Andrea Bassing Matney Birthplace: Nigeria (U.S. Peace Corps baby) Your current home town: Washington, DC area Profession: I profess to eating too many chocolate chip cookies and being silly. (Gosh, didn’t know you were going to get so personal!) How did you first get into endurance sports? In 1998 I did my first century while training for an AIDS Ride fundraiser. It was instant love for the adventure and pushing myself. This was a surprise gift when I was only trying to help a friend that was HIV positive. Tell us about some of the epic events you’ve participated in, or plan to: I’ve done endurance events like Calvin’s Challenge 12 and 24-hour (RAAM Qualified in 2018); National 24-hour Challenge; Mid-Atlantic 12/24, both 12 and 24 hour; Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP); other various grand randonnees (750-miles); an unsupported bike ride across the USA; and of course, the Maryland Endurance Challenge! Currently, I’m doing the 2020 BikeArlington Freezing Saddles competition. As a team captain, I named our team for my spirit animal — Cookie Monster! For the future and because I’m stupid, your Climb to the Clouds Everesting Challenge sounds like fun. Otherwise, I also chase total solar eclipses; attend performances by Royal de Luxe; and participate in Burning Man with my travel partner and spouse Bones. You also have a deep history in randonneuring. How would you compare rando-riding with an endurance race? There are several main differences when doing a brevet: pacing; weight; and style. Pacing is slower than a race. With a brevet, I could go at a moderate pace. But, truth be told — I just want to go fast all of the time. I do take longer breaks during a brevet. Heavier than a race because you must be prepared for anything, like the boy scout mantra. For example, I carry all of my nutrition and clothing for a range of weather and temperatures. Style (or lack thereof) goes with being heavier when doing a brevet. You just use what works. During a 100-year storm with major flooding, I wore chopped off rain pants, shoe covers, raincoat with a hood, CamelBak, reflective gear, and a hotel shower cap. The kind people of Kansas laughed when I appeared. See the picture. What motivates you to ride now? Eating chocolate chip cookies — with new friends! Honestly, I just love the physicality of it. It feels good . . . well, mostly. What advice would you have offer to those just getting into endurance sports? There are three important items. Learn: ask questions, read, and absorb what works for others. Break the event into smaller segments in your mind, so you’re not overwhelmed. Tell really stupid one-liner jokes for 24 hours in order to amuse yourself and annoy your riding partners or the ride organizers at the timing station. This is most important! What have been some of your positive personal experiences from participating in endurance sports? Camaraderie and the opportunity to make life-long friendships with amazing people. What personal challenges have you had to overcome? Still working on this one! Anyone have ideas on how to push harder in the heat and humidity? What single piece of encouragement would you offer to a young person experiencing homelessness? I haven’t walked in your shoes, so what can I say? Just know that I do not define you by your situation and no one else should. You are so much more than what you’re currently experiencing.