Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Welcome to the Pod!  Our feed is available on all major podcast platforms and is supported by a small number of advertisers and directly by people like you.   If you've made it this far, please consider subscribing to the podcast and if you like what I'm doing, please consider supporting financially via the link below. 

Support the Podcast: Buy Me a Coffee

Nov 1, 2022

This week we sit down with Protect our Winters ambassador and gravel athlete, Matt Lieto to talk about the importance of voting in relation to protecting the environment we love to ride in.

Protect our Winters 


Support the Podcast

Join The Ridership 

Automated Transcription, please excuse the typos:


Matt Lieto

[00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello, and welcome to the gravel ride podcast, where we go deep on the sport of gravel cycling through in-depth interviews with product designers, event organizers and athletes. Who are pioneering the sport

I'm your host, Craig Dalton, a lifelong cyclist who discovered gravel cycling back in 2016 and made all the mistakes you don't need to make. I approach each episode as a beginner down, unlock all the knowledge you need to become a great gravel cyclist.

This week on the show. I welcome Matt. Lieto from bend Oregon onto the show matzoh, former triathletes. We'll get into that a little bit. And a gravel racer been doing it out of bend for a number of years has been involved in organizing some of the great events up there in Oregon.

But more importantly for today's show, Matt's been involved with protect our winters,

a nonprofit organization founded by snowboarder Jeremy Jones back in 2007. But the basic premise that he was seeing the world that he calls home out there in the big mountains. Getting destroyed by climate change. He wasn't seeing the same kind of snowpack. He was observing change and decided to make some change. He decided that athletes outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds, we have a voice in the political process and he set about to create an organization to help passionate outdoor people, productive places, and lifestyle. They love.

From climate change.

We're sitting here in the first week in November next week's the midterm elections. There's still time to get out there and vote. Do your civic duty. I'm a little bit on a soap box with Matt during this conversation, but I think it's important. Head on over to protect your You can find out everything you need to know about the voting process.

In your local community, there's still time in many states to get registered and absolutely there's time to prepare your ballot and get it submitted for the midterm elections. Without said. Let's jump right into my conversation with Hey, Matt, welcome to the show.

[00:01:59] Matt Lieto: Thanks, man. Appreciate you having me Excited.

[00:02:01] Craig Dalton: I am looking forward to getting into gravel, your background, but I'm most excited to talk about p and we'll get into that later.

[00:02:09] Matt Lieto: Yeah, it's, it's okay if you if you prioritize climate and the world in, in, in front of getting to know me, that's fine. I'll let it go.

[00:02:16] Craig Dalton: Wow. Very modest ego. I like it.

So Matt, we always start out just by getting a little bit of background about you, how you got into the sport, and how you got into gravel. We gotta talk a little bit about your, your, your skinny bike background and that arrow position you used to have, but not too much. I don't wanna scare the listeners off.

[00:02:33] Matt Lieto: I can't ignore it. I know there's a, you know, no matter what the, the triathletes do and the time trialists do, they're always gonna have, they're gonna have their, their work cut out for 'em for sure. But the reason I've like always got along with Mount biker's, cyclists, and why I'm one myself as I don't mind making fun of myself.

Self deprecation is my, my biggest strength slash weakness. So let's go

[00:02:55] Craig Dalton: It's important. It's important that the regular listener will know that I have admitted to my Ironman triathlon past. I don't wear it like a badge, but I, I'm not afraid to say that I did that.

[00:03:06] Matt Lieto: So you literally, like you don't have a tattoo or anything.

[00:03:10] Craig Dalton: No, no, I would, if I could aim the camera down there, I would show you my calf. There's

[00:03:15] Matt Lieto: don't move your,

[00:03:16] Craig Dalton: down there,

[00:03:17] Matt Lieto: I don't wanna see you. Move your canvas south, man. Keep it up.

[00:03:21] Craig Dalton: So how did you, you're up in, you're up in Bend these days. Is that where you kind of found the bike and found triathlon originally?

[00:03:28] Matt Lieto: No, actually I had started doing try when I lived in Northern California. So like, 98 maybe. And kind of the cheesy story is my brother actually was a, a great professional triathlete, was second at Kona and another world championships a couple times. And I watched him race a race in Hawaii and at the time I was like 260 pounds.

And I was like, Wow, these guys are, have more fun than me. And Losts a bunch of weight. Went home and started training for triathlon, trying to get it across the finish line on one of those things. And turned out I. Decent at it and was training with my brother, had a good guide and you know, just kind of kept plugging away.

Became a professional triathlete after maybe three years of that. And yeah, kind of just enjoyed that experience. And I, I'm telling you, off air, like the. If I would've started younger and if I had the better pain tolerance I probably would've tried to be a cyclist. Cause that was kind of my, my strength and what I loved doing.

But turns out I'm kind of mediocre at three sports. So triathlon worked for me.

[00:04:28] Craig Dalton: Nice. What distances were you running and racing in? Triathlon.

[00:04:31] Matt Lieto: I did, I've done 'em all. Like I did the

[00:04:34] Craig Dalton: Okay.

[00:04:34] Matt Lieto: Olympic distance did Xera cuz again, I, I just enjoy riding all kinds of kinds of bikes. So I went to National World champs a couple times for Xera. I did half Ironman was probably my strength in triathlon, just because you could, like, as a cyclist you could Ironman at least then, or for me, was. What watts can you hold for the whole thing and not crack where the half distance is, Oh, I'm faster than you and I'm gonna try to rip your legs off. Like that to me was fun cuz I just love riding a bike hard. And then yeah, that's pretty much it. Did d Athlon, d Athlon, National Champion once, way back in the day.

And yeah, just kind of, kind of did it all. But through all that I did road racing, crits, raced a bunch of pro like NRC stage races and all that good stuff. So

[00:05:20] Craig Dalton: Gotcha, gotcha. And was finding kind of gravel, just a natural thing up there and bend.

[00:05:25] Matt Lieto: Yeah, I mean it's, you know, we, we've got winter here, or we had winter. We'll get, you know, this great segue into what we'll talk about here eventually. But you know, so cinders on the roads, you know, instead of salt to, to keep the roads clear. Here we have cinders, so, those can be a little bit sketchy if you're riding a road bike.

So, originally when I moved to town, I was working at a bike shop, wrenching and stuff. Bought a cross bike for that. And then once I had my cross bike, I was like, and I have good buddies with like Carl Decker and Rancher boat and those guys. And every ride we just ended up on dirt every, you know, whether it be single track or whatever.

And after a while, like I. And there, those guys are all capable of anything, right? So we'd be on a ride and I'd be on my TT bike and we'd end up on single track and I'm like, Guys, this is like not that awesome. my time trail bike. So eventually I got the right, right bike for the job. And yeah. And in Bandish there's so many dirt and gravel roads, certainly in the winter to be able to to ride when a lot of the pavement isn't clear and you're going slower.

So it's. You're less cold, you know, it's 35 degrees outside, going 20 on a road bike doesn't sound that fun. But going 12 on a travel bike is pretty sweet. So

[00:06:35] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And when did you start to see like the gravel bike events take off and capture your attention?

[00:06:40] Matt Lieto: Well yeah, in Oregon we had, we had like kind of a, we have a rad, I think a really cool like road racing scene. Are we used to? And. A guy actually ended up working with. Now, Chads Barry helped him put on the Oregon Trail gravel grinder. He'd been putting on road races for years and there was a road race.

Man, I wanna say. He must have started in oh five, but it was a gorge Rube called it, and we had like six miles of gravel on every lap that was like a 20 mile lap. And it was a cat one, like proper full on road race. And I think one year like net overran was out there with us and like all sorts of like fast dudes.

And so we we're riding 23 c. Road tires on gravel, you know, in oh eight or oh nine. And then we slowly started, like after that race he put on a race, he's like, Why don't we just do a race that's totally on gravel? And I think maybe started that in, in 12 and then obviously with everybody else kind of catching up.

It was kind of, kind of natural, but it was, it was funny. It was almost weird going to races where we're riding like 30 plus c like cross tires for gravel cuz we're so used to like picking through everything on 20 fives. But,

[00:07:47] Craig Dalton: I think my first, in fact, I know my first gravel event was one of those events outside of Bend, maybe in Sisters, and I went up there. I had like a first gen niner. Gravel bike, maybe 30 twos on it. But my buddy that came with me only had a road bike and we kind of read and they were like, You can do it on a road bike.

So he was out on a road bike on that. He did get the ship beat out of him, I will say, in all the stutter bumps, but he may manage to survive it.

[00:08:16] Matt Lieto: Yeah. Was that the, the, was that the gorge or was it at in Bend? Like near Bend.

[00:08:21] Craig Dalton: It was near bend.

[00:08:23] Matt Lieto: Okay. Yeah. I mean, dude, yeah, more power. More power to him for sure. And all this being said, like when we were doing this stuff, you know, there was one year when we went from going from like the race with just the eight mile segment to like the full race.

I mean, there must have been. 25 guys that flatted in the race, like I've flatted 20 miles in and like the support vehicles like do we're well outta tubes, man. Like you're on your own. So there's definitely like growing pains with how we tried to do it, but it's it's pretty fun. Pretty

[00:08:54] Craig Dalton: Yeah, it's so interesting. I mean, we talk about it a lot here just how the equipment has evolved to just make the disasters less frequent, right? Like I just, I had a cross bike back in the day and every time I rode it hard off road on Mount Tam, I would flat and I was just like, Why am I bothering doing this?

I might as well just ride a mountain bike and not flat.

[00:09:11] Matt Lieto: Yeah, totally. It's, yeah, it's crazy. I think people forget at times what the technology has allowed for us. Like right now I'm looking, I'm, my studio is also where my trainer is, right? So I'm looking at my cella sitting on there and it's, I mean, there, gravel riding wouldn't be around if there would, if disc brakes weren't a thing, right?

Like if, if, if we didn't make that move, we wouldn't be doing this. That's why the biggest tires I could ride at those old gravel races were 28. Cause that was on, you know, if you had a cross bike, obviously you could ride something bigger, but it's yeah, it's, it's cool. It's fun. Interesting to see where, where it all goes and where we like stop and we're like, Okay, I'm now riding a mountain bike again.

[00:09:51] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I'm, I'm very much there. I mean, people look at my gravel bike. I now have one of those Rudy Suspension forks on it, and I tell people like, you know, where I ride? It's just, it's better, it's faster, it's safer. I'm more comfortable. I go straight up and down the coastal range, there's no in between and I'm flying into things and having the suspension just means I flat less and have more fun.

[00:10:13] Matt Lieto: Totally. And so we're, we're on the same page. We're gonna geek out here for a second, but, so I also have, I have the competitor to yours. I have the fox fork. I'm on the East Overland gravel team. We've got Fox and it's, you know, Before that somebody, somebody said, Hey, I want a bike with a fork on it.

I'm like, Dude, if you're gonna ride something where you need a suspension fork, ride your fricking mountain bike. Right? Like that was always my line. And they sent me one. They're like, Try it out. And I'm like, just mind blown. Right? Like it is. So much fun. And I'm not even, I used to say, I'm embarrassed to say, I'm not embarrassed to say anymore.

It is my favorite bike and I do have like an embarrassment of riches that I've got a couple of my as sparrows. So I have one set up without and one with, and it's just for old dudes with neck issues and like, just everything that comes with being old. It is so much more comfortable, so much more fun. And I did this huge well, not that huge bike packing trip from.

Boulderer to Steamboat with Decker this summer and I had my front suspension on and bike packing. It was like game changer cuz like, you're going down embedded rock at 20 miles an hour with all that weight on. Like when you see it, you just like, ugh. This one, I'm like trying to jump stuff and going off little drops and stuff.

It's great.

[00:11:30] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. Same way. Same

[00:11:32] Matt Lieto: it'll be, it'll be, it'll be interesting to see where it, where it goes.

[00:11:36] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I'm, I'm super interested to see like when the kind of average cyclist starts to see that as being an advantage. Cuz you, you would imagine like people who are really into the sport, like you and I, like, we could suffer, like we could take the abuse if we wanted with a rigid fork and you know, we could make that choice, but we're not, we would seemingly be more willing to take that abuse than the average cyclist should.

[00:11:58] Matt Lieto: Totally. And, and, and this is what is, It's like a, I think gravel hit the accelerator when we hit Covid right On like where it was gonna go. Like I'm, I don't know if anybody buys a road bike as their first bike anymore. Right. But a bunch of people buy gravel bikes for their first bike, which is great. I mean, dude, more people on bikes is all great things.

I love it. But it's interesting that the, it seems like I, I see people move to Bend and people that live in Bend are on forums and like, Hey, I can, I, can I ride this single track on the gravel bike or da da da, and I'm. That you shouldn't, you shouldn't be doing all this on a full rigid bike. Like, it actually doesn't, like, it's not fun.

Like I, I encourage you, like I, I'm, I'm sure you can and I'll support you in trying, but you'll have way more fun if you're on a bike that actually is like, suited for it. And I think, I think those bikes and dude, like, I'm probably a year away from thinking e gravel bikes are the best thing ever. You know, just, you know, seeing people, like I know people, Carl's.

Rides an e-bike and they go on 60 mile rides now, where that couldn't happen before. You know, it's just cool. There's, it's great to see where renovation has taken us for for sure.

[00:13:07] Craig Dalton: Yeah, a hundred percent. I didn't know I'd see alignment with you so well on these subjects.

[00:13:13] Matt Lieto: Oh, it's just Man, Cupid's Cupid's shooting his arrow over here.

[00:13:18] Craig Dalton: as you got sucked into kind of gravel racing and I, I remember a few years back you were part of the Eastern Overland team. Sounds like you still are. Did that become more of like where you were getting your kind of racing outta your system?

[00:13:33] Matt Lieto: Yeah. Compared to triathlon. Yeah, for sure. And I, when, when I, when I stopped racing triathlon, I, I mean, probably for the last few years I didn't, like, I didn't love it and I, I might not have ever been the person that like loved it, but going from my background as an overweight dude to someone who's.

Flying around the world, making a living in a professional sport, it was like pinching me, right? But I always was bummed when I couldn't do the stuff that I really wanted to do. You know, racing bikes and skiing and that and that sort of thing. So when I had the opportunity, you know, Easton Overland, it was probably after my first year at Unbound, I raised with.

Craig Richie and some other Michael Vanderham and some dudes there and were like, Hey, we should start this team. They're like, Hey, do you wanna be on this team? I'm like, Okay. And this is way back in the day. And this is funny, like looking back at it now, they're like okay, what will it take you to be on the team?

And I said, Okay. Two things. You can never refer to me as a professional gravel racer. Because at the time that didn't exist. Right. And I'm like, Don't do that. And second, you can't pay me anything. , Of course now it's like the, the opposite, going ahead, but just a, a rad group of people and it's all kind of a hobby for us.

And you know, the goal is trying to find people that could maybe use gravel as a platform to become athletes, right. And make living off of it. And like we fell into finding Amity the first year and like three months later. One Unbound and it's like, All of us were like, we get no credit for that because we didn't.

No offense. Amity, if you're listening, we didn't think you were gonna win on down that first year. Right? So, we are, and she's still involved and she's, she's a sweetheart and she, yeah, she's awesome to still, still be around, but So we continue wanting to try to open doors for people that might not have it.

And then for old timers like us that just kind of wanna still have a good time, it allows me to to be around cool folks and ride cool equipment and still go on adventures, which is sweet.

[00:15:25] Craig Dalton: Yeah, absolutely. When you think about like the experience of a gravel event, a good gravel event, and then you compare that to like an Ironman day. Are there similarities, like just sort of how you feel, the accomplishment, the journey you have to take throughout some of these events?

[00:15:42] Matt Lieto: For for sure. And I definitely, and I think the most similar was Unbound and because it just, I did it in 18 and it, it gave me challenges in ways I didn't think mostly like I flatted three times and that was like, I kind of had some assumption that that would happen, but not to that extent and like, Getting back to the front group till the last flat, like kept going.

Like that was, you know, it was like all these, and then you're used to that in triathlon where it's like, it's never the person that has the clean race that wins cuz nobody does. Right. So it's like adapting and, and that I love. So that was really similar but the, the depth of like, it's hard cuz I think I'm gonna get crap for this, but I think every gravel race besides Unbound in my experience is.

Way easier than an Ironman. And that's because you're not running, man. And maybe if you're a great runner, you would not say the thing. But I was a shitty runner and I was just trying to get to the finish line every time. Right? So like coasting when you're really freaking tired. That wasn't a thing in triathlon and it is in gravel.

So like for me, the shorter ones totally like up to six hours, way easier the unbound. Because you can keep going when you're tired. The like depth of how fatigued you get is like a different level cuz Ironman, I've done it like nine hours max. And if you're struggling it's your like legs that are tweaking out or like you like stop where in.

In Kansas, you're just, you have to keep going and you're like, your, your level is well below E so it's it's cool. Like you definitely have to like figure out where, where your energy's coming from. And again, the similarities for me, the, the problem solving is, is fun. I mean, the last, the last aid, the last stop at Unbound, after I had, I'd finally kind of cracked after the third flat.

And I call into the guys and I'm like, It's. Coke and gummy orange slices, and they're like, What do you mean? I'm like, Everything . And they like changed it. I literally ate like, you know, three pounds of orange slices you get at the gas station and, you know, 96 ounces of Coke to get to the finish line. Like it's, it's, it's chaos.

It's awesome. It's super awesome.

[00:18:10] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I, you know, it's interesting, you know, I enjoy talking to people with a triathlon background cuz I was a hobbyist triathlete. Like, I'm like a, I don't know, a 11 and a half hour Iron man kind of guy. But what I learned early on was like, you just, you can't cut corners. Like you have to think about your nutrition.

You have to think about what's next. Something's always gonna go wrong. And then when I started doing these gravel events, it was the same way. It was like, not like I was an exceptional athlete, but I just. Get bothered if stuff went wrong. Like my bike was gonna break, I was gonna fix it. I was gonna keep going.

I was gonna bonk, but you know, half the people ahead of me were gonna go through the same thing and it's just a matter of keeping the pedals going forward.

[00:18:49] Matt Lieto: Totally. And I think you get to the point where when something happens and you have a struggle, whether it's nutrition or mechanical, like as quickly as possible, you figure out and triage like, is this fixable? Okay. If it's not, then like, what's my clears out? Like how do I get what I need? And then, Then you keep going.

It's, yeah, it's super fun. And that being said, like I don't know that I've ever not finished a gravel race. And in most cases, like again, like at Unbound, that first year, Not that like, whatever, but a lot of people then didn't know what they do now, and people would've been like, Okay, my race is over. But it's like, No, stick a plug in it, Chase back on blah, blah, blah.

Like I was still in the race till, you know, 140 miles or something, till I got my third one. So it's like, it's not the way you'd wanna do it, but it's like there's always opportunities and all that being said, game has changed since then. I'm not, that's not an option I don't think at the the frog group anymore over

[00:19:42] Craig Dalton: Yeah, Yeah, yeah. I think you're right. All right. I wanna take a pretty hard detour and talk about protect our winters. Can you just kind of give the listener an overview? What, what the heck is it?

[00:19:56] Matt Lieto: So it's Protect Our Winners is a nonprofit that was started actually by. Jeremy Jones I wanna say it was like 2007. And he's a professional snowboarder. Now runs a company called Jones Snowboards. The people, if you search for him, you'll, you'll find him. Pretty, pretty rad dude. Pretty, pretty cool.

Like in hindsight, now looking at him, I went to DC with him and it's like, it's hilarious. It's like, You know, Broey snowboarder dudes like started this like full machine. That's like helping us survive the next little bit on earth. But yeah, I think I won't assume what his story was cause like, I won't tell it as well as he did, but basically just going out in the, and exploring the, the zones that he loved, but also obviously depended on to make a living.

He saw that it was all changing, right? Like the winters. I mean, it's a very, it is a very yeah, I mean, he, he, he, he definitely saw, he saw the issue and was like, Man, what can I do to fix this? And like, I think it was a very bold, at the time, thought to be like, I'm gonna be able to make a difference. But I think he and I, dude, I mean, I'm sure if he talked to him now, there's no way he, he would.

Protector what is, would be where it's at. But basically he's, you know, trying to, to make a change and use voices of, you know, obviously it started in winter sport, so winter sport athletes to to, you know, he obviously had a platform to talk to people that were fans of snowboarding and for him specifically to be like, Hey, This is real.

The, the world is changing and it's, it's not going in the right direction for us to be able to do what we want to do for fun. And then started obviously using other people in winter sports and then summer sports and so on and so on. To try to, to broaden the, you know, I think it, it was not lucky, but like maybe a little bit lucky. The growth of protect our winners happened at the same time. Is social media kind of taking off because the kind of ambassadors and alliance members that these guys have aligned with are able to reach a lot of people that care about where they live, but maybe don't think that they can have an impact or do anything with it.

And I think that the overarching vibe I get from protect our winners and talking to the folks is just like, Man, you. You can be involved, you can make a difference. And if, And right now, especially like voting is, is huge. And if these alliance members or these, you know, people like Jeremy can, you know, influence or followers to no matter what your viewpoint is, to go out and and vote.

And preferably if you're part of what we refer to as an outdoor state, which is anybody that participates in outdoor sports, whether you're a hunter or fisherman or whatever, like you probably. About what's gonna happen to our planet in the next little bit. Whether it's cuz it's what you do for spare time or you know, for me, living in Bend, know, it affects the community.

You know, like fire is real and fire season has always, always kind of been a thing. But now it's like fire season is like a month and it might.

[00:23:09] Craig Dalton: Yeah.

[00:23:10] Matt Lieto: Two weeks, man, where like the AQI is over 400 and you're not going outside to do anything if, and like if you're inside, you got an air filter and you're still not doing anything, right.

So it's, for me, that was kind of the, the crux was, was getting out and you know, seeing that, that there's a problem that needs to be solved. But again, I think protect our winners does a good job and be like, there is. Something that you can do to, to help. And I mean, I know you've got a similar, you know, viewpoint and concern and you know, wanting to to impact as well.

What was it like for you to try to be like, Okay, I'm this like little dot, how do I like, I think that's the first thing, right? Is like, well, there's nothing I can do. Right? Like me recycling isn't gonna

[00:23:53] Craig Dalton: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think, you know, going back to Jeremy's like the origin story, like it's really natural, like as a snowboarder who goes back to the same mountain year after year, to kind of understand visually like where the snow pack level is, where you know what's possible to ride and that's what's not possible to ride.

And I think what I started seeing in California, With the droughts and the wildfires is like the reservoirs I would go by were just shockingly low. And then combine that with, as you were just saying, like having to actually know what AQI is and get a little app on my phone to look at it every single year to see the effect of smoke blowing into our community from forest fires.

It was just really stark. . And that's what I found interesting about the Athletes Alliance is like anybody who touches the outdoors, if you're a gravel cyclist, a rock climber, you're seeing it firsthand happening in front of you.

[00:24:48] Matt Lieto: Oh for sure. And it's, it's funny you say that cuz you know, living in Bend and I grew up in Northern California and cut my teeth raising bikes and stuff down there and I'll go down for MIGS races in Grasshopper stuff and in Norco. And I mean, one year on the way back, I had to like go a different way home because the way I was wanted to go home was on fire.

And it's, you know, not the same as it used to be. And it's it's sketchy, right? And it's it's, it's real. But again, honestly like. I've got buddies that are involved with Protect our winners. And that's why I kind of got involved myself is them just chatting and thinking I had a platform, and obviously knowing that I'm aligned politically and care about the same things, but for me, and I don't know if it's the same for you, but for me it was like, well, what, what the heck can I do?

Right? Like if, if I, I think the, the last few years people just feel like be down. Like we're not gonna be able to, to change anything. Right? Like, where, where are you? Where's your head?

[00:25:48] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I think, you know, early on in my, my sort of life post college, I used to think about politics, honestly, like every four years in the filter of. Who's the presidential candidate that I get behind and is probably the last kind of maybe eight to 12 years that I just started to realize, like having a say in who's representing you locally and having those preponderance of voices.

Starts to, to make a difference. And I did some phone banking to try to get people out to vote for candidates. And I started to realize there was like this huge disconnect for people. Like, they just didn't even make a plan to vote. They didn't make it a priority. And I, I just started to think to myself like, it's only a few times a year you're asked to vote.

It's not that big a deal and spend a little time getting educat. About what the candidates are there for, and if it whatever lands for you, support them, do it. This is like our civic responsibility not to be up on a

[00:26:49] Matt Lieto: Yeah, for sure. And it, yeah, it's not, it's not, again, it's not that hard and depending, and I'm speaking from a, a place of privilege, right? For me, it's not that hard. For you, it's probably not that hard either. In Oregon we have male and voting, so it's like incredibly easy. If someone in Oregon said it's hard, it's because they're lazy in my opinion.

Or you. I shouldn't judge. But anyways, it, it is pretty darn easy compared to, to what it used to be. We're not standing in line for an hour at a time. Right. It's, it's pretty simple and it. It's impactful. Right? And I think that's the important thing and, and there's so many resources to be able to, It's not like these days, like clearly you can go and get the pamphlet they send you and read through everything, or you can, I mean, you could probably Google, what should I vote for having this opinion?

And I'll find it conveniently. Here's a plug. Stoked the Vote Campaign from Powell. You can actually just text 6 5 3 51 text stoke to that number and they'll like tell you where their nearest polling spot is. And if you want, they'll actually give you you know, some, a voter guide that kind of tells you who to vote for or what This is under the action fund of protect our winners, kind of a sister, sister company and they'll, they'll tell you kind of where to vote and what line to vote on.

Your concern is the environment and specifically this go around. It's like Montana, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado. I think Utah are like super, super important. So if you live in any of those states and you happen to be listening text 65, 3 51 and they'll let you know. But like, I mean, me and my buddies and, you know, cycling I think is a very social pastime and me and my cycling buddies every year. Every four years or every two years, we'll, like have a dinner party and everybody brings their, like, not their ballots necessarily brings their pamphlets and will like talk about it. Right. And like, we're never getting in arguments or anything. We're just like saying what everything is and kind of, I don't know.

I, I think it's it brings something more to our like friendship and like our casual hanging out more than just like talking about bikes. And it's, it's kind of fun to like hash it out, you know.

[00:28:58] Craig Dalton: Yeah, yeah, for sure. I was visiting the protect our site today and clicked on the Stok Stoke vote and saw that whole process that you mentioned over text message, like I put in my name, my address clicked through, told me all about the California deadlines, how to return the ballot, how to track the ballot.

And I think I was, I was reading cuz they had, it sort of had an interesting breakdown. The fundamentals. It's like, okay, make sure you're registered to vote and how can kind of help facilitate you finding that information out. If you're not registered to vote, make a plan to vote. So make it easy. Get the stuff in front of you so you can figure out how physically you're gonna vote, whether you're gonna mail it in, whether you're gonna walk in and, and, and submit the ballot and cast your vote.

And again, how, how you should be looking at your local ballot measures from the context of we all love this thing, gravel cycling. Whether you believe it or not, it's happening that it's, it's it's being impacted and whether it's massive rainstorms in the Midwest for the early season, mid-south gravel races or mammoth tough getting canceled because of California wildfires.

Same thing's happening in Oregon. Like all this stuff, it's right as our, at our doorstep as gravel athletes and you cannot close your eyes. You have to get out there.

[00:30:18] Matt Lieto: No. Totally. Yeah, a hundred percent. You you said it said it perfectly and I think it's hard too, cuz I think at at times with how crazy our political environment is right now, that people just, you know, don't believe. Everything, you know, people have, have some people have doubts in the political system in general that is like, look at the facts.

We're not gonna go down that, that rabbit hole. But even if it is, like, try, like all you can do is try, right? And I, I'm pretty confident that my vote's gonna make a difference. But I think the big thing that you can ignore is I think sometimes, especially in you know, where I live from where I live and my beliefs, people just, we just assume, like you look at the polls, you're like, everything's.

It's like, no dude, do not trust the polls. Like we, That is not something that we can rely on and I think for so many reasons outside of what we're talking about now, even it's so important this next election and, and I think it's hard because I think a lot of the people that are disillusioned a little bit, Are folks that are young folks and a lot of those people aren't voting.

And a lot of people that like myself are kind of live in a, a area of, of privilege to a certain extent. You think, Wow, whatever. Everything's fine. Like, I don't need to vote, But it's like, man, no, you do. And no matter what, where you live and what your socioeconomic zone is or what you do for a past time, Something in this next election is going to affect you.

Right? So if you care about it or you care about, it's certainly gonna affect someone you love. So get out there and get off your ass. And in my case, I don't even have to get off my ass. They just send the ballot to me and I put it in my mailbox and send it back. So there's yeah, it's, it's, it's a, it's a great time to want to be involved,

[00:32:06] Craig Dalton: And I think there's, there's such a thing as political will and just whether you're in a region that has climate favorable policies and that's the prevailing kind of political, political wisdom, great. You still need to st show up and show that we've got massive amounts of support. For these kind of things because there's other parts in the country that you know, don't have the same kind of support, have a lot more headwinds to addressing climate change, and every little bit helps.

[00:32:36] Matt Lieto: For sure. And I think there's the, even the, the other side of it is there's, and me. The first, when I first got involved with P I was like, Man, I'm not gonna be able to make a difference. Like, People have been trying to, to make a change in this for years. It's, you know, there's still people that don't believe that climate change is real and all this stuff.

Right? And then I went, I was lucky enough to be able to go to Washington DC with protect our winners and, and a bunch of folks through the Athlete Alliance and the Creative Inside Alliance and like sitting down and talking to senators and congressmen and stuff, and, Crazy. I'm like, Whatever. I'm here.

We'll see if you guys think I can make a difference, whatever. Not that I'm, I think that I did, but in every conversation we're sitting down with very conservative representatives and not one of them did we spend any time debating whether or not it's real and like, that's stinking huge man. Like that was not the case four years ago.

And like I was in a couple meetings with Jeremy Jones and he left. He's like, Dude that is, That is not how this used to be. So keeping like being annoying and knocking on the door and saying, Hey, this is important to me. And of course like we're going there with the like facts, like, hey, the outdoor state is, you know, over 600 million people and this many dollars is going into it.

So you start talking their language a little bit, be like, Hey, if my town burns down, then they're gonna lose this much money and blah, blah, blah, whatever it is. But like to leave that. Have the, like, conservative Congress people like High Five and be like, Hey, send me an email. Let us know how we can help.

Is like awesome. It's really cool.

[00:34:15] Craig Dalton: Yeah. That's amazing. What an amazing experience to see government working like that. Maybe it's not working fast enough, but just to, to be there and having the conversation like that's important.

[00:34:25] Matt Lieto: totally. And, and you know, and, and, and p is definitely. I feel lucky being able to have that firsthand experience. But anybody who's involved in power or supporting p is, you know, helping all that infrastructure be around for us to go there and do that. And like, you know, before the last vote for the bill for you know, bunch of money going to climate change and relief and stuff, you know, I was like, email.

Swing voting representatives, right? It's like, that's crazy, man. They're emailing back like, it's pretty cool. So like, you know, bragging a little bit about what Powell does, like there's a bunch of stinking smart people making the right moves and. It's hard too. Cause I think go a little bit of a tangent.

I think, and this was my barrier to being involved with Powell. And if it wasn't for my buddies, I probably wouldn't have been because man, I don't know how good you are at like sorting your recycling, but like, I'm not very good like, I'm, I'm imperfect when it comes to this stuff. Right? And one of P's big things is it's imperfect advocacy, man.

Like in the end, like I'm still trying to get better at all that, Right? And like, I want to eventually get an ev cuz it makes a lot of sense on a bunch of different levels. And, you know, I, I recycle and I try to do everything. I can take my bag to like everything I can, but in the end, the, the personal change isn't really as big of an impact.

And I'm being polite. It's the systemic change that is gonna get us out of this shit. And that's what protect our winners is, is shooting for. And they're like combining all these resources of these people to go where it actually matters. And if we can get, you know, every ski resort to change to, to being more efficient and, you know, you know, government to be able to, to, to function at a level where we're using renewable resources and things that we can do now.

And that's one big thing with POW two is that right now they're just like, Keep an eye down the road, but like we're looking like right now, like near horizon stuff, stuff we can change now because if we can convince people in the government to put, give energy into doing something like let's do the stuff that we can take care of now.

And so they're like kind of cleaving on that, where I think there's, there's a lot of other people looking down towards the road, you know, further down the road.

[00:36:39] Craig Dalton: Yep. Yeah. Yeah. I'm so glad this conversation was able to happen now, and you know, I kind of turned myself a little bit inside out thinking, Oh, I got a couple podcasts I'm supposed to put out there. Then it dawned on me like, What, what, what am I doing? Like we got one week until the midterm elections, If we can change the couple minds and get some people to make a plan to vote.

If we can expose them to Powell's efforts over the long term, like that's what I need to be doing and I hate to be soak boxy to the listener. As I mentioned to you offline, Like I tend to sit back and not say a whole hell of a lot, but I really do believe it's important to get out there and make a plan and vote, and you've got time to do it this year.

[00:37:17] Matt Lieto: dude. For sure. For sure. And I mean, I, I, I don't mean to diminish as I did in the past, like, you know, I've been a slacker in the past too. I mean, when I was younger I didn't vote because I was lazy or whatever. But. And I'm sure there were issues that were very, very important then that I ignored. But I think now it's kind of hard to, to look and think that this election specifically isn't super important.

And again, kind of the, the, the, the moves that have been made just in the last couple months to help in climate change. You know, if everything changes in two weeks. They can cleave a bunch of that and take that stuff back, right? Like the way our, our system works. So it's like we're all celebrating high fiving that we've got this thing across the line, but in the end, if we vote the wrong people in in two weeks, then that's gone and we're back at ground zero.


[00:38:08] Craig Dalton: Yeah, you're back at Mile one 50. The Unbound 200, right, right. Again,

[00:38:12] Matt Lieto: That's the worst place to.

[00:38:15] Craig Dalton: Exactly.

[00:38:16] Matt Lieto: That's the worst place to be. So close, but yet so far. That's a great analogy. I think we're gonna start using that at Powell one 50 at

[00:38:23] Craig Dalton: Right on.

[00:38:24] Matt Lieto: Yeah. That's too funny. Well, dude, yeah, no, and it, I will echo what you just said. And again, I, I'm similar to you.

I don't assume that people wanna listen to my opinion very often, but it comes to a point where, like, right now I don't care. So I apologize if you, you guys don't wanna hear my opinion, but in the end, I don't even care who you vote for or what you vote for. Go out and vote, right? Like that's your responsibility and we're able to do that in this country.

And I don't think we should take that for granted. Clearly. I'd, I'd like you to support you know, voters or people that are coming in to, to help with climate change cuz it's affecting what we're doing, gravel racing, what we're doing in winter sports and, you know, us surviving the next. The next century.

So, if you've got the capability, get out, get out and vote.

[00:39:10] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Goodness. Said it better myself, Matt. Cool. Well, great to get to know you a little bit. I can't wait to run into you at some of these gravel events down the line, and I appreciate all your.

[00:39:20] Matt Lieto: Yeah. Thanks. The, thanks for having me on and bringing a little attention, Toal and, yeah, we'll, we'll get some, we'll get some gravel riding in a bend or Norco. I'll be down there soon enough.

[00:39:29] Craig Dalton: Right on.


[00:39:30] Craig Dalton: That's going to do it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. Normally I would be taking a moment to ask for your support with a rating or review. But this week, I just want you to get out there and vote. Make sure you're organized. Make sure you've got your ballot. If you're not registered already figure out if it's possible to register at this moment in your state.

But get out there and do it. No excuses this year.

Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt under your wheels