Listed below is a compilation of questions that were posed while I was riding the “Prove It” challenge in January. During this challenge I was focused on my goals and trying to enjoy every moment of my adventure and didn’t read many comments while I was riding. As promised I wanted to answer each and everyone one’s questions that were posed on the comments of my rides. I will be posting another short page with my personal comments and opinions to some comments that were sprinkled through the days as well. I hope to post within a few days of posting this one. I hope everyone has been out riding, I have been enjoying some much earned time off and getting back into the grove of being at home.

Q: Have you been cheating MC?
A: No – why would I cheat on a personal challenge? I set out 5 goals to try and accomplish for the month of January which I posted in the discussion board before the challenge started, stating what I was going to try and attempt.

Q: Are your miles genuine?
A: Yes – 100% of all the miles I logged into Strava during the month of January are genuine.

Q: Are you riding a fixie? Really? Fixie??? Are you on a fixie or single gear?
A: Yes, I rode a 48/16 fixed gear and this is a single gear setup.

Q: What tires are you using?
A: Vittoria Randonneur 28mm Double Shields with Reflective Side Wall

Q: Can you say what your fixie gearing is, and whether you ever unclip from the pedals?
A: Gearing 48/16 and I never unclip from my pedals to coast – I find this dangerous when descending and considering my Rig (Bike+Gear) was totaling 40 lbs, unclipping on the flats would just caused me to stop.

Q: Where are you touring to and from?
A: Left Encinitas, CA on January 1st and finished in Key West, FL. The initial plan was to leave from Encinitas, ride to St. Augustine, down to Key West, and back up to Tampa, FL where I purchased the frame I was on.

Q: Must be very flat land?
A: There was varying terrain on my journey. From flats, rolling terrain, and mountain passes.

Q: Get chased by any dogs on/near Pearce Lane today? (Josh Terwoord)
A: Yes, Josh I did have a little run into some dogs on Pearce Lane just east of Austin, TX. Have to watch out for the silent ones when riding, those that bark are not that dangerous from my years of experience with being chased.

Q: Matt, can you use the Strava smartphone app as a backup for your Garmin?
A: Yes, after I found out on the 8th I had lost data because of a Garmin failure, I switch to logging both the Garmin and the iPhone App for Strava.

Q: How do you get that kind of battery life out of you iPhone? Want to know how you stop your iPhone battery from dying and keep it going for 10 hours haha! How in the world do you keep your iphone running Strava for 12 1/2 hours?
A: I have a usb charger that is powered by a Schmidt Son 28 generator front hub. As long as I keep pedaling the phone would have endless power.

Q: Do you need help submitting a support request on Strava website?
A: Nope, emailed them once I got to wi fi. (This question was posed because I lost 134.9 miles to a Garmin data overload)

Q: How many k’s/miles are you planning for january?
A: Goal I set was over 4,000 miles (6500km) as I knew if I went for the challenge it would take more than 4,000 miles (6500km).

Q: Did you have to do a postie run?
A: Yes, this question is in regarding some steep terrain I encountered. I did have to move side to side on some climbs to finish the climb. Climbing on a 48/16 is not easy but that’s how I wanted to challenge myself for this trip. Many have referred to this as “delivering the mail” or “paper-boying” when the grade is so steep you have to cut the grade down a bit by going side to side versus straight up the climb. This did occur on several occasions.

Q: Are you from NZ?
A: I currently reside in the United States – Colorado Springs. I’m originally from Kansas here in the United States.

Q: Are you doing RAAM this year?
A: No – not this year. I do plan on qualifying for RAAM this year and racing it in 2015 though. This has been on my radar for several years now.

Q: Is there a way to see your whole ride Matt?
A: I’m not sure on this. I would have to ask Strava to see if they can create something, however I have not heard from them since the challenge concluded.

Q: Are you losing body mass from these rides?
A: Yes, riding this much every day will take the mass right off. The body cannot keep up with the caloric expenditure.

Q: About how many kg to date?
A: I’m not sure how kg to date – I am typically 4-5% body fat all year round so I would say I had more of a body composition change. I did lose fat and it took me down close to none, however I’m not sure without having a Dex-Scan, Bod Pod, or Caliper test done.

Q: Do you have a place to recover in St. Augustine?
A: I did not, however Thank you Gibbs Tolsdorf for connecting with your contact Victor in St. Augustine. It turned out to be a fantastic evening for recovery! Tons of food and a bed to sleep in which was strange for having camped out so much leading up to the 22nd.

Q: Do we not all enjoy the same/similar activities?
A: I believe we do! Ride on!

Q: Are you riding through the Orlando or Daytona Beach area?
A: I did ride through this area of Daytona – however I did not make it over to Orlando. Sorry for the late response otherwise I would have ridden with who posted this if time allotted.

Q: Are you going to call it a month when you arrive in St. Augustine?
A: No – there were 9 days left during the month and I set some goals that required me to ride the entire 31 days.

Q: Are you powered by pasta or bananas?
A: I ate a little of both on my ride.

Q: Hey are you coming near Ft. Myers?
A: I did plan on riding through Ft. Myers on my route to Tampa but opted to stay in the Florida Keys to finish the challenge.

Q: Why would you ride a fixie across the US when inventors invented 11 speed cogs??
A: Riding the fixed 48/16 across the US was a personal challenge. I own 10/11 speed road bikes, along with a 1/11 mountain bike. The personal challenge was to ride fixed across country for numerous reasons. Lay a strong foundation of strength (base) for the upcoming race season, see if I could do it, and if I could do it while riding self-contained it would make for one EPIC story for my grandchildren when I’m older. Also, fixed gear riding does a lot more than build strength, it smooths out your pedal stroke and balances out the major muscle groups used in cycling (gluts, quads, and hamstrings). Well worth it for off season training.

Q: Plus DR is doing this as a vegan, which begs the question: where is he getting his protein?
A: Keeping to all the questions posed in the threads, I’m not sure what protein he chose to ate.

Q: A couple of “rest” days, huh?
A: No – I needed to ride everyday to ensure I logged my daily challenge I imposed on myself.

Q: How did you manage two rides on the same day, both starting a minute apart?
A:I believe this was me starting my Iphone App and Garmin a minute apart, however only one ride was logged into the challenge. I did use two recording devices after the 9th when I found out that I needed to to ensure I didn’t lose another day’s worth of miles/kms.

Q: What are you eating to be fueled up on this journey? What are you eating each day? I’d love to hear what you eat/drink each day to support this awesome journey. Would you mind sharing? Can you talk to us about your nutrition?
A: I consumed a lot on this trip. It varied from nutrition bars such as Clif Bars, Balance, and Power to a ton of italian and sandwiches. I really tried to focus more on the substrates my body needed versus what I was eating. When spending hours exercising at low intensity I wanted to make sure I was high in fat/protein intake versus carbohydrates. I am very metabolic efficient in burning fats for fuel so I stayed tuned into this on the journey. In addition to the fat intake, I took in as much protein as possible to insure I did not atrophy as I knew I would if I did not take in protein. I tried to consume 200-300 grams of protein a day, however I know I didn’t meet this goal daily as there were times I just didn’t think about it. Lots of fatigue can lead you to not staying on track mentally with nutrition. I did consume my fair share of carbohydrates on the trip – it’s hard not to when you are living out of groceries and convenience stores. As far as drink – I consumed a ton of water and gatorade – I did not consume any caffeinated drinks until the last day where I had a green tea. I’m not a coffee drinker and caffeine tends to keep me up at night even with a little added to the system. I can elaborate on this more if you would like me to – just leave a comment on the blog and I will do so.

Q: What does it really feel like cycling 200- 220km on a fixie almost everyday…. I keep looking at your rides and wonder?
A: At about day 7-9 I was so in tune with the bike it was just like riding a normal bike but without the ability to coast. I never really thought about it, I had some goals to accomplish. Riding this much is very tiring, you accumulate a lot of fatigue. I did not experience many concerns physically as I was keeping the intensity low for the majority of the ride. Few things I did have issue with were an achilles tendon flare up at day 8, however this was from the shoes I took. I did not have a hard carbon sole in these that allow the tibia/fibula to travel a little more than normal versus my carbon sole shoes. Later in the ride I had a few days where I opened up the intensity and had some tight IT band on my right knee, however this faded after a couple days. Mentally riding this long can be a challenge, but I had plenty to think about!

Q: What was the 29.1 max? Gator sprint?
A: No Gator Sprint – Coming off a bridge I decided I wanted to pick up the pace a little.

Q: Has it rained much on your trip so far?
A: I had a few days of rain but nothing significant until January 30th. It rained so hard it flooded the Keys and I had to catch a ride back to Bahia Honda where I was staying. I attempted to get back out later that day but with standing water I did not feel safe riding with so much fatigue accumulating from 28 days of riding.

Q: How much does your backpack and rack weighs vs. your bike?
A: Bike was close to 24.7 lbs – this is without lights and rack. With lighting system and rack – Rig weighed close to 40 lbs depending on how much weight I was carrying.

Q: What fraction of nights do you stay in a tent vs. hosted indoors?
A: I tried to camp every night possible, however when someone offers you a place to crash, rules of touring state you do not say ‘No’ if the conditions are safe. I believe I camped out 24 days of the 31 in January. Not a bad way to start the year when one has 100 days to camp out for a goal for ‘14!

Q: Any issues with traffic or angry car drivers (it’s the south after all)?
A: Yes – not many angry drivers but more just congested traffic and people in a hurry. Main issue with traffic and concerns were early morning and late night riding with the sun in motorist’s eyes. I did have one driver roll down her window and mention she couldn’t see me due to the sun glare.

Q:I know you are using ACA maps (do you carry all of them in paper or scanned electronic copies), do you still get lost?
A: Started with all for the Southern Tier and sent each map home after I used them – only made two postal deliveries home so I carried them pretty much with me the entire route.

Q: Do you plan ahead to have food/water stops or do you just stop whenever you need to?
A: Pretty much stopped when I needed, except at the beginning of the day or near the end. Always planned on water/food during stretches with no services though.

Q: How much food/water do you carry with you?
A: Not much – carried two bottles of fluid regularly and took a 3L bladder with me for the stretches with no services 60-90 miles long. Food I typically always had some form of food with me, however I tried not to carry much more weight than needed.

Q: There must have been longish descents, do you have to apply the brakes continuously on your fixie?
A: I do apply the brakes but not continuously – more feathering action to not overheat the rims.

Q: Do you use a mirror?
A: No

Q: How much extra watts does your hub generate for recharge, is it noticeable?
A: The Schmidt Son 28 generates close to 3-4V of electricity. Is it noticeable – yes you can see the voltage trickle in with the light at night. If you are talking about drag on the hub from a riding standpoint – there is a little drag but not anything to raise a red flag about. Most hubs these days are very efficient with how they ride.

Q: Need a lift back from Key West? 😉
A: I could have used a lift back from Key West, however I decided to fly back.

Q: Zero evaluation gain? Show us your elevation stats!
A: I used the Strava iPhone app to load most of the data when in the Keys. My Garmin recorded data as well, however since there was only one variable required I stuck with the distance variable and did not worry about others. I wanted to utilize my time recovering and figured I would worry about data once I found the time in the future, if at all.

Q: That being said, all those hours of fixed gear riding ain’t easy. Wish MC would comment about that.
A: You’re right, riding a fixed gear for 4,563 miles across the country is not easy, no matter what terrain you are riding on. I would have rather been riding in rolling terrain the last week of the month, at least than I would know when the climb ends. Riding in winds for out and backs of 200 miles was challenging but I was up for the challenge.

Q: Super Super flat out there huh?
A: Yes, it’s flat in Florida but winds make up for what one would think is easy riding.

Q: Where to now? Back to Colorado Springs?
A: Yes, but a few stops to see friends, athletes, and family in the Tulsa area. After that to see family in Kansas as my grandparents are not doing well.

Q: Route 1 to Maine??
A: Sounds like a fun ride – will wait for better weather.

Q: Are you turning around and heading back now?
A: Nope – time to get back to work and the Colorado winter.

Q: Are you a pro rider ?
A: No – I picked up cycling after numerous knee surgeries to keep my fitness up because the Doc’s said I was not to run.

Q: How much did you weigh before you started, and on Feb 1?
A: ~182 lbs or 83 kg

Q: I’m very interested in what gear you packed?
A: List of gear can be found here

Q: Is Feb going to be as Big? Will you be riding home?
A: No February is going to be a recovery month to absorb what I just did. I will not be riding home this time. If the weather was more conducive for riding up North I may have, however its been a cold winter here in the US with plenty of moisture so I will not be riding home.

Q: I’m interested in your life philosophy?
A: I will save this for a blog on my life, coaching, training, and nutritional beliefs. Please remind me if you are interested in text or video on this.

Q: Validation is necessary?
A: This question I believe was posed during the elevation debates along with the banter about the need to wear a heart rate monitor, cadence meter, and power meter. I’ll address this briefly here and more in my comments page. Validation for this trip needed one variable according to Strava – distance. I believe I met these requirements.

Q: Still sleeping outside?
A: By now I was couch surfing at friends in the Keys.

Q: So what does it feel like to sit still like that?
A: This was on my rain day. It felt different and allowed for me to recovery for the final day which was nice!

Q: Training?
A: I can talk about this all day – as far as my training leading up this please see the history of my cycling on my website.

Q: Bike fit?
A: Not sure of this question? I believe all methods of doing a bike fit have validity, however I prefer to send all my cyclist to a PT that has fit experience. This route any issues can be addressed and not masked.

Q: AKA a leaf out of Jens’ book and let your legs do the talking.
A: I had the pleasure of meeting Jens briefly in a Starbucks last summer and it reiterated my belief that talking trash gets you no where. Work when its time to work, and ‘josh’ with your peers when warranted, however when its time to work, go to work!

Q: What endurance nutrition you consumed?
A: I was unable to carry any endurance nutrition besides what I picked up at the groceries along the way. You have limitations when traveling in comparison to what you have when living at home. I consumed a lot of Clif Bars, Muscle Milk, and Power Bars. However I tried to stick to whole foods when possible.

Q: How are you getting home?
A: Caught a flight, though I debated on catching a ride from the owner of the camp group in northern Florida. Her husband runs a trucking business and mentioned I could catch a ride with him to Louisiana where an athlete could have taken me half way to Tulsa. Mom would make the last leg.

Q: Wow the time and effort you get to ride a bike is amazing how do you balance family riding and work?
A: Family – I’m single so I have plenty of free time to ride. Work – I coach athletes locally and remotely, so I have been working from the road, with a very gracious hall-pass to do this trip.

Q: Half of Matt’s rides are suss no elevation! 0m elevation over a 324km ride? What’s up with the 0 elevation on all of your rides? Even if it’s totally flat you should still pick up a few meters.
A: Last days of my rides were in the Florida Key’s. There was elevation on these rides, however the iPhone App for Strava did not pick them up. Due to the variable need for this challenge I didn’t find my time justified sitting in front of a PC to fix during the month of the challenge. I wanted to recover and focus on the work I had ahead of me.

Q: What’s next?
A: The question of the day. Many asked this question on FB, Twitter, and Strava. The next is recover from this trip and prep for RAAM in ‘15. Stay tuned as I will be posting a video on the website to take donations for the endeavor as its going to take a lot of support to do so!

Coach Matt

About Matt Carnal

I love riding my bike, and helping others achieve the goals that they've laid out for themselves.