Neal Schmitt Profile
Neal joined Team SixOneFour in 2012. He knew Mark Farmer (Team Co-Captin) from the music world way back in the day and they reconnected on a group ride.
When did you get serious about cycling and why?
After I wrecked my ACL playing indoor soccer, my doctor said I could cycle all I want – so that was a pretty good endorsement. I pedaled a stationary bike at the YMCA for a while which was a good start, but pretty unfulfilling. I dusted off my old mountain bike (a Bridgestone purchased off a Mormon heading back to Utah) and started exploring the neighborhood – just like when I was a kid. That eventually led to entering a triathlon down in Hocking Hills. I finished last (third out of water for swim but the dang run killed me) but was pretty hooked on the exhilaration of training and competing.
Why do you do this sport? What is it about cycling you like so much?
For me it started as a drastic lifestyle change. I was working late nights in the recording studio and not taking care of myself – the photos of that time are proof – I look bloated. But once I got my eating and exercise under control with some triathlons, including two 70.3 races, cycling became much more ingrained in my life.
Two of the following are true:
• Cycling keeps my stress levels low.
• Cycling allows me time to think and process and scheme.
• Cycling shapes my body like a fine-tuned Ferrari.
In what bike discipline(s) do you participate? What is your favorite bike discipline and why?
Road is my favorite. I love road races and crits. I like the planning and maneuvering – just wish my body would respond to the demands. But I keep trying!
Cross is fairly interesting to me but IT’S SO HARD! I’ve got a lot to work on but I enjoy the nasty conditions. Being smooth in the turns is what I need to work on. Ang getting used to fried lungs – ouch that hurts.
What is in your jersey pockets on a ride?
Nothing exotic – emergency air pump in the left, phone (on airplane mode and ride logged via Strava) in the middle and something to nibble on in the right.
What is your favorite bike part or bike related item that you own?
Love my Ridley Noah RS. And our new team bibs are pretty sweet.
What famous person would you like to accompany you on a long ride? What would you talk about?
I don’t the music engineer Steve Albini rides bikes but if he did, his stories and opinions would make 80 miles go by in a blink.
How do you maintain your bike(s)?
This is where I need some help. Besides a good cleaning and maintaining the chain, I’m pretty good about not doing anything else. Team winter bonding?
What are your favorite things to eat after a long ride or race?
I love that food and beverages taste so good after a long right. Nothing tastes as good as food after a long swim though. Anyway, what I crave depends when I ride. In the morning, a coffee and eggs is the things I crave so I’m usually setting up the French Press right after. If I ride later in the afternoon or evening, it’s ice cream or Chiptole – both of which I do a good job of abstaining from.
What are some of your most memorable rides, races, or organized events and why?
The Tour of Troy has fond memories in my heart because 1) it was a crazy cool course and 2) it was the first crit I did. Riding up Mt. Mitchell this past March will stay with me for a long time . I love showing people the Strava profile. Putting together Tour of Franklinton gives me a lot of respect for all of the race promoters out there so events like Tour de Grandview, Hyde Park Blast and Cincy3 cross race are just impressive in their scale and execution.
What advice do you have for someone thinking about getting more serious about cycling?
Gosh, I wish this were a question I was asked more. Everyone rides bikes but so few are interested in taking it up a notch – I’m guessing it’s the thought of crashing that’s intimidating. I was on a ride recently and as our group zipped passed someone out for a nice easy ride, a Cat 2 rider mentioned how cool he used to think the Lycra clad riders who flew by him were. Getting serious about cycling doesn’t take anything more than pedaling a bit harder than you did the day before. All the fancy crap like nice shoes and carbon bikes aero doohickeys comes later.
What are some of your short or long term cycling goals?
- Hang with Wednesday Worlds all the way to the end.
- Top five in a competitive Cat 4 field.
- Win a Cat 4 crit.
What do you do when you’re not cycling?
Hanging with my family, riding with my kids, working or thinking about work, sneak eating bags of chips.