Interview with Group Leader: Matt

Local Church: Calvary Spokane
What I do for a living: EMS Helicopter Pilot
One thing people would be surprised to know about me: I can make a wicked cheesecake in a growing number of delicious variations

Type of Bike/How long mountain biking:  I started riding in 2003 with a heavy Diamondback X-C, and switched to my current Gary Fisher Cake 2 DLX a few years later
Favorite kind of riding: Long cross-country singletrack, both smooth and technical
Rate yourself (Beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert): Intermediate to advanced. But nothing crazy!
Best epic ride: The Monarch Crest/Rainbow Trail, Salida, CO
Best instate rides: So far, Kettle Crest. But Washington is a huge state!
Best out of state ride: Most anywhere in Fruita or Moab
Interests/hobbies besides mountain biking: Road biking, hiking, skiing, photography, home improvement, writing
Toughest ride ever: “The Big Mountain” ride in Crimea (Ukraine) with that crazy Russian, Pastor Yuri “just one more big hill” Kyzmin. An all-day affair with lots of hike-a-bike and huge elevation changes. Riding some kind of Czech-made hardtail with twist-grip shifting made it even more of a challenge. The company, and views of the Black Sea coast were well worth it though.
Best (worst) crash: Actually a road bike (the flip side of my MTB passion) crash on a steep, twisting highway in the Jemez Mountains of northern NM. Going way too fast – lots of blood. I broke my clavicle (and still retain some extra hardware in my left shoulder now), tore open my side and had massive road rash. I met some really nice EMTs though. The bike (a Specialized Roubaix) survived with only minor injuries.
What is your dream ride? Any multi-day tour somewhere I haven’t been: Canada, England, New Zealand perhaps. Or anywhere in the Rockies. The Durango area has some good ones.

How did you come to know the Lord? I grew up with religion, but really, without God. As an adult I pretty much self-destructed through a series of bad relationships seeking to fill that void.  My way was joyless and empty, but religion had no answers. Then I discovered the difference between knowing about Jesus and actually knowing, and giving your life to Him. That happened at a critical time in my life and career. When I began to earnestly seek God and ask for His help, He led me to a great church fellowship and the Word began to do its work. By the summer of 2001, I was on a new path, this one with a real abundant-life future to it.  A new baptism soon followed. The changes and adventures I’ve experienced since then have been phenomenal.
How did you hear about BOMB? In early 2003, I had just moved to Albuquerque when someone at my church (Calvary) mentioned this Christian mountain biking group. I found out when their next ride was and met Chris Stageman in the Sandia Mountain foothills early one winter morning. We were the only two riders that day – praise God for Chris’s faithfulness to his ministry! “The rest is history”

Why I like being a BOMB leader: William Carey said, “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.” And with each step in my Christian walk, I’ve constantly asked, “OK Lord, what’s next?” Spokane has a dynamic and diverse Christian community; it’s also a gateway to some fantastic mountain biking, so there’s a perfect fit for a ministry like BOMB. My vision of this group is to be more than just an outreach fellowship; I’d also like to see upreach and inreach among those who already know Christ, glorifying God in all we do and maintaining vibrant, authentic relationships while growing to be more like Him. I envision an active, servant-minded ministry that will become a reflection of the presence of the living God to the community.
I found BOMB as a young Christian and a novice mountain biker, and over the next few years it became the catalyst that propelled me along a path I never could have imagined in both areas.  My biking skills and experience grew in tandem with my faith until one day I found myself swimming in a lake (after a new believer’s baptism) outside a small village in Crimea with a bunch of newfound friends in Christ, most of whom spoke only Russian. A passion for God, blended with a passion for mountain biking, had led me there. In that moment I really sensed that the things of God are a lot more exciting that things of this world. So in addition to this group being a witness to non-believers, if I can help motivate even one person toward that kind of revelation, I would consider the ministry a success.

My prayer for this BOMB chapter: I pray that with each successive season of riding, God would open the doors to unique opportunities and personal connections as only He can, bringing new friends together and using us to show non-believers that the Christian life is a lot more exciting than they’ve been led to believe. Also, that we would exhibit and share the love of Christ with all we meet. I also ask for the personal wisdom and guidance to lead effectively, keeping the focus on the “Believers” part first and “mountain bikes” second.