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Choose the Hard Way

Business & Economics Podcasts

Stories about how hard things build stronger humans who have more fun. Guests from pro cycling, sports, politics, business, tech, journalism, the military and more. Resilience, grit, mental health, high performance, mindfulness. Host Andrew Vontz is an entrepreneur & co-founder of TheBetterLab.io, the company that helps you build mindful, science-backed practices to sleep better. Previously, he was a Strava executive; a communications leader at the human performance company, TRX; and a journalist with hundreds of bylines in dozens of top outlets including The LA Times, Outside Magazine, Rolling Stone and more.

Location:

United States

Description:

Stories about how hard things build stronger humans who have more fun. Guests from pro cycling, sports, politics, business, tech, journalism, the military and more. Resilience, grit, mental health, high performance, mindfulness. Host Andrew Vontz is an entrepreneur & co-founder of TheBetterLab.io, the company that helps you build mindful, science-backed practices to sleep better. Previously, he was a Strava executive; a communications leader at the human performance company, TRX; and a journalist with hundreds of bylines in dozens of top outlets including The LA Times, Outside Magazine, Rolling Stone and more.

Language:

English


Episodes
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Rewind: 2nd at the Unbound 100 Gravel Race 2014 with @vontz x @blakeotoday - from the Archives

5/30/2024
Doing hard things with friends is fun and even when you lose, you win. In 2014 I took second at Unbound 100 and superstar creator and now BJJ black belt @blakeoftoday took third. This episode originally dropped in 2019. I skipped the weddings of several close friends and trained 20+ hours many weeks for months to prepare for this event. When we did the race and when we originally recorded this episode it kind bummed me out that I didn’t win the race in 2014 or in 2015 when I went back and got second again with a side of food poisoning that left me unable to hold down food for a week after the race. Now I’m just grateful for the memories I have of training for and competing in this brutal event with Blake and for everything that happened along the way. With Unbound coming up this weekend, I wanted to drop this episode again for anyone who is new to the show and anyone has an interest in Unbound. This may be difficult to imagine, but 2014 was a time when there were zero tubeless gravel tires on the market and I ran 50 psi in tubed Clement MSOs and lived. A lot has changed since then and a lot has changed since I created Choose the Hard Way. When I started this project in 2017, I thought the point was to share lessons learned at the limits of human experience. Over time I’ve realized people, including me, forget most of the specific details that they hear on podcasts--but they almost always remember how podcasts make them feel. And at their best, the stories we hear on great podcasts motivate and inspire us to take action and be more present in other areas of our lives. This episode is brought to you by The Better Lab. Sleep is the greatest performance enhancer on the planet and the science to improve sleep is straightforward. Putting it into action on your own can be challenging. That’s why I co-founded The Better Lab to help guide active people like you to mindfully build conscious, science-backed practices to sleep better that stick. We’re an early stage startup and right now the Better Lab app is free in the Apple App store. You can find the link in the show notes. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/better-lab/id6479452885 Check it out and as an early user, we want to hear your feedback to help us continually improve the product. Shoutout to Hard Way listeners Chris Scott, Jeffrey Nebolini, Shannon Jones and many others who have been using the app to get better sleep and sharing their feedback with us. Thank you! You can learn more at www.thebetterlab.io.

Duration:01:28:30

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Joe Petrowski: Quitting Rocket Science to Be a Pro Cyclist in France

4/24/2024
Joe Petrowski landed a great job as an aerospace engineer right out of college. Then he got the bike racing bug. People told him to stick with his demonstrably awesome, impressive and very high paying gig. Instead, he quit to go live in at times dismal conditions to be a pro cyclist, first in the UK then in France. And if you’re not familiar with domestic pro cycling in France, teams there are known for their extremely old school, hardcore and at times totalitarian approaches. Joe had some great times and also often wondered if he had made a huge mistake and what the hell he was doing. He never stepped up to the World Tour, the highest level of the sport. And years later, he thinks going for it as a pro cyclist is one of the best and most important decisions he ever made. Eventually he left pro cycling and went into computer science, high frequency trading and to what he does now, working on the decentralized web at polkadot. People who stop doing the thing people who are not them tell them they should do to go do the thing they know they have to do intrigue me. That’s Joe. Don’t forget, you’re the hero in your story, you are writing it every day, and when you hear the call to adventure, listen. It is after all, your story. Choose the Hard Way is the podcast about how hard things build stronger humans who have more fun. This episode is brought to you by The Better Lab. Sleep is the greatest performance enhancer on the planet and the science to improve sleep is straightforward. Putting it into action on your own can be challenging. That’s why I co-founded The Better Lab to help active people like you mindfully build conscious, science-backed practices to sleep better that stick. It’s just what works to help you get great sleep and you can get started today at www.thebetterlab.io. I make this podcast available for free and all I ask is that you go to the show page for Choose the Hard Way on iTunes and Spotify and hit 5 stars. To be in touch, DM me @hardwaypod on Instagram or email choosethehardway@gmail.com. Find Joe at https://petrow.ski/. Thanks to our sponsor The Better Lab Watch on YouTube Sign up for the Hard Way Newsletter - - - - - - - - - - Choose The Hard Way Website | Instagram Andrew Vontz LinkedIn

Duration:00:56:28

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Cory Richards - Presence is the Real Summit - Beyond Everest & Life as a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year & Photographer

3/27/2024
Charisma, fame, good looks, superhuman physical and artistic achievement. Some people seem to have done everything and to be everything you dream of becoming. And as Cory Richards shares in this interview, everything can be nothing and anything can be the opportunity for presence, mindfulness and connection to who and what matters most. Cory climbed Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen in 2016 and was the first and only American to climb one of the world’s 8,000 meter peaks in winter, where he almost died in an avalanche and took one of the most famous photos of his career that became the cover of the 125th anniversary issue of National Geographic. Cory has been a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and National Geographic Photographer fellow. His memoir, The Color of Everything, out July 9th, tells the story of his journey with mental health and how it has shaped his life, his path as an adventurer and artist and his decision to walk away from climbing, photography and shed his former identities to move to LA and be a writer. Once I started reading The Color of Everything, I couldn’t put it down and since I finished it, I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s a profound, must-read book and I’m sure you’ll see it on many best of the year lists come December. (Pre-)order it now here. I worked with Cory in support of his Everest expeditions in 2016 and 2017 and since I started this podcast in 2018, I’ve wanted to have him on the show. I’m glad it took six years of exchanging messages for this interview to happen, because now is the right time and I’m excited to share it with you. Find Cory on Instagram @coryrichards and at www.coryrichards.com. Thanks to our sponsor The Better Lab Watch on YouTube Sign up for the Hard Way Newsletter - - - - - - - - - - Choose The Hard Way Website | Instagram Andrew Vontz LinkedIn

Duration:00:42:45

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Heather Jackson: Gravel & Ultra Trail Running Pro - Positive Risks, Growth & the Power of Starting Something New

2/28/2024
Heather Jackson has won six full Ironman triathlons, 16 Ironman 70.3 races, the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon and she also won the Wildflower triathlon four times. She played D1 hockey at Princeton where she was a two-time captain and was on the US National team for cycling track racing. In 2023, she left triathlon to be a pro gravel racer AND a pro ultra trail runner. In her first season she won the Belgian Waffle Ride San Diego and the Javelina 100 foot race. I mean, damn. Heather has an awesome YouTube channel and if you’re a fan, you know she has done a lot of media and podcast appearances. In this interview, we get into new material and talk about Heather’s mind game, why she continues to take positive risks and try new things and much more. Find Heather on YouTube and Instagram @hjacksonracing, find those links in the show notes. A big thank you to Michael Marckx and Heather’s husband Wattie for helping make this interview happen and to Heather for everything she graciously shares in this conversation. Choose the Hard Way is a podcast about how doing hard things is fun and builds stronger humans. If you haven’t done this already, now would be a great time to help me help you. To do that, just hit subscribe and rate the show five stars on Apple Podcasts or Spotify and share this episode with someone you care about. To be in touch, DM me @hardwaypod on Instagram. This episode is brought to you by Movemint. If you’ve ever registered for a bike ride, run or charity event like a walk-a-thon, you know the experience usually sucks. Movemint is a new events registration platform that makes event discovery, registration and management a better, more cost effective and delightful experience for event promoters and customers. It’s making a broken and bad experience so much better that I knew I had to get involved and that’s why I’m an advisor to the company. If you’re an event promoter, go to www.movemint.cc to learn more. Thanks to our sponsors: The Better Lab Movemint

Duration:01:00:56

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Michael Marckx - Belgian Waffle Ride Founder

1/17/2024
Michael Marckx is the founder and CEO of the Belgian Waffle Ride, one of the biggest and most influential multi-surface, gravelish series in the world. He’s a prime mover behind what has become today’s booming gravel scene and wow, this guy has lived what would be 20 lives the average human. We talk everything that went into the birth of the BWR including Michael’s time as CEO of a publicly traded company, his other career as a professional musician, his other other career as a professional triathlete during the golden age of the sport when Kenny Souza had unrivaled hair and Mark Allen and Dave Scott were battling it out for the Ironman and Michael’s childhood in an environment where running marathons when you were 12 was normal. Most importantly, we talk about why you should pick something hard to do with friends and go do it. That’s what I did last fall when I did the BWR Kansas Wafer with the No Pressure No Diamonds crew and got a taste of the Belgian Waffle magic then swore I would never go back and am now going back. Choose the Hard Way is the show about how hard things build stronger humans who have more fun. Please help more people find this podcast. To do that, just hit subscribe and rate the show five stars on Apple Podcasts or Spotify and share this episode with someone you care about. We are in year six of Choose the Hard Way and it’s going to be a big one with some amazing guests and the chance for us to spend some time together as a community at a few gatherings and live events. To make it all happen I’m open to mission-aligned sponsors I’d be proud to share with my audience directly supporting the show this season. If you or someone you know have a company that wants to reach the high-achieving, high-influence, highly networked people who listen to this show and do amazing things, then send a DM to @hardwaypod or email us at choosethehardway@gmail.com. I’m also ready to retire the Giant TCX cyclocross bike I’ve been using to race gravel since 2015 and I’m ready for a new ride. If you’re in the industry and work for a company that makes an amazing bike you’d like me to race and talk about this year, holler at me and let’s make it happen. Finally, I’m going to have big news to share some time in the next few episodes about the business I started that I’ve quietly been working on for the past 18 months. We are getting ready to publicly release our product and I want to give you all the opportunity to be among the first to get to try it. Go to choosethehardway.com to sign up for the newsletter and if there’s someone you think would make a great guest, DM @hardwaypod or send an email to choosethehardway@gmail.com. To learn more about BWR go to @belgianwaffleride and you can find Michael gram’ing @ibemmx.

Duration:01:03:01

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Joe Goettl: Gravel Pro Cyclist x YouTuber on Making it as a Privateer

12/21/2023
Joe Goettl grew up working on a farm, almost made it as a pro snowboarder and went deep into competitive running--until he hit an endless string of injuries that doctors said would end his athletic career. Here we are in 2023 and Joe is a rising YouTuber & pro cyclist knocking on the door of gravel greatness. During the week, Joe trains, coaches athletes and works a heavy schedule in retail to fund the costs of his gravel program that his sponsors don’t cover. On the weekends, Joe travels the nation to race and has come within spitting distance of podiums at gravel majors like the Belgian Waffle Ride Utah. Hailing from the land of sky blue waters, Joe is a true privateer pursuing the American gravel dream, cool as a mountain stream. This is the story of gravel minus sprinter vans, $400,000 motor homes, World Tour pedigrees and a marketing team manufacturing a grassroots and raw approach to the sport. This is the gritty and raw approach to the sport. You can find Joe @jgoettl2.0 on Instagram. Watch on YouTube Sign up for the Hard Way Newsletter - - - - - - - - - - Choose The Hard Way Website | Instagram Andrew Vontz LinkedIn

Duration:01:02:04

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Kimo Seymour - Building the LifeTime Grand Prix + Endurance in Life, Business & Sport

12/8/2023
One day you wake up and a thing called the Life Time Grand Prix exists and two years later it’s all anyone who follows pro cycling in America can talk about. How did we get here? And what’s next? Today, we find out. Kimo Seymour is the Senior Vice President of Media and Events at Life Time and the creator of the Life Time Grand Prix. He’s also an endurance sports overachieve with 11 IRONMAN finishes and nine smoking fast times at the Leadville 100 mountain bike race to his credit. Life Time has transformed the level of competition in offroad racing, birthed an entirely new hybrid pro racing series that mixes disciplines in a way we’ve never seen before in pro cycling and has created a content and coverage flywheel that is turning heads. The Grand Prix brings together an exclusive group of professional cyclists who compete in a series of legendary and soon to be legendary mountain bike and gravel races. In the process, they’ve attracted top talent from across all cycling disciplines and created a vibe you won’t find anywhere else in pro cycling. Kimo and his team have been instrumental in making it happen and Alex Howes plays an unexpected and crucial role. We go deep. We go kiting. We talk sepsis, kiting and epic feats of endurance. It’s everything we’ve dreamed of and more. Kimo has been one of my most requested guests and I’m excited to share this interview with you. We’re getting close to 200 5-star ratings and whether you’re a long-time listener or a new one, please take a moment and help me bring you more awesome guests you want to hear. When you hit 5 stars, you help make it happen. Thank you. Choose the Hard Way is the podcast about how hard things build stronger humans who have more fun. I love hearing from you so if you want to let me know what you think of this episode or who you’d like to hear from next, DM me @hardwaypod. To learn more about the Life Time Grand Prix, go to @lifetimegrandprix. Watch on YouTube Sign up for the Hard Way Newsletter - - - - - - - - - - Choose The Hard Way Website | Instagram Andrew Vontz LinkedIn

Duration:01:06:44

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Alexis Skarda - Pro Cyclist, National Champion, Music Producer + DJ

11/22/2023
Alexis Skarda is a professional cyclist who rides for the Santa Cruz HtSqd and is the US Marathon National Cross-Country Mountain Bike Champion, a Lifetime Grand Prix racer, an emerging electronic music artist and she’s a formidable force on the 1s and 2s as a DJ as well as a podium threat at any gravel race she enters. I love to produce electronic music, I love to DJ and I love to ride bikes, so I’m really excited to share today’s episode with you. As a journalist, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing and writing about artists like The Crystal Method, Daft Punk and Chris Cornell. And from time to time I got to write about and ride with world class musicians who loved to ride bikes like Tim Commerford, the bass player for Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine. But I’ve never written about a high-level pro cyclist who also puts out incredible music. I’m excited to get to do that in this interview. If you’d like to learn more about Alexis and hear some of her music go to @alexisskarda on Instagram. Watch on YouTube Sign up for the Hard Way Newsletter - - - - - - - - - - Choose The Hard Way Website | Instagram Andrew Vontz LinkedIn

Duration:01:12:05

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Drew Dillman & Dylan Johnson - Gravel Racing 90210 -- The Lifetime Grand Prix, BWR and Beyond

11/8/2023
Dylan Johnson and Drew Dillman join @vontz to talk about pro gravel racing 90210 and the fun they had battling for 17th place at the final race of the Lifetime Grand Prix series, Big Sugar down in Bentonville, Arkansas, home of Walmart and the global epicenter of competitive cycling. We get into the past, present and future of pro gravel, why community matters, especially if you’re going to travel somewhere to compete, and more. Dylan and Drew are ½ of the Bonk Bros podcast, superstar YouTubers and run Ignition Coaching together. Choose the Hard Way is the podcast about how doing hard things is fun and builds stronger humans. On Episode 100 we talked about finding something hard to do with friends and letting it rip. That’s the core of the storied friendship and rivalry between Dylan and Drew. And so can you. What are you getting after next and who are you doing it with? Thanks for listening and please take a moment to rate this show 5 stars on apple podcasts, spotify or wherever you listen. Find Drew @raddadizzle and Dylan @dylanjawnson on social. Watch on YouTube Sign up for the Hard Way Newsletter - - - - - - - - - - Choose The Hard Way Website | Instagram Andrew Vontz LinkedIn Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher

Duration:01:24:57

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Joe De Sena Spartan Race Founder & CEO - Exclusive: Near Death Wipeouts in Life & Business

10/24/2023
Joe De Sena is the founder and CEO of Spartan and creator of the Spartan Race and the infamous Death Race. After he created a hugely successful Wall Street trading firm, Joe left finance behind in 2001 to build a new life and a new business from a farm in rural Vermont. His goal was to change 100 million lives through experiences like those he had competing in Ironmans, 300-mile runs and adventure races around the world. Joe has created a lot of success, a lot of wealth and a lot of transformation. And there’s more to the story. In this interview, for the first time he shares about the financial catastrophe the Spartan Race faced during the pandemic, the brushes with death he has had in his sporting endeavors, why he continually seeks new challenges and how he deals with one of the most difficult challenges in the human experience--getting someone to use the off button on a phone. Thank you to my friend Randy Hetrick, the founder and chairman of the human performance company TRX and now founder and CEO of OutFit for connecting me to Joe to make this interview happen. You can learn more about Joe and Spartan Race at www.jodesena.com and @spartan on social. Watch on YouTube Sign up for the Hard Way Newsletter - - - - - - - - - - Choose The Hard Way Website | Instagram Andrew Vontz LinkedIn Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher

Duration:00:56:16

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@tristantakephoto on Racing 800 Miles Across Morocco’s Atlas Mountains & Selling Everything to Start the Life He Wanted

10/4/2023
Tristan Cardew, aka @tristantakephoto, sold everything and moved from Sydney, Australia to Girona, Spain to build a life that revolved around cycling and visual storytelling. Five years later, he’s racing gravel and road at a high level and has built the creative career he dreamed about making happen. His YouTube channel, TristanTakeVideo, has more than three million views and is built around training with Tour de France stage winners, interviewing the world’s best riders and going behind the scenes with teams at the top level of the sport. Tristan is also a standout documentary filmmaker and when I saw his self-shot doc about racing the Atlas Mountain Race, one of the toughest bikepacking tests on the planet, I knew I had to have him on Choose the Hard Way. The race is more than 800 miles long with 65,000 feet of climbing across remote and absolutely brutal terrain. Completing it is a feat. Making a compelling self-shot documentary while racing it is a next-level achievement. I was excited to have this chance to talk to Tristan about his path as a creative, the story behind his Atlas Race doc, explore the question of how much is enough, and to get a preview of his upcoming documentary about racing the 466-mile Badlands gravel race in Spain. Find Tristan on Instagram @tristantakephoto and check out his YouTube channel, TristanTakeVideo. Choose the Hard Way is a podcast about how doing hard things is fun and builds stronger humans. If you haven’t done this already, now would be a great time to help me help you. To do that, just hit subscribe and rate the show five stars on Apple Podcasts or Spotify and share this episode with someone you care about. Go to choosethehardway.com to sign up for the newsletter and shoot me a DM @hardwaypod or send an email to choosethehardway@gmail.com to let me know what you dig in this conversation with Tristan. I love hearing from you and appreciate everyone who has reached out, keep it coming! Watch on YouTube Sign up for the Hard Way Newsletter - - - - - - - - - - Choose The Hard Way Website | Instagram Andrew Vontz LinkedIn Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher

Duration:00:59:00

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#100 - Hard Things Build Stronger Humans Who Have More Fun - Andrew Vontz x @Blakeoftoday

9/27/2023
Six years ago, I launched Choose the Hard Way to inspire more people to embrace the idea that doing hard things builds stronger humans who have more fun. My guests are among the very best in the world at what they do and I’ve been lucky that they’ve graciously shared their stories here. To celebrate 100 episodes, I’m doing something different and sharing more of my story--a story about a friendship that has pushed me to do hard things for 15 years and counting. This podcast isn’t about hacks, tricks and shortcuts. It’s about the powerful things that happen when you choose the hard way--and I hope my guest’s stories inspire you to go do hard things with people you love and have some fun. That’s the best part of life and it’s available to everyone willing to answer the call to adventure. I have a request: please pick something challenging to do, invite a friend to do it with you and leave a comment or shoot a DM to @hardwaypod on social and tell me how it went. Joining me today is @blakeoftoday. In the past year, Blake has become one of the most popular storytellers on Instagram because of his distinctive storytelling style focused on family, fatherhood and jiu-jitsu. He’s the host of the Grappling with Fatherhood podcast, the author of the Blakeoftoday substack and one of the only humans I know who organically grew his Instagram following from less than a thousand followers to nearly 200k followers in a year. Blake has joined me on this podcast in the past to deconstruct our path to podium finishes at the gravel race now known as the Unbound 100 in 2014 and 2015. Today, we’re talking about how our chance meeting while volunteering at a shelter for unhoused people in downtown Los Angeles led us to start doing workouts at a park in Silverlake that were brutal and would have been total nonsense if they hadn’t been so much fun--and how that led to friendship, rivalry and both of us pushing each other to go bigger and bigger. And so can you. Choose the Hard Way is the podcast about how doing hard things builds stronger humans who have more fun. Please help more people find this podcast. To do that, just hit subscribe and rate the show five stars on Apple Podcasts or Spotify and share this episode with a friend. We are 100 episodes deep and I really appreciate all of your support. Go to choosethehardway.com to sign up for the newsletter and if there’s someone you think would make a great guest, DM @hardwaypod. Choose The Hard Way is a Big Truck Production. Anthony Palmer at Palm Tree Pod Co is the producer and editor and Emily Miles is head of digital and marketing. Hekla Projects founder Jeffrey Nebolini is the world-renowned designer behind our brand identity and the Choose the Hard Way logo. The content for this show is created by @vontz.

Duration:00:58:21

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Pete Stetina: the OG Gravel Pro on Racing while Parenting, Where Gravel is Headed & Exiting the World Tour to Enter a Van

9/13/2023
Pete Stetina grew up in a famous cycling family and became a highly accomplished pro road racer who raced the Giro D’Italia four times, the Tour de France twice and the Vuelta Espana twice. When he started dabbling in gravel racing, in 2019, he was still doing 80 race days a year in the World Tour while winning iconic events like the original recipe Belgian Waffle Ride. That’s when he pulled the ripcord on what most cyclists would consider a dream career to pursue new frontiers on the dirt full time. Pete is a big character in the grand story of gravel racing and has animated the many conversations about the present and future of the sport while nabbing top results. Pete has been interviewed and written about ad infinitum and there’s a lot more to his story than what you’ve heard so far and have seen on social media. I caught up with Pete a few days after the first ever Gravel National Championship, which he crashed out of early on. I’m excited to bring this conversation to you. It covers a lot of new ground and I hope it gives you a more dimensionalized look at Pete as a human being, parent and competitor. You can find Pete on Instagram @pstetina. Watch on YouTube Sign up for the Hard Way Newsletter - - - - - - - - - - Choose The Hard Way Website | Instagram Andrew Vontz LinkedIn Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher

Duration:01:11:57

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Vince Murdock: Team Alpha Male MMA fighter on Brain Surgery, The Ultimate Fighter & Building an Inclusive Cycling Community

9/6/2023
Vince Murdock is a professional mixed martial arts fighter who came up from difficult circumstances and worked his entire life to get into the UFC. When he finally got the call, a pre-fight brain scan showed he had Moyamoya disease and a life-threatening arterial blockage. Following brain surgery that involved removing a quarter of his skull, Vince’s perspective on life radically shifted. He became a father, got into cycling to rehab from surgery and formed an inclusive community, the Enjoy Cycling Club, to counter the elitism and exclusion that’s commonplace in competitive cycling. Vince trains at Team Alpha Male under the supervision of multiple former UFC title belt holders and champions including Cody No Love Gabrandt and team founder and owner The California Kid, Urijah Faber. Vince has a unique perspective on life and deep wisdom from the hardships he has persevered through both before and after his surgery. He is a remarkable human and I am deeply grateful for what he shares in this interview. It really moved me. I’m dedicating this episode to my good friend Aaron Burby and his friends and family. Aaron suddenly died from complications related to undiagnosed Moyamoya disease in 2020. He has been with me every day since then and he always will be. Like Vince, Aaron made the people around him feel loved and special, he was a gifted community builder, went full gas after his goals in life and expected the people he loved to give everything to what they valued. Special thanks to past Choose the Hard Way guest Derek Teel from Dialed Health for connecting me to Vince. This is a special conversation and I’m grateful to be able to share it with you all. Vince Murdock Instagram Watch on YouTube Sign up for the Hard Way Newsletter - - - - - - - - - - Choose The Hard Way Website | Instagram Andrew Vontz LinkedIn Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher

Duration:00:53:57

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Drew Dillman: Pro Cyclist, Creator, Entrepreneur & Soon to Be Gravel Racing Icon

8/30/2023
Drew Dillman is a pro cyclist who, until now, has focused on cyclocross and criterium racing. In recent months, Drew has aimed for the fences like Babe Ruth and hyped his plans to catapult into the LifeTime Grand Prix series and become a gravel icon. He co-hosts the Matchbox and Bonk Bros podcasts and is co-founder of Ignition Coach Co, a coaching company for endurance athletes. Drew races for the Texas Roadhouse team and is a long-time YouTube creator focused on taking viewers inside the nuances of pro crit and cyclocross racing. Learn more about Ignition Coaching and Drew on Instagram @raddaddizzle. Drew Dillman YouTube | Instagram Watch on YouTube Sign up for the Hard Way Newsletter - - - - - - - - - - Choose The Hard Way Website | Instagram Andrew Vontz LinkedIn Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher

Duration:01:12:07

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Iz King: From Wall Street to Pro Athlete & Creating a Life and Career on an Unmarked Course

8/23/2023
Iz King left Wall Street to pedal for gold on gravel roads and trails across America as a pro cyclist in the LifeTime Grand Prix. She played D1 soccer for Columbia University where she was the team captain, traded equities for UBS then got into racing triathlons while completing her MBA at UCLA. So what leads someone to step off the fintech yellow brick road to take 165-mile weekday rides from Santa Monica to Ojai and back? Let’s find out. Iz’s story is complex and we get into the unexpected bumps and broken backs she has encountered along the way. To learn more about Iz go to @king_iz on Instagram or kingiz.com. Watch on YouTube Sign up for the Hard Way Newsletter - - - - - - - - - - Choose The Hard Way Website | Instagram Andrew Vontz LinkedIn Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher

Duration:01:12:52

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Michelle “MACE” Curran: ex USAF Thunderbird Lead Soloist, F16 Fighter Pilot, Endurance Athlete & Entrepreneur

8/16/2023
Michelle Curran, call sign MACE, spent three years flying in the United States Air Force Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team and was the lead soloist for two of those years flying on the outer left wing of the delta formation. Michelle was the fifth woman ever to be a member of the Thunderbirds and while deployed as a fighter pilot in Afghanistan in 2016, she acquired 163 combat hours. When Michelle left the Thunderbirds in 2021 she continued to pursue her passion for inspiring and motivating people in a slightly different format. Today she’s a keynote speaker and the author of the children’s book "Upside Down Dreams" and a forthcoming biography. Michelle has done many fantastic podcast appearances about leadership and lessons learned from her time in combat and with the Thunderbirds. In this interview, we go deep on new topics including risk management, vulnerability, the power of extraordinary effort, why you must become an expert learner to become the very best at anything, and the role mountaineering, running and strength training played in helping Michelle prepare for and heal from the physical demands of pulling 9 G’s while on the road 240 days a year with the Thunderbirds and more. My uncles used to take me to the airshow at Richards Gebauer air base outside Kansas City every summer when I was a kid and watching the United States Air Force Thunderbirds was one of the most truly awe inspiring things I have ever experienced. This one is extra special for me and I’m really excited to share it with you. Special thank you to former Choose the Hard Way guest Ben Davis, the author, former Navy SEAL and VOAG executive director for connecting me to Michelle, very much appreciated. You can catch my interview with Ben in the archives. You can learn more about Michelle at macecurran.com or on Instagram @mace_curran. Michelle Curran Website | Instagram Watch on YouTube Sign up for the Hard Way Newsletter - - - - - - - - - - Choose The Hard Way Website | Instagram Andrew Vontz LinkedIn Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher

Duration:01:08:21

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Derek Teel: Dialed Health Founder & former Pro Downhill & Enduro MTB Racer on Building Strength & Finding Balance in Sport, Life & Business

8/9/2023
With years of cycling and endurance experience under his belt, Derek Teel now dedicates his life to providing strength training programs and coaching through his app and platform dialedhealth.com, helping cyclists around the world become healthier and perform better. In this episode, we'll dive into Derek's journey from building bike ramps and working out in his parents' garage with p90x, to becoming a successful entrepreneur running his business, Dialed Health. We'll discuss the highs and lows of his racing career and learn how he transitioned from being a pro downhill & enduro mountain bike racer to a sought-after strength coach who is blowing up on Instagram. Hear about Derek’s experience tackling an Everest challenge on his mountain bike, a double Everest ride on his road bike, why he is focusing exclusively on gravel racing and how he keeps pushing for more as a business owner, family man, and athlete. You can learn more about Derek at dialedhealth.com. Derek Teel Instagram | YouTube | Podcast | Website Watch on YouTube Sign up for the Hard Way Newsletter - - - - - - - - - - Choose The Hard Way Website | Instagram Andrew Vontz LinkedIn Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher

Duration:01:14:12

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Pro Cyclist Kerry Werner on the Rise of Gravel, the Contraction of Cross, the Lifetime Grand Prix & Creator Life

8/2/2023
Kerry Werner was living the hardcore multi-discipline pro cyclist life long before it was cool and has been bringing viewers inside the races on YouTube for nearly a decade. During that time, he has gone from an ace mountain bike pro to one of the brightest American stars in cyclocross to taking the now inevitable leap into the Belgian Waffle Ride series and Lifetime Grand Prix. As pro cycling and creator life on YouTube have evolved, so has Kerry and his breakfast habits which have seen him transform from a pancake evangelist into just another cold cereal muncher. I loved getting to hear his point of view on those topics and his controversial course tape clotheslining during the 2019 cyclocross National Championships. You can find Kerry on YouTube and on Instagram @kerryw24. Choose the Hard Way is a podcast about how doing hard things is fun. Please help more people find this podcast. To do that, just hit subscribe and rate the show five stars on Apple Podcasts or Spotify and share this episode with someone you care about. Go to choosethehardway.com to sign up for the newsletter and if there’s someone you think would make a great guest, please send a note to choosethehardway@gmail.com or @hardwaypod on social. In This Episode: Kerry Werner Instagram | YouTube Watch on YouTube Sign up for the Hard Way Newsletter - - - - - - - - - - Choose The Hard Way Website | Instagram Andrew Vontz LinkedIn Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher

Duration:01:06:56

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Unbound XL Winner Kristen Legan + Gravel Legend & Author Nick Legan

7/26/2023
Unbound XL winner Kristen Legan & Gravel legend Nick Legan on racing, adventure, bikepacking and teamwork in sport, life and marriage as lived at Unbound Gravel, Ride the Divide, TransIowa and more. The inside line on the months of prep, recon and planning that went into Unbound XL, why Kristen and Nick like to go deep, why they choose the hard way and recommend that you do, too. Kristen Legan won the 350-mile, 2023 Unbound XL gravel race in 26 hours and six minutes, beating her closest competitor by nearly two full hours. She modestly describes herself as a sometimes-pro racer who competes in gravel and endurance mountain bike races with a healthy heaping of bikepacking in the mix. She also leads communications for Shimano North America and Mosaic cycles and works with endurance athletes of all kidneys through her coaching company, Rambleur. Nick Legan has worked as WorldTour and Olympic mechanic, a tech editor and now leads gravel marketing for Shimano. He’s completed the Tour Divide, Trans Iowa, Unbound XL and Unbound 200 five times. He’s also the author of “Gravel Cycling: The Complete Guide to Gravel Racing and Adventure Bikepacking.” If memory serves me correctly, the first time I did the Unbound 100 back in 2013, Nick and Kristen were there. You can watch a chunk of Kristen’s Unbound XL victory in the Vegan Cyclist’s video about the event, he closely trailed her for much of the race before he tapped out and she went on to win. Nick has graciously helped me with a decade’s-worth of tech questions about my gear for which I’m deeply grateful and I’m excited to bring this conversation to you today where we cover everything about Kristen and Nick’s meticulous preparation, planning and teamwork to put Kristen in the best possible position to execute to the best of her ability on race day at Unbound XL and dive into many of their other adventures and how Kristen is working with athletes through her coaching company. Find Kristen on social @KPLegan and learn more about her coaching practice at rambleur.com and find Nick @nlegan and on bookshelves everywhere if bookshelves still exist, otherwise find him on Amazon and buy his awesome book. In This Episode: Kristen Legan Instagram Nick Legan Instagram Watch on YouTube Sign up for the Hard Way Newsletter - - - - - - - - - - Choose The Hard Way Website | Instagram Andrew Vontz LinkedIn Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher

Duration:01:11:17