A little over a month ago, we sent Wahooligan Matt Porter to the inaugural Mavic Haute Route Rockies. What follows is his story of preparation, overcoming life challenges and riding the event.
Matt Porter is a new father of a baby boy. He rides more than most and places riding as a priority in his life. Matt struggles, like many of us with finding balance between work, family and personal aspirations.
“The sanity that comes from mile after mile on the road is a driving factor for why I ride.”
I found out that I was going to become a father last June. Of course, I was excited and anxious to meet my son and get to know him. As an athlete, my first thought was how would this life change impact my ride time and cycling aspirations. The time I spend on the road serves as personal time as well as an outlet to release tension and ultimately be a better husband and coworker. How would this new addition to the family change things and what could I do to support these changes in my life?
I decided to put together a strategy that would support my goals as an athlete, help me manage my workload at the office, support my wife by being a present and engaged husband and enable me to be the best father I can be.
The first thing I did was set an event to train for and then work backwards from there considering all of the variables that would impact me reaching it. I chose the Mavic Haute Route Rockies in June, 2017.
My wife and I were expecting in February, so that meant that I had approximately five months from when he was born to put my plan to the test. I wanted to be able to train for the event with limited time, given that I have a busy job, family commitments and a baby boy who would take up a large amount of my time and energy. Parents, you know what I mean; the lack of sleep is something that just cannot be expressed unless you have lived through it.
Putting the tools in place:
I began to put all of the necessary resources in place to support my goal of riding the Haute Route but, more importantly, creating balance between work, being a husband and father, and the riding necessary miles to prepare for the Haute Route. I am fortunate in that I work for Wahoo and was able to source a KICKR indoor trainer, an ELEMNT BOLT bike computer, and a TICKR heart rate monitor. My plan was to use the weekdays to do workouts on the KICKR and then ride outdoors on the weekends.
Shortly after I began to prepare, I realized that I would need more help in the form of training guidance. I needed my training to be focused, not just to prepare for the specifics of the event, but to maximize the limited time I had and help provide the structure needed to encourage balance in all other parts of my life. If I had a training structure, then I would be able to adjust it to the demands of work and home. Carmichael Training Systems stepped up and offered their help in this area. I began to work with my coach, Reid, who set out a plan that worked with my schedule and he was sensitive to my need for some flexibility given I was a new father and was stumbling my way through that huge life change.
Mavic, the legendary wheel manufacturer jumped on board as well. They were sponsoring the inaugural Haute Route Rockies and offered to help me out with a set of wheels and other essential riding needs like cycling kits, shoes and a helmet. We even went as far as partnering to tell my story of preparing for the event and then invited a mutual friend in Kevin Scott Batchelor. Chad Moore, the global brand manager from Mavic, would be joining us later in the summer for the Haute Route Alps. That’s right, what started as a one event goal was now a two event goal. The Rockies would be just a step toward the Alps.
Here is what you need to know about the Mavic Haute Route Rockies:
- 7 stages
- 507 miles in length
- 49,000 feet of elevation gained
- multiple days spent above 9,000 feet
The route was to be taken seriously and, therefore, prepared for with the same seriousness. I set out with all of my tools in place to prepare for the event of a lifetime.
Being a father is a gift. It is something that requires an endless commitment to excellence and a determination to never settle for mediocracy. My personality is well suited for this type of endeavor as I go all in in anything I put my mind to. I do the same at work and at home, so it is natural to expect I would do the same in training as well. The difficulty with committing one hundred percent to all three is that it is just not possible maintain this level of commitment at all times or for any extended period of time. This would require a healthier dose of balance in my life and would thus force me to make some adjustments.
There were times I had to accept that not sleeping multiple nights in a row because my son was awake or because I was stressed about work, meant that a hard training effort would have to be postponed or even missed entirely. It meant that I had to ride early on Saturday and Sunday mornings and would have to miss my son waking up in order to get in the long rides I needed. It meant working in the evenings or weekends to make sure nothing got missed so I could fit in training midweek. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining but rather explaining that everything comes at a cost and requires sacrifice.
Between the midweek KICKR workouts, the long rides on weekends, the support of a boss, a coach, and a loving wife and son, I showed up in Boulder, Colorado on June 24th ready to start the event. All of the planning, the training and the sacrifices would come down to the next seven days of riding. Over the course of the next week, I enjoyed beautiful scenery, met inspiring and hilarious individuals and ultimately crossed the finish each day with a smile on my face.
For me, the goal was reached each and every day I prepared to be there. The balance I sought to create in my life was not perfect but it was there nonetheless. Over the course of the event I knew that it took the support of many including friends, coworkers and family for me to experience the exhilaration of each descent or have the strength to climb each mountain pass and to ultimately cross the finish line.
The journey is what it is all about defines us. I am Matt Porter and I am a Wahooligan.