June 20, 2016
Who is Sam Schultz?
I was born in Missoula, MT and raised with a strong appreciation for the outdoors. I love to get out and push my limits while exploring as far away from civilization as possible. I have been lucky enough to claim professional mountain biker as my job title for the last decade and my passion for pedaling has led to some pretty cool experiences.
Why did you ride your motorcycle to Alaska?
My girlfriend has been spending her summers working as a hiking guide just outside of Denali National park. Before I met her I had never been to Alaska. After flying up for a visit earlier in the summer, I knew I needed to see what was between my home and that mystical place. I have had a couple pretty frustrating, injury filled years and a motorcycle adventure up to the last best place to be with my girl was just what the doctor ordered.
Most amazing moment?
I linked up with friends for a couple days of riding in BC, but once we got to Yukon Territory they decided they wanted to take a more southerly route. I was pretty set on exploring the Campbell highway, a 362 mile dirt road in the middle of nowhere. I bought an extra gas can to extend my range enough to make it to the next gas station and said so long to my friends.
The road was amazing. Lined with stunted black spruce and flanked by mountains that seemed to go on forever. I think I saw 13 bears and 2 cars. Right as I was getting ready to add my extra fuel to my tank, the skies opened up. It was the perfect 34° rain that really chills you to the bone--especially when you top it off with a 70mph wind.
I decided I would get a hotel in Ross River which was my fuel up spot, but all that was there was a few run down houses, stray dogs, and a gas pump. I fueled up and shakily got back on my motorcycle. The next town was another 45 miles up and surely there would be a hotel there.
When I pulled up to the Faro Studio hotel, the nearly freezing rain was still coming down hard. Covered in mud and very cold, I went to the check-in desk and tried to get a room. The clerk was enough of a jerk that I decided to try my luck at the payphone, calling a number for the Lynx Track B&B I had gotten from a visitor center rather than plopping down an exorbinant price for what was one of the most depressing hotels I have been at.
"Yes, we have a cabin available and fresh soup from the garden that I will put on the stove", answered the woman in a thick Swiss accent. There weren't many things that would have been worth getting back on my motorcycle for, but this was certainly one of them. The woman gave me directions to her B&B and I rode another 10 miles out into the boonies and arrived at the most incredible, off-the-grid spread. They got a fire crackling and fed me a feast. I slept like a rock and spent half of the next day just hanging out, eating good food and learning about life in the middle of nowhere. It's amazing how quickly a low point can turn into a high.
Soundtrack for the journey?
Easy Rider soundtrack. So much good stuff.
This is kind of a weird answer, but I've always had tons of respect for the weekend warriors that carve out time to get on the bike for the sheer love of the sport. I think those guys and girls are my favorites.
Bonus question: Best thing about Missoula?
It's gotta be the people. We have amazing access to the outdoors, but I think the people and the community are what really make it special.
Double bonus question: What racer are you most excited about to see racing in Rio this Summer?
Peter Sagan. He is forgoing the road race in favor of getting back to his roots on the MTB, and he is no slouch in the discipline with a junior world championship title to his name. It's a long shot to think that he might be near the front of the race, but he is a wild card that will be fun to watch.