Beyond the Race

Matt Tanner shares insights for achieving success in competitive cycling.

At the heart of Matt Tanner's cycling club lies the belief that fitness is both physical and mental. For over two decades, Matt has been building a community centered around bicycles. As a competitive cyclist, Matt consistently performs at the highest levels, pushing his body to the limit in training camps across the globe, training in stages along the same route as the Tour de France, and competing in races like Iceland's The Rift. But for Matt, cycling is more than just a sport - it's a way to connect people from all walks of life.

In 2012, Matt and his wife, Chris, founded Rollfast Cycling Club to promote safe cycling, grow the sport, and build community around the bike. Today, the club welcomes members of all skill levels, from casual riders to competitive cyclists. Rollfast's mission fosters a passion for cycling, mental and physical health, and camaraderie while helping others.

While Matt is known for his competitive cycling success, he's also focused on cultivating a culture of mental fitness in the sport. In 2019, Matt and his team launched Rollfast Live. This anonymous text chat connects cyclists and others with a professional ready to listen to their struggles and offer support.

Matt has also made a significant impact on the local community. He organized the Rollfast Gran Fondo and partnered with the City to host Bike Carmel, both events that promote cycling and community building.

For Matt, cycling isn't just a physical activity, but a way of life that brings people together. His dedication to growing the sport, promoting mental fitness, and building community through cycling serves as an inspiration for anyone looking to get involved with the cycling community. In this article, he shares insights on achieving success in competitive cycling.

1. Training and Routine Matters

“I have to have a routine to thrive. If my routine gets off, from the moment it’s interrupted, the day feels unproductive and it's not healthy.” Waking up each day at 5am (with no alarm) his day is planned out like clockwork. From meals to relaxation, walking the dog to working, Matt is an avid scheduler, always ensuring he carves out enough time to train.

“There's yearly, cyclical progression in our training and the training plans. So, I know roughly every four weeks, I'm gonna have a rest week.” It is important to plan rest because, as Matt progresses through each week of his training routine, he understands there will inevitably be a less demanding portion of the regimen.

2. Race Day Prep

One to two weeks before a race, out come the checklists: equipment, how to fuel up for the event based on the terrain, his supplement regimen, and even goals for the event. Believe it or not though, winning isn’t always the goal. Matt shared, “There's events when I'm racing with people and my goal is to shelter them and teach them how to race. For that race, my goal might just be to help somebody learn during the race.”

The physical work needed to prepare is done at this point, so race day becomes more mental and about reflecting. “During the pre-race, and the day of, I have a printout on a clipboard and I just write down notes as the day goes through.” Notes he then uses to prepare for his next event.

3. Keeping the Balance

Matt's structured routine allows him to manage his energy output effectively. He tries to plan his heavier workload and community involvement during weeks when he knows his training routine will be less challenging. Additionally, when events such as Bike Carmel are approaching, he sets aside dedicated time to support them.

Matt and his wife Chris also emphasize the balance of proper nutrition and supplementation. Together, they founded MC Nutrition. Matt created Strate Fuel, a dietary supplement drink mix that resolved nutritional issues he encountered during training and race performance, and Chris created Uminus20, a dietary supplement for enhanced cellular renewal.

4. Best Advice

“Consistency is really the most important thing. I stress this to the athletes I coach all the time.” He believes anyone who wants to be more competitive in cycling must maintain the mind and body connection. “You have to make training a priority and do your workouts. I train five days a week and get two days off.”

If you’re just looking for enjoyment when riding, consistency isn’t as important. “If you’re looking to just begin, join us at our next Bike Carmel event. It’s a safe way to try out a new sport.”

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