Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 40 - Evan Pardi - EMBRACING COMMUNITY - Part 2 of 3

Pole? Right, right. I mean, really, if we want to get into it, it's yachting, right? Sailing. If you’re gonna race sailing, then you've really, yeah. But in that sense, rowing kind of continues with that long British aristocratic ?? 00:12>. So, I love the fact that like, even in my like high school clubs, there was, people were very polite.
Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 40 - Evan Pardi - EMBRACING COMMUNITY  - Part 2 of 3
Go to Part 3 Go to Part 1 EVAN: Pole? Right, right. I mean, really, if we want to get into it, it's yachting, right? Sailing. If you’re gonna race sailing, then you've really, yeah. But in that sense, rowing kind of continues with that long British aristocratic ?? 00:12>. So, I love the fact that like, even in my like high school clubs, there was, people were very polite. And like you raced and you had your race and then afterwards you shook people's hands and you were kind. Right? There is that like-- and people bring this up in basketball, football, blah, blah, blah, all the normal traditional American sports all the time. But at the same time, that's not like the normal conversation you still talk about like them in a negative term and want to beat them blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And it all seems superficial and always struck me as superficial. But when I went rowing, it was so genuine. It was very much part of the culture. And so fast forward to now, when I started doing Xterra, I never really got that in the WTC seen. Like the pre-race, the pro briefings, everybody's a little more kind of like to themself, don't want to talk, clam up a little bit. And then you go to the Xterra elite briefings and people are cracking jokes, and like everybody sort of like, it's like a high school reunion that there oh, there's happens to be a race the day after. And it just, it caught me off guard immediately. And then over the course of this year, this is my first year really racing consistently in this pro field, like people have been so nice and everybody has been like, doesn't matter if you beat them or you lose to them or whatever. So, that sense has really hooked me into Xterra too, on the personal front because-- and I see, not only just in the pro field, which obviously is like a much smaller community, but the age group field at large even when I did these, I did three of them as an age grouper before I went pro and like, same situation there. Their kindness was just much more a front and politeness than I could have imagined. It's often kind of first time you witness it, it's a little like off-putting. You’re like whoa, okay, are they actually genuine? And then it’s like oh, yeah, they are. JESSE: Why are you so nice to me? I don't understand. EVAN: Why is ?? 02:13> cool? Yeah. And like the, for instance, in Victoria, it was my second pro race. And like, I was clowning around with Josiah Mehta who, like I well established like multiple World Champion and Xterra like, been doing it for oh God, 20 years. Like I was probably in second grade, first grade when he was like, getting into his first pro races in Xterra. And just him like talking to me like an equal and being nice is just like, wow, I never would expect that. Whereas and I'm not saying guys like Lionel are rude or anything. But you go to a WTC elite race and like, try to chat up Lionel about life, the Universe and he’s not gonna, it's just different. It's a different culture. But I know and like I've said it's not necessarily bad or worse, but it's just-- So, I prefer the Xterra one over that. But all of those combined, I think, really what makes the experience and the product from a business standpoint much more genuine, it’s just-- It doesn't-- it suffers in the overall marketing scheme of triathlon in general. But like, I think that'll change because it's such a good consistent product. So, we'll see. We're gonna have this conversation again in 10 years and see what's happened. But I mean, if you look at Xterra’s growth really, it's pretty damn good compared to what it was 10 years ago. And the expansion races in Europe and Asia are really going well because they're done relatively consistently. But I digress, I digress. So, I can talk the business side of my political opinions on the sport for far too long. ?? 04:02> your audience do not want to hear-- JESSE: No. I mean, no it’s all right. It’s all right. I haven't had anybody on that races Xterra. So, I mean, it's interesting to me, but it's like, the culture is always interesting to me because I like-- So, I grew up, I played soccer, and like I mean community soccer. We couldn't afford like private clubs or anything. Third grade, fourth grade, played softball, and then got into running and middle school because like I always wanted to play midfield in soccer because I liked running up and down the field more than everybody else. So, I just took that idea and moved in running. But what I always noticed in running, cross country meets and my dad would always remark on this, just parents at a cross country meet are like, the most polite people you've ever met. Like it's not this like I'm gonna beat you. I'm gonna like destroy you thing, it's like, everybody-- Like everybody you want to win but everybody is out there, like support each other. And I never said-- ?? 05:04> with triathlon. It's just like, same thing. You go to a race, hey, you know, where's this? Where's that? I have people ask me stuff all the time. And I'm like, yeah, it's over there, like people that have never, this is their first race. You know, it's like, okay, I've been doing this triathlon for, I can't-- 10 years now, 11 years now. And somehow people know to ask me questions. I don't know if there's a sign on my head or what it is. But it's like, I don't feel that way and I don't think anybody else feels that way. Or it's like, no I'm racing like, the elite amateur field. Like stay away from me. I'm special or whatever. It's like, no it's great, you're out. Hope you have a good time. So, I mean, it's good to see like, that kind of mentality is pervasive elsewhere besides just in like the circles, you know, I'm in. EVAN: Yeah, and I think that's always-- Let me put it this way, I think to somewhat clarify, I think that's always there. It's just certain events in certain places tend to bring out different aspects of that. So, if you go to your local sprint tri, I think that's one of the best experiences in the sport, right, for everybody involved. Like elite to the first time racer, everybody's just super nice. Right? That's kind of, from a community sense, the sort of, like perfect little thing, like little sphere. I think that premise somewhat shifts when we get into the larger, more competitive races where people feel those things at stake. I mean, I think that when you look at-- when you start going to something like age group nationals or something where everybody's going and like has an invested interest in doing well, then perhaps not saying that there's an aspect of maliciousness, but then the competitive vibe over supersedes the other vibes that are associated with the community. But I think that's not particularly surprising to people. But yeah, my one and to finish up my extolling of Xterra’s virtues as a sort of like cross light for the Xterra’s cause, my evangelical Xterra mission here. I would say that and this isn't even just an Xterra thing. This is like all the booming gravel, right? The booming gravel in the cycling industry is just totally related to a pushback against Rhode elitism and Rhode culture at races which is it's much worse than triathlon. But triathlon still has that elitism element in it. And gravel and mountain bike just winning the economic war because people are like, yo, these events still just deliver this nice experience. And so I would say our offer triathlon team is very, very much in line with that movement towards fun and happiness kind of for everybody. And then dirt, I don't know, is there something magical in dirt that like as soon as you ride a bike off-road that everybody's just like, cooler and drinks more beer afterwards? I mean, the latter point is certainly true. But I don't know. This is, I think just off-road in general seems to bring out the best in people. So, I don't know, maybe that's something to do with the in-tuneness with nature. I mean, I don't know. I'm not really a natural metaphysis so you can't ask me that. JESSE: No. It makes you wonder about like, kind of the link between competitiveness and kindness. You know, like, there was an event I went to ?? 08:49> behind me, I've got my beaver trophy there in the very top. EVAN: I like it. JESSE: So, that was probably one of the most fun races I did. I flew out to Cleveland and then my buddy and I drove from Cleveland to, I don't know somewhere in Pennsylvania, is it? Anyway, I was like an hour outside of Cleveland, we had to go like 4 am to get there. It's just like YMCA sponsored race that had an elite amateur field with cash, which is kind of hard to find. And just the most fun race like they have little like placards for like the elite amateurs to put on their bikes. And afterwards it was, you know, you got an Ironman race, you get like, cheap pizza afterwards to serve everybody, which I understand. They've got a lot of people to feed. But this was like they went down to the street to like Bob's barbecue and got like ribs, and they had, everybody was just super nicer, then like there was like an award for people that traveled the farthest to get there, which I want. Cuz I was from Missouri all the way and nowhere in Pennsylvania. But it’s just-- Yeah, everybody was just like out there having fun, like the men and women started together for that elite amateur wave. So, that was kind of like different. And we're all swimming together because in the water, your same speed. Anyway, so I'm thinking about competitiveness, and kindness and it's like, I think when like you said that when the stakes are lower, like in a community event like that the, ?? 10:32> tri, it's easier just like, we're out here having fun, like we're competing, we're trying, but like, even if I had the worst day of the world, okay, they're like there's another day. But like a national championship, well the stakes are raised. And now it's-- there's only one a year. And everybody comes together and everybody trains all year for this one thing. EVAN: In the case of Ironman events, they're just so long, right. So, you all have three bullets in the chamber and you're going to shoot them on these three days and that's it man. So, there's a much more of a like don't mess with me like this me blah, blah, blah. Whereas like right, you know, you come over and race mountain bikes and stuff like you know there's a ton of races, people race all the time. So, it's yeah, yeah. I mean, there's-- I think that the competitiveness factor is a link, I don't think it's the entire situation. But well also, I mean look at it from this standpoint like especially in Ironman where we’re seeing all these races go to places like you know, what is? The ?? 11:43> and it’s just like okay great like very flat races that are just not you know, you can-- I’m sure people would argue with me, and it's like well, there's U-turns and this that. But ultimately, the course is sterile. Whereas when you come race, of course, that's dynamic, that's challenging, everybody just mostly feels good to get through the course. I'll tell you like you go race Xterra Utah, and you're gonna climb 3,900 feet, 3,900 feet you like literally non stop climbing for an hour and like 10 minutes for like the top guys. Everybody is happy just to live. Like nobody died today, great. Like you know, I didn’t completely pass out in exhaustion when I finally just finished the mountain bike and then realized I had to oh, right, run up 1,300 feet over a 10K. Oh yeah, and it's also all over giant chunky rocks. Like everybody's getting through that just being like, oh my God, I got through it sort of thing. So, again, like I guess to go back to our point few minutes ago like the dynamism, of course, is very interrelated to the overall experience. I race mountain bike some. The Epic ride series is like the Whiskey 50 Carson City off-road, the [??? 13:03 trail’s like these are some of the most popular events in cycling in this country. And it's like the turnout for the Whiskey 50 in Prescott Arizona is massive, like sell out massive thousands of people out having fun on trails and like there's grumbling like, oh, there's not enough room for people blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But like overall the vibe is just it's like a party where a race broke out. And from the very tippy-top to lows like great athletes to everybody at the back who did it on a fat bike and had nine beers in the middle of the ride like every that product is really popular. Whereas you look at like a road race, they're just dying like road cycling is dying. I mean, the two-- ones we have done in Tucson, these big races with like pro fields, one of them has dried up and the other one’s attendance is down to like 200 people. It's like come on. Well, obviously you're missing the bus here. Whereas this like mountain bike race in Presskit is garnering what? Seven times, eight times your turnout? It's, I think the veritable winds are very much changing here, and I think Xterra is going to be on the favorable side of this wind that’s blowing in cycling and really blowing and running as well that Spartan races have caught on to. And I don't think triathlon’s immune from this. So, I don't know. I've at least bet on Xterra, and in my case, I think other people should come over. One, cuz it's freakin’ fun and two, it's challenging as all hell and three, I think ultimately, your overall satisfaction with the community on it will be better than anything else you've tried. But again, I suppose yeah, that's just my pitch for the sport. JESSE: Yeah, well, I mean, I think about it from like a product standpoint. Like what-- So, triathlon is composed primarily of middle-aged men with disposable income, right? So, I mean, what are they after? They're after a few things; trying to recapture some of that essence of youth and vitality of racing. They’re after some sense of meaning because they're hitting that midlife crisis and they're like, what, what do I do now? Some of it, I've got this money and I need to stay in shape. So, I might as well do this thing. EVAN: New golf. JESSE: Right. But ultimately, it's like you want to have fun if you're going to participate long term. So, if you're not doing that, then like you're gonna drop off. So, I think that's probably what's happening with cycling where it's like if they're neutering the courses like Ironman is, then that sense of adventure, that sense of fun where if you don't have a good day, you still had a good time. You don't have that good time anymore, you’re just not going to retain people. EVAN: And cycling's hemorrhaging it. I mean, the crit system or sorry, the crit system, the cat system is ultimately slowly eating away the entire principle. I understand why it's there, makes complete sense. I mean, you wouldn't ask me to redesign it. I can't. But ultimately, there's all this like I don't know if you're on like a lot on Instagram but like cat three memes and these like meme pages about cat three ?? 16:36> racers - is they're hysterical, because they're so true. And the thing is you like blast your way up to cat three and then you're stuck because of the like serious performance jump, physical performance jump that's required to go race beyond that. But then you're seeing just this like tangible loss of fun. Yeah, people sort of have this like sunk cost fallacy about it, right? And so, at least when you get to, and this is why gravel’s exploding right now, and mountain biking is booming; amongst men and women, amongst a lot of economic backgrounds, right, because of the inclusiveness and the opportunity to go have fun. I mean, every, and I go back to my original point every time you ride a trail, it's different. I live on Papago Park here in Phoenix, so if anybody knows like Ironman, Arizona, they've run through here, blah, blah, blah. I've ridden probably and this is a genuine conservative estimate, I've probably put in 1,400 miles 12 to 1,400 miles in this park. Right. And this is oh, I don't know. Let's see, from the lake up to-- it's maybe three and a half, three miles long by mile wide. And there's about and I can get in a 90-minute ride on single track, mostly with a couple features that are interesting blah, blah blah. It's not-- Yeah, it's not super techie, but I literally, I can-- I have 300 feet of pavement to bike and then I'm there. So, I don't like to drive my car to go ride, like come on. I have to sometimes, but I like this. But anyways, my point is like, every one of those trails changes. And once you start becoming really in tune to that, like it makes every day out there different. Like I've had days out there where I just was like flying, I was like ripping over stuff. I'm like, whoa, whoa, like my average speed for this ride was like 12.6, where it's like normally it's like 11. Like the ground is different and then we get to the end of summer, there hasn't been a lot of rain and then a few months since and things are blowing out and like the corner suck and then they get some rain, everything changes and like all of those aspects of the ride ultimately put into an intrinsic like kind of subversive element in you to get in into that world. Whereas when I just go red roads, it’s like okay, there's ?? 19:00>. It still pays, tarmacs. Yeah. Yep. Yep. It's hard, bike rolls over and this is ignoring the car factor too. And I think gravel has that to an advantage too, it opens up possibilities it’s so different. So, I think that's all connecting to the fun element, and I think now our, you know, what was it USA Triathlon used to say a couple of years ago, the average salary of a USA team member is 112 $114,000. JESSE: ?? 19:31>. Yeah. EVAN: Right. So, I think now that demographic, which is kind of the last ones to like, throw the proverbial brick through the like window of revolution here are starting to realize like, whoa, gravel bikes are a thing and like, oh, there's other elements to this. And so as that fraction weaves its way over, I think sports like Xterra and mountain biking are really there and we're going to take off in a similar fashion to like, what they kind of hit that micro boom in the 90s with ?? 20:00> sort of giving this idea like, yo, you can do a lot of cool stuff out here. So, and it becomes more like man versus nature. You know, that very, like primal thing as opposed to the man versus man competitive element. So, yeah, there's a lot of factors. But I think like my own history of riding, like the same trails a billion times and not hating them is a really good example of like, wow, there's still fun out there. And I mean look, I've ridden these, like I said, 1,400 miles and like, this summer, I crashed twice on them because the corners were super blown out and I didn't expect them to be blown out. And so I leaned in super hard on something, and the next thing it's like, well, that's a lot of blood. Like, you know. So, there's that aspect too. But anyways, again, we're going to get to the political machinations here, but-- JESSE: That's okay. I mean, that's kind of what I do, I get down a rabbit hole. Before we run out of time I do want to ask you about life as a bass player. EVAN: Sure. Yeah. JESSE: In part, because you're doing two very time-intensive things. Because you're not just like a composition student where?? 21:20> less time-intensive in and of itself in writing things. But like, you play and perform, so which, if you don't practice, you're going to lose your chops. So, it's like how do you fit it all the time to both be a pro and perform? EVAN: It’s like the $6 million question, right? A lot of times, I don't. ?? 21:48> a horrible answer. JESSE: ?? 21:51> so I played the violin. So, I have to give you a little bit of shit because you're a bass player. So, you just have like a couple of eight like easy rhythms and you don't have to worry too hard. EVAN: I mean, you know, it’s very fair shit giving, to be honest. I think-- If any of the-- God, God help me if any of my colleagues or professor hears this, but yeah, I mean let's be honest that's a part of it. Like as a bass player, if you're competent and you know what you're doing and you practiced a lot originally like there's no orchestra like in the world, you can't just pretty much go sit in and be like, pretty much prepared for and with minimal practice be good on. And all the hard licks, Strauss Ein Heldenleben Beethoven nine all the Mozart 35, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, all this long list of symphonic rap like you-- Go to Part 3 Go to Part 1
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