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Nov 16, 2021

This week we sit down with Phil Cavell, co-founder of Cycle Fit Studio in London and author of The Midlife Cyclist. The Midlife Cyclist take a comprehensive look at our bodies and mind with an eye towards successful cycling in mid-age and beyond. 

Episode sponsor: Competitive Cyclist - Code 'TheGravelRide'

Phil's CycleFit Studio and The Midlife Cyclist

Episode Transcript (automated, please excuse the typos):

Phil Cavell - The Midlife Cyclist 

[00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. This week on the podcast, we're joined by Phil Cavell. 

[00:00:10] Phil is the co-founder of pioneering European fit and cycling analysis studio cycle fit. And the author of a book called the midlife cyclist.

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[00:02:09] So it was really great to just chat with her. And, you know, I know part of the journey of this entire podcast for me has been learning about different bike brands and so many questions that I had when I got into the sport. And it was just great to know that you can call a gear head and kind of riff on what you're looking for. 

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[00:02:58] At competitive gravel ride. Entering promo code the gravel ride. . With that said let's dive right into my interview with phil

[00:03:08] Phil, welcome to the show. 

[00:03:10] Phil Cavell: Thank you, Craig. It's great to 

[00:03:11] Craig Dalton: be there. I'm excited to have this 

[00:03:13] Phil Cavell: yeah. I suspect that you are. 

[00:03:14] Craig Dalton: Let's talk just to set the stage for the listener.

[00:03:16] Let's just talk a little bit about your background as a cyclist, and then also I think your day job, not being a writer, what you do as a day job at cycle fit studio. 

[00:03:27] Phil Cavell: Yeah. Sure. I used to race everything. Come from a time and a place where you didn't really just raise one format.

[00:03:33] We used to race cyclocross, rode mountain bike, time trials, team time and trials and getting back over 30 years now, but it just the team and club I was with us, just, it was a group of people and we just wrote everything. And living in London, you could raise a criterium on Tuesday. At crystal palace, the famous crystal palace.

[00:03:51] And then you could do a time trial on Wednesday and then you could do, or mounted bike race on a Wednesday or Thursday was a big criterium day at the glorious east way circuit. And then you do a mounted by race or a road race on the weekend. So that was in the seat. That's just the diet I grew up on.

[00:04:08] You just raised everything all the time. And until by the end of the season, all of a sudden you couldn't move or speak any muscle in your body. And so that was normal to me until I got injured and until my co-director and a psychopath found pat and I found her got injured and then we couldn't do anything.

[00:04:24] And that's what made us interested in the subject. And so yeah, the cycle fit, we that it was born in the late nineties. And it's all really came on, tap in the early two thousands. So it's been going just over 20 years. 

[00:04:37] Craig Dalton: I want to dig into cycle fit a little bit, but before we jump in. I know your injury was quite serious and actually took you off the bike for a really extended period of time.

[00:04:48] I think that's really interesting just to hear it in your words, and the fact that you were able to come back to the bike is, you know, maybe news and some enthusiastic news to some of the lists. 

[00:04:58] Phil Cavell: Yeah, it wasn't that injury actually, the original injury that made me interested in bike fitting was 25, 30 years ago.

[00:05:04] The injury, this injury was 2011, hit a pothole and spammy me over the bars and very innocuous, really commuting crash, spammy me over the bars and a ambulance picked me up and took me to hospital and Yeah. And then I had a S a, quite a bad spine fracture there, but their feeling was, it was probably an old one that I'd reactivated or, and so it just got worst over it got worse and worse over the next few weeks.

[00:05:31] And I could feel it degrading. And it was I'd missed that period in British medicine when you're treated as an emergency. And so I was almost always trying to get back into the system, but it got worse and worse until I had to have spine fusion surgery that failed quite badly and got an infection and made things worse.

[00:05:51] And yeah, I really, it was. Six seven years of just trying to find where ground, you know, that the kind of base level was like a kickoff. Again, every time I thought things couldn't get worse, they did, which is bizarre because I was working in an, in, you know, working at my day job was helping people who were injured and I was the one I'd run up through, but I couldn't think of myself and a knock and my co-director jewels.

[00:06:14] And you know, he felt awful because, you know, there was no fix. And obviously like most professionals, you know, I opt for the least, you know, you want ops for the least, least invasive corrective therapy. You know, I already had one round of surgery and that didn't go great. So you're a bit gun shy for the next round.

[00:06:31] So you're trying to manage everything with physio and physical, you know, physical therapy. And of course being in my business, I know a lot of them very good ones and bless them. They were all trying to. But it's one of those situations where no one could help. I couldn't help. Nobody could help.

[00:06:44] And it just, so I couldn't really ride at all between 2011 and 2000 and late 17, early 18, I had spine revision surgery in 2017 and it was successful. 

[00:06:57] Craig Dalton: Glad to hear that. Yeah. Yeah. What a journey. And I can only imagine how bad it was, you know, having to service athletes at cycle. If it's studio, meanwhile, not being able to, you know, enjoy the sport.

[00:07:10] That's been a big part of your entire life.

[00:07:12] . I remember you'd mentioned that you and your partner both had differing injuries that led you to starting this cycle fit studio.

[00:07:20] Can you just talk about that process and what philosophy you brought to fit? 

[00:07:25] Phil Cavell: Yeah, I mean, we both had injuries. So we were sidelined from racing and it just made us it, we came from a traditional racing background, you know, which was, you know, you didn't really think too much about your position and didn't think too much about anything at all, or even doing other things other than just racing.

[00:07:43] We just raised and rode all the time. And then we got, when we got injured, it made us reevaluate everything. And then we worked with Paul swift, a lot, one of your, you know, and we went to Ben serratus classes. Ben was great. We really, you know, those early, but Ben shorter classes were amazing. And then it just got it, gave us an appetite for the subject.

[00:08:04] So we just constantly learned and trained and sought people out who could help us learn. People about podiatrists because podiatry for us was where a lot of the gold was buried. We thought, and, you know, I think we were right about that. You know, we just trained and learn from everybody, whether it was a hip surgeon or a podiatrist or a physio, we just kept going.

[00:08:24] And so developed our philosophy from there. And the philosophy hasn't really changed. It's just changed, you know, to help us deliver the philosophy. And I guess that philosophy for that, sorry. 

[00:08:35] Craig Dalton: Yeah, no, I was just going to say, I mean, it seems yeah, I'd love to hear you summarize the philosophy and obviously like the cycle fit studio grew and you started working with a lot of professional teams and individual athletes of really big note.

[00:08:51] Phil Cavell: Yeah. Yeah, I guess the philosophy is that cycling is prescriptive. It's a very prescriptive sport. I think your ranges of movement and that can either be good because it's prescribing good movement for you or it's good. It can be bad. It's prescribing your body to do bad things that are out of alignment with what you can tolerate.

[00:09:11] And so for us, it really is about anatomy. It's understanding each individual on quite a deep level and what their body wants to do and how their body wants to move. And then try and express that on the bicycle. I guess that's our philosophy encapsulated that, you know, when cyclists come in and say, you know, geez, I'm really uncomfortable in pain.

[00:09:29] The bike's hurting me is don't beat yourself up. It's a very prescriptive environment. And right now the prescriptions are wrong. You're being prescribed the wrong. And we need to know, I found out what the right prescription is, and for that, we need to really understand how your body wants to move from function.

[00:09:45] And then possibly part of that is even saying, okay, there's things you can do yourself to make things better here. You know, no, one's a finished project, actually. Everyone's working progress, everybody, especially mid-life athletes things are changing quickly. So you've got to stay on top of it.

[00:09:58] So I guess that in essence is our philosophy. 

[00:10:00] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I was curious. I mean, I think it's a good time that we move on to the book that you've written the midlife cyclist, but were you seeing some of the things as you had older athletes come into cycle fit studio was, and as you were aging yourself, were you starting to see things very starkly about how the aging athlete was fitting onto a bike that led just another thread of why you wanted to write this.

[00:10:24] Phil Cavell: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, we were seeing clients come in trying to do extraordinary things and often not coming from a cycling background. And so we were, you know, it made us very curious really about, you know, you try not to see everybody through the same prism, you know, we're all X races, all races, that cycle of it.

[00:10:42] So it's very tempting to see things through that prism and, you know, The inspiration behind the book was what don't, let's not see people through that prison. Let's see. Pick Trump usually see people through their individual prison. My teachers did right. Looking at it. Thank you very much, Donna. So yeah, the hiding behind that was to really explore that subject.

[00:10:59] You know, someone doesn't come from a side, combat run, they come from a rugby background or a soccer background or and you know, what's the best evidence and advice for them to progress as quickly as they can in the sport safely. And that ultimately is. To try and hold people's hands so they can get the most out of themselves and the most out of their bikes and the booklet.

[00:11:18] The book really is a philosophy discussion about that subject to think. 

[00:11:22] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think that's probably meets a lot of gravel riders where they're at, because your statement around meeting athletes who were trying to do extra ordinary things that maybe hadn't been riding their whole life to do that.

[00:11:34] Is commonplace in gravel. I mean the tent pole events around the world can be a hundred plus miles, maybe even 200 miles in the case of Unbound out in Kansas, these events that people read about and think, oh, I'm just going to go out and do that because gravel is so inviting, but the idea of coming off of even just a solid fitness background and riding 200 miles off road, quite a tall order.

[00:11:58] Phil Cavell: Yeah, that's right. And. It's beholden and everybody who wants to do that kind of event to really understand what they're demanding of their body, what systems are they going to be stressing? Which systems should they be fueling through? It's not just, it's just not enough to get yourself fit or to keep pushing up your FTP because of the net.

[00:12:18] You're a high FTP isn't necessarily going to get you through a trans continental ride or some of the great big events. It's just not, you know, you need to be working. In an oxidative efficient state. And that requires specific training. And a lot of us amateurs, certainly midlife athletes who have come into the sport late or trying to catch up all the time.

[00:12:38] They're trying to cram the homework is it won't work. You know, you know, you've got to you. I think I say in the book, you've, you know, you've got to put some foundations down before you can move into the penthouse, you know? And if you don't do that, you know, you know, you are not going to perform at your best.

[00:12:52] And so you've got almost slow down to go fast. Even me, you know, I come from a racing background race for decades. If I was going to go and do one of these events and I absolutely want to go and do the trans continent or something like that just absolutely speaks to me. I would completely change the way I ride.

[00:13:07] You know, I absolutely would, you know, I'm by nature, I'm a crit rider, you know, All fast, short distance, 45 minutes or an hour, and I'm gone. If I was going to do the trans continental, I would totally change the way I ride. Totally. You know, you've got to start fueling different. Yeah. You know, it's 

[00:13:24] Craig Dalton: interesting.

[00:13:25] No. It's interesting to hear your perspective on this stuff, obviously. That's why I invited you on the podcast. You know, to that vein, you know, it wasn't, I spent a little bit of time in my life, as a, as an amateur road racer. And then I did a bike tour and I realized as I strapped those bags on my road bike, the day was going to be different.

[00:13:45] I wasn't going to be sprinting. Out of the blocks. It was going to be a long day with a lot of weight on the bike. And it really was instrumental in shifting my mentality around what would eventually in my life become a passion around these Endurant long endurance events. And it is to your point, you just have to think about it entirely differently than an hour long criteria.

[00:14:09] Phil Cavell: That's right. And I remember Joel signed me up for the first Everett tap to tour and, you know, I didn't even know what it was, frankly. And Jules is juices. My co-director is a vet. He's a very intelligent, very disciplined rider and trainer always a much better trainer than I was. I was his lead out man.

[00:14:27] And I, and he was, you know, he was a very good sprinter and he signed me up for this event and I'm like, oh, okay. So we'll do it. So we went out to the tap to tour. I had no idea what it was, no idea what it was. And I got. And we started, I still didn't really know what it was. I didn't even know where it went.

[00:14:40] I honestly didn't know where it went or what climbs it went over. It seems madness now, but it's a long time ago. Anyway, it started and I thought, great race. You know, let's go get into, get my race head on and off we go. I was in the front group to start with the first hour and 10 minutes. I was literally in the front group.

[00:14:55] There's a group of us and I'm going through an orphan. It's an hour and 10 minutes hits and that's my normal distance. And I'm gone. I'm done. I'm not going to blow my. That's it lights went out after burners off, shut down at which point Jules came out next to me on this climb and said, oh, you worn out old Labrador.

[00:15:12] Look at you in touch. I'm sorry, chores. I'd completely blown my biscuit. And I had that five hours left. Yeah, very expensive education. Crazy. 

[00:15:21] Craig Dalton: For sure. You don't have to say, you know, I mentioned that, I felt like this book hit me at the exact right time. You know, I've been suffering the last few years with some lower back issues and felt you know, this was the year I was really gonna change my mentality about writing and, you know, I had been one of those.

[00:15:39] Ride five days a week. That's what riding is all about kind of athletes. And I knew I needed to make some changes when I was reading through maybe the first third of this book and maybe it was chapter three in particular. I was starting to think, oh my God, You know, I'm probably fortunate that it's only my back that's hurting because it could be my knees.

[00:15:58] It could be my it band. It could be my hip. And I started to get in this doom and gloom mentality. So I was super happy when it started to come around in chapter four. You know, the midlife cyclist, it is possible to still go fast and achieve these major milestone events in your life, but the mentality needs to shift.

[00:16:20] So it'd be interesting to just talk about some of the elements of the mentality that needs to shift and how we can think about, you know, writing to. 

[00:16:29] Phil Cavell: Yeah. And I'm sorry, some people have reacted to the book and said, look, you know, I find the book a little bit, you know, I find it a bit, chapter three, you know, is tough.

[00:16:38] And some of it I think is you know, you just a bad news bear. You just, you know, it's relentlessly bad news. And I don't, I just don't intend it like that. I just think the book to me is going into this with your eyes open, there's no point in being Peter pan about this understand the constraint, understand the challenges.

[00:16:53] And once you understand the challenges and the constraints have Austria. You know, and then you can do the best you can do, to go into this, you know, there's no point I didn't want to write a book. It was just a training manual, ignoring the fact that, you know, any other century you'd be dead, you know, 51, 50, 2 years old.

[00:17:10] How old are you? I'm nearly 60. So 51 51 in any other century, Craig, you wouldn't be alive, you know, unless you were kind of royalty, it's just as simple as that. You know, it's, you know, we need to, we need that kind of leveling moments. Okay. It's 300,000 generations of bypass. Every one of them would be dead by now, but not only am I alive, but I want to train and act like an Olympic athlete.

[00:17:33] Okay. All of that's great. I love it. Understand the challenges, you know, and this is people my age and your age, trying to push their bodies hard is a very recent event in human history. So I think it's beholden all of us to understand. And then understand what's happening to our bodies as we do this and challenge our bodies in these ways.

[00:17:54] Not because I think not because I think we shouldn't be doing it, not because I'm trying to be depressing, but because I think the goal is buried in understanding. 

[00:18:04] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And I think by the end of the book that comes absolutely shining through, and that chapter three is a distant memory and I was more on.

[00:18:14] Gosh, I just need to do the things that I need to do correctly. I need to think about my cycling career differently at this point. And there was a bunch of things in the book. That were put out there in a way that sort of makes you think about it. One that I'll highlight that is, I think for a lot of gravel athletes, maybe it's top of mind these days, just because of some of the athletes, we follow just the idea of recovery and you've got products like whoop out there talking about HRV, and there's obviously a number of other ways you can get that, that that stat out of your body.

[00:18:45] But if you could talk a little bit about recovery and maybe. Alongside that over-training syndrome. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on that. 

[00:18:54] Phil Cavell: Yeah, it's a good point. Oh, cyclists seem to be born with a great work ethic and it's, you know, and if, you know, and it's you know, we're made mad by miles.

[00:19:03] We just, you know, we're mile hungry. And if in doubt, put more miles on your belt, you know, I come from that background, you know, the old generation I come from was like, you know, it's all miles, it's all miles under the saddle, you know? And there's, that's partly true. When you get to our age, my age, I'm older than you.

[00:19:18] It's also too to say that you need to respect your body more and you need to rest more. You need to recover more. Remember that you get fit, not when you're training, but when you're recovering, you know, what you do is you have a, you introduce a stress to your body, a training dose to your body. And that stimulates something on a cellular level, and then you need to super compensate and your body then gets stronger to adapt to this.

[00:19:42] You put your body under. So you're actually getting, you're actually gaining fitness, not when you're training, but in the super compensation stage. Now everyone knows that, but cyclists, we seem to, it's no, we never, we don't allow our body to go into the super compensation stage and rest. And we get to my age and degree your age, you just need to have, be more conscious of not just the amount of rest, but the quality of rest sleep is absolutely.

[00:20:07] Go dust to you know, to our generation really, because that's when all the good work gets done. And if you're in any doubt tool bag as to whether you should train, I wouldn't necessarily use heart rate, which is our old gold standard. You'd take your pulse if you know, and you'd say, okay, I'm at 45.

[00:20:23] I'm good to go. Or 50 good to go. You know, a lot of a lot of endurance athletes have bradycardia, which is slow heart rate. So a better way to look at it is HRV heart rate variation, which is the beat to beat changed. And that gives you an, a better metric to work with as to whether you're fully rested and should train, or in fact, you're still tired and you've got inflammation in your body possibly or you're fighting something and you probably are best served to rest.

[00:20:45] Not best served to rest in health, but all certainly that is true, but best health best to rest for performance. Because training, when you're tired really has no benefit, it just doesn't have any benefit. Certainly our. You know, you want to be fizzing with energy when you train, you want to be go out there and think, oh, I could just, can't wait to do this.

[00:21:03] That's the mindset you need. I believe post 50 to train properly. 

[00:21:07] Craig Dalton: It's super interesting. And I think, you know, recovery has been something I've been focused on a lot more this year and just my understanding of it, you know, the HRV number, it's just this quantifiable metric that you can look at some days to be honest I feel like I have.

[00:21:21] The mentality to go out and thrash myself when I have a low HRV number. And I, you know, it takes a bit of discipline to dial myself back and knock, go after it or take the day off. But I think it's just layering on something very simple and a very important reminder, particularly for older athletes about the importance of recovery.

[00:21:41] Phil Cavell: Yeah. And I think. It's a sign of a mature athlete. If they go out and Jules was talking to me the day he went out for a ride and turn back, you know, he went out for a ride and said, you know, I just didn't feel right. Turned back you know, got 20 K in and went, you know what, this isn't going anywhere and turned back and went home and got cold the next day.

[00:21:57] You know, how did he stayed out for his three to four hours? He was planned and got cold and wet and really worked hard. You know, his age, she's two years younger than me. That would have been more, you know, more damaging as it was. He could shrug it off. So it's mature and sensible go out and say, do you know what?

[00:22:13] I'm not as sharp as I should be here. Now if you're a 25 crack on shore, Stop for a few beers. It doesn't matter. You know, you can do all that stuff, but post 45, 50, 60, yeah. You can't, you know, you can't because that stuff in beds, in, you know, that's a layer of inflammation in there that you don't need.

[00:22:29] Craig Dalton: And we've just recently had a coach on talking about just the need to control the things you can control when you're out there in these gravel events. And I think it's even more highly. For an older athlete, just to make sure you don't do something still in not hydrating or not getting the right nutrition in your body, not getting a good right rust, because as you said, we could all do that in our twenties and thirties, but in our forties and fifties and sixties, it's just going to have dire repercussions.

[00:22:56] Phil Cavell: Yeah. And I remember being a mounted by race. I think it was in Scotland years and years ago, probably 30 years ago, 25 years ago. And then the tent next. You know, or the camp, little campsite next door, they were having a party. They were drinking, they were solutely completely blasted. And then they weren't in our race.

[00:23:14] But, and then I remember coming back to the tent later, after we'd finished our race and the kid who in the morning was vomiting over his tent. Cause he was drunk in the morning. Still won his race. Shouldn't be, I remember talking to the you one new. You know, I was probably 30 at the time and he was already 18.

[00:23:32] Yeah. Yeah. Why don't you? And that his preparation was getting completely drunk, staying up all night and then vomiting over his tent. Now try that at 50, just to try that Jordan mean that isn't going to work. And that doesn't mean that was a good strategy. It just means he got away with it 18. I'm not sure that I'm not sure how that anecdote helps anybody anyway.

[00:23:53] Yeah. If 

[00:23:54] Craig Dalton: anybody does take that challenge on at 50, please send us a note. After the fact 

[00:23:58] Phil Cavell: you post a video like, 

[00:24:00] Craig Dalton: So chapter five, you go into bikes, bike, fit, and biomechanics. And I'm curious, I know you mentioned offline that you're, you're passionate gravel cyclists at this point. You know, how have you seen bike?

[00:24:12] Change relative to the equipment that's coming out for gravel bikes these days and the aging athlete. Yeah, 

[00:24:21] Phil Cavell: it's a good question. I just think it's a marvelous time. I think a lot of older athletes, my agent are embracing gravel because it means they get a bite. That you know, they don't have to have, you know, there are some in the air and you know, hands round by their knees, they can get a sense of a bite that can do lots of different jobs.

[00:24:38] It can be a robot, it can be you know, and so they, they're taking more sensible approach to their cycling. They. Once they've tried having a bit more rubber on the road or on the trail. They don't go back to riding a 23 and, you know, a 25, they, the minimum becomes a 28 or 32. So I think they're taking a much more pragmatic and I would say.

[00:24:57] Reassuring route through their cycling career. And it makes me much happier. I always, you know, when when a client walks out with a bike with a 32 Rhode Tyro, 28 or something. Yeah, it's good modem, you know, cause it's, you've got more grip there. You've got more comfort. You've got more control. You've got more safety margin.

[00:25:12] So I just think it's been a really, I think the whole gravel movement has been a altogether, very positive. I have to say for my clients for bike design. And of course it's all been liberated by disc brakes. Isn't it? I mean, seven was doing this a long time ago, one way or another, but I mean, you know, as were other manufacturers, but this has all been bought a life by the advent of disc brakes, isn't it?

[00:25:32] You know, and allowing the frame designer morph. 

[00:25:35] Craig Dalton: Yeah, a hundred percent. When you look at some of your professional athletes on the road that you work with, are you seeing like some of these elements of a little bit more comfort or are we still looking at these, you know, flat backs and high seats and long stems for the road athletes?

[00:25:51] Or are there actual like performance benefits that can be gained by pulling that back a little bit and making them a bit more relaxed?

[00:25:57] Phil Cavell: Yeah, I don't, I'd like to say I did see a bit of the latter and I think some, you know, some of the pros, the younger ones, you know, they look at it, look at Tom peacock. I mean, he comes from a cyclocross background, mountain bike background, you know, it's not, it's never too early, you know, he, you know, he has that background.

[00:26:14] You know, I'm not saying that his rope position is an aggressive. There's a good chance that, you know, he's going to have some, you know, he's crammed some smarts about him when he sets up his road bike. We, you know, I don't see necessarily that they are setting their Roebucks road bikes up any different, but they all do ride gravel.

[00:26:30] They all got gravel bikes. You know, one hopes that at some point they're going to take some, you know, some kind of recalibration by osmosis between the two, two formats. Certainly my amateur. You know, th they're now becoming category sensitive, you know, they, you know, they're no longer, they're no longer seeing these pigeonholes.

[00:26:49] They just, you know, there's getting bikes at work for a number of different environments. And I think that's brilliant and I love that. Yeah. 

[00:26:56] Craig Dalton: The other thing that's been talked about this book was and I heard you speaking on another podcast and referencing that you didn't think people were going to hang their hats on it as much as they have, but just this notion that amateur athletes are riding much closer to their threshold than professional athletes are on a weekly and monthly basis.

[00:27:13] Phil Cavell: Yeah. That, yes, that w the podcast, I was that too. So John Lewis is the 

[00:27:19] Craig Dalton: baseline podcast, 

[00:27:20] Phil Cavell: I think. Yeah. Yeah, it's been picked up on a lot that, I mean, the thing is data doesn't lie, you know, th the fact is that amygdala amateur athletes tend to spend more of their time as a proportion, closer to the red line and professionals per year.

[00:27:34] So we're 50 years of all 50 years of age, you know, in any other century we'd be dead, but there we are literally thrashing our bodies to destruction. Not literally, but metaphorically compared to professional writers. So they're writing at 60 something percent and we're writing 80% of our potential.

[00:27:51] You know, one has to think, what is that sense of, or, and the book really is trying to answer that. It is that sensible, rational, sustainable and you know, and it, what it means is that professional cyclists are more ordered and structured in the way that they ride and train more cognizant of what they should be doing.

[00:28:08] We tend to ride in this kind of mid sort of mid watch the whole time, you know, where are hard, bits are not hard enough. And our easy bits are too easy to just ride in this. What John Baker calls whirlwind of doom, you know, we're just and I can recognize it in myself, you know, decades gone past, I can recognize that, you know, where I'm riding in that kind of just in that uncomfortable zone all the time. 

[00:28:30] Craig Dalton: It 

[00:28:30] Resonated with me for sure. Only because as I mentioned offline, you know, I live in a little bit of a hilly place and I prefer to ride almost exclusively off-road so I, I do find myself grinding like a diesel engine up these Hills, never particularly having a super easy day and but never really doing anything that would resemble an interval either.

[00:28:52] Phil Cavell: Yeah. And that's right. I've worked with so many professional athletes and amateurs. And when they're forced to take things easy, you know, injury or illness, they always come back stronger, but they come back renewed and rejuvenated. It's yes, because your body's been desperate for this for so long. And yeah, and I think that's absolutely right.

[00:29:12] Whereas now I actually literally make myself ride really easy. Oh my God, this is lovely. I can feel my body's rejuvinating as I write. And then if I want to have a little pot and go a bit hard, I do. I definitely never ride hard unless I want to ever it, you know, I, I use that rule for myself unless I'm fizzing with energy and really want to ride hard.

[00:29:31] I don't. Yeah. And the rest of the time, I just knock it back. A couple of gears. I know that I'm building mitochondria, I'm working my oxidative system. It's all good for me. The other 

[00:29:41] Craig Dalton: thing that I picked up was just this notion of. Getting your head around dropping a cycling workout, picking up a strength training workout, or stand up paddle board session in your week.

[00:29:52] And again, with this holistic idea that it's actually going to make you a faster cyclist. 

[00:29:59] Phil Cavell: Yeah. And I think that's right. You've got to take one step back, take two steps forward as a midlife athlete because. Yeah. So I think we'll do nothing for bone density or bone minerality. It'll do nothing for sarcopenia or muscle loss.

[00:30:12] It'll do nothing really for flexibility. There's so much of the, you know, you'll do nothing for balance. Really. There's so much of your potential. That's not being challenged by cycling and not being developed. So you're not building, you're not building resilience in your Shasti. Do you want to build resilience in your Shasti?

[00:30:27] You've got to put the bike aside for a second. And do other things and that will make you faster. It's it's a tool. It's a tool. I was going to mix my metaphors. It's a big pill to swallow that one. 

[00:30:37] Craig Dalton: Totally it very much is. And I struggled with that a little bit myself, but I realized it to be a hundred percent true.

[00:30:44] Like I need to do these different things in order to be successful. And it's been an exploration. I've got a future podcast, guests just talking about why we need to do that. And I think it's critically important. 

[00:30:56] Phil Cavell: Yeah. And I don't athlete in the, in photography today. Very good athlete, you know, was he 47, 48 hours, incredibly strong, very powerful, doing big events.

[00:31:05] You're doing that event where they ride tour stages, you know, back to back tours stages before the tour or whatever. And, you know, I did a single X partial, single leg squat with him and he couldn't do a partial, single leg squat. It's you know what, you know, that's a pretty simple thing to do a partial single as to what you know, Yeah, I see that a lot.

[00:31:23] It's nice. Not a new, that's not, it's not atypical, you know, see a lot, you know, where you got super fit people and they can't do simple things, you know? 

[00:31:31] Craig Dalton: Yeah. No, I think that's so true. And I remember maybe in my forties, patting myself on the back that I'd selected a sport that you can ride, you know, you can ride a bike your entire life, but I didn't realize at the time that yes, you can, but you're going to need to do other things to support that goal.

[00:31:47] Phil Cavell: Yeah, that's right. And we've all heard stories where you've got a friend or a colleague and they're, you know, midlife, cyclists, and they have an accident which is quite innocuous. And the damage is more, you know, more than you, one would expect. And you know, they didn't have a DEXA scan or, you know, looks, which looks, you know, the sort of bone minerality and it's low they're, what's called osteopenic or osteoporotic.

[00:32:08] And it's because all they've done is cycle all their lives and not done anything off the bite whatsoever. And now they've got a bone density issue. You know, you know, if we're going to build resilience in the chassis, one of the things we need to look at is bone minerality, bone D. 

[00:32:21] Craig Dalton: Yeah, it makes a ton of sense.

[00:32:23] The book is great. I really enjoyed it. As I said, hit me at the right time. I hope for those listeners, like if your late thirties, early forties get on this book earlier, rather than later, because at 50, I've got some catching up to do. I'm committed to the cause. Cause I want to see everybody out there on the gravel events in 2022.

[00:32:42] So Phil, thank you so much for the time. Thank you for writing this book and putting such good work out there in the. 

[00:32:48] Phil Cavell: You're so welcome, Craig, it's been a pleasure to talk to you. Have a great weekend. 

[00:32:52] Craig Dalton: Cheers. 

[00:32:53] Big thanks to Phil for joining the show this week. I hope you all go out there and take a look at the midlife cyclist book, whether you're a midlife cyclist, yourself approaching midlife or otherwise. I think there's a lot of value in understanding. 

[00:33:07] What our bodies are going to go through as mid-life cyclists. I know this is something that I wish I was more attuned to as a younger lad. I think I would be in a lot better shape today. 

[00:33:19] And another big, thanks to competitive cyclists for joining us as a sponsor this week and the coming weeks. Be sure to visit competitive gravel ride and enter promo code to the gravel ride. To get 15% off your full price purchase and free shipping on orders over $50. Some exclusions apply as they always do. 

[00:33:40] Thanks for spending a little bit of your week with me this week. Until next time here's defining some dirt onto your wheels