let's talk about velo worthy and what you're working on today because it's not a podcast anymore.

[00:18:11]Brian Co: No, I, God, I, I need to get back into podcasting 'cause I miss it so much and I'm so excited just being on a podcast like, energizes me so much. But, so velo worthy is primarily, uh, a digital media brand where, uh, For lack of a better term, I make videos and put 'em up on YouTube. Um, but the, the thing about it is I've found this weird niche, uh, with my brand that not many other brands are doing.

Um, you're either, most people, you know, if you're like, I. Tyler Pierce, a k a vegan cyclist, you're a vlogger or you, you focus on yourself and your accomplishments. Other writers do that as well. Um, Adam Roberts has his own channel, for example, Alexi has his own channel, for example. So if you're not that, you're either a, a.

Working for a media brand. So if you work for Envy or something, you're just doing envy content at these events. But right now there's really nothing that captures the holistic view of an event where you're ca, you're not beholden to one writer necessarily or one brand. You're just trying to cover everything, which is a lot of work.

But I think there's something to be said to. Sort of capture an unbiased view of what goes on at cycling events and just seeing things, how they unfold.

[00:19:36]Craig Dalton (Host): Yeah, I think that's the thing that I take away from your videos is that you really do get the sense and feeling of the event. It's not a, an overly packaged, overly produced look at the entirety of the event. You really do. Because you're on the ground, because you're moving through the course, you're capturing footage that's just feels real, like you're seeing the mud on the tires.

And when it comes to unbound, you're seeing the jockeying for water. At some of the stations, you're seeing how the riders are handling their pits. And I just feel like as a viewer, you do get a really strong sense of what it's like to be there versus this overly glamorized kind of prepackaged view of what the race weekend experience looked like.

[00:20:27]Brian Co: Well, first of all, I'm just not good enough to make something highly produced because that takes a lot of talent, you know, to get that nice, you know, transition effect or whatever. But all kidding aside though, I really like, um, being in the moment, you're kind of up close and personal and, and the thing about gravel racing, the biggest flaw is it's not good for spectating.

You start and then you finish either in the same place as the start or a different area. I mean, at least in road racing, it's criteriums and you can just watch lap after lap, have it unfold. But with gravel it's so hard to watch. Um, and so I know that if I film for 10 hours straight, that's kind of boring.

Uh, no one's gonna watch that. But if I condense it into. Less than an hour or 45 minutes, or even a half an hour. Um, it can really capture the things that are unfolding. And unbeknownst to me, I didn't know that my footage was gonna be, you know, used for feed zone drama or finish line drama or any kind of drama really, but, The writers are not shy out on course.

They'll ask me, what's the time gap? They'll ask me how many guys are ahead, who's in that break? They're asking, they're not asking for directions or anything. And I do follow all the rules of um, I. The race. So if a writer needs assistance and we're not allowed to give it, I don't give it, I just record. Um, so I think the relationship that I versus, uh, you know, a, a local news channel has, uh, at least knowing and following the sport and knowing the writers.

And how it's unfolding and posting up at the feed zones, capturing what may or may not happen, uh, whether people wait up or they just hit the gun and go for it. Uh, makes for good, good video.

[00:22:21]Craig Dalton (Host): Yeah, and I think as a fan of the sport, your types of content just help fill the gaps like we might see. Throughout the day, the social media coverage, but the clips are quite quick and much to people's chagrin because it's so hard to get coverage out there, you're just not seeing it in the way you want.

So you don't necessarily understand what happened in the race until after the fact. And I was enjoying this morning watching your Unbound video 'cause it just sort of, Added levels of detail and little bit longer clips of content to really get a feel. You know, I obviously many of us have read about the mud conditions in this year's unbound, and it wasn't until I saw some of your, your video that I could sort of understand.

Oh yeah. It's that peanut buttery type mud where it looks glossy until you put your tire into it and then it just sinks down a couple inches and it sticks to absolutely everything.

[00:23:18]Brian Co: Yeah, this, this year's unbound wasn't necessarily the the dirtiest, but I would say that section of mud. Made the race. Uh, I, I would say it determined who won and lost in that first 11 miles. Uh, but you know, again, you can have the debate of you just gotta be hard and power through it. And if everyone's going through it, then you shouldn't complain or.

Do you reroute it last minute and make some changes? So it's actually more of a open, right, where you're, you're riding your bike, you're not running five miles since most cyclists hate running anyway. But yeah, like I, I just, I think, you know, I, I try and show and capture what people would hopefully wanna see.

So it's stuff like the mud and, and the pit stops, especially this year. Who's getting a bike wash? Who's not, uh, who's. There's a little section of Sophia that went through the pit stop and it got two and a half million views on TikTok. Just the 60 seconds of it with people going, everything from, why can't she switch bikes to, uh, why does she need to power wash her bike at all?

Like, so it's, a lot of it is curiosity. A lot of it is, okay, this is what I heard what happened. I wanna actually see it. So, um, it, it, it's hard to, to get in those areas though.

[00:24:45]Craig Dalton (Host): and you've, you know, through a lifetime of cycling and connections you have, you clearly have a good rapport with a lot of these athletes. And it was interesting as that video opened up and, and you're speaking to some of the athletes, I, I thought that was cool. And then you, you do do like morning of start line commentary, and I think there was one woman who said something like, Well, I'm glad it didn't, it's not raining right now, or it seems kind of dry and I thought that statement is not gonna live well.

[00:25:13]Brian Co: Yeah. Well, the thing is too, as much as I. You know, I think this is my fifth unbound. Kansas is like Hawaii. The weather just changes on a dime. So it could be sunny, perfectly sunny, not a cloud. And then they just roll in. Um, and a lot of people who aren't from Kansas just aren't used to that. Like even me, I should know, to bring galoshes and, uh, a poncho with me and a plastic wrap for my camera.

But I. I didn't because I'm like, oh, the weather looks fine. You know? 'cause we're in California. It rarely changes that drastically. Uh, so yeah, I think I. The relationship I have with the writers is solid. I try not to, to burn people for the sake of burning people. I, I had a good talk with some of the more well-seasoned journalists, and I said, when do you, when do you know when to publish something and when not to, like in the case of Lance Armstrong, no reporter reported anything about him until only one reporter did, and then everybody did, and they said, look, If you wanna burn somebody, you have to do it if it's for the greater good of the sport.

So if you know somebody's doing something nefarious, like cutting the course, or cheating or taking drugs or drafting off of a vehicle, you should probably document that and mention that and show that. Don't, don't not do it just because you're friends with them and they ask you not to do it.

[00:26:46]Craig Dalton (Host): Right. Yeah,

[00:26:47]Brian Co: is always hard because you're like, okay, if I do this, that means you're never gonna probably wanna interview with me again.

So that's, that's something I have to decide on the fly.

[00:26:57]Craig Dalton (Host): Yeah, that's the balance. You talked about sort of your efforts to make velo worthy, this video project that people can enjoy on YouTube. You also talked about how you've been excited about coming to Gravel over the last couple years. What does the summer look like for you? What are the types of things that you wanna document this year?

[00:27:16]Brian Co: Well, I, I'm learning that I'm not able to sustain what I'm doing on velo worthy unless we have an unbound every single weekend or at least a level of an event, the size of Unbound every single weekend. So I'm actually learning that, again, this is a complete shock to me that brands. Will actually reach out to me and say, okay, we want you to review this tire.

Or thinking that I'm some sort, sort of expert just 'cause I go to these events. But, uh, yeah, it's kind of cool, like I'm learning the tech side of it all and doing videos where, uh, I'm reviewing saddles or sunglasses or something. Um, where, you know, in my opinion, I review something. Say sunglasses based on how they look versus like the, the technical prowess of it.

And so that's always cool because it, it forces me to just expand what I'm doing and, and you know, you have to have this healthy balance between what you're passionate about versus what people want to see. And if they don't line up, then you have to make some decisions. But, um, You know when, when I'm gr interested in growing velo worthy, it depends on how I define growth and what I want that to be.

Because if I could, I could be another channel where I'm just doing all tech, and some people love that. But for me, I like the human story. I like the human drama of it all.

[00:28:53]Craig Dalton (Host): Yeah. I personally think that's more interesting as well.

[00:28:57]Brian Co: Yeah, and then maybe show like what tires they're running at the same time,

[00:29:01]Craig Dalton (Host): Yeah. I mean

[00:29:02]Brian Co: not mutually exclusive.

[00:29:04]Craig Dalton (Host): exactly. I mean, there's the personal element of like why I chose this tire for this particular event and why it was successful or unsuccessful as a choice. So what's, yeah, what's next? So you're out at Unbound, and I know you'd mentioned to me offline that you've got a bunch of gravel events you wanna cover this year.

[00:29:21]Brian Co: Yeah. So in between Unbound and the events I'm doing, I have it, I have this like glass wall on my wall here that I take a pen and, and write to, and I have like a whole video queue and one's on doing a tire review, uh, a review of, uh, the new, uh, specialized truck, gravel bike that I'm trying to convert into a all in one bike.

Um, and then I have, uh, Foco Fondo in Fort Collins. I'm going to a small gravel race, but probably the most fun you'll ever have on two wheels. Uh, Whitney and Zach Allison put it on and they have. Such a good pulse of what makes cycling events fun. Um, doing that, there's Leadville, uh, which is mountain biking, but not super technical 'cause a lot of the lifetime athletes do it.

And then Steamboat, s b t is the next week after that. And then there's also Montana, uh, mammoth Tough. Sporting the mammoth tough T-shirt. And then, uh, there's National Gravel, national Inaugural Championships, which we'll see how that even works. Some people may be like, Hey, this is awesome, and other people might say it's killing the spirit of gravel.

The minute U s A cycling gets involved.

[00:30:47]Craig Dalton (Host): so we'll see. So when you're out at these events, are you gonna sort of follow a similar format where you'll. Capture some athlete interviews. Capture as much of the course as you can to kind of give people the experience.

[00:30:59]Brian Co: Yeah, so I actually plan it all out ahead of time. I use, you know, I have a Google Sheet doc. I type in each day, shot lists for everything. I'm very methodical, you know, charge up all my batteries, clear my, and format all my memory cards. I have all my equipment out there. I work on logistics. I get in touch with the athletes ahead of time and we plan, okay, we're gonna meet at this time, at this location.

We're gonna sit down for five minutes and talk about this thing. And then when you get there, you know, everyone has a plan till you get punched in the face and then something could happen, it could rain. Uh, the athlete could be like, I don't feel like showing up. I've run into just every logistical thing you can.

And so when you're there, you have to adjust on the fly and be like, okay, like at Unbound. There's this whole thing I did with Rebecca Inger where I didn't know she was gonna get sixth and she's this big personality and gravel, uh, and she just saw me and she's like, Hey, come walk with me. And I followed her and we went to get a race number at registration and I just started documenting that.

And then I was like, well, why don't you just come over for dinner the night before? Bring Sarah Max, her friend. They're both like super solid in gravel. They came over for dinner and then I was like, let's just go in the living room and we'll film real quick. And they, they were sort of the intro to that video.

None of that was planned. That was all spontaneous. So yeah, like you can only plan so much until it actually happens. And then when it does, you have to adapt it kind of like racing itself, you know? So, uh, in a ways it's, I I approach those events in the same way.

[00:32:42]Craig Dalton (Host): Yeah, that makes sense. Sweet. Well, I'm super excited to see all those events you're gonna cover later in the year. I definitely, I wanna get more of the flavor I've had, I've had Whitney on talking about Foco Fondo. I've had Jess, Sarah and Sam Boardman on talking about Last Best Ride. I'm always curious to just kind of see on the ground footage of.

How those events will go down and what the experience looks like. Because I think at the end of the day, most athletes who aren't professional athletes, you know, we've got limited time and limited budgets to get out there and picking the events that are gonna be the right vibe I think is important. I.

[00:33:19]Brian Co: Yeah. You know, and not every event needs to be documented in the way, say, Unbound is because not every race is about even focusing on the pointy end, especially if it's a smaller event where people just kind roll out. There's no neutral, there's no gun that goes. People just roll out and then they finish.

They still ride hard. So I have to figure out a better way to tell the story. 'cause if I just focus on the leaders or one guy or girl, that's just gonna get boring and because there's so much that happens behind that. There's people on tandems and there's people on all kinds of weird gravelly, custom steel alloy, flannel, mustache, whatever.

Like it's just, there's so much going on that I, I, I need to be able to capture that as well, so,

[00:34:13]Craig Dalton (Host): Yeah. No, I agree. I, I mean, I think I've, I've done an equal part of like pointy end of the race racers and mid packers, and I know. It seems to be a growing trend. 'cause I think at the end of the day, part of this quote unquote spirit of gravel is we're all participating together. So I do, I tend to agree with you that the sort of flannel shirt, wearing Mustached party pace athlete experience is every bit as valid to understand as part of, you know, what the overall event jam is gonna feel like as the pointy ended.

In fact, probably even more so.

[00:34:47]Brian Co: Yeah, I mean, I. Some people finish Unbound in 10 hours and some people finish it in 20 hours. So for the people who are finishing in 20 hours, they had, they spent more time at Unbound than the pros did.

[00:34:59]Craig Dalton (Host): Yeah, no, I, I, I remember back from my triathlon days at Ironman and thinking like, you know, you have the pros finishing in whatever, seven or eight hours. Then the person who's finishing in 17 hours. That is such a harder day, and I think that most of the pros would acknowledge that saying like, they don't think they could even do a 17 hour day.

[00:35:21]Brian Co: Yeah, and the pros are asleep and they have their feet up and they've already had a couple of beverages consumed. I don't know. I've been last in bike races before. I've d NFD in bike races, uh, and I've been in bike races, road bike races where I've come in. I'm pretty sure dead last, where they're like taking like the finishing barriers out and I just kind of like hide. But in gravel, you see like at mid-south, they're celebrating and embracing whoever finishes his last, like at Unbound, the XL winner I think did it in, they finished on like a Sunday afternoon. They started on Friday. Uh, and they, they brought out everyone and sprayed champagne on 'em. And you just don't see that at other events.

[00:36:09]Craig Dalton (Host): I think that's the allure of the ultra endurance events that are prevalent in gravel, right? Because these are lifetime achievements to kind of do a 200 mile race or what have you. And yeah, everybody should be celebrated. Everybody should feel an immense sense of accomplishment for just having got a getting across the finish line.

[00:36:29]Brian Co: Yeah. I met, I'm met a, I'm met a volunteer. Who was doing the finish line, like wet shammy, butter washcloths, those yellow ones. And I'm like, oh, where are you from? He is like, oh, I'm from Florida. And I'm like, you came all the way from Florida to be a volunteer and you're not even writing the event. He's like, yeah, but being a volunteer gets you entry for the next year.

So you're already, you're already doing prep. Well before you're, you can even do it 'cause the lottery system is so random. But if you volunteer, you're guaranteed an entry. Or if you're a vendor, you're guaranteed an entry. And people, I forget, travel I. Just to volunteer. You would never see that. You would never see that at a crit as much as I love crit racing, or you'd never see it at a row race where someone volunteers a year early just to just to throw wet rags on somebody just so they can race it the next year.

That just speaks volumes.

[00:37:26]Craig Dalton (Host): yeah, it really does. Cool. Well, Brian, I appreciate you coming on and sharing the story. I'll make sure people know how to check out the content so they can explore. The velo worthy YouTube channel.

[00:37:38]Brian Co: Thank you. And, uh, you know, I, I, I, I think that a lot of room to grow, not in terms of traffic necessarily, but in the way I. People like you and me develop within the sport. Like we're not, we don't have the advantage of being ex-professional with a big following. So like if Peter Seg wants to start his own podcast, we're just doomed.

We just are. But I think we just grind it out. We're there, we're talking to people. We're learning and we're creating, I think a great. Space in the sport to have voices like these. So I really appreciate the opportunity to be out here and talking to you because I just love what you're doing and I, I love being able to share my passion for the sport.

[00:38:29]Craig Dalton (Host): Yeah. Amazing. Thanks Brian.