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Podcast: Piyush Chavan on Body Dynamics, Muscle Memory, and Creating Insightful MTB Coaching

Jump into the vibrant world of mountain biking with our latest episode of the Girt With Wisdom podcast, where I catch up with my friend and fellow coach, Piyush Chavan.

Hailing from the heart of India, Piyush started his biking adventures with a tight-knit crew of riders before taking on the challenges of downhill races in the stunning mountains of Nepal.

Piyush's journey took a Kiwi twist when he met a fellow rider in Bali, inspiring him to make the move to the breathtaking biking haven of New Zealand. There, he dived into studying tourism business management at QRC and, in 2021, kicked off his own coaching business, Treadmark NZ which has since left its own mark on the Queenstown biking scene.

What makes Piyush more than just a professional coach? Well, besides being a two-wheeled wizard, he's delved deep into self-discovery through meditation retreats, yoga, and mindfulness practices. Join us as we uncover the biking adventures, hard-earned wisdom, and insights from a well-ridden path.

During the conversation, we touch on:

- Managing emotions like fear and anger

- Rebuilding confidence post-crash

- Body Dynamics & Building Muscle Memory

- The connection between off-bike mindfulness practice and building composure on the bike.

- Managing attention and focus

And much, much more!

You can follow Piyush and Treadmark on Instagram @treadmarknz and check out his coaching at

Listen here or by searching for ‘Grit with Wisdom’ on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Youtube, or over on my website, and you can follow me on Instagram @the_mind_mountain

Happy trails - Jake Johnstone

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT Welcome to Grit With Wisdom. This is the podcast that delves deep into the inner psyche of mountain bikers from all aspects of our sport in order to discover the tools and the tactics that can help us have more fun out on the trails more often. Our aim here is to help you understand what it takes to push our own personal boundaries in the sport we love, from a mental and emotional perspective. 

 Today on the show, I'm sitting down with my friend and fellow coach Piyush Chavan. Piyush hails from India and grew up as part of a core group of just a handful of riders there before cutting his teeth in downhill races in the neighboring mountain playground that is Nepal. He was later inspired to move to New Zealand and live a biking lifestyle after meeting a [00:01:00] Kiwi while riding and racing over in Bali.

He went on to study a tourism business management degree at QRC. and then opened his own coaching business in 2021, which has since served hundreds of clients in the Queenstown and surrounding areas. Super excited to be sitting down with Piyush today, because along with being an absolute weapon on the bike, he's also a man with substantial depth, and has spent a significant amount of time off the bike, learning about himself through meditation retreats, yoga, mindfulness practices, that he also incorporates in his riding and coaching practices today.

Man, with no further ado, welcome to the show. Thanks, 

Piyush Chavan: mate, and thanks for the amazing intro. 

Jake Johnstone: It's been great. How was that? Did I miss 

Piyush Chavan: anything there? Uh, nah, I think you covered everything, and I was quite impressed how well you described all of it. Yeah, sounds like you've been listening well to all the conversations we've been having, 

Jake Johnstone: so that's good.

Fantastic. Yeah, man, look, we were saying we've had so many good chats already, kind of driving around in the van, doing the coaching together. I'm super excited to sit down and [00:02:00] record some of that wisdom here today. Yeah. I think it would be really cool to, to start off right back at the start, like, Cool.

You grew up in India. What was that like? And when did bikes 

Piyush Chavan: first come into your life? Well, growing up in India was, um, pretty normal for the first half, I'd say. Um, basic schooling and everything, um, There was quite a bit of, like, Hindu philosophy involved, like, growing up through school. There was quite a bit of that, um, put in, um, Through school and everything that where we do yoga first thing in the morning and whatnot and lots of meditation throughout throughout our curriculum and all of that stuff as soon as So to turn it back a little bit on how I exactly got into biking in India is I think it's because of my mom because she is quite a bit of a daredevil herself And she's made she used to do a bit of off road So she would always encourage me to do some adventurous stuff and take me out trekking and all of that And, um, initially I got into skateboarding after playing, uh, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 on PlayStation.

Oh, fantastic, yeah. And I was like, ah, [00:03:00] skateboarding sounds good. Because that sort of matched the kind of adventure I wanted out of the sport. And I got into skateboarding that we didn't really have any skate parks. And, uh, there was this one time I was on the other side of the street with a friend and, uh, there was a group of bikers on, on the opposite side coming to us and one of them asked me if I could jump on that skateboard and I was a shy 11 year old so I didn't really say anything and took it off but, um, that guy is, um, one of my best friends now and, uh, those group of bikers were one of the core mountain bike community, uh, mountain biking groups in, uh, in the city.

And, um, later on I started, like, exploring on my bike and I ended up meeting them and riding with them. And found out that, oh, there's like these five or ten guys that ride mountain bikes in this entire city. And later we found out that they are only one of the two or three groups in the entire country as well that were riding bikes back then.

So it was a bit of like a meant to happen sort of thing of how I got into mountain biking and then from then on [00:04:00] it was it was just a cycle of me riding my bike later trying to sometimes bunk school and head out in the hills and just ride trails by myself and whatnot. Wow. 

Jake Johnstone: Yeah, that's such a cool backstory.

It fascinates me like we're having this conversation in the van the other day and I was amazed. I'm like, wow, there's only like 10 people in your village, but like 30 people in the whole country that are riding bikes and somehow you managed 

Piyush Chavan: to be one of them. Like the city, the city that I come from currently has about 7 million people and, um, we still have, I would say maybe like a hundred core mountain bikers and maybe I'm overestimating the number and it's just, uh, We still don't have, like, a proper mountain bike trail network to go, but we have lots of, um, pirate trails and tracks and stuff that we're 


Jake Johnstone: on.

Yeah, and you mentioned you kind of grew up watching lots of mountain biking movies coming out of places like the States and Canada. Yeah, that's 

Piyush Chavan: it, right? And 

Jake Johnstone: you guys were kind of building your own free ride trails and mimicking what they were doing there. 

Piyush Chavan: Totally, totally, yeah. We didn't, we didn't build any of the good, you know, manicured [00:05:00] landings that we saw, uh, in the videos because it was too hot to build.

Right. So we pretty much just found a cliff and, like, sort of cleared some rocks and Off we went, that sort of thing. But, uh, yeah, it was a fun 

Jake Johnstone: time. That's fantastic. Um, and how did you go about getting parts, getting bikes in a place where no one was riding 

Piyush Chavan: and there wasn't bike shops?

It was, it was very interesting, like, even the perspective of being in India and spending more than just 300 on a bicycle was a very wild concept. It has changed a lot now, because um, the country has progressed in different ways and like, outdoor sports are far more important now. But then, when I told my parents that I want a bike that costs like 300, they were like, what, what's, what's this?

And uh, when I did end up getting that bike Every time, every month I'd break a derailleur because I'd do a drop and like, you know, snap the derailleur in half or something like that and like some of the boards would bend and everything and it was a Firefox, you know, nothing, nothing crazy, basically like a Walmart bike.

Yeah, yeah. 


Jake Johnstone: I was like so stoked to have it. [00:06:00] That's so cool, 

Piyush Chavan: you got the job done. Yeah, but we'd wait like weeks and weeks just to get those parts to come through and like keep riding, keep riding. And, uh, over time we ended up getting newer bikes, so a couple of my friends would travel out to the states and everything.

And, um, when they'd come back, they'd get into some secondhand bikes. So we had these like really old classic downhill bikes. Uh, my first one was a Foz DHS Mono One and I was 35 kilos when I bought it and the bike was 25 kilos. So that was a bit of an experience riding it. Um, but yeah, it was cool. It had those, um, older Hope disc brakes.

You know with the labors where they still have that massive oil cylinder on the top. So yeah, that old that's yeah And that's that was my first bike and we just sort of kept going from there and would look out for chain reaction cycles and Jensen's USA for all the deals and if anything was 50 percent off would order it because then by the time it reached India With the custom duty, which was so high it would be the same price Right, yeah, 

Jake Johnstone: so there was no deals in India.

It was getting a deal just so you could pay 

Piyush Chavan: a [00:07:00] regular price. Totally, totally. Yeah, so we'd keep watching out for those sort of deals and 

Jake Johnstone: then bring them down. I love this story. It really speaks to your passion because it sounds like that was, it was no easy feat to keep mountain biking. You were breaking stuff every week.

It was hard to get parts. It was expensive. 

Piyush Chavan: Totally, totally. You kept at it. Yeah, but I don't think it was more of like a, yeah, like the grit came in later. But, um, the sport was just so novel, and, um, The city that I lived in was covered in hills and everything, and the wildlife, and all the forests and stuff, and riding your bike in the forest.

There's nothing, nothing that can replace it, really. So, you know, if you're into, if you're more of a person that likes their solitude a little bit more, it can be quite, um, novelty inspiring. I didn't want to say addicting, because that's a funny word, but, uh, yeah. 

Jake Johnstone: Yeah, I know where you're going with that.

It's kind of like once you start mountain biking, it's very hard to stop. 

Piyush Chavan: Totally, 

Jake Johnstone: man. Totally. Fantastic. So walk us through going from there, kind of growing up in that core group of riders. You then got into racing from there. Tell us that [00:08:00] story. How did that come 

Piyush Chavan: about? Yeah, because um, I think there was a bit of an ambitious side to riding bikes.

Because you always want to be progressing, progressing. And at some point you want to test yourself against, against some riders as well. So, um, I think the core group of people that we were, they were pretty clued on to, um, organizing events and what not. Because of, you know, from their jobs and all that, they had those skills.

So, they would go out and organize their own, um, racing events. Um, funnily, because the biking scene back home was so small, like, it was, even in the general cycling scene, it was like pretty mixed up. So all the cross country riders wouldn't know all the road cyclists, and the road cyclists wouldn't know all the downhill riders and all of that.

So it wasn't really like, oh, you're a road cyclist, you're a cross country, you're a downhill. The bicycle was the same for everyone. You ride bikes. Yeah, that's it. And, uh, we had this series called the Bangalore Bicycle Championships, which is, um, which is just a city in the south and they still organize, like, really epic local races.

And, uh, they may slip more into, um, road cycling and these BRM style [00:09:00] races, but they decided, yeah, we'll, uh, we'll do some downhill racing too. And they started organizing downhill races every year. And that sort of, like, ticked off the sort of momentum to keep organizing more and more races. And, uh, we started going to those and compete against each other and everything.

And, uh, soon enough Like we had three or four races in the year, which was just downhill and cross country and that was pretty cool And that's how we got in but the funny thing is that we still did not have the kind of tracks to practice on and I had this ambition to Race internationally and race World Cups and stuff at some point to really get the name on the map that hey, there's races in India so I'd go out to Asia and spend like two or three months racing and then go out to Europe and spend two or three months racing And then when I come back to train, the best I could do was go to the gym and go for like longer rides and, you know, ride some of my older tracks.

But those tracks weren't nearly the standard of what I was racing, even in Asia. Cause, um, you know, the community in Asia [00:10:00] is pretty big. Like when I was in Indonesia for two months, they had 300 riders show up to a race, 60 of them women. And you wouldn't think of that from Indonesia, right? Yeah. But, um, I felt like if a country which is similar in terms of, you know, its economy and everything with India can do that.

Sport can certainly go big in India as well, and um, I was just waiting, waiting, waiting for that to happen, but it's just sort of still in that little phase where it's deciding what to do. Okay, yeah, yeah. Yeah, and that's it. 

Jake Johnstone: Fantastic. So then from there, you're traveling around in Asia, you spent some time in Indonesia racing.


Piyush Chavan: yeah. You heard about New Zealand. Totally. Let's fill in the gaps. Yeah, I was sort of, like, racing so much and spending so much of money, and I still had a sponsorship back then. That was, uh, providing me bikes and everything on a borrowed basis. So, I would still be able to, like, not spend on the bikes, but then spend on the travel and go out as many races as possible.

And this one year, 2017, I think, uh, did about 12 international races in that whole year while studying. So that was [00:11:00] quite hectic, including, like, you know, representing the country for the Asian Championships and whatnot. But I felt that hey where I'm coming from did not really do justice and I was thinking or maybe I should move somewhere So towards the end of my Indonesian trip, I was like, I've got to make a decision this year of what I want to do and I met this Kiwi lad James and he just told me that hey, I think I was telling him I probably should go to Australia to Maybe study at this uni, they've got some bike parks there.

And he's like, nah, nah, nah, you gotta go to Queenstown. And I hadn't even heard about Queenstown. Um, I just knew Rotorua and New Zealand. Like, I wouldn't even think of New Zealand as like, a place I needed to go. And, uh, that same day, he's like, I'll just come over for dinner and we'll chat about it. I was like, oh, I just met this guy, he seems pretty keen.

And I went over and we just chatted for like three hours. He gave me the whole rundown about how my life would look in Queenstown. Including where I would be working, where I could study and all of that stuff. And I was like, okay, cool, man. I think this is pretty good. He's made the [00:12:00] decision for me and then six months later I just moved here Decided to study at Queenstown Resort College because that's the only way for us to like get a visa and everything to like stay Longer term and then figured like the adventure tourism course is pretty good That sort of in lines aligns with what I want to do And funny thing is I had a friend back home who has been to New Zealand for studying and he just returned And I told him that, hey, I met this guy and I want to go study at QRC and do this.

He's like, bro, I did the same exact course. Oh, wow. Yeah. So I was thinking, oh, this is a sign. I should just go. Yeah. And, um, yeah, six months later, I was here. Fantastic. So you didn't 

Jake Johnstone: mess around in kind of thinking about it at 

Piyush Chavan: all. No, because like, I didn't think they had too many options to begin with. And I feel like the way he described Queenstown was.

Pretty appropriate to the experience I've had in the last five and a half years, so 

Jake Johnstone: yeah, that was good It's super cool to hear that he was so passionate about it Totally man. I give you the full rundown and then here you are. 

Piyush Chavan: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that's it Yeah, that was it. That was a good one for sure [00:13:00] Fantastic man.

Jake Johnstone: I want to get into talking about some mental tools here cuz I know you've got a depth of experience there Maybe we can start by talking about some of the mindfulness practices, uh, that you learnt through growing up in India. And then how that's now, uh, come 

Piyush Chavan: around to help you when you're riding the bike.

Well, the thing about, um, growing up was that it was just a very normal thing for us to, um, start our day with, um, doing Surya Namaskar, which is sun salutations and everything. And then start with a bit of chanting and whatnot, which I found Absolutely unnecessary as growing up, you know, as a teenager, you're pretty rebellious, right?

Like you wouldn't understand the reason of why these things are there. So the teachers were having you do it? Yeah, like everyone, like all the 200 kids or 300 kids in school would just come in, do that thing for the first thing in the morning and then start the day. And I didn't notice the difference then.

But now when I ingrain that same practice and I can understand how my day goes, because I'm a lot more composed. And what not, and I think, um, [00:14:00] that's where that stems from. So I'm starting to slowly go back to my roots and understand that, oh, what we did through school and there's a reason why traditions like these exist and all of that stuff.

And I'm linking back to my older roots to find a bit more of a balance in my, in my current life. Yeah. Because things do get hectic, like everyone Queenstown can know how overstimulating it can be. And just to find that balance, I'm happy to have a little bit of that mindfulness and meditation background.

I find it 

Jake Johnstone: fascinating because it's pretty much opposite to what we get taught in Western schools and what I get taught in Australia. There's, there's none of that. Ah, but I can totally relate on a sense of, you know, quite a lot of the good things we did learn in school. I despised at the time. I didn't want to do it.

Yeah, exactly. As you become an adult, you're like, Oh, perhaps there was some wisdom in that. Perhaps that is a good idea. 

Piyush Chavan: A hundred percent. I like, we think of schools as like. Unnecessary and all of that stuff when we're teenagers, right? But um, I feel like the shapers shape our thinking like they give us a framework to think and that's pretty important 

Jake Johnstone: Yeah, and [00:15:00] perhaps we don't think we're learning much at the time.

Yeah Yeah, we're adult we can look back to that and be like, okay At least that's given me a basis to build upon. Totally. It's a really cool to hear So these days you're starting your day with some yoga with some mindfulness 

Piyush Chavan: Yeah, mainly with, uh, just a meditation technique called Vipassana, I just went on a, um, 10 day course in August and that, that basically is like a, it's, it's a technique that's been passed down since the 5th century and it's just like you spend 10 days in silence observing your breath and then observing your sensations and, you know, just come to an understanding that all things in life are like quite impermanent because you experience the impermanence in your own body and then it makes sense to, it's basically training your mind to be aware and equanimous.

with every experience that you have. And, it sort of, uh, recreates the habit pattern of your mind to move towards either craving or aversion and takes it away and makes you more of an observer where you can stay still and choose to do certain things and respond as opposed to [00:16:00] reacting. So, yeah, that's 

Jake Johnstone: been It's so interesting.

You talk about that like it was an easy feat, like, oh, I just did 10 it's amazing I struggled to go 10 minutes or 10 seconds without 

Piyush Chavan: talking. And that's the funny thing, right? Like, we think that, oh, we can't go 10 minutes or whatever without talking, because everything that comes up in the head eventually passes and goes away.

And that's the whole thing about Vipassana, that it just helps you understand that everything that comes, it's always coming and going, coming and going. Greatest velocity. So there's no point of us attaching to our thoughts or emotions in that way we can always be an observer of it and Respond if we want to if we find it appropriate and that's basically just training the mind to do that.

That's fantastic Yeah, and 

Jake Johnstone: yeah You talked a lot when we're chatting about this the other day about during that process during that week You became more and more in tune with the energy 

Piyush Chavan: in your body. 

Jake Johnstone: Yeah, and some different awareness 

Piyush Chavan: there. Can you speak on that? Yeah, I think I think every time With people [00:17:00] who have done Vipassana, um, they can relate really well when I say this, that every time I talk about the experience I feel like I just don't do any justice to it, because it's very hard to intellectualize.

Something that you sense on a very deep level, um, throughout the meditation, like the, the mind just becomes so aware of all the sensations in the body that you realize that, oh, the body is filled with sensations and it's constantly like pulsating, beating, um, riveting and like there's electric currents and like heat and cold and, you know, All of those things are constantly happening and they, those sensations are basically a result of the triggers in the body.

Because the mind, over time, has always reacted with craving or aversions. And every time it reacts with craving or aversion, it develops as a sensation on the body. So the idea of Vipassana is to just be aware of those sensations and not react to them so that those triggers can like rise to the surface and go away.

Um, so to this, like, I [00:18:00] don't think I would do justice about talking about it in this podcast, but um To describe the most profound experience I had was, I think, the last hour of the meditation on the 10th day where we were scanning our bodies and everything and I would always feel like this little tension in the back of my head when I was scanning it and I wouldn't understand what that tension was the whole time in the meditation, um, but it turned out it was just my And as I was observing them, they were just like crack open and you know, how you've, um, if you're on a flight and you land, your air pops and everything.

Yeah, with the elevation. Yeah. And my ears were popping and my nose was popping open and all that. And after that, my head was just super clear. And I went out of the room and I realized everything that I'm looking at has the absolute clear, clarity. And I did not really have any jumpy thoughts or whatever.

And my head was just The feeling is as I was breathing in was just like a yeah breathing in fresh air for the first time sort of thing Yeah, it's quite a it's quite experience for sure. That's amazing. It's 

Jake Johnstone: yeah It's certainly something you've inspired me [00:19:00] to 

Piyush Chavan: investigate a little further myself as well.

100 percent man helps everyone super cool 

Jake Johnstone: so such a wealth of experience that Working on mindfulness, working on yourself off the bike. Yeah. Let's talk about mental practices on the bike now. Is there any particular mental tools, techniques or strategies that you've used over the years to 

Piyush Chavan: help with your riding?

I think, um, uh, this is something that I use a little bit in my teaching as well. It is more to do with how the nervous system feels in general. So if, if I'm trying to push my limits for, for example. And I'm in that spot where my body is just not wanting to do it. There's no point of my mind trying to like push through it and go for it.

So I try and, I try and be mindful of again the sensations in the body and just being tapped in the body and riding well first, where, where I'm pumping every corner well and all of that and then decide that okay, I think I'm pretty tapped into my, all my responses. And if I wanted to execute something, I can do it.

And then I just try and intuitively [00:20:00] commit to it rather than force myself. So that's how, that's how I've been, um, taking a step away from like, you know, listening to some heavy metal music and being like, yeah, I just get stoked and send it from like, okay, how am I feeling today? Is this, is today the day to conquer what I'm about to conquer and all of that?

And just working along those lines and being delicate with my decisions of, um, whether I want to do something or not, because, um, I feel like staying on the bike. And riding a trail is far more fun than, um, you know, just sending it and doing something crazy and then crashing. Totally, 

Jake Johnstone: totally. Yeah, it's such a wise approach, kind of tuning in to what the body's doing first and then making a decision.

Totally. Yeah. Do you ever have like a, an off day where you're like, ah, I'm just not really feeling 

Piyush Chavan: it today? Yeah, I did, I do. And that is, um, for sure has to do with like how tired you feel sometimes. Like when your mind is fragged too much. From lack of sleep and like to overdoing things.

It was just time when your body's like now. I just don't want to do it. And, uh, yeah, there's [00:21:00] no other way to deal with it than, you know, just go get some rest. Come back another day and give it a crack. Yeah, speaking 

Jake Johnstone: of sleep, I found it really interesting the other day you were talking to me about your process for doing backflips and how it feels.

Piyush Chavan: Yeah, yeah. Uh, can you 

Jake Johnstone: tell us the difference between, you know, what you notice when you're doing a backflip after a night of good sleep when you're feeling sharp, and what you've noticed when you're doing 

backflip and you perhaps haven't had as much rest as you needed. 

Piyush Chavan: Well, the biggest thing is that, um, when I would try and flip with no sleep or like a bad night's sleep is that I just don't see my rotation whatsoever.

I'm just pulling and then suddenly the landing's there and I'm landing it. So there's not a lot of awareness going on, which is a bit weird. That sounds spooky. Yeah, it does sound spooky. And then I'm like, okay, cool, maybe today is not the day to be doing stuff like this. But um, if I've had like really good night's sleep, I can really prime my movements well.

So I can pull the way I need to and um, Feel the rotation completely I can see the sky then the brown landing and all of that stuff and then you [00:22:00] know Respond to what's happening properly and sleep does play a really good role in helping the nervous system Regulate itself and be in a place where you can respond as opposed to just like constantly react from instinct Yeah, and that's what that's what I try to do as well.

If there's like certain mistakes that I'm making I try and calm myself down first because I'm fighting an instinct. The instinct is there to keep me safe, right? There's no arguing with an instinct unless you already feel safe. So I'm trying to feel myself. Uh, try to make myself feel a bit safer inside the head and in the body and calm myself down before attempting to change a certain technique or like do something that's scarier.

Yeah, that's 

Jake Johnstone: a great way of doing it, and what are some ways that you will try and calm yourself down if you are feeling a little bit heightened? 

Piyush Chavan: Um, belly breathing for sure, belly breathing and firstly like doing a few Big body scans and just feeling into how the body's feeling whether there's like some muscles that are You know feeling tired or not and all of that and then trying to find Um how the sensation whether it's like hot and cold [00:23:00] And then from going from there, then to visualisation, as opposed to visualising straight away, because sometimes I've found that visualising straight away can make me feel more anxious.

So I try and calm myself down and then visualise things, and then it helps. 

Jake Johnstone: Right, yeah, so if you visualise things from a place where you're feeling anxious or fearful Yeah. This perhaps makes you feel more fearful, right? Especially if you're trying 

Piyush Chavan: to do a backflip or something. It's hard for you.

Totally spirals it down and everything, so I have to like really 


Jake Johnstone: out. Right, so it sounds like there's a bit of an order to your process. It's like body 

Piyush Chavan: scan first. Yeah, and um, I don't think like this is something new. I feel like most of, most pro athletes would do, do this in a certain way. Cause um, the first, first time I started doing it was after listening to Aaron Gwin.

That he always takes a nap before his race runs. Right. Like he was in his winning streak then and he was like winning pretty much every race as you're entering, right? I was like, oh, he does take a nap out before his run and I started doing that and it made such a difference Just to my general riding and the feel of [00:24:00] riding the bike and everything 

Jake Johnstone: So you'd be having a nap in the car before your race run that kind of race 

Piyush Chavan: run or just a ride just like, you know Tap out for a bit and then 

Jake Johnstone: Yeah, just kind of relax a little bit first.

Yeah. Totally makes sense, yeah. That's it. Fantastic, mate. I love where we're going with this. And I wanted to talk here a little bit about, if you're on the trail and you're perhaps pushing your limits, riding some stuff that's technical or hard for you, or you're going faster than usual, what do you do when you come up with, like, fear, doubt, hesitation, emotions like this?


Piyush Chavan: it is a, it is a bit of a hard one to, um, Push past that. I feel like, again, I just have to go about observing them and not really respond to them, but being very aware that they're there and just start, try and work with them. There's no like, it's, you know, it's like arguing with a person that's angry already.

You can't really do that. You have to sort of give them the space and you know, let them express the full spectrum of emotion that they want to express, and then find a window to go in. And [00:25:00] that's the same thing with your own emotions, like if they're coming up, there's no point saying that, Oh no, I'm feeling this, but I have to do this.

It's important to let them come up. It's important to like, let them have their day. And if there's frustration, hesitation, it's there for a reason, you know, it's only going to, it does like, it's only going to build you up from there on and, um, broaden your scope of how to manage them in other different situations.

So it's just, yeah, letting them have the day and just being equanimous with what's coming and not trying to like, Oh. I want this to happen this way, or that to happen that way. That's when things start to go funny. 

Jake Johnstone: Totally, yeah, I'm sure we've all kind of experienced that before, where we ignore that fear, or we try and put it in the back of our brain, and push through it.

Totally. Yeah, it's a 

Piyush Chavan: fantastic way of putting it. Yeah, but then, like, I also don't think that it's, um, you know, you shouldn't have goals, like, it's important to, um, Have a certain goal, but at the same time not be intensely moving towards it because there's other things that can help you along the way like, you know, dealing with tough emotions and whatnot that are still helping you towards the goal, but you may not realize it at that point.

Right. So kind of [00:26:00] like 

Jake Johnstone: tasks that will help you get there or little steps rather than yeah, totally. Yeah. How will you go about, like say, if you've got a really big goal, it might be like your two year goal or your five year goal on the bike, your one day goal. How will you go about breaking that down into smaller steps?

Piyush Chavan: Um, that's, that's something I do, I do sometimes struggle with because, uh, I feel like I'm, I'm a bit of a big picture guy where I'm like, okay, this is the big picture, and I try and go about it and paint it, but sometimes I miss out on the details. So it's something that I'm still working on. I still try and reaffirm the big picture in my mind and just try and steer towards that, and whatever's coming, I deal with it then.

So I do not really have a structured plan, I'm afraid, but, uh. So you've got 

Jake Johnstone: almost, like, you know where you're headed. Yeah. You know your destination, and then you'll kind of live in the present from there. Totally. And deal with whichever little challenges 

Piyush Chavan: come up along the way. Exactly, yeah, and like, you know, like any sort of progression in biking as well, we always, we see our students doing it, like we always spiral upwards.

Like we think we've got a certain skill, and it starts to hit the top, and you go [00:27:00] back, and then you again go up. And I feel like that's just the same thing with reaching your goals as well. You're always going to spiral upwards and as long as your eyes are on that and you're staying steady in your progression It's it works out.

Jake Johnstone: Yeah, I love that spiral analogy. It's one I've heard from someone else as well Rather than it being like a circle like we're going around in circles having the same problem Yeah, it's that upward spiral and although we might still have challenges and problems. We're still making progress Fantastic and I'm curious like what's it what's this new skill that you've learnt lately?

Piyush Chavan: How did you go about it? Uh, in, uh, in terms of just, like, 

Jake Johnstone: biking. Yeah, in terms of biking, it could be a trick, it could be a particular 

Piyush Chavan: move on the trail. Uh, being proactive on the bike, uh, I've realized that I could, uh, bunny hop into things and, like, stay a little bit more in my default position where I'm quite stubborn in my, um, torso and quite engaged in my torso, but my arms and legs are just fluid and they're moving it out.

So I feel like that, I've tried to, like, bring that into my riding and that's been working. Fantastic. And I try and, I try, I [00:28:00] just try and keep finding these little gaps where if there's like a dip I see, I try and pre hop it and stuff like that just to keep my speed going. Yeah, I 

Jake Johnstone: can certainly see that in your riding.

We just did a fantastic run at Skyline Bike Park here in Queenstown down Squid Run. Totally. And man I got so many ideas for gaps just from following your lines. It was really cool to see, really playful riding. 

Piyush Chavan: Yeah, that, that I find is rewarding, just getting your wheels off the ground at every opportunity is, uh, it's been a, it's been a good experience.

Jake Johnstone: Totally, and it's a great way of making trails that may be perhaps, like, easy for you without getting super playful. It's a great way of making 

Piyush Chavan: them really fun, isn't it? Totally, right? Like, some of the routes and stuff you just don't want to ride down. And if you can find a line that you can just gap over and land, land in a sweet spot, then it does make sense.


Jake Johnstone: yeah. It's amazing how many different ways you can ride the trails once you kind of add some bunny hops and some jumps into your bag of skills. Yeah, totally. That kind of leads into a question I wanted to ask. When it comes to your riding and your coaching, which we'll get into a second, you talk a lot about the idea of body dynamics, body awareness.

I'd love to hear you speak on that and what that means for you. 

Piyush Chavan: Well, [00:29:00] in terms of my thing, like I said, I um, sort of make sure there's like, if there's engagement, it has to be in the right spot. So I try and keep my core engaged. For the most bit so that my arms and legs are free to move and if you know that like if you notice any of The videos of pro riders for for example, Vinny T when you see him riding Yeah, like his torso and head are just like straight, you know, he's aiming at something But his body underneath is just having a dance having a party and I think that's pretty cool And yeah, I've, I've trying to, uh, ingrain that into my own riding.

So every time I feel stiff, I realized that, Oh, if I'm feeling stiff in my arms and legs, there's something not quite right. If there's engagement that needs to be there in the body, it needs to be in the core where like the core tries to stubbornly stay central and the body's just like moving underneath to help it stay central.

And that's what translates into how, how we coach as well. Cause like every single skill that, that we're coaching too. It doesn't matter if it's cornering, jumping, um, [00:30:00] just regular pressure control. If you're not central, it's all going to go out the, go out of the window, you know, none of that's going to work.

So it all boils down to, hey, staying in the center of the bike and, um, every single technique is just to like coming back to that circle. Stay in the center, stay in the center. Yeah. And, uh, yeah, that's basically it. The foundation of all foundations, eh? Totally, totally. They always say this coaching 

Jake Johnstone: dota, we can't stack anything else cool on top.

Exactly, yeah. 

Piyush Chavan: That's why we've got that foundation. Hundred percent. And those foundations is where most of the maximal gains are, you know. Yeah, 

Jake Johnstone: totally. Yeah, the biggest gains are to be had at the bottom of that skill pyramid. Totally, totally. 

Hello everyone and thanks for listening. If you're enjoying the podcast, don't forget to give it a like, give it a subscribe. And if you'd like to know more about my journey in mountain biking and my background as a mountain [00:31:00] bike coach, check out episode number 29 where I dive a little bit deeper into that.

Now let's get right back to the podcast. 


Jake Johnstone: . 

So, yeah, tell us the story about creating Treadmark and becoming a coach.


Piyush Chavan: um, well, back home initially, this starts back home actually, because I started this company called Indian Shredder, because the term Indian Shredder meant an Indian mountain biker, which is a very rare thing, and I was like, alright, we've got to be a little rebellious here, and um And put this out so everyone, um, whose ride bikes can just hashtag it on Instagram, everywhere.

And we started organizing some camps and races. We had like this weekend camp where, um, we go to a resort and they let us build some tracks there and all that. So we do these educational camps of, you know, telling people what sort of positions to use and how to use their brakes on like regular mountain bikes.

And it started from there on. And, um, when I moved to New Zealand, my main [00:32:00] aim was racing. But I came here with quite a bit of Like student loan debt and everything and that was quite expensive and I was thinking if I was racing that wouldn't be the best thing financially in the long term long long term process and Then I think you know, what else am I really good at and it was describing and articulating skills And I had this opportunity in my in my college to do a business for an assignment And they said that, hey, you want to start an adventure tourism business, these are the steps.

You've got to create a safety management plan. You've got to create booking systems. You've got to create business strategy, etc, etc. And, uh, I just started working on it. I was like, okay, cool. What's, what's something that comes with mountain biking? I was like, oh, a treadmill. Um, that relates to mountain biking.

So, just for fun, I created it and, um, over time, that fun became too serious. Where I went super deep into what exactly I wanted to do with it. And, um, yeah, it just went deeper and deeper from there. [00:33:00] Um, after graduating, we hit COVID. So the tourism in town just completely died. And I was thinking to myself, Farhad, I just did a degree in adventure tourism, and the tourism's dead.

I don't really know what's going to happen. Um, because that time was so uncertain, right? COVID and everything. That's nothing none of us have ever experienced before. But as you were coming out of it, I figured like, you know, screw it. We'll just, uh, we'll just see how this goes. And then in September, I just registered, um, the business as, uh, as a sole trader.

Because I was still on an open work student visa. So I technically wasn't a New Zealand resident and I could not register it as a company. Oh, wow. But then I asked the citizens at Biosphere and they're like, Oh, no, but you can do it as a sole trader. So I was like, oh, and it's the same thing as a company in New Zealand.

Cool. And, uh, so I registered as that and then Feb on. I was, I was, I had completed like my safety management plans got audited and all of that stuff and it was all coming together and then just became started the experiment of seeing how this coaching clinics are working and it's been two years since we've been [00:34:00] running and we've coached over about 350 clients.

Most of them have been kids, but I would say 30 percent have been adults. Um, mostly women who've, who've, uh, who we've seen globally as well have come up in the sport quite a lot and there's quite a bit of progression happening in that. So yeah, I feel like I got in at the right time. 

Jake Johnstone: Dude, yeah, you definitely did.

I think you've really, uh, filled a good niche here in Queenstown. There's a great demand for skills coaching, uh, and you know, there's a few other businesses, but mainly focused on the tourism side of things and the guided tours rather than the skills coaching. Yeah, it's such a cool story of yours. I love this idea of the treadmark, this now successful coaching business.

Uh, that employs multiple people here in town and started as a school project that it was 

Piyush Chavan: just for fun. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's crazy how things go along, right? Like, um, I always figured, like, I would run my own business at some point. Because, um, yeah, I just like the novelty of things and not, not Don't like having a steady schedule.

So yeah, I just went along the flow [00:35:00] really and that's how it is Do you feel 

Jake Johnstone: like starting out without the pressure of like will this business fail? Or will it make it and like going in like a real life sense? Do you think starting out as a project helped you just make moves and stay focused and get it done rather than they get caught up Worrying 

Piyush Chavan: about the little things.

Saw it off. Yeah I did always imagine there's gonna be like ups and downs with the business But, um, the way I went about it was quite step by step, and I made sure that I wasn't, like, expanding too fast or too quickly in certain areas. Um, yeah, so it was, it was a very gradual process. And, um, even when we have quiet times and everything, it does, it does bog me a little bit.

Like, oh, wow, cool, this is, this seems a little uncertain with how things are going. But then it always picks back up because, you know, the service is always there. And as soon as the people come in, there's something to match that. So, yeah, it's just, it's just been like a little, um It's been, it's been an interesting journey, but, um, yeah, the risk versus reward thing is, is, yeah, it's good.

It's, it's certainly very rewarding compared [00:36:00] to the risk I'm taking for sure. 

Jake Johnstone: Totally. Yeah, and we can see that. We can see the passion in your voice when you're talking about this. It's so cool to see. Yeah, um, yeah, I was gonna ask you there if you have anything that you'll tell yourself or any tactics you'll use when you do experience like a little bit of a stressful moment in your business, because I'm sure this relates to bike in as well.

same kind of ups and downs. Sometimes it's scary. Sometimes it's really fun. 

Piyush Chavan: Yeah, totally. And, um, I think it's important to again, go back to, um, the learnings I had from the medic, you know, the professional meditation is that staying equanimous. It doesn't matter if it's, um, going upwards or downwards, you've got to train the mind to stay steady and aware at the same time, because when it's going upwards and you start craving towards it, Um, it can create a sense of like attachment and you just like sort of wanting to do more and more and more of that because like, Oh, I had a busy season, um, last month and I want to make the same thing happen, but, and you try and go towards those places to make it happen again.

But because you're so focused on that, [00:37:00] you might miss out on other sustainable opportunities elsewhere. So for me, it's been a very good learning to see that, all right, we had a busy season, a lot busy, busy time last month. This one looks a bit different, but just being aware of, okay, cool. There is, there's a bit of a bit of a dip in sales here.

There's also these other opportunities and avenues opening, which if I was just focusing on selling, you know, a certain course over and over again, that I would miss out on the other opportunities. So it's important to not react again to what's happening with the business and just keep that awareness of that, you know, Peripheral awareness of what's happening so I can pick up on things that can help the business.

Yeah. Well, that's what I've learned this year And I think I'm just gonna stick to that and keep my eyes and ears open on what? Things, what things are doing and how trends are forming and all that stuff. 

Jake Johnstone: Yeah, it definitely sounds like you're on to something there. Sorry. We must be sitting in a ducks playground here.

He's not 

Piyush Chavan: too happy with us. Oh, he's [00:38:00] liking the conversation. 

Jake Johnstone: Maybe he's cheering you on. So what I'm really hearing there is that you're not getting distracted. By too much noise or perhaps by the cravings of wanting things to be different and instead 

Piyush Chavan: holding yourself, staying present and seeing what opportunities there are now.

For sure, and like, you know, um, if you notice in Queenstown, you might have seen this already because there's so many things happening in Queenstown, people want to do stuff, they're here to do stuff, which also means that it is also a bit of a last minute town. Yeah, so all the, all the other tourism operators, they're, they're, they're so, um, veteran in this that they know that people are going to come at some point and that can be last minute.

So they consistently stay ready for what's to come and I'm trying to develop that. It's hard. Yeah, like being at 

Jake Johnstone: peace with that, knowing that you might not have income until. It's the Monday before the Tuesdays. Yeah, 

Piyush Chavan: yeah, yeah, totally. So that's been, that's been a little interesting. But um, yeah, yeah.

Right. It's a 

Jake Johnstone: learning process, right? No, it's really cool to see what you do. [00:39:00] And I'm curious, you're out there coaching, you said over like 350 riders, children and adults. What's one of the most common things that you find yourself teaching out there over 

Piyush Chavan: and over? Over and over? Body dynamics. They're like, oh, I want to learn how to jump, I want to learn how to corner.

But um, most of my clients are like, they either, as soon as they reach anything steep or scary, they move away from the bike. Because as soon as, you know, you feel scared of something, you will move away from it. And once you do, you're still holding on to your handlebars, but your weight's all the way at the back.

And just, just firstly teaching them to bring their weight towards the front and more central, um, has been the key thing and that's been the theme of most lessons. And once that's built in, that's when we go on either cornering or, or jump lessons. So, they come in with a goal and be like, okay, cool. In order to reach that goal, we're going to have to, um, go back to this foundation here.

And then, uh, move along that way. Totally. Yeah, 

Jake Johnstone: that's really cool. It sounds like, yeah, putting those building blocks in between their goal and where they are now. Yeah, yeah. I really like that. And then, like, [00:40:00] mental skills wise, is there anything that you find yourself often, like, coaching riders through, helping 

Piyush Chavan: riders with?

Um, just, just reminding them that they are, they are going to spiral upwards. And it will, certain, certain techniques, when they're learning, they will find them weird. Because they are fighting their muscle memory. Especially with riders who have been riding for a while and they've developed certain techniques that keep them safe and the body's like, no, this, you know, squatting on my rear wheel makes me feel safe, uh, standing up a little bit taller makes me feel like I'm going to go over the handlebars, but just helping them, uh, tone the environment, like we try and like, you know, tone the terrain down and helping them understand that, Oh, this is actually far more sustainable, safer and recreating that safety.

in a new experience for them in their new position is a bit of a challenge. So I wouldn't really say there's many mental skills that I add in. I just try and recreate their experience in a safer environment so that it trains their muscle memory to be a bit better and more efficient over time. Yeah, so [00:41:00] training them 

Jake Johnstone: to feel more comfortable 

Piyush Chavan: in that new body position or doing that new skill.

Totally, totally. Yeah, I like that. 

Jake Johnstone: It's crazy when to think about it, isn't it? I find this often when we change something as little as like a client's foot pedal position or something like this, it can feel really weird and all of a sudden everything's feeling off for them. When we think about it, if we've been riding for a couple of years, we've probably put our foot on the pedal 10 million times.

Yeah, yeah, exactly. So to go and retrain that, it's going to take 

Piyush Chavan: repetition. 100%, 100%. And, uh, yeah, it's just basically like, like with anything, if you've developed bad habits, when you relearn something, it is going to feel different and, um, quite often awkward. But that's just the way it is. Yeah, definitely.

Jake Johnstone: And I really like what you said there about toning the terrain down while you're doing that process. Because I know for me if I'm trying to think consciously about changing any of my technique while I'm riding, I can't do that if I'm riding something that's really challenging for me. Exactly. Because I'm just focused on performing, 

Piyush Chavan: staying on the bike.

Yeah. And that's, that's when the, um, fight or flight response comes in, right? Because when you're riding certain terrain that's beyond your, or like [00:42:00] slightly more challenging. Yeah. Instincts are switched on. Once your instincts are switched on, it's you're in that reactive phase where you're not going to learn anything.

So it's, it's important for me to bring my clients back to that responsive phase where we can teach stuff and they can respond to the new technique as opposed to just reaction reaction all the time. 

Jake Johnstone: Yeah. Fantastic. And I know, yeah, you're, you're lucky. You see riders, uh, with a whole breadth of different skillsets from like first day on a bike even to being right in for the 10 years plus across the board there in your opinion, like why should everyone come and get a mountain 

Piyush Chavan: bike lesson?

Because there's always a bit of improvement that you can make for sure. It doesn't matter if you're riding a double black trail or like, you know, what's whatever, whatever you're riding, there's always a certain technique that's going to help you ride it better. And there's always room for improvement.

Um, this is, this is why I find like, even with me, when I started, let's say to give you my example of when I learned how to do a backflip. Um, I was flipping initially, I was doing my [00:43:00] flips really well and I was taking feedback from some of my friends and they were like, no, these flips looks really good and your technique looks proper.

As soon as I had a couple of crashes, I started pulling really hard off the ramp instinctively because I was so scared and, uh, it took me two years to like really relearn that trick again because I did not want to crash, um, the same way that I had. So even in situations like that, when you've been riding for a while and you have a crash and you come back.

Your body tries to keep you safe, and that does not necessarily mean, uh, the body is going to go into efficient positions that are going to keep you safe. You might go into some positions that aren't great for your riding. And, uh, which is why it's important to get a lesson just to, just for a coach's eye to see that, hey, are you, are you staying central?

Are you maximizing the traction out of your bike? Are you giving yourself enough chances to stay on your bike while you're riding it? And which is why you should get a mountain bike lesson because that outside insight outside insight is, uh, very important. Totally. Sometimes we feel like 

Jake Johnstone: we're doing one thing, but when we see that [00:44:00] outside perspective, whether it's a video or a trained eye watching you, it's 

Piyush Chavan: not quite, it might look like something else.

Totally. It's like, you know, there's the kids when they, uh, ask their friends to film their whips and they think they've done a really big whip. And you check it in the video, it's like, oh wow, it just looks like a little bar turn. You say the kids, but I feel personally victimized. Yeah, I mean, it happens to everyone, right?

Jake Johnstone: No, it does. Quite often I even think like, oh, my body position's on point, and then someone will film me, and I'm like, oh, quiet, there's something we can 

Piyush Chavan: tweak there. 100%, 100%. So is that outside perspective is quite, um, quite essential in that instance? 

Jake Johnstone: Yeah, I love that, that outside perspective. But I think also knowing what to do with that perspective, so having the right feedback to go along with it.

Totally. Other than, otherwise it's like, oh, this doesn't quite look right. 

Piyush Chavan: Yeah, yeah, for sure. 

Jake Johnstone: Really cool man. For sure. Really cool. So you're out there teaching students all kinds of things. I always like to ask the question, is there anything you've ever learned from a student? 

Piyush Chavan: Um, I've learned that the same approach doesn't work for everyone.

There's, uh, there's different people who learn [00:45:00] differently and, um, it's important to First understand how the people are learning and that usually happens in a couple lessons with private lessons I think it happens quite quickly because you're spending a lot of time focused on them and Yeah, lots of new students have taught me that that yes I know what I need to get them like I have a have a picture of yeah, their body position needs to look like this But the approach that I use to get them there has been different every single time.

And with some people it can be the same, with some people it has to be changed according and, you know, sort of boutiqued according to where they're at and how they're taking the information. Yeah, 

Jake Johnstone: it's always fascinating, isn't it? Trying to figure out what our learning styles are in particular situations.

And then people we're coaching as well. Some people are visual, some people really like to think about it. A hundred percent, yeah. Some people perhaps, yeah, like watching 

Piyush Chavan: you. 

Jake Johnstone: Um, awesome. So, I want to know, coaching kids versus coaching adults, what are some of the main differences 

Piyush Chavan: you find? Um, definitely [00:46:00] far more repetition with kids, um, which is great for business I guess, because, uh, like when we do term programs, uh, I've noticed over the, over the few years that we've done them now, it takes at least, at least three, I think three is a sweet number, three to four term programs, um, for the kids to be at a point where they're really riding intuitively.

And riding with composure, because that's what I aim for in any of my lessons. Um, that's mainly because the kids have a lot of energy, right? And they haven't developed too much of those analytical skills just yet, as like an adult does, and they just want to keep going, going, going. And, um, so it's important to mix a bit of, mix a lot of riding with a bit of, like, hey, um, do you know how it feels to, you know, point your Point your hips to the sky and you feel like you're hovering over the front on the bike and sort of help them feel the technique as opposed to analyzing and analytically telling them.

So sometimes we'll just spend like about 15 to 20 minutes doing, uh, [00:47:00] you know, a static stand and helping them feel that body position or technique and applying it on the trail. So I feel like they'll learn a bit more on an experiential level. Adults, on the other hand, there's quite a few questions, there's quite a few analyzing, especially if, you know, if you meet sometimes intelligent clients and they really like to think it through and sometimes they can overthink it as well.

So yeah, just breaking the technique down, heaps more and discussing, discussing, and then also finding opportunities to apply to that experience. And then when they make the, make the connection of the intellectualized aspect of the technique and the experience of the technique, that's when they make progress.

And yeah, it's always like that, huh? We know what needs to happen. We just need to make, make it happen for this guy and then this guy and the next. 

Jake Johnstone: Yeah, and you touched on there, kind of, two aspects of your process for coaching a client. Starting with the body dynamics, ending with composure. Can you walk us through the other steps you've got there? 

Piyush Chavan: Yeah, 

Cause we have a bigger picture in the mind, like all the coaches and stuff. Um, know that, hey, the riders [00:48:00] need to look composed when they're riding. And we know that, uh, once they've learned the technique, we just need to make sure the technique is primed enough so that it comes on fluidly and they look fluid on their bike.

And, uh, yeah. So I feel like it takes at least two or three after school term programs, which is about 24 weeks of, um, riding with us for, for the kids to really be at a spot where their riding is intuitive. And that's, that's what the goal is. So yeah, it's been there, um, with adults, the progression obviously can be quite quick because you can go so much deeper into the technique, you can analyze so many things and with adults, the process is to really connect the analytical, um, intellectualized aspect of the technique to the experience of the technique.

And once that connection is made, the progression just keeps, keeps happening. So at every step we try and do that, whether, whether it's just learning how to tip their bike in, into the corners. As opposed to, you know, finding far more traction with, you know, twisting the hips or [00:49:00] like doing a bit of pressure control and brake control through the corners.

So yeah, it's just the same process that applies to all of those aspects as they're going along in their riding journey. Yeah, I love that. 

Jake Johnstone: Yeah, really intuitive kind of step by step process you've 

Piyush Chavan: laid out. 100%, 100%. Like you can't really push someone to do something when, uh, they're unable or like, you know, you can't introduce back body separation if they're already shaky on the bike.

And, uh, just, yeah, you've just got to stabilise their position first and then jump into that. For sure, one 

Jake Johnstone: step at a time. And it's definitely, yeah, important to pay attention to the order of those 

Piyush Chavan: steps. 100%. 100%. I like 

Jake Johnstone: that. I wanted to ask, yeah, if you've got any techniques or strategies or things you do to avoid fear after, say, a crash or a setback.

I know it's a pretty common thing that people will come across in mountain biking. 

Piyush Chavan: Yeah, that is definitely a funny one because confidence as most athletes and most professionals have said that it is, it is a delicate thing and you have to maintain it. So best thing would be to first [00:50:00] avoid the crash totally.

Um, and then if you did have a crash, um, it depends on what kind of crash it is. Sometimes it can be a freak crash where you just slip on a route to something and then hurt yourself. And then it is just telling your brain that, Hey, that has happened because maybe I was a bit more complacent. And it took place and that is the odds of that happening again aren't really that high.

But as opposed to when you crash by attempting something that you're scared of and you're actively conscious while doing it, and then you have a crash, that can be more damaging to the psyche a little bit. So in that aspect, I feel, I feel, Changing the approach, going back to the foundation again. And, um, let's say you crash during a gap jump, just working on the jumping technique and making sure your body is intuitively doing every single thing in a safe and sustainable way.

And then approaching that. So it takes a bit of time. And, uh, yeah, it just like once the confidence takes a hit, just like taking it nice and easy, nice and easy to build it back up. To a point where it feels natural, [00:51:00] where you feel like you've already overcome that fear before you do it. And, uh, that's, that's where I'm at really.

Yeah, that's how I deal with it. Yeah, I 

Jake Johnstone: love that. To really follow in that process until it's almost like not an issue anymore. 

Piyush Chavan: 100%, 100%, yeah. 100%, for sure. Until the point where like You know, I crashed a couple of times doing backies to dirt. Uh, the first time I under rotated and like, you know, went straight on my face.

That wasn't great. The second time I over rotated, let go of the bike and did splits on the landing. So yeah, that was really bad as well. So I'm just trying to find the middle ground has been quite intense. And, uh, I just had to go back and do as many flips as possible. And like really do them when I'm present on the bike.

And that was back into the 

Jake Johnstone: airbag 

Piyush Chavan: rather than into the Back into the airbag, back into the mulch, and then decided, Oh, I'm feeling the tinges of go time. I've done this heaps of times and, uh, I just have to trust myself now. That I'm gonna trust the process that I've process that I've put myself through and Let the body do its thing.

Yeah, I 

Jake Johnstone: like that [00:52:00] and almost like giving yourself a bit of a pep talker reminder at the end that like I've done the work I deserve 

Piyush Chavan: to be here. 100 percent 100 percent I think it like Getting over fear becomes easier when you're more in tune with your body as well Because most of those emotions are stored.

So if your body's feeling ready, there's no chance why you won't be able to do it So yeah, it's just being aware really Yeah, 

Jake Johnstone: being aware and I think accepting where you're at as well. As opposed to like getting caught up with where you used to be or where you want to be. It's being like, this is where I'm at, this is what 

Piyush Chavan: I need to do.

Totally, yeah. Taking a step at a time, right? Yeah. That's, that's the way it is. 

Jake Johnstone: We're gonna start winding things down here. This has been a fantastic conversation. Cool, yeah. The question I always like to ask is, who do you look up to in the mountain biking 

Piyush Chavan: world? Uh, the first thought that comes to my mind would be, uh, Connor McFarlane.

Uh, he's a, he's a local legend. Uh, rides, he's super, super easy to, uh, chat to and everything. And I found that he rides at such a high level, but he's always so composed. And every time he shows up for a ride, he has this, like, [00:53:00] Our power sort of sessions where he comes in does his thing does some gnarly tricks and then heads out He knows this process really well, right and like, you know, that's a sign of a guy that you know Sort of knows what he's doing and etc.

So I sort of look up to Look up to that where you come in you do what you need to and then you know, you quit early 

Jake Johnstone: Yeah, it's almost like you don't keep pushing it. 

Piyush Chavan: Yeah. Yeah, and like, you know rider similar similar to just like him That are performing on a higher level, but they know when to stop and they understand that they're performing.

There's always that sweet spot and Maybe like a little bit of a spectrum where you can perform at that higher level And then you have to sort of be like, okay, cool My energy is not there right now and these tricks demand that level of attention, which I don't have and it's important to me Okay, cool. I need to call it go home get some rest come back another day and I feel like people who have figured that balance That's that's that's the most rewarding thing because you can still ride your bike every single day You can do like gnarly stuff [00:54:00] every single day but avoid crashing because You are working within the speed spot of that Attention spectrum.

Does that make sense? 

Jake Johnstone: Yeah, so yeah, so like realizing where you work best, under what conditions, and 

Piyush Chavan: then performing within that. Totally. Uh, even every time when I ride my bike, and it might look like it's loose or anything, but there's barely any instance where I feel like I'm scaring myself. I'm always in that very relaxed state when I'm riding, and I just want to maintain that, and doesn't matter what I'm doing, I just want to maintain that state, because that's the most rewarding state.

Doing something scary and like having that adrenaline boost. Isn't what I'm looking for. It is just, yeah. Just staying in that state for as long as I can, really. 

Jake Johnstone: I totally agree with that. Like, I don't ride my mountain bike to go and be, like, scared. And for it to be terrifying. Yeah, yeah, yeah. For sure, sometimes it's fun to push the comfort zone just a little bit and progress.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I'm with you. I ride it within that comfort zone like 

Piyush Chavan: 98 percent of the time. 100%, 100%. Yeah, a little bit of a wake up here and there is good, obviously. Definitely. But all the time can be, whew! A [00:55:00] bit hectic. For 

Jake Johnstone: sure, mate. Wanted to give you the opportunity here, have you got any partners, anyone helping you out in the mountain bike world, business wise, that you wanted to mention?


Piyush Chavan: yeah, we've got, um, Andres Bike Studio, he's a good, he's a good friend of mine and, uh, he's just started his own workshop. Super talented and really has a very steady process of, um, doesn't matter if he's servicing suspension or servicing bikes, he just really knows what he's doing and cracks onto the job and gets it done.

And I always think, like, he goes over and above and beyond with what he does, so I'd like to mention him. And, uh, the second is, uh, Maron Bikes. They've been, they've been really good. You're right, yeah? Yeah. And I'm pretty stoked to be with Marin through the business as well because I feel most of the clients that come to us are in that sweet beginner to intermediate spot where they're just looking to get into biking.

And Marin's pricing range has been very appropriate in terms of being beginner friendly. And I feel like there was, it was just like alignment of, hey, we've got so many beginners that come to [00:56:00] us and now they've got these amazing bikes that they can purchase and still, and these really quality bikes with quality components they can purchase at a, Decent price and still get out and ride.

Jake Johnstone: Yeah, they definitely represent a really good 

Piyush Chavan: value for money I think. Fully and yeah, that just that just came along. So I'm glad to be representing them right now. Really cool 

Jake Johnstone: Fantastic man, and where can people find you, find Treadmark and follow along with your adventures online? 

Piyush Chavan: Yeah, well on Instagram.

We are Treadmark NZ, Treadmark New Zealand and Yeah, website just Treadmark. co. nz and that's basically it We, we keep posting a lot of, we're very active on Instagram really, um, yeah, and you'll find all our courses and all our tips and tricks and whatnot there. Our favourite coaching spots in Queenstown would be Seven Mile, Coronet Peak, Cardrona Alpine Resort, and my personal favourite would be the Wynyard Jump Park because, um, that's just the most exciting place in my opinion.


Jake Johnstone: that's fantastic. Access to, yeah, all kinds of wonderful coaching facilities. 

Piyush Chavan: Totally, totally. Cannot believe that in the middle of summer, Queenstown has [00:57:00] two lift access bike parks and, you know. Um, a whole array of beach forest trails and alpine trails and jump tracks to ride with so it's definitely, uh, definitely a blessing to be here.

Yeah, great 

Jake Johnstone: variety. And speaking of variety, we've talked about all kinds of things in this podcast. If you could give the listeners just one little thing to take away with them, what would it be? 

Piyush Chavan: Take away with them? Uh, yeah. Oh, wow. This is a hard one because you spoke about so many things. But, um, I think my mind comes back to, uh, the mindfulness aspect.

If there is a chance to bring in a bit of meditation and mindfulness, it has. Very good ripple effects on the riding. Before I even started meditating intensely, I would do yoga. And the whole mind body connection is definitely a thing. And the way it translates on the bike, I've seen major improvements in how I approach things on the bike.

So yeah, either yoga or mindfulness, whatever floats your boat. But an element of that, it certainly helps. Fantastic, 

Jake Johnstone: man. Well, [00:58:00] thank you so much for taking 

the time. Cheers, mate. Thanks for having me. This was great. First podcast. What's up guys, just one more thing before you hit the trails. If you enjoyed this podcast, please be sure to subscribe and don't be a stranger. I'd love to hear from you about any topics or any particular episodes that you enjoyed, and even about any guests that you'd like to hear me have on the show in the future.

You can find me on Instagram at The underscore Mind underscore Mountain. This podcast, mountain biking, and mindset are all things that are very close to my heart, so I feel super grateful to be able to share these conversations with you. So much love to you all for taking the time to listen, and I'll see you next time. 



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