Matt Young is one of those guys that’s kinda hard to describe in just a few words—he’s an avid rider, gnarly kayaker, devoted fatbiker, Iron Man, educator, father and super-motivated outdoorsman. I caught up with Matt to get the low down on what makes this guy tick.
Name: Matt Young
Occupation: Elementary School Principal
Hometown: I grew up in Suffern, New York, went to college in the South, Spent ten years in Lake Placid, NY and moved to Stowe two years ago.
Number of years riding: 16
Favorite local trail: Burning Spear and Joe’s at Perry Hill
Favorite non-local trail: “Beast” and “Old Farm” in Pandappas Pond Day use area in Jefferson National Forest near Blacksburg, Virginia. It’s where I really figured out what riding was all about and the place will always be special for me.
Smooth and groomed or rough and rooty: BOTH!
Weapon of choice (current bike, list any fancy or unfancy upgrades): Impossible to pick just one:
- 2011 Trek Remedy (yup…still rockin 26′ wheels!!)
- Surly Ice Cream Truck for Winter riding, and…
- Salsa Warbird gravel grinder to explore all the dirt roads I can in Lamoille County
Most memorable ride:
In 2001 I decided to spend a semester going to school in Humboldt California. My room-mate and I drove across the country from Blacksburg, VA in August and we decided to stop in Moab for a ride on “SlickRock.” The riding absolutely blew both of our minds but about an hour in it became clear that we had made a huge mistake. We started too late and it was beginning to get really HOT! Come to think of it, it never occurred to us that there were no other people riding slick rock that day, which at that time was likely one of the most popular trails in the country. 2 hrs. into the ride we were out of water and we weren’t anywhere close to the car. The riding was amazing but we were both a little scared by being out in the unrelenting heat so unprepared. We dragged ourselves back to the car in pretty rough shape, the lesson of preparedness has stayed with me since.
To Strava or not to Strava: NEVER…EVER
Post ride beverage of choice: I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for all of the fancy beer choices that we have these days. However, lately I’ve found myself really appreciating the simple pleasure of hanging out in the parking lot post-ride beer or not. I suppose I’m not too concerned about what we’re drinking as long as we’re making time basque in the post-ride glow and connect with friends. The importance of creating a community around riding can never be overstated and I think hanging out in the parking lot plays an important role in community building.
Tell us how you got into MTB?
I can remember building trails in the woods behind my house growing up and trying to ride my BMX bike on them. Does that count? Come to think about it, it’s not a whole different than working on trails now except the bikes are a lot more complex.
I got my first “real mountain bike” when I graduated from High School. I went to college at Virginia Tech. and there were some great trails that we could ride straight from campus. There was a whole community there centered around riding and it all just clicked. I’ve become more and more invested in riding ever since.
I heard your off-season training routine involves dragging an old tire full of cinder blocks around Cady Hill Forest. When is your fight with Ivan Drago?
Rocky is the real hero here, I’m just trying to keep the trails in good shape for winter riding. The tire works really well. If anyone wants to help out next season please let me know. Shout out to David Lauzon for the idea.
I saw a picture of you on Instagram running some crazy river in a kayak, jumping off a waterfall. It looked scary as hell. That sport is no joke—ever have any close calls?
I’ve been whitewater kayaking since I was 12. It is, and will always be my greatest passion in outdoor sports. Paddling compliments riding really well because typically when the trails are too wet there’s good paddling to be done. I dislocated my shoulder paddling in the Adirondacks in 2011. It was a terrible experience and a long recovery, but after two decades of paddling whitewater at a pretty high level it feels like an acceptable consequence for poor execution on the river.
Lot of balls in the air for you these days: baby, wife, new house, new job. What’s the secret to finding time to ride and stay in shape amid the chaos of every day life?
I can point to three things that allow me to keep riding and other fun things going despite the positive challenges of adult life:
A supportive partner (Shannon) who enjoys riding just as much as I do; living close to great trails like we have here in Stowe to keep things convenient and; I have no problem getting out on the trail super early in the morning or well after the sun has set for the day.
Thanks Matt for all of the hard work you put in—both winter and summer—and the time you spend helping keep the trails dialed. And thanks for taking the time to answer our silly questions. See you on the trails!