Brent Mattison – Going Pro
By- Jordan Winar
It’s a slow afternoon at the grocery store so only one check out aisle is open. In front of you in line is a fit guy with a cart stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables. As you lean up against your cart you try to size him up and guess what he does for a living. As He starts to unload his cart, you see kale, spinach, oranges, and bananas but then, all of the sudden, he places a box of captain crunch and cinnamon toast crunch on the belt. The clerk asks him, “Will that be all?” With a childish grin he looks back at you and smiles and then reaches for a bag of Peanut M&M’s, sets it on the counter, and smirks at you and drops a line from the classic movie Home Alone, “it’s for the kids,” followed by a shrug. You both laugh and even the cashier gets a kick out of it. As he walks away you see him open the bag and pour a few M&M’s into his cupped hand and then toss them back into his mouth. You just met your new favorite rookie XTERRA PRO, Brent Mattison. He’s friendly, funny, fast, and now is going to walk us through his first PRO race. If you love XTERRA, you and him are probably a lot alike for this edition of ‘The Rest of The Story.’
FIRST PRO GOLD RACE (XTERRA Oak Mountain 2018):
It was his first Gold race as an XTERRA pro. The warm Alabama sun was just waking up as he pushed his bike into transition by himself but he wasn’t alone as other racers were shuffling around him in transition. He could feel his hair trying to stand up on his shaved legs as the nerves set in with the “E” imprinted on his calf signifying he would be racing in his first PRO/ELITE race at Oak Mountain. As he racked his bike he peaked over his right should at legends like Josiah Middaugh and Branden Rakita. He admired these guys for a long time from a distance but today he tests years of training against them.
Being next to those guys made him think about his own home town in Bend, Oregon and the people. . Brent shared swim lanes with Jesse Thomas and Linsey Corbin and it was not uncommon for him to see Heather Jackson running on the trails or to go mountain biking with Matt Lieto.
Brent were you nervous before the race?
“I was super nervous when I got the email from Trey Garman at XTERRA titled “Elite Racer Notes for ‘Bama”…it felt very real at that moment. Once in Alabama and after a pre-ride, I accepted what I’d got myself into and adjusted mentally to “race mode”. I was confident in my training and tried to stay focused on my own race preparation.”
Brent what advice do you have for someone looking to try their first XTERRA or take their talents to new heights?
“This is a question I have a lot of experience with, and some very simple guidance on.
1) Have a plan: Setup a TrainingPeaks account and buy a training plan. Or, if you have the budget, hire a coach. I work with Matt Lieto of The Endurance Collaborative, and we use the TrainingPeaks platform for everything that I do. A coach will make you faster than a new set of wheels.
2) Be Consistent: Have a training plan and stick to it. Consistency helps maintain that foundation of fitness that you build upon throughout the season and into every race. Consistency trumps all else.
3) Hard is hard > Easy is easy: Absolutely crush the workouts that are supposed to be hard, and go ridiculously easy when it’s prescribed. The body needs time to recover and absorb the fitness from hard days…just do it.
4) Goals: Being able to execute a plan to achieve a goal is where the rubber hits the road. Focus on race-specific goals, and training with those goals in mind. A race is supposed to feel hard, and your ability to stay focussed on what know you can achieve is all about mindset. It’s all about execution in the race, so have a goal, keep your eye on the prize, and make it happen.
5) Self-Care- Maintaining a healthy mind, body, and soul: Have a routine for warming up and cooling down as to avoid injury and maintain mobility…it’s important. Don’t forget your psyche and have a clear understanding of your “why”, remembering that this should bring you joy and enhance our life. Sure, its hard (that’s kinda the point), but if you’re not smiling and overwhelmed with emotion when you cross that finish, you’re doing it wrong.
6) Don’t live on an island (figuratively): A race itself is a solo effort, but you need a support team to get you there. Foster those connections with friends, family, or your significant other without being that “annoying triathlete”. Also, find a tribe of like-minded athletes to surround yourself with. You don’t need to necessarily train together, but having people to swim with, go on long rides with, or travel to races with, can really help keep you motivated and accountable.“
Brent is probably more like you than you think. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. probably eats to much cereal for a grown man, and He enjoys his occasional M&M’s and he loves XTERRA. Maybe he loves it because he was born on the island of Maui where the World Championships are held every year. Maybe he loves it because like many of us we feel connected to nature and to one another. It has an ability to take us beyond ourselves.
Brent what is a favorite memory that keeps you coming back?
This is the most personal aspect of what my “why” is all about. What keeps me coming back is a visceral feeling of wanting to be great at something. I lost my dad to cancer when I was a senior in high school, and I think about him often when I train and race. In a way that’s difficult to explain, pouring myself into something I’m passionate about keeps me connected to my dad because I’m doing something he would be proud of. His memory is a big part of what motivates me to stick with it, especially when it feels really hard.
The Rest of the Story:
When Brent crossed the finish line of his first PRO Gold race in Alabama he placed in the top 10 against some of the toughest and fastest racers in the World. Although XTERRA triathlon and trail runs are individual races, they somehow magically bring us all together. When Brent crossed the finish line by himself that day he wasn’t alone, His dad was with him. Brent is more like us than we may think. He doesn’t have all the answers and he doesn’t have it all together but he’s a good guy. He’s a friendly guy. And a funny guy. through it all Brent is making his dad proud and inspiring us all to #Livemore.
About Jordan Winar
The Rest of the Story series is contributed by off-road triathlete and freelance writer, Jordan Winar
Jordan competed in his first ever triathlon April 22, 2017. Prior to this, he had never competed in any triathlons, bike races, or outdoor swimming competitions. Jordan competed in 12 XTERRA events over the following 5 months, eventually qualifying for the XTERRA World Championships in Maui, Hawaii.
Jordan attributes his success to his newly found Vegan lifestyle and The Gazelle Mindset.