5 Questions with Matthew Mansfield

Published on May 18, 2017


May is Bike Month is in full swing and what better time to follow up with Matthew Mansfield, of the information technology division. Mansfield, featured in a 2016 MyPlacer Employee Spotlight, updates us about his cycling adventures, ambitious cycling goals and charity efforts.

You are living proof of how a person can drive, or in your case ride, themselves to a healthy lifestyle. What advice do you have for people who might need a jump start toward making a change?
First and foremost, don't compare yourself to others or which bike gear or other sports gear you do or don't have. Remember, small victories will add up to get you success toward your larger goals, whatever your sport.

Ralph Marston, writer and publisher of "The Daily Motivator," captures that thought accurately when he says, "You are stronger than the challenges. The most effective way to exercise that strength is not in one big push, but in sustained effort overtime."

mansfield on stopped on the road posing with bike

So, look for the small victories that can help. Knowing you want to get to a 50-mile riding point for example - just know you would need to master 5, 15, 25 miles, or whatever increments you decide on first. You will experience the success of smaller objectives and that will then propel you forward. Not to mention, you will avoid pushing yourself too much and too soon, which increases discouragement.

Your life has truly benefited from all the miles you put on the bike, and now use your bike to change the lives of others. Tell us about that.
It is a true blessing to be able to help others as you pursue a passion. Last year, I rode for Great Cycle Challenge that gathered donations for children’s cancer, while riding 750 miles in one month.

Then there was also the 100-mile Reach the Beach Ride event, in which donations were gathered for the American Lung Association.

This year I chose to ride five 200-mile cycling events in order to raise money and awareness for Grace City Center, in Sacramento. I am collecting donations at a ‘GoFundMe’ page for them. It started out as a birthday challenge to complete the California Triple Crown (a event where cyclists participate in three to five 200-mile rides) and then it grew to incorporate the fund raising effort, as I received inspiration. Center works with children involved in critical social injustice situations, some of which are happening in our very own region.

Next year, I am going to be a team leader (including four riders) for Team Will. We will be raising funds and then riding across America, stopping to visit children at cancer clinics and hospitals. The children know we are coming and look forward to signing our cycling jerseys.

I am also involved with a new rider group at Bayside Church’s Bayside Adventure Sports, in Granite Bay. There, people can learn how to ride and properly use the required equipment. We have even had some preliminary conversations about starting a youth cycling class at Grace City Center.

You’re going the distance (serious distance) with your riding, and participating in the California Triple Crown. What’s that all about?
The California Triple Crown is a sanctioned list of 200-mile bike rides, that are riding all over California. Each event varies in difficulty depending on the terrain and climbing involved. Rides are rated by the elevation gain experienced on a ride. There are three levels of triple crown that can be achieved. The most basic method is to choose any three events. The next level is to pick any five events to get to 1,000 miles. On top of that is the highest level of choosing five events, including three of the most difficult on the list. We were attempting the highest level category, but unfortunately, race directors ended a race early due to weather concerns. We are still in the running for the 1,000 mile award!

Why is May is Bike Month important to you?
May is Bike Month is important because it generates a lot of interest in the sport of cycling. It also provides many options to just get outside and enjoy a wide array of events. There are many events in the local area and you can participate at any level of fitness. Activities during bike month create social events, as well. You will find that in cycling, the community often comes together in a supportive role. There is also information that is shared between riders. During the month there are also friendly contests and challenges that you can  participate in if you would like to challenge yourself a little.

How does Placer County fit into your cycling regimen?
There are a wide range of riding venues to choose from in Placer County. There are areas where you can ride flat terrain, hills, or on up to the mountains and even Lake Tahoe. There are several training routes that are easy to access and provide something for everyone. It is a great way to get out and see firsthand the various communities and historical areas of interest in the county. Climbing is an integral part of cycling and many people do not enjoy it. However, it is a fact of life in the cycling world, and can actually be quite fun given the diversity of the county.

Bonus question: What are some of the immediate benefits you receive after jumping onto your bike?
When I jump on my bike I receive an instant ‘reset’ of my day, or a charged up approach to the day. It depends on the time of day that I ride. It releases stress and gets the blood circulating in such a way that you cannot help but to feel good. Along with feeling better physically, cycling can help with stress or the emotional load, as well. In the longer term there are riding goals such as certain hills or distances that once reached, provide a great boost to confidence and fitness. It gives me a chance to spend time with myself in almost a meditative state at times. It’s also a chance for peace and relaxation, or to push to test your limits. The beautiful thing is that you get to create the ride that you want.

mansfield holding bike over head