In Crested Butte, the birthplace of modern mountain biking, locals take their local sport seriously. Matt McHale, a seven-year resident of the Gunnison Valley, joined us for our summer film shoot at Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Evolution Bike Park. Needless to say, his composure and technical ability as he shredded the double black aptly-named Psycho Rocks trail impressed us. Matt and OutThere Colorado chatted on the chairlift and talked mountain biking, mountain life, and riding in the Dominican Republic.
Name: Matt McHale
Hometown: Outside of Winchester, Virginia, north of the Shenandoah Valley
OTC: When did you start biking?
Matt: I did my first mountain bike race when I was 12.
OTC: And you just fell in love with it?
Matt: I got into mountain biking through Boy Scouts initially. We did rail trails and some light mountain biking. There was a friend of my parent’s from their church that took me around racing for a few years. I loved it.
OTC: Is downhill your favorite discipline?
Matt: Yeah, the downhill aspect of mountain biking is my favorite. I like the down more than the up. I do enjoy cross-country as well.
OTC: What’s your favorite trail at the Evolution Bike Park?
Matt: I like the Psycho Rocks trail. It’s one of my favorites for sure. Where I grew up, it’s extremely rocky, and Psycho Rocks reminds me of that terrain—I enjoy the technical aspect. A lot of people enjoy flow trails and jumping, and that’s something that I enjoy too, but I’m more into the rocky trails.
OTC: How long have you lived out here in Crested Butte?
Matt: I split time between other places, but I’ve been in the Gunnison Valley for seven years. I do old car restoration and light carpentry during the summer season, but I try to spend my winters in the Dominican Republic. I’ve also spent many winters in Crested Butte, but my sister lives in the Dominican Republic and runs a nonprofit called Project Esperanza, which I enjoy working with. I’m also trying to put together an annual bike gathering down there. It’s called thebicycleparty.com. A play on words in regards to politics, like a third party. It’s really an adventure cycle travel company.
OTC: Is the Bicycle Party alongside the nonprofit?
Matt: A little bit. The organization runs schools for Haitian refugee children. The organization has been up and running for about ten years now. When folks come down to bike, we also like to incorporate work with the nonprofit as well. There are great trails in the Dominican Republic. They have the highest peaks in the Caribbean.
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