303 is pleased to partner up with BRAC and Nationwide Insurance to bring you a new monthly article: "Nationwide's Athlete of the Month". Each month we'll shine the spotlight on someone from our cycling community who shows a little something special in addition to simply racing. This month's Nationwide athlete is Matt Davies (Boulder Cycle Sport).
Many of you know Matt from the cross course. Originally, from England, he came to Boulder in 2000 to run track and cross country, and fell in love with what Boulder had to offer. In 2008 Boulder's magnetic pull on Davies brought him back permanently, when he came back to live and work. It was at that time that 23+ years of competitive running began to take its toll on his body. He was faced with the same question that has brought so many others to cycling: What should I do instead? Matt was looking for a sport that wasn't as hard on his body, yet offered the same level of athleticism, and he found it.
"I came across this group of cyclists - looking back now, it must have been the Wednesday World's group. And watching them roll by on a cool Fall morning, it instantly appealed to me. Then several friends and co-workers introduced me to ‘Cyclocross’. I did my first race in 2009 at Louisville’s ‘Bowl of Death’, and was instantly hooked. 2010 was my first formal season, and I've been lucky enough to ‘cat-up’ each year."
Matt is fast. The kind of fast that causes the crowd's mouths to drop open. "Luck" probably has little to do with it. He insists, though that luck definitely came into play when he met and married Christina, a "delightful, local girl", born and raised in Boulder. Matt and Christina now have a little boy (Robert), a 1 1/2 year old, who will surely be super-human as well, since Matt’s wife is quite the runner. In addition to being a passionate cx racer and parent, Matt is also quite passionate about his job and the environment, as a community solar developer with Clean Energy Collective.
CEC's Koppenberg panels
You may not recognize Clean Energy Collective (CEC) by name, but if you've ridden the Koppenberg course, you've seen the fruits of their labor. Clean Energy Collective (founded in Carbondale 6 or so years ago) now has its head office in Boulder, and is rolling out ‘Community Solar’ across the nation.
We've all heard the phrase "going solar" but Matt broke it down for me a bit with a local example. "CEC has a 500 kW array--along the dirt road on the Koppenberg Street, at the East end of Marshall Mesa). The Boulder County array is right where the dirt loop (66th turns to pavement.
Anybody who lives in Boulder County, is an Xcel Energy customer, and is interested in "going solar” could work with us. CEC's sales team would review your Xcel Energy electric bill and explain how much capacity on our array you’d need to go 100% solar. Then we work with you to offset a comfortable percentage of your utility costs. In short, it's a very neat, convenient way to "go solar" over night without installing solar panels on your roof."
"Very neat," indeed. CEC has snowballed over the last few years. A year and a half ago, there were 11 people on staff. Now they have nearly 90 employees (with a new office in Broomfield as well). They are the National leaders in this type of program. When asked what his favorite part is about his work, Matt responded, "It has a great feel-good factor about it. As someone who loves the outdoors (and especially now that I'm a dad), the environment is always on my mind. This is an industry and product I truly believe in."
CEC has been involved with the 2013 USA Pro Challenge, sponsored the Koppenberg in 2013, and they just sent a team of 9 CEC staff to compete in the ‘24 hours in the Sage’ race in Gunnison over the weekend, where they won the Corporate category. True to their ‘green’ ideal, they have a large contingent of cyclists on their staff, including Michelle Zimmerman (Team YetiBeti), Chad Roach and Zack Rodriguez - all of whom are strong mountain bikers.
If you see Matt at the races this Fall, say 'hello'. He'd be happy to chat with you about cross, England, going solar, or anything else you want to throw at him. He's quite the conversationalist (as all people tend to be who are doing what they love).