We're pleased to introduce Matt Gersib as a Salsa sponsored rider for 2010.
Matt hails from Lincoln, Nebraska and is pretty darn passionate about bicycles. He's also got some mad skills on the bike to match up with that passion. You'll get a chance to hear from him from time to time on our blog, but he also maintains his own: The Dirtblog
Matt had already put together an impressive collection of Salsa's before this sponsorship was put together so he'll have an impressive arsenal to choose from this season. With that, here's a bit more about Matt.
Tell us a bit about yourself, Matt.
I guess if I was going to define myself in three words, I'd say that 'I like dirt.' My beautiful wife Laura and I live in Lincoln, Nebraska with our two pets (a beautiful Shar Pei/Lab mutt named Amy and a big, red longhair cat named Lucky that I found on a ride in 2004). I guess you could say I have a 'normal job' too, if you call working as the public relations manager at an advertising agency 'normal.' 2010 will be my 20th consecutive season racing a mountain bike. When I started racing, I wasn't even 20 years old! And when we moved back from Boulder at the end of 2000, I was actually thinking about 'retiring' from racing at the tender age of 28. My wife still occasionally asks me how I'm doing on my retirement.
What keeps bringing you back to the start line?
I love adventure and long, hard bike rides and I'm fortunate to have a great group of friends who are similarly inclined. The rising popularity of gravel grinders has definitely helped keep my head in the game during the past four or five years. Since we don't have a ton of singletrack that stretches on for vast distances, our gravel roads are the hot ticket. That's why I'm so fired up for the new Salsa Vaya. That bike is perfect for the type of riding a lot of riders around here do day-in and day-out.
What do you have on tap for 2010?
Similar to the past couple of seasons, I'll split my time between endurance mountain bike and gravel grinder events, mostly based in the Midwest. Some key gravel events I'll be focusing on include TransIowa v.6 in late-April, the Dirty Kanza 200-mile gravel grinder in May, and the Gravel Worlds/Good Life Gravel Adventure here in Lincoln on August 21. I'll once again be going after the Enduro crown in Nebraska's Psycowpath series, and hopefully I'll be able to ascend to the top step of the podium this season. I'd also really like to try my hand at the Chequamegon 40 this year. I haven't ever toed the line at the 40, but love the riding up there.
Do you have any thoughts for a rider that wants to get out and try racing, perhaps for the first time?
It's funny you ask, because I was just talking about this last night to a friend who wants to get out and give racing a try, and my advice is very simple ? just do it! Racing bicycles is a fun, unique, and yes, at times gut wrenchingly hard experience, but the satisfaction you get from a race well-ridden is one of the things in life that is truly priceless. I have experienced the highest highs as well as the lowest lows imaginable, both due to the events and circumstances at bicycle races. It's these experiences that make me who I am today - a stronger, more persistent, more compassionate and overall better person than I would have been without bicycles or bicycle racing. That's why I'm an advocate for bicycle racing. A little pain is good for the soul.
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I love being outside. I prefer to ride on dirt. Or snow. If I was born a hundred years earlier I might have been a polar explorer. There's a great natural world out there to see, smell, taste, listen to, and experience. Life slows down out there and the distractions we've created will disappear if you let them. Give me a backpack and let me go.