87: The Tread Gets It’s Own Spot plus an interview with Russ and Audrey Elliot
January 4, 2019
Peloton launches a Tread exclusive TV campaign, we have an update on “Instructor-gate,” and Flywheel has an awkward moment. Plus we talk to Russ and Audrey Elliot!
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By Crystal — 1 year ago
86: HRI Becomes Homecoming plus an interview with Barb Norsworthy
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By Crystal — 8 months ago
This week, the Power Zone Pack introduced a paywall to their website and people have lots questions. Crystal and Tom O’Keefe do their best to figure out the details. They also bring in Peloton riders, Paul and Debbie Erickson, for the long-awaited interview about their Peloton story. Like many of us, Paul and Debbie came across Peloton as a way to sustain their health and fitness far from the outside factors that hinder them. They share the great things they discovered along the way in their Peloton journey, how it helps with their races, and how the community completes the entire experience.
Listen to the podcast here:
Power Zone Pack Paywall Discussion And An Interview With Paul And Debbie Erickson
What do you have in store for people? I know they’re dying to know.
We have some instructor news. We have a whole lot of drama and our amazing long-awaited interview with Paul and Debbie Erickson. That’s about it. It sounds short, but I don’t think it’s going to be.
Shameless plugs, don’t forget we’re available on Apple Podcasts where you can rate, review and subscribe. Before we get into the drama, we should probably tackle some of our own. We had a review. I don’t normally read the reviews. I read them in chronological order. Some people might’ve figured that out by now and I slowly go up the line. We typically skipped the negative ones because we’re like, “Some people don’t like us, whatever. That’s fine.” It seems weird to read those, but they exist. This one had some weird accusations so we thought we would tackle that. This is from Ari0123. It says, “I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was so off with this podcast. It was more than the bad jokes and the rumors that the cohost/husband doesn’t ride and makes fun of riders.” First of all, let me address your rumors. Yes, I don’t.
It’s not a rumor. We’ve been very upfront with that. I feel like this person doesn’t even listen.
If I say I don’t ride the bike, that’s not a rumor. If I were making fun of riders, first off, people would have punched me in the face when I went to homecoming, HRI or walked into the store. Plus, I’m married to a rider.
We wouldn’t do this podcast if you thought that it was dumb for all of us to be exercising.
It’s not for you, but you don’t care. I look at it like eating vegetables. I wish I ate vegetables, but I can’t get them down. I know that the people who eat vegetables are doing better than me. Honestly up to that, we would have ignored it. The next part that we wanted to address. “This is 100% an act,” meaning you and me. “Crystal and her clique have been leading the mob of angry people who say hurtful things about Brad.”
Apparently, you’ve been doing this all behind my back but since he’s made the news and she realized he isn’t going anywhere, she’s decided to become his bestie.
Brad and I aren’t besties. Brad is fine. I never claimed he was my bestie.
I was like, “It’s weird that they put the word “become.” She’s decided to “become” his bestie. You would think if you’re going to put air quotes in something, you put it around bestie or the whole phrase. Technically they’re not air quotes because they are typing in rumor, so maybe quotes. Anyway, I don’t care whether you like or have an irrational hatred for the guy. However, it’s 100% disgusting to see someone go from spewing/leading others to spew hate to pretend they’re besties with no apology. She’s even scrubbed The Clip Out post she made attacking him after he was highlighted on the news. The post he’s talking about is The Wall Street Journal post where you wrote.
I said, “I am surprised that The Wall Street Journal treated this as a serious news topic,” which I still am.
First off, that post is still there. You’ve got to scroll because it’s Facebook. That post is still there and you’re not the only person who felt that way. Do you know who else felt that way? Brad felt that way.
Brad was surprised. He was the front page. It’s about me. He was as shocked as I was. That’s not Brad’s fault. They chose it. I don’t know why they chose it. I’m still surprised.
He told us that they put it online and it got enough traction that they were like, “I guess this does rate front page.”
It was all about that. He did explain that.
It’s also weird that’s how our news is getting selected.
It’s The Wall Street Journal. I have always revered The Wall Street Journal as very serious and business-y. They have feel-good articles in there too, but it’s pretty straight and narrow. It surprised me. End of my thought. It wasn’t directed at how dare Brad. I don’t mind explaining that to people because Brad got it. Brad is the only one that matters there. He understood what I was saying. I have nothing negative to say about Brad. I understand people who get frustrated that they don’t like him on their screen. I also was glad to hear Brad’s version of events. I felt like people were making it a lot bigger than they were, than it is. Brad cleared that up.
Ultimately, what goes on with Brad is confirmation bias or recommendation bias where it’s like when you buy a Toyota Corolla then you drive around. You start seeing Toyota Corollas everywhere. There was always the same number of Toyota Corollas, minus one, the one that you purchased. Brad is like that. Once he got pointed out to you or you noticed him, whenever you see it, you’re like, “Oh, that.” He or she closes by saying, “I’m glad she’s finally come around to pretending to be a decent person. I thought you had always been pretending.” The final sentence, “Frankly, her and her clique’s behavior have turned me off to Peloton as a whole.” We owe people that will buy your bike. I don’t know what to tell you and then with that last sentence, I’m like, “Is this like a SoulCycle plan?” That’s what it sounds like.
If you’d like to leave a review that’s not like that hopefully, you can do that at Apple podcast. You can also find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/theclipout and while you’re there, join the group and stay up-to-date on things throughout the week. Now, that we’ve addressed all that, that’s probably the biggest drama we’ll have to contend with. Let’s dig in.
The Power Zone Pack.
Are we jumping in there?
I don’t think we should make them wait. People want to know. They would like to have a recap of what’s going and some people don’t wait into that. There’s a whole host of people that don’t do Power Zone Challenges that aren’t in the Power Zone Pack and that probably have no clue. We will bring them up to speed.
I’m going to do my best to start at the beginning without going back too far. The Power Zone Pack was created a long time ago, back in 2017. It was done because that person loved Matt Wilpers and Power Zone Training. That’s where it all started. The admin, Angie, became involved in the group and she was close with this other person. They created content together. Everything continued and then at some point when the instructors were told to leave the group, I’m not exactly sure of all the reasons why but Peloton decided to make this group official. It became the official Power Zone Pack. With that, it meant that Matt Wilpers and Denis Morton could stay in the group as their Peloton pages, not as themselves. They were in the group. Now, we’re official at this point. To be clear, official means a lot of things, but a couple of things that we do know for sure. One, it meant that they were co-admined by Peloton. Peloton is in the group. I don’t think that they moderated at all. I don’t think that they pay attention to the posts to be clear. They are there as an admin so that it’s not one person who is the admin of the group.
I deal with this where I work, where I control and admin the arenas page owned by the County of St. Charles. After I created it, it got traction and they figured out what Facebook was, I had to add some County officials as admins or moderators. If I went rogue, I couldn’t take the whole page down or if I’m typing crazy stuff on there, they could delete it or whatever. It is a very standard thing.
People may not know this so I’m going to spell this out a little bit for Facebook. If you are an admin, you can remove anyone including other admins. If you are a moderator, you cannot remove other people. It’s important to know that Peloton can remove people. In addition to that, it also means that Peloton supports this page, Peloton posts on this page or they can. They have the ability to post on this page. Mostly it’s Matt and Denis. I don’t think they’ve ever used that right, but they can. It also means that Peloton is behind it. It means that they give their support. That’s mostly what it means. One would think that it would also have to follow the same protocols that the OPP or the Moms’ page used.
It’s the same terms and conditions. That’s the assumption. Now, some crap went down. I need to back up again because I need to explain that at some point in 2018, there was an app created by a Peloton rider. I believe his name is Paul Ameden. I am only bringing his name into it as the creator and giving him credit for creating mPaceLine, which was the iOS version of an app that allowed you to pull in your Power Zone rides, get graphs and be able to see comparisons of your data.
To be clear, since it was an app, it did not store the data. It pulled in your data, calculated it and released it back into the wild. At some point later, I would say probably close to 7, 8 months after that. Paul may have been doing this app longer. I don’t know. At some point though, David entered the picture and David had an Android version of it called Power Zone Plus. He did the exact same thing for Android. These two players have been out there and most of what you heard talked about in the Power Zone Pack was mPaceLine because most of the Peloton users have Apple.
A lot of people got pushed to mPaceLine by word of mouth through the Power Zone Pack. There was an upgrade to the Power Zone Pack website, which was created at the end of 2018. Angie had created that website. At the bottom of that website, as always said it is not affiliated with Peloton. I will tell you I have been on rides where I’ve heard Matt Wilpers say, “Go to the Power Zone Pack webpage because that’s where all the challenges are located.” Even if it wasn’t the current challenge that people were doing for Power Zone, you could still go to the website. You could still get to the past challenges so you would know what rides to do. It’s very helpful because if you’re trying to put together a plan, you can see it all in one place. That was Matt’s point. Even though it was not an official page, Matt had directed traffic there. He also directed a lot of traffic to the Power Zone page on Facebook because that’s the official Power Zone page.
Now that I’ve gotten you all up-to-date, there was a change to the website and that change was that. You had to log in to the website to get to any challenges whatsoever. There was also an add-on. The add-on was for $70 a year, you would have access to “advanced metrics.” What are these advanced metrics? The truth is I don’t know because one, I haven’t paid for it. I haven’t logged in, but I have seen screenshots. Thank you all for the hundreds of messages I’ve gotten. There are advanced metrics that exist that basically is a graph that shows you how you did compare to what you were supposed to do. If you were told to go to zone three, where you in zone three or were you somewhere else. That’s what the advanced metrics are. They keep saying more is coming, but when people ask the question, we have not gotten a clear answer of what those are. I don’t know. I can’t answer that. More are coming. It’s all I know.
Obviously, I don’t know. Is that different than what mPaceLine and the Android, Power Zone Plus different than what they were providing?
The mPaceLine has quite a bit of metrics. It’s pretty in-depth. Paul has even added in tread metrics too. He has a ton of different graphs that you can look at, different ways that you can analyze your data. On the Power Zone Plus side, which is what I use, it’s a little more basic. You can compare if you’ve done that ride twice, you would be able to see how your Power Zone ride compared one to the other. You can also see your best Power Zone, your PRs and things like that. It creates that. I forgot to say, in the advanced metrics on the website, there is also tracking of the PRs. People did tell me that, but it’s not working at all. I didn’t include that.
Apparently, there’s some way that if you pay for it, you’re able to put in your FTPs from the past. Again, that’s not been verified because it’s not working correctly. I don’t mean to say that there’s no other stuff happening with the website. It doesn’t appear that anything’s working correctly, which all websites have bugs that happen. They’re still getting their stuff worked out. As far as being brand new, when this website popped up with this login, I want to be very clear, there were no terms and conditions. There were no privacy labels. There was nothing on it that indicated what was happening.
There’s still only that one sentence that said, “Not part of Peloton.” This raised so many questions with people and so people immediately wanted to know, “Where is this money going? What are we doing?” It’s $70 a year. To be clear, there are 32,000 people in the Power Zone Pack. I realized not all those people are active. Not all those people will pay. Even if only 20% of those people pay and choose, we’re talking $500,000. That’s a lot of money. We’re not talking chump change that this is being discussed. What got interesting and what pulled me into the discussion personally was that nobody would answer that question. Where is the money going? Who gets the money?
It was very coy. It was like the developers and I’m like, “$448,000 a year for developers is quite a bit.” Once it’s developed, obviously your startup costs to create something like that wouldn’t be the same as your maintenance costs in something like that. If people like it and renewed, you would make the same amount of money the following year. Presumably, as Peloton continues to grow, so would presumably the Power Zone Pack page and subscriptions therefore. It’s like, “That’s a lot of money.”
There are so many layers to this. My biggest concern right off the bat was that nobody would answer it. What upset me, people who asked the question had to preface their question with, “I hope it’s okay to ask this.” That got me to thinking, “Why do they feel they even have to preface that?” I know why. I’m spelling it out to people because I got to thinking about the past history of this group and the people who have been unceremoniously kicked out of the group with no explanation simply because they disagreed with the admin. You have people who are asking questions that are afraid to ask questions. I started watching because this is an official group, they can’t just kick people out.
I haven’t seen anybody kicked out, but I have seen posts deleted simply because they asked a question. The admin and the moderators, their rationale for that is that things got too heated. They got too negative. Here’s the thing, why is it that the one post, the only post that still shows any discussion about this website is one that only revered Angie. It has 410 comments on it. It is the only post talking about anything to do with this website that is still up. When I say anything to do with the website, the discussion, the debate around the website. There are other posts that are up like, “Why isn’t this part working? Why isn’t that part working?” The only post that’s up that had anything to do with this debate.
I’ve seen the other groups run into this like a monkey’s group. I’m in that when Peter Tork died, people kept posting on there like, “Did you know Peter Tork died?” It’s like, “Yeah, we got it.” In those instances, they would say, “We’re shutting this thread down. Go to this thread to talk about this.”
You tell people why you delete things.
If they want them to all live in this post, they should be directing people to that post, but they’re not doing that. They are deleting things.
There was a post on there that I saw where the person said, “I don’t know if it’s okay to ask this question, but I’m asking this question, where’s the money going? What are these features going to be?” There were 150 comments, all of them deleted. Not one person on that thread was told that their comment or that thread was being deleted. It got deleted. That’s not okay because that is an official page. The reason I am taking it to this forum, my specific complaint with this is that every time I post something like that on that page, it gets deleted. The moderator told me that I wasn’t allowed to say things like that. I’m bringing it here. I am allowed to say it. You can’t tell me to shut up because you’re an official page whether you like it or not.
You are not flame-throwing and name-calling.
My comments are things like, “Why can you not tell us who is getting the money,” and telling them things like, “The reason people are saying that it seems shady is because you won’t be transparent.” If I’m not allowed to say something like that, Peloton needs to tell me, not the moderator who doesn’t own Peloton. When you get out of this whole thing with the money situation, once you moved past that, you have the issue of, “It’s a Peloton page where there are Peloton instructors who are telling people to go to the Peloton Facebook page to do the Power Zone Challenge.”
Once you get there, you’re told to go over to this website to log into this challenge. When you get to the website, you’re told, “and to get these metrics, for an additional fee be paid for this, the $70 advanced metrics.” That means presumably inferring, however you want to say it, that Peloton agrees with all of that. I don’t think that Peloton agrees with that. The reason that I don’t think Peloton agrees with that is that you and I have a podcast, obviously it’s all about Peloton. We did consider for a while that we would be able to create content outside of the podcast that perhaps we could make some money on because we are capitalistic people and we wanted to make some money.
We do not begrudge people making money. Our thought was it’s very common in podcasts to create additional content. Not that what you’re reading now would go behind a paywall, but we would create additional content that would maybe live behind a paywall.
I have to explain what a paywall is because so many people have asked me what a paywall is. A paywall is simply a webpage that holds content separate from the free content and that’s it.
You have to pay to get it. If you’re a local newspaper, all of a sudden, they want to charge you after you’ve read three articles. It’s because it’s behind a paywall. That’s all it means. Our thought process was we could create additional content, do extra work and if you wanted to access that additional content, it would live over here and you would still get what you’ve been getting at no cost and nothing about your user experience would change. There would be bonus stuff over here if you wanted to kick in, that’d be great and Peloton was not a fan of that.
I have to back up. It’s not even that they weren’t a fan. They said to be fair and consistent with their policies, what that would mean is that we would no longer be able to post on any official pages at all about our podcast. We would have to change the way that we would get access to Peloton employees for interviews, which once I thought about it, I was like, “Yeah, that makes sense.” Tom and I decided we wanted it. We do this as a hobby. Yes, it would be nice to make money off of it, but that wasn’t our original goal. We decided to stay with what we’re doing because that was a choice we made. The point is we went to Peloton and asked and they said, “No, thank you. Even though we’re not an official page, we don’t say anything insinuating that we’re Peloton.”
It says right on our logo, a fan podcast. That was very deliberate on our part.
We drew a very thick line from the beginning out of respect and deference to Peloton and in deference to their attorneys, they’re included in that. Peloton said, “Keep doing that. Don’t change that.” We were like, “Okay.” I don’t think that Peloton suddenly had this reversal of fortune and they were like, “The Power Zone Pack, that’s okay. Even though you’re an official page, we’re cool with that.” I feel strongly that they are not okay with this. I also feel strongly they were never asked. Here we are a couple of days later and most of the posts had been taken down. People are paying and there’s a lot of privacy concerns about that because they have put terms and conditions up. By law, you’re supposed to have all this privacy stuff listed out and saying, “Nothing is going to happen to your data. It’s protected.”
If something is going to happen to your data, you’ve got to let people know.
Here’s a big difference that you need to understand between the app and the website. The apps that were out there, Power Zone Plus and mPaceLine, simply took your data as a pass-through and they used it. Spit it back out at you and it went away. They don’t hold onto it. This website holds your data. There is a whole huge host of problems with them holding onto that data that were not being created as problems through those apps. That is very different and people do not understand that. People also seem to think that this entire uproar is about Angie making money. I don’t have a problem in the world with Angie making money. I do have a huge problem with Angie not being transparent about it. In the background, what a lot of people don’t realize is there was an LLC created. That was created back in February and that has Angie and one other individual listed. That’s it.
It’s not the people who help her run the contest or run the challenges. It’s not anything about Peloton. It is her and one other individual that belonged to that LLC. That money is going to Angie and this other individual. They are the ones who would then decide what to do with it once they have it. That’s up to them but I think that they should be open and transparent about that. You see since that LLC was in effect back in February, that means that the last two challenges that have been done were also being run as money-making prospects. All the money that you donated for prizes, no, you didn’t donate that. That went to a for-profit organization and you were not told that was happening. Also, if you purchase merchandise, it was going to a for-profit organization and you were not told that’s what was happening. In addition to all of that, there are now infringement concerns because the last three challenges have been using Marvel, Star Wars characters, etc. There are people that are outright going and complaining about that to Marvel.
That’s potentially a copyright infringement and a violation of their intellectual property. That’s owned by Disney. Both of those properties are owned by Disney. They’ve sued daycares for painting Mickey Mouse on the wall because if they don’t protect their rights to those characters, they could theoretically lose that right. They have to defend it wherever it pops up regardless of how douchey it might make them look.
Peloton is now linked to that because this all started on an official page. That it is a money-making venture that people are taking a hard look at, all these things are becoming magnified. Not only is the LLC at risk, but now they are placing Peloton at risk because they had it posted and still have it posted on an official page that belongs to Peloton. I take that very personally because you’re messing with the company I love. You’re not being very transparent to them or to any of the people who belong to it. That’s not cool.
Ironically enough, they have now stripped all the Avengers mentions off of their website, but left all of it up on the official Peloton page. Clearly, their interests are only for themselves, not for Peloton whatsoever. Let’s talk about another legal concern here. Again, there are a lot of people out there that are like, “I have no problem with Angie making money.” I don’t either. Go for it, but who started these challenges? Matt Wilpers did. He started it on his own back in 2016 long before there was a Power Zone Pack. If Matt signed a pretty standard agreement that most people sign these days, it states that anything that you create while working there belongs to that company, which means that if he created the Power Zone Challenge, it belongs to Peloton.Peloton is so much more than a bike. It's an entire experience. It's a community. Click To Tweet
That’s a very standard thing. A famous example of it is the people that created the Bratz dolls did that while working for the company that made Barbie. That company ended up owning the Bratz dolls and they went off and they were on for years. They were like, “You did that off the clock, but you were under this agreement with us.” I’m sure that’s the way that ended is they ended up owning the Bratz dolls and those guys and girls maybe got nothing.
If that’s the case, it does affect derivatives. Any derivatives of the Power Zone Pack challenge would also belong to Peloton, which means that Angie is making money directly off of Peloton’s intellectual property.
It seems like a lot of people were saying, “This was so much work for Angie.” I’m sure it’s been a lot of work for her.
There’s no doubt that she spends a ton of time on it.
My confusion is I don’t know how what’s going on right now is less work. There were already two apps in place that seemed to be doing the same thing.
She says that she can’t do the challenges without this website, which I have no doubt that’s true. The website probably aggregates the data, but that you could have worked with either the apps to ask to help aggregate the data or Peloton. Wouldn’t that have been an obvious choice to have that conversation?
I don’t think they’ve got one of the data aggregating machines over there in a backroom with Peloton.
I would think so too especially since they’re now doing challenges on the tablets. It seems to me that Peloton already has this in place, that if somebody had a discussion with them, maybe we could have gone there or eventually gotten there. Maybe it wouldn’t be now or tomorrow, but we could’ve gotten there eventually. That seems strange.
You’ve got to ask yourself the question, is it about lessening in the workload or is it about, here’s a revenue source?
At any point in time, if it’s about recouping the cost you’ve already spent, which I’m sure is significant.
There are so many things when it comes to something like that. Unless you’re doing it, you don’t realize how much money goes out. Even with what we do, like we do a lot of things where if we sat down and totaled up what we spent, we probably don’t want to know. It certainly adds up. No one begrudges her to recoup those costs or even if it gets big enough, if you build something that hits critical mass and it can make revenue, good for you.
Do it through Peloton, do it with Peloton and tell people you’re going to.
If we ever get this big enough to where I don’t know we have advertisers or whatnot and we’re making money, we’ll let you know. We say this on the other podcast all the time, like, “Our goal is to sell out.” Are you kidding me? We wouldn’t be like the audio equivalent of a NASCAR if we could.
At any point in time, if this got too big, if the Power Zone Challenge endeavor had gotten too big, then stop. That was always an option. You could have asked for help and at any point in time, you could have been like, “This is completely out of control, $5 a head for everybody to participate.” I cannot imagine one person complaining about that. To me, it’s not about recouping costs because there were other ways to go about this that was one, transparent and two, very fair.
When you see the amount of revenue that could potentially be generated by this with some modest numbers, 10% or 20% go through and register, when you see the amount of revenue that can generate, it undercuts the idea that it’s to recoup cost when 20% generates almost $500,000 in revenue. I feel confident in saying that whatever her current out of pocket costs are, they’re probably not in the mid-six-figures.
If they are, she should have stopped a long time ago.
Unless she’s that loaded in which case, would you like to talk about a podcast?
The apps that everybody keeps pointing to you to say, “They make money.” That’s different for a number of reasons. They cost $15 a year, not $70. It’s a lot easier to swallow.
It’s a lot easier to believe that $10, $15 a year versus $70 sounds a lot more like, “We’re discovering developmental costs.” If they make a little bit of money and nobody’s ever going to stick the landing perfectly where I spent $1,100 and I raised $1,100 done. There’s a big difference between $15 a year and $70 a year.
Also, the people who made the apps always approached it from they were making money. They never came to anybody and said, “I’m doing this because I’m so nice, just be grateful.” No. They were like, “I have this cool idea. Would you like to buy it?” They were very open to that. Nobody had to question that because they were very upfront. It was an app. You were paying for it, end of discussion. It wasn’t tied to an official group. Peloton has never been like, and neither has Matt Wilpers, ever been like, “Use mPaceLine, use Power Zone Plus.” Nobody has ever done that. Now, you have people who are brand new to Peloton, who don’t know any of this history going to an official page and being directed to this website. How do they not make the assumption or at least be confused by, “Is this owned by Peloton? Is this not owned by Peloton? This $70 that I’m about to spend, is it covered by Peloton?” It is not covered by Peloton.
I thought $40 a month was what I paid for Peloton. Why is there an extra fee for this other portion of the thing?
People have been sending messages to support left and right asking that question, “I don’t understand why I’m being asked to pay more.” I know there are a lot of people out there that are saying, “You don’t have to pay for it to get to the challenge.” No, you don’t. The point is it’s confusing to people who are new. There is not enough of a distinction drawn. It started from an official page, it creates blurriness. It creates confusion. If Peloton wasn’t okay with us doing that as a podcast, not part of Peloton, not on an official page, there is no way in my mind they are okay with the Power Zone Pack doing this.
That’s fair. Anyway, that’s what happened in Power Zone. If you’ve been wondering, there you go. Watch this space and to be continued. As more things happen or don’t happen, we will keep you posted because that’s what we do.
It is what we do. Also, I want to say this has all been put together by reading things, by seeing things, by having people reach out to me. These are all our conjectures based on all of the information given to us and our experiences. I want to put that out there.
If our conjecture is incorrect, it’s because the main party involved won’t answer direct questions and they’ll tell you that they did when it never occurred.
I wonder if we should also talk about the fact that we do accept donations and be transparent about that as well because I don’t want to be a hypocrite.
We do accept donations.
I don’t feel we’re being a hypocrite. I want to explain what people have not asked us, but should they ask us, “What are you doing with that money?” It is 100% going to our interns to pay for the work that they do.
People have asked though, what’s the difference between them raising money and we have a donate button on our website now. To be transparent, it has not generated $500,000. We are certainly not complaining.
We’re not talking $500,000. That’s all we’re trying to say.
We feel the differences. We’ve been transparent about, “It’s over there and if you want to do it, you can. If you don’t like, no big deal.” When people ask where the money goes, we’ve also been transparent. Like, “This money is going to, at the moment, we’ve been paying the interns to edit some of the episodes to help lighten your load.” They edit the interview specifically and we immediately started paying them more. To date, that’s all we’ve used that money for. I’m not saying that will always be the case, but for the moment, we’ve been letting that money sit there and we’ve been paying the interns out of it. Other things that we’ve incurred, expenses for the buttons homecoming that we handed out, the sign that was behind us, our plane tickets. The plane tickets, I’d be like, “You probably would’ve gone anyway.” That’s could easily be deemed.
It could be called a business expense, but quite frankly, we’re not at this time running an official business.
It’s a fair question, which is why we answered it. That’s how that works.
It’s simple. That’s how you do it. Do we want to talk about the other things that happened at Peloton?
We should because other things occurred in the world.
There’s another new fun program that started. Emma Lovewell started the Crush Your Core Challenge. It’s not a challenge. It’s a program. It’s located on your tablet. It’s four weeks long. You get to do all of her core videos. Basically, it’s five days a week. It’s five out of seven days for four weeks. It looks super intense and I’m very excited that it is out there in time for summer. I will be doing that mixed in with my tread challenge, mixed in with a little bit of the marathon training plan. I haven’t been doing a whole lot of the bike lately and not looking good for the Power Zone training because I’m turned off on the whole thing right now. I love Matt Wilpers and that will never change and I respect his training very much. The whole group right now, I’m not happy with.
Joining us are Paul and Debbie Erickson.
For anybody that did not catch the connection to the race director. Tom and I went to Alabama so that I could participate because obviously Tom would not participate in a duathlon that Paul is the race director for. It’s called the Heel and Crank Duathlon and it took place in Mooresville, Alabama. Paul put on the whole thing. Debbie does a whole bunch of stuff in the background including making fabulous pancakes that are available after the race.
Thank you, Crystal. I appreciate that. I’m glad you liked them.
How did you guys come across Peloton?
It was probably Tour de France year 2016 is when we first saw some of the early commercials that were being put on in regard to Peloton, but we didn’t pull the trigger back then. After a ride that Paul and I had done. We’re both outdoor cyclists. We had done a ride outside in July of 2017. I have multiple sclerosis and I’m sensitive to heat. It was that month that we decided, “There’s enough of this. We’re not getting a chance to exercise as much as we want to and this heat is affecting me.” I love being on a bike. We decided to go ahead and invest in ourselves and our health and ended up purchasing the Peloton.
That’s a very good reason.
How effective was it in that regard? I’m assuming since we’re having this conversation that it worked out okay.
Do you mean that we got it?
Your goal is so you could continue to exercise and have a bike experience with MS. Was that as beneficial as you had hoped?
It turned out to be better than I ever thought it would be. It’s not a bicycle. To anybody that doesn’t have a Peloton, it’s hard to explain. I know I sound like some crazy obsessive geek when I talk about it at work because I’ll come in with my Peloton shirts and whatnot like this. I’m like, “I want so much more than a bike.” It’s an entire experience. It’s the community. It’s not cycling content, spin classes per se. If I wanted to do yoga, there’s an opportunity to do yoga. If I wanted to do stretching, weightlifting, take your pick. It’s like my own home gym attached to one device.
That was the nice thing about it. We had a gym membership before and we did spin classes there. We did some Body Pump classes and things like that but we’d only go a couple of times a week. Once we got the Peloton and we realized, “Maybe if we have a gym in our living room, we can ride whenever we wanted to as many times we wanted to.”
It’s an exercise on our schedule whenever we want to, how much we want to.
It is a game-changer. How often do you guys both ride? You said you’re an outdoor cyclist so I assume you guys still ride outdoors as well?
We do. We usually only go riding outdoors probably once or twice a week. Indoors, we probably ride on average 5 to 6 days a week at least.
Is that each or combined?
Each of us. We are those super crazy, geeky people that enjoy working out and sweating. I know Tom, that’s so not you. You’re like, “Why would you even want to do that?”
We are that one Peloton commercial where the lady is riding the bike, she gets off and her husband comes right in and gets right on it.
That looks like that when I’m getting off the bike and I don’t have perfectly behaved children, nor are my kids little anymore.
It’s managing the time between work and each other and make time for both of us on the bike.
Your children aren’t little, I would hope that they would be better behaved than that.
Our kids are 32 and 28 so we’re no spring chicken.
Which by the way, since we met you guys, I have to say, I would never have believed that you have children that age.Peloton is exercise on your schedule whenever you want to, how much you want to. Click To Tweet
On the drive back after dinner, we were like, “No.”
I was making sure that she was not necessarily implied upon me.
Would you say that you guys had a fitness level before that is the same now that you have Peloton or has it changed one direction or the other? Do you think anything has changed other than you ride more?
Before Debbie’s diagnosis of her MS back in 2012, I’d say we were probably fairly sedentary as far as things go. Once her diagnosis came in, she decided that she wanted to start being active. We got the bike.
Not exactly, Paul. I quit working only because I was sick all the time and I didn’t know what was going on with me. It was about six months after I quit working and I had started working out. We’re not talking 1, 2 days a week. I’m talking 2 to 3 hours a day, most days of the week. About six months after I quit working, I went to see my primary care doctor. I told her all the things that were going on with me and she said, “I don’t want to scare you, but you might have MS.” I had a positive diagnosis in July of that year. I started exercising quite a bit more, but having gone back to work back in 2015, I wasn’t able to be as active as I would like. Having bought the Peloton has ended up having more availability of time for us to work out on our schedule versus trying to fit it in before work or after work. Fight for your spot over in the gym and all that jazz that goes along with having a gym membership and equipment that smells bad and everything else.
Debbie has not necessarily exercised more since she has a Peloton, but Paul, have you?
Around 2013, we did No Boundaries 5k Program and that’s probably when it started kicking back in from me. That led to triathlon stuff and triathlon training at various levels.
All I’ve done is allow us to be more flexible and consistent, whereas we probably weren’t as consistent about working out as we probably would have been if the gymnasium was located next door. It’s in our living room so there you go.
Are you going to pull the trigger on the Tread or are you good with what you’ve got?
We’ve talked about it.
We went and looked at it over in Nashville.
They had a Peloton store there so we checked it out. We love to look at it and we loved how it felt. It was quiet. The thing is that I used to run but Debbie doesn’t run as much now because she’s had some knee issues.
Also, where we live, it wouldn’t be a Peloton delivery. It would be through Expo. We’ve heard inconsistent reports. We’re still a little bit on the edge. I would like to do it. It’s a $4,000 commitment. If I was to look at it for how much the Peloton has brought health-wise into my life, if I was to spend that money going to like paying for a spin instructor or one of our local spin places, I would’ve spent the amount that we spend on the Peloton how many times over.
It’s saving you money.
We’re on the cuff of buying one. It’s definitely one of those things that we would like to get. We’ve already talked about where it would go, how we would position it and what other furniture we’d have to move?
Can you tell everybody how many cats and dogs you guys have because I’m still in awe of that?
Don’t ever get involved with animal rescue unless you count on keeping a few, but you’re not allowed to judge.
I’m not judging. I’m in awe. I don’t understand how you even make it work.
We have sixteen cats, three dogs and a husband. We had a normal number of animals, not so very long ago and I got involved with the animal rescue stuff.
She took all the ones that ended up being sick or have issues and she wouldn’t let them go to another home until they were back healthy and that takes time. That time, she falls in love with them and they become ours.
They get a lot of special needs ones too. Ones that are feral or had some serious sickness and things like that.
It’s nice that you guys are able to do that.
That’s a lot to deal with. I wasn’t even talking about quantity. I was like, “That’s a lot to take on.”
You do a lot of stuff for other people or other animals because you guys do the race stuff. You have the Tri Club and all the donations that go from that. Now you’re saving animals. You guys are involved in a lot of things where you take care of people and animals so that’s cool.
We try to. You only get one life so make the most of it.
I’m going to burn it out at both ends. That’s my goal.
How did you end up becoming so involved with the Heel and Crank Race?
That was a long story. Going back to my tri-training, I met a lot of great people. I wanted to tri-training. A friend of ours, his name is David Kyle. He had MS as well and he was Debbie’s inspiration early on.
He was my North direction for the longest time.
He competed for a triathlon at a level that he is competing at worlds. He competed at a world level up in London several years ago and could have had a chance to go down to Rio back in 2016 but he decided he wanted to spend more time with the kids growing up.
I looked at this guy who I knew that had MS so bad that his first two years after diagnosis, watched his children grew up around him, basically living on the couch and couldn’t get up, couldn’t walk. He told his doctor that he wanted to compete in a triathlon. His doctor told him it was inconceivable. I looked at him as inspiration for what can I do to improve my quality of life and sure that I don’t lose more ability because at that point, my symptoms were pretty bad. I didn’t run. I didn’t own a bicycle and I sure as heck didn’t swim. I got this bright idea that I was going to try doing a triathlon. Paul being the supportive husband he is and he’s super competitive too. He’s so fast running and I’m the sloth. He took off with it and compete. Whereas me, I was just doing it.
I participated, but over time, you see the same people all the time. The previous race for Heal and Crank was a ride and go on do some other things and he asked me if I was interested in taking it over. For one year, I was his assistant director or co-director, whatever you want to call it. I took it over in 2017.
I always helped out with the food prep in years past.
We volunteered both for the Team Rocket Tri Club stuff that we did and before that. We also volunteered for our Huntsville Track Club stuff where Debbie was at one time the secretary. We were involved in races almost every weekend it seemed like. This seemed like a way for us to do something different but be able to give back. It’s a smaller race so it shouldn’t be too much overhead.
Because of the charter that Team Rocket Tri Club has that every bit of money that they make on a race is donated to nonprofits, we incur all our costs. In addition to anything additional that comes in, it would get donated to charities.
Team Market has 600 some odd members. We gave nearly $50,000 to charity through all of our races. I gave away $8,000 for a race that didn’t even happen because of bad weather. Thanks for the race insurance. My charities for the last couple of years had been The ALS Association of Alabama to help those folks that have ALS and help to find a cure. A charity that’s a little closer to my heart and Debbie’s is the National MS Society of the Alabama-Mississippi Chapter. Those monies go to help support families that are dealing with MS as well as funding research stuff to find a cure. In fact, some of the funding helped to fund the medicine that was developed that Debbie has taken that have daily shots.
It’s pretty neat. It’s a great society. We are happy to be able to do something that we enjoy, support a healthy community and be able to donate the proceeds to charities that make a difference.
The nerd in me has to ask, Team Rocket, was that a deliberate Pokémon reference or does it predate that?
Team Rocket pretty much predates Pokémon, Pikachu and all the wild stuff.
I thought it was started by a Spring City Cycle Club.
Yeah, it was an offshoot of our local cycling club that’s been around for a long time.
Huntsville is the rocket city so that’s where the name comes from.
I was wondering if that was a deliberate nod or if it was a coincidence.
I hope it’s not related. We are the Rocket City. The Saturn V was developed here in Huntsville. Everything is rocket around here so it made sense.
How did pancakes become a thing and why aren’t they a thing at every race we’ve gone to, Crystal?
It’s not that you’re eating carbs.
No, I couldn’t eat them, but sometimes I can.
The previous race director started that as a way to help boost the numbers because most people know that triathletes love to eat and drink. That’s why I had a beer sponsor too. We had pizza, beer and pancakes at our race before.
I totally had pancakes and a beer.
It’s a carbo-loading.
Although by the time I was done, it was afternoon.
The previous race director started doing the pancake thing. When I took over and I asked Debbie to handle that and that aspect of it because one, she’s a great cook and two, she expressed interest in helping. She’s the one that started the blueberry thing. She didn’t want to do these plain pancakes. She wanted to take it up a couple of notches. I let her fill in the details there.
It’s one of those things that I’m going to sound like this earth mother, crazy person. I’m from California and raised in the Midwest. My mother was one of those crazy health food people. I had the cool, uncool kid lunch that nobody would ever trade lunches with me. I grew up in sprouted grain bread, unmixed peanut butter nasty. I always tried to incorporate healthier choices. I believe in natural whenever possible. I wanted to use real blueberries. I wanted to use real maple syrup instead of high fructose corn syrup. I put my mark on it. If I could make pancakes better from scratch for that many people, I would, but I can’t imagine. We had four ten-pound bags of pancake batter for that size race.
I was shocked that you were cutting up strawberries for toppings. You did a lot. That’s a lot of strawberries to cut.
I hope you got to enjoy some.
I did with whipped cream. How did the race become a duathlon instead of a run or a ride? I don’t come across a lot of duathlons.
It is Team Rocket and our specialty is multi-sports. I wasn’t about to try and do a swim in early April in Alabama. The water is too cold. It’s been perhaps since 2004, 2005. It started back in that time frame to honor a runner and bicyclist named Darin Kruse who passed from ALS. They wanted to go with the run bike run format because the original venue was nowhere near water. It stayed with a run bike run. We have the Huntsville Track Club if we want to do a running event and we have Spring City for cycling events. We were the marriage between the two to handle the multi-sport.
Triathletes are a special brand that’s crazy. Duathlon here in early season fits the format in April because it kicks off the season where they’re like the first real multi-sport event here in Northern Alabama for that time of year.Don't worry about the leaderboard so much. We all start somewhere on this journey. Click To Tweet
What’s the best way to train for something like that?
If you have something like a Peloton or a Peloton Tread, that’s a great start. You can’t just run and you can’t just cycle. The key to effective multi-sport training if we’re talking duathlon is to do what they call a brick workout. Let’s say you’re going to want to max 30 to 45-minute Power Zone classes, once you get off that, either go outside or jump on the Tread and run for at least a mile at a moderate pace. That way, your legs have a chance to acclimate from the cadence of cycling to the cadence of running.
Even though it’s the same muscles, it’s slightly different muscle groups that are being utilized on a run versus on a bike. Your legs are going to feel like lead when you come off the bike when you’re doing a brick workout. That’s exactly why they call it a brick workout.
As you do the training, longer rides or longer endurance rides and started bumping up the mileage on the run afterward. Start with maybe half a mile and go to a mile.
I personally think there’s a lot of good content over on the Peloton that could lead somebody to be able to do one without any outside intervention. Eventually, you would probably need to take it outside to like you, Crystal, getting on a real bicycle is the same as clipping into your Peloton. There’s a whole other dynamic that gravity. I’ve taken myself out and taken Paul out.
Is that why you had Domino’s pizza there?
He was one of our previous club presidents and he owns most of the dominoes in this area of Alabama. He’s great about giving back to the community. He’s at pretty much at every Team Rocket race. He has his own race up in Tennessee that we do. It’s a trail run anywhere from 10K up to 50K.
That must be a Domino’s thing because I know the Domino’s pizza in St. Louis is the same way. They’re very involved with doing different community things, whether it’s like bringing pizzas to schools or races like yours or whatnot. They’re very involved and very hands-on.
I feel Alabama has a lot more races. You guys have a lot more races near you. It feels like it because it also seems like you have more bike-friendly areas than here. I don’t even know what that main street was that we were on, but it had these giant sidewalks with stop signs at the end of every block. I was surprised by that. I felt like that was based on outdoor sports of some kind, at least walking and running. We don’t have anything like that here.
St. Louis has a bigger population. I’m sure there are lots of races around there, but around here being a little smaller area and we’re a little more spread out, it doesn’t take fire to get out into the sticks. When you have that space, you can have more cyclists and runners on the road in a safe manner. Are the motorists as friendly? I would probably say they’re probably not, but I’ve never ridden my bike down.
We’re a city of transplants here in Huntsville. Even though we are the second to fattest state in the nation, second only to Mississippi, here in Huntsville, people are pretty much health conscious. As such, it seems that there are a lot of races that end up going on over here.
I hadn’t seen these many races in a town the size ever made when I lived in St. Louis as a youngster. There are even more races here than they have in Houston. Our local sports shop sponsors almost a good chunk of the races, whether they’d be road races or multi-sport races like mine.
A city the size that we are, they matter races that are here. It’s hard to put on an event that isn’t something going on that same week and somewhere else almost doing what you’re doing or at least running or something like that.
Maybe we had a race up in Tennessee the week before.
If it’s the second fattest state, there must be a lot of people going to the same races over and over.
We’ve got a few newbies over in our race. We are very beginner-friendly.
You talk about it being the second fattest state, I told you guys this story, but I will share it here. I thought this was a funny window into that because I had this thought of, “Is this one of the fattest states?” I went to get a soda from the vending machine at the hotel and it was a newer soda machine, so it wasn’t like some old rickety soda machine. We were at a DoubleTree. It’s a nice hotel. It was a new soda machine. They had absolutely no diet soda option in that machine at all. It was two slots for Pepsi, three for Mountain Dew. You have something there called Dr. Wham, which I’d never heard of. It tastes like a cross between Dr. Pepper and George Michael. There was a slot for water, but there was no diet soda at all. That’s crazy especially when I’m like, “This is a hotel. It’s tourists. We’re from out of town. We might want to diet.”
What tips would you give to me for the next race that I’m going to do?
Are you running the race again? Do you like it and want to do it again?
You don’t have to be so shocked. I don’t know about that race for next year. I don’t have anything planned for next year. That’s a little too far out for me to think too hard about. This October, I am going to do the Gran Fondo in South Carolina. I’m doing the 50-mile version though because I heard that the 80-mile version has insane hills. We need not start with that.
Training for a multi-sport race, as I said, I do the bricks. One thing I noticed while you were running is that you have a fairly long stride for your height.
I feel so tiny.
I used to run at a cadence of about 150 or so. I remember I’d gone with Debbie. I’d accelerate away without trying to, it’s happened. She’s 5’1”. I’m 5’10”. I’d fall back and I realized I’m going to match her cadence and stride. She runs a naturally perfect 180 cadence. It’s like perfect. I started running at that cadence and shortening my stride. Over time, I was able to do that and I was able to lengthen out a little bit. One of the keys to save your legs is to shorten your stride a little bit but increase your cadence. It’s like Matt says on the Tread.
Put some music on that has that natural running cadence and trying to run in in time with the music. I think some of Matt’s outdoor activity stuff has that cadence in it and built into it, so follow that primer. I think even one of the 5K training. He talks about it.
It’s much less stress on the legs. If you can shorten that cadence so that it’s amazing how much better I feel on my legs after a run when I’ve run that faster cadence and a shorter stride than what I would normally run.
Get out there and do it more often than what you probably had been would my own suggestion. The more you do something, the more muscle memory your body will end up developing and the easier it will become.
They’re called a pillow pool. You could totally train for a triathlon. I’m seeing to keep swimming and you suggested jets and he had TVs above and below the water.
What are your leaderboard names and how’d you come with it?
Mine is pretty easy. Mine is Pollywogs. My grandmother and my dad’s mom started calling me that when I was little and I used to hate that name. When it came time for the Peloton, “Let’s go with that. I like it.” It’s fun so I stuck with it.
Mine is Mother of Catz and I would’ve been at cats with an S but that was already taken so it’s Catz with a Z. I’m moving again a big Game of Thrones fan. I love Daenerys Targaryen, The Mother of Dragons. It’s come to that Game of Thrones thing.
Do you guys have any advice for somebody that’s starting their Peloton journey in general?
I’d probably start by saying don’t worry about the leaderboard so much. We all start somewhere on this journey. My level of fitness isn’t the same as Debbie’s and isn’t the same as yours or the person who’s doing their first ride after tuning in to this podcast. It’s their number.
That also set up the bike correctly. I can’t stress how much you feel better when the bike is set up comparably for you. For me an outdoor cyclist, spend that time, set it up correctly. Also, a good pair of bike shorts because you’re going to get sore in another range.
I know Christine D’Ercole says that. She has a video up on Facebook on how to go through setting up the bike. I’ve seen it done before and I basically made a little string with no bearing from the first set of bearings and replacing the Peloton. I use that to hang from my knee to make sure that my foot’s in the right position so I can adjust my seat height forward and backward.
Spend a little time to set it up, get out there and do it like anything else. It’s a repetitive thing. Start off small goals, get on a Peloton for five minutes, do a low impact ride for ten minutes. Do some of the introductory things for fun. The one thing, the best thing about Peloton is there’s an instructor for everybody. I enjoy taking the Power Zone classes with Matt and Denis, but not everybody likes that structure. Some people want a cheerleader. Inspirational words by Christine, that lady is something else when it comes to talking about words matters. She had very positive messages. Her content always has something to do with about I am, I can, I will, I do. It’s the words that you say to yourself that you believe.
How can people find you guys on social media if you would like to be found, and how can people find out more about your race? I’m assuming that you’re okay with people doing that part of this.
I would love to have more people come to the race. I have some ideas for next year that we’re still working out and it could make it interesting. As far as social media goes, I think Facebook is about all we’ve got. I’m on Facebook and I’m on that Power Zone Pack Facebook page and some of the instructor pages like Denis’ and Matt’s. Facebook is about it. As far as the race goes, our club’s website is TeamRocketTri.org. You’d see all of our different races when they’re scheduled. My race is always in the first or second weekend in April, depending on when some of the other big races around here are. Charities will sometimes change up a little bit, but money still all goes to charity. Any Pelotonians want to come down from my race next year, I’d be happy to set up a Peloton division for you and have our own little leaderboard going on for the Peloton races if they want to do that. It would be fun to do for the road rider jerseys or whatever.
We will remind people about that as the time gets closer.
Are you going to come?
I can’t commit because it is a very long way away and I don’t know what life’s going to bring. What are you giving me that look for?
A lot of the hinges on like it worked out well because we didn’t have the kids.
At any rate, I am definitely not saying no because I did have a lot of fun. Tom and I both did and we might even be able to work it out even if we did have the kids. There are a lot of different moving pieces with that, I cannot commit at this time, but I would like to. That is for sure.
Thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to us. We appreciate it.
Thank you, guys, for being such great hosts while we’re in Alabama.
We’d love to have you come down. It was a fun time.
Did the Ericksons have a recipe? If it’s not pancakes, then I say we delete the whole thing.
It’s not pancakes but listen to this title, Tom. It’s soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies with pecans and walnuts but those are optional toppings.
I will say at least they didn’t take the chocolate chip cookie and try to make it healthy.
This is a great cookie recipe. We’ve got all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, unsalted butter and granulated sugar. We’ve got some eggs, room temperature, vanilla and semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped pecans or walnuts. I’m going to put it up on the website and we’ll get to it but this looks amazing. If you need that recipe in the meantime, let me know and I will email it to you.
What do you have in store for people next time?
We’re going to be on vacation so I don’t know what we’re going to have in store. We may have some news. We may have nothing.
There is no telling. If you would like to know if the chances of you receiving an episode next time are increasing, keep an eye on the weather in Mexico. If it rains, then you’ll probably get an episode.
Especially in Cancun because they’re going to be like, “Where?”
Until then, where can people find you?
You can find me on Twitter @RogerQBert or on Facebook at Facebook.com/tomokeefe. You can find the show online at Facebook.com/theclipout. While you’re there, you can like the page and join the group to stay up-to-date on all the fun and drama throughout the week. That’s it for this one. Thanks for tuning in and until next time, keep pedaling.
- Apple Podcasts – The Clip Out Podcast
- Power Zone Plus
- The ALS Association of Alabama
- National MS Society of the Alabama-Mississippi Chapter
- Facebook – Paul Erickson
- Power Zone Pack Facebook page
- Twitter – Crystal O’Keefe
- Instagram – Crystal O’Keefe
- @RogerQBert – Tom O’Keefe’s Twitter page
By Crystal — 1 year ago
72: Zac Brown’s Link to Peloton plus an interview with Max Culhane
September 7, 2018Post Views: 0