In today’s athlete profile we sit down with Data Driven Athlete Kurt Schmal to discuss rainbow paint schemes, brown rice, and hot yoga.  

10 Questions with Data Driven Athlete Kurt Schmal

Q-  How long have you been riding, and how were you introduced to cycling?

  • A- I started riding when I was 32 and have been riding off and on (mostly off) for 20 years.  I’ve ridden pretty regularly for the past 3 years.   I was introduced to cycling by my girlfriend at the time (wife now) and my first bike was a used 1991 Lemond Tourmalet with Campy Veloce. It had the rainbow paint scheme and it was the bomb.

Q-  What is your best memory on your bike?

  • A- Reaching the summit of Monitor Pass on my first Death Ride right at dawn.

Q-   How has training with a coach changed cycling for you?

  • A- In two ways. I’m more relaxed and more confident. I’m relaxed because I no longer worry if I’m riding too much or too little. Which was always a big question for me and ultimately why I got a coach.  Second, I’m more confident in the elements that make up individual workouts. When I have questions or concerns regarding individual workouts Matt provides a well thought out, and as detailed, response as I want so that I can understand why he is prescribing a particular workout.

Q-  You have a 3 hour hall pass to ride, where do you go?

  • A- Anywhere there are more hills and less traffic.

Q-  What is your favorite workout and why?

  • A- My longer weekend rides where I’m left to pick up 4 fifteen minute efforts at threshold. This workout gives me a chance to ride tempo with teammates or friends and hit the climbs as hard as I can.  Riding/racing with my teammates for three or four hours and then getting lunch is the best part of the sport.

Q-  What have you focused on “off the bike” this year that has made a difference in your performance?

  • A- I did a lot of hot yoga before I started riding again so coming back to the sport after working on my flexibility, strength and balance has been a huge benefit. Yoga and cycling are two very different sports that complement one another.

Q-  What is your favorite breakfast on a day with a big ride?

  • A- Like a lot of folks I struggle to eat enough the morning of longer training rides.  I will start with a bowl of oatmeal (or brown rice) with raisins, brown sugar, bananas and an Almond milk protein smoothie.  That typically isn’t enough to get through the whole ride so I will eat regularly after the first hour.

Q-  If you had to choose one of the following to be without on a long ride – which would it be?

A)     Garmin –  I’ve bonked on enough Sac Wheelmen rides to know.

B)      Food

C)      Bottles

D)     Jersey

Q-  What was your biggest accomplishment this season?

  • A- Winning my first road race at Cantua Creek  (45+ Cat 4).  Honestly, nobody could have been more surprised than I was.  It was an incredible rush followed by lots of congrats from teammates and friends.  Getting kudos from people in the sport was not something I had experienced before but was incredibly gratifying.

Q-  If you could sum up your experience with your coach in 5 words, what would they be?

  • A- Suffer, suffer, rest, suffer, repeat.

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Matt Chatlaong
Associate Coach
Data Driven Athlete

Written by Matt Chatlaong

Coach at Data Driven Athlete, Student of Exercise Science, Cat 1 Road Racer for Oak Valley Community Bank Elite Cycling, Sprinter, and Carbohydrate Lover ... Feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or feedback at !