Ferndale, Washington July 12, 2013: It was a shocking thing to hear. As a bicycle company, it’s not a rarity to have athletes succumb to injury, but when we received news that one of our longtime team members and very good friend Matthew Slaven had been shot at point blank range, well, we were shocked, worried, afraid, and angry.
Thankfully, Matthew will make a full recovery. But it doesn’t come without cost. The assailant’s bullet shattered Slaven’s collarbone, leaving him sidelined from racing in the heart of the season. “I put in a ton of hours on the bike this year to be peaking over the next five weeks,” he said from his hospital bed in Santa Cruz. “Everything was feeling really good. It’s going to be hard to be sidelined now for something totally out of my control.”
On the bright side, he’s lucky to be alive. He and three of his co-workers at Easton/Bell were just minutes from their hotel when they were attacked in a park, the assailant asked for their wallets and then, unprovoked, shot Slaven. He then tried to shoot the others, but his gun was either not loaded or malfunctioned. He made off with a wallet and has not been located by police.
When we talked to Matthew this morning he was in good spirits, cracking jokes about the gluten free donuts the local cops gave him. He wanted to say thanks to fans and friends alike who have overrun his cell phone with texts and emails wishing him well. He’s already planning his return to the bike, hoping to be riding road in the next 3-4 weeks and back on the mountain bike training and racing shortly after that.
From all of us at Kona, we’re just happy Matthew is alive. He’s been a huge part of our company for many years. Not only is he a great rider, he’s a wonderful character, a guy who helps keep us laughing and loving life every day.