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The Adventure Stache

Professional mountain biker Payson McElveen sits down with some of the biggest names in sports and adventure to get an inside look at what sets them apart. With no script, the casual conversations are as diverse as the guests, with topics ranging from harrowing tales of survival, to debates on current events, to everyday tips and tricks and everything in between. As Payson travels the world for his two-wheeled day job, listen in as he rubs shoulders with and learns from some of the most inspiring athletes, entrepreneurs, academics, and others as they chase and inspire greatness.

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Kate Courtney, Mountain Bike World Champion

Kate Courtney is the defending XCO Mountain Bike World Champion, many time national champion, and a Red Bull athlete. At just 23 years of age, Kate has already reached superstar status in a sport that often doesn't see athletes reach their peak until later. Tired from a long day of testing at a Red Bull training camp, Payson caught up with Kate as they sat on the floor of a hotel room. They talked about work ethic, gender equality and what we can do to promote further progress, the challenges of maintaining strong personal relationships while traveling constantly, her superstar mechanic Brad, and finally some surprise questions from a few of her fans.

1hr 7mins

23 Apr 2019

Rank #1

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Ned Overend and John Tomac, mountain bike icons

Ned Overend and John Tomac dominated professional mountain biking during its hay day of the late 80’s and 90’s in a rivalry that is permanently etched in off-road racing history. Their battles defined the sport for nearly a decade, and were made even more memorable by the diverse and dynamic technological advancements of the time. One year ago, Payson got Ned and John together for a rare one-on-one conversation, which they recorded at Tomac's 800 acre ranch in Cortez, CO. They talk about what it was like to see the sport change due to drug use, and ultimately be forced in to retirement because of it. They reminisce about unique bike set-ups and the limitations of early race bikes, what their relationship was like when they were at the peak of their careers, and how mountain biking has changed in the decades since. They also discuss Tomac’s current work with his son, Eli, one of the best motocross racers in the world, and Ned’s continued age-defying career on the bike that is still giving some of the best racers a run for their money. Payson also reached out to some of the biggest names inspired by Ned and John, to see what they wanted to ask their heroes. As such, questions from Geoff Kabush, Todd Wells, Travis Brown, Alison Dunlap, and Carl Decker are featured throughout the conversation. 

1hr 55mins

12 Nov 2019

Rank #2

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Lael Wilcox, ultra endurance cyclist

Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, Lael Wilcox is the best female ultra-endurance cyclist in the world. Her most notable accomplishments include winning the 4,300 mile Trans Am Bike Race outright (after passing the lead male rider in the final miles) and setting the record for the 2,750 mile Tour Divide (after riding thousands of miles to the race start from her home in Alaska). She has spent the past eleven years traveling the world on her bicycle, logging over 100,000 miles in 35 countries. In addition to racing and riding, Lael puts a lot of effort into getting more women on bikes. She organizes a teenage girls bicycle adventure program in her hometown and has hosted two international women’s scholarships. Payson sat down with Lael the day before Dirty Kanza, where she went on to win the DKXL. They chat about redefining mental limits of endurance, the wacky logistics of ultra racing, her epic duel in the final miles to win Trans-Am, and getting more women on bikes. They end their conversation with some questions that were sent in by her fans and some legends of the sport, such as Rebecca Rusch. 

1hr 10mins

4 Jun 2019

Rank #3

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Ellen Noble, cyclist

Ellen Noble is a four-time cyclocross national champion and world champion silver medalist. In this interview, she and Payson go deep on gender equality and the #MeToo movement, talk about their favorite books, and lighten the mood with a few breakfast recipes. Ellen has been an outspoken advocate of gender parity within cycling and in the broader world, and is the founder of #bunnyhopthepatriarchy, a movement intended to highlight and reduce gender inequities in the cycling world.

1hr 28mins

5 Nov 2019

Rank #4

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Todd Wells, mountain bike and cyclocross icon

Todd Wells is one of the most decorated mountain bikers in U.S. history. Across his more than 25 year career, he's won three Cyclocross National Championships, three consecutive Mountain Bike National Championships, and represented the USA at three Olympic games. In addition to UCI racing, he's won multiple stage races, including La Ruta de los Conquistadores, Breck Epic, and the Leadville 100 three times. Although he retired in 2017, he continues to race occasionally, and has won the Telluride 100 the last two years. In this conversation, Payson and Todd discuss his prolific career, why he continues to race after retirement, why his 25-year relationship with his wife has been crucial to his success, and his least favorite part of racing. 

1hr 16mins

7 Jan 2020

Rank #5

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Colin Strickland, cyclist

Colin Strickland is a gravel, cyclocross, and road cyclist who shot to prominence in 2016 when he dominated the 2016 Red Hook Criterium fixed-gear series in Brooklyn. Since then, he’s won back-to-back titles at Gravel Worlds and taken the win at this year’s Dirty Kanza 200, becoming the first person to finish the race in under ten hours. Payson caught up with Colin in San Francisco last month, the morning after they competed in Red Bull Bay Climb, to discuss his achievements and varied career. They talk about their love of off the bike tinkering, their experiences attending the same tiny private school in Austin, TX from kindergarten through high school, and Colin’s unconventional Dirty Kanza strategy that baffled his competitors and brought him a decisive victory. 

1hr 18mins

15 Oct 2019

Rank #6

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Christian Williams, Payson's coach

Christian Williams and Payson have been working together for over a decade, ever since Payson was a junior racing in local and state races in Texas. Over 20 years of coaching, Christian has led over a hundred riders to national podiums, and been the director of the Garmin development team and the USA Pan American Games team. In addition to his coaching, he's raced for over 35 years as well. In this conversation, he and Payson discuss why their relationship has lasted for so many years when most coach/athlete relationships last only months, the training methods Christian uses for pros and non-professional cyclists, doping, and why former pros don’t always make the best coaches. 

1hr 45mins

10 Dec 2019

Rank #7

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Reggie Miller, hall of fame basketball player

Reggie Miller is a hall of fame basketball player and Olympic gold medalist, best known for his precision three-point shooting. Today he is a commentator for TNT, father, and passionate mountain bike rider. Reggie and Payson sit down in his oceanside Malibu home and chat about why you should never trash talk Michael Jordan, how growing up with the greatest female basketball player of all time was instrumental to his success, parenting, state of the union in the NBA, his heroes, what it was like to be part of The Malice at The Palace, why he’s so crazy for mountain biking, and much more. 

1hr 37mins

8 Apr 2019

Rank #8

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Dave Wiens, hall of fame mountain biker

Dave Wiens is a member of the mountain bike hall of fame, two time US National champion (XC and Marathon), multi-time World Cup winner, and six time Leadville 100 winner. Wiens won the race six times in a row, beating Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong consecutive years, and was the first to break the seven hour barrier at the event. Dave now serves as Board Chairmen of the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA), the largest non-profit dedicated to enhancing the trial experiences of mountain bikers world wide. Payson caught up with Dave at his home in Gunnison, CO, where they talked about his storied career, advocacy, the future of mountain biking, and what it’s like to have his son, Cooper, finally surpass Dave’s speed. Dave recently raced Payson at the XC National Championships, finishing top 25 and proving he’s far from being done with riding a bike fast. 

1hr 10mins

6 Aug 2019

Rank #9

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Mark Twight, mountaineer, Part I

Mark Twight is a former pioneering mountaineer, climber, photographer, author, podcaster, and Hollywood trainer. During his climbing career, he made multiple first ascents of some of the most challenging routes in the world, and achieved the fastest known times (FKTs) on Denali and Mount Hunter in The Alaska Range using bold, innovative training and climbing methods. His lightweight, single push approach to alpinism solidified his legacy as a pioneer of the sport, and changed the face of mountaineering. Following his retirement from climbing, Twight founded Gym Jones, a private training facility where his success with professional athletes and military personnel led him to training actors for nine different Hollywood movies. He defines his current project--NonProphet--as the intersection between art and action but it is difficult to assign a title to what he does. Now he works as a writer, podcaster, speaker, and photographer. Payson caught up with Mark in Moab, UT to attempt to scratch the surface of Mark's career. They discuss radical approaches to breaking speed records, Mark's legendary 60 hour ascent of Denali, and why a balance between hubris and humility is key to achieving anything great. In the process, they realized there was just too much to talk about, and came back for round two a few months later. Part II of their conversation will be published next week. 

2hr 14mins

8 Oct 2019

Rank #10

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Tyler Jewell, Red Bull athlete performance coach

Tyler Jewell is an athlete performance coach at Red Bull, and has been instrumental in helping athletes reach the heights of their sports and come back from injuries. In this conversation, Tyler talks about his early career as a two-time Olympic snowboarder, why he doesn't necessarily like the word "talent", how years of persistent relationship building was key to creating a successful coaching career, and why he often favors on-the-spot training plans rather than the industry standard ones. He also talks about how his dyslexia diagnosis as a child helped him realize the importance of different modes of learning, and how this experience still resonates in his approach to coaching athletes. 

1hr 12mins

3 Mar 2020

Rank #11

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Leadville 100 LIVE with Rebecca Rusch, Dave Mackey, and Dave Wiens

This week, The Adventure Stache headed to the Leadville 100 mountain bike race in Leadville, CO to record its very first live episode. Payson was joined on stage by “The Queen of Pain” Rebecca Rusch, ultra runner Dave Mackey, and an encore appearance from last week’s guest, mountain bike legend Dave Wiens. They sat down to talk about the challenges and rewards of endurance events like the Leadville 100, why pain is your friend, and the joys of endurance sports that go far beyond racing. They also took questions from the live audience, including how to find fulfillment during injury, calculating nutrition plans for endurance races, and the last resort mantras they tell themselves when they’re reaching their physical and mental limits. 

1hr 12mins

13 Aug 2019

Rank #12

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Michelle Parker, skier

2hr 27mins

20 Aug 2019

Rank #13

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Angel Collinson, free skier

Angel Collinson is one of the most accomplished big mountain freestyle skiers in the world. Throughout her career, she's won two championship titles at the Freeskiing World Tour, and was the first woman to be awarded Best Line at the Powder Video Awards in 2016. Angel is perhaps best known for her many appearances in Teton Gravity Research’s (TGR) annual ski films, which have featured some of her most spectacular and daring runs. When Payson interviewed Angel last week at Red Bull headquarters, she was still recovering from a thousand foot tumble down an Alaskan mountain that led to a second knee surgery and extensive rehab. In this conversation, they discuss her injury, how she has maintained her legendary positivity throughout the lengthy recovery process, her close relationship with brother and fellow professional skier John Collinson, and how leaving a promising academic career in Environmental Law to pursue skiing gave her an even more powerful voice as a lobbyist for environmental change in Washington and beyond. They also go in depth on Angel’s complex feelings about the post-#MeToo era and how she thinks the pendulum might have swung too far. And just in case the conversation was in danger of getting a little too serious, Angel tells the story of when her dad lowered her headfirst into an outhouse toilet by the ankles. 

1hr 44mins

21 Jan 2020

Rank #14

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Quarantine Companion #1 with co-host Justin Williams

In this first installment of Quarantine Companion, Payson is joined by co-host Justin Williams to lay the groundwork for this new limited series. They talk about how they’re getting by in the age of social distancing and lockdowns, including what books they’re reading, what snacks they’re consuming, how they’re maintaining motivation to train, and what their daily schedules and workflows look like. They also give some hints about what’s in store for future episodes of Quarantine Companion, including big name guests, shoe choices, and maybe even some listener-included push-up challenges. 

57mins

21 Apr 2020

Rank #15

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Travis Brown, hall of fame mountain biker

Travis Brown is a hall of fame mountain biker who enjoyed an illustrious career that spanned the 2000 Olympic Games, multiple national championships, singlespeed world titles (during the branding years), and more. Today he plays an integral role in Trek’s product development department, and is responsible for many of the design innovations that are changing the bikes we ride. Payson considers Travis a role model as much for his community and advocacy efforts as for his successful race career. In this conversation, they discuss Travis's early cycling career, the future of e-bikes within the mountain biking community, and why you should ignore your surgeon's orders when trying for the Olympics.

1hr 33mins

16 Jul 2019

Rank #16

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Adam Craig and Carl Decker

Peanut butter and jelly, Tom and Jerry, Batman and Robin--we'd argue Adam Craig and Carl Decker are up there with the most legendary duos on earth. They certainly are the most interesting. Illustrious Olympic mountain bike careers, XGames level rally car partners as AC/CD, a Singlespeed World Championship dynasty, industry-altering bike set-up innovations, and some of the best storytellers we've ever encountered. Payson sat down with two of his childhood racing heroes at Adam's house in Bend, OR the day after the Singlespeed World Championships, and tried to figure out how many of the myths were true. This was the very first podcast Payson recorded.

1hr 22mins

24 Jun 2019

Rank #17

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Johnny Collinson, skier

John Collinson is a big mountain freeskier whose accomplishments in the sport have earned him multiple podiums on the Freeskiing World Tour and awards for his frequent appearances in Red Bull and Teton Gravity Research films. Equally skilled in the tricks and style of free skiing and in the speed and scale of big mountain skiing, Johnny is known for his versatility and range. In this conversation, he and Payson talk about how a recent knee injury has helped him discover an affinity for a whole new kind of athletic achievement, how diet influences his training, and why he chooses diversity in rehab workouts over specifics. While Johnny is primarily known for his abilities going down mountains, his accomplishments going up them gained him widespread public attention in his early years. He tells Payson about his mountaineering career, which dates back over decades when he climbed including what it was like to climb Mount Rainier at age four, how he became the youngest person ever to climb the Seven Summits at the age of 17, and why he’s glad he never got sponsored for it. They also talk about his childhood traveling around the mountains in the west with his parents and older sister Angel in a ’79 Ford Econoline van, and how an unfortunate incident with a piece of cheese led to some youthful innovations in the disposal of unwanted food on family hikes. 

1hr 15mins

4 Feb 2020

Rank #18

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Mark Twight, mountaineer, Part II

In their second conversation on The Adventure Stache, Payson and mountaineer Mark Twight sat down in Mark’s Non Prophet headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah to pick up where they left off in Part I. They discuss Mark’s use of male group dynamics to get major results in his work as a Hollywood trainer on some of the biggest action and superhero movies of the decade, the fear of underachieving, and why Mark is totally fine with the dangers of Everest’s overcrowding problem. 

2hr 24mins

22 Oct 2019

Rank #19

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Tim Johnson, cyclocross icon

Tim Johnson is a former professional cyclist, most known for his multiple cyclocross national titles and world championship medals. His career also included a stint on a World Tour road team, where he had to face tough decisions at the height of the doping era that nearly made him quit the sport. Payson and Tim were teammates as part of a collection of Lululemon athletes for BC Bike Race, where Payson had the chance to better get to know an icon of the sport he’s looked up to for years. Between stages six and seven, the two sat down to discuss stories from both the high points and low points of his career, his position as development director at USA Cycling, how he helped Tejay Van Garderen and Mike Woods in their last few workouts before this year’s Tour de France, why he’s so silly, and his never-ending love of the sport. This episode has some stronger-than-usual language. 

1hr 26mins

10 Sep 2019

Rank #20