Matt Neumann is one of our favourite and most important Rundle Sport athletes. Over the last two years, Matt has done more product testing than any other Rundle Sport athlete and was a key player in redesigning FLEX roller skis. He can always be counted on to use and abuse the prototypes we give him, is always happy, professional, and an all around good guy. Matt's athlete spotlight is well overdue, so here it is!
Hometown: Prince George, BC
Sponsors: National Firearms Association, Prince George Rod and Gun Club, Alpina, Rudy Project, Rundle Sport
Height: 184 cm
Weight: 77 kg
Favorite race course: Whistler or Silverstar
Questions for Matt
Where is your favorite place to race?
I love racing at Otway in my home town of Prince George. I also love racing in Europe when the snow conditions are good. Honestly, I like anywhere that there’s white snow, big hills, and a finish line!
What are your goals for next year?
The Olympics have been my dream for my entire life. This summer my training focus has been qualifying for the World Cup Team at the Canadian trials in mid-November. I haven’t put significant emphasis on the specific results but more on my improvement, building a strong consistent process at the range and dissecting my ski technique. You only control so much so you need to get to work on the things you can control, have fun, and make the best of every day!
What’s your favorite pastime in the offseason?
I read, I do a tonne of cooking, baking, BBQing, I work at a brewery in Canmore on weekends, I play a bit of poker, backgammon and catan, but mainly I just train. My favorite training hobbies are mountain biking, road biking and trail running. I love mountain biking but try not to hurt myself. After my ski career I’ll get a little more “sendy”!
Would you like to see any changes to biathlon rules or courses?
I’d like to see lifelong bans for doping violations. I was racing against a Russian athlete this season that served a 2 year ban for EPO (caught as a junior) and is now competing again. How is this in any way sportsmanlike? Cheaters have no place in competition and frankly shouldn’t get a second chance in most circumstances.
How much time do you spend classic roller skiing vs skate roller skiing?
I will roller ski about 300 hours this summer, about 80% skate, 10% classic and 10% double pole. When I was 16, a wise coach told me, “If you want to be a good runner, go running. If you want to be a good skier, go skiing.” It’s a simple and straightforward reminder to keep your goals in mind when designing your training. I want to be a great skate skier and biathlete so that is where I concentrate my efforts. I do believe in balance and some diversity in training.
What is the longest roller ski ride you’ve ever done?
My longest roller ski was 101.5km and it took 5h:35min:51s according to Strava. My 2017 FLEX roller skis made it a piece of cake though! A cramp in my hand started getting annoying and I’ll admit I was also ready for lunch near the end! To the young athletes reading this, don’t go do this and hurt yourself, it’s easy to get injured pushing your limits. Build up to it gradually. I’ve done dozens of roller skis 60-80km in my years as an athlete. My next challenge is to break 100km/h top speed!
You tested the very first prototypes of 2017 FLEX and were a key player in deciding the 2017 FLEX geometry. How does it feel knowing you had a direct impact on a product used by a lot of athletes in North America?
Rundle Sport has been really supportive of me and I hope I can help contribute back in some capacity. I rollerski thousands of kilometers a year so it was a good fit for me to do some testing along the way. It’s hard to make everyone happy but I think the FLEX roller skis are the best roller skis available. I’m glad I get to spend so much time on them!
Why did you choose biathlon instead of cross country skiing?
Um… obviously guns!? I also find the mental aspects of shooting really demanding. I’ve always been a sucker for pain and biathlon really embraces both mental and physical challenge. I love them both, but I think biathlon adds another layer of character to race day!
Is there anyone you’d like to thank for helping you with your racing?
Richard Boruta firstly. The best biathlon coach in Canada right now without a doubt a true master of everything he pursued. He left an immense impact on me and I’m racing and taking every shot this season with him in mind. He sadly left us August 9th this summer in a tragic climbing accident. I’d also like to thank my wife, of course, my first coaches Jeremy and Fiona as well as mom, dad and family!