Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Interview: Matt Shriver


For those of you who read Velonews, you’ve probably heard enough about Matt Shriver. He’s been dominating the Collegiate/Pro Mountain and Cross scene for the past four years. I got the chance to interview him. For more information on Matt, you can also visit his website at: www.shriverracing.com.

1. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN RIDING?

I have been riding since I was a youngster. My dad would drag me out on rides. We went to Moab when I was eight. I ended up riding the Slick Rock trail with a coaster brake. I got my first mountain bike when I was 10 and raced in the Pole Pedal Paddle with my brother and dad. I did the bike leg of the race, which was 25 miles of road on 24" wheels. That was my first race.

2. HAVE YOU RACED AS LONG?

I have raced bikes seriously for 11 years. I started in 1995 at 15. I started as a beginner and was racing professionally when I turned 20. I have been racing as a Pro for six years now.

3. DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST RACE?

My first race was the Pole Pedal Paddle in Jackson. I was 10. The race I remember most is when I started to get more serious at 15. Serious meant that I was riding my bike 3-4 times per week for at least an hour. I won the Jr. Beginner men category (15-18) at 15. I smoked them. The race was called the Mackay White Knob Challenge and was held in Mackay, Idaho. It is still one of my favorite races. I won it as a Junior Expert, started 1 minute behind and passed the Pro's. They didn't give me the money because I was a Junior at the time. I later won it again as a pro and set the course record.

4. WHAT GOT YOU INTO MOUNTAIN BIKING?

I started racing mountain bikes because my older brother, Zach, was starting to compete and worked at a bike shop. Of course I wanted to do what Zach was doing and started to tag along. I was very competitive, still am. I got a new bike, worked at the same shop, and was influenced by my bro and co-workers to race. I raced a lot of the local races and started attending Nationals at 16 in the sport class.

5. IF YOU COULD WRITE A BOOK ABOUT MOUNTAIN BIKE RACING WHAT WOULD IT BE CALLED?

Mountain Bike Racing: you win some and you lose allot!

6. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE RACE?

I think my favorite Mountain Bike race has to be the classic that I grew up racing in IDAHO – The White Knob Challenge. It is a fundraiser for the Mackay Search and Rescue. They are a bunch of rednecks who put on a bike race back in the day to raise some dough. It has blown up since. They start it at high noon, usually about 95 degrees in mid august. It climbs up through old mining ruins, 9 miles, and then descends the other 9 miles. After the race the whole town comes together and makes a huge feast in the park; every kind of food you can imagine. It is a ton of fun, I miss that [kind] of racing.

7. DESCRIBE YOUR RIDING STYLE.

Riding style? I am a descent climber on the mountain bike. I can descend to hold my own and don't get passed but I don't win on the downhills. I am patient in cross country races. This has helped me win many grueling races. I have learned that in any cross country event, you aren't going to win it in the first five minutes. It is a time trial and you want to be going fast the entire time and fastest at the end. Blowing up at the very end always works best.

8. GIVE US A PEEK INTO YOUR TRAINING.

A peak into the training… I put in some good base miles, not to much though. I have a hard time pounding out tons of miles. I like to stay fresh and balanced throughout the season. Stimulating workouts are key for me. In the off season I do fun stuff other than biking. I ski, fish, run, and hang out with the babe. For mountain bike training when I am not racing I do a lot of threshold training: a good warm up and then pin it for about an hour; just enough to keep me fit, but fresh and hungry for more come race day where I need to be able to pin it for 2.5 hours. Recovery is a huge part of my training during the season. I focus allot on the little things, like ice baths, recovery drinks and some supplements.

9. IF YOU COULD PUSH OVER ONE PERSON ON THEIR BIKE, JUST FOR KICKS, WHO WOULD IT BE?

Chris Sheppard the Canadian. He just got caught for doping with EPO. He has always been a nice guy and I liked racing with Shep. I had a lot of respect for him and found myself racing alongside him during Nationals, but he always had that little extra I didn't and could pop good results. Come to find out he was a cheater! If I could, I would shove him in the weeds for sure.

10. WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN STORE FOR THIS COMING SEASON?

I am mostly racing road this season. I am riding for Target Training. It is a new Dicison 3 Pro Raod team. I am excited to be on the road but scared as well. I don't know what to expect in these races. I am worried a little about all the travel. I am anxious to see what I am capable of and to see how I can compare to some of the country's best on the road. I am also wondering how it will help my Mountain Bike racing. I look forward to racing on the dirt in the late season with some more mileage under me. My role on the team will be mostly a domestique I am guessing, with opportunity to shine in the time trials.

11. FINALLY, WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO US MOUNTAIN BIKING MORTALS?

Keep it fun! Don't ever lose the fun in racing and riding the mountain bike. When you are getting burned out, take a break from the bike, do shorter rides and new fun rides. Limit the amount of structure in your rides, just being on the bike is enough sometimes, getting to serious can ruin your passion for the sport. Have a good time with it!

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