Question: Evan, please tell us a bit about yourself. Your hobbies, interests, etc.
Answer: I love most things outside, but mountain biking has been my passion for most of my life.

Evan Plews at the Ancient Lake Sagebrush Scramble.

Question: We have heard you compete in mountain bike races? How many years have you been competing? What drives you to compete?
Answer: Yes, I’ve been racing mountain bikes since 1992. I really love just about any kind of racing, but mountain bikes offer a unique blend of technology and human performance. Plus, the added skill component of changing off-road conditions. To me, competition is the purest form of any sport. I suppose it is also my pursuit of delivering my best performance. A race has a start, finish, and route which offer the parameters necessary to define that.

Question: Are you a road or gravel rider as well?
Answer: Yes, I’ve ridden all sorts of bikes. I raced on the road for about 10 years, but once I reached Category 1 (the highest level of amateur road cycling), I lost interest. I also raced at the highest level of cyclocross nationwide but ran out of talent and the ambition to pursue it. I did most of my training on a cross bike on gravel roads throughout my professional cycling career and have won or finished on the podium at most of the NW gravel races. At this stage, I’m finished training and suffering, and I ride bikes for fun, so that means I’m on my mountain bike. 

Evan on his way to his third win in a row for the 2022 BuDu West Side Mountain Bike Series at Dash Point State Park. Picture taken by Woodinville Bicycle.

Question: We heard you own Ridge Cyclesport. What do you enjoy most about owning a bike shop?
Answer: I love being around bikes and being around people who also love bikes. This is a way to share that passion to the maximum extent. There isn’t much better than “new bike day” and I get to share that priceless moment and all subsequent rides everyday now.

Question: Favorite piece of mountain biking gear and why?
Answer: I’ve always considered the “clipless” pedal the single most important component, but a good chamois and helmet are essential. Back when I started riding pedals for mountain bikes either came with or without toe clips. Then in the early 90s Shimano came out with the SPD pedal and many other companies followed suit with mechanical binding pedals which attached to a cleat on the bottom of a cycling shoe. The industry referred to them as “clipless” because they attached the show to the pedal without the use of a toe clip. Nowadays toe clips are so rare that the name “clipless pedal” doesn’t make much sense but is still generally used. 

Shimano SPD pedals are still the standard for clipless. We sell several models at Ridge Cyclesport including the top-notch XTR model.

Question: Before mountain bike competition season, what do you do to prepare?
Answer: I just ride my bike. I’d say the most important aspect of training I ever learned was to ride easy most of the time and hard only when it counts! Since my best fitness days are behind me, I focus on the technical aspects of the sport now: bike set-up and becoming one with it are paramount.

Question: What kind of diet/nutrition do you keep while training? Do you have an off-season diet or regiment?
Answer: I’ve found that a “40/30/30ish” diet that provides most carbs from fruit or vegetable sources works best for me. I’ll eat grain but prefer them whole. I eat a similar diet all the time. Variety is fun but unnecessary.

Question: What bike event is your favorite and why?
Answer: Probably the last one I did, but if I have to be specific, the Pisgah Stage Race. It lasts a week and offers some of the best trails on earth in North Carolina. Southern hospitality and camaraderie make it even better.

Evan and his dog “Rusty” at the shop Evan owns, Ridge Cyclesport.

Question: Most memorable time on a mountain bike and why?
Answer: Probably the sun rising in a 24-hour solo race… it is an incredibly emotional experience. There is real clarity of soul and spirit as the day wakes up, and it seems exponentially more intense under those circumstances.

Question: What race events have you placed in?
Answer: My most notable accomplishments include: 24 Hour Singlespeed National Champion, Marathon National Points Series Champion, Multiple-time Marathon National Championship Top 3, Multiple-time Oregon State and Series Champion, Multiple-time Washington State BuDu and Epic Series Champion, Baja Epic Stage Race Champion, Pisgah Stage Race Singlespeed Champion, Breck Epic Stage Race Masters Champion, 24 Hours Old Pueblo Champion and 24 Hours Round the Clock Champion.

Question: What other activities do you enjoy other than mountain biking?
Answer: I love being together with my people or my dog preferably outside. It could be laying in the sun, hiking through the woods, paddleboarding on the river, the possibilities are endless.

Question: What does a typical day look like for you? What do you do?
Answer: I like to wake up naturally without an alarm, usually between 7-8am and have an hour of breakfast and catching up on business then a ride. After that a day at the shop with our friends! A nice evening meal together and reflection/conversation so we can rest and do it again. 

Question: What sport are you most excited to challenge yourself more on? Or a new sport you would like to try out?
Answer: I’d like to get back into some things that got put off for bike racing: hunting, fishing, golfing, RC car racing, and classic Nordic skiing are on the list.
Question: Favorite life quote and why.
Answer: Bait your hook with your heart and the fish will always come.

Question: Anything else you would like to tell our readers?
Answer: We only die once, but we get to be ALIVE everyday… and go for a bike ride once a week, it will change your life!

Interview questions prepared by Sarah Shaffer.

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