Matt Slaven Interview – Kona’s Enduro Rockstar
Name: Matthew Slaven
Vocation: Widget Control, The Bike Gallery
Location: Portland, OR
Tell us a little about your bike. Stock? Custom spec? Suspension set-up?
Well, this year I have two bikes for Enduro racing. I have a CoilAir Supreme for rougher courses or DH races, I also have an Abra Cadabra for pretty much everything else. Easton is another great sponsor of mine this year, so both bikes have Easton Haven wheels, bars, and stems. WTB tires and saddles, with Shimano drivetrains, Chris King bb’s/ hst’s and FOX suspension. So, I guess you could say they are custom and badass!
Where do your roots in mountain biking go?
Those roots go deep into the Midwest BMX scene (if that is a scene). I was state champ a couple times in the Heartland and then I got my driver’s license and quit cold turkey. Started riding a mountain bike in college for transportation, so I didn’t have to ride the bus with the crazies and slowly transitioned back to racing bikes.
What’s the secret to kicking ass in Enduro racing?
Man….it has been hard trying to figure this stuff out. I feel like I learn something new each race and try to remember that something for the next one. I have an XC background and always had “good” bike handling skills for an XC guy, but each course is different. Some lean more toward DH skills and others have more pedaling. I would say being a fit well-rounded rider with big cajones is the best way to kick ass at Enduro.
What’s your favorite race?
Hood River Super D
It’s in my back yard and the course is the most diverse I race all season! Although, I am looking forward to the Alpine Trail Super D as well.
What’s your big push for this year? One particular race you’re shooting for?
Well, I would like to do well in all the Enduro races I enter, but the three biggest races are Ashland 12 mile, Downieville, and Crankworx Enduro…..hmmm…if I had to pick one I would say Downieville because of all the media exposure there.
Give us the lowdown on your training regimen? Raw eggs and big miles? How does one strike a balance between going fast up and down?
I like to do what I call a “triple” workout…..I go for a 5 or 6 hour ride on my CoilAir around Mt Hood with a single 38T chainring, then I eat a huge burrito somewhere sketchy before I hit the pump track and end with a recovery bottle of Don Julio 1942 with my friends…..recovery is key!
Who’s your main competition and how will you lay them to waste?
The list seems to be growing all the time, but I would say the top five to beat are Adam Craig, Ross Schnell, Mark Weir, Jason Moeschler, and Nathan Riddle. I have already taken one down…now I just need to use my inner power animal (unicorn) to slay the rest!
What is it about the Kona you’re riding that you’re digging the most?
I am so stoked on the new Magic Link bikes! I feel like the Cadabra is the perfect trail bike for this new Enduro type racing. My Abra Cadabra weighs 27lbs and climbs like an xc bike. When it’s time to descend it just rockets down the trail like it’s a different bike, but it’s not! All without having to flip any switches or stop and fiddle with dials. When you are going all out in an Enduro DH, the last thing you want to do is worry about turning your suspension ON or OFF. Simplicity.
Thanks Matt. Go ride that Unicorn big fella.
I would like to thank all my sponsors and all the support they have given this year, especially the crew at Kona!
Kona, Easton, Giro, Dakine, WTB, Chris King, FOX SHOX, and Pabst!