Brian holds a B.S. in exercise science and works as a board-certified physician assistant, currently in orthopedics. A lifelong athlete, he has climbed and skied all over the world and guided clients in the Tetons, Alaska, Himalaya, and South America. He competed in many sports over the years but committed himself most fully to racing bicycles. I met him informally when he was looking after my friend Jack Tackle in the Jackson, Wyoming hospital after Jack was cut low by Guillain–Barré syndrome. Years later Brian came to SLC to attend one of the first fitness seminars I taught and we started a conversation about the utility of strength training to improve endurance performance that lasts to this day.
At the time we met I had broken up with ski mountaineering racing while Brian was digging into it so we had much to discuss and share. During the years Brian raced he performed well at distances/times ranging from 90 minutes to six hours, and passed (what I consider to be) the ultimate test in 2014 when he and Nate Brown finished the Pierra Menta. This is a four-day ski mountaineering stage race that has been held in Arêches-Beaufort en Savoie in France since 1986. It’s a two-person team race that both must finish together, traversing all of the physical and mental highs and lows that such hard, deep effort can produce over the course of the event. Brian and Nate finished in 143rd place with a total time of 15hrs 15min 45sec. To finish at all is remarkable, as the course requires 32,000' of elevation gain and loss, crossing summits between 6,500' and 8,800' high, all of which are in the backcountry, of course. It’s a battle against attrition, and with oneself.
On the web Brian’s blog is the go-to site for information about ski mountaineering gear, modifications, maintenance, and incredible, inspiring trip reports from his adventures all over the world. He admittedly “geeks out” on the scientific aspects of training, nutrition, recovery, and performance but he does so and communicates his conclusions in an entertaining and insightful way.
On the road Brian raced for the George’s Cycles team based in Boise, Idaho while he was at university there. He won many regional events, competed in several national level stage races, was Idaho and Wyoming State Road Race champion, and won silver at the Masters National Road Race.
During his second-coming as a bike racer Brian was present for a couple of my hardest moments on the bike. He watched me hit the deck at 28mph during the Tour of the Depot after I tried adjusting my rear brake while riding in the fast-moving peloton. A touch of wheels was all it took. A year later we raced the Elkhorn Classic together. Some of that story is recounted during episode 4 of the podcast. At the start of the final stage the leader in my group was DQ’d for public urination and being in second place, I was given the leader’s jersey. About 27 miles into the race I was still in the front but dropped my chain, jammed it hard between the spider and frame, and lost five minutes. I rode alone for 35 miles before being caught from behind. The pair dragged me to the base of the final climb and then dropped me. I slogged on rather than DNF and by the time I reached the finish in the pouring rain, I was too tired to be mad at bad luck. Brian was there with a warm jacket to loan me, and an understanding word.
The information and perspective on orthopedic surgery and recovery that Brian provided during episode 24 of the podcast is likely the most useful and valuable information we have broadcast. I intend to make him a repeat guest, and to tackle the vast variety of topics into which he has good insight, and experience. Chase some links below to learn more about him.