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Pete Stetina can drink a beer at the finish line these days. He can also pick his own races, pitch crazy ideas that his sponsors will support, and manage his own brand. And he’s still getting paid to race bikes—except he’s doing it on his own terms in some of the most beautiful landscapes in North America.
These are some of the highlights our “Groad Trip” columnist shares in this week’s episode of the “Bobby and Jens” podcast.
Tune in to hear how the Boulder native with a famous cycling name advanced through the juniors under Jonathan Vaughters to become a World Tour pro with Chipotle-Garmin and later Trek-Segafredo. He recalls the highlights of a decade racing in Europe as an elite climbing domestique for Alberto Contador, Bauke Mollema, and others, including the joys of helping Ryder Hesjedal win the 2012 Giro d’Italia.
He also talks about his terrible crash at the 2015 Tour de Pais-Vasco — in which he struck a metal pole, suffering multiple injuries that left him in critical condition for several weeks in a Spanish hospital — and how he learned to walk on his way to a remarkable comeback.
“I was never the same athlete physically or mentally” after the crash, he tells Bobby and Jens, “but in retrospect I’m so happy it all happened, because it led me to what I’m doing now. And what I’m doing now is the best thing I’ve ever done.”
Why is gravel-grinding so awesome? For one, Stetina says, he’s finding new physiological breakthroughs as he masters the challenge of riding for 5 hours at 300 watts. There’s also the freedom and scenery of rides like the White Rim Trail, where he set a new FKT this winter, and maybe more importantly the camaraderie of the gravel community. And of course the beer, which gives rise to a conversation unlike any you’ll hear on other cycling podcasts.
Today’s episode also features analysis of a busy week of racing at the Giro d’Italia, plus the winner of this week’s “Shut Up, Legs!” winner (and your chance to vote on next week’s contenders).
“Bobby & Jens” is a weekly podcast from VeloNews starring former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt, and featuring conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. A new episode drops every Friday. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.
Send your questions and “Shut Up, Legs!” votes to BobbyandJens@VeloNews.com or @bobbyandjens.