The Cycling House: You started working at The Cycling House in 2007, what did you do when you first worked there?
Sam Schultz: In the early days, I worked as assistant to the chef under my brother, Andy, the head chef. I was also the fastest sweeper in the house, could hold my own at dishes and grew the best mustache in our staff competition. It was the perfect job to complement my full-time focus of racing bikes. I got to work with my best friends, meet a ton of cool people, eat delicious food and ride my bike until my heart was content.
TCH: What was your first thought when you found out you made the U.S. Olympic Team for the London Games? Can you tell us a little bit about your experience there?
SS: I was beyond excited when I made the Olympic Team. It was a long process to get there, but it was totally worth it. My best memory was the support from both friends and family in person cheering me on and everyone back home. That many people rallying behind you is an amazing feeling. The race itself was very intense and different from any other race I’ve done. And the closing ceremony was something I’ll never forget. Basically, everything about the Olympics was pretty dang cool.
TCH: We know you’ve had some serious back issues, which led to surgery and ultimately forced you into early retirement from racing your bike. How is your back feeling now? Are you able to find a balance between managing your back and getting outside to do what you love?
SS: Well, I haven’t fully admitted retirement yet, but it certainly has forced me to take a step back from high-level XC racing. I’ve been able to find a pretty great balance between managing my back and still being able to get outside and do what I love, which for me often involves pushing my endurance limits. My back is definitely always there, but as long as I stay on top of mobility and stability exercises it’s been letting me do a lot. My recently torn ACL is another story, but that’s healing pretty well and I should be back to full capacity before too long.
TCH: What is it like to come back to work at The Cycling House after being away for a few years? Has anything changed?
SS: It was great coming back to The Cycling House after being away. I worked camps in Tucson, Arizona and Solvang, California and they were really cool. The Cycling House is certainly way more organized and the food has gotten better, but thankfully the roots of TCH haven’t changed. The staff members are still all good friends and I was able to reconnect with a lot of great customers from the old days. My role these days is a little more full on, with everything from ride guiding, loading vans, helping in the kitchen, mechanic work and whatever else needs to be done. It’s cool to be back on the same roads, but it seems to me that Mount Lemmon has gotten significantly steeper and longer. Anyone else feel the same way?
TCH: What’s your favorite ride in Tucson, Arizona (road and MTB)? Follow up – What’s your favorite ride in Montana (road and MTB)?
SS: My favorite road ride in Tucson is still Mount Lemmon, despite its recent uplift. Favorite MTB ride has to be the super-technical La Milagrosa Trail. In Montana, I would say Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is my favorite road ride, especially early in the season before it opens to vehicles (and it’s even better with skis in tow). My favorite MTB ride is Sheep Mountain near Missoula. Very quick access from town, but you can loop way back into the Rattlesnake Mountains.
TCH: Following your Instagram feed, it looks like you’re doing some incredible things that you probably wouldn’t have time to do as a professional rider. Is this true? Was adventuring and exploring always in the back of your mind when you were racing or is this a newfound passion?
SS: Taking a step back from focusing on being a professional rider has definitely opened a lot of doors for different types of adventures. Dreaming up big objectives and exploring has always been a strong passion of mine. In the past, I have had to fit most of it into the racing off-season, but now I’m much more flexible. I’m still nursing my knee a bit, but I have some good
stuff in the works. The next big trip is going to be driving my new Sprinter van up to Alaska. That place is so wild and inspiring to me, I love spending time up there. I’ve also been scheming a Central America motorcycle trip, some bike-packing here in Montana and a lot more exploring by bike. The best way to follow along is through Instagram – @samschultz13.
Sam Schultz has worked with us off and on for 10 years. Owen Gue, Owner of the Cycling house has been friends with Sam ever since they started racing bikes together as teenagers in Missoula, MT. Sam’s history with our company is deep and wide and we’re looking forward to more adventures with Sam in the coming years. – TCH