The Love of Bikes, Science, and Food
From the age of five I was riding a bike, by the time I was seven I was doing my first mountain bike rides, and when I was ten I was railing Downieville for my first time. I grew up mountain biking, my dad would bring me every weekend, it wasn’t about going fast, it wasn’t about racing, it was about learning that if you put in the hard work you would be rewarded in the end. In mountain biking, flying down a descent is the reward after a long climb, there are a lot of parallels in life.
When I got to college at UC Davis, there were no mountains, and there was no local mountain biking. So, I started to race road bikes. The years with the Aggies were great, I got to travel the state and even go to the collegiate cycling national championships in Asheville, North Carolina. Once I got into grad school, balancing the racing/ lab work was tough. I was riding my road bike just to hit numbers, it wasn’t enjoyable anymore and my race results were suffering. So June of last year, I decided to stop racing and I got into a slump, why even ride if I wasn’t going to be fast and race? I didn’t touch my bike for months.
One fall day, my friend Ryan and I, went down to our favorite spot to drink beer. We were enjoying a cool evening and decided, why don’t we go ride some gravel roads and some hidden Davis single track? So we went, ripping trails on our commuter bikes, wearing jeans, flannels, and tennis shoes. In that moment it came back, that love for riding, the one I had when I was a kid. No power meter, no Garmin, no spandex kit, just the sound of the wind and post-trail high-fives.
Matthew J. Amicucci aka "Matty Matt"
Agricultural Chemistry PhD Candidate
University of California, Davis