Ready to Race in 2021?
Back in the Saddle With Acker
As a DKXL winner, accomplished endurance cyclists, off-road adventurer and event organizer, Matt Acker has a few insights for those of you looking to get back at it this summer.
Floyd’s: Welcome back Matt, we see that you’ve been busy this last year cooking up your own expeditions. Compared to last year, how is 2021 shaping up from both the perspective of a racer and event organizer?
Matt: We’ve already hosted the Fargo Sub-48 bikepacking event that we do every year. We even managed to host it in 2020 since it’s such a small event (less than 150 people) and it is socially distanced by nature, being a bikepacking event which has people camping outdoors and riding at their own pace. Other than that, we haven’t hosted a large event since June of 2019, so we’ve got the itch! Last year was certainly a tough one, but at the end of the day, the most important thing was keeping people safe and just sitting tight until this season. It was a bummer to invest so much time and energy into events that ultimately had to be cancelled, but that’s how it goes. Right now, I’ve got the Lumberjack 100 MTB race in June that we host as part of the NUE series, and then the weekend after is the Coast to Coast Gravel Grinder which traverses the great Mitten state. Our biggest event we host is the Barry-Roubaix which is the world’s largest gravel road race, and it’s scheduled for October this year. Last year we had over 4,000 people signed up and ready to go, but this year we are being cautious and working with a series of waitlists to meter how many people enter the event. Hopefully when October arrives, we will be able to host a fun and safe event!
Floyd’s: And we look forward to getting some product to those events! What’s the most common thing you’re hearing from riders as things start to open up for the season?
Matt: Lots of riders have the desire to get out and race or adventure again, but we’ve seen folks being more cautious with signing up for events. People are wary of events being cancelled and having their hard earned money tied up, which is understandable. Registration numbers are still good, but there hasn’t been as much of a flurry of activity when events first open. Last year we sold out 3,700 spots for the Barry-Roubaix in just over a week and this year we’ve got about 1,000 signed up with almost 1,000 more on waitlists. Hopefully, once the bigger events have a return and people feel more comfortable, then the numbers will go back up! Only time will tell, but I’m optimistic.
Floyd’s: So are we! We love seeing our products starting to pop up on podiums again. What outlandish adventures have you planned this year?
Matt: I’ve been keeping the spring pretty tame. I’ve been doing some longer rides with a 150 miler the other weekend, but trying to keep a lid on things until this summer. June is a busy work month for me, and I just have one bikepacking trip planned with good friends in the Upper Peninsula. The bulk of my adventures are this summer with Colorado Trail Race in July, Pierre’s Hole 100 just a week later, and then LeadBoat (Leadville MTB 100 back-to-back with SBT GRVL 140). So those three in a row are going to be tough with 800+ miles of racing in a month’s time. I’m hoping to pull together another big bikepacking trip in the later summer or early fall but also being realistic that this summer may take its toll. I’m planning to do one of the toughest 100 mile MTB races this September, at the Marji Gesick 100, since it’s one of my favorites; technical terrain almost non-stop and plenty of chunk. I’ve done it every year and am looking forward to it returning for 2021.
Floyd’s: That sounds brutal! We’ll have a booth and recovery lounge set up at SBT GRVL so you’ll have all the CBD you need there. Floyd’s: So are we! We can’t wait to see everyone again at the finish line. As an event organizer, tell us how the response has been to Floyd’s CBD in registration bags and at events. What’s the most popular product?
Matt: So far we’ve just had one event where we stuffed goody bags full for people but the general vibe was excitement. Lots of people are CBD curious and I’m happy to help them explore the realm. Having used CBD as part of my regimen for several years now I’m a believer and love sharing the stoke. I give away a lot of samples to folks I know and also people that just hit me up on social media which is cool. The Gems are always a hit because they’re easy to snack on and convenient. I’m finding a lot of folks that try the Recovery Protein really like it, and it’s one of my favorites. Not only is the flavor awesome but it does wonders after a hard effort. I like to share my recipes on Instagram via my stories and my personal go to is: Two scoops Vanilla Recovery Protein, 6 ounces milk, couple of ice cubes, 1 cup of frozen strawberries and 6 ounces of water.