What is your relationship with cycling?
M: It's intimate. It stems back from childhood. My dad introduced me to it when I was really young. It's like a brother or a sister to me. Im really passionate about it.
How often do you participate in organized races or events?
M: There's one called Coast to Hope for a family who lost their child to leukemia. I volunteer at the registration, but I don't ride in the race. Here in Willowdale State Forest, there are group rides organized by local bike shops.
What's your motivation to ride?
M: It's just a challenge every day. Partially, it's fitness. I like staying healthy. I lost my dad at 60 and he lost his dad at 45. That motivates me day in and day out. I'm almost 40 and I have 2 kids a lot of responsibilities outside of riding my bike. I aspire to be 75 and still riding around.
How do you prepare for rides?
At this point with the way life is, it's a complete cluster. It's throwing myself over the bike as soon as I can in the morning. There's no real regime… and that's why I need a guy like Janda. He keeps things organized.
Is there anything that makes you nervous?
Texting and driving. Emailing and driving, too. Sometimes the bigger races make me nervous, but the smaller ones make me more nervous. There's a lot more pressure because you think you should be able to do really well. Other than that… just coyotes eating my dogs.
How do you recover after a long ride?
Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. I drink a lot of Endurox or shakes and drinks because of the kids. I don't have a lot of time to sit down and prepare food to recover.
What makes for a successful ride, outside of winning?
One without a flat. I want to finish with some energy. When everything's done for the day and my head's clear, that's success. When I can see Ipswitch River and I can see the town and not just blow through, that's a successful ride. I like it when I can see everything.
What did you do last night?
We were here… got the kids to bed at about 8. Tara and I were dead to the world so we didn't want to cook. I went and sat at a sushi bar downtown and had a beer and watched the Red Sox, and brought the sushi home when it was ready.
What time did you wake up this morning?
4:30 am. That's normal… our 3 month old is on a 4:30 wakeup schedule, which wakes up the 2 year old, which then creates bedlam. The day starts at 4:30 more for my wife, but I'm still a 5:30 or 6 wakeup.
How do your non-cycling friends and/or family view your lifestyle?
One of my friends who loves close by… we've had to convince him that cyclists are good people and that they aren't just trying to clog the roads. A lot of my non-cycling friends think it's crazy. They can't grasp the concept because they go for a ride down the street on an old hybrid bike and their bum hurts, so they thing what I do is nuts.
How far will you travel to ride casually with other people?
M: I would go anywhere. The farthest I've gone for a one day ride is Boulder, CO. My good friend had a foundation for MS, so we flew there for the ride and flew back the same day.
Are there any special measures you've taken to ensure a comfortable ride?
M: A chamois is a good. A chamois is ALWAYS really good.
What do you like about your Cannondale Lefty equipped bike?
M: I thought it was weird when I first saw it. I couldn't grasp it… I thought it would automatically turn left. I'll never forget when Cannondale started supporting me and they got me on the bike. My first race on that bike was at Mount Snow in the National Championships… on a bike I'd never ridden before… and I came in 15th. Even when I was a fulltime pro, I couldn't touch the top 20. The Lefty fork is the sickest thing I've ever ridden, and the reason is the Mount Snow descent is really nasty, but the fork does exactly what you want it to do. When you brake, the wheel doesn't come up underneath the bike. It's so stiff and it's like a nicely tuned pair of skis… perfect carves.
How'd you get into cycling?
M: I was BMX racing, not that I was a BMX racer, but I loved up the street from a BMX track. I did a few races, and then my dad was really into these Canada to Boston trips… and we'd drive him up and he'd ride home and camp along the way. As I got older, he'd bring me along, so it started there. I played hockey all my life and played in college, and a buddy of mine went to VT for college… came home… got really into mountain biking. It was him. My buddy Jim, who rekindled the flame for me and took me on that first ride. So I quit hockey and got back into cycling.
What would you be doing right now if you weren't cycling?
M: I'd probably be cutting the lawn, hanging out with my 2 year old son, and taking the tractor out… ride around the property and have a beer. I didn't mention my wife in there… I should have. Tara's a very driven person and was a great athlete growing up. She does everything 100%. She really understands the passion and the root of it. A lot of people lose sight of the things they love, and spouses don't necessarily encourage them to get back into it. But Tara really encourages me and is extremely supportive.
What are your aspirations for cycling at this point?
M: I'd like to get some sort of national championship jersey as a master. The masters start at 35 for CX.
Do you have any injuries?
I broke my right collarbone last year at Providence. It was near the end of a UCI race, and there were only 10 spots for points. Near the end it got a little sketchy and someone clipped my front wheel and I went over an hit my head. It actually broke my collarbone from the back. But it's all healed up now.
What do you do for a living?
I sell hygienic flooring called Forbo. We sell to higher education, public education and healthcare. I work about 40 hours per week, some longer or shorter. But I chose sales because it allows me to continue my cycling lifestyle. The great thing about working for architectural firms is that it's pretty much appointment based… so I can do what I want on the bike while still maintaining a good business.
I think people need to not lose sight of who they are and what they're passionate about. A lot of people take for granted what they have. We all need to be grateful for what we do have… whether it's a gerbil or a 7,000 square foot house. I always try to continue to take myself back to basics, and the bike helps. It gives you the perspective to be grateful for every day.