is a member of Team Radio Shack
and a former All American runner at Luther College. Matt has shot up the cycling ranks in two/three short years, turning pro in 2009. He graciously took some time off from his busy schedule to answer a few questions from RunColo. You graduated from Luther College in 2007, where you were an All American in cross country and in track, running the 10,000 meters; can you tell us some of your PRs and accomplishments running in college? PR
ís- 8k(CC)=? Indoor: 5k: 14:48, 3k: 8:40, 2kSteeple: 6:29; Outdoor: 10k: 30:46, 3kSteeple: 9:08 You were introduced to cycling after a knee injury at the end of your freshman year in cross country, but how much cycling did you do while in college? After college you turned your full attention to cycling, did you just realize that you were better at cycling than running?
Cycling was more of a supplement/replacement at first. Then after I was still injured sophomore year I began riding a fair amount. I raced my bike spring/summer of sophomore year, summer of junior year. I used the bike for a bit of cross training/supplementation throughout college after the injury freshman year. The amount varied but anywhere from 6hrs-15hrs a week of supplementation probably. Turning to only cycling after college seemed only natural for me because I knew I had potential with it. I loved running, but after I got the taste of cycling I wanted to explore it more. I had run for over a decade already and was probably only starting to realize my potential there too, but I really wanted to see what cycling could do for me. Also I felt there was more opportunity for competition with cycling. I think I just wanted to try something new as well. Youíre currently living and training in Spain, how long will you live in Europe and will most of that time be spent in Spain? Do you know when youíll have your first race with Team Radio Shack?
Living in Europe will be on and off for as long as I race. I am based for training in Girona, Spain as of now and probably wonít change this year, but I will have to see how things progress and what happens as the season goes. When I race I am all over Europe: Italy, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, France, etc. I am currently having my first race in Italy called the Giro di Sardenga. How hard of a transition was it from being a competitive runner to competitive cyclist? Do you miss running at all and do you still?
The transition is pretty natural I think. The cardiovascular engine is there and it is similar muscle groups. Overall you have to train the muscles the most. The competitive attitude is the same so many runners are great cyclists. Sometimes I do miss running, but generally I am happy with cycling. Every so often I will go for a run, but cycling is very time consuming with long training hours on and off the bike. Most of the time, I do not feel like I have the energy and donít want to spend the energy to go for a run. Off season is a great time for running because you need something else besides the bike. You recently got married, how tough is the work/life balance of a professional cyclist?
Yes being a married cyclist is not easy. I have not had much experience with it yet, but the time I had as an engaged cyclist was a good taste anyway. The hardest part about being an American pro cyclist is that you generally have to be based in Europe because racing is in Europe. That means unless your wife comes with you, the two of you donít get to see each other much. If you are from Europe, it is not so hard because you still go home after every race and every day you just go to train as if it is a normal job. The time apart is not easy, but it is something you must learn to handle. Youíre obviously learning a ton of new stuff, training, nutrition, strategies, etc. If you could take all of that and your new perspective and go back and change your lifestyle and training schedule (specific to running) back in college, what changes would you make?
I donít think I would change much with what I did in running. I think what you learn is that it is about responsibility and discipline. If you want to be good, you have to be responsible for what you do on/off the bike/running. That involves eating, sleeping, stretching, core, etc. Everyone is good and doing what they are supposed to on the bike/running, but it is the little extra stuff off the bike/running that can make a big difference. And most of all I think you have to love what you are doing, have fun and stay relaxed about it. Listen to your body because it knows best what it wants. There are times to push it, but when it says I am tired, you might need to listen because rest is just as important as the training. What are your thoughts on doping in the cycling world and how often are you drug tested?
I am certainly not an advocate of doping and want nothing to do with it myself. Unfortunately it has been a part of cycling for many years and now that the sport is cracking down on it, people are hearing. It is unfortunate that the public has developed a bad attitude about cycling, calling it filthy only because cycling has gone public with its crack down on doping and cases are well known. I think it is a good thing that cycling is doing it and making it public because it puts more pressure on the crackdown and will hopefully clean things up quicker. I donít mean to make all cycling sound like doping, either, it certainly isnít, but there are people who do it and I hope they get caught with proper consequences to follow. Drug testing is a periodic thing out of competition; some get tested more often. I have been tested a few times thus far. There is testing at every race; usually stage/race winner or top three with a few random. I think it is basically the same as many other endurance sports for in competition testing. Looking at the Team Radio Shack website, it appears that there are 25 riders on Team Radio Shack, how many will the team take to the Tour De France? For the riders who donít make the Tour De France team, where do they go?
Nine riders go to the Tour and others have rest or do a few other races that go on during that time. Have you had much interaction with Lance Armstrong? What are your thoughts on Lanceís preparation and training going into 2010 and is Alberto Contador still on Lanceís hit list?
My interactions with Lance have been limited. As far as his preparation and training for 2010, he will be ready for the Tour and should be able to put on a good performance. As he has said though, it is not all about him. Our team has many strong riders who could put in good performances: Levi, Kloden and Haimar have all been top 5 in the Tour before and Jani is upcoming. I donít have any comment on the Contador situation. What are your long term cycling goals?
I have not set any specific long term goals because I am so new to this. Right now I just really want to improve all my cycling skills and bring my fitness to the next level. After that, maybe I would like to ride a grand tour and place highly. I would love to win a mountain top finish stage at one of the grand tours as well, especially the Tour. To win anything at this level would be sweet though. If all the riders on Team Radio Shack had to run a 5k tomorrow, what is your guess as to what the slowest time would be and who would be the fastest?
16-21 minutes. I think I could put a good bid in for the win. Did you know that you made it big time when you got your own Wikipedia page?
The Wikipedia page is relatively new. At first it had no information, but I do say thank you to whoever posted the information. Have you gotten a kiss from a hot podium girl yet?
Not that I can remember. Not really a concern of mine. If I get to the podium at this level, I would be stoked. My wife is my hot podium girl anyway, so maybe I should answer yes!