Who is Matt Carnal? That was the question on many Strava minds after he finished the Ride Base Mile Blast with nearly 1000 miles separating him from the rest of the pack. Matt Carnal from Tulsa, Oklahoma was on a tear in January, riding an average of 133 miles per ride. Strava caught up with Matt to get the scoop on this extraordinary display of athleticism.
Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? Occupation? What do you like to do in your free time?
I was born and raised in Kansas. Kansas will always be home to me! I love the wide open spaces that the open prairie brings me, and I find that freedom and openness when I ride.
I currently reside in Tulsa, OK where I work as an Endurance Coach (specializing in cycling and triathlon) with a biology, chemistry and economics background.
In my free time I like to, well ride my bike! On a serious note, I enjoy reading, playing with my dog AJ (Action Jackson), listening to live or new music, traveling and pretty much anything active when I’m not riding my bike.
How long have you been riding?
I have been riding bikes since I was a kid. I can recall racing around on my paper route when I was 8 and have been riding ever since.
I really got into cycling after one of my 8 surgeries (knees, shoulders and elbows) in 2004, and started training in 2006 when I arrived in Tulsa.
How did you hear about Strava?
One of my athletes mentioned the Rapha Festive 500, so I decided to join Strava and give it a try. I started a few days late, but planned it out, worked hard and took 3rd place! I’m new to Strava and I plan on using Strava in the future for finding extra motivation.
You surpassed the Base Mile Blast pack by nearly 1,000 miles. How did you pull this off?
Time management and a lot of help from the following people: Jim Biega (Ventura, CA), Steve LeChaine (Atascadero, CA), my mom and my friends helped keep me motivated. The Base Mile Blast arrived just as I was starting my first block of training in preparation for Solo RAAM (Race Across America) 2013. When the Challenge was posted I thought: This is a great opportunity to see what I have for RAAM and build a huge base for upcoming training. I knew from the cyclists out there I was going to have to go big if I wanted to reach my goals, so I set two goals: 1) ride 100 miles per day and 2) finish #1. The first day I rode 212 miles and only had the second or third most distance logged. This motivated me even more because I know the journey ahead of me is going to be an extremely difficult one. Throughout this challenge, I paid attention to 1) sleep/recovery 2) nutrition and 3) training. I believe these things were able to keep me physically and mentally solid for the bigger challenge ahead, so I went for it.
Did you set any new personal records? Do you have a personal goal(s) set you’re trying to reach?
Yes. I did set a new personal record: I hit a new record of 3,347 miles in 25 days. In 2010 when I rode across the country towing a BOB trailer, I averaged 94 miles a day with 30-50lbs in tow. I covered 7,000 miles in 75 days over a time period of 101 days if you include recovery. My goal for 2012 on the bike is to try and cover 25,000-30,000 miles before December 31, 2012. In addition, I would like to qualify for RAAM, Race the Divide, local races, time trials and as many double century’s as possible. On top of mileage and races, I would like to finish the year at 5.0 w/kg at FTP.
What bike did you ride to compete in the Base Mile Blast?
My BMC (RaceMaster SLX0) cracked the last week of December as I was heading to California, leaving me without a bike. I will miss that bike. [See side photo of Matt and his BMC riding long in Colorado.] I rode a “rented” Specialized Tarmac from Open Air Bicycles out of Ventura, CA for rides from Jan 6-22. Once I was back in Tulsa I rode my Felt Fixie 48/16 gear ratio.
What’s the biggest motivational factor when your ride?
I have a lot of motivators when I ride — comments people have stated, such as ‘I’m just an average cyclist’ — fuel for the fire. Race goals and time trial goals also motivate me. However, right now the largest motivator is to bring the RAAM Champion back to the USA. An American has not won solo RAAM since 2003 and I would like to see that change. When I’m on rides I think about certain quotes, such as ‘victory loves preparation,’ and ‘doing something is much more fulfilling than talking about doing something.’ Sometimes in our life we need to find the time to think, do, or move. In January I chose to DO.