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239: The Year in Peloton – What Worked and What Didn’t plus our interview with Josh Amerson & Stacie Platt
John Mills and Bill Cynecki join us to recap Peloton’s 2021 and speculate about 2022.
- Dr. Jenn – Balancing fitness challenges with family commitments.
- We have a new German tread instructor – Jeffrey McEachern.
- DC Rainmaker reviews the Tread.
- Peloton Yoga turns 3…kinda.
- Morning Brew talks to a successful Peloton investor.
- Angelo joins us to discuss if reverse dieting is a thing.
- Glorious Sport spotlights various Peloton instructors.
- Ben & Leanne are working with Mazda.
- Kirsten Ferguson was on the Hurdle podcast.
- Jess Sims has tips on mountain climbers.
- Women’s Health has instructor recommendations for various moods.
- The Peloton Prophet has a prediction for your Apple Watch.
- Peloton had all sorts of clues hinting at the Taylor Swift artist series.
- The Annual Challenge returns for 2022.
- Andy Speer launches Total Strength 2.
- Peloton Apparel is having a year-end sale.
All this plus our interview with Josh Amerson & Stacie Platt!
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
The Year in Peloton: What Worked and What Didn’t plus our interview with Josh Amerson & Stacie Platt
Happy new year.
I guess if they listen day one, it won’t be a new year yet.
I don’t know that they will.
People probably won’t be driving to work.
I hope not on new year’s eve. Some people will because it’s unavoidable but I hope people are having fun. I also hope that everybody has a better 2022, including Peloton.
Maybe not especially. There are certainly people that deserve it more than Peloton. It’s about their management and staff. They will be okay. The holidays were good. I’m trying to think of what all we did. Christmas eve was a little bit of a bore for me, drinking in this new weight.
You are now a lightweight. Congratulations.
My Irish heritage didn’t offset the weight loss.
He can no longer drink the Fireball the way he once could.
Enough of that, what do you have in store for people?
We have a special guest joining us. Bill/William Cynecki and John Mills are joining us. We are going to talk about Peloton stock wrap up for 2021. What 2022 is going to look like. We have a visit from Dr. Jenn. She talks about balancing fitness challenges and family through the holidays. We also talk to Angelo at MetPro. We have all kinds of stuff happening here. Peloton Prophet drops by. We have a bunch of instructor updates, and lots and lots of good stuff.
Before we get to all that, shameless plugs, don’t forget we’re available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify. Wherever you find a podcast, you can find us. While you’re there, be sure and follow us so you never miss an episode. If you would be so kind to leave a review, that’s helpful. If you’re a Spotify listener, you can now rate podcasts on Spotify. If you want to swing by and give us a rating on Spotify, that probably can’t hurt to bring us to Spotify’s attention. We have a new review. This is from Queen of Cardio and it says, “Entertaining and informative, great podcast for anyone who loves Peloton and the fitness industry. Tom and Crystal have amazing chemistry, obviously because they’re married. I enjoy all the guests that they have as well.” Thank you very much for that nice review.
Thank you. That is a nice review.
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Everything will come to you easily.
All the links will be right there. You don’t have to go hunting through old Facebook posts or Instagram posts looking for it. There’s all that, let’s dig in. Shall we?
Joining us once again is John Mills. John, how is it going?
I’m going all right. I’m ready to go.
Are you ready for 2022?
I don’t know. I’ve been taking these stretching classes. You know when the professional people stretch it, you get all dehydrated. I don’t know why but now I’m drinking water all day.
It pulls all the toxins out of your body. That’s why they tell you that you’re supposed to drink a ton. You’re supposed to overhydrate before you get a massage or when you did stretch because they’re manipulating the muscles and it squeezes all the icky out of there. I’m sure there’s a medical term for that.
I must have a whole bunch of icky because I’ve been drinking water ever since I left.
I feel like anybody who does any sports massage is probably yelling at us right now. Sorry for saying all the wrong terms.
We also have a special guest joining us. It’s Bill Cynecki. He’s been featured on Dumb Money Live and in The New York Times. He’s a military officer who fell in love with Peloton so much that he started buying stock and turned $20,000 into over $1 million. I don’t know if that’s still true but hi, Bill.
Welcome to our little Motley Crew here. We thought that this would be a great opportunity to talk through a little bit of what’s happened in 2021, and what’s going to happen in 2022. How’s the million going? How did that go in 2021?
Let’s just say I don’t feel like a million bucks. Just a little background, $20,000 into a little over $1.2 million wasn’t all on Peloton. It was a bunch of other stocks. When Peloton fell below 100, I went in hard and on margin too. We’re talking about that $1.2 million probably back down to $100,000. We’re still in the green.
That’s a good way to look at that. You move the ball forward.
It looked better than me. I was bawled up in the corner crying with a teddy bear. It’s not good.Having a Peloton is like having gold. Click To Tweet
Here’s the thing, John. Right now, this bubble is an asymmetric bet. There are so much more upside than downside.
I don’t know what that means. What does that mean? Tell me in regular people talk. Why do you say asymmetric bet?
Because of the chance of the stock declining is far smaller than the potential upside.
I keep saying that to myself every day, then every day, I get a new alert that says Peloton dropped another 52 week low. What the hell?
Here’s a famous quote, “The markets can stay irrational longer than we can stay solvent.” We’re going through a period of irrationality. The bear and bull case both have merit. As much as us bulls don’t admit it, both cases have merit. As I’ve said earlier, stocks overshoot to the downside just as they overshoot to the upside. That’s why we’re seeing this irrational behavior. Peloton is priced at 2.5 times sales. It is honestly priced as a bike with an iPad and nothing more.
We’re talking decelerating growth, churn is increasing meaningfully, and that at-home fitness can not be hybrid. That’s what the market is pricing Peloton as. By the way, now we’re seeing the opportunity for people to do tax loss harvesting. They’re selling their Peloton in December because they’ve had such a great year. I and Mr. John Mills were having such a great year. They want to write off these gains with their losses. It’s institutions and retail traders. Everyone is selling Peloton before 2022 so they can get that tax break.
When I hear that, that’s falsely making it worse until January. Is that what you’re saying? It’s like because they need something from it, they’re all making the same choices. Because they’re all making the same choices, that means that the stock will be shitty longer. Am I hearing that right?
No, because they want to get their losses. They want to take their losses in 2021. Come April 2022, they don’t have to pay as much in capital gains tax because they sold their Peloton. You can’t realize your losses until you sell an equity.
You’re saying that in a short term, your feeling is that it it’s artificially pushing the price down so they can take a write off for 2021.
It’s interesting that you say that because I was intending to do the same thing but I wasn’t equating it to, “Everybody’s doing that. Of course, it would artificially bring the price.” I wasn’t acquainted to that second piece but I was intending to do that.
These firms don’t have the luxury like us where we can be long-term investors. They need to show results for their clients every quarter. That puts them at a disadvantage. No big firm wants to show Peloton and their holdings. They were embarrassed because the bears have took control. Here’s the question too. We were at $171 a share. Where were all the bears at? They’re nowhere to be found. That would have been the best time to short the stock or buy puts on it. Now that it’s down 80%, everyone wants to short it? I’m sorry, guys. You’re late to the fight.
It seems like they change their mind weekly to make it sound good. They always knew what they were talking about. I feel like they do that every week.
A lot of these firms are probably long, but they have a lot of short positions on it too. They probably sold at $50 to get that tax loss. When you sell for a loss, you have to wait for 30 days before you can buy back in so you won’t get hit with a wash sale. If these firms sold at $50, it’s in their best interest to keep driving the stock down. When they get back in, if that wash sell expires, they can get in at a lower place. These firms are not looking out for our best interests. Think about CNN and Fox News. Are they looking out for our best interest? No. They want to get ratings. They want to get eyeballs. It’s the same thing here with the firms, except they’re actually making a lot more money by misleading us retail investors.
I got a question. I recognize that a lot of that is at play. I recognize that the markets are emotional. There have been a lot of stuff and news that have come out to create this environment, but there are also these factual things that may be at play. It may be that 2020 was a year when the pandemic was here. We didn’t have a a vaccine until November and December. There was this explosive growth that you’re not going to always see. Of course, 2021 is going to have some form of pullback. You add to that some mishaps and stumbles to hope it pull itself down. Now you’ve got inflation and interest rates going up in 2022. I understand set trading at two times sale, they’ve gone too far. Aren’t there elements to this that it is just what it is?
John, great question. I’m going to get into the bear case but let’s simplify the bull case right now. Peloton is only 15% to 16% above its IPO price in September 2019. That was six months prior to COVID. Pre COVID, during that time, Peloton was only doing $915 million in revenue. They had 511,000 connected fitness subs and only 102,000 digital subs. Fast forward now, we’re only up 50% from that time. Now we have $4 billion in revenue. That’s four times higher than IPO. We have 2.33 million subscribers. That’s four times higher than IPO. We have 894,000 digital subscribers. That’s eight times higher than IPO. All that combined, we’re only 16% higher. I understand pull forward demand, but this isn’t pulled forward demand like General Motors selling a bunch of cars because once they sell a car, you don’t need another car. Once you sell a Peloton, you’re still realizing revenue every single month.
That’s what always mystified me about the naysayers. They’re like, “They’re not selling as many as they used to.” It’s not like everybody just wheeled the bike to the curb and wash their hands of it. You still have acquired all of those customers.
The bike is turning into a loss leader. This is what kills me when we talk about Peloton. Don’t get me wrong, I love Peloton but the bike now is a loss leader. We were hitting 50% gross margins at the beginning. We were selling for $2,000 to $2,300. Now we’re hitting around 12% gross margins, which is hurting our business while we edit all these fixed costs. We’re hitting 12% gross margins now. We added all these extra fixed costs and we’re not able to take away that loss when we were getting on the gross margins.
We expected we’re going to take 12% margins on these bikes. That’s fine, but we did not expect this huge decrease in demand. I don’t know who’s doing the forecasting at Peloton, but then they get new people. What gets me is when their tread was being returned, the first earnings call, I get it. Jill Woodworth said, “They returned more treadmills than we thought.” That was in Q4 earnings call. In Q1, they said it again, “They returned more Peloton treads than we thought.” They are so over optimistic.
I felt the same way. I’m feeling what you’re saying in my heart. I’d heard those both. I couldn’t remember which earnings call where Jill said that. I know she said it in the last earnings call in November. It surprised me that we’re talking about they didn’t anticipate the number of tread returns. Also, they mentioned in that earnings call about 50% of their bike sales were from Bike. The other 50% were from Bike+ until they dropped the price of the bike. Now it turned into 75%, 25% or something like that. I took it as they were surprised at that, and that hurt revenue. That takes me back to your statement. I’m like, “Who’s forecasting this particular stuff?” I’m not getting why that would be a surprise.
To be fair, in this environment, who could forecast any of this? I don’t know that anybody could do a better job. Different people could come up with different numbers but how would you have known who to listen to in today’s environment? There is no precedent for this.
I get that, Crystal, but defend this decision. In September 2020, there was a back order for two months for Peloton bikes. If there was a back order for two months, why did we cut the OG bike price? It’s simple supply and demand. When they cut the price on that, I went bonkers.
They wanted to democratize fitness.
It’s funny because when they drop the price, in my naivety, I was like, “That’s great.” Until the earnings call and I heard that disparity and the revenue issue that I was like, “Raise that price back up.” They can’t do it now.
Here’s the thing, Crystal. If they want to democratize fitness, it’s probably best to stay in business.
That is fair.
I felt like that was an attempt to bring in even more people that they are trying to solidify their foothold. To me, it’s similar. A lot of their decisions seem similar to what Netflix has been doing. They had signed all these deals for third-party content, then the companies realized, “We should have our own streaming.” They knew all that content was going away. They started pouring money into content creation because they wanted to get as many people sign up for Netflix as possible and be the 800 pound gorilla. It seemed like a similar mindset of, “Let’s get as many people on our platform because it’s sticky. Once they’re here, we feel like they’re not going to leave because historically, the churn has been so low.” Is that not accurate or is that not a good theory? Is this something that a year from now might look smarter than it looks at the moment?
First off, hindsight is 2020. It was a bad year. We’re going through a period of normalization. It’s probably going to continue to be a little fuzzy for the next twelve months. I think the Peloton bike is the Trojan Horse to get customers into this ecosystem. People need to remember that sales are going down. I understand that but you’ve been selling the same bike for nine years. What happens when we introduce these different products, the tread, the bike, and the rower that God knows when that’s coming out. We’re looking at 92% retention rate just for the bike. What happens to that retention rate when customers have more products in our ecosystem? To your point, Tom, it all starts with the bike. The bike is the gateway drug if you will.
That’s an interesting point because historically, the funnel was to get the person into digital. You get them into digital, and then you eventually get them into a bike, and then you can start adding on product. The last I heard in the last earnings call it looked like digital subscriptions were now much lower. I don’t remember what the numbers were but it looked like that had just dropped. I don’t know if that’s because the brand name is out there more now. People are going directly at the actual connected fitness product. They are starting with the bike. Now, the bike is the beginning of the funnel. I don’t what that is but it looked like digital.
I do think that’s part of it because now the bike is more accessible. We talked about this before too, John. You talked about that new split instead of being 50/50. I still say that we don’t know that those people would have bought anything before. They could have bought nothing but now that the bike is cheaper, they’re there. They’re paying more for the subscription instead of paying a digital subscription. That’s good too but I don’t know if they’re going to buy other products though because some people feel like all they need is the bike. They don’t need all these other things.
They do. If Peloton wants to be the company we want it to be that we envisioned, it’s going to have to be more than just the bike. I know you guys know this too. They say the tread is a 2X to 3X opportunity. You can see that because Orangetheory, these types of bootcamp and CrossFit are 10X of the boutique cycling studios. There should be a bigger total addressable market for the tread, which they’re betting on. People say that the treads are not taking off as fast as they thought it would. Right now, there’s only an 11% unaided awareness for the Peloton tread. To go back for that level of that low of a level for awareness on the bike, you would have to go back to 2015.
What is unaided awareness? I don’t even know what that means.
Here’s where they have issues with the tread. The problem that they’re going to run into with the tread that I had seen has mirrored what you saw historically for the bike marketing. As a marketing guy, that is a huge mistake. The reason is the content attached to the device was baked in to spinning. The mad dog, whether we call it that or not, we all know that’s what it is. It’s not baked into running. A lot of people think, “I’m going to get on my tread. I’m going to watch Netflix. I’m going to listen to a podcast. I’m going to listen to an audio book. I don’t want one of your instructors jibber jabbering at me.” They need to have a marketing campaign that explains to people why they’re wrong, and why they do want an instructor jibber jabbering at them because that’s going to make them run better, harder and faster.
You won’t just be a runner. You can become an athlete in a different way.
That’s going to be the big problem for the tread. It’s overcoming the concept or the notion that I don’t need someone to tell me how to run.
I think it goes a little beyond that. If we’re just talking about running, I’m with you. Back in 2018 when they released the Tread and Tread+, I flew out to Vegas and Foley and Robin Arzon were announcing the Tread+. I talked to Robin that day and she talked about this concept that you’re talking about of bootcamps, and using the tread in that that style of Orangetheory, and how far they were going to take this. I remember she was excited about it. Everybody there was excited about this concept. It wasn’t about running. It was about that boutique feel of bootcamp training. I hear the message here around that concept if it takes off. That might be a great thing. I questioned whether or not that ever was going to be the same at home as it is in a boutique fitness environment. That’s where my question is. I don’t know if it’s the same thing.
I don’t want to use the tread that way. When I hear you say that, that’s disappointing to me. To me, the core issue with Peloton is they are going to too many different directions at the exact same time. They’re not, able to fully satisfy any one of the people using it because you have bike people who are like, “Where are my 45-minute classes? Where are my 60-minute classes?” You have people like me that are like, “Get rid of all these bootcamps, just give me pure running classes.” You have people that are like, “I want more bootcamps. I want longer bootcamps.” You have the people that are like, “What happened to the barre? Why haven’t you given me more barre classes?”
You have 185 instructors, why is it either or?
They need to rest. They can’t record 24/7. When you have eighteen modalities, you can’t. There’s only so many classes a day and don’t forget, they’re also doing all this marketing crap. Every time they sit down to talk to one of these magazines, that’s not for free. That sitting down is part of their job. That’s 40 hours a week on average for a person. You have interviews that you have to do. You have classes that you have to build. You have a playlisting that you have to do, and then you have all the appearances that you have to do. When the hell is their time to teach? That’s what I think is happening.
I also want to clarify that when I say that I don’t know that the bootcamp at home is the same as the boutique is because you’re on the bike and you’re riding with people in the leaderboard and giving a high five. Afterwards, you’re talking about it on Facebook. There’s still the sense of community and magic in that. I don’t know that you can replicate that comradery and environment of bootcamps in a boutique fitness scenario when you’re doing it alone at home on the tread. I don’t know if those are the same that you can somewhat replicate it on the bike. I don’t know if that’s the same thing. That’s why I question that a little.
I hear what you’re saying.
It all comes down to cost and convenience. We see it on Facebook. Everyone says they love the tread more than they love the bike. This is just it’s going to take time to get it off the ground. More people are realizing that this isn’t the old clunky treadmill that they’ve been used to for the past 50 years. This is something different. It’s going to take a little bit of time but I fully see the tread being as big as the bike. We just got to have a little bit of patience. You got to see that they sell in America. They sell, on average, five million treads per year. That far outweighs the amount of bikes that are sold per year. This is a bigger category. Peloton is at the forefront. They are the leader. They just need to get more people to try the product. As I said, that’s going to take time.
It goes back to what Tom was saying about education.
I love my tread. I don’t love it from a bootcamp perspective. I love it from a running perspective.
I don’t do that many bootcamps but I love the runs.
I don’t do any bootcamp.
I love the runs but I’m not going to do a 30-second run outside.
It’s dangerous. I was talking to somebody about this the other day because you can’t block everything out. There are traffic and things. You can’t go as fast as humanly possible when you’re outside because you don’t know what’s going to pop in front of you. When you’re at home safe or in my basement, it’s easy to focus on that and lose yourself in that moment.
I love running outside too. I don’t have a problem running outside. I love the content and the convenience. I love the tread.
What does this all mean for 2022?
Looking forward, what do you think we can expect? What do you think they will do? What do you think they should do?
I’m pretty upset with the lack of planning that we have for Peloton commercial. They purchased Precor and they said that the Precor sales haven’t been what they were anticipating. Simultaneously, you have Planet Fitness saying. “The return to gyms are beating our expectations.”
They also said though that they aren’t able to get all the parts in for those Precor machines. That was part of the issue. I do remember that from the earnings call that they said. Part of it were supply chain issues and that was affecting sales.
That makes sense. Peloton needs to go after hotels and gyms, be it more airports. When Foley was selling Peloton bikes at a kiosk, he got it down to where 50% of the people that got to try the bike would end up buying it. You just needed people to try it. That’s where we’re at right now. We need people to try it. There are people that would love a Peloton, they just don’t know that they would love a Peloton. We got to get them to try it. The only way we can get them to try it is if we let Peloton commercial take off.
For anyone who’s reading this, they put out a job posting for Peloton commercial. If you have any experience and gym exercise commercial equipment, apply for that job because they need more talent. They need to be out there. There was also a stat that one Peloton and one hotel equals seven new Peloton subscribers. I don’t know how they came up with that number but that’s what Jill Woodworth set on an earnings call. I want to see that happen. I want to see a slow down and how much cash they are burning. Foley said that they need to get back to basics. We need to see that. We need to see that they can run this company like mature adults and not spend frivolously. I would like to see them cut down on their manufacturing a little bit because we’re uncertain. I hate to say this but they probably need to fire some people too.
I hate saying it but this is a huge wake up call. Foley said on a call, “We will come out of this uncertain operating environment a much more strong and nimble company.” When I think of nimble, I think about, “We’re chopping heads.” Tesla in 2016, they were nearing bankruptcy and they had to do this. They had to slash personnel. That was Tesla’s wake-up call. They were near bankruptcy. Peloton is not even close to where Tesla was. This is John Foley’s wake up call that he needs. I want to see them be a lot more disciplined on their cash mark. I don’t like that they are spending 35% of all their revenue on commercials and advertising. I hate that. Airbnb CEO came out and said, “We stopped our advertising as an experiment to see.” He said that they saw no slowdown in sales. Are we spending $1.3 billion on advertising that we don’t need to?
I have to bring up a counterpoint to that. They did slow down their advertising in 2020. They did try the whole not doing it and they had a good year but it’s pandemic. You talk about that we need to let people know about how great the tread is. The advertising is going to be pushed on the tread in 2021. That’s been the the plan and they’ve never pushed the tread. They’ve never spent all the advertising dollars on the tread. This is the first year they’re doing that. We got to give them some space to do that because how else are you going to educate without the commercials?
I get it but 35% of all the money you’re making is on advertising.
That’s where you see the the Netflix mentality. They want to try to acquire as many customers as they can before they fall into a different fitness ecosystem.
I like using the Netflix analogy when I’m talking about Peloton because Netflix is something that a lot of companies can copy. You see Amazon, Apple TV, Hulu, they are all getting into this space that Netflix is. A way that Peloton can keep software competitors at bay is because they’re selling hardware. That hardware that they have to deliver and manufacturer creates a barrier to entry. That’s why Apple hasn’t come out with their bikes.
Also, Peloton owns everything and they’re vertically integrated model. Their content costs are not going to increase. They are amortizing that content costs amongst their growing subscriber base. Whereas Netflix, once they make more money, these third party contractors that are shooting their stuff are going to say, “Netflix, we want more. You’re making more so we want more or we’ll go to Amazon or Hulu and we’ll sell our stuff there.” Peloton doesn’t have that worry because they own everything in house. A lot of analysts are discounting that.
The closest they get to that is if Cody Rigsby wants a raise when his contract is up, which is much more manageable than trying to get Season 19 of Cobra Kai. Every season, every reactor on that show wants more money. You also have that multiplied by any hit show that they have whether it’s Orange Is The New Black or whatever.
When you talk about Apple and all these, the other big thing is people keep saying, “Apple is going to buy Peloton.” I’m a big believer that’s not true, but I keep seeing more people who are saying that Peloton is going to get bought. Every analyst out there is saying Peloton is going to get bought.
There has to be a private equity. Who knows? How do we know if Apple or Disney haven’t already approached Peloton?
We don’t. I just don’t think it’s a good fit.
I feel the same way. I don’t know that it is a good fit for Apple. I don’t know about Disney.
Disney needs another streaming platform which is essentially what they would be purchasing. It’s not in their wheelhouse.
If Apple bought Peloton, all they would have to do is boot their shareholders, which will dilute it on that capital raise. They would have to dilute shareholders like quarter percent. Not even that, they have enough cash on hand to buy Peloton for let’s say $20 billion. They are worth almost $3 trillion. If they bought Peloton for let’s say $20 billion, I guarantee their market cap would go up to $50 billion. They would probably net $30 billion on that deal because Peloton is such a big name brand. That’s another space that Apple is going to dominate because they acquire Peloton. I guarantee there are companies that are coming into Peloton right now. The thing about Peloton is all these companies are fighting for our attention. They want our attention, and Peloton before the pause button, especially, are getting people’s attention for up to an hour a day every day. You can monetize that attention.
Disney and Netflix want that. They want to be able to have their customer’s attention like Peloton has. Peloton is not capitalizing on it. Another thing for 2022 is social media. Come out with your own social media, Peloton. What is taking you so long? When I get done with a ride, I want to message someone and be like, “You kicked my ass but I do it all,” or something like that. There’s no platform. When you have social media platforms, you can get so much more data. You can analyze, collect and synthesize so much more data than you can on another third-party platform. NordicTrack is not our biggest competitor. Our biggest competitor is probably going to be Facebook. Why are we letting Facebook control all our conversations? How hard is it for Peloton to create a social media site? That’s something I’d like to see in 2022.
I’ve heard rumors that they’ve been working on one for a long time. I don’t know if that will ever come to fruition. I’ve heard rumors about that years ago at this point so I have no idea. I don’t know.
That kind of alliance is one of the things I want to see in 2022. Crystal, we talked about this a lot. It’s about broader innovation, something I haven’t seen, or something that brings some excitement. I would like to see that as it relates to what they’re doing and what they’re contracting with the music industry like media service that streams music or something into that realm. I’d like to see that happen. From a 2022 perspective, I’m looking for international markets. I want to see what’s happening over there. I don’t know what’s going on. I want to know more about what’s happening in 2022. I want to hear more about that.
I don’t want to continue to see the status quo and an attempt to continue to build upon those skews that they have. I want to see them evolve into something that feels to me to be innovative. That feels like stagnation to me. That feels like someone could hop over you with something that’s innovative. You’ve been trying to broaden the same stuff and someone bypass you. I’m looking for something that’s truly innovative to happen. I’m also looking for a feel of that was not a gap. I keep feeling these things like, “Was that a gap? Maybe it wasn’t. Was that strategic? Maybe that was just a mistake.” I’m looking to stop seeing that. I don’t want to see that. That makes me nervous as an investor.
2021 has been a lot of question marks about that a lot.
Part of the reason for that is because we went from a startup to a mega cap overnight. Usually, companies are going to have time to go through the proper growing pains. COVID launched it so fast that we didn’t have time to overcome growing pains. Some analysts are crazy for saying it but they look at the pandemic as a net negative. All it did was add all these unnecessary fixed costs that Peloton is going to carry. It caused awful forecasting for the man. At the end of the day, when you have almost 5X subscribers after the pandemic that are continually paying $39 a month at 80% gross margins, the pandemic was definitely a net positive for them, especially because they were the clear leader. They’ve already bought Tonic. They already own their manufacturing there. They already had a pretty decent delivery team.
We talk about a competitor coming in. Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook with $0. He didn’t need money to start Facebook. To start an exercise equipment company, you need a lot of capital. You talk about the music licensing. That’s a big cost. You guys talked about it in your show too. I appreciate the heads up for investors. Was it Beachbody? They don’t have the same music. We’re seeing NordicTrack cutting their live classes from 8:00 AM to noon or something like that. You’re seeing Lululemon are off 50% on their forecast for revenue. There’s something going on in the fitness space and it’s not Peloton. If we look at these other competitors, they’re feeling the blow from this connected fitness slow down much more than Peloton is.
Let’s look at this too, 25% of all the gyms in America are closed. All these places are saying, “We’re almost back to pre COVID levels. If you have 25% of the gyms in America closed, how are these gyms not back to 100% levels since there’s 25% less choices. People have already bought and spent so much money on household assets. We’re going through a normalization period where people aren’t buying stuff for the house. They’re not sure if they want to get their gym membership or get another gym membership because they don’t know the status of COVID. We’re in a wait and see period. After maybe mid point of 2022, management is going to have a lot better idea of how to forecast and are going to have a lot easier comps to compete with because they’re not going to be comparing this quarter versus the quarter of peak COVID. I see a lot of good to come.
I got a question for you. I would be interested in your thoughts about this. The Tonic acquisition, the Precor acquisition, and the Peloton Output Park. The latter two tend to bring manufacturing on shore. Did they overshoot based on the demand from COVID and now they’re hurting because of that?
Here’s the deal. When you listen to earnings call, John, you got to read between the lines. They’re not going to tell you everything that you want to hear. It’s reading between the lines like when John Foley said, “We’re playing chess while competitions are playing checkers,” that statement was a red flag. I should have caught that. Also in 2020 earnings call, Jill Woodworth said, “Overall, we believe we’ve met the challenge to keep up with demand, but there’s no doubt that in some cases, we’ve overcorrected.” That’s from Jill Woodworth who also said, “We don’t need to do a capital raise.” She said that with utmost confidence. A week later she said, “I’m actually admitting they messed up overcorrecting.” How bad is it really? You’re talking about the $400 million investment park. I’m great with that because we don’t know what China is going to be doing. There’s a big geopolitical risk in Taiwan. We needed needed to have manufacturing state side. I’m cool with that.
My thought was, “Didn’t you already put yourself in a position to bring manufacturing state side with the Precor inquisition?”
I think so but that’s another thing. We don’t know enough about Precor. They were saying they don’t have enough parts. Do they have the tooling already set up to make this these treadmills?
To be honest, we don’t even know what they’re doing. We don’t know if they’re going to take existing Precor and add some Peloton elements. Are they going to take some existing Peloton and add some Precor elements? Are they going to be completely separate? We don’t even know that. They haven’t even told us that.
We need do that in 2022. We need to see a game plan for that. That is one of the things I want to see. Doesn’t Tonal has something where you click a QR code when you’re at a hotel and there’s a Tonal or something where you can log in?
They have a Hotel Finder. To be fair, so does Peloton. They have a Hotel Finder.
I remember hearing Jill Woodworth talk about the overcorrection. I remember hearing John Foley talk about playing chess where they’re playing checkers. I started cheering when he said that. I didn’t equate it to anything.
That’s because John Foley doesn’t usually talk like that. That was smack talk. He’s gotten a little more smack talky in 2020, which is interesting given that this is the worst year that they’ve ever had.
Did he though? I remember when Peloton was at $120, $130 in 2021, he went on CNBC and said, “It’s laughable that you think we’re a COVID company.” In their share their letter to shareholders, he said, “We can’t wait for the pandemic to be over so we can get back to normalized shipping.” It’s basically like a little joke like, “Do you think we’re a COVID company?” Now we’re not at $120, $130 anymore. We’re at $38 and he’s not saying anything. He’s saying something at $120, $130 but he’s not say something at $38. Those are some of the things you got to read between the lines as an investor. Why is he not saying something right now? He was saying something there. One thing he’s been very consistent on, have you guys listened to the Tony Robbins interview? You guys got to listen to that.
The price of Peloton was $120 a share and he gets asked by the audience, “What was it like to finally make it as an entrepreneur?” His response and he’s been saying this responses, “I haven’t made it. I’m still pretty pissed off. Everyone is doubting us. We’re going to do more.” He’s making a lot of mistakes and he misses big because goes big. He reminds me of a Steve Jobs who wasn’t the most favorable CEO at one time. He got kicked out of Apple for being so damn stubborn. Elon Musk went from having $100 million in 2009 where he was living off payday loans because he invested all his money to keep Tesla afloat. He was about to go bankrupt.
This might be a little bit of survivorship bias but Peloton is going to be one of those companies that weathers a storm like Tesla and Apple. I’m not a financial advisor I don’t know your risks. Don’t base any trades off what I’m saying but if you have a two year time horizon, this is an incredible opportunity because the market right now is pricing Peloton as it’s a clear leader in the space and it’s the first one there, but so was MySpace. We’re starting to see valuation that Peloton might go away and there’s going to be another leader in connected fitness. As I said earlier, we know that’s not true because all these other connected fitness companies are suffering way worse than Peloton.
No other connected fitness company has an instructor that somebody knows the name of. None of them have even one breakout star and Peloton has multiples. That’s one of the main differences. Bill, thank you so much for joining us. Before we let you go, let everybody know where they can find you if you want to be found.
I’m on Twitter. I used to be a lot more vocal about Peloton. I’m ducking into the shadows a little bit but I think right now is a great time to buy. You can find me on Twitter @Wild_Bill32. My Twitter handle used to be @PTONGains. Now it’s PTONPainz. Find me on there.
John, where can they find you and your wares?
I’m going to follow Bill. They can find me on my Facebook page or group, Run, Lift and Live. They can find me on Instagram @RunLiftAndLive. They can find me on TikTok Run, Lift and Live, or they can find me at RunLiftAndLive.com.
Joining us once again is Dr. Jenn Mann, licensed marriage, family and child therapist, and sports psychology consultant. She also has a wonderful app called No More Diets. Ladies and gentlemen, and all points in between, it’s Dr. Jenn.
It’s so good to have you back. We have need of your help. One of our listeners in The Clip Out community, Debra, says that she has family visiting for the holidays. She would like to know how to balance her time commitments with Peloton challenges and Apple Watch challenges and all the things. She’s put all these weeks into her challenges and she wants to finish but now family is here. What should she do?
I have a lot of advice but first of all, I want to also mention that taking on too many challenges at once sets you up to fail. You’ve got to be realistic. I like to do one at a time. That’s what I recommend to most people. It sounds like you’re doing at least two different sites and doing multiple ones. In general, I would change your approach. I would do one at a time, max two if they’re shorter commitments like 5-minute classes or 10-minute classes as opposed to longer classes. That’s to start with. I think also that when you have family time, especially during the holidays, it is so important to take time to yourself even if you’re not in the Peloton community. That’s going for a walk on your own, leaving the building and everyone’s energy and any negativity that’s going on or any conflict that you can escape.
Also, you can practice self care. It’s important to carve out that time to yourself and to let family know in advance. If you’re having a lot of people at your house or if you’re doing a lot of events, schedule it in. If you are in charge of putting together parties, meals, events, new year’s eve, all that sort of stuff, make sure that you actually schedule it into your calendar along with all of your other prep that you’re doing for a party or an event.
Also, if let’s say you’re hanging out or you’re visiting with your family and you’re staying at your parents’ house, make sure that you let everyone know in advance, “Every day from 9:00 to 10:00, I’m going to be working out. If you’re going to plan some fun family activities, just assume that I’m not going to be there or else, make sure you plan it after I had time to shower. Maybe we could do things from 11:00 on.” It’s letting people know in advance, setting the boundary, and framing it in terms of self care.
People who are not in the Peloton community can sometimes not understand the passion we have for our workouts, our challenges, our instructors. It’s not just a workout for most of us. It is connecting with ourselves. It’s our escape. It’s our connection to the community. It’s our connection to our instructor. It’s very multi leveled in terms of our emotional experience of it. Not everyone is going to understand that and that’s okay. Don’t expect them to. Don’t give yourself a hard time with someone over there relating.
If someone in your family doesn’t relate and they’re like, “You’re so obsessive about that. You’re crazy. This is unhealthy. This is terrible,” just cook yourself a Teflon and let it roll off of you. Unless there’s something that does seem like a legit concern, where maybe you have a history of an eating disorder or compulsive exercise, then it’s worth examining. If you’re somebody who has a healthy balance and your family doesn’t understand it, and they would rather you be sitting around and eating and not taking good care of yourself, then make sure that you carve it out. Don’t get too worked up and don’t engage too much if someone gives you a hard time about it.It's hard to describe just how sick the forest is when you get off the trail. Click To Tweet
Always remember that they’re there for the holidays and they will be over soon. They have to leave at some point. If not, we will have a new segment with eviction attorneys. How to get former loved ones out of your home.
I hope that never happens to anybody.
Thank you so much for those wonderful tips. Until next time, where can people find you?
You can always find me in InStyle magazine. I have a weekly column called Hump Day with Dr. Jenn, where I write about sex and relationship and give advice. Of course, on social media @DrJennMann. On Instagram, in particular, I post all of my workouts on my Insta stories if you want to see what I’m doing on Peloton.
We have a new instructor.
He is Jeffrey McEachern. He is our next German tread instructor. He has joined the team. He has done his premiere run. He is doing classes and I’m hearing very good things. I know that people are like, “Why do we have another instructor?” We had that one chick that was here for two days and then she’s gone so they needed to bring up a new one. Jeffery was clearly waiting in the wings for his big moment, which means there’s likely a fourth out there that we haven’t heard of yet. I’m sure we will be having them join soon as well. We knew 2021 was going to be a lot of instructors. It is what it is whenever you start going into new new countries. Welcome, Jeffrey, to the team. He’s the first instructor in awhile that has talked back to me whenever I have introduced them to the community. They get introduced by Peloton but like introduce them on Instagram. He’s very nice.
We were talking about the new tread, and how you need to educate people about it, and that they think the growth potential is there because treads are more popular than bikes as a category. DC Rainmaker, which is very influential, put out a very nice Peloton tread review.
He did and I loved it. He was very fair. He did pick on Peloton for a few things but they were fair things to pick on. The takeaways that I had were that he has run on a bunch of treadmills over the years and he hates it. He hates running on treadmills. Guess what? He didn’t hate running on it. He loved it because the content sucked him in, which is what we keep saying.
I did not read this but I’ve been saying that for a while.
He talked about how it’s not just people dancing on the tread. It’s real instructors instructing and they actually keep his attention and do a great job. He gets into the geek side of it. That’s where he picked on Peloton a bit like, “Why can’t you not share data with Garmin? Why can’t you not share data with all of these other places? The only one that you share with is Strava and that needs to stop.” Besides that, he was very complimentary. The stuff he talked about was very minor. In general, he had nothing but great things to say. This is going to be a big deal for Peloton long-term. A lot of people go to DC Rainmaker to find out what they should buy. This is a big deal.
Peloton yoga turned three years old.
It’s funny when I see this, I immediately think, “Really?” They were reborn and now they’re three. It says they were born three years ago, but there had already been a Peloton yoga program that went away and then they restarted it. Colleen Seidman Yee was the first yoga instructor at Peloton. She did a bunch of classes. She’s a world famous yoga instructor. That was back when they called it Beyond the Ride.
I remember talking about Beyond the Ride.
It’s been a long time. That went away and there was a period with no new classes, and then brand new yoga program. That is when we first met Kristin McGee, Aditi Shaw and Anna Greenberg. These three ladies have been the face of Peloton yoga since and we’ve added a lot more instructors.
Happy birthday, yoga. Should I save that for the birthday segment?
I think we’re okay.
YouTube channel Morning Brew, which is also an email newsletter that you can sign up for. You were in that one time. It has a story, Man Rides Peloton Stock to 700% Return During Pandemic.
It sounds like you had a similar experience. I don’t think that the guy did. I didn’t watch the whole video but that’s the thing. He didn’t make any money off of this. I don’t know if it’s because he didn’t sell or if it’s because he was doing it for somebody else. Either way, he made no money.
You got to know when to hold them and when to fold them. You never count your stock when you’re sitting at the table.
Thank you, Kenny.
Joining us once again is Angelo from MetPro here to answer all of your nutrition questions and help you with your fitness goals. Hello.
Thanks for having me back.
Thank you for joining us. We have a fun question for you. This one comes from Lynn Kay. She wants to know, is there such a thing as reverse dieting?
I’ve never heard of reverse dieting. Isn’t that called getting fat? It’s the opposite of dieting. You’re going to get heavy.
This is what happens when people use buzzwords.
It’s a bad name for whatever it is.
Marketing got involved, Tom.
Actually, Lynn, there is some truth to what Tom and Crystal were saying that it’s bad as a new terminology for a procedure that has been around for decades and decades. Yes, there is something to reverse dieting. It simply means to rev your metabolism by acclimating your body to a higher and higher intake. That’s been done since the early days of bodybuilding. That’s what these bodybuilders or physique athletes will do in preparation for a contest. They will get their bodies used to more and more intake gradually over there. It’s what we would call bulking phase or bulking season, put on as much muscle as they can, then use to all those calories, then they go into a cutting cycle. Your more elite body builders are hoping to gain and lose 25 to 30 pounds in a season and have 5 more pounds of lean mass on them when they get on stage.
The principle is absolutely sound. In fact, it’s largely what I have been teaching for decades at MetPro. The key is it’s one of those “Don’t try this at home folks” disclaimers. That is the most technical aspect of what we would be doing with a coaching client. That’s what our algorithm is all about. That’s what all of our tools are designed to do. It’s to help us most effectively reverse diets, up adjust or go through what we call a performance cycle to rev your metabolism. Here’s why. Most people participating in that cycle are doing so not because they’re a bodybuilder trying to add 40 pounds a month. They’re doing it because they want the metabolic revving effects. That way they can effectively go back into another cutting cycle. The key is to add at the right pace.
Here’s how we would do that. There is no sliding the sheet of paper across the desk and saying, “Here’s what’s going to work for you. Let me go Xerox 100 more copies. You can pass it out to your friends,” because it’s going to be a disaster. What needs to happen is you have to slowly, not quickly, add just enough. Ideally the addition is in carbohydrate form. That means that when you’re in a cutting cycle of done properly, what should have been cut is not your protein. Maybe it’s some of your fats but it’s dominantly the carbohydrates that we’re using at the leverage as leverage going into a reverse dieting or metabolic revving cycle.
What we would start with is small. I might tell a client here, “You’re going to have an extra 3 ounces of sweet potato. You’re going to have an extra half an apple or an extra quarter cup of brown rice,” small stuff. Do you know what happens when you add that? Nothing happens when you add it. It’s too small. That is not how human psychology works because we’re trying to lose weight. What we do is we diet and we lose weight, and then we’ve hit a plateau. The only thing certain is not just death and taxes. It’s death, taxes and plateauing. You will plateau, no matter how great a program you’re on. When you hit that plateau, nobody says, “You know what? I’m going to try adding a quarter cup of oatmeal to my diets.” No. They say, “Forget this. I’m going to add a cheeseburger to my diet.” They then truly do the Tom defined reverse diet.
Here’s the interesting part though. Even with the cheeseburger, it does rev your metabolic rate, but you gain all the body fat back in the process to where it was not a good exchange. The way that I would do it with a client is I would add every second or third day a tiny amount until eventually we’ve added so much that they gained 1 pound. It’s exactly like what I’ve done well with both of you before. Now, you’re going to go burn off this 1 pound but you can’t do it by eating less. You need to do cardio or exercise it off. You can exercise off 1 pound. You can’t exercise off 40 pounds. Now you come back to me sweating and out of breath, “I did it. I lost that pound with walking on the treadmill, using my Peloton, working on the Tonal,” or whatever it is you like to do.
I’m going to say, “Great. Now go gain it back.” We’re going to increase again until you gain a pound back. We’re going to gain and lose that same pound repeatedly, typically 3 or 4 times in an up adjust cycle. Your metabolic rate is cranking. That’s when we need contrasts. We’re going to pull the rug out all at once. We’re going to drop your calories lower. We’re going to cut a little bit of fats but mostly carbohydrates. That’s where the body fat will incinerate off of you. The secret to effective fat loss dieting is effective up adjust cycles. They are going to be a little different for each person. There is such a thing as reverse dieting. I hope that helps. The key is execution and doing it well.
It does work if you look at us from a few months ago. I was at work about a month ago at a concert because that’s what I do. I saw a lady I know sitting in the stand. I had gotten her the tickets and I walked up to her. I’m like, “Hey, Judy.” She’s staring right at me like, “What are you talking to me for, weirdo?” She’s then like, “Tom.” She did not recognize me at all.
That’s what happens. That’s the power. The most important thing is you’re at a point, Tom, where you’re not just itching to put that weight back on. I get people who tell me all the time. I’ll say, “Explain what you did.” “I did this, that, and the other thing.” I’ll have a gal that’ll say, “I weigh 135 pounds.” I’m like, “No, you don’t. You don’t own that weight yet.” She’s like, “Why not?” I said, “Because you weigh that much but you’re not eating. Once you go back to eating normal, you’re no longer going to weigh that much. You own it if that’s your weight because your metabolism is fast enough that your body wants to be there. Not because you’ve starved yourself and created a circumstance.” That’s why you guys are both in a fantastic place with your progress and we’ll continue to make even more progress.
I’m fascinated to see what comes next. If people would like the women from their past not to recognize them, where can they find you?
Go to MetPro.co/tco. I’d love to get to the opportunity to meet you.
GloriousSport.com writes about lots of different Peloton instructors, The Maestros of Motivation.
There are so many instructors they talked about that will help you reach your goals. This article specifically talks to the instructors about how they stay motivated. I saw several of the instructors. We have some of our new instructor, Joslyn Thompson Rule, Hannah Corbin, Bradley Rose were in here. A lot of different instructors, and it was some of the newer instructors. That’s pretty cool.
It’s nice to see some of the new newer ones get in time. This goes back to what we were talking about earlier that it’s the content that ultimately differentiates Peloton. Ben and Leanne are selling Mazdas.
They get to try out the all-electric Mazda MX-30. I don’t know anything about it other than it’s an electric car and it’s not available in some places.
It might not be available here because sometimes they have different makes and models in different countries.
They’re going to be doing that in six months. We’ll see how it works out. Lots of people had lots of comments about this.
It ‘s weird the things people get mad about.
Some days I don’t even want to go on the internet. You guys are so shitty and you guys just like everybody on the internet.
It’s like instructors haven’t been selling you things for a while.
It’s like, “Shouldn’t they be riding a bike across the entire continent?” I mean, really?
They should never use any other mode of transportation.
Whatever. Good for them. They’re getting some cash.
Kirsten Ferguson was on the Hurdle podcast.
We’ve had several of our Peloton instructors over there. This is another one. This is episode 189. I don’t know if many of you have had a chance to take a class with Kirsten but she is hilarious and amazing. You should if you haven’t. Check this podcast out.
A website called Marca.com is asking exactly which muscles do mountain climbers work out like the move, not the actual mountain climbing. Jess Sims is featured in the article.
She she breaks some of this down. There are other people in here too but I love seeing instructors get mentioned.
It shows that they are experts.
The answer is pretty much everything, especially your core. Mountain climbers suck. They’re the worst, except for burpees. Burpees are the worst cores.
If we have any mountain climbers who are reading, she means the exercise move.
I love mountain climbers, the people.
Another instructor roundup of sorts. Women’s Health has the twelve best Peloton instructors for every workout vibe. It is a poorly written headline because it makes it sound like for every workout vibe they’re going to give you twelve different instructors to choose for that vibe.
SEO has ruined headlines. It’s annoying.
Also, articles in general. Now when I read an article, I legit skipped the first four paragraphs.
It’s all SEO. That’s the only reason it’s there. It’s stupid. Just skip to the good part. Here’s the deal. It breaks it down and we’ve seen this before. Everybody has a different take on it, but here’s the cool thing. New instructors have been added to the list. There are some people that you haven’t tried and you’re not sure what vibe they go best with. Check out the article and you will find out.
It’s been a bit since we’ve had a visit from the Prophet and here they are.
We’re hearing that work is being done at Peloton so that the Apple Watch can work as a heart rate monitor for all class types. Let me say that again for the people in the back, “All class types.” Does that mean the Tread and the Tread+? Yes. Does that mean the Bike and the Bike+? Yes. All class types. Anything that can sync with Bluetooth, you can use it.
You should probably also remind people because you got asked this and blew somebody’s mind, like the Garmin.
People also kept saying to me, “Peloton needs to do this with some of the other makers like Garmin.” It’s out there. If you are not already doing this, it’s so easy. All you have to do is change your Garmin Watch to broadcast your heart rate and it will show up on your screen. It’s out there for you. You’re good to go. This will be a big deal. One other thing I got questioned about. It has nothing to do with Peloton releasing their own upgraded heart rate monitor. That’s still on track. We’re still going to see that being released with the Peloton Guide.
If you want to make it your best year yet you should think about FightCamp.
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In case you were living under a rock, the artists collaboration that they had been teasing was Taylor Swift.
I have to say I was right because so many people brought to my attention how many clues that there were. They were clues that they were aware of. Some people that listened to the show brought it up and I was instantly like, “You are correct.” There was a tree challenge where you do three workouts starting on the 26th and you get a special Swifty challenge badge and it was a scarf. How amazing is that? Of course, I had to do that.
They also had all sorts of clues laid around for people. I thought this was cool.
I loved this because some of these were picked up on by the people that I talked about. For example, the red square came out on Taylor Swift’s birthday. People immediately knew it was going to be Taylor Swift. There were thirteen clues total and I don’t think people even got a lot of them. The first one was the box. The second one, Ally Love featured the song 22 for the first time ever. They never played anything from Taylor Swift. She played it with 22 minutes left in class. Clue number three, they liked Taylor related TikToks and only thirteen of hers. Number four, there was a key chain on the ground of one of their boxes. They posted the red box and they had dropping December 25th, which had thirteen letters.
On the 27th, several instructors had lyrics and song titles in their classes. Instructors wore red from the album cover. They wore rings from the album cover. Callie brought a red scarf. Susie shouted out, “Miss superior thinking and plaid shirt days.” They weren’t even real people. Olivia was wearing cat ears and shouted out Ben and Meredith. It’s a nod to Taylor’s three cats. That was amazing. That was clue number eleven. That was probably my favorite one. Anna Greenberg taught everyone how to apply a red lip. I did not see that. On 13th, Peloton’s logo went full red on the day that it dropped on the 24th. That was a lot.
That’s probably going to feed a lot of conspiracy theories moving forward.
It probably will, but it will be interesting to see if they do this with other artists series. I hope that they do because I thought it was a lot of fun.
The challenge for 2022 has been announced.
The annual challenge is back. This is where they do an annual challenge it’s so it’s year long. It adds up all of the minutes you use across all of the different platforms. Whether you’re walking, you’re running, you’re doing strength, you’re doing yoga, you’re doing meditation, all of it counts. It’s been going on and I think this is the third year. At first they had 5,000 and 8,000. That was the most you could reach, and then they quickly added more onto that because, have they met us? Now they’re up to 25,000 minutes and it’s still not enough for some people. It will be interesting to see if yet even more additional tiers are added for 2022. If you haven’t yet, make sure that you log in and join the annual challenge.
Andy Speer is back with Total Strength 2.
It’s a whole program all about strength. This is a sequel it’s going to be another another program that covers several weeks. This time it’s six weeks and it is a full body regimen. You’re going to do a strength test at the beginning, and strength test at the end. You are going to be able to see what your strength did over that six weeks. That would be pretty cool.
Finally, there is a year-end sale.
Originally, I had heard it was going to be up to 30% off apparel. It turns out that items that have been up for a while are actually up to 50% off. How cool is that? It started on 12/26. My understanding is it goes until the 2nd or 3rd of January. A lot of stuff out there too. You can’t say that there’s nothing out there anymore. Those days are over.
Joining us are Stacie Platt and Josh Amerson. How’s it going? Gender-neutral, guys. The word guys is gender-neutral, not you two. That’s all taken a turn.
You’re up to a good grammatical start.
Whenever I start these interviews, I always want to find out the background of how you originally found out about Peloton. I don’t know if you have two different stories for Peloton or if it’s a similar story for how you found Peloton. Is it a shared story or separate?
Josh, you go first. Tell us how you found Peloton.
My wife, Lindsey, is an endurance athlete. She’s been in the world championships for Ironman. That’s her thing. The bike part is one of those things during all that training. You got to put in a lot of miles but we live in Atlanta. She had got to the point where she had one too many friends have accidents or bad crashes. She was like, “I got to get something,” but she hated pretty much every stationary bike she’d ever done. My mom, Laurie Amerson, who was on the show back in the spring. She’d been telling us, “Peloton.” Finally, we signed up for one during one of their deals. We were lucky. We got our end of the summer of 2019, six months right before having to Peloton was having gold.
You didn’t have to wait three months to get yours?
That’s the new line of demarcation for when you were cool to have a Peloton.
We had it pre-COVID.
Before that, it was pre the Monica Ruiz commercial for the Peloton live commercial and before that.
I’m the coolest.
It’s like seeing you two at a club, theater, arena and stadium.
Stacie, you tell us your story then.
We had one at my husband’s place of employment. They had one in their fitness center. We had looked at it. I’m a fitness trainer. I was in a pretty bad car accident. My lower body was fine and I didn’t want to have to go to the gym to work out. We decided, “Let’s order the bike because I could get on for ten minutes at a time or whatever, do a little bit of something.” That’s what we did. That was probably 2018. Before all, I was super cool. We do have the tread as well. That was brought on by the COVID. We turned our extra bedroom into a full gym. We have the Tonal as well.
The holy trifecta. I like to call it that.
The free weights, also. We have everything. During COVID, when I wasn’t working, we would go running but as you’ll hear in the story later, I live in the mountains. Going for a run to be outside is not always very easy. We decided to invest in the tread as well and it’s been fantastic. We use them both every day.
In the mountains? Are you pumping oxygen into that room?
She’s probably used to it.
I still play in the room.
Are you part Sherpa?
We’re not quite that high up in the mountains but it’s not an easy place to go running outside.
Is it worse in the summer?
Winter for me.
I wasn’t sure because, like here, it’s worse in the winter because of the crushing humidity, even on the Hills. I would rather run in the snow and ice than run in the crushing humidity. I didn’t know if the extreme of being on a mountain and having the difference in elevation would change that.
The cold and the wind is whipping at you. We bought the tread, I believe it was the end of September 2021 and I was like, “It’s going to be cold soon. I’m not going to be outside, running at all to do anything.” That’s when we decided to get it because of the cold. I do have some nerve damage in my hand from the accident, so anytime my hand gets cold, it hurts. It isn’t an option to be out there when it’s cold outside.
I remember you guys had quite an adventure together, but before we get into that, tell everybody how you know each other and we’re on this adventure, to begin with.
Stacie, I don’t know who you met first. You should probably tell.
Back when Josh and his parents built a house on Cashiers many years ago, I was one of the people involved in building the house for them. I knew Rick and Laurie, his parents, first. I met a guy at the gym. He used to come to my classes and we started dating. It turns out that he is Rick and Laurie’s nephew. Cashiers’ probably pretty good if we’re both in Cashier.
It’s a small community.
He called Laurie. He’s like, “You’re not going to believe it. I met this girl. We started dating.” She’s like, “Who?” “Stacie.” “Who?” I got to know Josh and Lindsey and the rest of the family from that.
That is quite a route that you guys took to get to know each other.
How did you guys end up on this hike together? Is that something that you do on a regular basis? How did that happen?
No, we weren’t on a hike together. The story starts the day before Stacie. We ended up getting connected because Stacie is a determined superwoman who was ready to save the day. She dragged me unwillingly along our hike but it was well worth it. Our family had gone up to Cashiers, my wife and our kids because we hadn’t had a vacation in a year. We hadn’t done anything like everybody else, no trips. I work in the ministry, so Sundays are out for me. There’s no even a weekend getaway. We had planned this trip to go up to my parents’ mountain home in Cashiers.You need a community of people surrounding you and helping you. Click To Tweet
We’ve got a couple of big kids, so they each brought their friends and we brought our two dogs. We’ve got a seven-year-old pitbull named Gurley who is fantastic at sitting around doing nothing. My wife, an endurance athlete, was like, “I got to get a dog that can run with me.” Gurley is named after Todd Gurley the football player.
He is a boy but he’s good for about 50 yards of running like Todd Gurley, then he’s done. My wife was like, “I got to get an endurance dog.” She went and got a German Shorthaired Pointer, Betsy, who at the time was about two years old. We went up to Cashiers for a great getaway family weekend, stuff we hadn’t done in a while. That’s what started things out, then they took a turn.
Take us through the day. How did this all go down? This is a crazy story.
My folk’s place is such a great location. They were the last house before this forest service road began in the Nantahala Forest. You wind through the mountains and you’re passing a bunch of homes and my folks’ house is the last one. There’s a piece of the property further down but nobody built on it. That property became the place where we would go. That was the go-to route for, “I want to do a quick walk before dinner or let’s take the dog out to let them do their thing after dinner or whatever.” It’s this short place to get to and it has a beautiful waterfall and overlook.
The night that we got up there, my son, Luke, and his two buddies wanted to get out before dinner. We said, “Take the dogs for a walk.” We did the thing that parents should never do to teenagers. We told them two things not to do. You can guess which of the two things that they went and did first. We said, “Do not get the dogs wet,” because there’s a pool down at the bottom of the waterfall. I was like, “I don’t want to deal with wet dogs before dinner. Don’t let the dogs get in the water and don’t do anything stupid.”
They decided to be teenagers and they knew better.
This whole round-trip thing should take 20 or 30 minutes to walk up there and walk back. Almost an hour has passed and there are no kids and no dogs. I looked down over the deck in the house. I see them moving down through the forest towards the river. I’m like, “What are they doing?” Like a very calm, cool, collected dad, I go out there and start screaming at everybody.
You have this narrative in your head, like, “I’m going to be calm. I’m going to say the right things,” then it all unravels. Luke turns around and says, “We can’t find Betsy.” I’m thinking, “Betsy is a two-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer. She likes to chase things. She probably saw a squirrel or a bird. They’re trying to find her.” One of his buddies comes up to bring Gurley inside. You could tell on his face that something had happened. Gurley, our sweet, older dog is crying. I said to Luke’s buddy, “Tell me what happened.” He said, “Luke threw a ball over the waterfall and Betsy went after it and we can’t find her.”
What was your reaction to that? Did you panic? Tell me what went through your head.
Sheer panic. The way that this area sets up, there’s a waterfall that you can see coming down from your left that hits the pool. There are these slippery rocks that lead to the waterfall that you can’t see. That’s the one that we knew she had gone over. All these horrible images immediately start coming to mind of her scrambling to try and keep her feet. I immediately take them back up to the waterfall to show me what happened. Luke takes me down and he explains what happened with the tennis ball. They didn’t take a tennis ball. She went and found a tennis ball in the Nantahala Forest somewhere.
She did, that’s what dogs do.
She disappeared and showed with a ball in her mouth and he was like, “You’re ready to play?” You could take her to the Mojave Desert and she will find something round for you to throw. She was like that. “She gave it to me and it was gross. It was covered in stuff. I threw it and I threw it in the wrong direction and she went after it.”
He showed me where he had tried to go after her and had saved his own life by grabbing onto a tree. He showed me where this little tree was that he had started to rip out of the ground. I’ve got all of these things in my head, like terror about where’s my dog but also this sense of relief and thinking my son almost went over the waterfall too.
You’re mad. You’re glad he’s okay.
All the feels right there.
Trying to figure out how you can spank and hug him simultaneously.
“You’re grounded. Give me a hug.”
Every day with a teenager.
We called her name for a while and it’s hard to describe how thick the forest is when you get off of the trail. It’s impassable. You can’t even see more than 10 feet in front of you. It started to get dark and we went home. My wife had gone a different direction. Everybody by that point was searching and calling for Betsy. It got dark and it started to settle in with us that she didn’t survive. We would’ve heard a noise, a bark. We were in a down dark place as a family that night.
How many people are all together at this point? How large is your gathering?
There’s my mom and dad and there’s Lindsey and me, Luke had two buddies. Our daughter, Caroline, had her friend and we’ve got our four-year-old daughter, Penny, who, God bless being four years old, she had no idea there was anything wrong right on. She was ready for toys, games, movies and good times. It’s different. Sometimes people want to come together and grieve and talk it out. In our family that night, everybody was scattered all over the house quiet and trying to figure out what do we do next. My immediate family came together that night and sat in the bed. This was probably about midnight.
Trying to even think about going to sleep was impossible because it’s like having one of your kids out. That’s what was frustrating. We knew where she was and we couldn’t get to her. That was frustrating and devastating and thinking about the dark and being alone and all of that sets in, but we sat together on the bed and had a prayer and said, “God’s going to bring something good out of this and we have to keep hope.” That’s how our night ended.
That night, we didn’t sleep very well but woke up early the next morning. I woke Lindsey up and we were talking. I said, “I had a dream. It was weird. We were in the mountains but in different mountains. There was a lake and Betsy was gone. Betsy was missing. I went out early that morning and I found her in the lake.” I was like, “I had a dream that we found Betsy.”
Was she okay in the dream?
Yes, she was lost and wasn’t sure where she was supposed to be but brought her home. It sparked like a little bit of like, “Let’s not give up quite yet.” We had called a veterinarian friend the night before who laid it out for us and said, “She either didn’t survive the fall or she drowned after the fall or a predator found her at night.” He was very much like, “Please don’t go looking for her because you’ll get hurt.” We started making phone calls the next morning. We called fire services, the forestry service, search and rescue, animal control. Everybody we called had the same report. It was, “She probably didn’t survive. It’s not wise for you guys to go looking for her because then you become someone we have to go find when you fall over the waterfall.”
We couldn’t get help from anybody. We had gone and done a search on the other side of the river, thinking maybe she had been carried by the current somewhere and we could find her and nothing. It was a little before noon that day, Stacie texted and said, “I know what’s going on. I can get a little mini chainsaw. Let’s go look for her.” My first response, Stacie, was like, “I talked to search and rescue and they were begging, ‘Please don’t be an idiot and go look for this dog.’”
Stacie was like, “It’ll be fine.”
Like, “I know the search and rescue team. They’re fine. It’s okay.”
“I got this.”
We made a plan to meet up. That’s how Stacie and I came together for this part of the story.
We should say before we go any further, anybody at home, don’t try this at home. What you’re about to read, do not try at home. Stacie, you show up with your chainsaw.
Like the lead singer of Jackyl.
I had gone home. I’ve been at work that morning. I had changed into my hiking gear, got a backpack, got a couple of sheets in case we found Betsy not alive, so we could at least bring her back out, some rope and I borrowed a mini chainsaw that a friend of mine had that we had used one other time for a rescue of a car, not a dog or a person. I headed out, met Josh and we started hiking in.
Our plan was to go around on the other side of the river, because to come at it from the top of the waterfall was straight downhill and there was no way to do anything. My favorite, it’s 2021 part of the story is Stacie didn’t offer me the chainsaw. I was not going to ask for it, so she plows ahead.
Let’s point out, no offense, you are the minister that lives in Atlanta, Georgia and I’ve lived in the mountains for 23 years.
She said, “You’re a city boy. I got this.”
Stacie goes, “Here’s some rope and a first aid kit. You carry these and I’ve got the chainsaw.”
She’s like, “Here’s my purse.”
My husband was excited that I was doing this as well because he wasn’t even talking to me at this point. He was like, “Whatever.”
That’s the stuff I’m already starting to think, like, “I can’t tell my cousin like his wife broke her leg trying to look for my dog.” Stacie, your whole motto that whole day was amazing. It was like, “We’re going to take the next step. If we get to something that’s too big, we’ll turn around but we’re not going to stop now because we can do the next step.”
There must have been 5 or 6 times during this whole rescue operation that Stacie was like, “I know but we’re going to take the next step and see what happened and see where we are.” We started this descent and Stacie was hacking away and I was huffing and puffing behind her. The first time physical fitness came into it, I told Stacie, “Thank God for Peloton and yoga.” We’re binging through branches and doing the limbo. I’m so glad.
On the hunt for your downward dog.
That’s a good one there. What was that like for you going down the hill towards the river?
It was hard because we were trying to cut as little as possible on the way down. We didn’t want to destroy anything that we didn’t have to. It’s hard to explain. It’s like picket is what it’s called. It’s because everything is grown together. There’s no path. We had to make a path and had to zigzag because it was too steep to walk down. You had to zigzag one way or the other. There were trees we climbed over, across, under, around.
How long of a distance are we talking?
Do you think like 30 or 40 miles, Stacie?
I was thinking 80 or 90.
It gets longer every time you tell the story.
Probably, what do you think, like 50 or 60 yards from the road down to the river, maybe?
Probably more than that, close to 100.
I’m sure it felt like miles.
It felt forever. At this point, we’re trying to get down so we can go across and try to go up. We’re not looking for Betsy at this point. We’re trying to get down to where we can start looking for Betsy.
We got down to the river and we had our cell phones and there was no signal. We had a walkie-talkie.
That somebody broke or it wasn’t working.
I broke, probably. That’s the one job I had, was to keep the walkie-talkie safe.
Did you drop it?
I did. I didn’t tell her but the very first step, I smashed it. We have no way, which was probably good. If we had called people, they would have talked me out of it, for sure. We got down to the river and found a way across. That brought us to the bottom of the waterfall, which ended up being this five-tier waterfall almost going from the top where she fell down to the river.
First, we found where the bottom of the waterfall. The stream was coming in and meeting the river. We had a hike up the stream a little bit first to get to the bottom of the waterfall. We debated which way to go, do we walk straight up the river or the stream, then we got to the bottom of the waterfall and there was that large log jam there that we had to sit down and scoot across then we’re standing at the bottom of the waterfall. That’s straight up and you can’t see very much except for straight up.
The whole time, honestly, I kept thinking, “Let’s get up to the next little tier and that’s probably where Betsy’s body.” I kept preparing myself over to find my dead dog. The first thing, I don’t know if you remember Stacie, we were 2 or 3 tiers up and we found the tennis ball.
You know you’re going the right direction, at least.
We got up. We finally hit the point where even Stacie said, “We’re done.” It was this rockface part going up to the next tier and we didn’t have any rock-climbing equipment.
Chainsaw’s not going to work on that.
Nor how to rock-climb.
Stacie, remind me if I’m wrong but we both said, “We’ve done everything we can do.”
I remember looking from side to side, trying to see if there was a way we could cut out and go up a little bit and try to come back in. That is when we’re sitting here on this tier. The rock was higher than my arms. About the height in my arms if I was standing to the top of the rock and we’re looking at side to side. All of a sudden, I see something brown move. Being in the mountains, my first thought was, “It’s a bear.” We’re on a waterfall with no easy way down. All of a sudden, I saw a little wag of the tail and I’m like, “Josh, it’s Betsy.”
She had to call me back because I ran. I thought it was a bear. I had to come back.
You’re going to beat that bear away with your purse.
He was clearing the way for you, Stacie. He was making sure that you could get back through.
She points out what she sees. This little white thing moving behind the trees and I called Betsy’s name. It was like out of a movie. She steps out from behind the branches and you see her little face appear. I got emotional. I started to cry. I was so excited. I could not believe she was alive. I started what Stacie was doing earlier. I started looking off to the side, thinking, “We can hack our way through and figure out a way up.” I’m trying to look for the best route. I turned back around and Stacie was already halfway up the rock climbing to get up there. She’s like, “Push me up the rest of the way.” I put the purse down.
I was like, “Where’s the chainsaw at this point?” Are you wearing it?
We send the chainsaw down. We didn’t want to harm the chainsaw. We send it down. I take off my backpack and it’s that down the chainsaw. It’s just me.
I’m picturing you grabbing hold with one hand in.
Wearing the chainsaw like a backpack.
I wish. It would be cool, like a little chain.
If they ever make a movie version of it, they got to leave the chainsaw on. You sling it over your back and grab it there one-handed.
I don’t even know what it was like up there. Stacie was the only one.
You got my feet in your hands and tossed me up the rest of the way. Let’s reiterate to people out there, never do this. This is bad. This is too much.
Do not try this at home.
I was trying to tell my husband about this and that happened. Don’t do this at home. I got up there and it wasn’t a big area. It was like a boulder part of the waterfall with thicket all around. There was no way to walk out of that area either. Betsy was standing there looking at me as happy as could be. I could tell you that she was not moving great.
She wasn’t moving around a lot at all. It was a small area, so she had a fall and there was no place for her to go from that point. I got her and pulled her into my lap. She weighs like 50 pounds. I get her in my lap and I scoot over where I can see Josh and we’re both crying. “I can’t believe she’s alive.” I’m looking down, going, “What now?”
What are you going to do?
Now, you’re both stuck up there.
I’m up here. I’m stuck and I’m holding a 50-pound dog.
It got real.
This is the part where it got real. Coming in, I never felt like we were in danger at all. I felt like we were very smart. I felt like we were doing it. We talked things through, “Should we go this way? She would go that way.” At this point, when we have Betsy, things got real. This was the part that it was like, “How are we getting through this and getting Betsy back out?”
For all of my self-effacing jokes about being a wimp this whole journey, Stacie made eye contact with me and said, “I’m going to slide down and you have to catch me or something bad is going to happen.” She was like, “This is the only option we have. I’m going to slide off of this part of the waterfall and you have to catch me.”
Holding the dog?
Yes, it wasn’t even like she could reach out and grab.
I’m a huge person. It’s fine. I got me.
You have that tool.
Lift the weights.
All the way along, I kept doubting like, “This is a bad idea. We’re going to twist an ankle. We’re going to break a leg. Something’s going to happen.” Honestly, what I feel like was the hardest part and the serious part. I had no doubts. I looked at Stacie and I knew I found a place for my feet and I knew. I was like, “Stacie, I’ve got you. Trust me, fall and I will catch you.”
All of the game of trust.
All those times in summer camp, I was like, “I’ll never use this.”
You have those moments where you know in your mind like, “There is no other option right here but to succeed. To do what you have to do.” She scoots off and falls and I catch her feet. We caught her and bring her down and it was like this huge moment of relief. Once that passed, you realized, “How are we going to get out?”
Now, you got to go back.
Carrying a 50-pound dog that can’t walk.
I feel like the sheets need to come out.
We got to get down the waterfall. We’re still five tiers up on this waterfall.
When you say it’s five tiers up, this isn’t a trail that you guys have climbed. You’re hopping from rock to rock.
It’s like a cascading waterfall.
We’re going from one stepping ledge to the other that we can find on the waterfall to make our way up. Now, we have to come down those ledges with the dog.
It was clear she had a broken leg and she wasn’t breathing well. We thought maybe she can follow us, she would probably have an easier time than we would but we quickly realized that we were going to have to carry her. The other scary thing, Stacie, I don’t know if you remember but there are several places where it looks like you’re putting your foot on solid ground and you put your foot down and it disappears into a 2-foot hole.
That was when we got off the waterfall.
We made our way down, slowly passing her back and forth and changing places.
Sliding into each other.
One of you would break and the other would fall.
One person would slide down, get a hold, get set and the other person with Betsy would slide down, get stopped and we’d pass her and keep switching. That’s how we did it the whole way out. One person would go a little bit, pass her off, go a little bit more. When we get at the bottom of the waterfall, this is where we should have stuck with our original path, the one we came in that we knew.
We thought we could cut over to the river faster. I’m walking and Josh is carrying Betsy. I take a step and I go all the way down in my chest covered in the water, thicket. Ground is totally gone. I remember going, “Josh.” I hear a crash. He’s laying behind me with Betsy on his chest. We’re laying there going, “This is not good.”
I don’t even remember how we got out of that. I remember thinking I probably broke my leg but don’t realize it quite yet and have a few moments before the pain sets in. It’s how my body had contorted.
I remember when we got out and we were like, “We’ll go back the way we came in,” because we know we can walk back down the stream, get back to the river, see where we came down and go back up, which is what we should have done in the first place but adrenaline, “We got to go.”
You’re excited that you have her. You want to get out of there, I’m sure.
We slowly start making our way down the stream because it’s not easy, especially carrying the dog. I did not sit down without severe pain for about 2 or 3 weeks after this ordeal. We would slide with Betsy and pass her and the next person would climb over. That’s how we went down the stream the whole way. I remember one time, we’re both like, “We’ve got to take a break.” We sat there and that’s when you said out loud, “Thank goodness for Peloton.” I know without endurance, we couldn’t have done that, what we were doing. We still had a long way to go.
Going back to our theme of that whole journey, which was one step at a time. When you break it down, my wife always says, “You can do anything for one minute.” We have an hour of slogging through it. It was like, “We got one minute. Let’s do that minute.” That’s how we made it back across the river. Stacie got the chainsaw out and was starting to cut her way back up.
We’re sliding up because we can’t walk with Betsy because it’s too thick. We’re sliding up, passing the dog, cutting a little bit, passing, slicing.
I had this moment and I don’t know that I shared it with Stacie. I told my wife about it later. I had this moment where I felt like I was done and I’d been carrying her. I was lying on the ground of the forest and she was lying on my chest. I was about to tell Stacie like, “Go get someone and I’ll stay here with Betsy.” This was when I had my visitation from Robin Arzon. If you take rides with Robin, then you’ll know what her tone and demeanor is. I always say like, “When I know I need to get my ass kicked, I do a Robin ride,” because I know it’s going to be hard.
I’m lying there on the forest and Robin appears in my head as I’ve seen her so many times on the bike do. She looks straight at me and she goes, “I’m sorry, does it hurt?” I was like, “Yes, it hurts.” She goes, “It’s supposed to. Get up and keep moving,” which is exactly how she has dragged me through many different rides. It’s like, “Yes, it’s supposed to hurt. That’s your body growing and changing. That is something good you’re doing and it’s not supposed to be easy.” Honestly, changing that voice in your head is what got me back up and moving again. At that point, Stacie, I was like, “I’m getting up to the road. Don’t worry about cutting a path.” I started running because I was like, “I got it. We got it. I got to get to the finish line of this thing.”
I broke the chainsaw. I was zipping along and I got a branch stuck in it. I’ve borrowed a chainsaw. I’ve used chainsaws. I don’t know how to fix a chainsaw. I’m not going to stick my hand in there and move pieces. I want to keep all my fingers.
We had no chance all at this point.
At what point where you’re like, “We’ve made it?”
Not until we got up to the road. We got up to the logging road we’ve walked in on. That’s when it was like, “We made it.”
Did you sit down and you’re like, “Somebody will come find us?”
No, we’re moving. We’ve got to go. The dog is hurt. She needs help.
By this point, Lindsey, my wife, had been trying to reach us on the walkie-talkies that I was like, “Don’t worry, I’ve got the walkie-talkie.” For like an hour, she has not been able to reach. I know she starts thinking something’s happened to Stacie and Josh. She tells my dad to get in another car and go look for them. We’d walked about 100 yards up the road when I saw my dad coming towards us.
He had a Scotch in one hand.
He was in vacation mode.
I know exactly what stroll you’re talking about.
He sees us and I don’t know if he had a different pair of walkie-talkies or if he called up to the house but I could hear him say to someone, “I’ve found them and they have Betsy.” I could hear the response through the phone of screaming. He said, “Yes, she’s alive.” Stacie, me, dad and Betsy rushed back to his car and started driving. At this point, it was figuring out, “What do we need to do now? How do we find a vet?” By this point, it’s late afternoon. We get Lindsey in the car. My dad goes back to the house. I get in the car to drive. Lindsey’s holding Betsy and Stacie is like, “Follow me. We’re going to go find a vet.” We called the Cashiers’ vet and they were about to close.
We called the Highlands. They were about to close. The vet at Cashers isn’t equipped to do anything like that. We tried to call the emergency hospital. Thomas, my husband, he was making phone calls as well at this point. He called Greenville and they told us not to come. They couldn’t take her. That was when we were driving around in circles, it felt like. We found a vet at Hendersonville, North Carolina, with emergency vet service, which is about 1 hour and 15 minutes away, maybe. They said, “Bring her. We can take her.” At this point, it’s pouring down rain.
We’re soaking wet. I’m picking leaves off my neck. We’re disgusting. It’s all to two-lane roads up here, small little roads. We get all the way through Brevard and I get them on the road to Hendersonville. By this point, Lindsey had pulled up the directions for the vet and found it. I turned back and came home and they continued on with Betsy.
Which was good because somebody had to go to the bathroom for three hours.
I couldn’t stop anywhere because I was looking at myself and I was picking leaves off as I was driving along. I’ve got sticks attached to me and I’m like, “I can’t pull in anywhere and go to the bathroom.” I drove all the way back. I called my husband at work. He works at a club in Cashiers and I said, “Is anybody at the office?” It was right after 5:00. He said, “No, everyone’s left.” I said, “I’ve got to go to the bathroom. I can’t wait.”
I’m like flying, driving to where he works. I pull in and I get out. I step out of the car and I’m sore. I can barely move. A gentleman walks by me and he looks at me. I don’t know who he was. To this day, I don’t know who he is. He looks at me. He said, “Have you been hiking?” I said, “Yes, kind of.” He goes, “I don’t think you should do that again.” I have no idea who he was but I’m looking at myself. You walk into me, and water’s coming out of my shoes as I’m walking. It’s disgusting.
You got to the vet. Were they able to take her right then and everything was good?
We got to the vet and they took her straight back. Once we got her settled, I fell apart. Lindsey was asking me questions. I don’t think my ears were working anymore.
You were shut down.
I stared at the floor for probably 45 minutes. I was emotionally and physically spent. I was shivering. I had taken off wet clothes and she had brought me some stuff to change into. I was wrapped in blankets and sitting in the vet’s office with nothing left. This was when one of the most beautiful parts of the story started.
My wife is on social media and she had posted everything that was going on and people had been responding from all over. German Shorthaired Pointer clubs were like, “We’re going to send people to look for and the rest.” All these people started to respond. We were sitting there and we got a knock on the door, which I assumed would be the vet coming in to talk to us.
We opened the door and it was this young woman who neither Lindsey and I have never met before. She said, “My name is Morgan and I’ve been talking to you on Instagram.” I don’t even remember where she lived. She was like, “I saw where you guys were headed. I knew you were coming here. I want to let you know I’ve been praying for you all. We’ve already set up an account at the front desk to help pay for all the bills.”
To see this community start to form was incredible. She sat with us while we got bad news from the vet. He said, “Everything inside is bruised. All the organs are bruised, the lungs are filled with water and infiltrate and the leg is broken. What we were left with is probably not going to make it through the night but we’ll do our best.”
We took that. Even as bad as the news was, though, when we were driving home, I told Lindsey, “This story is not going to have an ending like that. There’s no way that Stacie and I went through all of that and we drove through a monsoon. It’s going to have a good ending. We need to keep hanging in there.” By the time we got to the house an hour and a half later, the vet calls and he said, “I don’t know what is happening but she is up and looking around at people and trying to get off the table and wants to move.”
He’s like, “Honestly, when you brought her in, I thought she was going to die right there. She’s looking like she’s got some energy and wants to get through the night, so we’ll see.” That’s how the story kept going. It was every day. It was something miraculous that happened. We don’t know why she’s looking as good as she’s doing but we ended up two days later getting to go pick her up and take her home.
A little bit of the redemption story is my son, Luke, got to be the one to hold her while Lindsey drove them all the way back to Atlanta from Hendersonville. From that point on it again, it was this community of people surrounding us and helping us. Do you know those times you go to the vet and you see the pet insurance flyer and you’re like, “That’s a stupid thing. Who would ever buy pet insurance?” It might be worth the $7 a month. Our bills were insane.
Everything we were told that wasn’t going to happen with her happened. Like we were told she wasn’t going to make it, she made it. We were told they were going to have to amputate the leg probably, they were able to save the leg. She was doing it before the Boston Marathon for my wife. Betsy was out there doing 8, 9, 10 mile run with Lindsey getting her ready to go. It’s been an amazing journey. Betsy and I, we’re not the best of friends before this. I found her to be way too energetic and annoying but we’re inseparable now. We have bonded. Like Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, you need a catastrophic event to bring you together. It’s been amazing.
That is awesome. I’m glad that had a happy ending.
Me, too. I’m glad that Betsy is okay.
I don’t know that anyone should. It’s like I’m torn because I also don’t know that you should have done all that but I’m glad that it worked out well.
That’s why I started with don’t do this at home.
I’m glad that it worked out.
I’m glad that you were able to take those steps and get through that. It does speak to how these instructors get inside our head in ways that we don’t anticipate. It might be in that moment in a class you think you’re never going to think about that again, then look at that. It got you through one of the most difficult moments of your life.
Not just your motivation but your actual physical fitness. What is your leaderboard’s name if people want to find you?
I am writing and wine, my two favorite passions.
I am with a one instead of the L. Someone as clever had already grabbed it with the L.
I have to point out that your shirt is very appropriate. It says, “Best dog dad ever.”
I bought this for myself. My wife got this for me as a thank you gift.
I bet. You saved her running buddy. I’m glad too that you were able to save Betsy for Betsy but I’m glad that you were able to save Betsy for your son. We had a bad moment in our house with a dog and it did not have such a happy ending but it sticks with you. You feel guilty, even if it’s not something that you could have anticipated or done anything about, the survivor guilt that goes with that. I’m glad that your son doesn’t have to live with that. It had a happy ending and he gets to learn the lesson but not have to take the pain with it. That’s nice.
Which was one of the main reasons why I was so determined that we needed to try to bring Betsy home, either way, there was some closure. My family, we have three dogs and teenagers. Teenagers do teenager stuff. We all have and they do. I kept thinking about how devastating it would be if you didn’t know where your dog was, especially for a fifteen-year-old who didn’t mean any harm and never would harm and had his worst nightmare come true. It was a total fluke thing that could happen to any kid, any adult, anybody.
That’s why I was like, “One way or the other, we have to bring Betsy home. We have to for him and for everybody in the family.” I can’t imagine there are many waterfalls and things around here that you see all the time. People put monuments at the top, where their dog has gone over. My husband and I are always telling people on trails, please put your dog on a leash because all it takes is a very quick little misstep for something to happen.
I’ve never spent any time in the mountains with an animal. I’ve gone on vacation there and stuff but it’s different when you live there, obviously and you know that. Most things you would expect the dog would have the instinct to stop but they’re caught up in what they’re doing.
They slide. Betsy, she didn’t meet to but you hit a slick rock. If you walk along and you hit a slick rock with moss and everything else and the algae on it, you’ve lost your footing and you’re gone.
They don’t have to grab onto something. Even that will be hard.
There are, unfortunately, waterfall deaths around here every year, where people walk out on the rocks above the falls and try to get a better look. It happens. There’s signage but you want to bring your dog home. You want to make sure that there’s closure. It’s the same. You see the same thing even people who have their dog on the leash. If the dog gets away from them, that’s almost worse because then the leash can get caught on something and the dog gets lost. We had to bring her home.
I’m glad that it had a successful ending.
Me, too. Where can people find you on social media if they want to reach out? If you guys would like to share but you don’t have to.
If you want to found.
I’m on Facebook, Stacie Platt.
I am not on social media but my wife is much more interesting. She can be found on Instagram @LPAmers, @LA_Endurance is her athletic endurance company that she runs to train people and do stuff like that. If you look for Lindsey Amerson and LA Endurance, you will find the best part of my duo for sure.
Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to join us and share your story with us. We appreciate it.
Yes, we do.
Thank you for having us. We appreciate it.
Thank you, guys.
I guess that brings this episode to a close. Until next time, where can people find you?
People can find me on Facebook at Facebook.com/crystaldokeefe. They can find me on Instagram, Twitter, the Bike, and the Tread @ClipOutCrystal.
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, like the page and join the group. Don’t forget our newsletter at TheClipOut.com. That’s it for this one. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time, keep pedaling and running.
- Laurie Amerson – Previous episode on The Superset Podcast
- Stacie Platt – Facebook
- @LPAmers – Instagram
- @LA_Endurance – Instagram
- Apple Podcasts – The Clip Out
- Spotify – The Clip Out
- Google Podcasts – The Clip Out
- @Wild_Bill32 – Bill Cynecki on Twitter
- Facebook page – Run, Lift and Live
- Run, Lift and Live – Facebook group
- @RunLiftAndLive – Instagram
- @RunLiftAnd Live – TikTok
- Dr. Jenn Mann
- No More Diets
- Hump Day with Dr. Jenn
- @DrJennMann – Instagram
- Instagram – Clip Out Crystal
- Twitter – Clip Out Crystal
- @RogerQBert – Twitter
- Man Rides Peloton Stock to 700% Return During Pandemic | Point of Return | Morning Brew – Youtube
About Josh Amerson
Rev. Josh is an Atlanta native, but has also spent some time living in Portland, Oregon and Houston, Texas. He met his wife, Lindsey, while working on a Biology degree at UGA (Go Dawgs!). Together they have three children: Luke, 14, Caroline, 10, and Penny, 3. When he’s not working on a sermon or drinking coffee with parishioners, Josh enjoys playing guitar, golfing, riding the Peloton and reading
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