Life During Lockdown: Frank Overton
Frank (@fascat) is a cycling coach whom I’ve followed for many years, but I only got to know him last summer. Since then, I’ve helped him with a bunch of @peterabraham/why-to-rebrand-your-business-f9f9c7f77cf">branding projects, supported the launch of his own gravel cycling team and trained with his programs. Frank founded and runs FasCat Coaching in Boulder, Colorado, and he’s known for popularizing the “sweet spot” training concept. I love a lot of things about Frank: his simple and effective coaching, his growing media platform, and the fact that he doesn’t take himself too seriously (note the cheetah tattoo above). If you’re a cyclist, make sure to check out his programs, listen to his podcast, and learn what #FtFP means.
1. Give me some highlights and lowlights from your first month in lockdown mode
For myself and the FasCat coaches, we have been working from home since I founded FasCat in 2003 and quit my job as a molecular biologist in biotech. I joke with my younger coaches, athletes and friends that we were the OG gig workers. So day to day the lockdown has not changed much in terms of how we work. Our event marketing has been on pause, though.
On the other hand, the lockdown has caused massive upheaval for the athletes we coach. Massive. Unprecedented levels of stress. Cycling aside, they are facing financial and professional disruption and most of all trying to keep their families safe.We have one athlete whose wife is an anesthesiologist working every day and living in the garage so as not to risk infecting their young children. They’re passing food to her through the dog door. He’s got a dental practice that is shut down and three kids who were normally at school that he’s not only taking care of but now taking on the responsibility that their education continues. Talk about stress!
Personally, not having to take my kids to & from school and after school activities has given me more time to work and ride. But that has been offset by my wife going back to work after maternity leave. So instead of dad taxiing two teenagers and a newborn around after 3:00 pm, we are changing diapers here at home and making dinner, checking homework and singing lullabies.
2. How have you grown personally and professionally during this disruption?
In preparation for the shortfall in revenue I reduced all expenses heavily in mid-March and pulled all advertising. It didn’t feel right to advertise during a pandemic. Instead we met the pandemic head on for our community with several training tips and podcasts about what to do for training, as well helping with the gravel series on Zwift mentioned below. We’ve intentionally tried not to create what I call Covid content.
I brushed up on my banker, applied for a PPP loan, revised the company business plan, updated our analytics and projections and taught myself how to run our Facebook ads, which was easier than you think once you set them up. I meditate and Zoom with my college friends each night after the baby goes to sleep.
3. Has your relationship with cycling and fitness changed as a result of being home alone with no races or group rides on the calendar?
I still have the same goals, but the dates have changed. Every day you try to make yourself better. Training as a masters cyclist is 24/7/365, a lifestyle that took place before the pandemic and will take place again during and after the pandemic. I’ve been Zwifting since it was invented but haven’t raced until this year when our partner Cérvelo Bicycles asked us for help with their Gravel Rush series. It was a lot of fun and gave us the coaching experience to help our athletes who were also on Zwift and training indoors.
My friends and I created a Strava segment out of our weekly group ride. We time trial the segment to see who can beat who and then heckle each other over email and social media.
4. Can coaches like yourself create positive change in the world during the pandemic?
Yes and no. We are not creating a cure nor finding a vaccine. Let’s be real — this is bike riding and we do it for fun and self improvement. We did help one cyclist who is a US soldier in Iraq that has his bike set up in a bunker to “avoid the rockets.” That gave us perspective. We try to lead by example, which is FasCat’s core value #7, and lately we’ve become a little more life coach in addition to cycling coach.