Hi Matt, could you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? Where do live? Who do you race for etc?
I am from Mount Hope, New Brunswick. It is a small country road just outside of Fredericton. I grew up there playing in the bush with my older brother, Adam. We would run around and build forts, cut trees down with axes, and have sword fights with sticks. I also spent a ton of time working on our XC ski trails, both clearing them in the summer and grooming them in the winter – first by snowshoe and a drag behind tracksetter, and finally with a snowmobile and a classic track setter I welded.
I currently live in Kamloops, BC, with my girlfriend Catherine Vipond, and friends Catharine Pendrel and Keith Wilson. Yes, it is confusing when you call and ask for Catherine… Keith and Catharine have 3 cats, one of which, Oly, is very cool and will play fetch with ear plugs. We often get him on a training program doing repeats 3x/day so he gets in better shape. He is part ninja, and can leap from the floor to the top of the water heater to on top of the pipes in the floor joists!!!
I currently race for Xprexo bicycles. They are a very cool company. All the frames are hand made in Bromont, Quebec. The tubing comes in 12 foot lengths, and they cut it, shape it, and make it into frames! They use aluminum for the front triangles, and steel for the rear. They do a lot of work with very high quality steel, which means it is very light and extremely strong.
What got you into mountain biking?
My parents took us on tons of exploring trips on our bicycles, and I just took that to a new level exploring all the muddy ATV trails, and then got to a race and got hooked.
What was your first mountain bike?
The first one that I really rode hard was a precision from a pawn shop. I rode it until I had to wire the cassette to the spokes to get home, as the freehub had died. After that I got a mongoose Sicamore SX, it was a good bike.
What was your first race, and how did you do?
I did my first race at age 14, it was a local race at Woolastock, NB. It was quite muddy, and I had the stock dry tires on the bike, and platform pedals. I won by a few minutes.
I know you have done a stage race in the past because I have photos of you from Trans Rockies ’07. What do you think of stage races? Which ones have you done? Which ones would you like to do in the future?
I have raced TR in 07 and 08, and Crank the Shield in 08. I am mixed on stage racing. I like real mountain biking, with good singletrack, and I think that often when you have a stage race so much is focused on getting from point A to B that you spend a lot of time riding boring gravel roads. However, the atmosphere, scenery, food and people usually make for such a fun time that I am sure I will do some more in the future. Currently I am really just interested in BCBR, as it has so much singletrack.
Who was your mentor growing up? Who inspired you to doing things? You have improved from last year in the racing scene. What did you differently in the off season?
I guess my mentors growing up would be my parents, we did so many activities outside. I think between ages 8 and 16 I probably averaged 20hrs of physical activity/day.
I have improved quite a bit since last year, basically I took less time off and just trained more consistently all winter.
What do you enjoy most about mountain biking?
Cornering hard, flying through fast singletrack and making rough stuff flow.
Which do you prefer a hard tail, or full suspension?
If you could do it all over again, what would you do different if you could?
In the spring of 2001 I pushed myself really hard and got sick with bronchitis a few times and then in the hospital for 3 days on IV for Pneumonia. I would train less that spring if I could do it over. Also, I think the winters from 05-08 I lost too much fitness, and really started over each time.
Do you prefer SPD’s or Crankbrothers pedals?
Straight bars, or riser bars?
What do you hope to get from mountain bike racing? What end result would you like?
To have lots of fun, to push myself as far as possible and see what I have, to get to the Olympics and have an excellent race there.
Who are your favorite male and female racers?
Thomas Frischknecht and Alison Sydor
Do you have a better half, and does she race?
Girlfriend Catherine Vipond, and yes she races at the same level as I do
What are your strong and what are your weak points on the bike?
Riding rough singletrack fast, power on flats
Do you prefer bib shorts, or regular cycling shorts?
What is your prerace meal?
How many hours on the bike a week for you during the season and in the off season?
During is about 10-14, and off 10-20
Who is your biggest fan?
My family, and a friend Terrance Grant
Do you have any brothers or sisters?
An older brother Adam
What would you do if you won 8 million dollars?
I would buy land, tons of land in the tropics, BC, and anywhere else that pristine forest was being threatened. Then I would build a sweet house in the middle of nowhere and fly in with a float plane and have my own network of singletrack trails.
I would probably organize a mtb team too.
Who is your toughest competitor?
Andrew Watson and I have been close for a long time, Kris Sneddon too.
Why do you race?
That feeling of giving it everything I’ve got, the perfect race.
What was your toughest race, and why?
Bromont World Cup in 2008. It was thick slow peanut butter mud, and I pushed myself so hard, I could barley ride 3 days later.
What is your best race and why?
Bromont World Cup 2008, I was 23rd there and when you ride that hard it is like you empty your body, emotionally and physically.
What is the best day of your life so far?
There are tons, but a recent trip Catherine and I did back country skiing stands out as pretty amazing.
Do you prefer slicks over nobbies, or the other way around?
What are slicks?
What is your favorite movie?
Who is your TV girlfriend? (favourite actress)
What types of music do you listen to?
Anything but opera and country
Other cool stuff.
2nd at nationals in 2003
Biked across Canada in 2000 with my family, the whole way from Victoria to cape Spear NFLD, un supported.