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Jan 25, 2022

This week we sit down with the queen of color herself, Isabel King to learn about her road to gravel from smashing Los Angeles area QOM's. 

Isabel King Web | Instagram

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Automated transcription, please excuse the typos:

Isabel King

[00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. This week on the podcast, we've got one of gravel's most colorful athletes, literally and figuratively. In a few moments, I'm going to be joined by Isabel king. , Santa Monica, California professional gravel athlete, who got her start in a very interesting way.

The conversation actually builds nicely on our conversation from last week with Chris Schroeder and the interesting way in which athletes are creating opportunities for themselves to race professionally in this new world of gravel. I personally became aware of Isabel through our shared relationship with Panner racer tires and I became a big fan of observing what she was doing via Instagram. As he's all has got a kind word to share and is always rocking some powerful kit out there on the trails, in and around Los Angeles. She had a breakout year in the dirt in 2021 and is really looking forward to smashing some things in 2022. With all that said let's jump right into my interview with Izzy.

Isabel, welcome to the show.

[00:01:09] Isabel King: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me., .

[00:01:11] Craig Dalton: I'm excited to dig in with you a little bit, as we always start out on the gravel ride podcast, let's just find out a little bit about how you got into cycling in the first place.

[00:01:20] Isabel King: Ooh, always a good question to start with. Cycling was definitely not not my plan since a child. I kind of joked that I fell into this haphazardly five years ago. I could not have predicted I would be where I am today. Uh, so I grew up as a. Uh, as a soccer player, uh, I played soccer through college.

So I was a D one soccer player at Columbia and I graduated as a psychology major and jumped into the world of finance. So I worked on the trading floor at UBS for four years in New York city. Before deciding that I wanted to get a more formal, uh, finance education. So I applied to business schools ended up getting into UCLA Anderson.

And moved to Los Angeles and kind of in that process and the summer before starting business school I quit my job in, in December and started school in August. And so I had a few months and I signed up for a triathlon clipped into a road bike for the first time. And that kind of spiraled me down into this endurance world which has been fun.

So I am now chasing a dream that I didn't know I had, uh, about two years ago.

[00:02:23] Craig Dalton: Amazing. It's so funny how that like break as a adults going back to business school, whether it's, you know, for your MBA or graduate school, it just create does create a pocket of exploration for a lot of people. I find.

[00:02:35] Isabel King: Yeah, it was great. I don't think, I mean, I stayed active. I ran marathons after, because it's kind of hard. You finished soccer and it's hard. You play for a few, a few, uh, you know, maybe a few months in those co-ed leagues in New York city where you're just waiting for your ACL to get torn by someone that used to be fast.

Uh, so I switched to running because it was easier. You just need to choose in yourself. And then when I had the time to kind of. To have a bike. And I moved back to San Francisco and kind of discovered all of those roads in the, in the, you know, the places I would hike and go as a child, I can now ride my bike.

And that was kind of, that was kind of it for me. I knew I'd found something that I was going to do kind of forever, which is fun.

[00:03:18] Craig Dalton: That's awesome. So you were back in the bay area before you went down to Los Angeles.

[00:03:22] Isabel King: I grew up in San Francisco, so I grew up right outside of the Presidio. And then, uh, was now I'm ended up, I stayed in Los Angeles. Again, you grow up with the Southern California versus Northern California bias. But then you spend a little bit of time in LA and you're like, Ooh, this is pretty nice down here.

[00:03:39] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. As the listener knows, I spend a lot of time down in Topanga because my wife's family grew up down there and I used to be really down on LA. I thought as the cliche goes, LA sucks for riding. And then you actually explore those canyons around Malibu and Topanga. And you're just like, this is world-class.

[00:03:55] Isabel King: Like I'm incredibly thankful that UCLA is, is kind of west side. And I fell into that and I met some people riding and they were able to show me where to go. And, you know, from friends that knew me before riding or people that have grown up in LA they're like, where are you? I'm like, honestly, I'm not very far from your house.

You just wouldn't really go there. If you don't ride a bike or a motorcycle or have a, you know, a super fancy car and to go rip up these canyons, which just fine.

[00:04:21] Craig Dalton: Yeah. That's exactly it. So you, you discovered triathlon, you brought it down to school with you, and then it sounds like you sort of discovered you were fast.

[00:04:29] Isabel King: It's a good way to put it. I, uh, did my first triathlon. About a week before school started was the Donner triathlon up in Tahoe and I won and I was like, wow, I like being fast at things. That was great. And I ended up doing, I did the Boulder half iron man the day before school started. So I showed up to business school with the Sharpie number on my calf and the iron man bracelet, like still on.

So I was kind of immediately labeled as this like triathlon girl, which was very interesting because I was super new at it, but. I continued to train through school. Had a coach and balance a 20 hour training week with full-time school and full-time networking, which is, uh, going to the bar with your friends.

And then, uh, in my, I think it was my fourth half iron man. I won the Maryland half Ironman, which qualifies you to compete as a professional. So then I was kind of posed with an interesting juxtaposition of do I, you know, Continue my MBA I'd finish one year of school. Do I finish that or do I kind of jump into this new world that I'd discovered?

For me, you know, any career that has to do with your body can be taken away at any moment. So I wanted to make sure that I finished my MBA before kind of jumping into any pro athletic world. And so finished my MBA in the end of 2019. And the plan was to compete as a pro triathlete, uh, unfortunately, or fortunately the pandemic kind of had different plans for that. So I had to kind of take a step back And say, okay, I'm going to be a pro athlete in, in a time with no racing. What does that mean? And what do I actually want out of this? And that is kind of how I stumbled into, uh, the off-road and, and bikes. Only gravel world of racing.

[00:06:09] Craig Dalton: And when you were thinking about approach triathlete career, obviously you've got to finance that and you would be on your way up at that point. Had you kind of cobbled together enough resources to cover your expenses, et cetera, and go for it.

[00:06:23] Isabel King: So it's an interesting, I think I had saved from working in finance in New York. I had saved kind of enough. I was like, I'll give myself a year and you know, that's then if it's not working out enough, I haven't managed to get sustainable sponsorship. Then I'll have to go back to working, uh, a regular person job.

But it was interesting in the pandemic or I guess for me approaching it, like you go to business school and you learn, uh, originally I was there to learn. I wanted to transition to FinTech, but then also got to live a bit into the brand building classes and marketing and things like that.

And so, in the world I am now. You can, you can actually use that to build a brand. So now I kind of treat myself as a business entity and who is Isabelle king. And what are the, what are the brands that I want to work with and partner with to kind of make this a sustainable career going forward.

[00:07:14] Craig Dalton: So you got out of business school in 2019 and tending to kind of hit some more of that. More of the professional triathletes seen nothing's happening, you can't race. do you do?

[00:07:24] Isabel King: Uh, so I. Came clean with myself that I was a terrible swimmer. I was only good at triathlon because when I came out of the water, nine, 10 minutes back, I could catch people when I was on the bike. So I kind of said, okay, maybe if I actually just focus on only cycling I could be pretty good at this and see where that takes me.

So originally the goal in 2020 was to, was to try and sign with the, uh, pro road racing team. I use Strava kind of as my competitive outlet. So in 2020 I got over a thousand QoS, which people have heard me talk about this before, but it was fun. I just went out. I had a little quarantine bevel. I'm lucky.

LA is such an incredible place for cycling that there's always someone faster than you. And so my little group of Guy friends was always ready to try and help me pay and go for these big climbs in Malibu. So I got a little bit of attention with that and talk to a few road teams. And, and the biggest feedback I got was like, we need you to do some sort of racing.

And I was like, well, there is no racing. I'm a cat five, according to USA cycling. That's still true today. But I was actually able to get some traction just saying, okay, if I take a step back. And look at this new private tier model that people are doing in the gravel world. Maybe I can combine the strength that I have on the road with the little bit of mountain bike and technical ability that I have, and, and, uh, maybe go at it on my own and race the races I want to race and build the brand that I want to build and wear bright orange and see how that works out.

[00:08:51] Craig Dalton: Yeah, that's probably something we should drill into this idea of your brand. And I think I became aware of you through the Panorai racer program

[00:08:59] Isabel King: Yeah.

[00:09:00] Craig Dalton: and we got connected there and I was like, how is it that I've never seen this woman before? Because I totally appreciate your social media.

[00:09:09] Isabel King: Oh,

[00:09:09] Craig Dalton: just fun and colorful.

It makes me want to get out and ride, but that's sort of your hallmark now. Like I always feel like you're wearing a different rad, colorful Jersey to express yourself. Do you want to get into that a little bit? And how you think about that as part of your, your branding?

[00:09:23] Isabel King: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like coming as someone that's relatively new in the cycling world. One thing that I definitely noticed was once, once your fast, you kind of are this like untouchable fast being that wears all black and looks really good. And doesn't really say hi to people necessarily. And that shows up to the group bride and keeps her sunglasses on the whole time and things like that.

And I. I think that's something that I want to change in cycling and that you can be a little bit unconventional. You can kind of wear the, the crazy colors. And my favorite color happened to be orange, even before I started riding bikes, which is turned into a, kind of a fun version of the brand, but also just the ability.

Like I think I approach this so much as it's such a unique opportunity in my life where I get to go and ride my bike. Twenty-five to 30 hours a week. And if I can share that excitement and hopefully inspire others to get on their bike, maybe when they don't feel like it, or, you know, when they're having a bad day.

I think that's really important. I think with social media, a lot of people only share. The good stuff and put out this presence of, you know, my life is flawless. And so I think it's important to share both sides of those. You know, the smiles are always real, but then also like the other side of it too I think is really important.

And then also In the female cycling world. I think there are the pro female women that ride in the Peloton that are so fast and they post what the team wants them to post. And they don't really, you know, outside of that brand, they don't really do much because they're focusing on racing and that's great.

And then the other side kind of the polar end of the spectrum is the women that You have a lot of followers, but are also very well endowed and don't normally ride their bike, their helmets usually off and are posed very nicely on the bike and that's fine. But I think there's somewhere in the middle ground where you can be a female cyclist and you can be really fast, but you can also be engaging on social media.

And I think that little middle ground is kind of where I've found success within this.

[00:11:20] Craig Dalton: Nice. Yeah. I can imagine that's sort of a, it's just a delicate balance there. Right? Cause people love to hate on you and not you specifically, but one in social media. Yeah. So it's tough. It's tough being sort of a public figure regardless of what you're doing.

[00:11:34] Isabel King: I was thinking it's fine, honestly. Like I think it's super flattering. If you get made fun of, and like a cycling meme account, you're like, oh, I don't know. Again, like the moment that you take yourself too seriously, you have to take a step back and be like, we're riding around in stretchy clothing on like ridiculously expensive, tiny bikes. Like this is silly. Like if you take yourself that seriously, like please take a step back and, and, Uh, you know, have a

[00:12:01] Craig Dalton: I think, I think even more so when we're riding in the dirt too, to add that element of just being a kid getting dirty. So you're smashing up smashing, going uphill, killing a queen of the mountains around the Los Angeles area. Who gave you the first gravel bike to go try Sullivan Ridge or whatever your first ride was.

[00:12:20] Isabel King: Yeah. It took me a while. Actually. I was floundering kind of made mid end of 2020 being like a, got really fast and I haven't gotten any traction. I feel like what I'm doing is cool. And I, you know, I did a few challenges where I raised a lot of money. I raised, uh, over $20,000 for the UCLA health health care fund by riding my bike for three days in a row.

And then I partnered. With Reggie Miller and Castelli, we did, uh, say their names Jersey, which ended up the proceeds, went to equal justice initiative. And though we raised over $70,000. So I felt like I was trying to do more with the bike, but still was kind of spinning my wheels and not getting traction.

So I. Resorted back to the business school side of the things I made it a PowerPoint deck and said, this is who I am. This is what I would want to do if you gave me a bike. And I reached out on LinkedIn, uh, to the president of canyon and said hi, this is me. Uh, more, it was also just kind of like he's had a really interesting career just in the bike industry.

And so I was curious if there was any chance that he answered the email. Maybe just to see if he had any advice for me. And if you ever have the opportunity to meet Blair Karch, he's a wonderful human being. He answered pretty immediately and said, here's my cell phone. Give me a call. We talked on Friday afternoon for an hour and it wasn't even to get, you know, a canyon partnership.

It was.

just, he gave me a book recommendation and he connected me with a few, you know, You know, a few team directors in the pro world, and then also a few other people that he had worked with in the past. And so I think for me that willingness to kind of take a chance on a stranger. Was kind of What led me to follow up with Ghanian and partner partner with them, uh, for the 2020 season.

Which was funny originally my contract for last year was go, go chase Strava QMS, and do it on our bikes and, and, you know, have fun with that. And then I started showing up to these races and they were like, oh, this worked out nicely. So it's fun. So I'm incredibly, incredibly thankful for Blair, for answering.

You know, random LinkedIn message from from a total stranger and giving me a chance.

[00:14:28] Craig Dalton: What was it about the gravel cycling that has made you sort of want to pursue that more and start entering some of the big events?

[00:14:35] Isabel King: Yeah. I think I'd seen it from a distance for me. Like I said, kind of beginning of 2020, when I switched from the triathlon world, the next goal was pro cyclist. Because I didn't have the USA cycling category upgrades, or, and couldn't really do that in a pandemic. I had also gotten into mountain biking.

Which I loved kind of, as you mentioned before, like the get yo getting dirty and kind of back to being a child again, like that was so much more my world than the arrow is everything by the racing, you know, the rocket ship of a bike and get the disc and things like that. But mountain bikes are so technical.

And at the top of the level, if I want to be the best in the sport, I'm never going to be able to catch up to a Kate Courtney or someone like that. Even if physically I could, the technical skills that she's built over years and years and years are just so much greater than anything that I have. And so kind of serendipitously this gravel world has also exploded and it combines, you know, What the road racing world, kind of what I was looking for in it, in that, in the longer kind of, you know, mass start environment of it.

And then it adds to the fun, drink a beer with your friends after people have mustaches and, and, you know, you all have dirt, you know, at the end. And I think, I think that's fun.

[00:15:53] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Where do you, when now, when it comes to the technical parts of gravel riding, how do you feel like you fare on the spectrum of athletes that you compete against?

[00:16:01] Isabel King: I think probably my proudest realization last year, BWR, whichever what he says, I guess the video was, it's not a gravel race, but everyone says, you know, It's a lie to roadies race and things like that. But the podium was for mountain bike women and myself, and I was kind of like, Ooh, that's good.

That means at least of all the people that don't have, don't have a mountain bike background. I was the fastest of them, which I was pretty proud of. So it's definitely coming along. I think it's amazing how much. Progress you can make. And what these bikes can do. You just have to let them the moment that you're scared of the moment that you crash is my, uh, but I'm kind of lucky.

My mom always makes fun of me in a good way that she was, uh, always says that I'm incredibly fearless, whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, uh, jumping off stuff that I probably shouldn't. So I think that, uh, probably in a good way has translated to the bike.

[00:17:00] Craig Dalton: Yeah, a hundred percent. I mean, at the, you have to have a little fearlessness in you, particularly on the dissents and single-track stuff. If you're going to make progress, as you think about yourself as a, as a pro gravel racing. Do you have courses now that you're like, oh, that's for me, I want a massive climbing day or what?

What's your sweet spot.

[00:17:18] Isabel King: I think it's an interesting. Beginning of 2020 last year I had raised zero races and I was looking at this men super excited. Like I, in my little bubble of corny bubble, I'd gotten pretty fast. And I remember pacing and, Uh,

Colin Strickland had come out for their little training camp in Malibu. And I asked Collin, I was like, how do I win on down?

And he was like, you don't live here. And I was so offended. I was like, what do you mean? This is the best place to live. Like, look at this trail. Like these Hills. And the problem is like, for me, you climb up a mountain for an hour. You have to somehow get down. So you get that 10 to 15 minute break. Whereas an Unbound of the 13 hours that I was out there, I was probably not peddling for five minutes.

Like it's crazy. And so it's an interesting those, some of those longer like rolling Hills races I'm not built like a climber. So I actually, maybe if I lived somewhere else would be really good at that. Just the like constant non peddling. Cause I'm, I'm pretty good at the rollers generally, but the like death by a million paper cuts is harder for me because the place that I train you climb up a gigantic mountain and that's great.

You, you peddle hard for an hour, but then you still inevitably have to. Uh, recover by descending. So I think a race like BWR, honestly, it's kind of, you know, it's in San Diego, so it's close. It was similar. It's the one that I did best at last year. That one, I think I had the most fun at, because it was that mix of big climbs with flats, with, you know, road and then gravel and things like that.

So I, I think that race, if I look at all the ones in the calendar is probably the best, best suited for.

[00:18:53] Craig Dalton: Nice. Yeah, that's interesting. I felt the same way. We both wrote down the coast this weekend, this past weekend, you wrote a lot farther than I did, but my buddy was asking me as we were riding, like, what's going to be your, your issue today knowing that I didn't have a lot of fitness, it was like, it's literally just keeping the pedals going this entire time, because like you here in Marine county, we go up for an hour and a half and then we go down in 20 minutes and we'd go up for another hour and a half.

And that's just the way the ride.

[00:19:19] Isabel King: Yeah. my, uh, I just started working with a coach and he was like, you didn't, do you understand that you co you coasted for 500 hours last year? And I was like, yeah, that's not bad. I was like, you know, one and a half a day. It's not that bad, but like, it was pretty wild to like, hear that. Never be like, wow, that was like 500 more hours that I could have been in theory, training or pedaling that you just aren't, which is interesting.

[00:19:46] Craig Dalton: It's super interesting. And I hadn't, I hadn't really thought about it in the context of Unbound and it makes a ton of sense hearing you describe it that way and hearing what Colin Strickland said to you,

[00:19:55] Isabel King: don't live here.

[00:19:59] Craig Dalton: but there's other benefits of living here,

[00:20:01] Isabel King: Yeah. Why are you here, then? No, it's very funny.

[00:20:05] Craig Dalton: So you came out of the gate in 2021 and you had some meaningful successes. I mean, I think you were top 10 at Unbound, 200.

[00:20:13] Isabel King: so I finished eighth. So that was my first gravel race. And looking back, it's pretty funny, everyone, you kind of walk around the expo and your eyes are really wide and you're like, this is my first one. And everyone's kind of like, Yeah,

it's going to be really hard. There's going to be moments where you want to quit.

And I think, I, I don't know.

if I'm incredibly thankful or incredibly angry at people for not being realistic with me because that race is insane. And there isn't really a good way to describe it, except for that, like the, this is so dorky, but my only way of describing it is in the fourth book of Harry Potter, when they go into the maze at the very end, it's like this challenging maze and you're faced with all these obstacles.

And when you. Are like about to die, you shoot up a red flare and that says like, I'm out, come save me. And the beginning of Unbound, I felt like everybody like was in that maze and needed to have a red flare because like people were like flying off the side of the road. There was flatting and sealing everywhere.

There was like a guy like hit this ditch and flew over his handlebars and like broke his collarbone so badly. Like the sound that his body. He, when he, like, when he hit the ground, I was like, I'm gonna, I'm like so nauseous, but also, excuse me. I have to like get around you and continue. Otherwise I'm going to lose this wheel that I'm on.

And so it's like this crazy. Like carnage of people. And then in, in, in contrast to that, you say it's a 13 hour race and there's 4,000 people. And I spent the last three hours of the race alone, just like looking forward for three miles and looking behind me for three miles and literally saying out loud, no.

one is coming to save you.

Like just pedal. And it's so like, it's just pretty, it's a pretty insane race to, to start your career and be like, this is what I've chosen to do, but it went okay. I finished eighth, like it's pretty wild to say, like the race took me 13 hours and I was the eighth fastest. So then you put that in the context of your every day human and, and, uh, that that day gets, uh, quite a bit longer.

[00:22:19] Craig Dalton: Had you had experience sort of starting elbow to elbow with that many people?

[00:22:24] Isabel King: Not as much like in, I think like in triathlon kind of, but you go in the water and you're immediately kicked in the face and kind of like, this is not great, but bikes, not as much. And then like running races. Yeah.

So, you know, kind of like how it works. But it was, yeah. Uh, it was definitely. An eyeopening experience.

And then from there I did crush it and the Tasha was completely different. That was straight up a mountain straight down and straight back up. That one was like definitely more suited for myself. I finished sixth in that race. And then BWR I can do my, uh, got fourth in that, and then. Showed up and decided to do the led boat challenge.

So the Leadville Steamboat back to back and I finished seventh in that double challenge, which was pretty fun. So overall, in terms of, you know, if I could have asked at the beginning of last year, like what I would expect of that season, like I would have been really happy with what actually happened.

[00:23:19] Craig Dalton: amazing. Well, you should be, you should be definitely proud of that

[00:23:21] Isabel King: Thank you.

[00:23:23] Craig Dalton: So looking forward to this year in 2022, what do you have on the roadmap? And is it all, is it all a gravel events or do you look at your cycling, like you as a cyclist, as someone who does projects, FK teas, various different things that can benefit your sponsors.

[00:23:39] Isabel King: Uh, Yeah.

hopefully both. It's an interesting, as you talk to companies about potential partnerships. So the next year it's interesting, or it was interesting to me, how little people necessarily care about results. They, I think companies are leaning much more towards the storytelling side of things and the, you know, really, you know, relating to people that would use their brand and things like that.

And being fast will always be valuable. But in the end of the day, there's only one person that's going to be on that top step. And so it's interesting to see kind of what people value. So definitely talking to brands and seeing kind of, if they're interested in the storytelling aspect of it and how I can help amplify that So going into, yeah, definitely digging into some, some things outside of racing.

What I learned last year, I kind of said yes to all the races and then they were all in that three month period. And I was like, oh my gosh, I haven't been home. And, you know, Two months and I'm just going from race to race. And so definitely kind of, I bought a 12 month calendar that's on my wall and I'm actually, you know, placing staff and being like, this is a block or I'm going to need to like be home or be, you know, somewhere in one piece to, to recuperate because you can't just race and be fast for nine months.


but definitely I think the, the storytelling and the fun stuff, like I think the coast right. Is a good example. Like those just like day after day fund, like adventures where you're pushing yourself with your friends and you're not quite sure how your body's going to react. Like, I think those kinds of things are, uh, are almost, almost more fun than the racing, but nothing will ever beat the feeling of that morning landing up on the starting line where you're like, no one here has any idea what's going to happen.

I think that's one of the coolest things.

[00:25:22] Craig Dalton: Now are you in the lifetime grand Prix?

[00:25:25] Isabel King: Oh Yeah.

We made it, they left the, uh, the lead in the riff rash. So

[00:25:31] Craig Dalton: So that's pretty huge. So that's mountain biking and gravel racing

[00:25:35] Isabel King: So bring out the, bring out the big tire. So that is, yeah. There's your answer? Not only gravel. So I'll have at least three mountain bikes, some going back to Leadville, they called and, uh, to tell us that or to tell me that they were that I'd been accepted and they were like that.

We figured your only way you were ever going to come back to Leadville was if we let you.

in. And I was like, you're not wrong. That race was really hard.

[00:25:57] Craig Dalton: definitely is.

[00:25:58] Isabel King: But I'm super excited. I think that the ability to line up with the caliber of athletes that they've chosen is, is super unique. And then also kind of to see you, I think everyone will have their own agenda. Some people will try and win a specific race. Some people will try and be fast kind of the whole time.

And I think the fun of it that everything is.

scored the same. You can win Unbound or you can win. You know, the Seattle mountain bike thing and they're, they're the same amount of points. So I think it's cool in that everyone kind of comes from different backgrounds and some people are going to be way better at the mountain bikes and some are going to be better at those super long gravel and some are going to be better at the short track and things like that.

So Yeah, it's a fun thing to be a part of. And I'm super thankful that they chose me.

[00:26:37] Craig Dalton: Yeah, for sure. I think there's a lot of really talented women. And as you said, from a lot of different backgrounds, it just going to be exciting to see both how they perform in the disciplines that maybe aren't, you know, if they're a mountain biker, how they do on the gravel and vice versa. And then you've got some other athletes just sort of coming out of left field, obviously like renowned cyclists, like, Amber NIBIN, who's coming from like the Olympics and time trialing, like who

[00:27:01] Isabel King: Like Ashton Lambie, you're like this guy can go really fast for four minutes on a track.

[00:27:06] Craig Dalton: Yeah, exactly. So how it's all going to play out and does that, you know, having one that imitation to that series is that helping crystallize your season? Obviously it probably excludes certain things.

[00:27:18] Isabel King: Yeah, it definitely does. It's kind of an interesting, like, You have seven months of, or I guess six months of racing where you in theory are trying to be pretty fast. And so you have to kind of figure out where in there are you going to take a little bit of a break? What ones are you trying to peak for?

And then outside of that, like I said, the BWR series is another one that I loved, like. But in both of those, can you also fit in, you know, I've thrown on the idea of going to do like the oat route Alps? I think that's like all my bucket list. And so if I'm still an amateur racer, maybe I can go do that on the road.

So I think that, that, and like, am I going to regret trying to squeeze that in right after Steamboat and Leadville? Like probably, but you know, if I'm, if I'm only young once. Like, I dunno, there's a, there's a very limited time that I get to do this and ride my bike and kind of at the top level. And so for me, I'm trying to, you know, use every moment and get every, you know, every opportunity that I can out of this

[00:28:19] Craig Dalton: Yeah, it seems like the 20, 22 season is the season where you're going to have a lot of opportunity. And you're going to see how far you can put yourself in which your body does directly.

[00:28:29] Isabel King: lots of sleep.

[00:28:33] Craig Dalton: Is there anything else on this sort of the 20, 22 calendar that you want to shout out?

[00:28:38] Isabel King: Oh, I have a few little ideas. I'm nervous about saying them out?

loud because if they don't happen, then you said that, and that was so cool. But there's a kind of lowest to highest challenge that I was looking at. There's an FKG that goes from. The lowest point in death valley to the top of the Whitney portal.

So you go from below sea level to 14,000 feet. So I think it's 120 byte, 20 mile bike ride with like 12, 11,000 feet. And then you have to like Mountaineer climb, seven miles up to the top of Whitney. So the women's FKA is 22, I think. And the men's is. The men's might be like 15. So I think I probably, I don't know, I haven't done enough research, but I kind of wanted to go after the men's one go for the overall.

I think that would be pretty cool. But again,

[00:29:27] Craig Dalton: one to look at.

[00:29:28] Isabel King: yeah, it

[00:29:29] Craig Dalton: done it where they cyclists

[00:29:30] Isabel King: Yeah. So the guy that owns the guy that has it now, I watched his video and. You know, he's kind of, I don't want to make fun of him, but it's like a little bit ill fitting on the time trial bike. And then he does like a switch to a road bike for the climbing part.

And then I don't actually know how fast he did the, the, uh, like mountaineering part, but it would be interesting to kind of bring back the, bring back the triathlon and the, and the running and the time trial part and do kind of the flats on a TT bike and then switch to the climbing road bike. And then you know, Could literally climb yourself up a mountain.

So that's the thing that's kind of the most the most intriguing. And then also, I don't know if you've seen any of the impossible routes with vegan cyclists and Jeremiah Bishop. I was supposed to do the one in Telluride with them last year. But life kind of happened. So I wasn't able to do that.

So we've been throwing around some ideas. They kind of want me to do one on my own. Which I was like, oh wow. Why I have,

to be the first one to do it alone. But uh, I think if I kind of, uh, it definitely on the, on the radar to try and do a route that is deemed, uh, impossible.

[00:30:34] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Amazing. And then just circling back to your sponsorships situation, who are you riding with this year? And yeah, what's going to be underneath you.

[00:30:43] Isabel King: Yeah. So I'm sticking with canyon which I'm super excited about. I loved riding for them last year. The bikes are incredible and then I'm excited to kind of build off that relationship this year. As I said before, last year I was kind of. There Strava racer that happened to show up to races and now kind of have their full support going after the lifetime events.

And then also, as I mentioned, like the, the impossible routes and the potential to go do the overview and things like that which is cool, Uh,

going to be with pan racer as well. So I don't know if you're sticking with them, but again, knock on wood. I had incredible success with flatting and things like that.

Those stars. The best that I've written. So I'm going to say, stay with Panorai serve for this next year as well. And then I'm switching wheels. I'll be riding with envy and Chris king. I figured I needed orange hubs in some way. And if we share a last name, I probably. That partnership would work well.

So convinced MV to let me design my own, Uh,

my own decals, which I'm sure I'll make them noxious really orange enough as I can. And then cask, uh, and CU will be helmets and sunglasses. I'm not, if you followed on Instagram at all, I'm rarely wearing my sunglasses when I take videos, but mostly. 'cause I usually wear sunglasses when I'm going really fast and then I'm not taking my phone out.

But their lenses. Some of the clearest that I've ever written. So actually tend to forget that they're on my face, which I always think is a good sign. And then with their helmets I've personally, uh,

crashed, tested three of them and knock on wood, not had any concussion issues. So, again, with the kind of partnering with brands that you actually believe in, besides that they have a bright orange helmet, I also just really, really liked the product and.

And, uh, when people are asking me what helmet, I will always say that one, just because I personally know that having hit my head on a rock and on cement it look, it works pretty well, which is

[00:32:40] Craig Dalton: Amazing. Yeah, that's so great that you're able to bring together that family of sponsors. It sounds like a good, good situation on that. On the canyon bikes. What are you going to be riding? Like what would be your Unbound bike, for example?

[00:32:51] Isabel King: So I think I'm going to stay with the, with the grail. So it's the one with the two for one handlebar deal. It doesn't, so I, I wrote the Grizzle a little bit. It rides a little bit differently. I'm comfortable on the grill. The one thing people had really big chunky tires for unbanned it, the grill only fits forties.

I was okay on, on, uh, 38 last year with the Panorama. The big chunky ones, the SKS which were good. So Unbound I'll ride that for Leadville ride the Lux. So I went full suspension last year. A little bit heavier on the uphill, but as we mentioned, like, the technical part is where I'm less comfortable.

So I'd rather have a little bit extra cushion, especially because I don't know, like everyone always tells you that Leadville is this like road, race, mountain bike, race. And like, we run down the first technical section of the entire time. I was like road bike, like road, bike road, race, my ass. Like this is very tactical.

And I know that for like the real ECC guys. It's not that technical, but I was very happy to have. The full suspension. So I'll stick with the Lux for that as well. But I,

[00:33:52] Craig Dalton: have that ability to not get your body beat up as much. I think it's critical on those long events.

[00:33:58] Isabel King: absolutely. And then I also partnered with Fox. So I get the, uh, that was kind of an obvious one. They were like, would you like orange, orange forks? And I was like, I would like those forks. Thank you. Those look very nice.

[00:34:14] Craig Dalton: That's awesome. Cool. Well, this was super fun. I can't wait to see what 2022 has for you. I'm going to be following along and I encourage the listener to follow along as well. I'll post in the show notes where to find you on Instagram primarily. And we'll be rooting for you.

[00:34:28] Isabel King: Thank you. Thank you so much, Craig. Thanks for having me.

[00:34:30] Craig Dalton: That's going to do it for this week's episode of the gravel ride podcast. Huge. Thanks to Isabel king for joining us this week. I really enjoyed that conversation and a very much enjoyed watching her grow as a gravel athlete over the last 18 months or so. I encourage you to follow her on the social medias and wish her all the best this year as I do, it's going to be an exciting year in the women's field, just as it was in 2021.

I think it's one of the more exciting categories of racing.

As always, if you're interested in connecting with me, I encourage you to join the ridership. Simply visit and join the free global cycling community we've created. It's a great opportunity to meet and talk with writers from around the world. And if you have any specific feedback or want to contact me directly, you can simply just direct message me within that platform.

If you're interested in supporting the podcast. Please visit, buy me a gravel ride. I truly appreciate everybody. Who's elected to become a member and help underwrite some of the financial requirements of the show. It truly means the most to me. Until next time here's to finding some dirt under your wheels.