Written by Christopher Kelly
Oct. 10, 2018
Christopher: Jeff Kendall-Weed, thank you so much for joining me this morning.
Jeff: Good morning, Christopher Kelly.
Christopher: And more appropriate, thank you so much for having me here in beautiful Bellingham in Washington. We're currently standing outside on a deck first thing in the morning getting some first morning light. We've had a wonderful time visiting you. You've got some fantastic trails and all these incredible lakes and waterfalls. It's just an amazing place to live. I'm sure you're really enjoying living here, right?
Jeff: It's amazing. Thanks for coming up and visiting us. It's been a pleasure.
Christopher: Thank you. So, for people who don't know Jeff, Jeff is a professional mountain biker and is currently following his passion creating video content for online. Jeff is the husband of Jamie Kendall-Weed and Jamie is the medical doctor that I originally founded Nourish Balance Thrive with back in 2012, I want to say. I've lost count now.
Jeff: You know better than I.
Christopher: I know. I totally lost count on history. I knew Jeff independently of Jamie before we started NBT. Later on you got married which was very nice.
Christopher: Why don't you take me back, way back to your earliest days on the bike? How did you first become passionate about riding bikes?
Jeff: Oh, man, great question. The way I got into probably formed how I still ride today. It's pretty applicable. I really wanted a dirt bike when I was a kid and I rode a motorcycle before I ever rode bicycle without training wheels. A kid across the way, I had an accident, my parents decided I'd never get a dirt bike. I got a sweet BMX bike when I was ten and then I was just always out in the yard building jumps, taking jumps and jumping but also just working on skills over and over and over, and just that goal of you set up a cool -- maybe it's not a jump. Maybe it's just a wheelie around this and then ride down that little skinny thing.
I'd set up little obstacle courses and just trying to do them over and over and over and get everything totally dialed and perfect and then try little BMX tricks over and over. So, it was a lot of time just to be solo enough to worry about home work and just work on -- have a goal in mind and work towards it and break it down why can't I pull this stunt, this trick, whatever. That was how I got into it, just setting up little challenges and trying to dissect them, like a bouldering problem you could say.
Christopher: What age are we talking about here?
Jeff: I started stuff like that around ten or something, ten or 11. I got my first mountain bike when I was 12 for training for BMX racing and then the mountain bike was always just like -- I drive it quite a bit but it was way more how I would ride to school in the morning which was a bunch of rad trails, thank goodness.
Christopher: Oh, yes, tell us about where you were at that time because that's quite [0:02:38] [Indiscernible].
Jeff: Yeah. We grew up right next to the Soquel Demonstration Forest in the Santa Cruz mountains. All through my middle school and high school career I would really focus on mountain biking when it was pouring rain and the dirt jumps would be way too wet for the BMX bikes. For years, most of my mountain biking was done in the pouring rain. And then once I went to university I always had a hunch when I was a kid that I'd get more mountain bikes later.
I went to university at San Louis Obispo Cal Poly. Down there the downhill team was really strong and there's good riding opportunities and I finally got a real downhill bike and all of a sudden I went from just dabbling in the mountain biking every couple of weekends to riding couple times a week.
Christopher: Did you ever get serious about racing BMX or anything like that?
Jeff: I really sucked at BMX racing. I didn't do any training and I just had no clue what it took to do well. Once I started training on the mountain bike then at the BMX track I was doing really well but that was just a handful of one off races. Yeah, I was not super focused on that. I was not one of those kids that succeeded at BMX racing. I was an intermediate level for four or five years, something like that. I had actually bumped myself up to expert once I started training on the mountain bike.
Christopher: We should describe the Soquel Demonstration Forest trails for people. Can you describe them?
Jeff: They've changed a lot over the years. When I first started going out there it was just typical Santa Cruz backcountry single track, real narrow, real soft dirt, just pretty raw. And then nowadays it's one of the main riding destinations in the Bay Area. The trails are very high speed. They're pretty wide. They're heavily ridden so all the race lines have been well figured out and your average speed on your bike in Demo Forest is quite high.
There's places back in the day we would struggle to hit 40 and now these places -- well, I haven't ridden there in about a year. The average speed gradient has gone up probably 15 miles an hour over the last 20 years. It's overlooking the Monterey Bay on just a beautiful ridge, starts up in the Oak tree Madrone forest and then descends into the Redwoods. It's just totally beautiful.
Christopher: That's awesome. That new flow trail that was built recently is quite extraordinary. It takes me I think close to 20 minutes to make it all the way down. They've been gradually building sections. It just keeps getting longer and longer.
Jeff: Yeah. That's a ripping trail. I think that's the best flow trail I've ever ridden, that and the one up here in Raging River in Washington is also super good too but in very different way. Yeah, flow trail demo forest is really cool. Once that trail got opened the traffic to the forest increased probably tenfold because that trail is so good.
Christopher: Yeah, I'm ashamed to say that I don't make it over to the demonstration forest very often just because--
Jeff: It's an hour from where you live.
Christopher: I live in Bonny Doon which is also in Santa Cruz. It's at the top of the hill. It's much easier for me to just ride the local trails in Santa Cruz around the UC Campus, which are also fun but, yeah, there's definitely something to be said for the Soquel especially the flow trail. I should probably go over there more often.
Jeff: Yeah, and then riding up from Aptos to get to demo forest is really--
Christopher: Which is just a hell of a climb though.
Jeff: Yeah. I used to do that a couple of times a week when I was living in Santa Cruz. I miss those days. But I'm probably fitter for not doing that anymore.
Christopher: Tell me about how you first started to compete? Was that at university or did you start racing before then?
Jeff: I'd been to every Sea Otter since 1996 and raced a bunch of slalom. In 2002 I raced downhill at Sea Otter and did really well, just on my little sister's hard tail.
Christopher: That's awesome.
Jeff: I think I kind of [0:05:57] [Indiscernible] the head tube on that bike during that race run.
Christopher: We should explain Sea Otter for people that may not be familiar. I think most people, it's one of the biggest events in North America, right?
Jeff: Yeah, it's the biggest North American cycling event that I really know of. It's not only a race. It's also a trade show. It's at a Laguna Seca race car, race track. And there's just mountain there, not mountains, there's small hills all around where they set up courses. You have everything from cross-country racing to a downhill, do a slalom, tons of road racing events. They even do road racing on the automobile race track. Then there's a trade show, full industry trade show in the center of all that. It's cool to have both trade show and race event at the same place.
Christopher: And how did you get on in those early Sea Otter events?
Jeff: Terrible. I just do trials in cross-country. And in the cross-country I would never do very well. I'd break a chain. You get a flat tire somehow or just like go way too hard out of the gate and blow up. It's hard when you're 11, 12, 13, and the kids' class used to be ages 12 to 18. You show up and there's a guy in the start line with a beard and you're in middle school and you're like, "What's going on?" But, trials is really cool. I've got to ride a lot of cool trials at that event. Once a year I got to do a little trials riding. Folks often think I've got a trials background. I don't. I just did trials at Sea Otter for a few years.
Christopher: Did you gradually transition into more of a downhill style? Because I think of you more of a downhill guy.
Christopher: I mean, I guess, we would use the word endure now perhaps. You're definitely not one of those cross-country [0:07:31] [Indiscernible].
Jeff: No. I really like riding cross-country and I can race single speed cross-country okay but not super good, like straight up straight down courses. Those rarely exists. But, yeah, I started to get into the downhill thing in 2003. I went to the Cal Poly's home race, the Parkfield Classic and it's just out in the middle of nowhere, probably an hour and a half from San Luis Obispo, an hour from Paso Robles. It's just out in Cal country.
It's a big camp out because it's so far out in the middle of nowhere. There's no cell service. You can't really go buy anything. You're just stuck in camp and it's 300 college kids out having a party out in this middle of nowhere spot. The courses are pretty fun. It's just a good vibe and everyone is camping out for the weekend together. I went to that and opened my eyes that mountain biking can be super rad, mountain bike racing, and the downhill race there is really fun.
Christopher: Did you do well?
Jeff: Yeah, I won the beginner class but I should not have been racing beginner in hindsight. I think I raced beginner at that one and then upgraded myself the next day to intermediate class. And by the end of that season I upgraded myself to the A class.
Christopher: Okay. And you continued to do well?
Jeff: Yeah. But it's collegiate racing. What's cool is a lot of people in the bike industry in the west coast that I know are old friends of mine from that west coast collegiate cycling conference. It's cool seeing a lot of these guys -- many of the big companies, a lot of these folks are friends of mine from the collegiate years of racing.
Christopher: And did you recognize that cycling was what you wanted to do with your life not just for fun at the weekend like I do? Did you notice right away that this was something that you could make money doing?
Jeff: Oh, god, no. There's definitely no money to be made, nothing like that. I had no idea what I was going to do for a living. I thought I'd become a teacher or something and just ride bikes on the side. Coming in with a BMX mentality, I'd been pretty hard core in the BMX all through high school and still rode BMX through university. That's just a whole different mentality than the average mountain biker. If there's no money in mountain biking, there's absolutely no money in BMX.
Christopher: What did you study at university?
Jeff: I was an English major with a Spanish minor, a linguistics minor and a teaching English as a second language certificate.
Christopher: What did you do once you graduated?
Jeff: Yeah, right? Well, I studied abroad in Spain for a year in school. When I was over in Spain I raced a couple of world cups. I went to a bunch of Maxxis Cup and did pretty well and started to think more about mountain biking and the industry and stuff. I set my eyes on working within the bike industry.
In San Luis Obispo, there was a company called Truvativ that SRAM bought in 2003 or something. I had a bunch of friends over at Truvativ and seeing what they did all the time, it looked pretty cool. At some point, I forgot when exactly. I started to think that a bike industry job might be pretty cool. When I graduated in March of 2008 I'd been working three jobs with the goal of buying my first dirt bike. One of those jobs was working at Lezyne handling some communication stuff. Lezyne is like a mini pumps and accessories company.
Christopher: Yeah, I know. They make really nice stuff, don't they?
Jeff: Yeah, it's good. The founder of Truvativ is the guy who -- he sold it to SRAM and then once the no compete was up or something he founded Lezyme. Yeah, we were working out of his basement. It sounds like a basement. It's a mansion up in the hills. I was working there for the first three months out of the school until the economy really slowed down. And then I was just totally green, jobless, homeless, clueless on what's going on. And then moved back into my parents' house for a few months and then the opportunity to work at Ibis came up.
Christopher: So, why not dirt bikes? Just before we go down there, talk about Ibis, why not dirt bikes? It seems like maybe dirt bikes were your first and foremost passion but you did mountain bikes instead. Why was that?
Jeff: You grew up riding mountain bikes. I always rode dirt bikes in the side. Friends would loan them to me. I'd go riding with friends a bunch and it was really fun but there's a big barrier to going out riding with your friends at a dirt bike. There's so much more gear to get ready and then it's so hard to actually get out there because it's such a production.
Whereas you can just go hop on your bike and ride around and that sense of satisfaction after a good bike ride is so much stronger than after a good dirt bike ride. Yeah, I really wanted to get one though. I hadn't ever owned one so I knew once I was going to graduate school there was nothing holding me back so I went and I worked all those jobs and a couple of weeks after graduating went and picked up a YZ125 and that's always been a great hobby for me ever since I got that YZ125.
Christopher: But you'd say that the mountain bikes are your first passion?
Jeff: Yeah, definitely.
Christopher: Tell us about Ibis. Ibis have quite an interesting history, don't they?
Jeff: Yeah, they do. It was like a small company out of Scot Nicol's garage or work shop for 20 some odd years and then he sold the company off in 2000. The new owners ran it to the ground and then Hans Heim, the former president of Santa Cruz Bike, he saw the name floating around and he wanted to get back into the bike industry so he bought the name and re-founded the company in 2004. I was lucky enough.
They had a warehouse space in Scotts Valley, California. I think I started working there in 2007 or late '06, something like that. And then in late '08 I started to work there just QC-ing stuff in the warehouse, quality control. And then they moved to the west side of Santa Cruz and so they hired me to help with the move. I had a couple of weeks of just loading U-haul trucks, driving them five miles, unloading them.
Christopher: How did you meet those guys?
Jeff: A good friend of mine put me in touch with Hans, the CEO of Ibis.
Christopher: Okay. And what were the bikes like at that time?
Jeff: I didn't actually get one to ride until several months into having been hired officially. Probably six months after I started was when I actually got my first Mojo to ride. They were good. They were really good. They were good all-arounders. The Mojo Carbon was to the bike world then what like the Ripmo is to the bike world now. They were on the leading edge. They had a really good design. They had seen that five and a half inches of suspension travel was going to be the future and that you could make a long travel bike that pedals really well but wasn't a big heavy duty free ride bike.
They found this cool regular guy trail bike niche that somehow people hadn't realized would become a thing. Everyone was still so focused on racing in the bike world. And then racing started to really fall out of fashion right about the fall of the economy, right around 2008, maybe even before that. I remember trying to race downhill events because I'd raced a ton all through university and had done pretty well. I got my pro license and everything.
[0:13:56] [Indiscernible] World Cup is over in Europe and then came back over here. The scene was nowhere near as strong as in Europe and I remember in Spain we could drive for four or five hours across the country almost and then get to some rad event. In California, there weren't events. There was one race, maybe two races a year, one at Mammoth, one up at Northstar. In San Luis Obispo, it's a six-hour drive out of the way. That's just two races. What are you going to do with the other 50 weekends of the year?
You get to be flying all over to these east coast races and everything and out driving 20 hours to New Mexico and Colorado. I just quickly realized I couldn't be going to all the downhill races. And a lot of this, the series kind of fell apart right around then too and there was just a couple of events a year.
Christopher: That's no longer true though, is it? Do you think the US scene is as strong as in Europe now?
Jeff: No, it's not as strong as in Europe. They have the advantage of lots of good mountains, really close together for the most part so it's pretty easy to get to more events and more opportunities for racing, less obstacles in the way. The enduro scene is good over there. Here, things are doing okay in terms of like enduro races but downhill races it's still pretty hard to find a lot.
Here in the northwest, there's a much better downhill scene than there is in the California-southwest area. And then out in Colorado, I don't know if the Mountain States Cup is still going on but I used to really like going to the Deer Valley Park City, Utah Norba National. That was one of my favorites.
Christopher: Was the strategy always to go straight into carbon? I remember the first time I saw a carbon fiber Ibis Mojo on the trail in Marin, actually. It was at Tamarancho. I just couldn't believe it. I made the guy stop so I could look at it. I just couldn't believe that you could make a bike out of carbon fiber. I was used to seeing it -- I used to be a bit of a Formula One fan and you'd see the use of Formula One carbon fiber Formula One was extensive. It was this space age very expensive material that you would never expect to see a bicycle made out of. Was that always Ibis' strategy to make bikes out of carbon fiber?
Jeff: Yeah. Hans saw it as the future where the industry was heading so he was just all about carbon from the get go. The shape of the bike he wanted to make could really only be done in carbon.
Christopher: Talk about the shape. I think of the shape as being iconic now and Roxy Lo is my neighbor in Bonny Doon and I feel like maybe she was instrumental if not the only thing responsible for that iconic shape, right?
Jeff: She definitely did a great job with that design. It's super, I think, groundbreaking is the right world. Still to this day the industrial design on that bike is pretty incredible and there's not really any others out there that look like the Mojo. Some of the bikes have a cross brace and everything but the way the tubes curved and everything it was really cool and very unique.
There's one other bike in the world that I think gave Ibis the inspiration and that's the Red Hot. It's a carbon full suspension bike from -- goodness. I think the mid to late '90s. My friend is an automobile painter, he's really good at fiber glass and stuff. He actually has one. I know he's a buddy of Hans so I'm sure that might have played a little bit of influence in it but I can't find photographs of the Red Hot anywhere on the internet.
It was not a very well-known bike. I remember seeing a couple of them at Sea Otters I would go to as a kid. They were around. It looked kind of similar and it was carbon and full suspension at that time when none of that was going to be taking off. I mean, the late '90s was the boom time for mountain biking and everyone had a carbon full suspension bike. GT had thermoplastic bikes and Trek had the OCLV carbon. It was out there but it was never done really right. It was always tubes glued into aluminum lugs and prone to failure.
Christopher: I remember those.
Jeff: Yeah. That was -- ugh.
Christopher: And so did it do well from the outset? Wasn't it exciting time to work for Ibis? Was the company on the up and up at that time?
Jeff: They were flat, which was the goal, because the economy was so bad and so hard to sell a super expensive toy more or less. When people's jobs and stuff start disappearing, they often end up riding their bikes a lot more.
Christopher: Yeah. I never thought about it like that. Maybe for different reasons.
Jeff: Well, not for transportation but they still ride quite a bit. Usually, cycling is one of the last things people remove from their lives when times get tough. They're not buying brand new bikes. They're not buying top of the line bikes. We were able to maintain through that recession. No one got laid off, nothing like that. It was definitely an exciting time. When the Mojo HD160 came out in 2009 and 2010, that was when things really started to crank up a bit. That was an exciting time.
Christopher: Was Ibis just making one bike still at that time?
Jeff: I think we were at three. I think the Tranny came out right when I started. They gave me a prototype Tranny to test. They were still in Scotts Valley. My mom is still riding that bike today.
Christopher: That's awesome. I own one of those bikes as well. It's a hard tail. They're not full suspension. It's just got a fork at the front and suspension. Again, that was a very innovative design. It was so versatile, that bike. You could make it a single speed. You could have gears on it. It came apart. You take the frame apart and put it inside of a regular suitcase.
Jeff: More or less, yeah. That's a great bike. The geometry of it was just ripping. I really had a lot of fun on my Tranny over the years. It was great on descents. The way you could throw it into corners, it felt like a really capable bike. And the way the carbon layup worked out, it was really comfortable and forgiving. I really like that thing.
Christopher: Tell me about your role at Ibis at that time because this is around the time that I became aware of you. I'm not sure -- there's a bunch of people you know and then maybe you haven't had enough time to meet them properly and get to know them. That was around the time that I became aware of you. I know that you weren't just driving U-haul vans and doing quality control at Ibis at that time. You moved up in the world a little bit, right?
Jeff: Yeah. I went from doing warehouse stuff to -- I got a position doing inside sales right around the launch of the HD160. I think that might have been late 2009 or something. I had two years in the warehouse and then got promoted into the sales office. And then I was just one of the two guys handling sales for the next five years, basically. In March 2015, that was when I left Ibis. But for that time, Aaron and I were -- that was us. That was the sales team at Ibis.
Christopher: What does that look like? How did you do sales when you work for a bike manufacturer?
Jeff: Oh my goodness.
Christopher: I know that's a big question, but can you summarize?
Jeff: I counted my phone calls in a handful a days. Usually, you field about 70 phone calls. On the average day you're getting anywhere from 150 to 250 emails. Generally, you're working with distributors in other countries and then with dealers in the US here. I don't remember how many dealers there were. I'm blanking on that one. I remember juggling maybe two dozen distributors and probably, I don't know, somewhere around 50 or 75 dealers. So, it was pretty manageable. At the same time it was way too much work. I was pretty penned. Yeah, it was just lots of communication, lots of making agreements with the future and all that.
Christopher: And did the bikes sell themselves? It sounds like you just--
Jeff: Yeah. We were basically just very receptive salespeople. We were not actively going out and pushing the gear of the company because we didn't have the stock to do that. The bikes were hotly sought after and if someone didn't want our bike we didn't have time to try to convince them. We had enough people that did want them that we would just talk to the next person and then it would sell.
Christopher: Right. Then talk about your transition over to WTB. Perhaps we should start by explaining who WTB are.
Jeff: Yeah. WTB is one of the old school brands in the bike industry, just like Ibis. Ibis was founded in 1981, WTB right around 1980. They were originally an OEM supplier for some frame building parts for some fork pieces, so some of the high end frame builders in Marin County. From that, they grew into a design and consulting company and then eventually there's this massive fallout in, I think it was 1989, but they're making tires for Specialized for a while, doing all the tire designs for Specialized. They did some saddles for Specialized in the late '80s, early '90s.
When I first heard about WTB, they were -- the saddle on my Bontrager was a WTB saddle and the tires of my Bontrager were WTB tires. And interestingly enough, Hans, the CEO of Ibis, he was part owner of Bontrager. He had a big part in that whole company, whole Bontrager company before he sold it to Trek. That was interesting. But, yeah, they're up in Marin County still to this day. Ibis had been very receptive sales, just a massive amount of communicating and hustling and work and all that.
I've done a couple of videos for one just for Ibis sort of and I got four videos at that point. And they were all doing really well. I thought it may be fun to do more videos in the future.
Christopher: What sort of videos?
Jeff: Just riding videos. I call them bike porn just like shred it, just riding downhill hitting jumps and all that, just with music over some montage, sending it. I was getting married and I was just thinking about the future. I was pretty penned at Ibis all the time. It was just a very full throttle lifestyle. I was riding my bike a bit but it was time to go push myself in a new direction and learn something new. The sales at Ibis were very receptive. It was just easy to sell those things. WTB was a lot more pushing upstream because they're competing directly with Maxxis and Schwalbe which are many, many more times larger.
Christopher: Really? I didn't know that.
Jeff: Yeah. They're directly competing with the largest rubber manufacturer in the world whereas at Ibis we were not necessarily competing directly with the biggest bike brands. We were competing with the other small bike brands. Yeah, it was just very different, a whole different strategy. The world of OEM was interesting to me. I knew nothing about selling to bike brands. I just knew what it was like at Ibis to be buying things from suppliers.
Yeah, it was just a good opportunity to do something new, to learn about how different areas of the industry worked, had a bit more responsibility at my role at WTB, would have more of a chance to actually go out and try to sell something and see if I could actually move the needle. It was a cool opportunity to grow professionally because I don't think --If I'd stayed at Ibis I'd probably today be doing exactly what I was doing in 2010, which is fine and all, but for family choices and stuff, making that transition was definitely a really good one to do especially at that time.
Christopher: And is that something you feel like you need to be doing all the time? Moving forward, moving into something new, is that something that's important to you? Do you think that that's generally true? People need to feel like they're going somewhere, like it's not that much fun being on a treadmill?
Jeff: I never really thought about that in that regards in how work and stuff comes together. I think that what I'm doing now for work is probably pretty true. I had never identified that specifically. I know on the bike I like picking out a goal and working towards that and professionally I like doing that too. So, WTB, I had goals for sales numbers in countries, what size can I grow my -- I was the international sales manager so I was managing distributor sales to a bunch of third world countries, a bunch of -- I have really strong modern countries too.
Yeah, that was quite the challenge to get all those numbers up. I really wanted to get Mexico tire sales, my country. My goal is to beat my boss who is handling Canada. And I just thought that would be great if we could beat Canadian sales with Mexico. We came within a couple thousand dollars of doing that. That was a good goal.
Christopher: And around that time, was that when you got more serious about making videos riding yourself or how did that work?
Jeff: We came up here to Pacific Northwest with Kitsbow in May of 2015 and I was talking at Sea Otter a few weeks before that to the owner of Kitsbow and he was just super excited about how the Tahoe video had gone. I did a video for Kali helmets shortly thereafter. It was like, "We got to do another video. These people love these things. You clearly like making them. You're good at it so let's do a video. You should go to the Pacific Northwest." He used to live up here and was very fond of the riding.
Eliot and I flew up here. Eliot was the guy who filmed a couple of the earlier videos. We flew up here and I couldn't believe how good the riding was so close to Seattle in that case. We went to Leavenworth, rode Fort Ann and Issaquah. Every day we hit awesome trails with cool views and I actually couldn't believe there's actual mountains right there. I was used to the Bay Area where you have to drive in traffic for six hours to get to the mountains.
Christopher: That's a little harsh. Almost true.
Jeff: Yeah. When you get off work at 5:00 p.m. on a Friday on the west side of the Santa Cruz and you're trying to make it to Lake Tahoe, it's six hours easily.
Christopher: Yeah, Tahoe from Santa Cruz is quite tough. Tell us about the video filming process. I'll link to that. I do remember very well that Tahoe video was fantastic.
Jeff: Oh, super fun to make that one too.
Christopher: Yes. Tell us about the process. How does it work? Tell me about the logistics of it. How did you get--
Jeff: Oh my goodness. It's like, yeah, it's like herding cats at the end of the day. The Kitsbow video is pretty easy. Up until that Kitsbow video in the northwest it had always been pretty easy for me because I would just show up and ride my bike and that was it. I was going to do a video for Kitsbow at Telluride, Colorado and that's where the next piece started to come together. That's when I realized there is more to this than just what I had been doing. Budget is really tough. Finding someone to film is really tough. Kitsbow was awesome because they had an in-house content guy who would just film and take pictures 24/7. That was Eliot.
Christopher: You could actually bring that guy out.
Jeff: Yeah. They already had him on salary or whatever. We weren't trying to hire and find someone. That saved a huge chunk of logistical nightmares. But then you got to get your filmer free, find a weekend that works for him, weekend that works for me, so then multiple other people have to be coordinated. Ideally, you've got a photographer and you've got an assistant or a guide or some local knowledge to help point you around because I'd never been to the northwest, for instance, and we had to buy in people that could show us some of the spots. A couple of times we just used our mobile phone app Trailforks to figure out where we're going.
Christopher: Oh, yeah. You should talk about that. I've only just discovered the app Trailforks.
Jeff: It works great.
Christopher: It works great here in Bellingham. I wouldn't have known to really get around if it wasn't for that app. Can you talk about it?
Jeff: Yeah. I mean, it's just using a GPS in your phone and download the trail data. It doesn't even use your data plan when you're on the trail. You can have it in airplane mode and it will still work. It lets you know what the local goods are. In terms of filming, trying to find the good spots, trying to find a good guide, trying to find a photographer, a video guy and then trying to edit it in a timely manner and get it published is a massive amount of work.
But then in this – I had to tell you the northwest video did phenomenally well. It's still the best performing YouTube video that I've been a part of to date. Very different than Tahoe video but it did awesome. It was more of a sustainable model from the Tahoe one. In the fall, that same year, we're going to – no, fall a year later. I'd broken my pelvis in April of '16 and then October of '16 my wife is pregnant and we're nervous baby might be on her way or something.
Finally figured out a weekend to go shoot in Telluride and then it came out that the budget was gone for our video and there was no way we're going to make a video happen. I made a bunch of phone calls and I basically figured out a budget out of a bunch of my sponsors. That took me a long time to get to that point to realize that I could try to manage this whole thing on my own and take it from being one company's piece of media and turn it into my own media that is then usable for all my sponsors.
That's why you see multiple sponsors in my videos now because no one can afford to make their own videos. It's far too expensive for one of these small companies to fund. I realize that that Telluride one, I was able to save the project, just making a few phone calls and coordinating amongst some folks and basically turned it from a Kitsbow production into my own production. Kitsbow was able to still get a video out of it with their lowered funds. They were stoked.
And then my other sponsors were stoked because they had a piece of media in their hands that performed in the end really well. And I realized, wait a second, there's more to this than just trying to hope a sponsor can afford to bring me somewhere. The next year, 2017, last year, it's not even that long ago, I had a deal to do four big feature videos. I went to Hurricane, Utah, Vancouver Island BC, which isn't that far from the house here, did one in Iceland and then we rode down in Mexico. Yeah, that went really, really well. Half way through the year, I had a realization. I have to put all this stuff on my YouTube channel. It's a non-bias.
I can't make a video that Kali and Kitsbow are putting money into and have it posted on the Ibis YouTube page. That's not right. Literally I just needed an impartial place to put my videos and I realized I should just dump these on my old YouTube channels that I never put any videos on to. And then midway through last summer I was like I should start updating this thing more often, take this more seriously.
By the end of the year I was super busy with work and with family and with videos. I ended up leaving my WTB role. But I knew I would then have enough bandwidth to keep doing the videos and do them quite a bit better than in 2017. Yeah, I went ahead and did it.
Christopher: All right. You're going to have to explain this a little bit better because that's a hell of a leap, isn't it? You've got a salaried job working for--
Jeff: Oh, man, it was nice.
Christopher: A company that's been around for what, 20 or 30 years, at least.
Jeff: 33 years.
Christopher: Obviously, you've been a salaried employee all that time and then suddenly you make this decision that you're going to go alone doing something that pretty much nobody else does.
Jeff: That's scary. I started thinking about it in the late summer. I remember with you and [0:31:04] [Indiscernible], I was definitely thinking about it pretty – like even before then. How can I make this work? My wife had just gone back to work not full time but enough with a kid that it was like we're trying to figure out what we're going to do for child care. It was like we don't have to both be working up here in Washington because our home is so much cheaper than what it would have been in California. With her working part time, we're able to cover the mortgage so then it was like, all right, once we figured that out, that part of the puzzle, I had to lower our expenses then the sacrificing of a sweet job was a little bit less irresponsible.
Christopher: And so how has it gone? Was it profitable from the outset? Did you have to borrow money to make it happen?
Jeff: I never borrowed money but I'd been selling my old bikes to start to raise some capital to get things going. I started planning for this last year. I started buying bits of camera gear last year. At this point, I'm basically a full on production company and I'm just like hiring contract workers to come work for me and do things. I'd been minimizing expenses for the business by just amassing my -- I'm not really renting anything at this point. I've got a full video kit at this point that I own myself so I can save expenses there. I need to figure out better ways to get cheaper flights. I'm trying to figure out some airline sponsorships at this point, fingers crossed that works out.
Christopher: Because you've got to pay for not just your own flight but also of the videographer and the photographer.
Jeff: Yeah, exactly. And I like finding a local photographer because then you're saving money because oftentimes with the exchange rates, US dollar pays pretty well. And then you have whole story right there from the local guy who's hopefully lived in that area his whole life and he can tell you the back story behind the trails and he can help guide and he knows what spots are pretty. That's best case scenario. But other times, you bring a great photographer from the States and then you get really cool images that are different perspectives. So, it goes both ways would be cool. It was totally irresponsible to quit WTB and run off.
Christopher: I'm really interested. What is it? We saw this really interesting study which I'll post in the show notes for this episode. You can find it. And everything that Jeff has mentioned, all of his videos will be at nourishbalancethrive.com/podcast. There was this one study that I thought was particularly interesting that looked at the incidence of toxoplasmosis infection in entrepreneurs. There's an interesting story that I won't get into with toxoplasmosis but it's thought that it may alter risk taking behavior in humans as well as in rodents.
Jeff: Does that mean I'm more likely to send it from an entrepreneur?
Christopher: Yeah, exactly. So, toxoplasmosis, what they found was that people with a toxoplasmosis infection will 1.7 times more likely to be an entrepreneur. Here you got a guy that's both an entrepreneur and a mountain biker taking risks. I'd love to do some, I guess, we already know the answer to that, that you probably do have a toxoplasmosis. Or at some point in the past you've been exposed to toxoplasmosis.
Jeff: Man, it's funny. I don't really get that adrenaline buzz. I haven't got adrenaline buzz in like five years for mountain biking.
Jeff: Yeah. Even hitting big jumps and stuff, it's like I've been doing it for so long now.
Christopher: It's consistent.
Jeff: Well, I remember being like 19-20, first really getting into it, being a total adrenaline junkie kid. And then also that goal of like -- when I was starting to get really into mountain biking, I had this goal like I wanted to go pro. That was the goal. I wanted to go pro. That was enough motivation that for the first time my whole life go to the gym consistently, do intervals consistently, and then do skills drills juts religiously basically, working on cornering.
And then after a while, just the adrenaline thing burns off and then it's very just cut and dry. This is a really big dangerous chunk. Can I make it? It looks like yes. Okay, let's jump it. And then it's literally minimal adrenaline, which is nice because then you're thinking more with your head and less off instinct but at the same time it's – adrenaline buzzes are sweet too.
Christopher: You don't find that that drives you to go bigger and more dangerous all the time? You're not that guy?
Jeff: Not really, because it's not like a pleasure to find the biggest possible jump and get scared or whatever.
The goal is different now. Now, I'm looking for things that are going to reflect the energy that I want to show that day. So, if I'm feeling like finding a really big jump then I will. It's kind of changed the ultimate goal and it's just to do it really well and make it look good on camera rather than just hit the biggest thing ever. That helps make it more sustainable too and keeps me from going over my head too often.
Christopher: Your style, I really enjoy actually. So, it's not just -- when you call it bike porn, it's not really just that. I mean, it's not really just about the longest wheelie or the biggest jump or all the crazy things that you can do on a bike. It's also travel vlog. As well. I mean, you just released that video in Costa Rica. I mean, that's part of the appeal, is what's it like to ride a mountain bike in Costa Rica? What is it like to ride a bike in Costa Rica?
Jeff: I know. It's different. Well, yeah, I'm really excited to learn more about other cultures and other people and other countries. I think that's interesting. I'll never be a top freestyle pro. I'll never be a Brandon Semenuk, for instance. I'll never be one of those guys. I'm not going to go back flip off of a drop and then tail whip the next jump. I'm more of a racer guy at the end of the day. I didn't want to just fall into the -- it's not for me to be doing non-stop tricks the whole time. I've got my riding style. I've got my quiver of things I can do. I can get fairly trialsy. I can usually do something interesting and entertaining that not many other people are going to think about or maybe do in these weird spots.
Christopher: You're just being quite modest right now. I've ridden behind Jeff quite a lot and he does all kinds of things that I definitely will never do. Perhaps I'll never do them because I've reached an okay plateau. Most mountain bikers reach an okay plateau long before they get anywhere even approaching -- what I mean by an okay plateau is in the beginning you're practicing something quite deliberately and then you get to the point where you're okay.
And then some part of your brain says, "You know what, this is good enough." It happens with everybody with typing. Do you remember the first time you use a keyboard and you're like hunting around and pecking--
Jeff: Yeah, keyword-ey.
Christopher: Yeah. And then you get to a point where you're kind of okay. Most people don't go beyond that and they touch type. I think it's the same with many skills. They reach the okay plateau.
Christopher: Yes. But you can do a lot of things that most people can't do. Sorry, I cut you off there. What's it like riding mountain bikes in Costa Rica?
Jeff: Oh, man, that was rad down there. The trail I'd seen was far bigger than I'd been expecting and it blew me away. I contacted this guy Oscar. He happens to be the Ibis distributor. That's the classic move. I always pulled that same card and it's never let me down. When I'm going to a new place I go to the local bike shop and just start talking to people, trying to make some friends. I've always just used bikes as a tool to learn about new places. Like family road trips as like 13-year old, house boating down the Mississippi, bring my BMX bike, ride into town, within ten minutes I found another kid in a BMX bike and I've got a best friend for the day.
Christopher: That's great.
Jeff: Yeah. So, same thing. Literally, same thing to this day. Gone down there. I called -- I was looking around in the distributor listings for all my sponsors and the Ibis guy seemed the most involved in the scene. I shot him a call. His name is Oscar. He was just like, "Yeah, come anytime. The weather here is a little bit rainy and the summer months for you but we have plenty of time to ride in the mornings."
I went down there and, yeah, he was very welcoming and introduced me to the top rider for a competing distributor. That kid had a great cabin out in the mountains. He said, "If you really want to see the trails here, go with this guy. He's not my guy but he knows the trails really well and he'll show you a great time." He's the holder of the current national number one play in Costa Rica too. He's a super good rider.
He totally made it in the video as well. Yeah, it was rad. The trails are -- they were ripping trails, jungle trails, really slippery, a lot of roots and just the dirt is funny. It's like deathly slick unless other people have ridden down it in front of you and churned it up a little bit then it gets really nice and tacky. But it has to be churned up. If it's hard pack, it's kind--
Christopher: We're rather spoiled in Santa Cruz. I think it's probably the same in Bellingham. Here as well, that the dirt is like Velcro.
Jeff: Oh, man, it's really good unless it's dry.
Christopher: Yeah, then it gets slippery. Not everything went according to plan in Costa Rica.
Jeff: No. I had a little accident down there.
Christopher: You had a little bit of an accident.
Jeff: Yeah. Luckily, it was on the end of the third day. Of course, it was the end. On the third day down there, it was pouring rain. Being from the Pacific Northwest, it was just like let's keep riding because most of the dirt that third day we'd seen had this really -- it was a reddish kind of clay. Not the kind of clay that packs up on your tires but it was a weird soft clay that had tremendous grip and felt great in the rain. I felt totally fine riding it.
And then there's just one spot where it was just oddly hard packed and that had some algae on it and that was slippery. I'd landed a jump and I was just riding straight away from the jump, no big deal. I hadn't gotten hard on the brakes, nothing, and just my front wheel washed out. I don't know where. It landed on my side. I landed on the side where I just broken my pelvis two years ago. That turned purple immediately. That hurt really bad.
I had a big bone bruise in my shoulder and I broke my pelvis, smashed my shoulder into the ground, got all cut up on some rocks that were sticking out. It was a good crash, broke a helmet, got a bunch of stitches that night. It was so hard to walk down the street to buy supplies to clean out the wounds. I was like something might be wrong. It doesn't seem -- my shoulder might have popped out or something but I could still lift it which is really weird. Got home and a few days later got an x-ray and saw the front of the scapula, the acromiom had broken off. I'd been on the rehab mend for six weeks now and things are coming along well.
Christopher: But no surgery or any intervention?
Jeff: Thank goodness, no surgery. I've never had an injury-related surgery. My wife's had tons of them.
Christopher: Yeah. Jamie and I have got all the same broken bones. We've got all the same scars. How do you deal with that? You're making your living riding your bike and then suddenly you're injured and you can't ride your bike. How do you feel when that happens?
Jeff: At first, it was a shock. But honestly, leaving the whole WTB gig, I'm doing this video thing part time. My main goal is family first and foremost. I can't put 40 hours a week towards my video projects. I'm right around 16 to 20 hours a week. That was my promise to my wife, that I wouldn't be into it full time. I don't have the child care to do it full time. I don't have the heart to leave my kid at child care full time so that I could get into it further.
So, at this point, it's cool. Basically, anyone who is running a successful YouTube channel is pushing their own brand but they're also in a weird way kind of a media themselves. I grew up in the era of magazines and the magazines were really like whatever made it into the magazine is really good quality content, sure, but that's what you were going to see. You're limited to what the magazine editors wanted to show the world.
But now, anyone who has an audience is in a weird way a media as well. I can literally find someone, do a video or story with them and then publish it through my own platform now and people will see it and like it. So, all of a sudden I have gone from just being the guy riding on camera to literally the media in a weird way. And I'm not competing with the big media in the world or anything. I'm very small scale.
But it's cool because then when something happens like that accident, I didn't do this very well but I was able to do, for instance, my first podcast with this factory KTM motorcycle racer. I think that's a good example of like here's someone who's interesting, who the world wants to learn about. I can use my platform to do this. And it went really well. I wanted to do more stuff like that but it's hard to coordinate multiple people for a show or video or whatnot.
I've been doing a lot of stuff for some of my sponsors in the last few weeks. I'd been too busy with paying work to actually be able to really kind of grow my showing other people's stories in the last few weeks. With an injury and all that, it's just you have to change your platform to be a tad more media-related rather than just pushing my own stuff but that's where it's going to go in the next few years anyhow so it's totally fine.
Christopher: I wonder whether there's something that we can learn in the general case here and I wonder if you thought about this or whether you just did it intuitively. But an injury is an opportunity to work on something else, right?
Jeff: Totally, yeah.
Christopher: And I learned this from Dr. Simon Marshall in his fantastic book The Brave Athlete. He has a chapter where he talks about this. I've never really thought about that before. It's especially relevant in sports where there's more than one modality like triathlon. So, maybe you can't run anymore but you can probably swim.
Jeff: Yeah, good point.
Christopher: So, is this the perfect time for you to work on your swimming? It's the same for you, right? I can't go make new video content. Is it the perfect time for me to start a podcast?
Jeff: Right. I started the podcast. I definitely overhauled my website. I'm really happy with how it looks. I put a ton of work into getting the Costa Rica press releases and just the whole PR effort really dialed in.
Christopher: I'm so impressed with what you did with the Costa Rica video. I've had a bit of an inside view here in the last few days. I don't know anyone else that can just push traffic a new piece of media like that. When I release a podcast to the world, I'm not relying on anyone to push traffic at it. Whereas you can do that. You have lots of contacts in the industry and you can say to people presumably, "Oh, guys, I'm releasing this new piece of content. Would you like to feature it?" And they do. You just have a ton of -- The day you released that video, you get a ton of people push traffic at it which is amazing.
Jeff: I was super fortunate that I have done like a bunch of videos that people liked and that turned out okay. It's a fine line of balance between sponsors and making it just giant advertisement versus a piece of interesting content. Yeah, I'm really thankful that everyone in the industry that has shared my stuff was able to do so and it takes a bit of planning on my side to make that happen and I'm learning more and more how to do this.
My background was way more sales and I'm used to selling products and I'm pretty clueless when it comes to marketing. I figured doing this -- Like at WTB I had realized if I wanted to grow my sales in my territories I had to do some marketing in those territories as well. I started to talk to magazine editors about buying ads. I was turning into a brand manager in some of these territories.
So, now, my focus is primarily on marketing and I'm kind of giving up the whole selling product thing and it's a very different hat to wear but it's a cool thing to learn about. When it comes to where this all works, I need to get better at selling advertisement on my own platform and all that and that's going to come as the numbers get better with traffic and everything.
Christopher: And do you think that's the future then with more advertising? I mean, I don't mind--
Jeff: Well, sponsorship and advertising is the same thing, different words.
Christopher: I'm especially okay with advertising when it's a product that you use personally and you believe in and you found to be really useful. I'm particularly okay. So, for example, Kitsbow is a good example. I think it's really great. I really like those Kitsbow shorts. I think they're expensive for what they are but they are actually really good shorts.
Jeff: Yeah, they're the best shorts I've worn. Those things are awesome. I've been working with Kitsbow for four years and change now and it's funny when this stuff first came out I was like, wow, that stuff looks really good. And I'm really stoked to have that gear company that makes clothing that I feel comfortable wearing and that doesn't -- I don't look like a rolling billboard in it too. They're respectful with their logos. I really like that.
Christopher: if someone wanted to work with you then that's not -- the bar to entry is somewhere, right? You're not just going to take money from anyone.
Jeff: Oh, yeah. It's got to be consistent with everything and someone that has product that I actually want to believe in. I have had sponsor opportunities that I've turned down because the situations just don't make sense or whatnot.
Christopher: And what type of opportunities are you looking for? If someone is maybe listening to this and -- It's possible, right?
Jeff: I don't want to be like pandering too much or whatnot. There's so many more opportunities. As I keep growing this, I want to keep doing the occasional travel piece. That takes me away from the family, but it's so interesting. So, someone who's working within that realm, travel that's super good, anyone who's working within the outdoor segment, the bike industry product-related, that's great, and then someone who's looking to grow their presence who makes something as legit, that's where we would want to talk.
Christopher: Tell me about how doing this for a living has affected your enjoyment of riding a bike. That's the main reason I ride my bike now, is it's a form of play. I don't really have a goal in mind. I mean, I do do some racing still but the main reason I ride my bike is because I love riding my bike and I particularly love riding my bike with my dog chasing me.
Jeff: Nice. Kipper.
Christopher: Kipper, yeah. If someone's listening to this knows how to make my dog run faster, can you get in touch, please? I've got this problem where Kipper can run fast. So, if I'm on -- I have this little Dutch shopper electric bike with a seat on the front and Ivy's getting way too big for it. Anyway, she horns her butt into this seat. We go around the block on the electric bike and Kipper can run over 20 miles now, no problem at all. But when I'm on the trails, he plods along and just follows me really gently.
I want to know how can I motivate my dog to run as fast as when we're on the electric bike. Maybe somebody knows the answer to that and they can get in touch, just email me Chris at nourishbalancethrive.com. The question I wanted to ask you, Jeff, was how was doing this for a living affected your relationship with the bike? Is it still play? Do you have as much time to just go ride and not think about anything? Is every ride a video opportunity? Is it all work now and you've lost something?
Jeff: I rode a lot more last year when I was still working full time. I was able to take a little bit longer with the lunch break, work later in the day, have a nanny come at lunch then ride with my wife for two hours most days of the week. And that worked great because I had customers in Asia I needed to speak with late afternoon, early evening and customers in Latin America, Israel, South Africa, that I needed to hit in the morning. I couldn't work 12-hour days every day. I had to take a break in the middle of the day and live my life.
I actually rode a lot more last year than I did this year. This year, I'm trying to fit everything into these tiny little four-hour windows including my own ride. I've been riding very little. But when I do get to ride and it's for work and we're filming, it's very intense riding. In a weird way, a lot of trails have gotten more boring because I'm so used to finding the hardest features or the coolest features and then just sending it, just jumping as high as possible and making it as exciting as possible.
My new normal for what I'm doing on the bike, it's different than what it was last year. I was just plain old riding looking forward to the descents. Now, I'm hunting out these crazy -- Not crazy. Just hunting the biggest jump or the hardest section or the coolest stunt and doing that over and over for the camera. I'm looking for different features when I'm filming and then my new normal has gotten shifted.
But then, yeah, there's definitely that. Going for a fun ride, there's definitely the thing of do I need to be filming today, am I running out of content to put out, do I need to worry about grabbing some GoPro footage on today's ride and turning it from a fun ride into a film fest, as my wife would say? There's definitely that. And then there's times where I'm just like trying to do my own thing and people are like, "Hey, we love your videos," which is super cool to hear. But on the downside, yeah, I don't really have that anonymity anymore which is fine. Mountain biker is such a great group. There's definitely realization that there is that.
People would definitely know who you are and there's times where if you're having a difficult family conversation or something, that that can be a little something to juggle.
Christopher: I was going to say, Jeff, that you don't really seem like the person that needs a great deal of privacy. Jeff's house is literally right on the trail head here in Bellingham and he works in the garage on the videos. It's like a freeway of mountain bikers that are rolling past all day long. I guess, many of them are recognizing you now.
Jeff: Yeah. It's super cool when everyone says hi which is awesome. Every now and then I'll run into the crunch time where I've got an hour left to pick up my kid from day care and I've got to get a video done and uploaded and scheduled to publish in that hour and I'm frantically working as fast as I can and people cruise by to hang out and I so desperately want to hang out and just meet and see who they are and what their deal is and hear their story a little bit but I'm just penned I only got that hour to work every day at my project done of the week. That's my job. It's definitely a juggling act, definitely.
Christopher: Do you find that you need other outlets? I mean, when was the last time you rode without a camera?
Jeff: I'm luckily able to ride without cameras here and there, for sure. Not every ride has a camera on it. By becoming and realizing that once you have a platform you are the media. I've been doing more videos that aren't just riding videos. What's in my backpack is a great example of that. I don't think there's any riding shots in that and the video is doing great. How to set up your rear shock video, things like that.
Christopher: Yeah, I know. I bet there's lots of people listening to this that know how to do it but I find that particularly annoying. Why can't -- I just need to take the time to learn how to set up suspension. Jeff kindly lent me one of his bikes that I'd been riding all around actually. I took it out to Canada and rode with a friend up in Vancouver.
I'm like, damn, the suspension on this is so good. There is not better than the suspension on my bike in terms of the level of the equipment. It's just set up like that. I need to learn how to do it. I mean, I personally would like to see more of that. I wonder whether it's now so intuitive to you that you can't really teach people how to do it because it's just so obvious to you.
Jeff: I struggle with that. If you teach yourself how to do something oftentimes you're not the best teacher to others. I taught myself so long ago. I did so many cornering drills, braking drills, jumping drills, wheelie practices for so long. I really want to get into a little bit more of the coaching thing but I'm really worried that I'm just going to say, "You just push with your arm," and people are not going to know what that means.
The more video stuff I do I'd been learning more. It's honestly, well, find the cool stunt it won't work out, I think it's impossible, then I'll like, "Wait, wait, wait. There has to be a way to do this." And I'll try it ten more times and I'll realize I keep failing on this one thing because I'm leaning too far right. Okay, push with the right arm, lean left. And I'll consciously think that and that will help change how I'm doing it and then all of a sudden I'll get further into the trick and then I'll get to the next crux part of it. And then next thing I know, I'm dissecting how to do that next thing. And then half an hour later I've done the whole line, I've done the whole trick. That would really help to do more stuff like that and stay in that mindset when teaching. But I don't know. Practice will make perfect.
Christopher: And do you ever see yourself selling online training courses that--
Jeff: At some point, hopefully. That would be cool. I think through my Patreon page, I will end up doing some of these skills videos. Stay tuned for those.
Christopher: Yeah. I'm also interested in learning how you prepare yourself physically for what you do because I think that is very different from what I do. I think somehow you've retained more fast-twitch muscle fibers because you can -- I know you're pushing harder through the pedals. It's like that.
Christopher: It's the easiest way to summarize it, much harder than I do. You're doing all kinds of explosive movements that I just don't have. I don't think -- Either I can't recruit those muscle fibers or I just don't have them but there's something interesting going on there that I think will be fun to explore. Because you do go to the gym and you do some specific training.
Jeff: Definitely, yeah. And I've been training for sure for -- I don't train the same way as I did years ago for enduro racing. I mean, I'm training for videos which is weird. Yeah, I got this weird little spot of fitness right now. My sprint speed is pretty good and bunny hop height is pretty good and all that. I don't think I could ride for more than a couple of hours without just being bunked out.
Christopher: I think that's the least important thing. Nobody loses. As long as your metabolism is not broken then I think people can go forever as long as they don't go too fast. But that fast-twitch explosive movement thing that you do, I think that's not going to be there in every single person.
Jeff: Yeah. Well, I've been trying to foster the fast-twitch thing through all the enduro racing and the downhill racing for years. I've done lots of intervals, lots of sprints, lots of BMX style sprints which I don't think many mountain bikers do. A lot of guys that do intervals don't start from a dead stop for every single set of intervals. I'm really into doing that. Yeah, my biggest struggle has always been cardiovascular limits. I just never had the best set of lungs or whatever.
The most important thing for me over the years of racing had always been do multiple intervals in a row of limited recovery to try and bump that VO2 max or whatever. And then now I don't really do a whole lot of intervals but I'll do a lot more gym work and then when I'm out riding I'll just do a bunch of bunny hops over and over trying to keep that stuff working.
And in the gym, I'd been gaining weight in a weird way, like more muscle mass in the last year and a half compared to years prior, which has helped a ton for the video stuff and I think it kept me from getting more injured in that crash in Costa Rica. That was a bad crash. It didn't look bad in the video but 25 miles an hour, wham, right down to your side.
Christopher: I'm sorry.
Jeff: Yeah. But if you can get to the gym consistently, it helps a ton with protecting yourself in the future.
Christopher: Right. Where is the best place for people to follow you? I know there's a bunch of different places but let me be more specific. So, we're all rooting for you as an entrepreneur.
Jeff: Yeah, thanks. Appreciate it.
Christopher: I certainly want to support you in any way I can. It's like Tim O'Reilly said about gas on a road trip. You don't want to run out but you're not doing a tour of gas stations. You're obviously not doing this for the money.
Christopher: But at the same time you don't want to run out.
Jeff: Yeah. The life experiences are worth far more than anything else right now. I was always stressed out that if I were to become a "pro bike rider" then I would then never be able to get another professional job again because it was so hard when I graduated school to just find a job, totally green, right in the recession. I was always very concerned I would not be able to find a job again in the future.
And then from having done what I've done in the last year with the videos or whatnot, more and more career opportunities have actually come up and having left my last job and been technically unemployed, self-employed, I guess, for the last handful of months, that's actually led to more opportunities that I think still working would have led to.
Christopher: That's interesting. So, even though it seems risky to the outsider, but actually it was--
Jeff: It was super risky because it might not have worked. Anything could have happened.
Christopher: Yeah, that's true. But what I'm saying is that maybe this was the best thing you could have done for your resume anyway. You are now way more employable than had you not gone down this route of entrepreneurialism.
Jeff: I hope so.
Christopher: No, you don't, because the entrepreneurial thing is going to be most successful. What's the best way for people to support you?
Jeff: Well, if you want to check out my stuff, go to my website, jeffkendallweed.com. I'll post a lot of my good YouTube videos there on the website. It's easy to pop around that site and see what's what. Subscribe to my YouTube channel, youtube.com and then just search Jeff Kendall-Weed. My channel will pop right up. And then if you want to support me, you can always go through my Patreon page. That's super helpful as well.
Christopher: I will, of course, link to all of those things in the show notes. This has been fantastic, Jeff. Thank you so much for having me here in Bellingham. It's been wonderful. You've been a wonderful host as with Jamie. It's been really great. Thank you very much. Is there anything else you want people to know about?
Jeff: That's a good question, Chris. There is one last thing I want to tell people and that's take your health seriously. Even though I was racing quite a bit through college years and stuff I didn't really take my health as seriously as I should have. I was not eating the best diet. I was not sleeping like I could have. I think I left a lot of performance on the table that could have been had had I taken that more seriously.
When you're still in your early 20s it doesn't matter as much when you're in your late 20s. Your influence on diet and lifestyle over the past five or whatever years that you've been given all these Jamie tips or whatnot has rubbed off on me quite a bit in a very positive way. I want to tell people to take their health seriously because there's a lot of performance benefits on the bike to be had by increasing the quality of their health in general lifestyle.
Christopher: Now, you're making me think I should have taken this interview in an entirely different direction.
Jeff: I'll do that in my interview of you in a few minutes here.
Christopher: Okay. That's great. Jeff, so, you'll find your podcast--
Jeff: On my website, yeah. It's the easiest way. I've got a Soundcloud as well and I'm working on getting Stitcher and iTunes dialed into.
Christopher: That's fantastic. Thank you so much for your time, Jeff. Thank you.
Jeff: Thank you for having me. Cheers.
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