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303Endurance Podcast

Oct 9, 2021

When we last spoke to Skye Moench we had no idea that later this year she would race The Collin's Cup, finish 6th at 7.0 World Champs and then crush IM Chattanooga by more than 25 minutes.  Skye Moench's dominating win at IRONMAN Chattanooga with a greater than 25-minute lead just a week after St George. 


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In Today's Show

  • Feature interview with Skye Moench (IM Chattanooga winner)
  • Endurance News
    • No, Running Doesn’t Wear Down Your Cartilage. It Strengthens Your Joints.
  • What's new in the 303
    • Small Town America at the Heart of Gravel Racing? The Rad Dirt in Trinidad Shows Us Why
  • Video of the Week
    • Ironman Chattanooga Highlights


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Interview with Skye Moench

A little over two years ago Skye won the 2019 Ironman European Championship Frankfurt. In April of this year we interviewed Skye.  At this point in the season she was fresh off a 6th at Challenge Daytona and 5th at Challenge Miami.  Skye had already made an amazing comeback from her bike crash the kept her from racing at Kona back in 2019.  We came away from that interview with a headline of "Skye's Comeback".  We had no idea at that time that later this year she would be on the final list for The Collin's Cup, finish 6th at 7.0 World Champs and then crush IM Chattanooga by more than 25 minutes.

Was that part of the plan?  Did that win gap come as a surprise? How cool is that new purple Trek bike?   All those questions and more coming up right now with Skye Moench!

Results (


Post interview:

  • Skye adding another voice to the pros who thinks that The Collins Cup is a "must do" race and opportunity to connect with other pros and make new friends.
  • Focus on the long distance and Kona.  It sounded to me that she raced St George, but goal was Kona
  • Ironman Florida vs Ironman Cozumel



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Endurance News:

No, Running Doesn’t Wear Down Your Cartilage. It Strengthens Your Joints.

Numerous studies have shown that, contrary to what your sedentary friends may sometimes argue, running does not cause arthritis. New research shows, in fact, that running may actually help strengthen your joints against future wear and tear, says Jean-Francois Esculier, leader of research and development for The Running Clinic (headquartered near Montreal, Canada) and a medical professor at the University of British Columbia.


In a Sept. 3 paper in Sports Medicine, Esculier’s team examined 43 studies that had used MRI to measure the effect of running on cartilage.

One major finding of these studies, he says, was that the impact from running squeezes water out of cartilage and into the underlying bone. That means that an MRI taken immediately after running will show a decrease in cartilage thickness.

So, Esculier says, “If you want to say running is bad, you can show a study that shows it reduces the thickness of the cartilage.”

But the effect is transient and harmless, he says, because the moment you finish your run, the cartilage begins to reabsorb water and expand back to normal. “It only takes an hour,” he says. In fact, he says, running may actually be beneficial.

Historically, Esculier says, doctors, researchers, and runners were taught that cartilage simply is what it is, and won’t respond to training. “But we now know that cartilage can adapt,” he says. “Even with novice runners, after only 10 weeks, you see changes in cartilage so that it can actually tolerate more load.”

What’s happening, he says, is a side-effect of having fluid squeezed out of the cartilage into the underlying bone. When it comes back, he says, it brings with it nutrients that feed the cartilage and make it stronger. “So not only is running not bad for your joints, it’s actually good for your joints,” he says.

It isn’t just beginners whose joints can strengthen with use. Studies of more experienced runners, he says, suggest that they have developed cartilage that is more resistant to the type of impacts seen in running than that of non-runners.

One of the more dramatic studies looked at competitors in the TransEurope FootRace, a 4,486-kilometer mountain run (2,787 miles) that went from Sicily to northern Scandinavia in 64 days. A team of scientists followed the runners, using a portable MRI to assess them every 900 kilometers or so. Amazingly, Esculier says, they found not only that the competitors didn’t have cartilage damage, but that their cartilage adapted during the race.

About Bill's friend London Marathon - Raphael Pacheco

Deb Connelly - Monday Running


What's New in the 303:

Small Town America at the Heart of Gravel Racing? The Rad Dirt in Trinidad Shows Us Why

Posted on October 5, 2021

By Becky Furuta

If the heart of gravel racing is the wild west of cycling – where the rules are few and weirdness is welcomed instead of scrutinized – small town America is its soul.

The lure of gravel racing is in the long, off-road adventure. It’s tricky trails and hellacious hills and mud so thick it’s like riding through peanut butter and rolling roads with expansive views. It’s dust and limestone chunks and pea gravel that bury your tires like quicksand.

Due in part to its grassroots heritage, gravel remains the antidote to the technology-driven, aggressive and often super-competitive mentality of road cycling. Most of today’s gravel grinders began as small-scale events, and often with no entry fees. Despite their growth, they’re dripping with the same low-key attitude that attracted participants in the first place.

Small towns and gravel are perfectly paired. A convergence of factors have fueled gravel’s popularity, but all speak to quiet country roads with little traffic and natural scenery. The character of these towns shape the events and the way they unfold.

Trinidad, Colorado is no exception. And the quirky town on the New Mexico border may well become one of gravel’s new hotspots.

The small city of 9000 residents was founded in 1862 after rich coal seams were discovered in the region. By 1910, Trinidad was a company town. Colorado Fuel and Iron operated the largest steel mills in the West, and dozens of mines, coke ovens and transportation lines cropped up to support local industry. CF&I created small communities for the workers they recruited to come from Europe, believing they were less likely to try and organize. To the contrary, this led to one of the darkest chapters in American labor history.

Just a few miles north of Trinidad in the Spring of 1914, Union organizer Louis Tikas and 20 others were killed in a violent company crackdown known as the Ludlow Massacre. It was a bloody insurrection that occurred in protest of brutal working conditions. Three of the victims – a woman and her two children – suffocated in the dirt pit where they were hiding.

By the 1920s, the coal industry was fading but Trinidad found a new, strange prosperity when mobster Al Capone and his family took the town during prohibition. They were able to easily blend in with local Italian families who continued to call the city home. Lavish hotels, a Carnegie library, an Opera House and the oldest synagogue in the state of Colorado cropped up in what would be called “the Victorian jewel of Southern Colorado.”

Just having dirt alone isn’t enough to make Trinidad a gravel success story. Part of an event’s draw is the community itself, and how well they embrace the cyclists who come to visit. It’s about the community and the culture, the adventure and the Instagram images of rolling hills and farmland. It’s about getting people to drive hours in search of something different. Trinidad seems to understand all of that. City Council members greeted riders at the start and the finish. Restaurants enthusiastically marketed to gravel tourists. (Just ask me about the singing waiters at Rino Italian Restaurant downtown.) The route featured unique terrain you won’t find at other gravel events.

Only time will tell if Trinidad’s next identity is built around bikes and outdoor tourism, but judging by the reactions of participants in The Rad Dirt Fest, it’s right on track. Trinidad, like so many other rural communities, may well become a town transformed by bikes.



Video Of The Week:

Ironman Chattanooga 2021 Highlights



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Stay tuned, train informed, and enjoy the endurance journey!