Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 33 - Anne Galyean - EMBRACE FEAR - Part 2 of 3

Before we move on to your sports endeavor, I do want to ask, you are an environmental toxicology consulting firm. Obviously, there's a lot of-- Prop 65 is a good example concerned about being more environmental, everything being green, all these kind of things, both from a public health standpoint and also a commercial standpoint, just because I think consumer conscience is changing on a wider scale.
Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 33 - Anne Galyean - EMBRACE FEAR - Part 2 of 3

Go to Part 1

Go to Part 3

JESSE: Before we move on to your sports endeavor, I do want to ask, you are an environmental toxicology consulting firm. Obviously, there's a lot of-- Prop 65 is a good example concerned about being more environmental, everything being green, all these kind of things, both from a public health standpoint and also a commercial standpoint, just because I think consumer conscience is changing on a wider scale. And now there's a demand to force that product forward so that they are more green. I was thinking about, as you mentioned, the research you originally wanted to do and the people you talk to you basically said, yeah, we can't do that. How do you figure out, so in the case of like, larger more important, potentially ecological impacting things, products; how do you figure those things out? How do you do a study to try to figure out the impact of something like that? Are you with me? ANNE: I think so. JESSE: So, say you're going, you got the green light to do your study, like how do you put that together and actually collect the data if it has such a wide ranging impact? Because it seemed like they said, no because we don't know all the things that might happen. How would you go about trying to figure out all the interactions that happen downstream from what you enter into a system? ANNE: Sure. I mean, it all comes down to models. You can create like models of wastewater treatment plants, or a mini mock environment and you can sort of test it that way. The environmental ?? 1:59> transport question though is the big one. So, take titanium dioxide nanoparticles, for example, it's in all your sunscreens. Anything that looks white has titanium dioxide nanoparticles in it. It's in your sunscreen, you take a shower, it washes off into the water system. Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to deal with metal nanoparticles. So, we think they go through but we don't know it. So, it's up in the air. A lot of people are doing research on this, a lot of government-- they were working on it at NIST, a lot of academics are working on it. But the general consensus so far is that it's not a big of a problem as other things that are in our environment right now and so it keeps getting squashed. And I think that's why it's taking a while to explore those questions. JESSE: It's kind of like the room I’m in is on fire, so I'm not really concerned about the room next to me at the moment. I need to take care of what's going on right next to me. ANNE: Yeah, basically. And it's also a really challenging problem. It's really complex. So, you've got a nanoparticle, how can you tell whether it's a titanium dioxide nanoparticle or one that's made of dirt or natural products that are supposed to be there? Like size can't differentiate that, high tech instruments can, but how can you be sure that you're capturing that in a sample that you take? There's a lot of questions that no one has answered yet in that field. It's ongoing, for sure. JESSE: Right. Right. So, yeah, I mean, that's kind of another rabbit hole. But this is kind of the beauty of like your line of thinking in the sense of designing your own PhD program is that you need that idea I'm not going to do this particular track. Like there's this other thing that hasn't been studied yet. And as a species, we collectively take that idea and as academics collect research, hopefully we gather enough data to kind of get a better idea of how to move forward with whatever particular problem. ANNE: Yeah, and I think data scientists are going to be the ones that are breaking some of these stalemates in research in the future. Because data scientists could come in and look at all of the research that's being done, all the experimental research that’s being done in this area, crunch the numbers down, create models, and sort of look at the problem that way, which is arguably a safe situation. You're not putting something into the environment that could potentially be a problem. So, computers are going to solve a lot of our problems going forward for sure. JESSE: Yeah, funny enough I actually just spoke with a data scientist a couple episodes ago. He's in cyber security risk, although he's worked on like, I think his PhD research was in brain machine interfaces with like prosthetics. And there's a lot of cool stuff going on there. Anyway, the point I'm trying to get to is he had mentioned that like, data science wasn't even a thing when he started, which to me is like, it almost seems natural. Like, how is that new a field? I mean, I understand computers aren't that old. But at the same time, they've been around long enough. I'm like, why is this like a brand new field? Shouldn't we have had it before? Anyway, it's just kind of a passing thought as I was speaking with him. ANNE: It wasn't. Like when I started undergrad there were computer science classes that you could take, but it wasn't really that encouraged, it wasn't a big deal. No one looked at it and said this is the future. So, it's definitely popped up in the last decade. JESSE: Yeah. So, tell me a little bit about Mountain Biking. You're the first, I guess I’ll former pro, even though you’re still dabbling by your own admission, mountain biker I've spoken to. I don't have a whole lot of exposure to mountain bike culture, but the exposure I've had has basically been a high school teacher in mine raced and did well in his age group. And then my coach kind of does a little bit and then he does basically every bicycle discipline at various points of the year. But I don't know a whole lot about it. So, how did you get into it? Tell me about why are you guys out there? What's going on in the mountain bike scene? ANNE: Yeah, so I had a unique pathway in mountain biking. I actually started downhill racing first. So, most people do not start with downhill racing. They start with cross country or whatnot and then move into downhill racing. Well, I just went straight for downhill racing. I had studied abroad in New Zealand. I'd met some mountain bikers. I decided it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen, so I was going to do it. That was it. So, moved back to the States, bought a mountain bike off Craigslist and just started teaching myself to ride downhill. By the end of the first year I was racing like the local series, I was still on the east coast, so in West Virginia. Yeah, so I would-- taught myself to ride downhill, raced downhill for about six years, nationally, primarily. But I was going to school at the time, so I was pretty limited and the amount of travel I could do. So, I stuck with national events, mostly East Coast events too. But got a couple injuries along the way, recovered from that, decided that I wanted to try a different discipline of mountain biking, downhill. Downhill is difficult to commercialize, it's difficult to televise. So, of all the disciplines of mountain biking, that one probably has the least amount of sponsorship and funding available for riders especially women. There were situations and races where I was racing by myself. So, I jumped over to a discipline called enduro in about 2015, and been doing that ever since. Enduro is much more popular because you're riding trail bikes, so more people buy trail bikes than downhill bikes. Downhill bikes are so specific to only downhill. You do not pedal them uphill, it just doesn't work. So, trail bikes, and so I’ve been racing enduro since about 2015, and that's when I got into like the factory race teams and I raced national series, a couple international series that were in the states. Again, I was still going to school and/or in my postdoc, so somewhat limited in the amount of travel opportunities that I had. But mountain biking is all about just getting outside in the elements, and going really fast and scaring yourself most of the time. So, anytime I can do that I'm pretty happy whether it's at a race or just in my local trails. But especially here in the PNW we ride all year like in the mud, doesn't really matter the conditions. Other places like where I was in Colorado, you can't ride if it's wet. So, each region has its own type of mountain biking culture and own type of trail systems. JESSE: So, how do you make it commercially viable? I know triathlon has this problem where it's like, it gets televised but the swim is very difficult to watch in a triathlon. You can't tell who anybody is pretty much unless you've got a camera like right on people's faces because you got their head only pops out to breathe every, you know, three seconds. And then if it's not a drafting event, the bike is like, okay, we've got a guy or lady sitting on a bike . Right. So, it has troubles being larger commercially viable on like, you know things like NFL or kind of more mainstream sports. So, how does that work with mountain biking, does it have televised covers? Is it on ESPN 8? ANNE: No, no, it is not. So, there's a couple ways that it goes about. Downhill and cross country have a World Cup race circuit and that is covered by Red Bull. And Red Bull does live coverage of both those events. Downhill’s trickier because you kind of setup, it's like downhill skiing but in the tree so it's hard to see. And so they'll set up a couple cameras along a track and you get like little snippets of the race. And people are only going one at a time. So, there's a niche audience for that. Enduro is actually the most difficult to cover by television, but some of the most popular because the bikes are what everyone buys. So, companies really like pumping money into it, but you can't really watch it. Enduro races are sometimes 40 miles long, multiple times stages with untimed uphill transfers in between, and they’re way in the back country most of the time. So, it's really hard to get any type of film crew out there. And a lot of times the order shuffles so you never know who's racing at what time. However, these events are primarily driven by stills like still photography. And a lot of the coverage that comes out are either small snippets of video, or photo epics. And so a lot of online mountain bike media sites, those are the two types of coverage that they do. Cross Country Mountain Biking, however, is an Olympic sport. So, cross country gets a lot of attention. It gets a lot of television time and it gets a lot of sponsorship and advertiser dollars. Cross Country is a closed loop. And they have tried to create courses that are very spectator friendly. So, it's a smaller loop, maybe they do it more times and it's really exciting because it's head to head racing. So, cross country is easy to televise. It's fun and exciting to watch and you can watch in person too, and actually see the whole track. So, that's kind of the gamut. JESSE: As you're speaking, I like lost my train of thought keeping track of everything. So, why not do-- Physically, did your talents lend you to being more, I guess fit or a good personality fit with doing enduro versus doing cross country or was there...? ANNE: Right. Well, it started in downhill. I'm kind of an adrenaline junkie, and I'm a bit of a meathead. So, I like lifting, I'm kind of affectionately been told I'm built like a brick shithouse. So, I'm kind of like, more on the beefy side and stronger than most. And so downhill made a lot of sense. I only had to go downhill, I tend not to ride uphill. It was just sprints, raw power. So, that worked for me. I switched to enduro and I had to completely retrain myself to be more fitness oriented. I had to learn endurance and that was a super big challenge. That was not easy for me. much preferred dead lifting really heavy than doing base miles. So, that was a shift. But enduro, enduro races, especially the higher end ones, they're racing down on similar tracks to what downhill racers race on. So, the technical ability is still very high. Cross Country, their booze tracks are getting more and more technical as the years go on. So, to be fair, they are incredible bike handlers. But that level of fitness is not for me. You are basically blowing yourself up at red line for an hour and a half straight and that is a special kind of fitness there. So, that's never been something that’s on my radar. I also just really liked the downhill speed. Cross Country, you've got some ups and downs, but for me, enduro and downhill and honestly enduro, the downhills are much longer, so I'm kind of bouncing around. But like downhill, your race course might be five minutes, it might be two minutes. Enduro, you might have a 20 minute stage. So, I just like going downhill really fast as long as possible. So, downhill is pretty fun in that regard. And the fact that the uphill transfers are untimed, I can make my way back up. I will say though, now that I commute, my fitness is very different than it used to be. That's like forced base miles just commuting every day. JESSE: I was thinking as we're talking, you're talking about essentially we’ll rounded off an hour each direction. When you’re doing that on top of anything else that you might be doing. So, like you're just getting in a bunch of long slow miles that like forced. So, you're gonna have some fitness, even if you're not doing anything else, ?? 15:57> like couch potato fitness. ANNE: Right. So, I also have vocal cord dysfunction. And that's been kind of a new revelation. I used to just think I couldn't breathe and assumed I was less fit than everyone else. But vocal cord dysfunction has kind of required me to take unique approaches to endurance events. I've had to kind of learn to navigate around that. So, going all out for a minute-- for an hour and a half, like cross country is just not for me. JESSE: Yeah, I mean, everybody's got their own challenges. I finally figured out it was it's like allergy related, but I have like, essentially, year round allergies. So, I have like, post nasal drip, and it affects my breathing. So, I've got a like, anytime I have an event coming up where it's very important that I can breed the whole time, I have to start taking an allergy medication a couple weeks ahead, make sure I'm good to go. It definitely was like a joke in college because I'd be like hacking this stuff up all the time. And every once in a while we'd be on longer I accidentally spit on one of the guys. And they were good humoured about it, they'd always say, no, it's good luck if you get-- if Jesse spits on you. Because I was usually at the front so like, it's just gonna give you speed. But I can certainly sympathize with having a unique-- it's not really a disability, but like a physical limiter like that. ANNE: Yeah. It's made me-- I've had to realize that I'm very diesel powered. So, we can use a car analogy, right. Diesel powered versus electric powered. So, the electric powered folks can like leave a parking lot and just like climb a mountain, no problem. Like they just jump right into it. Me, it takes me like an hour of warming up, of slow warm up, and then I feel awesome. But I have to get through the first hour of feeling pretty awful first. But I can go longer in the end. It just takes me a little bit longer to get to that point where I feel pretty good. JESSE: Right. And that's just figuring out I like your own particular talents. ANNE: Yeah. JESSE: Yeah. As you're talking about going downhill and kind of liking those challenges, I think I read something about one of the articles that my sister sent me about you embracing fear. And I was thinking about, I kind of have this rule, it's not necessarily an everyday thing anymore. But it's kind of a rule about if you're afraid of something, then you have to do it because you can't continue to be afraid of things forever. So, I'm kind of curious about your thoughts on I guess, embracing fear, or how maybe those skills of dealing with that in racing translates if it does over for you in everyday life? ANNE: Yeah, so I have a similar little fear rule, that I want to do something that scares me once a week. Like that's kind of my baseline. And I actually tell that a lot to people like in my head coaching clinics and stuff. Fear in mountain biking is pretty real, right? I mean, you're going really fast, you're hitting very technical obstacles, and there's an inherent risk involved with it. So, yeah, fear is very real and fear actually-- I mean fear’s going to help you mitigate the risk. You're going to make smart decisions. You’re gonna listen to your brain. JESSE: Right, hopefully. ANNE: So, fear is good, but you can use it, you can actually harness it, it helps you focus. It helps you kind of get some tunnel vision and really be mindful and present at the situation at hand. So, I like having that fear in my brain when I'm riding because it just makes sure that I'm paying attention. But I think embracing fear is important. And we can use fear and intimidation, I think interchangeably in this sort of context. There's a lot of things that may intimidate you because you are afraid of the consequences, right. Like you're afraid someone's going to be upset or you're afraid that you won't get a big client or there's a fear of something that causes you to become intimidated. And so I think learning to embrace that and overcome it, and actually use it as an asset makes any sort of environment where you might be afraid or intimidated in your day to day life seem a lot more manageable. I might be afraid to go speak in front of a big room at a technical conference. And then I think, wait a second, I rode down a glacier in France a couple years ago, and that was really scary. Nothing here is that scary. Like, it helps give you a little bit of perspective and say, like I was afraid then and I did it and I'm afraid now and I can do this. I mean, it really just, it helps you get through those types of situations a lot better. Go to Part 1 Go to Part 3

Google Pay Mastercard PayPal Shop Pay SOFORT Visa